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Archive for Purim

TIP OF THE DAY: Spring Peas, Use ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em

Green Pea Potstickers

Spring Peas

Edamame

Spring Tartine

[1] Recipe #1, Spring pea dumplings (photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog. [2] Spring peas (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [3] Edamame (photo courtesy Burpee). [4] Recipe #2, a tartine (open face sandwich) with spring peas and other spring ingredients from Chef Alain Ducasse (photo courtesy All My Chefs).

 

Spring pea season is fleeting. Enjoy as much of the tender green nuggets as you can: raw in salads or for snacking; or lightly steamed in recipes.

Spring peas are also known as English peas and garden peas.

At breakfast—the meal least likely to include spring peas—you can use them to garnish eggs, avocado toast, or a bagel with cream cheese.

You can toss raw or cooked peas into plain Greek yogurt. Use them as a garnish, or mash them and stir them in as you would preserves.

Moving on to snacks and appetizers: Here are three tasty recipes for appetizers, first courses or snacking. For a special main course, check out this innovative approach to surf and turf: Squid With Bacon & Spring Peas.

Here are more ways to use spring peas, and the history of peas.
 
 
RECIPE #1: SPRING PEA OR EDAMAME POTSTICKERS

Hannah Kaminsky adapted her easy edamame potstickers recipe to showcase spring peas. She mixes the legumes with hummus for extra protein, although you can skip the hummus and just fill the dumplings with peas).

Hannah notes:

“General folding advice still stands as a good guideline to follow when wrapping things up, but once you get those papery thin skins to stick, you’re pretty much golden.

If you’re less confident in your dumpling prowess, cut yourself a break and fold square dumpling wrappers in half instead. You’ll still get neat little triangles.”

If celebrate Purim, you can serve these as savory Haman’s Hats.

Ingredients For 15 Dumplings

  • 1 cup shelled spring peas or edamame
  • 1/3 cup edamame/pea hummus (mash them into regular hummus, to taste)
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce, plus more for dipping
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Savoy cabbage
  • 15 (3-inch) round wonton skins or gyoza wrappers*
  •  
    Plus

  • Steaming basket or rack
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SET UP the steaming apparatus: Line a bamboo steamer or metal steam rack with leaves of savoy cabbage to prevent the dumplings from sticking to the bottom (and eat it afterward). Place the steamer in a large pot with water and heat the water to boiling; then reduce to simmering. Meanwhile…

    2. MIX together the shelled edamame, hummus, scallion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cumin, stirring thoroughly. Lay the dumpling wrappers on your work surface and place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each. Run a lightly moistened finger around the entire perimeter and bring the sides together, forming a triangle. Tightly crimp the corners together with a firm pinch.

    3. PLACE the dumplings on the cabbage leaves and cover the steamer or pot. Steam for 2 to 4 minutes, until the wrappers are translucent. Serve immediately, with additional soy sauce for dipping if desired.

    ________________

    *You can typically find these either in the produce section near the tofu, or in the freezer aisle with other Asian ingredients.
     
    RECIPE #2: SPRING TARTINE

    This recipe, courtesy of All My Chefs, is from the great Alain Ducasse.

    It requires no particular cooking technique…or even cooking, except for blanching the asparagus and green beans. Otherwise, you just slice and assemble.

    Serve them as a snack, a first course, or with a glass of wine.

    Here’s more about tartines, French for open-face sandwiches.

    This recipe was originally published in “Nature By Alain Ducasse” (Éditions Alain Ducasse).

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 16 small green asparagus
  • A good handful† peas
  • About 10 radishes, washed and peeled
  • 1/4 fennel bulb, rinsed
  • About 20 cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved
  • A handful wild arugula, rinsed, patted dry, stalks removed (you can save them for salads)
  • 4 slices multigrain or whole wheat bread
  • 5-1/2 ounces (100g) Saint-Moret** or similar cream cheese
  • 1-1/2 ounces (40g) grated parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt or flake salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING a saucepan of salted water to a boil, and prepare a bowl with water and ice cubes.

    2. CUT the tips of the asparagus into approximately 2 inch (5-6 cm) pieces. Rinse and immerse in the boiling water with the peas.

    3. DRAIN and immediately plunge them into the ice water to keep their color. Leave for 2 minutes, then drain with a slotted spoon and lay on a dry tea towel. (TIP: We put the vegetables into a strainer. It’s easy to lift the strainer to drain, then plunge it into the ice bath.)

    4. SLICE thee radishes into fine rounds (about 3 mm) with a mandoline (we used a knife). Slice the fennel into thin slivers of the same size.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Spread the bread with cream cheese and arrange the vegetables on top. Sprinkle with parmesan, a bit of crunchy salt and some pepper.

    ________________

    **Saint-Môret is the leading natural fresh cheese in France. While it has a different flavor and texture from American cream cheese, it is the closest comparison. We actually used spreadable goat cheese: We love the extra tang.

     

    RECIPE #3: SPRING PEAS & BURRATA SALAD

    We adapted this recipe from Julie Andrews, The Gourmet RD. It takes just 10 minutes to prep. We could eat it every day.

    Her recipe uses sugar snap peas. We added spring peas as well.

    You can eat the pods (shells) of sugar snap peas, but it depends on the age of the pea. Older sugar snap peas tend to be more fibrous, making the pod hard to chew. Eat one, then decide.

    Unlike sugar snap peas or snow peas, the fibrous pods of English peas cannot be eaten—although they can be saved and used in a vegetable stock (freeze until needed).

    TIPS:

  • Shell spring peas immediately before cooking. Break off the stem and pull the fibrous string down the length of the pod.
  • If you can’t find burrata (we get ours at Trader Joe’s), use a mozzarella ball. And…we serve 1/2 ball with each salad.
  • If you have fresh tarragon on hand, toss in some leaves.
  • As a change, we like to substitute balsamic vinegar for the honey.
  •  
    Ingredients For 4 First Courses

  • 1 medium lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cups fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed, strings removed
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed
  • 1 cup carrots (thinly sliced
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 ball burrata (substitute fresh mozzarella)
  • 1/2 cups pistachios (roughly chopped
  • For serving: toasted sourdough bread
  •  
    Preparation

     

    Spring Peas Salad

    Burrata

    [5] Recipe #3: burrata salad—note that you can’t eat the shells of spring peas (photo courtesy The Gourmet RD). [6] Be prepared when you cut open a burrata: The creamy insides will spill out (photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese).

     
    1. WHISK together fresh lemon zest and juice, honey, olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as necessary.

    2. ADD the peas, green beans, carrots, arugula, basil and mint to the bowl, and toss with the dressing.

    3. QUARTER or halve the ball of burrata and arrange on a platter. Top with salad, sprinkle with additional coarse salt and ground black pepper, and garnish with pistachios.
     
     
    MORE BURRATA

    Here are two more burrata salad recipes and a dessert burrata recipe.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Potato Latkes & Beyond

    Classic Latkes

    Potato Pancakes

    Potato Cauliflower Latkes

    Latke Smoked Salmon Caviar

    [1] Nana’s latkes, served with applesauce and sour cream (photo courtesy Melissa’s).[2] A more elegant presentation (from Anne Fruart via Vermont Creamery. [3] Mix it up: potato latkes with cauliflower from Idaho Potatoes (recipe at right). [4] Our personal heaven: latkes with smoked salmon, caviar, filled sour cream and a bit of chive (photo courtesy Diva Eats World).

     

    You might prefer the parting of the Red Sea, the when God delivered the 10 Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, or Passover, when 10 plagues passed over the households of the children of Israel and wreaked havoc on all others, culminating in the Exodus, freedom from slavery.

    But our favorite Hebrew miracle is the Chanukah lamp oil. resulting in the Festival of Lights. It commemorates the miracle of a temple lamp (menorah) which had enough purified the oil for one day. It would take a week to make more purified oil. But a miracle occurred: After the the menorah was lit, the flames burned for eight days—by which time new vats of purified oil were ready.

    Why is it our favorite Jewish holiday? It comes with fried food, commemorating the lamp oil. That includes latkes, fried potato pancakes.

    THE HISTORY OF LATKES

    The popular potato latkes of European Jewish cuisine descend from Sicilian ricotta pancakes that appeared in the Middle Ages. They traveled north to Roman, where the Jewry called them cassola. Here’s a recipe for ricotta latkes. Traditionally sweetened, you can make a savory version with herbs instead of sugar.

    Potato latkes (meaning “fried cakes” in Yiddish) are an Ashkenazi invention that gained popularity in Eastern Europe during the mid 1800s.

    While the ricotta pancakes, a cousin to cheese blintzes are delicious, our bet is that most people would rather have fried potatoes!

    Here’s a longer history of latkes in Idaho Potato (photo #3).

    RECIPE #1: POTATO, ONION & CAULIFLOWER LATKES

    In addition to varying the latke ingredients, you can try different condiments. We made a curry-yogurt dip for these.

    Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 4 Idaho baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Topping (see below)
     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the cauliflower florets in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times until it resembles a rice texture. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

    2. ADD the onion to the food processor and pulse a few times until it is very finely chopped; add to the mixing bowl.

    3. REPLACE the steel blade with a shredding blade or attachment and feed the potato pieces through the tube until all are shredded. Add to the mixing bowl.

    4. ADD the eggs, flour, salt, pepper and parsley to the bowl and combine thoroughly. If liquid begins to accumulate at the bottom, remove with a spoon.

    5. HEAT the oil in a large skillet or cast iron pan and add scoopfuls of the mixture to form pancakes. Fry for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with sour cream, Greek yogurt or other garnish of choice.

  •  

    FOR THE TOPPING

    You can serve more than one topping. Our mom always served sour cream and her homemade applesauce (as did her mom); but this is another century. Try fusion seasonings, go crazy (within reason) with toppings like cardamom applesauce, curried Greek yogurt or 3-herb sour cream.

  • Dairy: crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, sour cream
  • Fruit sauce: apple sauce, cranberry sauce
  • Salsa (corn, corn and bean or tomato)
  • Poached egg (for a main course)
  • Gourmet: smoked salmon and salmon caviar (or other roe)
  •  
    Plus

  • Chopped fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, thyme
  • Mesclun salad
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables, ratatouille or other vegetable medley
  • Pesto
  • Asian slaw (no mayo), cucumber salad, carrot-raisin salad, etc.
  •  

    BEYOND POTATO LATKES

    And here’s an even more veg-centric recipe from Good Eggs: the classic potato-onion combination with parsnips, carrots and leeks.

    And for beet lovers, there are (drum roll) beet latkes. Try them now or save them for Valentine’s Day. Serve them Russian style with fresh dill and sour cream.

    You can also make parsnip-centric latkes, carrot and raisin latkes: Go wherever your palate takes you.

    Want cheese with your latkes? Start with this recipe for Ginger Pancakes With Herbed Goat Cheese by Najwa Kronfel of Delicious Shots.

    RECIPE #2: VEGETABLE LATKES

    In photo #5, these latkes are paired with a crunchy Asian slaw.

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1 white onion, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • ¾ pounds parsnip, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2 leeks, white and pale green parts cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Canola oil
  • Coarse salt
  •  
    Toppings

  • Arugula pesto
  • Apple sauce
  • Crème fraîche
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the peeled potatoes and onions in a big bowl; mix with your hands. In another bowl, combine the peeled parsnips, leeks and carrots.

    2. SQUEEZE the excess liquid out of the potato-onion mixture, using your hands, a clean kitchen towel, cheesecloth or your hands. (We use a large strainer and press down the mixture.). Place in a separate bowl and add the eggs, a few big pinches of salt and flour—again mixing with your hands. Form patties about 3 inches in diameter and just shy of an inch thick. Do the same for the parsnip mixture.

    3. ADD oil to a large skillet, until it’s about ¼-inch deep. Heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the first batch of latkes, leaving plenty of room between each of them. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side until they’re a deep golden brown on each side, and fully cooked through.

    4. DRAIN: Place the latkes on a platter or in a baking sheet/dish covered in paper towels and sprinkle with flakey salt immediately. Keep the latkes warm in an oven set to very low. Repeat until you’ve cooked all of the latkes.

     

    Latkes With Slaw

    Beet Latkes

    Carrot Latkes

    [5] Latkes with four different veggies and a side of Asian slaw, from Good Eggs (recipe at left). [6] Beet latkes from Williams-Sonoma. Here’s the recipe. [7] Carrot latkes from Elana’s Pantry.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Poppyseed Pockets

    Last night at sunset, the Jewish holiday of Purim began. As recounted in the Old Testament’s Book Of Esther, it commemorates the saving of the Jewish people in 5th century B.C.E. Persia from a plot by Hamen, advisor to the king, to annihilate them in a single day. (Here’s the whole story.)

    Traditional foods are part of the celebration, the most famous of which is hamentaschen.

    The name means “Hamen’s pockets” (the singular is hamentasch).

    A three-cornered filled cookie, named after the tricorner hat worn by Haman. It is created by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough, with filling placed in the center. Traditional fillings are poppy seed, prune, date, apricot, and fruit preserves. Of course, modern bakers have increased the appeal by using chocolate, dulce de leche and sweetened cheese.

    You don’t have to celebrate Purim to bake a batch. You can make a traditional hamentashen recipe, or try the modern version below. The cookies are round instead of triangular, and cream cheese is added to the traditional poppyseed filling.

       

    poppyseed-pockets-goboldwithbutter-230

    Poppy pockets are a spin on traditional hamentaschen. Photo and recipe courtesy GoBoldWithButter.

     
    RECIPE: POPPYSEED POCKETS

    Ingredients For 3 Dozen Cookies

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2-3/4 cups flour
  • 1 12.5-ounce can poppy seed filling*
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  •  
    *You can find it online if your local supermarket doesn’t have it.

     

    poppyseed-filling-solo-230

    Buy poppyseed filling in the can. You can find
    it in supermarkets or online. Photo courtesy Solo.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer; mix until well combined. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and vanilla; mix to combine.

    2. SLOWLY ADD the flour and mix just until thoroughly incorporated. Remove the dough and divide it into four equal parts. Flatten each into a round disc and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. On a well-floured surface, roll out one packet of dough at a time, to about 1/8-inch thick. Using a 2-inch, round cookie cutter, cut circles from the dough and transfer half of the circles to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Reserve the remaining circles to use as tops for each cookie. Re-roll and cut any remaining dough scraps.

    4. PLACE 1 teaspoon of poppy seed filling in the center of each dough circle. Dip the tip of your finger or a small pastry brush in water and lightly brush water around the edge of each filled circle. Quickly cover each with a reserved dough circle top and use the tines of a fork to gently crimp the edges of the two circles together. Cut an “X” into the top of each cookie with tip of a sharp knife.

     
    5. BAKE 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies just start to turn golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and dust generously with confectioners’ sugar. Let the cookies cool on baking sheets for 3 to 4 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
     
    WHAT ELSE TO DO WITH POPPYSEED FILLING

    Solo Foods, producers of the most prominent brand in the U.S., has recipes for:

  • Bread: muffins, quick breads, yeast breads
  • Candy: fudge, truffles
  • Desserts: custards, mousse, puddings, trifles
  • Savory: barbecue sauce, chicken Kiev, chicken wings, kebab sauce
  • Sweet baked goods: bundts, brownies and bars, cake and cheesecake, cookies, cupcakes,
    frostings/icings, pie/pastry, tarts
  •  
    Check them out at SoloFoods.com. Our personal favorite: poppyseed yeast cake (coffee cake).

    UPDATE:

    Reader Cheryl Olenczak writes that it’s easy to make homemade poppyseed filling and avoid the additives in commercial brands. She uses a recipe submitted by Hepzibah to AllRecipes.com, substituting butter for the margarine.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes Ready In: 1 Hour

    RECIPE: HUNGARIAN POPPY SEED FILLING

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound poppy seeds
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  •  
    Preparation

    1. GRIND the poppy seeds in a mill or coffee grinder.

    2. COMBINE the milk, butter/margarine and sugar in a saucepan. Cook on low heat, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Gradually pour about half of the hot milk mixture into the beaten eggs, whisking constantly.

    3. RETURN the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a metal spoon. (Run your finger down the coated spoon: it should draw a clear line.) Add the poppy seeds and stir well to blend.

    4. REMOVE from the heat; cool before using. Store unused filling in the refrigerator for up to five days.
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Hamantaschen For Purim

    hamantaschen-230L

    Make hamentaschen this weekend. Photo
    courtesy Zabars.com.

    You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy hamantaschen (also spelled hamentaschen), the traditional tri-corned cookie that celebrates the Jewish holiday of Purim. This year it’s celebrated from February 28th through March 1st.

    The story of Purim, as told in the Bible’s Book of Esther, tells of the deliverance of the Jewish people from an annihilation plot of the Persian king Haman, who wore a tri-corner hat (hence the shape of the cookies, the name of which translates into “Haman’s pockets”).

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    NEW PRODUCTS: Purim & Hamentashen

    The story of the Jewish holiday of Purim, as told in the Bible’s Book of Esther, tells of the deliverance of the Jewish people from an annihilation plot of the Persian king Haman. Like most Jewish holidays, this one has its traditional food, hamentashen (also spelled hamantashen), which means “Haman’s pockets” in Yiddish. Hamentashen is a triangular-shaped pastry with a cookie-like dough, not particularly sweet, originally filled with a sweetened poppy seed or prune paste. Today hamentashen is made with a variety of fillings to please modern palates. You can order a gift bucket of Exceptional Hamentashen from Claire Saueroff, award-winning baker of the Exceptional Brownie (read our review), in an assortment that includes Awesome Apricot, Puckered Prune, Rockin’ Raspberry and Poppy’s Poppy (Claire recognizes that some diets preclude poppy—it’s our favorite). There are also chocolate-dipped varieties. You’ll get approximately two dozen hamentashen to enjoy with a nice cup of tea (black tea, please—find some of our favorites in the Tea Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine).   Hamantashen
    You can’t steal Ben Stein’s money, but you can take a bite out of Haman’s pockets (that’s what hamentashen means).
    The hamentashen are kosher, of course (OU Parve). But if you’re not kosher, not Jewish, and/or have never had a good piece of hamentashen (there are plenty of questionable pieces out there), here’s a good place to start. This year, Purim is celebrated on Friday, March 21; but you don’t have to wait until then to start nibbling on the hamentashen.
    – Purchase Exceptional Hamentaschen at TheExceptionalBrownie.com.
    – A half gallon in a reusable white bucket, shown, is $45.00. Gift boxes are available from $25.00.
    – Read what what happened to King Haman and see him immortalized on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.
    – Find more delicious kosher products in the Kosher Nibbles section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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