Kosher Main Course

Cold Oven Roast Chicken

Cold Roast Chicken.jpg

Makes 4 servings. 

I must confess that when I first heard of this recipe, I was intrigued and quite skeptical. I have since made it several times and marvel how easy, tasty and moist the chicken is.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 boneless organic chicken thighs with skin, each portion about 6 ounces (See Note)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated, peeled

  • 1 bunch thyme

  • Lemon peel from one lemon cut into thin strips (See Note)

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper.

  • Juice of 1 ½ lemons

PREPARATION:

  1. Choose a heavy pot, such as cast iron with a lid and large enough to fit the chicken with room in between the pieces. Coat the bottom with olive oil and add garlic, thyme and lemon peel.  

  2. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top, skin side up. Pour the lemon juice over the chicken and cover the pot.   

  3. Place the pot into the cold oven, set the temperature to 450F and cook the chicken for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the skin is golden and crisped, 15 -20 minutes.

NOTE:

Organic chicken thighs tend to be small, therefore in order to get 6 ounces boned portions per person, I use 2 thighs.

To cut the lemon peel, I use a lemon peeler and then I cut the peel into very thin strips. 

Serve the chicken with spoonfuls of pan juices and garlic.

 
 

Chicken in Tomato Sauce

Chicken in Tomato Sauce.jpg

Makes 4 servings.

Flavorful, easy to prepare and nutritious, this dish improves with time and is good reheated.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 boneless, skinless organic chicken thighs, each portion about 6 ounces (See Note)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • One 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 sun dried tomato halves packed in oil, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoon capers
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 5 oregano sprigs plus some leaves for garnish

PREPARATION:

  1. Pat the chicken dry.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan, add the chicken and sauté on both sides, briefly.
  3. Transfer to a dish and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat the rest of the olive oil, in the same saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, covered, until soft, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, capers, crushed red pepper, vinegar and oregano sprigs. Place the chicken, side by side into the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook gently, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 15 minutes; the chicken should be tender.  
  6. Discard oregano sprigs.
  7. Season the sauce to taste and garnish with oregano leaves.

NOTE:

Organic chicken thighs tend to be small, therefore in order to get 6 ounces boned portions per person I use 2 thighs.

 
 

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Meat balls.jpg

Makes 4 main course servings.

This dish is well seasoned with a distinct tomato flavor. I serve it with rice, pasta or other grains. The sauce as well as the meat balls can be prepared ahead of time and freeze well.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped,
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 0ne 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 sun dried tomato halves packed in oil, cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves, torn into small pieces.
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

INGREDIENTS FOR THE MEAT BALLS:

  • 1 pound chopped meat; a blend of ½ pound veal and ½ pound beef
  • ¼ cup panko
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

TO MAKE THE SAUCE:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

TO MAKE THE MEAT BALLS:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Place the meat in a bowl along with the panko, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix very well with your hands, take your time.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Roll the meat into walnut size balls, or you can use the smallest ice cream scooper to form the balls.
  4. Place on the cookie sheet.
  5. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet and sauté the balls briefly turning them with a spoon. They will be lightly seared. When brown drop them into the simmering sauce and cook for 20 minutes.  
  6. Season to taste.

 

 
 

Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burger.jpg

Makes 4 burgers.                                  

Turkey burgers are always a hit for those who do not eat red meat. These burgers are juicy, well-seasoned and delicious, even at room temperature. I do not serve them with a bun but rather topped with caramelized onions on a bed of either dressed greens or grains, depending whether you are serving lunch or dinner.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1¼ pounds ground turkey meat, a blend of dark and light
  • 1 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 10 thyme sprigs, remove petals
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  ½ cup panko

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet. Add shallots and garlic and sauté over low heat, until soft.
  2. Transfer to a bowl, add the meat, mustard, ketchup and thyme. Combine thoroughly and season well with salt and pepper. Form into 4 equal patties, flattening the tops.
  3. Spread panko on wax paper and coat the burgers.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet with a cover. Sauté the burgers over medium heat, covered, for 5 minutes, on each side or until just cooked through.

CARAMELIZED ONION:

  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Cut the onion in half lengthwise and then very thinly crosswise.
  2. Heat a heavy medium skillet (preferably iron.) When the skillet is hot add the onion and stir continuously with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes or until onion is golden.
  3. Add the oil and salt.                                    
 
 

Chicken with Honey and Lemon

Chicken with Honey and Lemon.jpg

Makes 4 servings.

This chicken dish is simple to prepare, well-seasoned, nutritious and delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chives, snipped with scissors for garnish

MARINADE:

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice,
  • 2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons low- sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

PREPARATION:

  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place in a glass or non-reactive dish. 
  2. In a small bowl combine the marinade ingredients and coat the chicken. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for a few hours, turning the chicken once.
  3. Preheat the Broiler.
  4. Bring the chicken to room temperature.
  5. Cover the whole broiling pan, which comes with most ovens, with heavy foil. Then I like to form a “shallow basket” with a piece of heavy foil, crimping it at the corners so that the juices do not spill out. Set the basket on the broiler pan, place the chicken skin side down (where the skin would have been) in the basket and spoon over the marinade.
  6. Broil the chicken close to the heat source for 5 minutes.
  7. Turn the chicken over and broil for another 3 minutes. The chicken will be slightly pink on the inside.
  8. Remove from the oven, cover the chicken with foil and let rest for 1 minute. The chicken will continue cooking. 

TO SERVE:

 If you like, cut 3 partial incisions on the diagonal in the chicken and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with snipped chives.

 
 

Chicken Tagine

Chicken Tagine.jpg

Makes 4-6 servings.

This North African nutritious chicken stew with rich layers of fruity and spicy flavor is generally cooked and served in a clay pot-called tagine. It is better to make it a day before for all the flavors to blend.

The dish can be a meal in itself served with couscous and warm pita.

Do not be taken aback by the number of ingredients. Most of them are spices which one has in the pantry.

I like to serve it in bowls, with abundant sauce which the couscous absorbs.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, (6 pieces) each cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (See Note)
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 inches ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 14 ounces can crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ cup dried apricots, quartered
  • 1 small butternut squash, about 1½ pounds, (about 2 cups) peeled and cut into small pieces (See Note)
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted, halved
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 4 ounces baby spinach, discard some of the dangling stems

SPICE PASTE:

  • 1 generous teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

PREPARATION:

  1. In a medium bowl combine 2 tablespoons olive oil and all the ingredients for the SPICE PASTE.
  2. Dry chicken with paper towels, add to the bowl and rub to coat well with the paste.
  3. In a heavy medium saucepan heat the remaining oil. Add the onion and the garlic and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ginger, broth, tomatoes, apricots and squash. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook covered for 10 minutes. Add the chicken, olives and lemon zest. Cook gently, covered, until both the chicken and the squash is tender, about 25 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and bring to a boil.

NOTE:

If you find it difficult to peel squash, it is available already peeled.

I chop the onions and the garlic in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Be sure to quarter it all first.

 
 

Short Ribs

Short Ribs.jpg

Makes 6 servings.

These sweet and sour delicious short ribs are an adaptation of a Chinese recipe. I chose to have them cut thinly, but you can, of course choose any size. I feature another short rib recipe on my web site but this one is much simpler. I also do not use the sauce. It is a bit strong and is too time consuming to remove all the fat.   

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 short ribs, 1-inch wide and 4 inches long (4 pounds)

MARINADE:

  • ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

PREPARATION:

  1. Place the ribs in a nonreactive dish-such as Pyrex. Whisk marinade ingredients and pour over meat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for several hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  3. Place the ribs, meat side down, in a roasting pan that can hold them in a single layer.  Pour the marinade over the ribs.  Cover with heavy foil and roast for 2 hours.
  4. After 2 hours, slip the bones out of the meat. Pour off most of the sauce, which is really fat and return the meat to the oven for another ½ hour. The ribs should be very tender.

NOTE:

If you have prepared the ribs in advance, you can reheat them in a preheated 350F oven, covered, for about 30 minutes.  

 
 

Mushroom Frittata

Mushroom Frittata.jpg

Makes 8 first course servings or 4 luncheon servings.

This is a fall and winter dish when wild mushrooms are in season.  To further enhance the mushroom flavor I add dried porcini mushrooms. I serve the frittata warm or at room temperature with a variety of greens dressed with truffle oil and salt.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ ounce dried porcini mushrooms (See Note)
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • ¾ pound pound wild assorted mushrooms; shiitake, porcini, oyster, cremini
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped (See Note)
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Leaves from 8 full thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over the mushrooms, cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the reconstituted mushrooms and squeeze dry all the liquid back into the bowl.        
  3. Place in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
  4. Wipe all the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. For the shiitakes, discard the stems and quarter.  For the rest of the mushrooms, trim the stems and quarter. Add to the food processor, in two batches, and chop coarsely. Remove to a large bowl.  
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12 inch non- stick skillet, add the shallots and garlic, and sauté over low heat until soft. 
  6. Add 2 tablespoons oil and all the mushrooms. Sauté over high heat until the mushrooms are beginning to release their juices. Cool.   
  7. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, add all the mushrooms, parsley and thyme. Season to taste.
  8. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium/high heat.
  9. Pour in the mushroom-egg mixture, distributing the mushrooms evenly and reduce the heat to medium.  
  10. Cook the frittata, COVERED, over medium heat for about 15 minutes. The sides will be set but the top will be soft to the touch. Shake the pan once or twice.
  11. To serve cut into wedges of your choice.

NOTES:

I chop shallots and garlic together in a food processor and the parsley separately.

I freeze the reconstituted mushroom liquid, which is a wonderful addition to soups, stews and even pasta.

 
 

Miso Glazed Chicken Salad with Quinoa

Miso Glazed Chicken Salad.jpg

Makes 4 servings.

Wholesome and nutritious, this salad can be made even more wholesome by adding a variety of steamed vegetables, such as Haricots Verts, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. The quinoa adds a bit of texture.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each

  • Hearts of romaine lettuce, about 16 leaves, torn to manageable pieces.

QUINOA:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted margarine

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1¼ cups water

  • 1 cup quinoa

MISO GLAZE:  

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste

  • 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine.)

  • ½ teaspoon salt

DRESSING:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¾ tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, approx

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. In a small saucepan bring to a boil, over high heat, the margarine, salt and water. Sprinkle over the quinoa, lower the heat, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the grains are tender Stir with a fork to fluff the grains. If the grains are not tender, add a tablespoon of hot water and continue cooking. Cool.

  2. In a small bowl combine the ingredients for the MISO GLAZE.

  3. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and coat well with the miso glaze. Place in a glass or nonreactive dish. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

  4. Whisk together the ingredients for the DRESSING and set aside.

  5. Preheat the broiler.

  6. Bring the chicken back to room temperature.

  7. Cover the whole broiling pan, which comes with most ovens, with heavy foil. Then form a “shallow basket” with a piece of heavy foil, crimping it at the corners so that the juices do not spill out.

  8. Place the chicken skin side down (where the skin would have been) in the basket and broil as close to the heat as possible for 5 minutes. Turn over and broil for another 3 minutes. The chicken should be slightly pink on the inside.

  9. Remove from the oven, cover the chicken with foil and let rest for 1 minute.

  10. When the chicken is cool, cut it into wide strips.

TO SERVE:

Toss the quinoa and the greens with the dressing and top with the chicken.

If you are adding vegetables, toss it all together

 
 

Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon

Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary 2.jpg

Makes 4 servings.

This dish has a robust flavor and a citrus sauce. It can be served from oven to table and it reheats very well. Grains are a lovely accompaniment.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 boneless, skinless organic chicken thighs, each portion about 6 ounces (See Note)
  • 1 lemon, rinsed, cut into 8 wedges
  • Bunch of rosemary
  • ¾ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 3-4 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Pat dry chicken and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place in an ovenproof dish that fits the chicken in a single layer. Add the remaining ingredients and combine well. Cover with cling wrap and leave at room temperature for a couple of hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F
  3. Place the chicken skin side down (where the skin would have been). Cover the dish with heavy foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, turn the chicken over and roast for another 20 minutes. Chicken should be tender.
  4. Serve with the sauce.

NOTES:

Organic chickens tend to be small, therefore in order to get 6 ounces boned portions per person I use 2 thighs.

If you are refrigerating the chicken, bring it back to room temperature before cooking.  

 
 

Veal with Herbs

Veal with Herbs.jpg

Makes 4 servings.

When there are so few ingredients called for and such a short roasting time, it is important to buy the best quality meat. I like to serve this dish at room temperature.  It’s easy to prepare and full of fresh herbs.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1½ pounds veal fillet, rack of veal boned and tied (See Note)
  • 2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil

HERB COATING:

  • 3 garlic cloves, quartered
  • 3/4 cuploosely packed tarragon leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley   
  • Grated lemon rind from 1 lemon
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Chop as finely as you can the coating ingredients. I use a food processor fitted with a steel blade, scraping the sides of the bowl. Set aside.
  3. Pat dry the fillet with paper towels.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and sauté the fillet over medium- high heat turning for 10 minutes.  The meat should be brown (tongs work very well for turning the fillet)
  5. Remove from the heat and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  6. Coat the meat with the HERB COATING and roast for 10 minutes. Turn over and roast for another 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and cover with foil to cool.

TO SERVE:

Remove the strings and cut the meat into medium-thin slices.  Serve with all the skillet drippings.

NOTE:

For 1½ pounds of boned veal fillet, the butcher removed 3 ribs.

 
 

Turkey Scallopini with Capers

Makes 2 servings.

This is a versatile dish which can be made with veal scallopini or chicken scallopini as well. Most butchers will be happy to prepare the breasts scallopini-style or you can pound it yourself. The meat sautés quickly and finishes cooking in a lemony sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

TURKEY

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 turkey scaloppini, about 6 ounces each

SAUCE

  • 1 large shallot, very finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1-2 tablespoons capers
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet.
  2. Pat scaloppini dry with paper towel.
  3. Dredge lightly in flour, shaking off excess.
  4. Sauté until there is still a trace of pink on the inside (it will be very quick). Transfer to a dish.
  5. Season the scaloppini lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.
  6. In the same skillet heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add the shallot, garlic, wine, capers lemon juice and parsley.
  7. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes.
  8. Return the scaloppini to the skillet and cook very quickly, turning the meat once, so that the meat does not overcook and become tough.
  9. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
 
 

Spaghetti with Tomato Eggplant Sauce

Makes 6 first course servings.

Makes 4 main course servings.

This dish is for any time of year since the tomato sauce is not made with fresh tomatoes and eggplant is available all year.

Traditionally the eggplant is fried or roasted, but I prefer to broil it. This method requires less oil and saves time.

Freezing this sauce to have on hand is a help.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 baby eggplants, about ¾ pounds (See Note)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • One 28 ounce can crushed San Marzano style tomatoes
  • 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves, coarsely torn
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder, approx
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Trim and discard eggplant stems, peel the eggplants, cut into ½ an inch dice, and place in a bowl. Toss the eggplant with ¼ cup of oil and spread it on a foil lined baking sheet.
  3. Broil for about 8 minutes or until almost soft. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. In a large saucepan heat the rest of the oil, add the onion and garlic and sauté over low heat, covered for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, basil and chili powder. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Add the eggplant and combine.  
  6. Bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons salt and all the spaghetti at once. Stir and boil briskly, uncovered for about 7 minutes. The pasta should be very al dente; it will continue cooking in the hot sauce.
  7. Drain well in a colander and combine with the hot sauce.
  8. Season to taste

NOTE:

I prefer using baby eggplants because they are not as seedy as regular ones.

 
 

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

Makes 4 servings.

This is an attractive, nutritious Winter luncheon dish in which the mushroom tops become a saucer-like container for the tasty filling.  You can assemble the whole dish earlier in the day, refrigerate it and bake it when needed.  This is a simplified version of the recipe that I have in my last cookbook, Helen Nash's New Kosher Cuisine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup brown rice (See Note)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 5 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped (See Note)
  • 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms, about 5 inches in diameter
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Bibb lettuce or frisee, lightly tossed with olive oil

PREPARATION:

  1. Bring the rice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat.  Lower the heat and cook, covered, until the rice is almost tender, about 30 minutes.  Transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. Preheat the broiler.
  3. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, core and seed them. Place them, skin-side up, on a broiler pan lined with foil.
  4. Broil them close to the heat source until the skin is blistered and charred.  Cover with foil and let rest for a minute.  The heat will loosen the skin.  Peel and chop finely and add to the rice.
  5. Preheat over to 350F.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok.  Add the onion, cover and sauté, over low heat, until the onion is soft.  Add to the rice.
  7. Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok and all of the spinach.  Sauté over high heat until spinach is just beginning to wilt.
  8. Add to the rice along with the cheese and cilantro.  Combine well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Cut off and discard the mushroom stems, if any.  Wipe the mushroom caps with a damp paper towel and rub them with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.  Sprinkle the mushroom caps with salt and pepper.
  10. Spoon the filling equally in the center of each cap.  Place in a baking pan covered with foil (you can make the recipe ahead of time up to this point.  Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate).
  11. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is very hot and the mushroom caps seem a bit wilted (if you have refrigerated the mushrooms before they may require a little longer to bake).
  12. Serve the mushrooms with dressed greens.

Note:

I prefer to use premium Japanese brown rice, medium grain, as it is much creamier than other kinds of brown rice.

I coarsely chop all of the spinach, in batches, in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

 
 

Pot Roast

Makes 12 servings.

Pot roast is a method of cooking and brisket is a cut of meat, and yet the words have become interchangeable and incorrectly used.

Pot roast is a comfort dish, which is convenient to make for large crowds. It freezes very well and leftovers are good reheated.

I braise the meat flat, as it is. Midway, I stop the braising, I cool the meat and slice it (this method allows me to better control slicing the meat). Then I continue cooking the meat until it is fork tender.

If you use an enameled cast iron Dutch oven such as Le Creuset, you will be able to refrigerate the meat in the same pan in which it cooks.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ ounce imported dried Italian mushrooms
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 5 pounds boned first cut brisket of beef, bottom part, trimmed of all fat (See Note)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • One 14.5 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 bunch thyme, tied with a string.
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Place mushrooms in a small dish and pour over boiling water. Cover and let stand for ½ an hour.
  2. Strain mushroom liquid through a fine mesh sieve, squeezing mushrooms over strainer to extract all liquid; set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 325F.
  4. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven until hot. Sear meat on both sides over high heat. Transfer the meat to a platter and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Sauté the onions and garlic in the pan drippings. Return the meat to the pan with the reserved mushroom liquid, mushrooms, tomatoes, wine and thyme.  Bring to a boil. Cover the pan with a sheet of heavy foil and then the lid. This method retains the heat better.  Braise the meat for 1hour, turn over and braise for another hour (the meat shrinks quite a bit).
  6. Cool.  Slice the meat across the grain into thin slices, I like mine 1/8 to ¼ inches thick.
  7. You may have to rotate the meat in order not to lose the grain.
  8. Return the slices to the pan and bring to a boil. Return to the oven to braise for about 3 more hours. The meat should be fork tender.
  9. Discard the thyme.
  10. To degrease the sauce. You can either skim off the fat, or I prefer to pour the cooled sauce into a dish and leave it in the freezer for a short while. The fat will rise to the top, making it easy to discard. 
  11. Season the sauce to taste.  If you like a thick gravy you may want to boil the sauce over high heat, uncovered.  You decide the consistency that you like. 

NOTE:

It is difficult for me to recommend the right cut of meat because everyone has a preference. By that I mean, some people like the top part and others like the bottom part.  I cook it with the bottom part.

If you chop the onions and the garlic in a food processor be sure to quarter the vegetables first.

 I prefer to defrost the frozen meat in the refrigerator. 

If you do not have a fine mesh sieve to strain the mushroom liquid, line the sieve with a paper towel and then strain it. 

 
 

Quinoa with Feta

Makes 4 luncheon servings.

Nutritious, easy, simple and tasty.  What more can I say?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup loosely packed, flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 3 scallions, including green parts thinly sliced
  • ½ cup mint leaves, loosely torn
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, approx
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ pound Feta, crumbled (See Note)

PREPARATION:

  1. In a small heavy covered saucepan bring to a boil over high heat the water and salt. Sprinkle over the quinoa, lower the heat, and cook covered for 13 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. If the grains are still not tender, add 1 or 2 tablespoons hot water and continue cooking. Transfer to a large bowl, add olive oil, combine and cool.
  2. Toss with the remaining ingredients and season to taste.
  3. Serve topped with feta.

NOTE:

Feta comes in many strengths, from mild (which I prefer) to strong.

Before serving adjust the seasoning again. 

 
 

Broiled Arctic Char

Makes 2 servings.

Arctic char has a delicate texture, a mild flavor and it is a nice substitute for salmon.

You can serve it with any vegetable, but I like to pair it with stir fried sliced baby bok choy and edamame. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 center cut Arctic char fillets, about 6 ounces each

MARINADE

  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Pat the fillets dry with paper towels and place in a non–reactive dish.
  2. Combine marinade ingredients. Pour over the fish and coat well. Cover with cling wrap, and refrigerate for a couple of hours, turning once.
  3. Bring fish back to room temperature.
  4. Preheat the broiler.
  5. Cover the whole broiling pan, which comes with most ovens, with heavy foil. Then I like to form a “shallow basket” with a piece of heavy foil, crimping it at the corners so that the juices do not spill out. Set the basket on the broiler pan, place the fish skin side up, pour over the marinade and broil 6 inches from the heat source for about 7 minutes.
  6. The fish will turn opaque and will continue cooking after it is removed from the heat.
  7. Serve the fish with the accumulated juices.

NOTE:

I recommend not broiling the fish very close to the heat source because the honey may char the top.

 
 

Roast Chicken

Makes 4 servings.

I like to roast the chicken with nothing more than a few herbs and a lot of lemon. The chicken is moist enough that if you wish you can serve it with or without the pan drippings. 

INGREDIENTS

  • One 3 pound organic chicken (broiler)
  • Small bunch thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, quartered
  • 1½ lemons
  • 3 tablespoons extra –virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Rinse and dry the chicken inside and out. Discard any fat or hanging skin.  
  3. Place the thyme, garlic and half of a cut up lemon into the cavity. 
  4. Grease a roasting pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place the chicken in it.
  5. Grease the chicken with the remaining olive oil and brush with the juice of 1 lemon. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Tie the chicken legs together, tuck the wing tips up and under the back of the neck.
  7. Roast the chicken breast side up for 20 minutes (if you find that the bottom of the roasting pan is beginning to burn add ¼ cup of water). Turn the chicken over and roast breast side down for 20 minutes.
  8. Turn the chicken over again, breast side up and roast for the final 20 minutes.
  9. To test for doneness, pierce the leg joint with the tip of a knife, the juices, should run clear, not pink.
  10. Remove the chicken to a carving board and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.
  11. While the chicken is resting, prepare the pan drippings.  Discard all of the particles from the cavity. Tilt the chicken so that all the juices will pour into a small pan. Also when carving the chicken, collect all of the juices released from the bird and add to the pan juices. Place the juices in the freezer for a short while to allow the fat to rise to the top. Discard the fat. Heat the juices and pour over the chicken if you like.