Dirty Rice

Dirty RiceNo, before you get all worried, I’m not suggesting you eat the rice that you swept up as part of your Passover cleaning! Dirty rice is a traditional Creole dish made from white rice which gets a “dirty” colour from being cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets, green bell pepper, celery, and onion, and spiced with cayenne and black pepper. Parsley and/or chopped green onions are common garnishes. Dirty rice is most common in the Creole regions of southern Louisiana; however, it can also be found in other areas of the American South. This recipe will serve 6 as a side dish, and 4 as a main.

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked rice
4 cups chicken stock
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium/large onions, diced (about 1½ cups total)
2 medium green bell peppers, diced (about 1 cup total)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup total)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ pound ground beef
½ pound chicken giblets or livers**
2 bunches green onions, chopped*

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions.
** If you are using livers instead of giblets, please ensure to following the directions found in this article on how to Kasher your raw liver.

Directions:

If using Giblets:
Place the giblets in a pot, and cover with water, bring to a simmer for 30 minutes with 1 bunch of green onions, salt and pepper.

If using Liver:
If using raw liver, please Kasher it according to the instructions provided in the link above. Once the liver is cooked (either purchased cooked or cooked through the Kashering process), follow the same steps as the giblets, however only simmer until warmed through, not for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a colander, rinse rice several times until water runs clear. Place rice in a large pot and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not overcook.

In a pan, sauté the garlic, onions, bell peppers and celery in vegetable oil until soft for about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf and cayenne and add to rice. Cook the ground beef in a sauté pan and add to rice.

Finally, let the giblets cool enough to chop into small dice then add to rice mixture. Mix rice well and let simmer on lowest heat for an additional 30 minutes, stirring continuously, until flavors meld. Serve hot garnished with the second bunch of green onions.

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Fish Cakes with Citrus “Tartar” Sauce

Citrus Fish Cakes

This recipe will make fish cakes for a crowd, and is a nice alternative to traditional gefilte fish. The citrus in this recipe lightens up the dish, taking away from the fried aspect of it, and would make it a great idea for a lunch meal! Before you start wondering where you’re going to get such small amounts of freshly squeezed juices, simply use the lemon and orange that you just zested!

Ingredients:

Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)*
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)*
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch sugar
Pinch cayenne

Fish Cakes:
2 pounds carp (or perch or bass) fillets, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley**
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
⅓ cup matzoh meal
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup or more oil (for frying)
1 tablespoon sea salt

* Click here to see my tips on zesting citrus.
** Click here to see how to properly clean fresh parsley.

Directions:

To make the sauce:
In medium bowl, stir together all ingredients. Cover and chill.

To make the fish cakes:
Line large baking sheet with waxed paper. Working in 2 batches, in food processor pulse the fish until coarsely ground (do not purée to paste). Transfer to large bowl and add onion, parsley, mayonnaise, egg, lemon juice, and orange juice. Mix gently until well blended, then add matzoh meal, salt, and pepper and mix gently until incorporated.

Using wet hands, roll mixture into 1 ¼ inch-diameter balls and press into ½ inch-thick patties. Arrange on baking sheet with additional waxed paper between each layer of patties. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

In large heavy skillet over high heat, heat ¼ inch oil. Working in batches of 5 and adding more oil as needed, fry patties until brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt while still hot. Serve warm with sauce.

Tandoori Spice Blend

Tandoori Spice BlendTandoori masala (masala means spice blend) is a mixture of spices specifically for use with a tandoor, or clay oven, in traditional north Indian and Pakistani cooking. The specific spices vary somewhat from one region to another, but typically include garam masala, garlic, ginger, onion, cayenne pepper, and may include other spices and additives. The spices are often ground together with a pestle and mortar.

Tandoori masala is used extensively with dishes as tandoori chicken. In this dish, the chicken is covered with a mixture of plain yogourt and tandoori masala. The chicken is then roasted in the tandoor at very high heat. The chicken prepared in this fashion has a pink-coloured exterior and a savoury flavor. For you kosher readers out there, try making this dish using non-dairy yogourt or water down some non-dairy sour cream to get a yogourt like consistency.

Other chicken dishes, in addition to tandoori chicken, use this masala, such as tikka or butter chicken, most of them Punjabi dishes. Meat other than chicken can be used, as can paneer (paneer is a homemade pressed cheese made out of curdled milk).

If freshly prepared, the masala can be stored in airtight jars for up to two months. The spice blend is also readily available at larger supermarkets and specialty Asian stores, with varying tastes depending on the brand. This recipe will make about 1 cup of spice blend.

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. Transfer to airtight container. Note: If your saffron is really fresh and doesn’t crumble easily, toast it in a dry skillet over medium heat until dark red. Cool; then crumble.

Sauce 5 – Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise SauceHollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolk and liquid butter, usually seasoned with lemon juice, salt, and a little white pepper or cayenne pepper. In appearance, it is light yellow and opaque, smooth and creamy. The flavor is rich and buttery, with a mild tang added by an acidic component such as lemon juice, yet not so strong as to overpower mildly-flavoured foods. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 cup clarified butter (about 2½ sticks before clarifying)
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoon lemon juice (the juice from 1 small lemon)
1 tablespoon cold water
Kosher salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce), to taste

Directions:

Heat an inch or two of water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Also, your clarified butter should be warm, but not hot. Combine the egg yolks and the cold water in a glass or stainless steel bowl (not aluminum) whisk for a minute or two, until the mixture is light and foamy. Whisk in a couple of drops of lemon juice, too. The water in the saucepan should have begun to simmer. Set the bowl directly atop the saucepan of simmering water. The water itself should not come in contact with the bottom of the bowl. Whisk the eggs for a minute or two, until they’re slightly thickened. Remove the bowl from the heat and begin adding the melted butter slowly at first, a few drops at a time, while whisking constantly. If you add it too quickly, the emulsion will break. Continue beating in the melted butter. As the sauce thickens, you can gradually increase the rate at which you add it, but at first, slower is better.

After you’ve added all the butter, whisk in the remaining lemon juice and season to taste with Kosher salt and cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce). The finished hollandaise sauce will have a smooth, firm consistency. If it’s too thick, you can adjust the consistency by whisking in a few drops of warm water. It’s best to serve hollandaise right away. You can hold it for about an hour or so, provided you keep it warm. After two hours, though, you should toss it — both for quality and safety reasons.

Bernaise SauceBéarnaise Sauce

Béarnaise is a rich, buttery, aromatic sauce featuring shallots, tarragon and crushed black peppercorns. It’s one of the most amazing sauces to serve with a grilled steak. If you will be serving this sauce with meat, and you keep kosher, instead of using butter, you should use margarine so that the sauce remains pareve (non-dairy). This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 cup clarified butter (about 2½ sticks before clarifying)
4 egg yolks
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon*
1 tablespoon chopped chervil (or parsley)*
Kosher salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce), to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:

Heat an inch or two of water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Also, your clarified butter should be warm, but not hot. In a separate saucepan, heat the vinegar, shallots, peppercorns and half of the tarragon to a simmer and reduce until the mixture is nearly dry (au sec). There should be about two tablespoons of liquid remaining. Remove from heat and transfer to a glass or stainless steel bowl (not aluminum). Add the egg yolks and whisk for a minute or two, until the mixture is light and foamy. The water in the saucepan should have begun to simmer. Set the bowl directly atop the saucepan of simmering water. The water itself should not come in contact with the bottom of the bowl. Whisk the egg-vinegar mixture for a minute or two, until it is slightly thickened. Remove the bowl from the heat and begin adding the melted butter slowly at first, a few drops at a time, while whisking constantly. If you add it too quickly, the emulsion will break. Continue beating in the melted butter.

As the sauce thickens, you can gradually increase the rate at which you add it, but at first, slower is better. After you’ve added all the butter, strain the sauce into a new bowl, stir in the chervil and the remaining tarragon. Season to taste with lemon juice, Kosher salt and cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce). The finished béarnaise sauce will have a smooth, firm consistency. If it’s too thick, you can adjust the consistency by whisking in a few drops of warm water. It’s best to serve béarnaise right away. You can hold it for about an hour or so, provided you keep it warm. After two hours, though, you should toss it — both for quality and safety reasons.

* click here to learn how to properly clean tarragon, chervil and parsley.

Chantilly SauceChantilly Sauce

The Chantilly Sauce is a classic sauce made by adding stiffly whipped cream to a basic Hollandaise sauce. Sometimes called Mousseline sauce, it can be served with seafood, vegetables or poultry, or, sweetened, on crepes and other desserts. The Chantilly Sauce can also be made with whipped egg whites instead of whipped cream. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pint Hollandaise sauce
½ cup heavy cream

Directions:

Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, then fold it into 1 pint Hollandaise sauce. Serve right away.

Sauce 4 – Basic Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce 1This is a traditional tomato sauce that I have adjusted to reflect a kosher kitchen: meaning that the salt pork and ham bone have been removed, and substituted with an equal amount of olive oil and the use of a beef marrow bone. Should you wish to make the sauce pareve, or vegetarian, you can leave out the bone all together. This recipe will make about 4 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onions, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (796ml) cans crushed tomatoes
4 cups veal or chicken stock
1 beef marrow bone
Kosher salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
——– For Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems
8-10 black peppercorns, crushed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Tie the sachet ingredients into a cheesecloth sack using a piece of kitchen twine. In a heavy, oven-safe Dutch oven, bring the olive oil up to temperature. Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onion is translucent but not brown. Add the tomatoes, the beef bone (if using), the stock and the sachet. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Simmer in the oven, partially covered, for two hours. Remove from oven. Remove sachet and bone and purée sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Season to taste with Kosher salt and a small amount of sugar — just enough to cut the acid edge of the tomatoes. Serve hot. If not serving the sauce right away, keep it covered and warm until you’re ready to use it.

Creole SauceCreole Sauce

Creole sauce, also referred to as creole tomato sauce, and sauce piquant in New Orleans, is a Creole cuisine, Bahamian cuisine and New Orleans cuisine sauce made by sautéeing vegetables in butter and olive oil. It is used in the American south and in Bahamas. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups tomato sauce (see recipe above)
¾ cup chopped onions
¾ cup chopped celery
½ cup diced green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Zest of 1 lemon*
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sauté the onions, green pepper, celery and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, bay leaf, oregano and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf, season with the salt, pepper and cayenne and serve right away.

* click here for my tips on zesting lemons and other citrus.

spanish sauceSpanish Tomato Sauce

This tomato sauce with a spanish flair can also be refered to as a sofrito – which in Spanish cuisine, consists of garlic, onion, paprika, peppers, and tomatoes cooked in olive oil. While there is no paprika in this recipe, the additions of the the mushrooms and olives add a nice earthy and salty kick. This sauce is great on meats and poultry, or even just over pasta. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups tomato sauce
½ cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup chopped onions
¼ cup diced green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tabasco sauce (or another hot pepper sauce), to taste
½ cup olives (black or green), sliced

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sauté the onions, green pepper and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms are soft. Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Season with the salt, pepper, Tabasco and olives, then serve right away.

Easy Indian-Style Chicken

Indian Style ChickenThis is an easy, authentic chicken dish that gets its creaminess from coconut milk, rather than cream or yogourt, so it’s dairy free! This recipe will make enough for 6. I suggest serving it with basmati rice or na’an.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 ½ onions, finely chopped
¼ cup and 2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup and 2 tablespoons water
1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon hot chili paste or siracha (optional)
3 pinches cayenne pepper (optional)
2 teaspoon ground turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup chopped cilantro*

Directions:

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, and fry for a few minutes until they become fragrant and begin to pop. Stir in chopped onion, and cook until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together the tomato paste and water, and pour into skillet. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until it has firmed and turned white, about 5-7 minutes. Add coconut milk, brown sugar, chili paste, cayenne pepper, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer until the chicken is tender and no longer pink in the centre, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.

* Click here to see how to properly clean fresh cilantro.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Cassarole
*This dish calls for the use of dairy ingredients such as butter, milk and buttermilk. If you wish to have this dish be non-dairy or parve, you can substitute margarine and a non-dairy milk product, such as soy milk or almond milk, instead. For non-dairy buttermilk, please see the instructions at the end of the recipe.

Original recipe makes 1 -2 ½ quart dish

Ingredients:

2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 large eggs
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup buttermilk*
⅓ cup milk*
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Pistachio crust:
½ cup chopped roasted, salted pistachios (or other preferred nut)
½ cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter or margarine. Place sweet potato cubes into a large pot, cover with water, and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until a knife is easily inserted into a sweet potato cube, about 10 minutes. Drain well. Return to the pot and mash 2 tablespoons butter or margarine into sweet potatoes. Whisk eggs, maple syrup, buttermilk*, milk*, vanilla extract, cayenne pepper, allspice, and ½ teaspoon salt together in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually mash sweet potatoes into egg mixture, starting with 2 tablespoons of sweet potato mixture, until all sweet potatoes are incorporated. Transfer sweet potatoes into prepared baking dish. Mix nuts, brown sugar, flour, and ¼ cup melted butter or margarine together until completely mixed. Crumble topping evenly over top of sweet potatoes. Use the back of a fork to gently press nut mixture down onto sweet potatoes. Bake in the preheated oven until topping is browned and casserole is set, 25 to 30 minutes. If desired, place under oven’s broiler for 5 minutes to give topping a little more brown colour. Let rest to cool slightly before serving, about 10 minutes.

Non-Dairy “Buttermilk”

Ingredients:

½ tablespoon lemon juice, white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Enough dairy-free milk to add to the ½ tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar) to equal ½ cup total liquid

Directions:

Combine ingredients; whisk. Set aside 5 minutes. Milk will thicken and may separate, depending on the type of dairy-free milk you use. (This is fine, don’t worry!) Stir and use as you would use buttermilk in recipes. You may double the recipe for 1 cup of dairy-free buttermilk, if needed.

Ram’s Head – ראש כבש

The following is said while eating a piece of the meat from a ram’s head (or the head of another kosher animal or fish).

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁנִּהְיֶה לְרֹאשׁ וְלֹא לְזָנָב

May it be Your will, Lord our G‑d and the G‑d of our fathers, that we be a head and not a tail.

(The following is added only over the head of a ram:

וְתִזְכֹּר לָנוּ עֲקֵדָתוֹ וְאֵילוֹ שֶׁל יִצְחָק אָבִינוּ בֶּן אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ עַלֵיהֶם הַשָּׁלוֹם

…And You shall remember for us the binding and the ram of our forefather Isaac, the son of our forefather Abraham, peace be onto them.)

Spanish Morrocan Fish

Spanish Moroccan Fish

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into strips
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, diced
4 green olives, sliced (optional)
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chicken soup powder
Salt to taste
5 pounds tilapia fillets

Directions:

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, olives, and chickpeas and continue to cook until the peppers are slightly tender, about 5 minutes more. Sprinkle the parsley, paprika, cumin, cayenne, and chicken soup powder over the vegetables. Season with salt to taste. Stir to incorporate. Place the fish on top of the vegetables and add enough water to cover the vegetables. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork and juices run clear, about 30-40 minutes. Serve over rice, couscous or with crusty bread. Can be served hot or cold. This dish serves 6 as an entrée, 12 as an appetizer.

Kebabs

Grilled Ground Lamb Kebabs with Fresh Hot-Pepper Paste

Ingredients:

1 ¼ pounds ground lamb
¾ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
½ cup finely chopped fresh mint
4 garlic cloves, minced
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 bamboo skewers
Olive oil
Warm pita bread
Fresh Hot-Pepper Paste

Directions:

Combine lamb, onion, parsley, mint, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne in large bowl and mix well. (Can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Place bamboo skewers in shallow dish. Cover with cold water and let stand at least 1 hour. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Drain skewers. Form generous ¼ cup lamb mixture into 3-inch-long sausage around centre of 1 bamboo skewer. Repeat with remaining lamb mixture and skewers. Brush lamb kebabs with oil. Grill kebabs until brown and cooked through, turning frequently, about 12 minutes. Serve in warm pita bread with Fresh Hot-Pepper Paste. Makes 12 skewers.

hot pepper sauce

Fresh Hot-Pepper Paste

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped seeded fresh red serrano or red jalapeño chilies
¼ cup water
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in processor and blend until very finely chopped. Can be prepared up to 1 week ahead. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.