I love to host the holidays. Nothing gives me more pleasure than planning, marketing, preparing, and entertaining for these special times, and I have established a tradition of going a little over the top for the occasion.
I also loved the books Julie and Julia as well as My Life in France. Both inspired me to swipe my mom’s old copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and happily start practicing. That was 2 or 3 years ago, and my appetite was rewet when I heard the film was coming out this summer. It inspired me to begin planning Le Marais, or an all Julia Child tribute to Rosh Hashanah.
Like many other people, this summer has been full of summer squash! It almost seems to be falling from the sky. I have made zucchini bread (and muffins), I also made these zucchini fritters (really just a summer latke). I just got some more zucchini and yellow squash in my CSA box and I really have no idea what to do with it. To be honest, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the box yesterday and saw more summer squash! Our CSA gives us the ability to check online a few days prior to delivery to see what we’re going to get. So usually by the time we get our box I feel inspired to cook with the ingredients. I was out of town earlier this week so I didn’t have a chance to look at what was coming. My boyfriend pulled the unwelcome squashes out of the box and asked what my plans were for them. I told him I didn’t know and to put them away for now. We then gave each other a look of “more summer squash? You can’t be serious.” As a side note, while out of town for business I had dinner with my family who was vacationing at the beach in Southern California. My dad made zucchini stuffed with his amazing mushroom risotto (you’ve heard my talk about my dad and his risotto). He got the zucchinis from a friend who grows them in her garden and was desperate to get rid of them. These were literally the largest zucchinis I’d ever seen
I know we are in the season of fasts for many Jews but here is a simple (yet a bit time consuming) recipe that tastes great! We have been getting quite a bit of zucchini in our CSA box. I even made a healthier version of this (the one without the pineapple) zucchini bread using this recipe. If you’d like the modified version please post in the comments section and I will get back to you.
Now, I do like zucchini but when it is cooked and mushy it grosses me out a little bit (I have some food texture issues which involve a real dislike of baked/mushy fruits and vegetables). So, in this reciped I added the veggies at almost the very end of cooking. If you’d like them cooked a bit more you can add them earlier.
As I mentioned in a previous post, risotto has been a long-time family meal and holds a special place in my heart. One of the reasons I love risotto is that it is so versatile. I know many people are intimidated by risotto but this is totally unfounded. The trick to good risotto is making sure there is always enough liquid in the pan. You never want the risotto to be so dry that it sticks to the bottom of the pan. So really the trick might just be attentiveness.
Like my previous risotto post, this recipe isn’t Kosher the way I made it. However, it is very easy to make it Kosher. You can use vegetable broth or some sort of chicken-flavored boullion for the depth of flavor that chicken broth gives you. I would not eliminate the dairy in this recipe. You just can’t have good risotto without parmesan cheese. I hope you enjoy this summer risotto!
Now that Pesach has come and gone and we are back into the swing of eating leavened things again I though I would share a great spring recipe with you. I think I’ve mentioned before that my dad has always been the cook in my family – and fortunately he’s very talented at it. One of my favorite “Dad meals” is a risotto he makes with fresh peas and parmesan cheese (and sometimes mushrooms as well). Because of this recipe I have become a lover of risotto.
In my family if you helped cook the meal you didn’t have to clean up (this is especially relevant to Shabbat dinner) so I would always volunteer to help my dad cook. Thinking back, this is probably one of the reasons I got interested in cooking. On nights when he made risotto my job was to stir the risotto and add more liquid when necessary. At the time it seemed like quite a tedious process but I now feel fortunate to have been given that job since the stirring and adding the right amount of liquid at the right time is the key to perfecting risotto. Risotto is really incredible because it starts out as rice (Arborio rice to be exact) and through a specific (yet fairly simple) method of cooking it becomes very creamy and delicious.
Risotto is great as a main course or as a side for fish or meat. I happened to get a beautiful bunch of asparagus in my CSA box so I decided to add it to some risotto, however, the other great thing about risotto is that it’s quite versitile. Feel free to add other veggies, meats, fish, etc. As usual please share your favorite risotto recipes!
One more thing… this recipe contains milk and meat. I personally wouldn’t recommend leaving out the milk ingredients since they’re key to the richness so I would recommend substituting vegetable broth (or pareve chicken flavoring) for the chicken broth.
And now for the recipe…
Gastronomically speaking, trying to follow Passover is a tough gig. The seder meals are all flashy and filled with symbolic food meaning – how can another holiday compete? But each year, a month and change after the first bite of matzoh ball soup, Shavuot must try.
Here to help, The Jew & The Carrot offers a Healthy Sustainable Shavuot Menu – one that highlights the fresh flavors of the spring season and the dairy-inspired fare traditionally eaten for the holiday. With recipes for English pea risotto, wild salmon in brown butter, and lemony ricotta cheesecake, Shavuot might just have a fighting chance of culinary bragging rights this year.What do you like to make for Shavuot?
Ahhhh…Shavuot. The Jewish holiday that commemorates when Jews received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. The holiday that celebrates the first fruits of the season. And the (only?) Jewish holiday where vegetarians don’t feel marginalized by a table crammed with meat-heavy dishes.
With spring’s bounty bursting all over the farmers’ market, Shavuot is a time to pull out all the stops! Focus on seasonal flavors like strawberries, peas and salmon, accented with exotic touches like mango and ginger. You’ve got a long night of study ahead of you, so you better be good and sated.
I never fancied myself a desert person – for most of my life, I’ve chosen the extra bowl of pasta over the ice cream. But after receiving an ice cream maker as a gift, I felt compelled to buy David Lebovitz’ beautiful book on ice creams, sorbets, granitas, and other sugary treats, Perfect Scoop. Owning this book might just turn me over to the sweet side.
Lebovitz’ recipe for Rice Gelato especially caught my eye. It’s rich and creamy but has a substantive texture lacking from most ice creams – think rice pudding or risotto. And while it’s not exactly healthy, it is a perfectly decadent treat for celebrating Purim.
Recipe below the jump
When my kids were younger we went through the annual battle that always concluded with someone (usually me) in tears. Halloween is a Jewish child’s enemy. Every year I tried to circumnavigate the whole situation by buying candy and renting scary movies. This was sort of a good solution though the idea of running wild through neighborhoods with friends dressed as batman, an army guy, or whatever the costume du jour was that year was all most too much. My youngest son (Jonah is 13) recently confessed to having “done it” last year. The conversation went something like this. “You know Halloween is not that big a deal Mom”, “I know, I have been telling you that for years. Ummmm, how do you know?”
See the original recipe
6 baby pumpkins-tops cut off and reserved, hollowed out to create a cavity
2 T. butter
2 T. Olive oil
1 shallot chopped
1 clove of garlic-chopped
1 ¾ cups Arborio rice
2 pints boiling vegetable stock
1 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup of cream
3 T. Mascarpone cheese
¼ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh herbs for garnish
Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook over low heat until translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with the butter.
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English Pea Risotto
This bright green risotto is the perfect compliment to the first of the season salmon. The peas are sweet and delicious.
2 cups shelled English peas
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 Shallot, peeled and chopped finely
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
½ cup heavy cream for the risotto
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon chopped mint