Friday, December 11, 2009

Torte It Is - Parshat Vayeshev Part II

In the last two days I've learned that I'm not such a kugel girl. It's true that there have been a few kugels that I have greatly enjoyed eating in my life, so much so that they still stand out in my mind; that tri-colored one at my brother's bar mitzvah, a spicy Yerushalmi served by Rav Brown of Midreshet Lindebaum, and recently a sweet oily kugel at a Minyan Tehillah potluck. However, I can only once recall making a kugel myself (a Passover spinach kugel at Sam's DC apartment - there was a lot of matzah meal involved) and recall passing over many kugels that have been served to me, not wanting to flirt with all that oil and heaviness. In searching for some way to make a tri-colored kugel this week (I never could find that original recipe so I was attempting a conglomerate) I just couldn't bring myself to use nearly an entire carton of eggs and a cruet of oil in a single dish!

So the torte it is.

I enjoyed making this and learned several things that I would tweak about the recipe:
1. I sliced the onions into nice 1/4 inch rounds and sauteed them separately after I was done cooking the zucchini and garlic. I think this helped them stay more intact as slices and they look prettier.

2. I divided the veggies in half and layered them in a pattern which I think is a good way to mimic Joseph's coat.

3. Don't refrigerate the torte until after you have pressed it and drained the liquid. Refrigerating it makes it too hard to drain the liquid since there is some oil in the dish that ends up coagulating.

If you already were lead astray by my other instructions here are some tips on how to drain the liquid. Bring the dish to room temperature and then drain as usual. If the liquid is still resistant to leave the pan, stick a butter knife into the side of the dish and gently wiggle the torte the the side to make room for the liquid to escape. Be sure to do this while tipping the pan (over the sink would be a good idea) and holding the torte in place with tin foil. I will revise the recipe in the previous post to reflect these changes.

Roasting veggies is always a fun and simple thing for me to do. I love brushing each raw slice with oil, sprinkling it with a pinch of salt and maybe pepper, slipping it in to the very hot oven and waiting. As I wait the smell slowly builds, until my timer chimes on my phone and I open the oven door to the smell of deep veggie goodness. Putting these roasted (and sauteed) vegetables in a torte is a pretty way to serve them and a change from just scattering them about on a platter.

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