Monthly Archives: April 2013

Jerusalem, Cookbook Review

jerusalem

I am in love with this book beyond words. I love anything that has to do with Yotam Ottolenghi. A year ago, I wrote a review of Plenty, the vegetable cookbook by the same chef.
Plenty is my favorite cookbook. Everyone knows that bloggers should never say they have a favorite anything. I mean, we are supposed to not be able to choose, just like we can’t choose a favorite restaurant because it really depends on the mood but I can clearly say and yell to the top of my lungs. I love “Plenty” so friggin much.

I was incredibly excited when Yotam Ottolenghi came out with his second cookbook ” Jerusalem”. This time, in collaboration with Sami Tamimi. The story is sweet: an Israeli chef opens a restaurant in London with a Palestinian Chef. Together they collaborate, work beautifully together, feed hungry hearts and souls- a symbiose that can only be found over food. They end up opening more restaurants together and coming out with a cookbook that presents recipes from both backgrounds, colliding, high fiving each other with Mediterranean elements and every vegetable you can think of.

I have been to Jerusalem quite a few times but have never connected with the place. Mind you, I haven’t explored Jerusalem food in the last decade, my only memories of the place is that The Wailing Wall is beautiful and that it gets really really cold. I know I am totally wrong and I will take the time to explore soon but to me Telaviv is the place to go in Israel. Give me action. I like busy life, gay friendly, lots of colors, bicycles, markets and I am a happy camper. I could eat somewhere different every night in Tel Aviv and never get bored (post on Tel Aviv is coming soon).

The book, though called Jerusalem shows foods that will you find all over Tel aviv and all over Israel.

What to expect:

-In true Ottolenghi style, the recipes have a long list of ingredients. If you want your food to have all the flavor profiles of an Ottolenghi dish then you probably need to get most of them, if not all. His stuff is always worth it, every time.

-Lots of vegetables. He uses eggplants, tomatoes, fennel and lots of fresh herbs.

-Home Cooking. Culturally, home cooking is everywhere in Israel. Kids finish school early every day. They eat lunch at home. You walk into a house and you will always find pots on the stove. Lunch is usually some kind of meat dish and evenings are salad, eggs and cottage cheese or creamy cheese and bread. Even with people working many hours and having very busy lives, home cooking is everywhere. Grandparents are always bringing boxes of food over for their kids. Even if you go to the park in the afternoon, you will see parents with containers full of food, feeding their kids.

- Stories of what every food means to the authors and cultural backgrounds. This is the best part for me, learning about the foods and their stories. That is what cookbooks are for.

Some of my favorite recipes are the Marinated Sweet and Sour Fish, Mejadra (lentils with rice), the Musabaha (warm chickpeas with hummus) and the roasted butternut squash with red onion, tahini and za’atar.

If you like your recipes exotic with interesting herbs and spices, then you will love this book.

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Frolik, the New Restaurant in the Red Lion Hotel

Guest Blogger Marisa Ingram visits Frolik, the new restaurant and bar in town.

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One word comes immediately to mind when I think of new restaurant and bar Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails – FUN. Just opened at the Red Lion Hotel on Fifth Avenue, Frolik’s name alone will give you a hint of what to expect. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as to-go options, the real party takes place between 4-10pm every night when Frolik hosts “happy evening.” Not just one “happy hour,” but 5 hours – every night of the week. To add to the engaging environment they have an enormous outdoor deck (Seattle’s largest) with seating, a fireplace table, shuffleboard, and ping pong. And the glorious views of the Seattle skyline will remind you that you haven’t, in fact, been whisked away on holiday.

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The fun continues on the inside with Xbox consoles as well as board games. I very much look forward to cozying up with a board game, some friends, and one of Frolik’s craft cocktails. I tasted several and my favorite, a “Rosemary Runamok,” was slightly sweet, but still light and refreshing. The cocktail list is quite long and you may also choose from a list of local beer and wine.

With award winning Chef Shailu Salian at the helm, the real highlight of Frolik is the food. Chef Salian has created some lovely bites . Sourcing from many local food purveyors including Salumi salami, Beecher’s Cheese and Taylor Shellfish Farms – Frolik makes an effort to offer local foods on its menu. Of the many bites I sampled, tops for me were “Grape, Goat Cheese, Pistachio Bon Bons,” and “Caprese Skewers.” I also sampled a luscious tiramisu – one of the best I’ve tried.

Frolik is located at 1415 Fifth Ave, Seattle WA. (206) 971 8000

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About Marisa:

Marisa has been an indispensable part of the Foodportunity team for the last two years.
She has a lifelong passion for home baking and a growing interest in all things fresh, local, organic, and seasonal. Though a native Washingtonian, a love for history took her to Charleston, SC where she obtained her degree in English from the College of Charleston. She works in human resources by day, but would love to give it all up for a life of travel.

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Azuki Bean Brownies, No Flour, No Eggs, No Nuts, No Kidding

Yes. Azuki beans in a brownie.

No. They don’t taste like beans. They taste like dense, chocolatey, delicious brownies.

Brownies!

They don’t have flour in them. They don’t have eggs and they don’t have to have milk either.

My kids are obsessed with them, especially the babies. I have already had twelve people taste them and not one person could guess the secret ingredient.

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I got the idea from Chocolate Covered Katie. She has the most awesome recipes if you are trying to eat healthier desserts.

I used her Black Bean Brownie recipe with a few changes. I used Azuki beans because my nutritionist/naturopath ran some tests on me that revealed that I am slightly lacking in iron.
His first suggestion was to get some Azuki Beans. And of course, my first suggestion was that I make myself BROWNIES.

I used date syrup as the only sweetener in these and I used Kinder chocolate fingers (and just a few) instead of chocolate chips. I also made the same brownies with black beans but I found that the Azuki beans added a slightly better taste, maybe a tad bit sweeter.

This batter is totally fine for kids. No raw eggs or loads of sugar. My one and a half-year old tried it out for you. And yes, he wears his twin sister’s pajamas and his big brother’s shoes backwards. He is obsessed with everyone’s shoes but his own. He won’t keep his own shoes on for more than an hour.

Enjoy the brownies. SONY DSC

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River Cottage Handbook Book Review

Today’s post is by guest blogger Marisa Ingram.

Have you ever fallen head-over-heels in love with a cookbook? I’ve had just that experience with Pam Corbin’s Cakes (River Cottage Handbook.) From the moment I cracked it open and landed on the recipe for “Cornish Fairings, a close cousin of the gingernut” it was love. It is such a lovely and charming little recipe book (and it is little, part of a series of small handbooks from the UK’s River Cottage http://www.rivercottage.net) that I took it to bed with me the first night in favor of the novel in which I was currently engrossed. I read of such things as Welsh Cakes, Jammy Dodgers, and Golden Syrup Cake. And as a lover of all things British, this book stoked my Anglophile (is Britophile a word?) fires right along with my palate. This is a good time to note that this book is imported from the UK and so it follows that the recipes in this book are in the metric system and use some seemingly (to my American ears) unusual ingredients. But I was in luck as I took an extremely useful class last year at Book Larder http://www.booklarder.com called “Baking in Translation – How to Bake British Without Freaking Out” taught by Paola Thomas who blogs at mirrormirror.typepad.com. One of the key takeaways from that class (that will undoubtedly help you with any British baking book) was that the “self-raising flour” called for in British recipe books is NOT the same thing we see on American shelves called “self-rising flour.” Fortunately, for us Paola has spent some time perfecting a substitute that you can make right at home – 1tsp baking powder to one cup or 150g all-purpose flour. If you are unfamiliar with British cooking terms and metric measures, the plethora of information on the internet will be your guide.

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Here are some of my top picks from Cakes:

- Flapjacks are an altogether different entity in Great Britain than they are in the US. A British flapjack is more closely related to a granola bar – a softer, chewier and much more indulgent version (although the instructions do note you may cook them longer for a crisper flapjack.) Do make sure you aren’t greedy and impatient like me though. Make sure to let these cool in the pan completely, otherwise they may fall to pieces.

- Rhubarb Pudding Cake with Custard is possibly my favorite recipe in the book. Served warm from the oven and drenched in a pool of custard (I made mine from scratch but feel free to cheat with Bird’s tinned custard powder) this is all that a cake should be. Not too rich, yet warm, cozy, and comforting. And the distinct taste of rhubarb added that extra oomph to brighten this up into a lovely springtime dessert. This is one that I will return to again.

- I’ve long been a lover of scones but was almost entirely unfamiliar with their Welsh cousin, so I was quite intrigued to try my hand at Welsh Cakes. The ingredients are very similar as is the preparation of the dough, however a Welsh cake is fried up in a griddle – just a few minutes per side until it is a warm golden color. It is also much thinner than a scone and surprisingly tastes almost like a scone crossed with a pancake. Quick and easy to prepare, I have no doubt I will be making these lovely little cakes again soon. Corbin suggests these may be eaten with a bit of butter or some jam but they were so tasty just as they were.

- Cardamom Cake, redolent with a warm, cozy spice, this doesn’t sound like a springtime cake. However the spice in this cake is so light and bright that I was proved wrong. The cake may sink a bit in the middle, but as Corbin says, “don’t worry, just think of this as another of its charms.” And let me tell you, it has many. One being this is an understated cake, in the very best sort of way. While it is a spice cake, the flavor is perfectly balanced – leaving a subtle spicy aftertaste on your tongue after the last bite has been (sadly) consumed. Secondly, this cake has a delightfully crusty exterior that gives way to a wonderfully moist and delicate crumb.

If you can’t tell – I absolutely adore this baking book. I have baked quite a few of its other treats and none have disappointed, and I have an ever growing list of not-yet-trieds. This book is filled with simple yet supremely tasty baked goods. If you are looking for something fancy, you will need to look elsewhere for it does not put on any airs. It is a book to turn to when you are looking for a slice of comfort – something that can be made quickly and with relatively few ingredients on those days when you are craving a homey treat. This book and its recipes will warm you up from the inside out and have you dreaming of a cozy English kitchen with an Aga in the corner and a cup of tea.

rhubarbcake

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About the author of this post:

Marisa has been an indispensable part of the Foodportunity team for the last two years.
She has a lifelong passion for home baking and a growing interest in all things fresh, local, organic, and seasonal. Though a native Washingtonian, a love for history took her to Charleston, SC where she obtained her degree in English from the College of Charleston. She works in human resources by day, but would love to give it all up for a life of travel.

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Culination will Bring Kathy Casey into Your Kitchen

Today’s guest post is by Marisa Ingram.

Marisa has been an indispensable part of the Foodportunity team for the last two years.
She has a lifelong passion for home baking and a growing interest in all things fresh, local, organic, and seasonal. Though a native Washingtonian, a love for history took her to Charleston, SC where she obtained her degree in English from the College of Charleston. She works in human resources by day, but would love to give it all up for a life of travel.

deviled eggs

Wouldn’t you love to have a professional chef with you at home in the kitchen?

A new tech startup, Culination, would like to help you do just that. I had the pleasure of attending a preview party for Culination, hosted by Kathy Casey at her Food Studios, where I learned about this up and coming “online collaboration between home cooks and culinary professionals.”
One of the primary features of Culination is connecting you, at home in your kitchen or on the go with your mobile device, with a professional chef who can help you learn how to cook – one of whom is Kathy Casey herself. While the internet is flooded with recipes, not many of them actually teach you how to cook, Culination would like to help you bridge that gap via multimedia lessons. Culination was conceived in part from its founders’ desire to educate. And what better topic than food – something we all share – a universal connection point. Culination will be launching an Indiegogo campaign on April 9th. Sign up here for the most up-to-date information on this exciting venture.
As host for this event, Chef Kathy Casey treated us to a sampling of several of the delectable deviled eggs in her new book “D’Lish Deviled Eggs.” If you haven’t checked out this book yet please run out and get a copy – it won’t disappoint. Each deviled egg that I tasted was packed with a phenomenal amount of flavor in a perfectly sized and visually appealing package. A favorite was the Chipotle deviled egg and I look forward to preparing it in my own kitchen very soon – as well as many others. Stay tuned for more on this delightful cookbook . . .

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