Dulce de Leche Tiramisù

Dulce de Leche Tiramisu

All over both Brazil and Argentina, dulce de leche was all the rage. Pastry chefs filled croissants, cream puffs, and crepes with the delicious caramel. Creameries flavored gelato with it. Hotels served it with bread at breakfast time. And it was everywhere; they sold it in grocery stores, wine stores and cheese shops. Of course I hauled some back to Philly, along with plenty of Argentinian wine, and lucky for you, this Dulce de Leche Tiramisù is the result. Why Tiramisù you might ask? Because of all the different ways we had it in Brazil and Argentina, in Tiramisù was not one of them. Well, believe it or not, Argentina has a strong Italian presence and the cuisine is very influenced by the Italian immigrants. So believe it or not, it makes a lot of sense, despite the fact that we didn’t see it anywhere. And the combination of a South American ingredient like dulce de leche utilized to enhance a traditional Italian dessert fits a lot of what we saw while dining in South America. But mostly, I love a good Tiramisù and it was the first thing that came to mind as something I thought would be fun … Continue reading

Olive Oil Sculpture

Olive Oil Sculpture with cheese

When there are really talented artists in your family, and you’re really lucky, you get amazing homemade gifts. This year, for my birthday, my dad made what I’m calling an olive oil sculpture. It’s a beautiful piece of wood that he found, and then hollowed out a reservoir and sealed it with some food-safe material that keeps the oil from seeping too deeply into the wood. I’ve been filling this reservoir with special olive oils for specialty cheese boards. I serve fancy cheese and bread (like this sesame bread from High Street, in Philadelphia) on a platter underneath and then add french butter topped with a drizzle of honey, or pine cone syrup, and a sprinkle of maldon salt. It’s a great conversation piece for cocktail hour, as well as a beautiful piece of art and I had to share it with you because it’s so beautiful. I can’t wait for tomatoes on a fence season now, since I can put the lemon vinaigrette in the olive oil sculpture and have guests drizzle it on the tomatoes.   … Continue reading

Jerusalem Cookbook Dinner Party

Duckfat Potatoes with Prunes served with lamb chops

Everyone loves a menu that’s straightforward and ready to go and this Jerusalem Cookbook Dinner Party is all that and more. Added bonus, most of the dishes can be prepared well-ahead of the party so that you can enjoy the party your self. The recipes, while delicious any time of the year, point out how lush and flavorful winter produce can be. Pomegranates and pears abound, dried prunes are an unexpected ingredient that delights when paired with crispy potatoes, bright green herbs make flavors and colors pop! and who can resist fresh bread, straight from the oven? Aside from the recipes featured on this page, I also recommend that you check out the recipes from my Middle Eastern Feast, which offers other great Middle Eastern dishes to offer your some variety in your planning. And of course, check out the many cocktails I have shared over the years and pick out one that will become your house favorite. I’ll walk you through these recipes step-by-step and at then end you’ll be prepared with an elegant, but comfortable menu that will “wow” guests. Appetizers: Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem Homemade Hummus and Pita would also be excellent from my Middle Eastern Feast … Continue reading

Saffron Poached Pear Cakes

saffron poached pear cakes with pomegranates

These gorgeous little Saffron Poached Pear Cakes are the culmination of a lot of different ideas and inspirations. They started as a little inkling in the back of my mind when I was perusing cookbooks at Terrain last Christmas and came across Homemade Winter, by Yvette van Boven. The gorgeous photo of a pear cake on the cover stuck with me, even after I’d read the recipe and decided not to make it (white chocolate just isn’t my thing). Then, months later when paging through Jerusalem, I loved the recipe for Saffron Cardamom Poached Pears and was reminded of the image from Homemade. While the pears are absolutely a lovely dessert on their own, they also seemed perfect for sinking inside a moist, flavorful cake. I played around with different versions of cake that would work with but not overpower the strong yet subtle flavor of saffron and I think this cake strikes the perfect balance. The slightly floral aromatic qualities of the almond flour, orange zest and marmalade work well with the saffron and cardamom. There’s a lot going on, but it’s well balanced and the result is beautiful Saffron Poached Pear Cakes that are full of a golden … Continue reading

Duckfat Potatoes with Prunes via Jerusalem

Duckfat Potatoes with Prunes

While I was paging through Jerusalem, the cookbook, looking for a substantial side to go with my mint butter lamb chops, I came across these Duck Fat Potatoes with Prunes. It sort of struck me as an odd pairing, but it also struck me as something that might be perfect on a night when you’re just serving guests little tastes of lots of different things. It doesn’t hurt that I trust Ottolenghi implicitly. It turned out that I was right on many accounts, and the Duck Fat Potatoes with Prunes via Jerusalem were perfect when served with the slightly salty lamb chops. In fact, whatever you serve them with, I would recommend being liberal with the salt because there’s definitely a bit of (perfectly balanced) sweetness from the caramel and the prunes. Also, at first glance this recipe seems like a bit of a chore. I mean, come on, you have to cook the potatoes twice? But as someone who derives extreme pleasure from perfectly crisped potatoes, be they French fries or steak fries, I have come to appreciate the technique behind these particular Duck Fat Potatoes with Prunes via Jerusalem. In fact, as a former waiter, I don’t really … Continue reading

Mint Butter Lamb Chops

Mint Butter Lamb Chops Jerusalem dinner

When you’re making a very special dinner to serve to friends, such as my Jerusalem Cookbook Dinner Party, sometimes you really just need at least one dish that’s simple, easy, and crowd pleasing, and my Mint Butter Lamb Chops are all those things and more. Since lamb chops are on the expensive side of things, serving them on a night when there are lots of other dishes is a good way to get away with serving them in appetizer portions and still have guests feel like they got their fill. When I was creating the dish I wanted flavors that were interesting enough to stand up to the brilliant flavors and colors of the rest of the dishes; that is such an amazing quality of the Jerusalem recipes, but I also wanted to nod to things just a little more traditional like the pairing of lamb and mint. Because of the fresh mint in the Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem, I already had it on hand and it’s traditional ties to lamb made it an obvious choice. It was important to me that the mint felt savory, not sweet. Also, around this time I had mint and pea ravioli with spicy … Continue reading

Chestnut Soup for Anna

Chestnut Soup for Anna

Not only is December chestnut season, and not only do I love them and all excuses to make chestnut recipes, but my dear friend Anna has just given birth to a beautiful son, and the only thing she has ever asked from me (from a culinary perspective) is for Chestnut Soup. Okay, that’s not quite the whole story, she actually said that the soup was so good that it inspired her to want to bathe in it, and gee, could I make that happen? So when her son was born, I knew just what to do, and I bet you have already guessed that it involved this Chestnut Soup for Anna. You know how you’re supposed to bring presents and casseroles etc. when your friends give birth? And then everyone brings lasagnas all at once, right at the beginning while the mother and the mother-in-law are still hovering close by? Well, that’s not when I stop in with food. I wait. I wait until the mothers have left and maybe dad is back to work and then I bring soup. In perfect single serving containers and I fill the freezer with it. So for Anna, it had to be Chestnut … Continue reading

Spicy Cold Shrimp Cucumber Salad

Spicy Cold Shrimp Cucumber Salad and dressing

m4s0n501 I love this Spicy Shrimp Cucumber Salad for a variety of reasons, first an foremost, as a girl from Wisconsin, I love recipes that are consistent year ‘round. It truly can be the bleak midwinter in much of the country around the Holidays, and having vibrantly colored and flavored food can make things bright. While you may not be able to find mouse melons, tender Persian cucumbers should be available. Aside from being made up of year ‘round vegetables, an exciting and hearty salad can be just what the palette (and the diet) need this time of year. There’s so much butter and milk and cream and carbs in the form of Christmas cookies and the like, and I love those things too, but sometimes one really needs a break. Finally, if you have lots of Jewish friends, like I do, you know that a common Christmas day tradition amongst Jews is Asian food and a trip to the movie theater. So this Spicy Shrimp Cucumber Salad is a break from the traditional in terms of Christmas-y recipes of baked goose and ham and is an homage to all of my wonderful Jewish friends. I encourage all of us, … Continue reading

Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem

Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem

This Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem is one of my very favorite recipes, from one of my very favorite cookbooks from recent years. I have made, or tasted many of the recipes from this book, as the book has been very popular amongst my cooking and entertaining friends, but there’s something about this salad. I have made this Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem multiple times, which for a person who has to cook constantly and come up with new recipes of her own almost as frequently, repeating a recipes says something big. Basically, I really love this Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem and of course was quick to include in on the menu for my Jerusalem Cookbook Dinner Party. It’s absolutely everything that’s right about winter cooking, and more importantly, a winter salad. And you get to show off your new Pomegranate opening techniques when you make this Roasted Cauliflower Hazelnut Celery Salad via Jerusalem. Fun, right? … Continue reading

Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem

Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem with pita chips

Ok, you got me, this Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem isn’t strictly Baba Ganoush. The flavor profile is really different with the lack of tomatoes and onions in the eggplant base. That said, the title that Jerusalem chooses (Charred Eggplant Salad with…), just distracts me from the fact that this is, at least to me, a gussied up and very modern take on the classic dish. I love this Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem for so many reasons, perhaps best of all is the brilliant choice to add pomegranate kernals to the mix. In winter, the bright ruby jewels are a welcome sight contrasted with the bright lemon zest and intensely green herbs. As the kernals explode in your mouth with little bursts of tart juice, they contrast the smokey, salty, garlicky goodness of the eggplant. This is a dish where skimping on the olive oil both in quantity and quality isn’t the way to go. It adds so much body and flavor to the Baba Ganoush via Jerusalem that you should consider it carefully as an ingredient. I think I try a different olive oil every time I make this dish, and I still haven’t settled upon my favorite. It’s a … Continue reading

Pantry Tips How to open a Pomegranate

pantry tips how to open a pomegranate segment

While of course, there are many ways to open a pomegranate, as a connoisseur of the gorgeous fruit, I feel compelled to share with you what I think it the best method in Pantry Tips How to open a Pomegranate. After all, I’ve open hundreds of them lots and lots of ways over the years and while there are many ways and they each have their merits, for me, this way combines stain prevention for your fingers, speed, preserving the most fruit, and minimizing mess. Once you master Pantry Tips How to open a Pomegranate you’ll find yourself buying the fruits more often and hastening to add it to salads (like my cous cous with pomegranates), drinks (like my pomegranate martini punch, which is perfect for New Year’s by the way) and desserts for garnish. And if you’re really like me, you’ll find yourself prepping a whole bowl full and eating the tiny red jewels with a spoon. First, with a pairing knife, cut the top and bottom off of the fruit. Then, cut along the five dents in the outer skin. You should be in the troughs, rather than the ridges. Cut all the way to the top and … Continue reading

Chanh muoi Lemon Salt Soda

Chanh muoi Lemon Salt Soda

Well, it is my birthday, and I do love a good funky cocktail, so here it is, the Chanh muối Lemon Salt Soda. The Chanh muoi Lemon Salt Soda is a traditional Vietnamese drink that I somehow didn’t know about until fairly recently. Like any good menu reader who prides themself on ordering all the dishes and drinks they’ve never heard of, I was surprised that I’d never come across the Chanh muoi Lemon Salt Soda. It turns out the Chanh muoi Lemon Salt Soda is a common menu item, which I discovered this fall at a local Philly pho taste off. Of course, I had to immediately compensate for the years with no Chan muoi in my life and all kinds of kitchen experimentation began. Thank goodness I’m constantly deciding that I need to do things like preserve lemons, because I had them on hand. While it started with making traditional Chanh muoi Lemon Salt Soda, it became aparent to me that the drink was an obvious candidate for conversion to cocktail. Sure enough it was wonderful with bourbon. Cheers! And happy funky cocktail day to all of us. And may you ever associate both me and my birthday … Continue reading