Cabbage Puff Pastry Roulade

An easy and fun appetizer for a festive meal, that can also serve as a main dish with some salad on the side. This year this appetizer will be part of our Rosh HaShanah table. Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish new year and usually we celebrate it with different edible blessings. One of the main blessings is for us to be the head and not the tail or in other words we are wishing to be leaders and lead by example. The food which symbolizes this blessing is the head of a cow or lamb (cheek meat) and in some communities it is the head of a fish. This year, though, as we turned vegan, we can’t do either, so we decided to be creative and use a head of cabbage. Hence the following recipe. For more about Rosh HaShanah recipes check my Rosh HaShanah Blessings and Recipes.

Wishing a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year to all who celebrate!

Ingredients:
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 tbs oil
½ cabbage head, thinly shredded
12 mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package frozen Puff Pastry sheets (2 sheets)
Sesame/nigella seeds (optional)

Preparation:
In a large saucepan heat the oil and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the cabbage and keep sautéing, while stirring occasionally, until cabbage is wilted and slightly seared.

Add the mushrooms and the spices and give the dish a good stir.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 15-20 minutes, covered, until the cabbage and mushrooms are very soft, and all the liquid evaporated from the pot. If there are liquids left, remove the cover and raise the heat to let all liquid evaporate.

Remove from the heat and set aside.

Defrost the frozen puff pastry at room temperature for about 40 minutes. The dough should be defrosted but cold enough to handle, otherwise it’s too hard to work with.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place one of the pastry sheets on a work surface and roll it out to a rectangle. Place ½ of the chilled cabbage filling in the middle of the sheet lengthwise, to create a cylinder. Fold the short side edges of the dough on top of the filling, then fold the top and the bottom edges, one on top of the other, to close the roulade.

Place the roulade, sim down, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and repeat the process with remaining ingredients.

You may brush the top of the roulades with egg wash and sprinkle sesame or nigella seeds on top.

Bake in the preheated oven until the roulades turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and chill for a few minutes before serving.

Gondi Nochodi

This recipe may look like Matzah ball soup, but it is actually a Jewish Persian dish, very popular among Persian Jews.  It is made of ground chicken and chickpeas.

Gondi, is perhaps the single most unique food to the Jews of Iran. While Persian Jews have over the centuries adopted the Persian cuisine in their kitchen (kosher style, of course), Gondi has been one of their few culinary innovations that they can claim as their own.

It is usually served as an appetizer together with Sabzi – raw green vegetables including tarragon, basil, mint, and radishes. In our home, we used to eat it as a main dish.

Ingredients:
5-6 oz roasted chickpea (found in Middle Eastern grocery stores)
1 lb ground chicken breast
2 large onions, shredded
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp black pepper
¼ cup canola oil or rendered chicken fat
4 tsp rose water (found in Middle Eastern grocery stores)
Homemade chicken soup (recipe follows) or 8 cups of good chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
In a food processor, grind the roasted chickpeas only until they turn into crumbs. Be careful not to over grind it. You don’t want chickpea flour. You may find chickpea already coarsely ground in Middle Eastern grocery stores. Do not buy chickpea flour. It is too powdery.

Place the chickpea crumbs in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients except for the chicken soup, and mix well by hand, until mixture is well combined.

In a large saucepan, bring the chicken soup to a boil. If needed, add salt and pepper.

Make plum size balls of the chickpea mixture, and add them gently, one by one, to the soup. If the balls stick to your hands, use a small bowl with water to wet your hands lightly.

Lower the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes.

Place 1-2 balls in a soup bowl, add some soup and serve.

IMG_1158

Chicken soup

2 lb chicken bones (necks, backs) or other parts
8 cups water
1 large onion, quartered
1 small bunch cilantro
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rings
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbs chicken soup powder

Place the chicken in a large saucepan. Cover with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Using a large spoon, clean all the foam formed on the water.

Lower the heat to medium and add the onion, carrots, cilantro, and spices and cook for about an hour, covered.

Discard of the cilantro. You may use the soup as is to cook the Gondi dumplings in, or you may strain it, and have a clear broth for the Gondi.

Gondi is served with a plate of fresh green herbs such as basil, tarragon, mint, and sliced radishes.IMG_2324

Corn soup Mexican Style

I was in the mood for a flavorful chunky soup to accompany our taco dinner. Mexican style sounded good, so I winged it using stuff I have at home. It’s really an easy soup that only takes 10 minutes of preparation. And it comes out delicious. We enjoyed it so much so now we have a new keeper.

Ingredients:
2 tbs oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans sweet corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbs chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, minced
3 cups water
2 tbs chicken soup powder
½ tsp thyme
1 tbs ground coriander seeds
Salt
Pepper
1 cup chopped cilantro
Plantain/tortilla chips (optional)

Preparation:
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onion until golden brown.

Add the corn including the liquid, the diced tomatoes with the juice, the chipotle, water, and spices.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Using a hand blender, partially blend the soup, leaving almost half the content chunky.

Add the chopped cilantro and top with some crunchy plantain or tortilla chips before serving.

Watermelon Rind and Bean Curry

Throwing food is something I try to avoid as much as possible. Almost everything we buy gets eaten or used this way or another. In this case, I’m referring to watermelon rind. Did you ever think it was edible? I didn’t think about it until a few months ago when a friend brought me some mysterious preserves she made. I couldn’t figure out what she could possibly had used to make the preserves. I was very surprised when she finally revealed her “secret” ingredient – watermelon rind. I enjoyed it, but when it was gone, I moved on with my life and completely forgot about it.

Yesterday, I brought home a watermelon. My husband cut it and placed the wedges in a special container, and we were left with a big amount of the rind. Just before we were about to dump it in the compost bin, my son reminded us of those preserves we all enjoyed, which gave me an idea. Try and make a savory dish using the rind as the main ingredient. I decided to go completely untraditional and use unconventional combinations of ingredients and flavors, and got some inspiration from a post I found in the blog Sumptuous Spoonfuls.

I think my creation came out pretty good…

Ingredients:
Sauce:
2 tbs minced fresh ginger
4 large cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 1 medium lime
2 tbs palm sugar (or light brown sugar)
2 tbs peanut butter
2 tbs rice vinegar
2 tbs soy sauce
5 tbs Thai masaman curry paste
1 15oz can coconut milk
4 tbs chopped cilantro
2 tbs Thai fish sauce (optional)

5-6 cups watermelon rind, peeled and cubed
3 tbs oil
3 cups cooked beans (I used pinto beans)
8 medium baby Bella mushrooms, sliced into thick slices

Preparation:
In a medium bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the watermelon cubes. Sauté for 6-7 minutes over high heat, stirring the watermelon occasionally. The watermelon should be lightly seared and wilted.

Add the sliced mushrooms, the beans and the sauce. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 more minutes.