Monday, April 30, 2012

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

The sun is shining. There's a cool breeze in the warm air. Spring is here, and that means barbecues. We barbecued a lot growing up. My father's shish kabobs were famous in the neighborhood, but that recipe is for another time. Whether it was shish kabob or burgers, there were always two staples at every barbecue: potato salad and coleslaw, both homemade by my mother.

I've been making this slaw for Shabbat dinners for a while and it's always a big hit. The recipe is best with red cabbage, as the spices accentuate the natural bite of the cabbage, but it works well with green as well. 

You have a choice of shredding your own cabbage and carrots or buying them pre-shredded from your local grocer. I find buying a whole head of cabbage is often cheaper than buying the pre-shredded stuff, but I often opt for the pre-shredded carrots. 

I remember one time I brought this dish to a potluck Shabbat lunch and somebody said she really enjoyed the cabbage salad. For some reason,  people just aren't used to seeing a red cabbage slaw outside of Israeli cuisine (red cabbage slaw is a staple of many Israeli salad bars).  Whether you're serving this as a side dish with meatloaf or burgers, at a barbecue or Shabbat meal, or as part of an Israeli salad plate with a side of feta cheese, this dish is versatile enough to fit in anywhere and sure to please.

Red Cabbage Coleslaw


3 c shredded red cabbage, approximately a 3-lb head of cabbage
1/2 cup pre-shredded carrots or 4-6 carrots shredded by hand or with a grating disc on a food processor

2 c mayo
4 tsp of white vinegar
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 c of Tofutti Sour Supreme non-dairy sour cream

Shred the cabbage with a knife or in a food processor and toss into a large bowl with the carrots.

In a separate bowl combine the ingredients for the dressing and mix thoroughly until they are combined into a smooth, creamy dressing. The Sour Supreme will add an extra creaminess to the coleslaw. My mother insists on it, but I rarely add it. It does give the dressing a nice texture, but it's not absolutely necessary. 

Fold the dressing into the coleslaw, mixing thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to meld. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Zucchini Soup (Pareve)

This past Shabbat was memorable for a few reasons. It was my first Shabbat spent on New York's Upper West Side. And I had a delicious zucchini soup Friday night (and again Saturday night) that I knew I had to steal immediately.

OK, I didn't really steal it. The host/cook gave me the recipe with full permission to post it here. She, however, did actually steal it from a former roommate and tweaked it. I'm tweaking it a little, too, but not much. It's the circle of life.

Zucchini Soup

1 large onion, quartered
olive oil
4 sprigs parsley (dried is OK instead)
1 carrot
4 medium zucchini
1 large parsnip
9 c. water
1/2 tsp tarragon
5 tbsp chicken soup mix or vegetable soup mix powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Dice the onion and sauté it in olive oil, about 2 tbsp, until it becomes translucent. Cut the zucchini into large chunks and then add all the ingredients to a large pot with a lid.  

Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.  After letting the soup cool, blend with immersion blender or puree in processor. Return to pot and add salt and pepper to taste. 

This also stores very well in the fridge and reheats well. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cheese lasagna

This is actually something I made before Pesach, when I was trying to use up my leftover chametz. It was my first attempt ever at making a lasagna and it was, in fact, delicious. 

A lot of people boil their lasagna noodles first. You are welcome to do this if that is your minhag. My mother never did, so I followed her advice. As long as you add plenty of sauce and with lasagna there's rarely such a thing as too much sauce then you can put the noodles in dry and they will soften up as you cook the lasagna.


1 box lasagna noodles
1 large container ricotta cheese
1 8 oz bag shredded mozzarella
2 jars tomato sauce
Fresh basil leaves
1 container Parmesan cheese
Dry red pepper flakes
1 lasagna pan
Non-stick cooking spray
Garlic powder

Start off by lightly spraying your pan with the non-stick spray. Lay out one layer of noodles to fit the tray. You may have to lay some horizontal and some vertical, depending on the size of your tray.

Cover the layer of noodles with tomato sauce. Remember, the more sauce, the easier the noodles will cook.

Evenly spread a layer of ricotta over the sauce. Lay out some basil leaves on top of the ricotta Sprinkle with the garlic powder, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes.  Cover with a layer of mozzarella.

Add another layer of noodles and repeat the process above until you have built a lasagna to your desired height. I put about five layers in mine. To avoid overpowering the flavors of the sauce, I recommend adding the basil, garlic, and red pepper only to every other layer.

Cover the top layer with sauce and then cover with mozzarella and Parmesan and a few pieces of basil. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half, or until the noodles have softened.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Matzah Pizza

What did the Incas eat during Pesach?

Matzah Pizza!

Badum bum!

Yeah, you're probably thinking to yourself, "Matzah pizza? Pfft, anybody can make that!"

True, but not everybody can make it well. I sure didn't for years. It was only in the past couple of years I started experimenting with the basic combo of matzah+sauce+cheese.  A few years ago I started making white matzah pizza, replacing the tomato sauce with ricotta and adding a little olive oil and basil. It was delicious. This year I forgot to buy ricotta so I came up with something else.

Matzah Pizza

1 sheet of matzah
Tomato sauce
Shredded mozzarella
Feta cheese
1 avocado

Preheat your oven to 350. Slice up your avocado lengthwise.

Place your matzah in a pan/foil/whatever you are cooking in that is oven safe. Spread a spoonful of tomato sauce on the matzah until one side is covered. Cover it with a layer of mozzarella. It's OK if you don't cover the entire thing, you'll add more cheese soon.

Place a few slices of avocado on the matzah and break up a few pieces of feta and spread them around as well. Top with another layer of mozzarella.

Bake at 350 degrees for five minutes or until the cheese is melted to your liking.

Simple, easy, and yummy for Chol Hamoed or Yom Tov.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pesach Chinese Chicken

I am a minimalist when it comes to Pesach. I own one meat pot and one dairy frying pan. Mostly it's because of space issues; I just don't have a lot of space to store Pesach pots and pans during the rest of the year.  Typically I survive Chol Hamoed on hot dogs, matzah brei, and matzah pizza, but I try to make at least one creative dish. Last year I coated hot dogs in matzah meal (like a corn dog) and baked them. Not bad. 

Last night I made a Chinese chicken that was absolutely delicious. Here's what I did.

Pesach Chinese Chicken

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jar Gold's Spicy Garlic Duck Sauce
2 garlic cloves
1/2 green pepper
1 head of broccoli
1 egg
Matzah meal
1 medium size pot with a lid

Start off by lightly scrambling your egg in a bowl. Next spread about a 1/2 cup of matzah meal (use more if needed) on a plate and mix in pepper to your taste. Pour about half a cup of duck sauce into the pot and turn the heat on high until the sauce starts bubbling, then reduce the heat to low.

Cut up your chicken breasts into chunks, dip them in the egg and then roll them around in the matzah meal mixture to coat. Drop them in the pot and cook on a medium flame for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cut up your pepper into chunks, cut your broccoli into florets (cut the stems off and cut it into small chunks) and chop up the garlic. Add the veggies to the pot and then add enough duck sauce to cover the veggies and chicken. Stir and then cover the pot and let it cook for about 15 minutes on a medium flame, stirring occasionally so the chicken doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Chag sameach!

May your wine cups be full and your bread unleavened!

The Kosher Bachelor just finished kashering his kitchen. I successfully kashered my stove and oven without burning down my apartment, and I spilled boiling water everywhere, which I now have to mop up.

Unfortunately for you, dear readers, I don't do a lot of cooking over Pesach. The most I'll be doing is making matzah brei and maybe boiling some hot dogs. I do make a very good white matzah pizza, however, and I have a nice block of feta cheese, so you might just get an update or two.

Or not. Just in case, here are some funny Pesach videos to keep you entertained during the week.

Chag Pesach kasher v'sameach!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

With Pesach almost here, I'm taking a break from cleaning my kitchen to share a dish you can make for the seder, chol hamoed, or all-year-round. It's a frequent favorite at my Shabbat table. 

I first saw this dish on Rachael Ray's "30 Minute Meals" on Food Network and thought it sounded interesting. I tried it out according to Rachael's recipe and it was good, but I thought it could be a little better sorry, Rachael, please don't sue me. 

Broccoli rabe  – or rapini, as it is frequently called – is not actually broccoli. It is more closely related to the turnip, actually. Common in dishes in southern Italy, this vegetable is rich in vitamins, but it has a bitter flavor. This can be counteracted, as demonstrated below. It's great on its own sautéed with garlic, but combined with the flavors of the sausage it's fantastic.

I told my mother about the dish after I perfected my recipe and she tried it out one night on my father. They didn't like it. My parents came to me for a Shabbat dinner a few weeks later and I made sausage and broccoli rabe for them. They both liked it and said mom's didn't taste like mine. Turns out she used andouille sausage, which is a smoked sausage used frequently in Cajun cooking. For this dish you want to use spicy Italian sausage, preferably a mix of beef and veal, but beef sausages will do if you're opposed to veal or can't find it. 

As for sausage brands, you have plenty of options. I really like the International sausages, which come uncooked so you have to keep it in the pan a bit longer. Lately, however, I've been using Meal Mart or 999 brand, which are frozen "brown and serve," ie precooked (they are also cheaper, which I like). So I leave the brand up to you, just watch them closely while cooking so you brown them but don't overcook them.

Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

1 large bunch broccoli rabe
Crushed garlic, 3-5 cloves, depending on taste
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 package spicy Italian beef and veal sausage, approximately 12-16 oz
1/2 a lemon, approximately

Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove. Wash the broccoli rabe and then cut cross-wise into approximately 2-inch pieces, basically into thirds.

Drop the rabe into the water and let it boil for 5 minutes. Afterward, thoroughly drain the rabe and set it aside. The bitter flavor should have been absorbed by the boiling water, leaving great flavor in the rabe.  If it still tastes a little bitter, don't worry, we'll fix that soon.

Slice the sausages into chunks, lengthwise and then horizontally.

Heat the olive oil in the pan and when it's hot, add the garlic. Stir the garlic and just as it's starting to brown, add the sausage. Stir and cook until the sausage is browned. Add in the broccoli rabe and mix together. Cover and let cook on low to medium flame for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, so the flavors can meld.

Now, if the rabe still tastes a little bitter, add the lemon juice to taste (careful not to get any seeds in the food), which will counteract the bitterness. You may want to do this anyway, as it adds a nice zing. If your palate demands a little more spice, try garnishing with some crushed red pepper flakes.