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Monday, September 26, 2011

Contdown continues.....

Of course I failed in my attempt to post every day. I'm always too ambitious and unrealistic, but I still want to write about what I'm cooking this week.
I feel excited, nervous and hopeful for the year that is about to start, for our life to renew, and for the current cycle to end and another one to begin. Food is what I do, and through it, I would like to invoke all good things: sweetness, health, peace, merits,and why not? wealth and strength.
I might not be able to post the pictures of the finished dishes, especially because some last-minute orders for desserts just rang in, the electrician is here for the second day in a week trying to fix something that the plumber messed up upstairs, the doorman just called: they're turning off the water in the building for 2 hours, I need to get kids from school, well, you get the point, but here are the recipes...

I'm keeping with the symbolic foods theme. Everything is dairy free, and there are also some dishes with no nuts, eggs, soy or gluten.
This recipe, in the amazing Cannelle et Vanille blog--which is pure food poetry--sounds incredible and uses carrots and apples. I don't have d'Espelette peppers, but a pinch of Cayenne will do the trick. The coconut milk will make it creamy and will add a touch of sweetness and depth.
Carrots encourage our merits to increase, while apple orchards smell like Gan Eden, and apples are related to the hope for wealth and power.

Carrot and Apple Soup with Cumin and Coriander
Serves 4 to 6
2 tbs olive oil
1 large shallot, peeled and minced
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 lb (450 g) carrots, peeled and diced
2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 sprigs thyme leaves
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 to 1/4 tsp piment d'Espelette
2 3/4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

In a stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the apple, thyme, salt, cumin, coriander and piment d'Espelette. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock, bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover the pot, and cook for 15 minutes ot until the vegetables are tender. Puree with a blender. Add coconut milk and adjust seasoning if needed.

  • Miso-tahini chicken with a touch of honey
This is the recipe I developed for Kosher Inspired magazine, that made it to the cover (I was over the Moon when I saw it, I just hope someone else sees it as well!!!).

It's very easy and really tasty. The honey in it is an augury for sweetness.
Ingredients:
½ cup white (sweet) miso
¼ cup honey
¼ cup rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons tahini
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Few drops toasted sesame oil
3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (chicken pieces with skin and bones could be used, just note the roasting time would be longer)
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Fresh cilantro (optional)

Method:
In a medium bowl, whisk miso, honey, vinegar, soy, tahini and mustard until well mixed. Set aside ½ cup of this sauce in a small serving bowl. Add to it cumin and about four drops of sesame oil. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve, this will be the finishing sauce.

Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag, add the remaining miso sauce and seal, pressing out excess air. Put bag in a large bowl (in case it leaks) and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

To roast: preheat oven to 400˚F.
Place chicken with its marinade in a large baking dish in one layer. Roast uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until fully cooked.

Place on a serving platter and cover with finishing sauce, sprinkle with toasted sesame and fresh cilantro.
Makes 8 servings.


Photo by STSTUDIO.CA

  • Roasted squash with date syrup and pepitas
It's not a secret what a big fan of dates I am. Date syrup is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, and it has a similar taste to maple syrup. It can be made at home by simmering the same amount (in volume) of water and pitted dates and once the mixture thickens, a bit of lemon juice can be squeezed into it (other recipes call for vanilla and cinnamon instead of the citrus), and then blended. I bought a jar of Israeli date syrup at Fairway, and although it does have some sugar added, the home-made version will have to wait until the electrician is done fixing the lights and the water runs again. 
Dates are an omen to avoid having enemies and gourd (squash, in this case) will hopefully help our merits to be proclaimed before God. 


Ingredients
1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons date syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds), shelled
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Place the butternut squash on a parchment-covered sheet pan. Add olive oil, the date syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss.

Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the pepitas to the pan for the last 5 minutes. Once out of the oven, sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top, before serving.

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