Friday, June 29, 2012

Complain of Grain - Parshat Chukat

I was already thinking I would make tabouli this weekend before reading the weekly Portion, Parshat Chukat, and visiting my past relevant post. Go there to learn about this significant portion where Moses loses both of his siblings and is barred from entering the promised land.

The complaining Israelites can be found once again in this week's portion - lamenting the lack of water in the desert, as well as some of the very items that the spies recently reported could be found in the land they are headed to. "Why did you make us leave Egypt to bring us to this wretched place, a place with no grain or figs or vines or pomegranates? There isn't even water to drink!" Clearly, they are not the best bunch when it comes to delayed gratification. Soon after their whining, Moses hits a rock for water instead of speaking to it as God instructed and receives the crushing punishment of not being able to complete the 40 year journey with his nation.

This year I've got another grain recipe - one that actually pairs well with tabouli. It's based on a rather processed form of grain - Japanese Panko bread crumbs - that adds a great crunch to foods in frying or baking. The plain Panko readily takes on the flavors of herbs and spices and I often use olive oil to bind such a mixture together - mixing the dry Panko with the viscous oil reminds me of playing in the sand at the beach. Which is exactly where I'd like to spend the last few weeks of this wonderful pregnancy - under a beach umbrella, with my toes dug into some wet sand and my hands gripping a bottomless cup of chilled sparkling lemonade.

The Tabouli with the Panko Turkey

Couscous TabouliServes 4
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp of olive oil, plus 1tbsp
3/4 cup of couscous
1 cup of water
1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, add the water, salt and 2 tsp oil and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, stir in the couscous and remove from the heat. Let the couscous sit in the pot with a cover on for 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and refrigerate to cool completely.

Add the juice of the lemon, 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper to the the cooled couscous. Mix well, then add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley. Serve cold as a side dish or with tortilla chips as a snack.

Parsley and Pepper Panko Turkey
Adapted from two epicurious recipes (this one and this one). Serves 4

1 egg
2 tsp mustard
1 cup Panko (I can easily find Jeff Nathan's in my supermarket)
2 tbsp parsley, plus 1 tsp
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried chili pepper
Salt and pepper
6 turkey breast cutlets

Pre heat the oven to 450 degrees.

In one bowl whisk the egg, mustard and 1 tsp of parsley - season with salt and pepper. In another bowl combine the Panko, parsley, olive oil and peppers. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Spread the Panko mixture out on a plate.

Working with one turkey breast at a time, dip the cutlet into the egg mixture and then press onto the plate of Panko, being sure to coat the turkey well with Panko. The transfer to a glass baking dish and repeat with the remaining cutlets.

Bake for 25 minutes, uncovered, and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chosen Frozen - Parshat Korach

On the hottest first day of summer I can remember, all I can think of is ice cream. But since I haven't written here in a month I think I should start with some portion talk first - ice cream second.

This week we read Parshat Korach, chronicling the challenge to Moses' leadership by Korach and 250 leaders in the Israelite camp. They want to know what really qualifies Moses to lead the nation - if they have all been told they are holy people. Moses isn't sure how to handle this confrontation and asks God to sort it out for them. Things don't end well for Korach and his buddies since at that point Moses is clearly the most chosen of the chosen people.

Moses wonders why Korach and his cronies-  themselves leaders (being of the tribe of Levi he is among the group that serves in the Tabernacle) - are hungry for even more power. He tries to talk to some of the group one-on-one but they refuse to even come to a meeting with Moses. "Is it not enough that you brought us from a land flowing with milk and honey to have us die in the wilderness, that you would also hold it over us? We won't come." Talk about a mud-slinging campaign.

Actually, let's talk about milk and honey. I am a huge fan or milk in general, and specifically when it comes in a frozen form. My little babe in utero has certainly been demanding a lot of ice cream lately, and it got to be time to break out the ice cream maker. I had some leftover dulce de leche in a jar and went in search of an egg-free ice cream recipe to use it up. I wasn't sure if I should go for a vanilla ice cream swirled with the dulce de leche or incorporate the gooey sweet stuff right into the base of a batch. I was thrilled to stumble on a recipe that suggested the latter, had no eggs, used vanilla extract instead of beans and wouldn't keep me on my bare feet in the kitchen for too long : ) After enjoying the finished product with Sam and our friend Jason we all agreed it was the best dulce de leche ice cream we'd ever had. Take that Haagen-Dazs - I challenge your leadership! And because of the abundance of milk and the honey-like dulce de leche, this dish ties in with the milk and honey zinger from this week's portion.

Milk and Honey Ice Cream 
This is a dulce de leche ice cream recipe adapted from - it is egg free
and incredibly decadent but not overly sweet
. The recipes calls for pre-made dulce de leche, making your summer that much more relaxed.

2 cups of heavy cream (I love a Boston local brand High Lawn)
1 cup milk
1.5 cups of prepared dulce de leche (I used La Salamnadra)
1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Boil heavy cream and milk in a sauce-pan over a medium flame.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, then whisk in the dulce de leche until it has dissolved.

Chill this mixture in a bowl in the fridge, freezer or in the counter over another bowl of
ice - chill completely before pouring into an ice cream maker or it will not freeze!!

Freeze in the ice cream maker according to its directions.

Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden for an hour - if you can wait that long! Or just start enjoying right away.

Past Recipes for Parshat Korach
Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Rosemary and Chili Spiced Almonds