Category Archives: Dinner

Hummus

Making hummus is easy, but there are a few things to consider.  But first the recipe:

Ingredients:

Tahini (sesame paste)

Garlic

Lemon juice

Salt, pepper, cumin

Cooked chickpeas

Add into a food processor 1/2 to 3/4 cup tahini, 2-4 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup water (see note below), juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper. Start the food processor and watch while it’s mixing. The mixture should turn a whitish very-thick liquid. Add more water if needed. When the tahini is ready (you can taste and add more garlic, lemon juice or salt if needed) add 2-3 cups of cooked chickpeas and run the food processor until the chickpeas are pureed and mixed well with the tahini.  Voila – the hummus is ready.

Things to consider:

Chickpeas – Yes you can use canned chickpeas, but it tastes so much better with home cooked chickpeas: Soak the chickpeas with lots of water over night (some cooks like to add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water).  Replace the water at least once. Cook in fresh water, with salt, (the water has to be a few inches over the beans) until the chickpeas are soft – it will take a few hours in a regular pot, much faster in a pressure cooker. I often cook 1-2 pounds of chickpeas and freeze what i don’t use right away.

Water – you can use tap water but the hummus tastes much better with the water you cooked the bean in.

These are Canadian – one marketed to the Arab market, the other to the Jewish market. I think they are identical…

Tahini – Buy imported tahini. Any tahini from Lebanon or Israel is good.  There are also some Canadian brands that are good.

Lemon juice – fresh is always better. Bottled is OK, or you can use a teaspoon of citric acid.

 

 

 

Sunday in my kitchen – Knish

knish 2Saturday dinner was always at Grandma’s: There was always gefilte fish – it took me years to connect the fish swimming in the bathtub on Thursday with the grey blob on my plate on Saturday; the bread basket was full of sliced halla: “don’t eat too much bread kids. There’s lots of food”, and there were a few rotating dishes. One of my top three favorites was the potato stuffed knish. The pastry was flaky, oily and delicious. The potato filling was doted with caramelized onion and you couldn’t eat just one piece.  The recipe, like all of her other dishes, was memorized and not written. I have a note that my father wrote, a few years before she died and when I was already living far away. He tried to get  the recipe from her, but anyone who ever baked can tell that the amounts do not make any sense….  So I had a mission – re-create grandma’s knish….

A few weeks ago I was in the kitchen with my brother, cooking something else and contemplating making Knish. I looked at my brother and said – we have a problem….  I know that savta (grandma in Hebrew) used a lot of margarine in the dough. And I suspect that that’s what made it flaky, yummy and perfect. But I can’t bring myself to cook with margarine, so I didn’t need to hear my brother‘s one word answer: “Don’t”.  I decided to use my favorite fool proof dough recipe:

1 TBS dry yeast + 1 tsp sugarבצק

3.5 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp salt

up to 1.5 cups water

1 egg, beaten

Mix the yeast and sugar with about 1/2 cup of the water, let stand for about 10 minutes until the the mix is bubbly.  Add the oil, flour, salt and 1/2 cup of water. Knead the dough, add water as needed, until it’s smooth and doesn’t stick. Continue kneading for another 5 minutes. (I use an electric mixer). Let the dough rise, covered, for 1-2 hours.

The filling was easy – lots of thinly sliced onion, fried to perfection – in lots of vegetable oil, on low heat until it turns dark brown.  A few potatoes, pilled and boiled, mashed and mixed with the onions.

To assemble the knish: Divide the dough into two halves. Roll the first half into a large triangle (about 1/4-1/2 inch thick), spread the filling over the dough, living enough of the edges to fold over. Close the sides and transfer, seam side down, to a cookie sheet or a baking pan. Repeat with the other half. Brush the top of the knishes with the egg.  Now comes the real trick – slice the unbaked knish (see photo) almost all the way through.

Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes and voila – it looks just like savta’s knish!

It tasted great too, although it lacked the distinct flavor of cheap margarine.

 

 

 

Monday in my kitchen – Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

How to make RLS:

red lentils

Red lentils in a bag

Dice a medium onion and saute (in a large pot) in vegetable oil.

Add 1-2 cups red lentils. (Wash the lentils several times in water before adding to the soup)

Add water and broth (I use home made vegetable broth, but any clear broth is good).  How much liquid?  enough to cover the lentil plus 1.5 cups.  (Add as much broth as you have and than add the water).

Add spices: Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Paprika (I use both sweet and hot), Turmeric (just a pinch).

Simmer on medium heat 30-40 minutes. Whisk for 30-60 second to mash the lentils.

While the soup is cooking – chop 1-2 carrots and 1-2 celery stalks in a food processor.  Be careful not to process the veggies too much – you want them smaller than peas but larger than corn meal.

When the soup is done (the lentils are are soft) – add the processed veggies and turn off the heat.

Serve the soup topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and squeezed fresh lime juice.

 

 

Thursday in my kitchen – Mushrooms in cream sauce

Thursday evening I came home from work, ate a handful of almonds and three Brazil nuts, got back in the car and drove to the airport to pick up a friend.  We got home together two hours later and we were hungry.  Inspecting the fridge we found: pulled pork, roasted chicken, a few sorry looking pieces of cooked broccoli and a container of sour cream. Not much to eat for two vegetarians. But in the vegetable drawer there were treasures to be found: a few cucumbers, a container of mushrooms, fresh dill and radishes from the community garden and a head of lettuce….  a delicious dinner was on its way – fresh salad and

Sauteed mushrooms in cream saucesauttedd mushrooms

Here’s how:

Saute in olive oil:

1 small onion, chopped

While the onion is sauteing  slice-

1 lb mushroom

When the onion are soft and translucent add the mushrooms.  Cover the pan and saute for 3-5 minutes, mixing occasionally.  Uncover, add

1/4 tsp allspice

Salt

Chopped dill (as much as you like)

Stir well and add

1 8oz container of sour cream

Mix well over medium heat. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Delicious on top of fresh bread or as a side dish.