Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Indian Latkes (Aloo Pakora) with Cilantro Coconut Chutney

I don't know about you but I get major food cravings- weirdly though, my food cravings go by international cuisines. For weeks I'll crave Mexican food and the cravings won't stop until I've had or made it a few times. Then will come Japanese and I find myself making sushi and Miso everything until the urge passes. Same for Thai, Israeli, Hungarian...and now, every since having some delicious Indian dishes a couple of weeks ago, I am constantly craving the pungent, spicy deliciousness that is Indian food. So, naturally, when I was trying to come up with another original latke idea, I immediately thought of these. Pakoras are Indian fritters, different vegetables (often potato, or Aloo) dipped in a chickpea batter that are fried until crispy and served with all sorts of relishes and chutneys and are usually served as one of the appetizers to a meal. Well, these certainly aren't your traditional latkes- but they have enough of the necessary components that I feel they are Chanukah-worthy: potatoes that are fried. Chickpea flour and rice flour are easy to find nowadays especially with the gluten-free craze and the combination of the two make a super crispy fritter. Lots of warm spices and a little chili for heat made these delicious and dunking them in the sweet, savory, and slightly tart cilantro coconut chutney makes the perfect bite. Enjoy!

2 potatoes, about 600 grams, peeled and shredded- you wan't to use the big shredder option on your box grater of food processor. This should yield about 2 1/2 cups of shredded potatoes. 
1 cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp fennel seeds (optional, but adds great flavor)
1 1/2 tsp salt
pinch of chili flakes
3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon water
oil for frying - 2 cups should do it (don't worry, most of it does not get absorbed)

In a bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda and spices. Add in the water and whisk well. The mixture shouldn't be too thick (thinner than pancake batter) but not too thin. Add the potatoes and mix everything well so all the potatoes are coated. Heat oil in a frying pan and drop the mixture a heaping tablespoon full at a time into the oil. Don't overcrowd the pan. Fry on each side for about a minute and a half until deep brown and crispy. Remove from oil and let drain on a paper towel. Serve with cilantro coconut chutney.

For the chutney: 
1 1/2 cups packed cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 heaping teaspoon crushed or finely chopped fresh ginger
juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 cup coconut cream
2 tsp honey
salt to taste

Blend all in a blender until you get a smooth consistency. My blender was on the fritz so I used a food processor which did not blend it as smoothly together as it should be. The texture should be creamy and you shouldn't see individual pieces of cilantro.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Silver Platter: Simple Elegance- A Review and Giveaway!

If you've ever been to my house you know that I have a little cookbook obsession. I collect them, and one of my favorite past times is to curl up on the couch with a whole bunch of them and browse, spending more time then I probably should analyzing each page. So as you can probably imagine, I was super excited to get The Silver Platter: Simple Elegance by Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz for review. It's a big- (coffee table book size big) book and one of the best things about it is that there is a big beautiful picture that accompanies each recipe. I don't know about you, but I cannot go through a cookbook without pictures- showing how each dish is presented and garnished helps a home cook imagine making it and serving it in his/her own home. The recipes are for the most part quick and easy with a good mix of recipes that work for every day and for Shabbat/Chagim.

My husband and I took upon ourselves to eat healthier almost a year ago, so we stay away from gluten, refined sugar and and keep our carb intake low- so I love how the nutritional information for all the recipes are provided at the end of the book and that none of the salad dressings call for sugar, rather unrefined sugars like honey or maple syrup. If you are gluten free, or have to cook for someone who is gluten free- this book is for you! This book has more gluten free recipes (and for the ones that aren't, the authors thoughtfully provide gluten free substitutions) than any other kosher cookbook that I've seen. Recipes like Almond Crusted Fish Sticks and Quinoa Shnitzel among many others. I've bookmarked the Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties, the Everything Kale Salad, the Stuffed Avoados, the Black Bean Tomato Soup, the Chili Lime Fish Fillets, the Red Wine Chicken and Potatoes...the list goes on and on!

In honor of Chanukah, I'm sharing some recipes from the book for Classic Potato Latkes with assorted toppings AND I'm giving away a copy! To enter, like The Gush Gourmet on Instagram and/or Facebook and comment here when you've done so! Giveaway is only open to residents of the U.S or Israel. Winner will be randomly chosen by Tuesday, December 20, 2016 so you can get your book in time for Chanukah!

Classic Potato Latkes with Assorted Toppings
Reprinted with Permission from the Authors.
pareve passover gluten-free latkes freeze well yields about 2 dozen
Tradition! You really can’t go wrong with classic potato latkes. I’ve added four unique toppings to serve alongside, each with its own flavor. Make a different topping every night and delight your guests!
6 large potatoes
(preferably Idaho/russet), peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion,
cut into chunks
2 eggs
¼ cup potato starch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
grapeseed oil, for frying

  1. Right before serving, top latkes with avocado mixture.

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the shredding disk, shred potatoes and onion, using medium pressure. Transfer vegetables to a large colander set in the sink or over a large bowl; press firmly to drain excess liquid.
  3. Place drained veggies into a large bowl. Add eggs, potato starch, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop large spoonfuls of batter into hot oil to form pancakes, flattening them slightly with the back of the spoon. Do not crowd the skillet. Fry for 3-4 minutes per side, or until crisp and golden.
  5. Drain well on paper towels. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; place into oven to keep warm.
Norene’s Notes
Freeze with Ease: Arrange latkes in a single layer on a baking sheet; freeze until firm. Transfer to resealable plastic bags, press out all air, and freeze. To reheat, place frozen latkes onto a large baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 400°F for 12-15 minutes, until hot and crisp.
Note: Do not freeze toppings!
Sour Cream Topping 2 Ways
dairy pareve option passover gluten-free yields 4-6 servings
1 cup sour cream (regular or low fat) or Tofutti sour cream
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or dill
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup pomegranate seeds, or ¼ lb/125 g fresh smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  1. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream with lemon juice, parsley (if using pomegranate seeds) or dill (if using smoked salmon), and pepper; mix well.
  2. Top latkes; add pomegranate seeds (if using parsley) or smoked salmon (if using dill).
Deli Topping
meat passover gluten-free yields 4-6 servings
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
3 Israeli pickles, diced
½ lb/250 g deli meat, diced
  1. Add topping ingredients to medium bowl; mix to combine. Use as a topping for latkes.
Avocado Topping
pareve passover gluten-free yields 4-6 servings
1 ripe avocado, peeled,
pitted, and diced
¼ cup minced red onion
1 tomato, diced
1 Tbsp lime juice,
preferably fresh
1 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Add topping ingredients to medium bowl; mix to combine. Place plastic wrap directly onto mixture to prevent darkening.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque with Gingered Apple "Croutons"

After slaving over my Thanksgiving meal for hours, making an unbelievable amount of turkey, meat, and side dishes, the dish I got the most compliments on was this soup! Go figure! I mean, it was definitely delicious but the fact that it outshone my fresh cranberry braised Osso bucco was quite a feat!
A bisque is really just a thick, creamy soup that is traditionally seafood based but in this case is made with butternut squash, apples, and onions that are roasted to bring out their sweetness and develop their flavor and then combined with lots of fresh ginger, stock, and warm spices and finished off with coconut cream to make the soup especially creamy, velvety, and delicious. For textural contrast and to highlight the apple in the soup while also keeping this soup gluten free and Paleo (our eating style of choice currently) I sauteed apples till they broke down slightly but still retained some crunch in coconut oil and added some ground ginger and cinnamon. You don't have to make the croutons but they were a delicious addition. This soup is perfect for the crisp fall weather we are experiencing. Enjoy!

For the soup:
1 large onion
2 granny smith apples, cored, peeled and cut into chunks
2 butternut squash, about 6 pounds in total pre-cutting, peeled, de-seeded and cut into chunks
4 Tablespoons olive oil
14 cups chicken stock (you can use veggie stock or water with bouillon but plain water will yield a flat tasting soup so I highly recommend using stock)
1- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (depending on how heavy of a ginger taste you want- I did 2 inches)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chunked
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoon curry powder
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1 cup coconut cream
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place the onion, apples and butternut squash on a flat baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the squash is just fork tender and the onion and apple have started to brown.

Place all the roasted squash, onion and apple into a pot and add the stock, ginger, sweet potato, cinnamon, curry powder and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and let it cook for about 20 minutes just until the sweet potato is softened. Blend the soup with an immersion blender (it should be pretty thick-if you want it a little thinner then add water 1/2 a cup at a time until desired consistency) and then add the coconut cream. Taste and re-season as necessary. Serve with Apple croutons if desired.

For the apple "croutons":
2 granny smith apples, cored, peeled, and cut into cubes
1 tsp coconut oil (you can substitute any other oil if you want)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the coconut oil. When the coconut oil is melted add the rest of the ingredients and saute until the apples start to soften only slightly but still retain some crunch-about 2-3 minutes. Serve a little on each bowl of soup.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tricolor Apple Slaw with Pomegranate Lime Vinaigrette

I've been dreaming about this salad for forever and pushed myself to post it in time for Rosh Hashanah. It is the perfect salad to add to your menu- full of simanim (the symbolic foods of this holiday) like cabbage, carrots, pomegranate, apples, and honey. Pomegranate syrup or molasses is used to give this dressing a delicious and unique tart and sweet flavor. I can find it in my local grocery store but if you cant find it you can also boil down pomegranate juice until thick and syrupy. This salad could use a dose of toasted almonds but I left it out because many people traditionally stay away from nuts on Rosh Hashanah but if that is not your tradition, definitely add them. Shana tova!

For the Salad:
8 cups or about 500 grams shredded cabbage, about half of a medium cabbage (alternatively you can use pre- packaged coleslaw mix and omit the carrots)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup of sliced scallions
1 red apple, sliced into thin strips
1 green apple, sliced into thin strips
1 yellow apple, sliced into thin strips
2 tsp lime or lemon juice
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
2 Tbl freshly chopped mint, optional,  but adds great fresh flavor.

Slice the apples and mix with the lime or lemon juice to prevent them from discoloring. In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, carrots, scallions, apples and mint. Add the dressing mix well and garnish with the pomegranate seeds. Re-season with salt and pepper before serving.

For the dressing:
1/4 cup pomegranate syrup
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons light olive or canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together and pour over salad.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quinoa Salad with Pineapple Ginger Vinaigrette

This is the summer of salads! I've been making lots of main dish salads for lunch and dinners this summer because of the heat and because come summer time, I often find myself dreaming up new, interesting, and different salad concoctions that I love to try out. This one came from a craving for grilled pineapple. Grilling pineapple just makes a sweet pineapple that much sweeter, and with the addition of a little smokiness from the grill it adds a great sweet and smokey dimension to a grilled chicken salad. The chicken gets flavor from a delicious pineapple juice marinade and the pineapple ginger vinaigrette is different, delicious, and addictive. I found myself making it again and again and putting it on my plain old salads all week long to perk them up. Don't like chicken breast? you can easily make this with boneless chicken thighs or london broil instead- both would taste great with the marinade and go really well with the other components as well. Some cilantro and scallions for freshness and cashews for crunch and you've got yourself the perfect summer salad. Enjoy!

For the chicken and pineapple:
4 chicken breasts
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp fresh chopped ginger
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 a fresh pineapple, cut into slices

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a ziplock bag and add the chicken breasts. Let the chicken marinate for 3-4 hours. Grill the chicken for 5-6 minutes per side until done. Grill the pineapple along side the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side.

For the salad:
1 1/2 cups quinoa (any color or a mix of colors is fine)
2 3/4 cups water
1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 cup salted and roasted cashews

Rinse the quinoa well under running water. Place in a pot with some salt and pepper and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Keep pot covered for 5 minutes then uncover and fluff the quinoa as you would with rice. Let the quinoa cool slightly.

Cut the grilled pineapple, and chicken and mix into quinoa. Add the cilantro and scallions and drizzle the vinaigrette over it all. Top with cashews and serve.

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup fresh diced pineapple
2 tsp fresh coarsely chopped ginger
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons canola or light olive oil
salt and pepper

Place all ingredients except the oil into a food processor. Once the ingredients are mostly smooth start drizzling in the oil until it emulsifies together. Taste to make sure there is enough salt and pepper and serve over the salad.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Southwestern Cobb Salad With Spicy Avocado Dressing

I get great satisfaction from re-purposing leftovers. Often when planning dinner I already know what I will be making for lunch and dinner the next day with the leftovers. When I was grilling the  chili cilantro lime chicken I made last week I was already dreaming up this yummy and gorgeous salad that would be dinner the next night. I went low carb with this salad (minus the fresh corn) but you could also add black beans to this salad which would be delicious. The best part of course is the dressing- a smooth, creamy, spicy and fresh avocado dressing that gets whipped up in the food processor in no time and is the perfect compliment to this salad.  Enjoy!

1 batch cilantro lime chicken or any other grilled chicken breast
1 large head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ears grilled corn, kernels removed or 1 can of  corn
1 small red onion, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 can black beans (optional)

Arrange all the ingredients into a big bowl, pour the dressing over, toss and serve.

For the dressing:
1 avocado, pitted and skin removed
1/4 to a whole jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed (depending on how spicy you want it, or omit completely)
3 large cloves of garlic
1/4 cup mayo 
zest and juice of one lime
juice of one lemon
1 loosely packed cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper

Add all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Grilled Chili Cilantro Lime Chicken

I'm backkkkkkkkkkkkkkk! 
But don't get too excited- between running after a toddler and running a catering business, finding time to recipe test and post on the blog has been scarce. For the next few weeks, however, I am on vacation (not from the toddler, just the catering) and I will be trying my hardest to fit this blog back in my life. First up is this yummy and juicy grilled chicken. My husband and I joined the no/low carb craze a few months ago (you know, the trend I use to make fun of and NEVER thought I would join) and so there has been lots of protein and veggies in our lives. Finding new and yummy ways to make chicken (our main protein) is often daunting but with the grill up and running I am loving experimenting with different chicken marinades. I know cilantro is controversial, I used to be on the "it tastes like shampoo" side too, but now I just love it- if you hate it you can just use all parsley instead. Lots of great lime flavor, some heat from the chili flakes and a little sweetness from some honey. All leftovers will be used for my southwestern cobb salad tomorrow- can't wait!

For the chicken:

5 boneless chicken breast (skin on or off)
3 cloves garlic
zest of one lime
juice of two limes
1/4 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
1/2-1 tsp red chili flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 Tablespoon honey (or maple or agave)
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients except for the chicken into a food processor and pulse a few times until everything comes together and is chopped well.  Place the chicken and marinade into a ziplock bag making sure the marinade is coating the chicken well. Let the chicken marinate 3-4 hours. Grill over medium high heat for 5-6 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the breast).

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mediterranean Fish Cakes with Avocado-Tahini Sauce

There has been a lot of hullabaloo about the Whole30 program, a "diet" that for 30 days limits all carbs, dairy, and legumes in order to get rid of cravings and "reset" your body. I have never been one for programs like this, but I have been feeling less energetic recently and with some extra baby weight I still need to shed I thought I would give it a try. So far so good considering the longest I've ever lasted without carbs is about 6 hours. The big challenge for me is to make my protein interesting and so I've been doing a lot of experimenting. These fish cakes were a big hit and a nice change from chicken and beef with tons of herbs, some warmth from cumin and turmeric and lots of lemon zest for zing. These cakes were inspired by a few Ottolenghi (read: amazing) recipes that I've come across as well as some fish kofta I had when I was as the Carmel spa last year that blew me away. I used a mixture of grouper and halibut but any good quality white fish like halibut or bass would work well too. The key is to hand chop the fish, not grind it to a paste, so the texture is flaky once cooked and not spongy.
Now for the sauce: Tahini and avocado might not seem like they go together but they work surprisingly well. When I make fish, I often serve it with an avocado crema, but since dairy is a no no here I used tahini in place of the sour cream I would normally use to make the sauce. The sauce definitely complements the fish but you could also use it as a yummy salad dressing or drizzled over some grains. Did I mention gluten free too? Enjoy!

For the fish: (makes 10 nice size cakes)
1 kilo (about 2 pounds) hand chopped grouper, halibut or any other good quality white fish
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint (optional)
zest of one lemon
1 egg yolk
1 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric 
1 ts granulated garlic
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for pan frying

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix very well, almost kneading the mixture so it holds together well. Refrigerate for half an hour. With wet hands make patties from the fish mixture. Heat enough light oil (light olive or canola) to lightly coat the bottom of a frying pan. Place fish patties down and do not touch them until they are ready to be flipped, about 4-5 minutes on one side (depending on the thickness of the patty) and 2 minutes on the other side.

For the sauce:
1/2 of a large ripe avocado or one small avocado
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbl lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini 
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 -1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients except the water into a food processor. Process to combine everything and puree the avocado. The mixture will be very thick. Add water a little at a time until you get your desired consistency, for a thicker sauce, more like a "crema" you will need about 1/4 of a cup, for more of a wet sauce you will need closet to 1/2 cup. Check for seasoning after adding water, adding salt and pepper as necessary.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples (take 2)

A long time ago I made a warm braised red cabbage dish and posted it on this blog. It was good, even great, but not nearly as amazing as this version right here. I know the list of ingredients sound weird, and I too was hesitant to eat warm cabbage, but let me tell you, this is divine. A little sweet and a little tangy and the perfect way to eat lots of red cabbage when you are just sick of all those boring cabbage salads. This is a perfect side dish for turkey or chicken, (I actually think it tastes a bit like cranberry sauce) and will be a frequent addition to your winter side dish rotation. Enjoy!

3 Tablespoons oil
1 medium head red cabbage, shredded
3 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced thin
1 large onion, sliced thin
zest of one orange
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg (optional)
1 1/4 cups apple cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup golden raisins
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large and deep saucepan. Add half of the shredded cabbage to the pan and then add the onions and apples on top of the cabbage. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, orange zest and nutmeg and then add the rest of the cabbage on top, season with salt and pepper and top with the golden raisins. Pour the cider and cider vinegar over the whole mixture and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and let the cabbage braise for about an hour and a half until tender.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Curried Cauliflower and Kale Salad

Winter is notorious for packing on the pounds. Is it just me who feels like eating pasta makes one warm? Either way, this winter I have been trying to make a conscious effort to eat more salads to counteract the pasta that has been keeping me warm and this salad and different versions of it has been my go to. The cauliflower gives the salad bulk so it is super filling and the sweet golden raisins are the perfect compliment to the curry flavor. Toasted almonds (and I put loads in) are essential in most of my salads because to me the taste of deeply toasted almonds is unparalleled but any nut will do and I used kale because I found some magnificent kale but baby spinach or even Romaine lettuce will do. Enjoy!

For the Salad:
8 cups shredded Kale (or baby spinach or lettuce)
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 shallots, sliced

For the cauliflower:
1 large Cauliflower broken into florets or 800 grams frozen cauliflower, defrosted
2 Tablespoons oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp granulated garlic powder
1 Tbl curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375. Place the cauliflower on a tray lined with parchment paper and toss with the oil and spices. Roast for 30-35 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and a little browned around the edges.

For the dressing:
Juice of one lemon
3 Tablespoons canola or light olive oil
3 Tbl Agave nectar or Maple Syrup
salt and pepper

To assemble: Place the kale, cauliflower, almonds, shallots and raisins in a large bowl. Dress with the dressing, toss and serve.