Kiss The Kosher Cook
By Malkie Hirsch
It finally feels like spring is here. The weather has started to cooperate after a rainy April, and now all the kids want to do is run outside and play.
Except there’s the matter of those enormous carpenter bees we have buzzing around our deck in the backyard. Bees the size of hamsters, flying precariously close to our faces, seemingly not annoyed at the constant shooing I’m doing with one hand, as I push Gavi in the swing with the other hand.
Time to call Andy the exterminator!
Andy comes in the house while I’m starting dinner and notices that I’m attempting something I love treating myself to–meatless Mondays. If Moshe would be more willing, I’d love to enforce a vegetarian dinner every week, but I just know the looks and groans I would get if they came home to a yummy dinner of roasted heirloom carrots with yogurt and avocado (an actual dish I made for Shabbos that only I ate) and tofu stir-fry. Yum!
Anyway, back to Andy–doesn’t everyone know their exterminator’s background and food preferences? Well, I do. The kitchen is the center of my home, and as I have people walking through here, on a service call or just a social call, you can always find me there in some capacity or another.
So, he’s looking at what I’m attempting to make and says that he likes to make something similar to the dish I’m making, but with bulgur wheat. I must have made a face because he laughed and asked if I don’t like bulgur wheat. And next thing you know, we’re having a lengthy conversation over the different sizes of bulgur wheat out there. See, all along, I’ve been buying bulgur wheat for the popular Syrian side dish tabbouleh. Little did I know that bulgur wheat comes in a few different textures and sizes. So, having Andy come to get these pesky carpenter bees was doubly beneficial–I now have a new recipe to try with bulgur wheat #3: Bulgur wheat with sautÃ©ed onion, roasted red peppers, and chickpeas.
On to some recent events that took place last week in the Five Towns. We had our Lev Leytzan fundraiser last Wednesday at Beis Tefila and I wanted to thank the committee and everyone else involved who made it the huge success that it turned out to be. It was an amazing evening with delicious desserts from Vicki’s Delights and Sapienza’s bakery, in addition to informative demos on mixology and dairy desserts for Shavuos. And the most exciting part of the evening for me was that Ilanit called my name for two of the raffles. One prize in the package was food-related–$25 at Stop Chop and Roll. I’ll take it!
Coming up on June 8—9 is the Levi Yitzchak Library’s Shavuos Bake Sale–a cause I like to work on every year. It’s a great way to support such an important part of our community, and at the same time, shop for delicious desserts for Shavuos, as well as purchase beautiful flowers for your home. I usually choose to bake desserts that I’ve been eyeing in various cookbooks but had no occasion to bake. This is that perfect time! They’re looking for bakers and shoppers, so don’t miss out! Wednesday, June 8, 6:00—9:00 p.m. and Thursday, June 9, 10:00 a.m.—9:00 p.m.
As Memorial Day is upon us, the grills are being primed to work overtime in the coming weekend. I cannot tell you how many times Moshe would turn to me on a random Sunday in the spring and summer and say, “I think today is the perfect weather for a barbecue.” You’d think the most complicated part of the barbecue is what the man does–season the meat with salt and pepper and place it carefully on the grill. Maybe turn it once for pretty grill marks.
It’s the appetizers, salads, and side dishes that are work. I know barbecues all around the world get by without salads and sides, but are they as much fun?
When we have our friends and family for a barbecue, I make sure there is enough variety at the table. Have a few different salads present; one can be lettuce-based and one of the corn or pasta-salad variety. A big winner at a barbecue is potato salad. And it’s no longer your mom’s potato salad with a cup of mayo and diced pickles. There are many different types to try–mustard vinaigrette will hold up better, especially in high heat. Try roasted sweet-potato fries in place of a standard potato salad. Instead of regular grilled corn on the cob, try using a compound “butter,” or making a miso mayonnaise as a dipping sauce. And my favorite part: take all the vegetables in your vegetable bin that are dying a slow veggie death and put them in a basic marinade of olive oil, garlic, basil cubes, and the like–then grill or roast them, and you have an easy side dish that everyone will appreciate, especially with the heavier protein being served. And now, on to my favorite part of the meal.
Nothing is more refreshing after a meal than cut-up fruit, sliced melon, etc. But I always love serving pastry of some sort to go along with it. And now that some of my favorite fruit is in season, what better way to elevate it than making it into a cobbler? Since marrying into my husband’s family and eating at various relatives’ homes along the way, I have come across my Aunt Susie’s blueberry cobbler. It’s not one of those fruit on bottom and crumble on top situations–it’s cakey, crumbly, and amazing. When you can get a good Costco-sized pack of blueberries, buy them and make this! Or you can sub for the fruit of your choice. This is the season for stone fruit–plums, peaches, nectarines, or cherries. Go ahead and experiment!
Susie’s Blueberry Cobbler
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1Â¼ cups sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- Â¾ cup oil
- 3 cups fresh blueberries
- vanilla sugar
- zest and juice of one lemon
- turbinado sugar (optional)
Combine all dry ingredients and then incorporate eggs, oil, and vanilla. Do so with your hands. That will make a bowl of somewhat sticky crumbs. Take a little less than half and press down into greased pie dish (I use a bigger one, 12-inch round). Pour 1Â½—2 pints fresh blueberries on top of crust and sprinkle vanilla sugar and lemon zest and juice from one lemon. Use the remaining crumbs for the top of the cobbler. For texture, I like to sprinkle turbinado sugar over the top (this is optional). Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Serve with sweetened whipped cream or pareve ice cream for a non-dairy option.
This Week’s Menu
Monday. Meatballs (BY cookbook), rice, heirloom carrots
Tuesday. Penne with red onion and broccoli, tuna croquettes, salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Wednesday. Grilled oyster steak with pearl onions, bulgur with roasted peppers and chickpeas, and schnitzel
Thursday. Pizza and mushroom quiche v
Malkie Hirsch loves to cook and shares her ideas freely on her Facebook group, Kiss The Kosher Cook. What’s sweeter than sugar and with fewer calories? Hearing from her readers. Feel free to write with questions, comments, and suggestions to email@example.com.