Mouhalabiyeh – Levantine Milk Pudding

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Dreamy mouhalabiyeh, a creamy and aromatic pudding flavored with orange blossom, rose, pistachios, and honey. This was one of my favorite desserts as a child and it always brings back festive memories. Such as many Levantine sweets native to Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey, this custard-like pudding is characterized by the combination of dairy and orange and rose extracts. The pistachios are another component to the recipe rather than simply a topping. And the final result is absolutely lush. I find that this is a great dessert to make ahead of a dinner party – and one sure to make an impression.

INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 4

4 cups milk
1/3 cup fresh cream (heavy whipping cream) or more milk
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon rose water
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
honey, for topping
pistachios, chopped, for topping

METHOD

Simmer 4 cups of milk and sugar in a…

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Raspberry meringue roulade

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Raspberry meringue roulade

I’ve seen recipes for meringue roulades over the years, but assumed they were well beyond my baking abilities. My efforts to produce a passable Swiss roll were hardly confidence building.

But finding myself with a quantity of egg whites that needed using, I decided to give it a go.

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Exceedingly Flavorful Chaos – Baked Wontons

koolkosherkitchen

“Where are the hornless dragons which carry bears on their backs for sport? Where is the great serpent with nine heads and where is the Shu-Hu?” (Zhuangzi ca. 3rd-2nd centuries BCE).

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The dragon, it seems, is right here, but both Shu and Hu have gone visiting. Their host is none other than Mr Chaos, as Confucius scathingly calls him, otherwise known as Hundun, Hun-Tun, Wantan, or  – you got it! – Wonton. It all depends on your Chinese pronunciation, Beautiful People.

“The emperor of the South Sea was called Shu [Brief], the emperor of the North Sea was called Hu [Sudden], and the emperor of the central region was called Hun-tun [Chaos]. Shu and Hu from time to time came together for a meeting in the territory of Hun-tun, and Hun-tun treated them very generously. Shu and Hu discussed how they could repay his kindness. “All men,” they said…

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Roast Duck with Winter Vegetables

The Domestic Man

Guess what? It’s getting noticeably cooler here in Virginia, which means it’s just about roasting weather. I love making roast dishes once the temperatures dip, because it’s an easy (and aromatic) way to warm up the kitchen during chilly weather. In truth, I developed this dish a few months ago, when I was working on a particular chapter for my upcoming cookbook, but decided to hold off on sharing this recipe until we had appropriate weather.

Roasting duck can be daunting. I know this because I spent the first 30 years of my life not roasting any ducks, because it seemed like an intimidating bird to cook (although to be fair, I wasn’t roasting much of anything during the first 16 years of my life). Turns out roasting duck is in many ways more appealing than roasting chicken, because a) the whole duck could basically be classified as “dark meat”…

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Gypsy soup

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gypsy soup

I’ve been making gypsy soup for many years. I have no idea why the Moosewood cookbook calls it “gypsy soup”, or what it means by “a spiced and delectable brew of Spanish and Dickensonian origins”.

Is it a reference to Linda Dickinson, one of the thirty-odd “Moosewood people” credited at the front? Or a  mis-spelling of “Dickensian”? (Though what this soup has to do with Victorian England, social commentary, or sentimentality is anyone’s guess.)

Perhaps it refers to the length of the ingredients list?

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Florentine Salad

koolkosherkitchen

This is a combination of two salads. Years ago in Israel, my aunt served a simple, yet delicious and healthy salad. It was just thinly sliced celery with diced scallions, dressed Israeli style, with lemon juice and olive oil. I loved it, and started making it regularly. Then I saw one of the antipasti offered at Hosteria Romana owned by our friend Marco Efrati right here on South Beach (caution: Hosteria Romana is advertised as specializing in Roman-Jewish meals, but it is not kosher). This antipasto consisted of celery, red onions, and cannellini beans.

ofi_0010The stocky jolly guy standing under the sign is Marco. We can’t eat there, obviously, but I can look, and when I see cannellini (white kidney beans), I can taste Florence. So I put two and two together and tweaked it a little.

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I still have my sliced celery and diced scallions, but  I throw…

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Waldorf salad

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waldorf salad

I first learned of the existence of Waldorf salad from Fawlty Towers. Like Basil, I had no idea what it was:

Customer: “Could you make me a Waldorf salad?”
Basil: “Waldorf salad. I think we’re just out of Waldorfs.”

But by the end of the episode – unlike Basil – I was pretty clear on how to make one:

Customer: “No! No cheese! It’s celery, apples, walnuts, grapes!”
Basil: “Right!”
Customer: “In mayonnaise!”
Basil: “Right!”

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