Friday, August 28, 2009

Party Like It's 5770 -- Jewish New Year Cocktail and Baked Brie

My latest cooking column is up on the j. weekly site.
It's Apples and Honey with a Twist ... a wonderful apple and honey flavored cocktail and an amazing baked brie appetizer with caramelized apples, honey and onions.

Party like its 5770 and enjoy these for the Jewish (or any) New Year.

You can find the recipes here.

Below are some further twists I came up with when I adapted these recipes from entrants from last year's Apples and Honey Cook Off sponsored by the Jews Next Dor, a young adults group affiliated with Congregation Beth David in Saratoga, CA. For more info on this year's contest and for more of their apples and honey recipes, check out the Jews Next Dor's blog .

For the cocktail: Dip the rim of the martini glass in lime juice and then in honey or agave nectar crystals. (If you can't find them, raw sugar would work, too.)

For the baked brie: Substitute balsamic vinegar for the wine when cooking the apples and onions.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eat Real

Live in the Bay area or visiting this weekend -- plan to stop by Oakland's Jack London Square (get there by bus, BART or ferry) for the Eat Real Festival. Sample the best of street food, local farmers and even tour the new Blue Bottle coffee roasting plant. More information here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hot Weather Favorites and a S'More Pudding

If you are looking for something that helps beat the heat, here's some recommendations from blog posts past:

Pictured is my raw (as in uncooked) mint and zucchini soup -- very cooling to eat and it won't heat up the kitchen.

This is a great time of year to make those light, rice paper wrapped Vietnamese spring rolls (sometimes called summer rolls or salad rolls). You can see my variation with lots of tips here.

Last summer I found this cold peanut noodle dish very appealing. And my version is lower in fat and calories than some.

If you don't mind a little grilling, try these miso-marinated vegetable kebabs.

I recently posted this BBQ Chicken and Vegetable Salad with BBQ Vinaigrette.

Need something cool for dessert? Try one of my sorbets, listed here. There's even directions for making some of them without an ice cream maker.

And what's summer without s'mores? I made a s'more pie awhile back -- here's the directions.
I know it's summertime and the oven is often off, so try this easy s'more pudding variation I came up with recently.

S'More Pudding

Graham cracker crumbs
Good quality chocolate pudding, homemade or bought (I used Trader Joe's Belgian chocolate pudding)
Jar of marshmallow fluff (also called marshmallow creme)

In a parfait glass or other tall glass (for individual servings) or a trifle or other clear glass bowl, sprinkle in a layer of graham cracker crumbs, top with a layer of chocolate pudding, then a layer of fluff, repeat as needed or desired, ending with a layer of fluff on top. If desired, use a kitchen gas torch (the kind you use for creme brulee) to lightly brown the top of the pudding(s).

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Spritz of Flavor -- Fun with Seltzer in the j.

My latest column is posted on the j. website -- Click here to read it. It's all about my love affair with seltzer with recipes for a classic New York egg cream, home-made ginger ale and celery soda.

I did a lot of research into the classic Dr. Brown's celery soda (once called a tonic) and found that there used to be scores of regional celery-flavored sodas including celery cherry, celery cola and celery creme. Today's Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray seems milder to the taste buds than the one my father used to knock back with his pastrami or corned beef sandwich at Katz's Deli. I don't know if they sweetened it for modern tastes or if a celery soda just seems wrong to a child with her more sensitive taste buds. If you like ginger ale, I think you'll like my celery soda. I hope you'll give it a try.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Salt on the Web

Salt is a topic I've given a lot of thought but haven't had a chance to write about yet.
Until then, read this excellent essay from Mimi Sheraton on salt and Jewish tradition and more.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Julie & Julia Food Drive Reminder

Dear Bay Area Readers,
Just a reminder that the Alameda County Food Bank will be holding a food drive at the Piedmont Cinemas on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland through Sunday 8/16 in conjunction with the showing of Julie & Julia. Free movie mini-posters to donors while supplies last.

Check out this post for background (and all the links).

P.S. Thanks to the Oakland Tribune for including a blurb about the food drive in its food section last week.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Follower Thank You

Thanks to Caitlin for selecting Blog Appetit to follow.
You can see what she is up to here.

Monday, August 03, 2009

BBQ Chicken + Salad = BBQ Chicken Salad

Photo to come

A good friend of mine has been asking for ideas for substantial salads to feed her teen-age son, who enjoys a good salad with some form of protein as a summer meal.

I promised I'd think about, but honestly, nothing special came to mind until I was out in the yard grilling some chicken for dinner. I had also made a wonderful crispy, crunchy salad for the meal full of raw vegetables and greens and a BBQ-sauce flavored vinaigrette to go with it. A light bulb went off in my head and I thought, here's a great salad for Sam!

So next time you are grilling chicken, make some extra and save it to toss into the salad and make extra salad to serve the next day with the chicken. I highly recommend the BBQ vinaigrette, but really any salad dressing (or even a balsamic vinegar) would work well.

BBQ Chicken

Grill the chicken however you'd like, or try my method:
Marinate chicken parts on the bone in lemon juice, vegetable oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and (optional) a tablespoon or so of either a BBQ rub spice mix or a tablespoon of liquid BBQ sauce.
Marinate, turning occasionally for 20 minutes or longer as desired.
Grill on medium high heat, basting occasionally with the left-over marinade. When the chicken is about cooked through, lower grill heat (or move chicken off to the side, away from coals) and brush with BBQ sauce. Flip and brush other side. Watch the chicken with sauce does not burn and continue grilling turning to cook in the bbq sauce until just cooked down to the bone (chicken should feel firm to the touch but still have some resiliency). Set aside for 10 minutes or so before serving so juices are reabsorbed. (The chicken will keep cooking as it sits so don't wait too long to pull it from the fire.)
Serve some for dinner the first night, reserve the rest for the main-course salad. (Remove skin and bones and shred.)

Crunchy Vegetable and Greens Salad

Make a salad full of hearty lettuces and vegetables that can stand up to the chicken and dressing.
I used mixed lettuces, string beans, cauliflower, carrots, green peppers, fresh, raw, corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, radishes and more in a salad bowl I had rubbed with garlic. Serve with the chicken as a side dish the first night. The second night (or for lunch the next day, mix in shredded chicken as a main course salad. Serve both days with BBQ vinaigrette or other dressing. (Note, if you are making extra salad for the next day, put some aside "naked" and do NOT add the salad dressing until just before serving then.)

BBQ Vinaigrette

You could add a tablespoon or two of your favorite BBQ sauce to your favorite vinaigrette dressing or you could try my variation here.

Use about 1/4 cup oil olive and 1/4 cup white wine vinegar. Add a tablespoon or two of BBQ sauce and pinches of salt, pepper and dried oregano. Stir well, taste and adjust. For a heartier BBQ flavor use two or more tablespoons of sauce.