The Kosher Gastronome

Livin' the kosher dream

Category Archives: Linkup

Another one pot noodle thingamabob…plus a link up

Quite a catchy title there, I know. Anyway remember way back in the day when I used to post regularly? And one of those awesome posts was about the one pot noodle dishes that was all the rage a few months back? Oh you don’t? Well fear not, relive the experience by clicking here, but don’t forget to come back for some even more awesomeness. So much awesome, its awesome.

Anyway, moving right along, so this month’s link-up Kosher Connection, is all about comfort food. Well just what is comfort food? Well I guess its food that comforts you, duh…but what’s that? Well I don’t know, but who cares, let’s eat.

So ever since I posted that one pot linguine recipe I was talking about earlier, a few people have told me they really liked it, which is always nice to hear. And to be honest, I’ve made a few different iterations of the same dish, but this one stood out, namely because I actually remembered what I put in to it, and more importantly, I had some quasi usable pictures.

It all starts with stock. Vegetable stock to be precise, but not just any vegetable stock, a really quick vegetable stock; like 20 minutes quick. How, you wonder? Well, you’re going to have wait on that one…that post is coming up…eventually…maybe. Who am I kidding…more like don’t get your hopes up.

So anyway, you’ve got vegetable stock, which makes everything better (by they way, you can obviously use plain ole` water, if for some odd reason you don’t have stock handy), now it’s all a matter of throwing a few vegetables and some cheese together.

For this dish, I sauteed cauliflower, then added my noodles (orichetta), spinach (raw), ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. I added the stock, and let it all cook down.

While the stock was cooking, I took some feta cheese, and mushed it (which is the precise culinary term) with some chopped parsley.

Once the pasta was cooked through, and the stock was cooked out, I topped the whole shooting match with the feta-parsley awesomeness, and obviously some more parmesan, and then proceeded to be comforted.

Wow that was quick…I know you’re sad that that’s all, but if you have any questions type away in the comments below, and as always, click on the funny frog man under this paragraph to see what people who actually know how to blog are doing.

Bobby’s Apple Cake

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We’re up for another round of The Kosher Connection Link up thingamabob, and with Rosh Hashana right around the corner, this months theme is apples. So ever since I was a little kid I can remember my grandmother making this thing we all called apple cake. For some reason, I never really questioned the idea of how this became known as “apple cake,” as you’ll soon see. Well this apple cake really was always made for Sukkos, and my grandmother had this special sheet pan that she used for it, in fact I think it’s the only thing she made in the pan. Anyway, suffice it to say that it was awesome. It would sit behind my kitchen table, half covered in aluminum foil, but really anyone who passed it, for some reason, had this innate need to just even out the edges. You know – a little slice off the edge to make sure the edge was even…all in the name of science. Last year I decided it was time for me to try and make this “cake.”

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The reason I call this a “cake” is because it’s really more like a pie than a cake. There’s whole apples, mixed with spices, sandwiched between two enriched doughs. Sounds like a pie to me, but for some reason, it’s always been known as apple cake in our house

So last year I ventured out to make it, and got the recipe from my grandmother through my sister in law, which means my grandmother probably left something out, so we wouldn’t make it as well as she does. (I once asked my grandmother for her recipe for meatballs, and she pretty much just told me to throw a can of tomato sauce in a pot with the formed meatballs…after I did that with unwavering faith, and the meatballs were terrible, I asked her, and she was like “well what about the ketchup, sugar, and more water? Of course you have to put that in also!”)  Getting a recipe from my grandmother is like playing broken telephone with some one speaks broken english and can’t hear that well. It’s not always easy. Here’s what I ended up with:

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First thing is to make the dough. I said it was with enriched dough, and by that I mean there’s added fat. In general, you can categorize doughs as just plain old flour, water, yeast, and salt; or you can enrich said dough with different types of fats. This enrichment, obviously effects the taste, but it also preserves the dough, and effects the texture of the dough. You can see the difference when you compare homemade bread (without any added fats), and homemade kokosh, or cinnamon buns. There’s an inherent richness to the dough, but the dough will also be fluffier, and actually last longer. (I say homemade dough, as opposed to store bought dough, because all store bought bread will have different preservatives in it…it’s not natural for a loaf of bread to last more than 3 days). There’s also eggs in the form of yolks, which also add richness, along with color, and other properties that I’m not in the mood of getting in to (read: I’m not really sure, and not in the mood of doing the research).

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Allright, let’s get some margarine a-melting. About 1 pound of fat, which is 4 sticks of margarine/butter. Once the melted margarine is cool, whisk in the eggs. Set aside, and work on the rest of the dough. Add the flour and sugar, and whisk together, and combine remaining sugar, yeast, and tepid water, and whisk to combine. Add yeast mixture and fatty fat fat mixture to the flour, and using the paddle attachment (or a wooden spoon) to mix until it just comes together, and then switch to a dough hook, and knead until it pulls away from the bowl, and a tacky, but not sticky dough forms. Allow that dough to rest in the fridge over night (or up to 3 days).

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On the day you’re ready to make your apple cake, allow the dough to come to room temperature for at least an hour. While the dough is coming to terms with it’s surrounding, make the filling. My grandmaw’s recipe calls for 10 apples, 1/2 cup of sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon juice. You shred the apples, and wring out any excess liquid, and then mix everything together. DSC_3641

You then roll out half the dough, put it on bottom of the sheet pan, place the apple mixture in (leaving about a half inch around the borders) cover with other dough, and crimp the whole thing shut. Brush some egg over top, and let it bake until golden brown and delicious.

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So I actually made this last year for Sukkos, and luckily was able to dig through the archives of all the food I take pictures of (it’s a lot…like, I take pictures of everything, and then I’m too self conscience to post anything about it…but I’ll just save that last part for the couch…aaaanyway…), and if I could critique it, I would say, I would treat this “cake” more like a pie, and would definitely add some sort of thickening agent; flour, corn starch, potato starch, tapioca, whatever. Also, I would consider mixing the apples with sugar, allowing it macerate, and then taking the liquid, and cooking it down and adding that concentrated apple flavor back in. Those are the modifications I’ll probably do this year.

As usual, click on the funny frog looking guy right below this paragraph to see what actual talented people did.

Bobby’s Apple Cake

I know that when I made this last year, I ended up with two whole apple cakes, but I can’t remember if that was because I doubled the recipe. So if you see that there’s a lot of dough, then instead of using half to line the sheet pan, use 1/4…knowwhatimsaying?

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup tepid water
  • 4 sticks margarine
  • 4 yolks
  • 1 whole egg

For the Apple filling:

  • 10 apples (I like to use a mixture of yellow, green, and another apple, to get a good mix of texture and flavor out of the apples), shredded
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Directions:

For the Dough:

  1. Combine flour, and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl, and whisk to combine. Combine the vanilla extract, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, yeast, and water in a bowl, and stir to combine until frothy.
  2. Melt the margarine, and when cool, add the yolks and egg, and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the flour mixture, the yeast mixture, and margarine mixture to bowl of a mixer, and with the paddle attachment, mix until everything is combined. Switch to the dough hook, and knead on medium-low until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Place dough in an oiled container, cover, and place in the refrigerator over night and up to 3 nights
  5. On the day of baking, allow the dough to come to room temperature for at least an hour before handling.

For the filling:

  1. To shred apples, peel and core the apples, and run through food processor’s shredding blade.
  2. Combine apples, sugar, and lemon juice, and let sit over colander set in a bowl for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Take reserved apple juice, and set in a pan over medium-high heat and reduce liquid until syrupy.
  4. Add syrup back to apple-sugar mixture, along with corn starch, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, and mix to combine.
  1. Divide dough in half, and roll out half the dough, and spread on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  2. Spread apple mixture over bottom half of dough, leaving a 1/2 inch space around the borders
  3. Roll out other half, and cover everything cinching it all closed.
  4. Whisk remaining egg, and brush over dough
  5. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown and delicious (I can’t remember how long it took, but if I had to guess, it was probably 30 minutes? I dunno, let your nose decide)

Vietnamese Ice Coffee Pops – Kosher Link Up. Blog swap, Plus a Giveaway

Hey friend, guess what…it’s another kosher connection link up thingy that we do every month. And would you believe it if I said it’s the one year anniversary of the whole Kosher Connection Link ups? Of course you would believe me, it would be weird of me to lie like that…anyway, in celebration of the whole shebang, we’re doing a blog swap and of course giving out prizes. I guess let’s start with the prize details (because we know that’s really why you’re here)

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Ready for a fun giveaway to celebrate one year of Kosher Connection? We are giving away two prizes from Emile Henry. A Bread Cloche valued at $130 and a 4.2 qt Dutch Oven valued at $170! Use the Rafflecopter below to win- you can enter up to 23 ways! Two winners will be chosen at random.

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Contest Fine Print:

The contest winners will be contacted via email. They will have 48 hours to respond before other winners are chosen. This contest is open to United States residents over the age of 18

Now to the blog swap. So we were all assigned another persons blog, and given the task to recreate something they made. I was assigned the difficult task to try and recreate something from the fabulous website by Hindy G – Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker, which if you’re reading this blog and you haven’t been over there, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Anyway, you might not know me that well, but if you’ve read the blog more than zero times, you can probably guess how good I am at making decisions. Well needless to say, trying to decide what to make from the myriads of awesome stuff on Hindy’s website was an attempt in futility . Just look at all the awesome stuff on her recipe index. Add to this confusion, the fact that it’s nearly as hot as the surface of the sun in my apartment, and I pretty much had to hone in on something that wouldn’t fry my brain any more, so the oven and stove were off limits. At first I wanted to make her homemade KitKat bars, but my doctor asked me not to. So I had to settle for some sort of frozen concoction. After perusing the few recipes listed, I knew is had to be Vietnamese Iced coffee popsicles. Why, you ask? Well mainly because, I like coffee, and it didn’t require too much work.

Confident Cook’s Vietnamese Iced Coffee Pops

There are different ways of getting your caffeine fix with iced coffee, and the Vietnamese version really is just adding sweetened condensed milk to the coffee instead of milk and sweetener. When it comes to making the actual coffee, Hindy used some espresso, but I decided to go with my cold brewed coffee, because I love me some cold brewed coffee.

I ground up some fresh beans, and placed in my french press, poured in water, allowed it to seep overnight, and filtered out the grind.

Mixed the coffee with some sweetened condensed milk to taste (you will probably need less than half of the can)

and poured it into the ice pop molds

I placed them in the oven at 350 for 100 hours, and then barbecued the ice pops over indirect …just making sure you’re paying attention…I placed them in the freezer, d’doy, and when frozen I ate them.

All right, so now’s the part where you want to know how they were right? Well, here’s the thing, this was possibly a last ditch attempt for me to like ice pops. There’s something about eating an ice pop…or let me rephrase that, because you never really eat an ice pop, in fact you never really do anything to an ice pop…you lick it? And then invariably you try to eat it…it’s just, in my humblest of opinions, not really the best vehicle for jamming food down my gullet. Now don’t get me wrong, I ate it, and enjoyed it, but I just don’t understand it…Anyone else out there in internet land understand where I’m coming from? Now one possibility where I went wrong was with the amount of sugar. Since the final result was mainly iced coffee, and a little condensed milk, it was for all intents and purposes, water, which means the final pop, was more like an ice cube than an “ice pop.” I didn’t really measure how much condensed milk I added, but I don’t think I could have added more, so if I make these again, I would probably add some simple syrup to boost up the sugar content, and make more of a slushier ice concoction. Just a thought.

Ok first thing first – don’t forget to head on over to all of the other amazing websites to see what actual talented people do by clicking on the link right below.

And as for the giveaway that we had mentioned above, click on this link to enter, a Rafflecopter giveaway…however if that doesn’t work, just  head on over to http://www.joyofkosher.com, and enter there.

 

Vietnamese Ice Coffee Pops

adapted from Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of Iced coffee (you can follow my instructions on how to make cold brewed, or you can just make a large batch of coffee)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

  1. Once you have your cold coffee, it’s just a matter of pouring in enough sweetened condensed milk to taste (I used maybe less than half of the can). (Now as a side point, the way I measured how much coffee I would need, I have 6 ice pop molds, and measured how much liquid one held, multiplied that by 6, and then subtracted a little to compensate for the milk.)
  2. Pop it in the freezer over night, and then enjoy.

Coffee

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In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a tad awol lately. Now, it’s not because I haven’t been cooking and taking pictures, but to be brutally honest with you, I kind of forgot how to blog. You think it’s easy being a world renowned blogger? Well, it’s not. Truth is, I started feeling a lot of pressure to have these super awesome posts, that I ended up not posting anything…and that’s how I found coffee.

Ok that’s not true, but I wasn’t really sure how to end our little therapy session, and I’m still a little rusty in the intro part…gimme some time to get back into the thick of things.

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Also, as I’m sure you no doubt noticed, this is part of this month’s Kosher Connection Link Up, on the Best Food I Ever Ate…I know, coffee? The best food you ever ate? Totally weak sauce, but to be honest, I’ve never had a “best” food. I always hated that question. I like everything, and I especially like coffee, so coffee it is.

Anyway, on to coffee.

I am crazy about my coffee. It’s the one thing that I consider myself a real snob about. When people start to tell me about how passionate they are about their coffee also, all I have to say is “I grind my coffee every morning, and I weigh the beans and water out, on a scale.” Now, iI’m not necessarily proud of my weird obsession, and it’s not like it’s a competition of who’s the craziest about their coffee (although if it was, I would win some weird pretentious hipster prize, like a handle-bar moustache, or maybe a gift card to urban outfitters, or something like that), but that’s how much I love my coffee. There really is a difference between bad, mediocre, good, and great coffee, and I’m here to tell you that you can learn to love your coffee too.

Let’s start from the beginning. Coffee starts out as a fruit that kind of resembles a cherry, with a “seed” on the inside. That seed is then fermented (in one particular weird example, this takes place in the stomach of a small animal known as the civet, and the seeds are then harvested from the fecal matter of the civet…yay science!), then they’re dried, and finally roasted. Depending on how long they’re roasted for, the beans go from light to medium to dark. As the beans roast, they darken with a little help from the Maillard reaction (remember Monsieur Maillard from famous applications such as Toast – a lifelong obsession with coloring bread, and of course who could forget: Browning Meat – making meat taste better, and NOT because I seal in juices!) and will start to develop it’s characteristic flavors. Generally speaking, medium roasts are the best full flavored, combining coffee and roast flavors well; Whereas with dark roasts, you only taste the roast, and not the actual coffee.

There’s also the whole thing about where your beans come from. There are a whole bunch of places that grow coffee (Fun Fact – Hawaii is the only US state that grows coffee), and it’s hard to say which one is better, but famous coffees to name just two from the many are Blue Mountain from Jamaica and Kona from Hawaii. That being said, it’s pretty rare to get these coffees without it being a blend with other varieties, or without costing a ton of money. And to be honest with you, I think it’s better to buy fresh coffee, and grind it yourself daily, than to buy a fancy pre-ground coffee…but that’s just my opinion, man.

Ok so now that you’ve procured your coffee, you want to brew it, so you can get it into your gluttonous face correct? Well, we have to talk science for just one second, k? Your cup o` joe is what it is because it extracts all of it’s super goodness out of the ground beans, and the whole process of extraction is about a few things 1) time 2) temperature 3) particle size, and each one is dependant on the other, so if we increase one we decrease the other.

To get the right particle size, we need to grind up the coffee beans. There are two ways to grind up the beans. You can either use a spice grinder, which is like a mini food processor, and has a blade whirring around on the bottom. Or you can use what’s called a burr grinder, which is like two cones inverted into one another, and you can control the amount of space in between. The main difference between the two is a burr grinder has much better control over the size of the grind.

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When does this matter? Well the size of the grind is what determines the surface area of the coffee that’s in contact with the water, which will extract the goodness out of the coffee, and that gets into the two other components, time and temperature.

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Let’s say you wanted to make your coffee in about 15 seconds, you would need a really small grind so there is more surface area in contact with the water, so you would need a really really small grind, and a very high temperature; so high in fact, you would need to boil the water under a lot of pressure, so the temperature of the water can be higher than a measly 212 (-ish depending on where you are), so you can really get the water hotter, and by doing all this you would have espresso (which is also why a really good espresso machine costs a lot of money). Now on the other end of the spectrum, what if you wanted to make coffee that would sit over night, and brew for a really long time. Well you have to use a really large grind, and cooler temperature; and there you have cold brewed coffee.

Ok, so now that we’ve covered the basics, and pretty much lost any semblance of an audience (Hi mom and dad!), let’s get into how I make coffee pretty much every day; The drip method. It’s a really simple way to make one cup of awesome coffee (and not a whole pot of crappy coffee).

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It starts with grinding your beans, to a medium consistency (not the smallest, but also not the biggest), a scale (yes, a scale for making coffee…I know you think I’m weird, but you’re weird also), water that’s just under a boil (optimum temperature for making coffee is 195-205, and water boils at 212, so boil your water, and let it sit uncovered for a 2 minutes or so). The rest is pretty simple.

Gather your drip cone, and paper filter, and wash it out with some water (there might be dirt and particles in the paper, that if you’re going through the trouble of making awesome coffee, what’s another few seconds to make sure it really is awesome). Then place it on your cup, on the scale, and tare (zero) the scale.

Place you coffee grind, and since we’ve established I’m a certified weirdo, I have a chart that I wrote down exactly how much water correlates to how much coffee grind. (In case you’re wondering, by weight the ratio of coffee to water is 1:22.26…did y’all know I was this OCD?)

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I then pour a little of the water just to moisten the beans, and let it sit for 30 seconds or so. This is called “blooming” the coffee, and starts the process of releasing the essential oils from the beans.

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Then I pour the remainder of the water, stir with a spoon, and allow it to finish dripping.

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I then pour in a splash of whole milk (sometimes I even go for an even smaller splash of half and half), and that’s it. I know it sounds complicated, but it really is a simple process.

Questions? Comments? Just miss me so much, that you want to chat? Well I’m back baby, and the phone lines are open, so comment away, let’s talk food.

I know there’s a lot more to talk about in regards to coffee. Like, what’s the deal with a French press? The newfangled aero press? What about the chemex system? Well, it’s too much to get into, but ask away, and I can pretend like I know what I’m talking about.

Are you really still reading? You must be super bored at work, well since you’re so bored, as usual check out the other posts as part of the Link Up, by clicking on the funny frog guy on the bottom here.



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