Archive for March, 2011

March 23, 2011

Let the Games Begin…

Sarah had a really good idea for a fun competition for us to do.  Kind of like the Iron Chef.  She suggested that David give us a list of ingredients and we each have to make a whole meal using just those ingredients.  Obviously, given the 6,000 mile space between us, it will be hard to judge whose food is better, but we will each write about what we made and the reviews given to it by those who taste it. Bonus points for anything that any of our kids eat!

David may or may not have taken his role a tiny bit too seriously…here is the email we recieved from him this morning:

Good morning contestants. I would like to introduce you to the official first round of the Six Thousand Mile International Pre-set Cook-off or STMIP-SC-O!! (applause)

The goal for tonight’s competition is to make a minimum of a three course meal only using the listed ingredients. Water, spices (dried), or cooking style may be implemented at your desire. However, any deviation from the program will result in immediate disqualification and public ridicule.

Once the competition begins you must complete all cooking in once session. And ALL ingredients MUST be used. Any additional courses or dishes will result in an increased score and will be looked upon favorably. Most of the rules were sent to you yesterday by the Contestant from North Jersey, so please review them before commencing. All cooking must me done in a Kosher style resting only on the Cooks Honor Code. Remember, this is only round one so pace yourselves.

Please contact the official international judge if you have any variance questions.

Todays ingredients are:

Cornish Hen
Beef shoulder
Quinoa
Garlic – not spice
Olive oil
Paprika – Moroccan
Red wine – royal wine (merlot or cab)
Raisins
Shallots
Fresh basil
Horseradish
Honey
Kidney beans
Parsnip
Carrots
Lemon juice
Leek
Mustard
You may begin shopping immediately and email the other contestant and the designated International STMIP-SC-O Judge upon the start of your cooking session.

So…

BEGIN ROUND ONE!
All my best,
David – International STMIP-SC-O Judge

Wish us luck…not allowed to use any written recipes or google or any websites so I’m a little scared…

March 18, 2011

Green Goblin Soup

David’s mother makes a pureed vegetable soup that is very green and she calls it Green Goblin Soup.  The kids love it, so we call every soup whatever-color-it-is goblin soup and then they will generally eat it. 

I was in the mood for pea soup so green goblin soup it is!  I used the Epicurious app on my i-phone to find a recipe–I made a few slight adjustments to it (mostly for laziness reasons)–if you like a thick soup, then this is for you!  I actually added an extra cup of broth at the end because it looked like paste.  Eli was helping blend it and after I added the broth he said, “oh, now this looks like soup!”

It’s probably more of a winter cold-weather soup and not so appropriate for the 80 degrees and sunny skies that we are happily having right now, but it’s good anyway.  Here’s how to make it:

First, heat up 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pot:

Cut up the white and light green parts of one big leek and add to the oil along with one bay leaf.  Sautee for a few minutes (until David comes in to the kitchen and tells you if you don’t pay attention to the stove, the leeks will burn):

Add one cup of split peas.  This is the perfect task for a small boy dressed as Iron Man.

Next add 5 3/4 cups of vegetable broth.  I use the powder, which probably horrifies my sister.  If it didn’t cost an arm and a leg a box here, I would use the boxes of organic broth that they have at Whole Foods.  I miss Whole Foods! Anyway, this Osem stuff works for me (I can’t figure out how to rotate the picture so just turn your head!):

Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer, covered, for about 1/2 an hour until the peas are tender.  Here’s where I diverged from the original recipe.  Once the peas are tender, remove the pot from the heat, take out the bay leaf and discard it.  Add in a bag of frozen petite peas, thawed (You sould probably take them out of the freezer and put in a strainer to defrost before you start making the soup). 

Mix it all together and wonder for a second if it’s actually going to taste good because it looks kinda iffy:

Add 4 tablespoons of fresh dill (yes, Sarah, I actually used fresh dill and not dried!) and then use a hand-blender to blend it very well.  This is also a good job for a small boy who wants to help (and who is no longer dressed as Iron Man):

If it’s too thick, add a bit more broth.  Enjoy the yummy green goodness!!

March 16, 2011

Preserve your lemons, they’re all that’s left you

What do you do when you have…

1. A costco-sized bag of lemons

2. A rainy Sunday

3. A high-spirited two-year-old that likes to “help” in the kitchen

Obviously, you make preserved lemons! It is so easy, and they can be used in a whole bunch of different ways. All you do is cut the lemons in half and sprinkle them with kosher salt. Then pack them into a jar, squeezing out some of the juice into the jar as you pack them in. Then pour olive oil over the whole thing so they’re covered in liquid (a mixture of the lemon juice and olive oil). Close up the jar, shake it up, and put it in a cool place for 2 weeks.  After you open the jar, I think they keep for a while in the fridge.

Stay tuned for moroccan chicken with olives and preserved lemons for dinner this Friday night.  Also, I’ll give you a dollar if you know where the title quote comes from.

March 10, 2011

Comfort Food

In an effort to make my sister feel bad…I mean inspire her to write something…I am posting 2 days in a row!

Since it’s Winter (and I use the term “winter” loosely as it’s been sunny and in the 60’s-70’s here, other than today when it has been raining on and off), it is important to eat delicious comfort foods, such as Tuna Noodle Casserole.  I was really in the mood for that today, so I went to my favorite source and found this recipe.

I just made it now when I got home from work and it’s in the oven, so I hope it tastes as good as the recipe sounded.

I’m pretty sure my sister the food snob does not approve of tuna noodle casserole (unless it’s called something fancy and has fresh tuna not from a can and home-made pasta), but in a rare move for me, I grated my own cheddar to put in it! I’ll admit, that’s only because David bought all the ingredients and he actually goes to the cheese counter and gets good cheese while I would have just bought a bag of grated whatever they had.

Here’s proof that I actually grated:

And here’s what it looked like right before going in the oven:

And as a bonus, I took the leftover chunks of cheese, grated a little bit of them, mixed with cucumber and put some balsamic vinegrette on top and ate it for a snack…yum! And I may or may not have drunk (drank? drunken? what is the right word??) the dressing that was left in the bottom of the bowl.

March 9, 2011

Salmon for a Good Cause

I don’t know what my sister’s excuse is, but I haven’t written anything in a while because I haven’t actually cooked anything in a while!  I did finally cook yesterday so I have something to write about now…

Recently, a friend e-mailed that she was organizing meals for a local family-the mother has cancer and they are a family of 4 with two young children.  I was scheduled to make them a meal for today, so for once in my life I decided to be organized and make everything yesterday so that they would actually have the food on time.  She is avoiding carbs and loading up on protein, so I thought I’d make fish.

I often use www.allrecipes.com, a site that I started using when we first moved to Israel 3 1/2 years ago.  I hadn’t brought any of my cookbooks with me and I’m not good at making up recipes, so I was always looking online for good things to make.  That site became my go-to place.  I save the recipes I like in my e-mail, so I searched my e-mail for “salmon” and found a recipe for garlic salmon that I had actually never made before.  I bought 2 big filets and figured I’d make one for us too–glad I did as it came out great!

Here’s how it looked as I was making it-before I did anything to it:

After adding the spices (salt, pepper, garlic, fresh dill):

And the lemon slices:

I didn’t take a picture of it when it came out the oven, but it looked pretty and tasted great too!