Хорошо суббота! Khorosho subbota! (Good Shabbos!)

Well today’s Russian menu brings Shabbos Theme Week to an end… I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did! I must give a general apology to all my Italian, Asian, Latino and Russian readers out there if I did not stay true to authentic ethnic cuisine. Again, I use the excuse of being a Jewish girl from Canada! (Oy… if my Polish and Russian ancestors could hear me!) I found planning these menus a lot of fun, which is strange for me, since it tends to be the hardest part for me when planning a meal… I love the cooking, I don’t mind the shopping (though I seriously suggest everyone gets a boyfriend like mine that does all my weekly shopping for me!). The part I get stuck on is what to serve. Having a theme really helps, ’cause it takes the options from limitless to something more controlled. In my mind anyway. On that note, please enjoy today’s menu and Good Shabbos!

Russian Menu

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Coconut Flan

Coconut FlanIngredients:

2 cans full fat coconut milk
6 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional garnish)

Directions:

In a small saucepan heat the coconut milk until bubbling – careful to reduce the heat so it doesn’t bubble over! Simmer gently for 15 minutes or until total volume decreases by ⅓ original volume. Add in ½ cup sugar and whisk until dissolved.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Allow the mixture to cool while you make your caramel and your water bath.

Water bath:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and fill a baking dish with water just under half way up the side. Place in the oven.

Caramel:

In a small sauce pan heat remaining ½ cup sugar with water over medium high heat until completely dissolved and bubbling. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Once the mixture is syrupy move quickly to pour equally into 6 ramekins or one deep pie dish.

Whisk eggs together until evenly mixed in a medium sized bowl. Slowly, pour a stream of the coconut mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly so the eggs don’t cook. It helps to do this a little at a time or have someone help you pour while you whisk.

Pour flan mixture into caramel-lined pan or ramekins. Place into hot water bath in oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until custard is set (middle might be slightly wiggly still, which is ok).

Cool for 15 minutes, then chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour (preferably 3 hours or more).

To serve, run a knife alongside the pan or ramekins and carefully invert onto a plate, allowing the caramel to flow over the custard. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and serve!

Spicy Black Beans and Yellow Rice

beans and riceIngredients:

For Beans:
2 cups (about 1 pound) dried black beans, picked over, soaked overnight
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For Rice:
2 cups long-grain rice
4 cups water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bay leaf

Directions:

For the beans:
In a large pot, soak beans overnight covered in water by 2 inches. Drain and set aside.

In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic, and bay leaf and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and cover with water by about 1-inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the beans are tender. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Taste the beans and season with salt and pepper.

For the rice:
Put all the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pot, stir well, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat until the rice has absorbed the water, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Discard the garlic and bay leaf, fluff with a fork, and serve.

Chocolate Chicken Mole

Chicken MoleYou may look at this list of ingredients and be a little shocked! Moles, meaning sauce, traditionally have at least 20 different ingredients on average and are a source of great pride. They usually involved several different types of peppers, dried fruits, nuts and a hint of chocolate. This version is a bit of a dumbed down one, as it only contains 12 (chicken and garnish not included)! If you don’t have a rotisserie chicken, you can poach or roast off the equivalent amount of chicken yourself.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ chipotle peppers with 1 ½ teaspoons adobo sauce from can (or more to taste), chopped
1 ½ cup raisins
1 (796ml) can of diced tomatoes
4 ½ tablespoons smooth peanut butter
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 teaspoons chili powder
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ¼ ounces unsweetened chocolate (or 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 ½ rotisserie chickens, meat removed and shredded (skin and bones discarded)
⅓ cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish
1 ½ teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish
Zest of 1 orange, for garnish
Fresh cilantro, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced, for serving
Flour tortillas, for serving

Directions:

Place a pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion and garlic, stirring to soften for 5 minutes. Add the chipotle with adobo, raisins, and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Carefully pour the mixture into a blender. Add the peanut butter, broth, chili powder, and cinnamon. Puree the mixture until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Return the mixture to the pot over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Add the shredded chicken and heat through.

Transfer the mole to a serving dish and garnish with peanuts, sesame seeds, and orange zest. Serve with cilantro, lime, avocado, and tortillas.

Mexican Ceviche

CevicheIngredients:

1 ½ lb halibut, sea bass or red snapper fillets (or use a mixture of fish)
7-9 limes (enough juice to cover fish)
1 ½ fresh tomatoes, diced
1 ½ green bell peppers, diced
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped*
⅓ teaspoon salt
⅓ teaspoon pepper
¾ teaspoon fresh oregano*
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (less or more to suit your taste)
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 ½ medium onions, finely chopped
2 dashes Tabasco sauce (to taste)
lettuce leaves (to line serving bowls)*
1 avocado, chopped (optional)

Directions:

Dice the fish into an approximately ½-inch dice. Marinate fish in the lime juice in the fridge overnight (this step cooks the fish). I would suggest marinating the fish in a large gallon sized freezer bag, as it makes clean up a cinch, and you can shake the bag up often to make sure the fish is evenly “cooking”. The next day, pour off most of the lime juice, leaving just enough to keep the fish moist.

A few hours before serving, mix together the tomatoes, green peppers, ½ cup of the chopped parsley/cilantro,  jalapeno peppers and onions in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, oregano, vinegar and Tabasco sauce. Add the fish to the large bowl, and gently mix together, making sure not to break up the fish pieces. Pour the dressing on top of the mixture and toss, gently, to coat. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, remove the ceviche from the refrigerator so that it is not ice cold. Arrange the lettuce leaves in individual serving plates with a serving of the ceviche. Garnish with sliced avocado and remaining parsley/cilantro.

* Click here to learn how to properly check these ingredients.

Jicama Slaw

Jicama SlawFor those of you not familiar with jicama, you don’t know what you’re missing! Jicama, (HEE-kah-ma) also known as Mexican Yam or Mexican Turnip is the name of a native Mexican vine that has an edible tuberous root. The root’s exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some apples or raw green beans, and it is usually eaten raw. In Mexico, it is popular in salads, fresh fruit combinations, fruit bars, soups, and other cooked dishes. You can find it year-round in the produce section of many supermarkets and Latin American markets. Select firm, dry jicama roots. Skin should not appear shrivelled, bruised, or blemished.

Ingredients:

1 large jicama, peeled and finely shredded
½ napa cabbage, finely shredded*
2 carrots, shredded
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves*

Directions:

Place jicama, cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, ancho powder, honey and oil in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour the lime mixture over the jicama mixture and toss to coat well, fold in the cilantro. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.

* Click here to learn how to properly inspect a Napa Cabbage and cilantro.

Buen día de Reposo (Good Shabbos!)

Hola mis amigos! Today is Mexican day! Today’s Shabbos menu is all based on a Latin palate. A little spice, a little smoke… and some sweetness thrown in! Personally, I LOVE Mexican food! Always have.. except for the dreaded cilantro! Aka the “scary spice”, cilantro tends to be used heavily in Latin cuisine. I find that in most cases, you can omit it or substitute with parsley. Yes, I know, this no longer makes it authentic, but I’m a Jewish girl from Canada, how authentic was it really going to be? So to all native Latinos out there, please forgive me, and enjoy!
Mexican Menu

Chocolate Banana Fried Won-tons with Boozy Caramel Sauce

chocolate banana wontonsIngredients:

For Won-tons:
2 very ripe bananas
⅓ cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ (14 ounce) package won-ton wrappers
oil for frying

For Boozy Caramel Sauce:
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon brandy-based orange liqueur (such as Grand Sabra Orange Brandy), optional
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

To make the filling:

Place the bananas, chocolate chips, clove, cinnamon, and vanilla into a mixing bowl, and mash until evenly blended. Alternatively, chop the mixture in a food processor until the chocolate chips have been reduced in size. This will help prevent the chips from poking through the won-ton skins as you handle them. It will also change the texture of the filling – you will not have pockets of melted chocolate in the won-tons.

To make the won-tons:

Separate and place the won-ton wrappers onto your work surface. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the banana filling onto the centre of each wrapper. Use your finger or a pastry brush to lightly moisten the edges of the won-ton wrappers with water. Fold one corner of the wrapper over the filling onto the opposite corner to form a triangle. Press the edges together to seal. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Fry the won-tons in the hot oil a few at a time until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the won-tons over halfway through cooking so they brown evenly. Remove, and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

To make the sauce:

Prepare the sauce by combining the butter, brown sugar, orange liqueur, and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is smooth, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

To serve:

Serve the won-tons warm with the caramel sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate chips to garnish.

5 Spice Carrots

5 spice carrotsIngredients:

10 large carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder (click here to see recipe)
salt to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut halved carrots in half again crosswise on the diagonal. Place carrots into a 2-quart baking dish and drizzle with vegetable oil; sprinkle with 5 spice powder and salt to taste. Toss lightly to coat carrots with oil and seasoning. Arrange carrots into an even layer.

Roast carrots in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, and check for tenderness and stir if desired. Continue roasting until tender, 15 to 20 more minutes. Serve warm.

Hot and Sour Chinese Eggplant

hot and sour eggplantIngredients:

4 long Chinese eggplants, cubed
4 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 green chili peppers, chopped (to taste)
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 ½ teaspoons chili oil (to taste)
1 tablespoon salt
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

Place the eggplant cubes into a large bowl, and sprinkle with salt. Fill with enough water to cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse well, and drain on paper towels.

In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, red wine vinegar, sugar, chili pepper, cornstarch and chili oil. Set the sauce aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Fry the eggplant until it is tender and begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour in the sauce, and cook and stir until the sauce is thick and the eggplant is evenly coated. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.