November 22, 2015

Moroccan Couscous

Couscous is a North African food that is made of semolina - granules of durum wheat. It is easily prepared by steaming and can take on the flavor of most things you add to it. Many North African countries such as Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Libya use couscous as a staple in their cooking.

I love it because it is a practical alternative to rice - or other grains for that matter. I was asked by my mother in law (who is hosting Thanksgiving this year) to make some type of grain. While I had a particular wild rice dish in mind, my local supermarket did not have it in stock. When I saw the couscous, I knew it was a perfect last minute replacement. 

Originally, my wild rice dish was going to have typical Autumn flavors ( cranberries, pecans, apples) but I thought that couscous needed more exotic flavors. Here, I was inspired by Leslie of Scrumpdillyicious. I changed it to fit my style and ingredients I had on hand. I also tried to simplify the recipe.

Moroccan Couscous 
4 servings

4 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, small dice
1 1/2 cup butternut squash, diced small
1 zucchini, small dice
1 jar of roasted red & yellow peppers
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup prunes, diced
4 cups chicken stock, ( or vegetable stock ) 
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt to taste
2 cups couscous
1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed 
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Drizzle olive oil and salt over butternut squash, carrots and zucchini and roast in oven until semi soft and golden.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine couscous, roasted peppers, toasted almonds, chickpeas, and prunes. Set aside.

3. Bring the chicken stock, raisins, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and salt to a boil. Pour over ingredients in the bowl. Mix with roasted vegetables. Season with salt as needed, lemon juice for brightness and garnish with fresh herbs.

Enjoy hot or room temperature. Freezes well.

November 17, 2015

Blood Orange Cranberry & Cabernet Sauce

                                                  This post contains an affiliate link

Blood Orange Cranberry Cabernet Sauce. Say that five times fast!

It doesn't exactly flow off the tongue, but I had to mention what was IN the sauce to let you know that it's not your average cranberry sauce.

I got the inspiration from  Alexandra's Kitchen . Red wine sounded like a perfect accompaniment to this tart yet sweet sauce. I also happened to have blood oranges on hand - they're in season now - and I have always noticed that when you mix foods that match in color, more often than not, they tend to go well together.

If you have never had a blood orange before, it's a bit like a citrus-like raspberry. It has subtle bitter notes but still sweet. The color, when sliced is also similar to "blood" - hence the name. The beauty of them is that they are all different. Some are much lighter, and some range from light to dark.

When I went to the Kosher Food Bloggers Conference on November 9th, Yosef Silver of (banner link below) was speaking on the panel. I happened to get this Zmora Cabernet Sauvignon at a local store near me before I knew of, (and before I got pregnant!) but after checking out their website, I do have to say that they make the process pretty simple. I recommend that you check it out.

The website breaks down things like flavor profile, alcohol content, dryness and even if it is kosher for Passover or not. They even give you a chance to win free wines when you write reviews about the wine! 


This post contains an affiliate link which means if you purchase products through this link, I will receive a small percentage which helps keep The Kosher Tomato blog running. All opinions are my own.

I like that the wine gives it that beautiful deep color, the blood orange balances the sweet and bitter notes and it truly feels like a "sauce" and not an overly sweet jam.

Blood Orange Cranberry & Cabernet Sauce
The Kosher Tomato

12 ounces whole fresh cranberries (frozen would also work)
12 ounces water
2/3 cup sugar
4 ounces Cabernet Sauvignon ( I used Zmora which has fruity and floral notes)
1 cinnamon stick
1 blood orange, zest, "supremed" - which means I removed just the flesh from the membranes & juiced (I did not use a micro plane, instead just lightly peeled, making sure not to peel the "pith" - white part as well)
1 or 2 slices blood orange for decoration

1. Combine cranberries and water and cook over moderate heat until the berries pop open. Add the sugar and mix well. 

2. Once thickened a bit, add the wine and allow it to cook out for approximately 5 minutes or so.

3. Add the zest, juice and cinnamon stick and cook until you have reached your desired consistency. You can always add water to thin it out.

November 11, 2015

Yemenite Spice Butternut & Chickpea Soup

It's amazing what a little inspiration and a day off will give you.

I recently attended the Kosher Food Bloggers Conference 2015 #KFBCON15 which had many amazing speakers on their panel - but one really stood out - Renee Muller of Renee Muller Styling.

I have always had an interest in food styling and hearing her speak, and learning her tips and tricks really ignited the flame in me again! The pictures taken here are more thought out than my usual photos and although I still need practice - they are much better than previous photos where I don't have the luxury of natural daylight and I just snap them quickly before we eat for dinner.

Lately, my mom has been sharing photos of anything she came up with, and this week, it was this butternut squash and chick pea soup. My mom has always been a great cook, but never really had much of an interest in talking about it. She said she was impressed with the taste (although she has always been good with flavor) and when reading the list of ingredients to me, she mentioned hawaij spice. 

Hawaij is a spice mix widely used by Yemenite Jews in Israel. There are different types of mixes - but since I could not find it already made, I decided to look it up and add the same spices to the soup. It has a mix of turmeric, cumin, cardamom, and coriander.

I made the soup with my own adaptation and added a nice garnish that was full of textures, color and flavor. 

Drizzle of balsamic glaze, toasted almonds, toasted coconut, cranberries, pomegranate seeds and cilantro.

Yemenite Spice Butternut & Chickpea Soup
The Kosher Tomato - makes approx 2 1/2 cups

1 package of frozen sliced onions and peppers (or fresh, I used this shortcut)
Olive oil for roasting & sauteing (eyeball this)
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp crushed coriander seeds. (I put them in a Ziploc bag and crushed them with the back of a heavy pan)
1 to 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 whole butternut squash, medium rough dice
1 large carrot, medium rough dice
1, 15.5 oz can of chick peas, rinsed
2.5 cups of low sodium vegetable stock 
1 cup water
Handful of baby spinach leaves, shredded

1. Roast the butternut squash on a sheet pan with olive oil and salt.
2. Meanwhile, in a soup pot - saute the onions, peppers and garlic until translucent.
3. "bloom" all the spices in the olive oil with the onion/pepper + garlic mix until fragrant.
4. Add the roasted squash, carrot, chick peas, vegetable stock and water.
5. Cook for 25 minutes and use a handheld blender to buzz the soup to your desired consistency. (I loved it chunky - that way you can also see what is in the soup.) Garnish soup with toppings listed above - or any of your favorites. Enjoy!

November 8, 2015

Mushroom Egg Rolls & Galangal Emulsion

Galangal has a very unique flavor. I first encountered it when cooking at Spice Market restaurant in NYC. They used this rhizome in an emulsion sauce that paired with these mushroom egg rolls. I fell in love with it since the first taste. (Click the link for excellent information on galangal from "The Kitchn")

The rest of my pictures did not really show the true color of the galangal emulsion - it was a lovely minty green color (shown above) 

Though it resembles ginger and is in the same family, galangal has a more floral and citrus note than its counterpart. It is typically found in Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai cooking.

A friend mentioned she was visiting an Asian market and I asked her to pick up some galangal for me. They only had frozen, but once it defrosts, it works just as well.

My idea was to replicate the mushroom egg rolls and the galangal emulsion that so perfectly accompanied them, but my recipes from my restaurant era were tucked away in the attic.

This turns out to be my variation on what I remember ( I am sure Spice Market would be happy about that anyway) Enjoy!

Mushroom Egg Rolls
(Makes 3 rolls)

2 1/2 cups mixed mushrooms (I used shiitake and baby bella)
1/2 Tbsp minced ginger
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup diced onion
2 lemons, zest only
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon
3 egg roll wrappers (I used Nasoya brand)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying
salt to taste

1. Saute the mushrooms with a little oil in a saute pan until the edges get brown.

2. Add the ginger, garlic, onion and salt until translucent. 

3. Add tarragon and lemon zest and off the heat, fold in the sesame oil. Allow to cool.

4. Fill the wrappers with a good amount of filling - following instructions on the packaging for sealing the egg roll wrappers.

5. Fry in oil on all sides until golden brown and pat on paper towel when they are done.

Galangal Emulsion

1 cup mayonnaise
1 container plain Greek yogurt (omit this to make it a PAREVE/dairy free dish)
3, 1-inch pieces of galangal, chopped fine manually and then through chopper/food processor
1/4 water
1 stuffed cup of basil - more is good too for color and flavor. (Thai basil is better, but harder to find)
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar ( you may want more if you prefer more of a "bite"
salt to taste

1. After you've gotten the galangal as finely chopped as possible, place it in a fine mesh strainer and pour the water over it, squeezing as much of the galangal "juice" as possible. Keep going until your galangal is a dry pulp.

2. Mix the rest of the ingredients, and add the "galangal juice" and buzz in a food processor until fully incorporated. 

3. Adjust seasonings with salt, lemon juice and rice vinegar, depending how bright and pungent you want it to be. Serve with your mushroom rolls!