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Archive for April, 2014

How is it possible that I take off two socks in the evening (and yes, I’m sure I had two) and can only find one in the morning? Do the socks take turns to visit their ailing grandma? Is there a bloody war between tribes of socks that take hostages? Where do they go?

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Where?

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And the last Passover installment: only one of my three children likes potatoes (what’s not to like? Kids are weird). However, they all like french fries. I refuse to deep fry at home – the mess, the smell, the popping oil, dire warnings of trans fats and using up a whole bottle of oil each time you want french fries turns me off. So I tried this recipe for oven baked french fries, and it was a rousing success! Just be warned: It takes about an hour and must be eaten fresh.

One potato per person
Olive oil
Salt
Other spices to taste (I think sweet paprika would be great, but as I said, kids are weird).

Slice potatoes into chips (1 cm thickness about). Put in pot with water and salt.

cutting-oval

Bring to a boil. when starting to boil, drain (this was difficult as we didn’t think we would need a pasta strainer for Passover, so we didn’t have one. Next year). Wash with some cold tap water if you want. Add some olive oil and salt, mix well so that the chips are well covered in oil. Spread in one layer on baking dish lined with baking paper. Grill at 200 °C for 20 minutes, or until brown. I tried once grilling at 230 °C, but it got brown without cooking properly.

Brown

Brown enough for me

Transfer to a serving dish and eat immediately (well, when it cools down a bit of course 🙂 ).

Don't forget the salt!

Don’t forget the salt!

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Next Passover installment: Passover chocolate chip cookies. These came out delectable enough that I’ll be making them during the year as well. They’re based on ground almonds and potato flour, and thus have a higher nutritional value than regular chocolate chip cookies.

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 packets vanilla sugar (total 20 gr)
400 gr finely ground almonds
1 cup potato flour
1/2 package chocolate chips (150 gr)

Beat eggs and sugar together. Add rest of ingredients and mix. Put in freezer for 20 minutes so the dough won’t be as sticky. Create small balls (about the size of a walnut in the shell). Preheat oven to 160 °C. Set dough balls on baking paper. Press down with a wet fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Middle will look uncooked, that’s OK! If you wait till they look cooked through the cookies will cool down hard. These cookies don’t spread in the oven, so no need for more than 1 cm spacing when flat.

You can also try skipping the freezer step and using two spoons to place the dough on the baking paper. However, because the cookies don’t spread much you will get interesting shaped cookies 🙂 If anyone tries it please let me know if it turned out OK.

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Edit: I completely forgot to add oil when writing hte recipe, and I baked a second batch based on this recipe – without the oil. It turned out much better and less heavy, the almonds have enough natural oil of their own. So this is an oil-free recipe 🙂

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And yet another installment in Passover food: this was one of the main courses for the Passover holiday, and it turned out amazing! Easy to do, very tasty, and easy to digest – very important during Passover as the food tends to be very heavy.

And here I can link to Awesome Ashild‘s excellent, funny and useful blog without guilt 🙂

Ingredients

4 tbsp olive oil
6 Fennel bulbs, sliced thinly
4 chicken thighs and 6 chicken legs (or whatever fits in your baking pan)
4 tbsp brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, sliced in half lengthwise
salt and pepper to taste

Oil a large Pyrex with 2 tbsp oil. Layer half the fennel in the Pyrex. Layer the chicken pieces, skin downwards, on the fennel. Sprinkle the remaining olive oil, garlic and 3 tbsp brown sugar on the chicken. Cover with remaining fennel and cover with aluminium foil (if it sticks up above the Pyrex, don’t worry – fennel looses much of its volume in cooking). Bake for 2 hours at 200 °C in a preheated oven. Take out of the oven, move aside the fennel and turn over the chicken so that the skin is upwards. Baste the chicken with the liquid in the pan and sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp sugar, salt and pepper. Bake without covering an additional 30 minutes until browned. Eat, and don’t neglect the caramelized fennel in chicken stock, it’s excellent!

And it smells even better!

And it smells even better!

 

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After the Passover  Seder at my house, and guests for the holiday lunch, Awesome Ashild‘s excellent post on being stuck on the couch was very apt and very funny 😀 .  But you need to scrape yourself off the couch at some point and eat, right? (My apologies on linking AwesomeAshild on a high carb recipe 😦 but Passover cooking is difficult enough as it is)

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Passover is practically considered the “celiac holiday”, as suddenly all of Israel is interested in gluten free foods as they are 100% kosher for Passover. The stores are full of alternate flours and gluten free foods, and the magazines are full of gluten free recipes. Like this excellent Passover crepes recipe, based on the “Hag Sameah” recipe booklet of “Hamodia” newspaper.

Passover crepes

5 eggs
1/2 cup oil (originally 1 cup, too oily)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 cups potato flour
3 cups water

Mix all ingredients together. Set aside for 20 minutes, and mix again.

Crepe Batter

Crepe Batter

Oil a good frying pan (I use Tefal) by dipping some kitchen paper in vegetable oil. I used a soup ladle to pour the batter into the frying pan. Immediately after pouring, tilt the pan so that the batter is evenly spread. When edges are brown, flip over and fry on the other side. Second side typically takes much less than the first side, so be warned!

Two frying pans for less standing time

Two frying pans for less standing time

I did it with the full cup of oil, so I needed to put kitchen paper (absorbent paper? whatever can absorb excess oil) between the crepes.

More oil on the paper, less oil for me!

More oil on the paper, less oil for me!

The kids inhaled it, so definitely a success.

Yum!

Yum!

This can be served with quark cheese mixed with vanilla sugar, or jam for a sweet version; or mushroom sauce, stir-fried vegetables or chicken/beef strips for a savory version. The taste is neutral, so it goes well either way.

Bon apetit, Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameah!

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I love cherry tomato salad. It’s tasty and refreshing and best of all ridiculously easy:

Cherry tomato salad

Cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
Good quality olive oil
Salt
Dried or fresh oregano and/or basil

Mix,  add more spices if you want and eat! It’s even better if you let it sit for half an hour first, but I rarely have the patience.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t continue getting better, and to my taste is quite soggy the next day. So leftover tomato salad is an issue.
However, paired with the inevitable question “what’s for dinner?” An answer appears:

Pizza on Matzah (or pita)
This is a staple dinner that a kid can make on his own, and is standard when the kids have their friends, as it’s easy and appealing to most children. I’ll start with the Passover version and add notes for the regular one.

Matzah, broken in two or four
Pizza sauce of choice:
   1. Ketchup
   2. Leftover tomato salad, minced in the food processor. Add some tomato paste if too thin.
   3. Mix tomato paste, a dash of water, oregano, basil, and optionally ketchup.
Yellow cheese or mozzarella cheese, sliced
Topping of choice

Spread sauce over matzah.

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On the right tomato salad, the rest is the tomato paste mix

Top with cheese.

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Add topping of choice. Kids love to experiment with this,  but this time we went with the classics:

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If only one or two, microwave for 30 seconds on high. For a family, grill in the oven for 3-5 minutes at 200 °C.

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Serve with vegetables cut into sticks: cucumbers, carrots and red peppers are favorites at my house.

Bon apetit!

Notes for pita version: using a knife, separate the pita sides. Spread sauce and cheese as toppings on each round pita half and cook as above.

Obviously this would work with regular sliced bread as well, but for some reason kids like that less.

This is a great use for leftover tomato pasta sauce as well.

Happy Passover!

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