Ginger, Herb, Lime & Sweet Onion Rub

Ginger, Cilantro, Lime and Sweet Onion RubThis rub/marinade is full of light, crisp flavours and would work really well on fish, chicken or tofu. If using on fish, beware that the acid in the limes actually starts to “cook” the fish, so do not let the fish marinate over night, but rather for just a few hours. FYI, for those of you that hate cilantro (like I do), I find that when combined with other herbs, like here with mint, the cilantro flavour is not that strong. Alternatively, you can substitute with an equal amount of parsley. This recipe will make about 2 cups of rub/marinade.

Ingredients:

1 ounce fresh ginger, finely diced (about ¼ cup)
¼ cup cilantro, chopped (about ¼ of a bunch)*
¼ cup mint, chopped (about ¼ of a bunch)*
4 limes, juiced and zested**
¼ sweet onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt

* Click here to learn how to properly clean these herbs.
** Click here for tips on zesting.

Directions:

If you want to save time and not have to dice everything by hand, you can use a food processor, but just make sure to use the pulse control feature, as this is supposed to be chunky and not a puree.

Combine all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and mix to incorporate. If using as a rub, coat the fish/chicken/tofu (or other protein) about one hour before grilling, using only enough to coat the protein. If using as a marinade, on chicken or tofu, marinate for 4 hours or more, even up to overnight. If using on fish, marinate for 1-3 hours. This recipe should be enough for about 4 large pieces of protein.

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Charred Jalapeno, Mango, Citrus & Tequila Rub

Charred Chile, Mango, Lemon Verbena and Tequila RubThis marinade/rub will give your meat a bit of a Latino kick! You can cut down on the amount of jalapenos you use if you want it to be milder, however when the jalapenos are charred they tend to lose a bit of their potency. Additionally, if you remove the seeds and inner membranes (the white parts that the seeds cling to) from the peppers, that will greatly reduce the heat level. This recipe will make about 2 cups of marinade.

Ingredients:

6 jalapenos
1 mango, diced
3 limes, juiced and zested*
¼ sweet onion, diced
2 tablespoons chopped lemon verbena (you can substitute lemon thyme, lemon grass or lemon zest)**
2 ounces silver tequila***
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt

* Click here for tips on zesting limes.
** Click here to learn how to properly clean lemon verbena.
*** Click here to see the approved kosher alcohol list.

Directions:

Preheat your grill or grill pan. Place the jalapenos on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until charred black. Allow jalapenos to cool. Once cooled, remove the stem and seeds. Combine the seeded and stemmed jalapenos and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Using the pulse control, process until almost smooth and combined. Rub steaks (or other protein) about one hour before grilling, using only enough to coat the steak. This recipe should be enough for about 4 steaks.

Purim Themed Cocktails

Please note, two important things before starting on these recipes. Firstly, if you have concerns regarding kosher alcohol, I suggest checking out the rather complete list published by the Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc). The list can be found on their website, or directly by clicking here. Secondly, and no less important, please remember to drink responsibly. Know your limit, and stay within it! If you have had too much to drink, please consider staying over at your host’s house, taking a cab or public transportation. Do not drink and drive.

Rise of MordechaiRise of Mordechai

This is a sparkling pomegranate margarita that celebrates the elevation of Mordechai from condemned man to hero of the Purim story. The pomegranate seeds will rise up on the bubbles from the sparkling water, just like Mordechai did!

Ingredients:

2 ounces Cointreau (or other orange liqueur)
1 ½ ounces Tequila
2 ounces pomegranate juice
2 ounce lime juice
1 ½ ounces simple syrup (see below for instructions)
coarse salt for the rim
lime + pomegranate seeds for garnish*
Sparkling water

* Click here for tips on seeding a pomegranate.

Directions:

For simple syrup: combine equal parts sugar and water, bring to a boil and let sugar dissolve, then turn off heat and let cool completely.

Rim the ridge of a large glass with a lime wedge and dip in salt. Fill the glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, Cointreau, pomegranate juice, simple syrup and lime juice with ice, and shake for about 30 seconds. Pour over ice and top off with cold sparkling water and a few extra lime slices. Add some pomegranate seeds for decoration.

Heart of HamanDark Heart of Haman

This drink takes on the dark colour of the blackberries and their tartness, just like Haman’s heart! The hint of sage, the “wise herb” adds to the vanity of Haman, who thought he was so smart! This syrup and puree will make enough for a couple of drinks. You’ll need about 6 ounces of sparkling water and 2 ounces of rum per serving.

Ingredients:

15 medium sage leaves*
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water
8 ounces of frozen blackberries*
Sparkling water
White Rum

* Click here for instructions on sage and blackberries.

Directions:

Bring the water and sugar to a boil over high heat just until sugar dissolves. Crush the sage leaves with the back of a spoon and add to the syrup mixture and set aside to let the sage infuse for 15 minutes and then remove the herbs.

Meanwhile puree the blackberries in the blender and then strain the mixture through a fine strainer.

To serve place a tablespoon of the blackberry puree in the bottom of a glass, add a tablespoon of the sage syrup, 2 ounces of rum and then top off with about ounces of sparkling water.

Esther's SecretEsther’s Secret

The heroine of the Purim story had many secrets… most famous though was her Jewish identity that she kept hidden until the time was right. This drink represents Esther, both in its beauty, and it’s hidden strength… it packs quite the punch!

Ingredients:

2 ounces rum
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce triple sec

Directions:

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the rum, sweet vermouth and triple sec. Shake for about 30 seconds and then pour into a chilled martini glass.

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.

Fajita Spice Mix

Fajita SeasoningA fajita is a term found in Tex-Mex cuisine, commonly referring to any grilled meat usually served as a taco on a flour or corn tortilla. The term originally referred to the cut of beef used in the dish which is known as skirt steak. Popular meats today also include chicken, pork, shrimp, and all cuts of beef. In restaurants, the meat is often cooked with onions and bell peppers. Popular condiments are shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, and tomato. The northern Mexican variant of the dish name is Arrachera.

So I call this a Fajita seasoning mix, but it can be used with tacos, chilies or anything that you want to give a south western flair to. You will notice the addition of two ingredients that may seem a bit out of place. First, there is the cocoa powder; you won’t taste it in the finished product, but the subtle chocolate flavour helps round out the other spices and notes of the blend. The second it the starch. I add this to help thicken, ever so slightly, the sauce/gravy that is created when using this blend, especially in fajitas or tacos. When it comes time to using the blend, other than as a dry rub, I suggest adding 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice (more to taste), 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon water. This will give you the slight saucy consistency you want.

This recipe will make about a cup of spice mix.

Ingredients:

¼ cup chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon corn starch/potato starch/flour

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container. Can be kept for one to six months (depending on how airtight your container is).

Spicy Black Bean Vegetable Soup

Spicy Black Bean SoupThis spicy soup definitely counts as eating healthy! With onion, green pepper, celery, carrots, corn and of course black beans, it has you on track for upping your veggie intake! This soup will serve 6-8 people.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups vegetable stock/chicken stock
3 (540ml) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (341ml) can whole kernel corn
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (796ml) can stewed tomatoes
Lemon/lime juice to serve

Directions:

In large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, green pepper and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add the chili powder, thyme and cumin; cook for about a minute, stirring occasionally so nothing burns. Add the stock, 1 ½ cans of the beans, corn, and pepper, and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, puree together tomatoes and remaining 1 ½ cans of beans. Add these to the pot. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve hot, with a quick squeeze of lemon/lime juice to each bowl.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
8 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups frozen corn kernels
1 15oz. can black beans, drained, but not rinsed
2 cups onion, diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 cups chunky salsa
8 corn tortillas cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup shredded non-dairy (parve) cheese, to serve (optional)
Non-dairy (parve) sour cream, to serve (optional)
Lime wedges, to serve (optional)

Directions:

In a large pot over medium heat, poach the chicken in the chicken broth. Once cooked through, remove the chicken from the broth, and set aside to allow it to become cool enough to handle. Strain the chicken broth to remove any impurities that may have accumulated while poaching the chicken.

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven (can be the same one you poached the chicken in), add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they become translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder and cumin and mix well, allowing the spices to become fragrant. Then add the broth, corn, beans, lime juice, and salsa. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. While the broth simmers, take the chicken that you have set aside, and using two forks, or your hands, shred the chicken. Add the chicken to the soup and let it simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.

While the broth mixture simmers, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet. Fry the tortilla strips in the hot oil until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Place half of the tortilla strips in the bottom of each bowl, and then serve the soup hot with the remaining tortilla strips on top, along with the options of the cheese and sour cream. Serves 8.