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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

another curry paste

Thai food is one of my favorites! And i have been making my own curry pastes for a couple of years, studying the various kinds and here is a version i came up with. Not sure what to call it, sort of a cross between panang and massamum.
Since it is winter, i am using dried chilis. In summer or fall, when they are in season, i would use fresh ones!

In a mortar and pestle of a food processor, place the following:
3 stalks lemongrass
10 cloves, garlic
2 tbsp ginger
10 kaffir lime leaves
i small piece fresh tumeric root
40 dry red thai chilis, reconstituted
6 dried guajillo chilis, reconstituted
2 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 cup peanuts, toasted
3 cloves
1 leek
1 stick cinnamon
1 clove nutmeg
seeds from 5 cardamom pods
1 tsp sea salt
2 cubes, chinese fermented tofu

Grind everything down till it makes a smooth paste. Add a little bit of water, if needed

Saturday, March 27, 2010

multi grain seed rolls

1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup corn flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1 cup semolina flour
3 cups white flour
1 tbsp rosemary
1/3 cup poppy seeds
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp agave
2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a stand mixer and let knead for 20 minutes.

Cover dough with a small amount of olive oil, and cover with towel and place in a draft free, warm place.

Let rise for 4 hours or till doubled.

Divide dough into 18 equal part. Round each piece to form a roll. Cover with towel, place in a warm, draft free place for 1 hour.

Preheat oven and baking stone for 1 hour. Bake at 500 for 20 minutes

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

ruggelach opus 2

ok, let us get rid of this earth balance, corporate PVC (Processed vegan crap). Who knows why it behaves the way it does but to put it simply, i do not trust it. So today, we replaced it with coconut oil. Amazing results in the crust! Absolutely wonderful texture and no pvc in site, no silly corporations to have to give money to, thus life is better.
of course, it gives a bit of a coconut flavor to the ruggelach, not traditional in the least but a great flavor. Will keep experimenting but i think coconut oil is the answer to the "butter" problem of this dish.

on the other hand, the prune/almond filling was not so successful :)

fried yucca cakes

yeah, fried starch!

1 medium sized yucca, peeled and grated
4 inch piece, yama -imo grated
1 small leek, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper

Combine all ingredients well.
Heat up some olive oil in a cast iron skillet and fry on both sides till golden brown

Monday, March 22, 2010


The greatest cooks in the world are not paid a penny for their work, nor do they think of themselves as chefs.  In every culture, throughout the world, they are grandmas! They cook because they love to feed the people they love and because to them, food is love, pure and simple. Each family has heirloom recipes, dishes that each taste bud was raised on and longs to return to throughout your lifes journeys.
In my family, as in every Jewish American family, there is a woman we called, Aunt Rose. She was a tiny woman of stature, huge of heart and baked the finest Eastern European Morsels you will ever crave.

Her knishes, her schlischkas, her jelly tarts and for me, most of all, her ruggelach are the finest i have ever tasted of its kind, anywhere.  She was the last one alive who came over from Hungary and brought with her the love and virtuosity of her cuisine. Sadly she left us a few years ago, at a very ripe old age and i have not had great ruggelach since. I cant ever eat ruggelach without thinking of her and the only person who ever dared and achieved at making even better ruggelach and that is my sister, Barbie.  It took many years of practice and on countless passovers and Rosh Hashana, the dessert table fattened us up with samples of 2 generations of ruggelach! Over the years, Barbie figured out that adding more filling was the only possible way to top the great master and well, how do you make the worlds greatest ruggelach, even better? Simple, add more filling! More goodness, now oozing out the sides, cant possibly go wrong. Tragically, for reasons that will never make sense, Barbie left us at a very young age, leaving a ruggelach void in my family that i will now take on and believe the next generation with my niece Lisa is already taking on as well.
Here is the "problem"! Aunt Rose and Barbie cooked with what i have grown to avoid using in my kitchen white sugar, butter, cheese and so on. So here i am adapting a new version of the same idea. This will take a while to figure out, especially since i have not much when it comes to baking knowledge but this will be fun exploring.
I cant explain why i never tried to make ruggelach before but here is the beginning of a work in progress.

3 cups walnuts
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins or currants
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
mix all well and set aside

2 cups flour
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup of my "Cream cheez" recipe
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt

combine earth balance, "cheez", maple and salt till homogenized. Add flour, mixing as little as possible till it forms a ball.  Cut in 4 parts. Wrap and chill an hour.
roll out each part into a log. Add 1/4 of the filling to each one. Wrap up tightly. Cut into rolls and bake at 375 for 18 minutes

Sunday, March 21, 2010

moving sale

i am leaving the bay area in the near future.

Selling off my CDs, books and a lot of my kitchen gear. Please contact me if you are interested. not shipping anything so please let me know when you want to come by to my home in Oakland

Sunday, March 14, 2010


an amazing sauce for enchilads and many other mexican dishes.

Soak the following for a few hours:
10 sun dried tomatos
5 dried ancho chilis
2 dried arbol chilis
drain and set aside

Toast the following in 350 oven for 10 minutes:
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup raisins
Put aside

in a frying pan, add 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp sea salt and
2 onions, chopped
Cook for 10 minutes.
10 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tbsp ancho chili powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cocoa

cook for 15 minutes over low heat, stirring often, then add 4 cups stock. Bring to simmer, cover and let cook 2 hours. Puree till very smooth.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Classic dish from the Middle East. Food like this crosses cultural and geographical boundaries and you can find regional variations throughout the Middle East. Loved by followers of Islam and Judaism, and well, anyone who likes the fresh taste of a delightful little ball fresh out of the fryer.  Put a couple of hungry Palestinians in a room with a couple of hungry Israelis and put in between them some beautiful bowls of olives, hummous, falafel, lavash and pita breads, and see the differences evaporate while the commonality of these cuisines and the delights that wonderful food produces will take over. Yeah, well, common sense can get us really far :)

You will find dozens of variations on this recipe but one of the most important things about making falafel is DO NOT COOK THE BEANS, first! That is right, simply soak the beans and then grind them down. Do not cook them first or the texture is shot.  I know most recipes online tell you to cook the beans but if you look carefully at most recipes online. One of the problems with the net is rank amateurs can post incorrect information.

one pound of dried garbanzos, soaked overnight then rinsed and drained. You can mix garbanzos and favas if you desire. Favas are a very different taste than garbanzos

in a food processor, grind down the beans and add the following:
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup tbsp fresh dill
4 green onions
4 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp black pepper
1.5 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder

mix well and let sit in the fridge for 2 hours or more.

Make small golf ball size pieces and drop in hot oil and fry till brown.

ideally these are served with pita bread (or lavash), tahini sauce,  and pickled and fresh vegetables for a truly incredible sandwich. Oh yeah, and some hot sauce!

Monday, March 8, 2010

yellow eyed pea soup

Once again, Rancho Gordo farms comes up with an heirloom bean i am not familiar with. Similar to the more renowned black-eyed pea in flavor and aroma, these are beautiful medium sized beans with tremendous depth of flavor and a delightful texture.

for 8

soak one cup yellow eyed peas overnight. Then drain, rinse, place back in a pot, cover with water, add 2 bay leaves and a dried chanterelle and bring to simmer. Cover tightly, lower heat and cook for 12 minutes. These beans cook up fast! Remove from heat, drain again and put aside.

2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
10 cloves garlic, minced
10 collar leaves, slivered
1 shallots, minced
10 sun dried tomatos, reconstituted and drained
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sea salt

in a soup pot, heat up oil and sautee the leeks with the salt for 4 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and following spices and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
2 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1.5 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp oregano
1 tsp black pepper

Add 6 cups of stock and bring to simmer. Finish with 1/3 cup lemon juice and chopped cilantro

Friday, March 5, 2010

smoky maple tempeh

 here is what i call smoky maple bacon and is quite easy to make!

First you will need to marinade the tempeh.
Actually, first you will need some freshly made tempeh, as the packaged kind is not very good. learn to make your own, it is fun and easy. Or, if possible and there is one, support your local tempeh maker.

1 pound tempeh, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup shoyu
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp umeboshi vinegar
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp half sharp paprika
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp smoked salt

let marinade for 2 hours.
Pan fry in olive oil till browned
at the end of frying, pour a small amount of marinade in the pan and it will make the tempeh browner and crispier.

 Note: Of course, you can use the packaged stuff but why settle for an inferior mass produced, pasteurized product when you can go local and fresh? If you insist on packaged food, go for Turtle Island Tempeh. By all means, avoid Soy Deli and Wildwood as those are truly awful.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

tempeh, marinated and tempura'd

is "tempura'd" a word? Probably not. Nonetheless, you get the point of this dish!

you need a few ingredients to start with:
3/4 pounds of freshly made tempeh cut into 1/2 inch strips
1/4 cup shoyu
1/4 cup hon mirin (do not use the cheap crap you usually find unless you have a hankering for corn syrup)
1 tsp sichuan chili oil

let the tempeh soak in the marinade for at least 1 hour.

Now you need some tempura batter:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp potato starch
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup ice water

mix the dry ingredients well. Then mix in the water lightly! Do not over mix or the texture will not be as desirable as you are aiming for.

fry it up in some hot oil till golden brown.