Monthly Archives: August 2016

Pan Seared Tuna Steaks

Pan Seared Tuna Steaks

Please excuse the double posting of this recipe.

For some reason, I posted this recipe today, but, rather than posting with today’s date, it backdated it.

In the past, when this occurred, it caused an error message.

So, I am posting it again, in an attempt to help fix the error.

Just in case, this is the link to the post that accidentally was backdated:

http://wp.me/p3GhIj-Jn

During the 9 Days, I learned how to cook fresh tuna steaks successfully for the first time.

In the past, I have only rarely tried to make fresh tuna. And, the few times when I did, it came out very dry and without flavor.

This time, I searched online for how to cook fresh tuna.

I think that it really helped me to understand how to cook fresh tuna better.

In addition, I used the stovetop grill on our new stove. Everything tastes better grilled on cast iron.

This recipe is based on the sites that I found, and the links are posted below.

According to what I read online, the key to grilling fresh tuna is to only cook it for 4-6 minutes per 1/2 inch stake.

Since I was concerned about over cooking it, I only cooked it for 4 minutes per side.

I have discovered that cooking tuna is a little like cooking a medium steak: you want to have a layer of pink inside.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon fennel

1 tablespoon coriander

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Lemon juice

Spray oil

Instructions

Blend spices together. I do not have a mortar and pestle so I used a wooden rolling pin and crushed the spices.

Heat grill on high. Spray oil the grill. When hot, place fish on grill, 4 minutes per side.

When done, add lemon juice and fresh herbs.

I set the timer for 4 minutes and I really think that’s what made the difference. Rather than guessing, it made it more precise and hopefully more predictable outcome.

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Seasoning the tuna before cooking

 

 

Cooking the first side on the griddle

Cooking the first side on the griddle

Successfully flipped over and cooking the second side.

Successfully flipped over and cooking the second side.

Voila! The final product.

Voila! The final product.

Success!

My husband said, “This is fantastic! You totally nailed it!”

He also said, “This is the most perfect way to grill tuna.”

A ringing endorsement. This recipe is definitely husband approved.


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Enjoy!

References:

This was where I learned how to cook fresh tuna and where I got the recipe from:

http://www.bhg.com/recipes/fish/basics/how-to-cook-tuna/

http://www.jamieoliver.com/videos/how-to-cook-tuna-steak-jamie-oliver/#K1iHiohobdmYK6yH.97

 

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Semi – Off Topic: Life In The City For A Food Blogger 

This is one of those posts which straddles the line between food and non-food. My original intent was to post this just for fun. 

This past week I spent a morning in “The City.” 

For those of you who may not know, “The City” refers the New York City or Manhattan.  

I am always amused by the hubris of referring to NYC as “The City,” as someone who comes from a city as well. But, it is all part of the charm. 

If you can make it here, you can make it any where.🎶🎶

Since I traveled by public transportation, I had a chance to “stop and smell the roses” and enjoy the scenery. 

Here are pictures of what I enjoyed.

Urban Art — too funny to not post.

I love doors. I thought this one was beautiful.

The power of positive thinking, even at a bar.

Visualizing the positive.

Great combination! Yum!

This is an adorable tea shop. I love the architecture.

I love flowers.

Beautiful landscaping amidst all the concrete.

More flowers.

Real food for thought.

It was a beautiful day and so nice to be able to walk around and enjoy the view.

As I was about to post about my New York experience, my friend, Nechi, sent me a text about her New York experience this week.

While she was in Manhattan, there was a man sitting on the sidewalk along 6th Avenue, collecting money. He was holding up a sign “waiting for a miracle.”

Somehow, Nechi felt compelled to go up to the young man and speak to him. 

She looked at the man straight into his eyes and told him, “don’t wait for a miracle, you are the miracle! You woke this morning, you can breathe, you are not in the hospital, you are a capable young man, you are the miracle! ”

The young man held her gaze and said, “you’re right.”

All Nechi could say afterwards was, “I hope I made a change in someone’s life today.”

New York is such a city of contrasts. 

Broiled Salmon

During the 9 Days, which just passed, we do not eat meat or poultry.

Instead, fish becomes a staple.

This recipe for salmon is my “go to and tried and true standby.” 

It’s simple, fast and easy, with a touch of elegance. 

Ingredients 

Salmon fillets or salmon stakes

Pepper

Garlic 

Lemon and/or lime zest

Lemon and/or lime, juiced

Optional: fresh crushed garlic 

Optional: chopped fresh herbs

Instructions 

Rinse fish and place on tray. Sprinkle pepper and garlic to taste.

Broil until done.

Zest and juice a lemon and if using a lime. While fish is still warm, pour zest and lemon and/or lime juice over fish.

Voila! Fast, easy, all natural fish with a gourmet touch.

Here are the pictures:

fish on tray with spices

lemon zest and fresh squeezed lemon juice

final product. My husband liked it so much, he took a bite before I could take a picture.

This recipe is a hit every time! 

Needless to say, it was gone by the next day.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Tofu Napoleon — Joint Post

Zucchini Tofu Napoleon

The blogging world has opened up so many new culinary opportunities.

The beauty of blogging is that I get to virtually visit the kitchens of people all over the world and then adapt the recipes to suite my family’s taste. Hence, I recently posted a recipe which I called Lentils Napoleon. Here is the link: https://cookingforthetimechallenged.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/lentils-napoleon/

I adapted the recipe based on The Eggplant Napoleon recipe posted by Dolly, who is behind the apron of koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com.

Here is the link to her wonderful blog: https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/

Here is the link for her post on Eggplant Napoleon:

https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/eggplant-napoleon/

However, I must apologize for an inadvertent culinary faux pas: Lentils Napoleon is really a misnomer.

Through this joint post, I have learned that my lentil dish should have been named Lentils with Cumin and Sumac.

And, how did I learn this?

Because Dolly, who is a dedicated teacher, kindly reminded me that “Napoleon” really refers to anything baked in thin layers interspersed with something creamy.

My lentil dish was certainly not that. I simply liked the spices she used and thought I would use lentils instead.

BUT, my malapropism has led to this current hands-on learning experience.  Dolly is a genuine educator: she suggested that we do a joint post on a “real” Lentils Napoleon.

Our goal is to post as simultaneously as possible both of our recipes, using the culinary concept of layering vegetables interspersed with something creamy, the real culinary definition of Napoleon-style dishes.

Here is the link to Dolly’s post on Beets and Beans Napoleon. I am sorry but I don’t know how to make a short link:

Beets and Beans Napoleon – koolkosherkitchen

https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/beets-and-beans-napoleon/

For me, this has been a real opportunity to see how unique we all are.  We infuse our own special spark into everything we do.

Our own special spark

Raizel’s painting from camp.

Based on a more careful reading of Dolly’s post, and some online research, I discovered that Wolfgang Puck, the original creator of Beets Napoleon, used goat cheese between layers of beets.

For this post, I decided to use thinly sliced zucchini between a tofu-lentil creamy layer.  I thought that tofu, with a dash of vinegar, would recreate a more goat cheese-like texture. In addition, I had run out of lentils, and I didn’t feel like shopping for more.

Raizel was my hands-on helper in this activity. She came home from camp this week, and was very excited when I suggested we make this dish for our joint post.

Raizel helped with the actual cooking, and she also took some of the photos. Raizel has a unique gift for coming up with recipes that are often quite good. But, photography is one of her passions; and of course, she loved using my phone as a camera!

Lentil-Tofu Napoleon

Ingredients:

For Tofu-Lentil Layer:

1 lbs. firm tofu

Spice mix:

1 tablespoon garlic salt

1-2 teaspoons garlic power

1 teaspoon pepper, and cumin

½ teaspoon coriander, and sumac

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Optional: fresh cilantro

Optional: Leftover Napoleon Lentils

Vinegar to taste, in order to get a slightly tangy taste for the tofu. I used red wine vinegar, but I think that apple cider vinegar would be good too.

Vegetable Layer:

3 Zucchini, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

Lentil Tofu Creamy layer: Slice the tofu about 5 mm thick and sprinkle spices on top. Spray oil grill, and cook the tofu until done.

I took the leftover lentils from when I first posted the recipe and pureed it together with the tofu and added the vinegar.

The vinegar gives it a nice tang and a creamy texture.

Then I adjusted the seasoning.

Raizel said, “It looks terrible but it tastes great.”

Vegetable layer: Slice the zucchini is thin slices. I have a wonderful compact grater/slicer that I used. It is very sharp and is able to slice 2 different thickness. It also has 3 blades for various grating. Raizel actually sliced the zucchini and she did it very well!

Sauté zucchini in pan, sprayed with olive oil. Add crushed garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350*F.

Layer zucchini in a small, lightly oiled dish. Next add layer of tofu-lentils, and continuing layering until near the top. Top layer should be of zucchini.

Bake covered for 20 minutes or until cooked.

I made this in individual servings. I think that it could be made in a larger pan, and then sliced when cooked. However, it might be difficult to  maintain the desired layered look. Wolfgang Puck, I believe, used a cookie cutter to get a uniform and attractive serving portion.

Serve with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.

Here are the pictures. Since I made it with Raizel and she likes photography, we took quite a few.

 

Tofu marinating with the spices.

Raizel slicing the zucchini. Go Raizel!

Sauteing the zucchini.

Raizel placing the tofu on the grill.

Raizel cooked the tofu by herself!

Pureeing the tofu

Ready to cook!

Voila! The final product!

 

The verdict:  The recipe objectively came out great. However, subjectively, is was not well received.

After it was so beautifully prepared, my husband reminded me that he does not like anything creamy. Raizel, who was very excited and very enthusiastic during the whole process, also didn’t eat it. Despite her protestations, Raizel does not like anything creamy either.

In the end, I was the only one who ate it. I thought it tasted great.

I also ate the leftover tofu “cream” during the week, as a spread on rice cakes.

Overall, I would say that this recipe is delicious, but for someone else’s family.

What did I learn?

I have my own song in the kitchen. 

Everyone has their own song.

For my family, simple is best.

Finally, I had lots of fun discussing and planning this with Dolly. We had a bonding experience!Thank you Dolly!

 

 

A Safe & Meaningful Fast To All

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I like to acknowledge on this blog the holidays that we celebrate and offer a brief description of how they are observed. My expertise, however, is in preparing kosher food, and not on the finer points of Judaism. So, I am going to use my own words to explain this holiday.

Today is the holiday of Tisha B’Av (9th of Av), our Jewish national day of mourning. This holiday commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem and many other national calamities.

There are many customs that are observed during the 3 weeks which precede this holiday and in particular from the first day of the Jewish month of Av.

For the past 9 days, we abstained from eating meat, drinking wine, doing or wearing freshly laundered clothes and listening to music.

On this day, we fast as well as observe various other aspects of mourning.

Some people might have difficulty wondering why we mourn for something that was destroyed so many years ago.  When the Temples stood, on a spiritual level, the world was different.

Back then, we had an opportunity to connect directly with God. We could feel enveloped by His presence and directly experience His immanence.

Today, we must struggle through prayer and meditation to catch a glimmer of the Divine Presence that we once felt and experienced as a palpable reality. God is here, but we must work harder if we want to connect to Him and feel His protection and care.

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The hope is that through fasting and diminishing our physical pleasures, we will be motivated to look within, improve our character and our relationships with other people. When we see the spark of Godliness not only in ourselves, but in other people as well, we will act and relate to others from a God-centered place. We will thereby create a closer relationship with God and merit to rejoice in the rebuilding our Temple.


May we all be blessed to feel that God is always present and actively involved in our life and intimately connected to everything we do with joy and gratitude.

My friend, Tzippy wrote this wonderful post about this holiday in more detail, for anyone who would like to know more. Please check out her blog! It is well named, simpletowow.com. Tzippy is very talented, and makes everything beautiful!

 

On the Hebrew lunar calendar, today is the tenth of Av. Since Tisha B’Av (the ninth of Av) fell out on Shabbos this year and we do not mourn on Shabbos, we commemorate the mourning of the destruction of our Holy Temple today, the tenth of Av. It is a day of sadness, mourning and […]

via The Tenth of Av: The Day Our Family Cries — simple to wow

She also wrote another post on this holiday, but, I am not able to copy the link for some reason.

 

Gazpacho Soup

Today, I had a wonderful group with my patients.

Sometimes, when I run a group, I ask patients to introduce themselves with the following questions: “what do you love to do?” Or, “what do you do that makes you lose track of time?”

Surprisingly, such a simple question generates a lot of discussion. It engenders positive feelings of well-being and it is an opportunity for patients to share with each other their passions in life.

One patient, Henri, (I wrote about him in The Birthday Party https://coffeeklatchinsight.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/the-birthday-party/) shared in an earlier group that he loves to garden and he even grows his own vegetables.

Today, he surprised us. He brought in his first crop of tomatoes. With such luscious tomatoes, I decided to make gazpacho soup.

I have not made gazpacho soup in years. I forgot how great it is.

This recipe comes from my Aunt Perel (A”H). Aunt Perel was a fabulous cook! I think of her often, especially when I cook.

Cooking was Aunt Perel’s passion in life. She could quote the source and the originator of a particular recipe the way other people discuss academic research.

This soup is particularly great when using fresh, ripe tomatoes. It feels like eating salad in a bowl.

Ingredients

1.5 lbs ripe tomatoes

3/4 cup onions

1 cucumber, peeled

1 small green pepper

1-2 garlic cloves

1.5 teaspoons salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup olive oil (can add up to 1/3 cup, but my family does not like things with too much oil)

1/2 cup wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

Optional: 3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs, or serve with croutons

Instructions

Place ingredients in food processor and pulse until desired consistency. Adjust seasoning. Serve chilled.

tomatoes shared during our group

voila! final product

I must say, this soup surpassed my wildest expectations!

My husband loved it! He said, “this is fantastic! I don’t even like gazpacho….. Can I have some more?”

A true vote of confidence!

Many blessings to Aunt Perel (A”H) for sharing her wonderful recipes and culinary expertise.

 

Pan Seared Tuna Steaks

During the 9 Days, I learned how to cook fresh tuna steaks successfully for the first time.

In the past, I have only rarely tried to make fresh tuna. And, the few times when I did, it came out very dry and without flavor.

This time, I searched online for how to cook fresh tuna.

I think that it really helped me to understand how to cook fresh tuna better.

In addition, I used the stovetop grill on our new stove. Everything tastes better grilled on cast iron.

This recipe is based on the sites that I found, and the links are posted below.

According to what I read online, the key to grilling fresh tuna is to only cook it for 4-6 minutes per 1/2 inch stake.

Since I was concerned about over cooking it, I only cooked it for 4 minutes per side.

I have discovered that cooking tuna is a little like cooking a medium steak: you want to have a layer of pink inside.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon fennel

1 tablespoon coriander

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Lemon juice

Spray oil

Instructions

Blend spices together. I do not have a mortar and pestle so I used a wooden rolling pin and crushed the spices.

Heat grill on high. Spray oil the grill. When hot, place fish on grill, 4 minutes per side.

When done, add lemon juice and fresh herbs.

I set the timer for 4 minutes and I really think that’s what made the difference. Rather than guessing, it made it more precise and hopefully more predictable outcome.

Seasoning the tuna before cooking

Cooking the first side on the griddle

Successfully flipped over and cooking the second side.

Voila! The final product.

Success!

My husband said, “this is fantastic! You totally nailed it!”

He also said, “this is the most perfect way to grill tuna.”

A ringing endorsement. This recipe is husband approved.

Enjoy!


References:

This was where I learned how to cook fresh tuna and where I got the recipe from:

http://www.bhg.com/recipes/fish/basics/how-to-cook-tuna/

http://www.jamieoliver.com/videos/how-to-cook-tuna-steak-jamie-oliver/#K1iHiohobdmYK6yH.97