Monday, February 28, 2011

Israeli Cooking Class! Challa!

I recently came across a friend of a friend who offers personalized cooking lessons. Upon looking over his class offerings, Sanne and I decided that Israeli cooking is just the thing that is missing from our collective repertoire. Sam Feller offers lessons on all kinds of menus such as brunch, pasta, Spanish tapas (which we would like to try next...), among others. 

Sanne and I were both surprised at how accessible tonight's menus were. None of the ingredients would require a separate trip to a special store. And as I had never tried Israeli cooking before, it was really nice to learn to cook simple recipes that are enjoyed every day in Israel, that I can easily incorporate into my cooking. Everything was so light and fresh too, which we also loved.

Round 1 was a few smaller dishes that are typically served for breakfast. SO much better than a bagel & cream cheese that sits in your stomach for hours.

Round 2: Appetizers and the main dish. While we made pita bread and Sam showed us an appetizer...

Israeli Pitza

Homemade Pita

The main dish was eggs poached in a deeeelicious tomato sauce. This was a bit similar to the eggs poached in spinach that I made a few weeks back. It's the perfect go-to when you have nothing to eat. We will be keeping a can or two of crushed tomatoes on hand from now on. This was definitely our favorite!
we're egg people


Our teacher, Mr. Sam

We aren't going to share any specifics of the recipes with you today. You're going to have to take the class to get them. If you are in the Boston area, we highly recommend taking a lesson from Sam. He does a really good job at personalizing a lesson to your interests and teaches some interesting facts and useful cooking tips as you go.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Pasta Puttanesca. It means 'very few ingredients.'"*

That quote is from a movie. Name that movie.

This is a recipe that I got from a very early issue of Domino magazine (RIP). I've since doctored it up a bit and, in my opinion, improved it. Here it is, with a few extra ingredients:

1lb. spaghetti (alas, we had none but made do with penne)
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2c pitted chopped black or kalamata olives
1t crushed red pepper
1T or so capers, drained
4 sprigs fresh parsley, stems removed and chopped
2 sprigs fresh oregano, stems removed and chopped
1/2lb hot sausage cooked and drained
s+p to taste

Gone but not forgotten

but first:
crush or half 4 garlic cloves and let sit in
1/4c olive oil
set aside

Cook pasta according to package directions

Combine tomatoes, olives, parsley, oregano, red pepper, capers. Remove garlic, add oil to bowl. Add drained spaghetti and sausage. Toss well. Serve immediately.

If you like Italian food and you like spice and you like Jimmy Dean, then this is the Holy Trifecta. Its even better the next day. Don't you love recipes that do that?

*FYI: After a little internet research, I found that Pasta Puttanesca does not actually mean 'very few ingredients.' If fact, it roughly translates to "whore's pasta." It is called this because it is made up of "leftovers" that were quick and easy for the "Puttanas" to throw together in between clients. And that's your history lesson for today. You're welcome!


If you are my friend and live close to me, I will make (or at least attempt to make) your favorite dessert on your birthday. Mandi requested Tiramisu last year for her birthday. It was the first time I made tiramisu. It turned out really well. I recently made it again and it wasn't as good. I used different lady fingers the second time. They were too soft and didn't hold the coffee/liquor, so it made the whole thing a little less solid than I hoped. The taste was still delicious however. I'll share with you what I did the first time, since it was the better of the experiences. These are also photos from the first go around last September.

4 eggs
1/4 c rum
1/2lb mascarpone cheese
1/2 c heavy cream
1/3 c sugar
a package of stella d'ore margarite cookies
2 oz dark chocolate
some cocoa powder
2 double shot of espresso
1/2 c. strongly brewed coffee at room temp

most of the ingredient, save the espresso

Egg whites

You start by beating the egg whites until soft but stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In another bowl combine egg yolks, sugar and mascarpone cheese

In another bowl, whip heavy cream until you have whipped cream. Sorry, no photo of that.

Combine, gently folding the whipped cream with the egg yolks-mascarpone mixture, then the egg whites.

Soak the lady fingers in a bath of brandy or rum, vanilla, and room temp espresso.

Layer beginning with the lady fingers at the bottom, then half the mixture, sifted cocoa powder, another layer of lady fingers and finally the rest of the mixture topped with sifted cocoa and or shaved chocolate pieces.

I recommend using sturdy, crunchier lady fingers opposed to the softer kind. The crunchier ones absorb and hold onto the espresso and rum better.

It was easier than I thought it was going to be. It's definitely something that needs your full attention but don't let the multiple bowls sway you. Tiramisu makes any day better.

What is your favorite dessert to have on your birthday? If you're lucky and I am close enough, I may just make it for you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit

I always thought it would be fun to throw a Chinese New Year party. This year, I finally got around to it. The theme was red (Chinese red, not Valentine's red). During the 11th hour, I remembered that I don't own anything red, so I just threw on some red lipstick and called it a day. 

The food is the important part anyway. Josh came over a bit early to light 700 red tea lights and save my rice sticks. Have any of you ever made these?

 I never cook Chinese food. Whenever I get a craving for it, its for the greasy take-out hangover kind. So we cooked these noodles and then tossed them in the wok with some Asian seasonings, but it was still on the bland side and very, very sticky. Josh brilliantly read the cooking recommendations on the package and it suggested tossing it in a homemade dressing of sauteed garlic, onions, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and rice wine. So we did that and they turned out great! I served it straight out of the wok, which was a nice touch (Thanks, Eileen!).

My pre-party fortune... If you've ever been to one of our parties, you know just how appropriate this is.

Along with the noodles, we had some TJ's pot stickers, lettuce wraps with Dijon soy sauce from Elizabeth and an Indian chicken-potato patty made by Ann. We're working on getting the recipe from her. And believe me, you want it, they were really good. Also, a big ol' bag of fortune cookies. 

ladies in red
Happy Year of the Rabbit to you! What's your Chinese zodiac animal? Sanne is a rooster, I'm a dog. Figgaro is a tiger. Do you have any Chinese New Year's Resolutions? Yeah, me neither. What should our next theme party be?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Big Breakfast 4.0

After another successful theme party, we were in need of a Big Breakfast. I came across this blog the other day, and her brunch looked so beautifully delicious, I had to try it out. We haven't tackled the lemon pull-apart bread yet. But we definitely will. Today we made the potato-andouille dish and some blueberry streusel muffins.

The first thing you do is caramelize some onions. I used about 1 1/2, and I tossed in a teaspoon-ish of sugar, to help along the process. Cook them on med-low heat. The potatoes take for-ev-er to cook, so you don't want these onions to caramelize too quickly.

Thinly slice some Andouille sausage and bake it at 350. We used this smoked chicken sausage from Trader's. It has a nice kick to it, which went very well with everything else...

Oh, potatoes. You slow everything down. Our advice is to nuke these in the microwave or even boil them in some water until they are just about tender and then broil them. Anything to make them cook faster. We didn't do that today, and spent most of the morning waiting on them. 

Toss them with some olive oil, minced garlic, rosemary and chili powder and then stick them in the oven.


When the sausage, onions and potatoes are all finished, toss them all together. Throw in some fresh arugula or spinach (we used spinach), a little cheddar cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Toss until the spinach is just wilted, and top with a fried egg, over easy.

These pictures don't even do it justice, it's that good. Please, please try it.

pretty table

pretending to be summer.

Rajiv: "Sujoy, you are an alcoholic and a womanizer."
Sujoy: "I am not a womanizer. Eff you, man!"

Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse.

Maybe its because I am not a baker, but I am truly impressed that Sanne can whip up these muffins in no time without a recipe. Is that something that everyone should be able to do? I mean, she didn't memorize a recipe, she just knew how much of everything needed to go in the bowl. And then: "Hmm, I think I'll add a streusel on top..." Um, okay, you have that in your brain, too?

no big deal.

Streusel is just flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and very cold butter, cut in pieces and mixed together. Sprinkle the mixture on your muffins before you bake and, BAM. Streuseled. Also, it is very difficult to say streusel without a German accent. At least for me it is.

If you need an awesome blueberry muffin recipe to add to your repertoire, just ask and Sanne will post it.   Check back tomorrow for details on our red-themed Chinese New Year party. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The More You Know...

You probably didn't know this, but we are a part of a webring. What that means is that our blog is totally legit and official. It's called Boston Food Bloggers. The girl who runs it, Rachel has just put together a Red Velvet list, which is exactly what it sounds like. A list of Red Velvet recipes, including one from yours truly, FeDish. There is definitely a Red Velvet Chicken Wings recipe on that list, which one of you might have to try and let me know how it turns out, because I can't do it. She also has an index of Mac & cheese recipes and cookie recipes. If Sanne and I don't have what you're looking for, one of our Boston Blog-siblings might. Check them out!

I went to an event the other night with Josh, hosted by Seamlessweb and BFB at The Landsdowne Pub. It was conveniently located near BU, where I have been taking a class on Thursday nights. There was free food, open bar and a raffle. It was a lot of fun and I won $100!! I think I have really good raffle karma; I have won a few of them in my life. Josh wanted to come up with a blog for himself, so that he could attend more of these events. What do you think of "Bloggers: They're Just Like Us!" It's like that section of US Weekly, where they print pictures of celebrities drinking milk out of the carton and crossing the street without a walk signal, except its bloggers! Pretty great, hu? Maybe he can test it out on this blog and see how it goes over with you people. Anyway, enough of that, on to the good stuff.

These pizzas.

#1 Leftover soup chicken (it wasn't in the soup), caramelized red onions, red peppers and monterey jack cheese.

 #2 Chicken, caramelized red onion, honey garlic barbecue sauce, smoked mozzarella.

Some other things worth mentioning...

We are going to try to switch things up by adding a survey question every week, and then cooking or baking something special from the results. Today is your last day to vote on what food-movie we will cook from this week. As of now, it looks like Fried Green Tomatoes is on the menu, but that could change.

Also, You may have but probably haven't (since I just put it up) noticed the new widget on the bottom of the page. I had lots of fun playing around with it this morning. It's a slot machine of sorts that shows you different restaurants in different areas in different prices ranges. If you aren't in Boston, change the location to your city and see all the different restaurants in your area. Click on the arrow next to the restaurant name to get reviews from food writers on We know we will be using this handy tool to find new places to eat. 

That's all I've got for you today. You've got a lot to think about... Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section. Thank you. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Your Job Pays You in Marshmallows?!

Recently, I have been feeling inspired by the color white. More than likely because I am surrounded by it. Boston's snow accumulations are currently at 70.7 inches as of this morning at 6am (I am trying to ignore the snow fall predictions for tomorrow). So, I decided to make Marshmallows. They are surprisingly easy. Mandi gave me a book for Christmas: Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it and other projects by Karen Solomon. One if the handy and fun projects in this book I've been wanting to try is making marshmallows. I gave it a shot.

Here's what you'll need:

a small saucepan
a candy thermometer (one that reaches over 250f)
a medium bowl
a standmixer or a hand mixer
an 8"x8" pan

2/3 cup water, divided
3 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar, for dusting

I also used cocoa and made some toasted coconut to coat the marshmallows.

First you'll want to grease and coat your 8x8 pan and set it aside for later.

Next, pour 1/3 cup of water into a bowl or stand mixer bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for about 10 minutes or gelatin is softened.

In the small saucepan, off heat, combine the remaining water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place over medium-high heat. Clip your candy thermometer to the side of the pan and make sure it doesn't touch the bottom. Cook until it reaches 240 degrees.
I used my french press to hold the thermometer up high enough not to touch the bottom of the pan.
When the mixture is at 240 degrees slowly add to the soften gelatin. Add vanilla and increase the mixer speed to medium high. Beat for about 10 minutes or until the mixture becomes very white, stiff and sticky.

Spread the mixture into your 8x8 pan with a lightly oiled spatula. You can wet your hands and press the mixture into the corners of the pan if you need too. I didn't, it settled itself pretty well. Let cool for an hour or more until it is firm and cool.
It looks like glue!

Run a wet knife around the edges of the pan of cooled marshmallow to release it from the pan. Cut into whatever sized marshmallows you enjoy. Remember to keep wetting your knife as you go, these buggers are stiiicky. Then toss and coat your marshmallows and enjoy!

cocoa coated marshmallows
powered sugar coated marshmallows
toasted coconut coated marshmallows

Rajiv went for the coconut.

Karen said they will keep for up to a month when stored in airtight containers at moderate temperatures.

Toasting coconut is also really simple. I used what I had on hand which was sweetened coconut flakes. I prefer unsweetened. I put the oven at 350 and did a single layer of coconut on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Stirring them to get even brownness is good. I got distracted and would have pulled them out sooner had I been watching them. They were on the toastier side but thankfully that's how I like my toasted things.

Also, you get bonus points if you can tell us what movie the title of this post comes from...

Any other candy treats you are interested in seeing on Fedish? Let me know! I always love a good challenge.