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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Pickling Time and Chunking Kale

koolkosherkitchen

A distressed mother barges into a Rabbi’s study:

“Rabbi, my son has gone meshuge (crazy)!”

“Calm down, lady, have you taken him to a specialist? What makes you think that?”

“Specialist-shmeshalist! Who needs specialists? I am a mother, I know!”

“But, dear lady, what does he do?”

“Oy, Rabbi, he eats pigs and dances with girls!”

“Listen,” – says the Rabbi with a sigh, – “If it were the other way around, that is, if he were dancing with pigs and eating girls, you would have a cause to worry. As it is, he is young and is simply going through a stage.”

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Unfortunately, even the great Salvador Dali could not come up with a way of pickling time or preserving it in any other way. Therefore, we’ll have to listen to the Rabbi and do it “the other way around.” We’ll pickle kale, and we’ll let a…

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“All You Need Is Love” – Zoodles, Part 3. Toodles.

koolkosherkitchen

You’ve heard all kinds of jokes about Jewish Time. It is tacitly assumed that “standard Jewish time” is about thirty minutes later than regular time. For instance, if an invitation is issued for, say, three o’clock in the afternoon, it’s a good idea to clarify whether you are expected there on time or on standard Jewish time, otherwise you risk catching your hosts still putting on finishing touches. King Solomon, the wisest man on Earth, remarked, “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. There is nothing new under the sun” (Koheles, Chapter 1). Throughout the ages, philosophers of many different cultures interpreted this statement as either the Oedipal vision of fate – what will be, shall be, no matter what we do – or the linear ascent in pursuit of – well, whatever one…

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Pyshka – Sweet Roll and a Baby Kitten

koolkosherkitchen

Pyshka is a sweet roll, baked or deep-fried, with or without filling, made with yeast or as a quick bread, i.e. yeast-less. Sort of a Russian doughnut with a Polish name (most sources derive the name from Polish pączek  – sweet roll). Another theory attributes the name to Russian pykchat’ which is archaic for deep-frying, but since the method of deep-frying was not discovered in Russia until 1835 (www.pekari.ru), while pyshki had been frequent already on Ivan the Terrible’s table three hundred years earlier, as recorded in the palace kitchen accounts, this one does not hold water. Neither does the legend about a Dutch captain Gregory Hanson (is that a Dutch name? Curious!) who never let a sweet roll out of his hand until one day, during a violent storm, the waters were so turbulent that he had to grab the wheel with both hands, so he pinned the…

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Unfair Trade: Muffins for Tobacco

koolkosherkitchen

Are muffins bread? Are they cakes? Are they supposed to be eaten for breakfast, lunch, snack, dessert, or all of the above?

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Are muffins really cupcakes without frosting? Thomas Jefferson thought so, and called muffins “a luxury to us.” Today, you can get a recipe for Monticello Muffins at www.monticello.org.  But those are not American muffins, tall, soft inside, but with a crispy crust. They are English muffins, yeast-based and flat. Still, in the colonies, they were a novelty and a luxury.  In England, though, they probably arrived from Wells together with the most miserly and avaricious, as well as the most unlikely king who won the throne by defeating King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Poor Richard, much maligned in history, hadn’t been able to trade his kingdom for a horse and ended up forfeiting the crown together with life.

Henry Tudor, or Harri Tudur

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Cauliflower Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce

The Friendly Epicurean

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This summer I’m trying to eat as little processed food as I can. I’ve been trying to stick with whole food meals made at home. I love to use cauliflower because it’s so versatile. I roasted my cauliflower steaks for this recipe but you could also pan fry them or grill them. Since I eat a lot of cauliflower, I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. To make cauliflower ‘steaks’, I cut my cauliflower into 3/4 inch slices. Using a large head of cauliflower makes it easier. It’s also important not to separate or cut the stalk, since the stalk is what holds the cauliflower steak together. Cauliflower steaks are a great meat substitute, much like portobello mushroom caps. Chimichurri sauce pairs really well with cauliflower steaks. It’s traditionally used as a condiment for beef steak and other meat in certain South American countries but goes well with…

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Purple Cake for a Purple Friend

koolkosherkitchen

Although Roman Emperor Aurelian was a great military commander and “Restorer of the World” (Restitutor Orbis), he was far from generous with his wife. Having “restored” the world by conquering vast territories and defeating armies of those who foolishly refused to be conquered,  he still begrudged Lady Ulpia a trifle – Tyrian purple silk shawl. Granted, the shawl literally cost its weight in gold because purple dye was made from a tiny mollusk found only in the Tyre region of the Mediterranean Sea (now in Lebanon), and it took about nine thousands of those critters to produce one gram of purple dye!

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The skinflint ruler undoubtedly could’ve afforded this bit of extravagance for Mrs. Emperor, but very few other people were rich enough to buy even a purple tassel or ribbon. Color purple became a mark of extraordinary wealth and stayed that way for many centuries.

elizabeth

Thirteen hundred…

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