Monthly Archives: January 2015

Preserved Lemons

Lemons1smMy backyard has a Meyer lemon tree, I find this one of the greatest perks of my place. When first introduced to preserved lemons, I really didn’t know what to do with them, as they are not a common place occurrence in the American cuisine. As I became acquainted with Moroccan food, I came to realize that you can use preserved lemons in just about anything. Roast chicken, braised meat, and sauteed vegetables just to begin. I’ll follow shortly with some of my favorite recipes after these are finished, in this post I wanted to share the process of preserving lemons. I have a fondness for just about anything citrus. I often joke that I died of scurvy in a past life.

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Start by scrubbing the lemons with a clean kitchen brush to remove any dirt, and dry them on a clean dish towel. I find that the most complicated process of preserving lemons, is sterilizing the jars. The first time doing this, I dumped hot water all over my bare feet and had scalding water rush down my arms. I was moving too quickly, and when I used the tongs to grab the jars out of the pot, the water rushed down them and onto my feet and arms. If you take your time, however I’m sure you will be safe from harm.

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Thoroughly wash the jars, lids, and rings with warm soapy water. While doing that bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using tongs, gently place 2 jars at a time, depending on the size of the pot, and boil for 5 minutes. You want the jars to be completely submersed in water. Very carefully lift the now sterilized jar out of the pot of boiling water, and air dry.

Cut a lemon in quarters without cutting all the way through, leaving the lemon connected  on one end. Put one tablespoon of kosher salt into each sliced lemon and place in the jar. Fill the jar full of however many lemons will fit, and screw the lid on tightly. Store the jar for three weeks to a month before using. Once opened, only use a clean utensil to remove the lemon sections, and refrigerate.

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Appetizer for a dinner party

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One of my favorite things in life, is throwing a dinner party for a small group of friends. While I know the thought of planning a menu, shopping for all the different ingredients, followed by the hours of cooking, sounds like a nightmare to some. For me however, it’s as relaxing as watching Downton Abbey. The funny part to me, is that I really don’t like cooking for just myself. When alone I turn into a bachelor, making my meals as quickly as possible, generally eating homemade burritos for days on end, and save the weekends for baking, knowing that whatever I make will be greatly enjoyed by my coworkers. On my off time, which I don’t have much of due to the nature of the business I work in, I can loose myself for hours looking through cookbooks, Pinterest, and other food blogs. Planning, making notes of what I want to try, slowly chipping away at my list of dishes to make. I am happy to say that this dish is now among the top of my favorite quick appetizers to make. It’s perfect for a group of people to enjoy over wine.

When I went over to my Rabbi’s house for Shabbat dinner a few months ago, his wife made the most amazing dinner for us all. Since then, this has been one of my favorite dishes to make. I had previously had all three parts of this appetizer, but never together, I was surprised at how well all the different flavors went together. Salad prep sm

Israeli Salad

  • 6 tomatoes on the vine
  • 3 Persian cucumbers
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Finely dice the onion, cucumbers, bell pepper, and parsley and place into a large bowl. Mix in the olive oil, salt, and lemon juice and mix well.

Hummus Dish

  • 1 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 tbs. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper

Peal and julienne the yellow onion. For a great tutorial of how to check out this link. In a large pan, heat up olive oil over medium high heat for about 30 seconds then add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until you have the first hint of char on the onions. Add the ground beef browning before reducing the heat to medium low while you continue to thoroughly cook the meat. Add the turmeric and curry powder and stir to fully incorporate.

I really liked displaying this on a round platter, serve with warm pita on the side.

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Morning Scones

sones 1sm This holiday season felt like it arrived so quickly. Shortly before I went home to Seattle, to spend time with my family, it merely felt like any other week. Work is busy, as usual for this time of year, and it was too easy simply focusing on the task at hand. Having some time off to relax, and spend time with my family is just what I needed. I have both of my parents, grandparents up there, all of my siblings were in town, and some of my best friends as well. My days were a mix of driving from my dads house to my moms, over to a friends, then repeat for 5 days. I loved every minute of it. Nothing makes me happier than a loud house filled with my brothers, and sisters.

These scones are perfect for a weekend family breakfast. Very few ingredients, simple to make, and taste amazing fresh from the oven still warm. I feel that most scones are dry and heavy, which is why I normally opt for more of a decadent breakfast pastry. These however are light and fluffy.

Morning Scones

I originally found this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Orangette, which I slightly adapted. In the latest version, I’ve been adding orange zest dried cranberries, which can be purchased from Trader Joe’s. You can feel free to leave them out, or add any type of nut or dried fruit that you would like.

Recipe

  • ¬†2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbs. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries with orange zest
  • 1-1 1/2 heavy cream
  • 2 tbs. melted butter

Pre heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl and stir with a fork to blend. Add the cranberries and stir. Slowly add in the heavy cream, until the ingredients are just combined. If the dough is still a little dry add some more cream, the dough should just hold together.scones2sm

 

Place the dough on a lightly floured work area and kneed for 1 minute.

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Pat the dough into a square using the palm of your hand until it is half an inch thick. It will feel like you are making the scones too thin, but they puff up considerably in the oven, so trust this process. Cut the dough into 12 squares, and brush all sides with the melted butter.

scones4smBake the scones for about 15 minutes, or until they just begin turning golden brown. Cool slightly and enjoy.

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