Make Fruits And Vegetables the Foundation Of Winter Meals

Dec. 18, 2020

By BARBARA SILVERSTEIN

Shabbat Shalom and welcome to “Kitchen Talk,” the weekly food blog of the CJR. Hanukkah ends this evening, three days before the Dec. 21 solstice that marks the official start of winter.

Last winter, I baked up a storm and by the spring, I could barely fit into my sweatpants. This year, I’m looking at healthier options – more vegetables and fruit. Two of this week’s recipes – Braised Cabbage and Roasted Cauliflower with Green Tahini Sauce – fit the healthy-eating bill.

I have made some changes to the cabbage recipe, which is from Bon Appétit Magazine. (https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/roasted-cabbage-apples-italian-sausage.) I’ve omitted the sausages. I added caraway seeds, as well as an optional garnish of sour cream and fresh herbs.

The Cauliflower-and-Green-Tahini recipe is adapted from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi. The Caramel Apple Galette recipe was created by Anna-Olson’ s recipe, the Food Network’ s baking maven (https://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/caramel-apple-galette/6754/) The galette is actually a brioche dough, a popular French breakfast bread. I added extra sugar to the galette recipe.

Community Spotlight

DANI is a Community Source For Kosher Dairy Meals And Treats

Hanukkah has been a very busy time for DANI, a charity dedicated to enhancing the skills and knowledge of individuals with physical and cognitive challenges.

DANI, an acronym for Developing and Nurturing Independence, offers its clients a variety of services – vocational, educational, life skills, recreational and social programs – in a community setting.

An important source of funding for these programs is the kosher catering business operated by DANI (905-889-3284), under COR supervision, according to Anita Miller, manager of catering and business.

During Hannukah, demand for latkes and sufganiot in the community was very high. “We sold 2,000 latkes and 2,000 sufganiot,” she noted. “The money raised from the sales is funnelled back into the organization to support our programs.”

Now in its 14th year, DANI is a social enterprise, “a business with a social twist,” Miller said. The catering and food sales offer vocational opportunities for clients and revenue for the various social and educational activities, she said. “The only reason we have catering is to fund our programming.”

DANI provides services to 30 adults. Miller stressed the importance of keeping them engaged. “We have never missed a day due to COVID,” she said. For short periods, when circumstances have necessitated, DANI has resorted to virtual programming.

DANI’ s Clark campus, adjacent to the Garnet A. Williams Community Centre (501 Clarke Ave. W.) in Thornhill, is the programming and catering hub. A satellite location at 401 Magnetic Dr. opened earlier this year.

Some clients have learned food-prep skills at the Clark campus, where daily meals that are prepared with some assistance from DANI’s clients. However, this food training program has been suspended during COVID, Miller said. “There is a now strict separation between programming and food prep.”

A number of DANI clients participate in pop-up lunches, a program – now temporarily suspended – that gives them the opportunity to interact with the community while developing, social, financial, and organizational skills.

The DANI crew would visit a corporate and/or community location where they would set up a temporary or “pop-up” kiosk to sell kosher lunch items like soups, chili, quiches, and muffins.

The organization also runs the DANI Café, a kosher dairy restaurant/ café at the Clark campus The space, which doubles as the DANI Event Centre, can accommodate up to 150 people for business meetings, parties and life-cycle celebrations, Miller said, pointing out that DANI caters off-site events as well, including business luncheons, weddings and bar mitzvahs, and provides shivah platters and corporate meals, while pastry and cookie platters are also in high demand. “We sold more than 500 gift baskets at Rosh Hashanah.” 

BRAISED CABBAGE (Bon Appétit)

½ head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium apple, sliced
2 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup. 
½ medium apple, sliced
1 tsp (5 ml) caraway seeds
optional: sour cream for garnish
optional: ¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh dill or parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss cabbage, onion, apple, thyme sprigs, vinegar, 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil, and ¼ cup (60 ml) water in a 13-x 9-inch (23-x 33-cm) baking dish; season with salt and pepper and roast, covered, until cabbage is wilted and softened, 45 minutes.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH GREEN TAHINI SAUCE Yotam Ottolenghi

1 large cauliflower
2–3 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 tsp (5 ml) salt (or to taste)

To Roast the Cauliflower

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Wash cauliflower well and cut into large florets. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt; toss to combine. 

Roast the cauliflower uncovered, for 40–45 minutes, until golden and crispy. Half way through cooking, stir the florets. When done, some of them will be blackened around the edge, which is okay.

Remove the cauliflower from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Pour the Green Tahini Sauce (recipe below) over the cauliflower. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Green Tahini Sauce

¼ cup (60 ml) Tahini
¾ cup (375 ml) parsley, roughly chopped
1 small garlic clove crushed
1/3 cup (90 ml) water 
3 tbsp (45 ml) lemon juice
Flaked sea salt

Pour the tahini into the small bowl of a food processor. Add the parsley and garlic. Pulse for 1 minute, until the tahini is green. Pour in the water and lemon juice and season with ¼ tsp salt. Pulse until you have a smooth green sauce with the consistency of heavy cream. Add a touch of tahini if it’ s too thin or a splash of water if it is too thick.

CARAMEL APPLE GALETTE Anna Olson 

Crust

3 tbsp (45 ml) tepid 2% milk
1¼ tsp (6 ml) instant dry active yeast
**6 tbsp (75 ml) sugar, divided
1¾ cups (435 ml) all purpose flour
¾ tsp (4 ml) salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
½ cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg mixed with 2 tbsp (30 ml) water for egg wash
**original recipe only called for 3 tbsp (45 ml) sugar

Apples

56 large Granny Smith, Braeburn or Honeycrisp, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
¼ cup (60 ml) unsalted butter
¼ cup (60 ml)sugar
2 tbsp (30 ml) brandy (optional)
½ tsp (2 ml) cinnamon

Crust: Stir together milk, yeast and 3 tbsp (45 ml) sugar. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and remaining sugar. Pour in milk mixture and add eggs. With electric beaters fitted with the dough attachments or in a stand-up mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until blended. Add the butter in pieces to dough and beat for 3 minutes until it becomes an even, silky consistency. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

For the fruit: Toss the apples in lemon juice. Heat the butter and sugar over high heat in a sauté pan and once bubbling, add the apples. Sauté the apples until nicely browned, about 10 minutes, and stir in brandy, if using, and cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Place ring of 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan on baking sheet lined with parchment.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 14-inch (35 cm) circle and place in springform pan, overlapping 2 inches (5 cm) on the outside of the pan. Spoon in the apples and fold the crust edge back over the apples. 

Brush the dough with egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes, until the edges of the tart are richly browned. Let cool for one hour before unmoulding and slicing. Makes 10 portions. The galette can be rewarmed before serving.

Celebrate Hanukkah With New And Traditional Recipes

Dec. 11, 2020

By BARBARA SILVERSTEIN

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Samayach. Welcome to “Kitchen Talk,” the weekly food blog of the CJR. Yesterday evening, we lit the first Hanukkah candle, but at our house, we won’t be eating latkes until this weekend.

My husband, the family’s latke-maker-in-chief, swears by Norene Gilletz’s recipe for Easy Potato Latkes from the Food Processor Bible

For people buying prepared latkes, there are several great places in the GTA to order from. One is Free Times Café, the College-Street eatery known in the community for “Bella! Did Ya Eat?,” its sumptuous Jewish-themed Sunday brunch.

In “Community Spotlight,” Free Times owner Judy Perly talks openly about the impact of COVID on her business. She’s definitely a survivor: her restaurant marks its 40th anniversary this month.

On Dec. 8, I attended the virtual Latkes and Vodka Workshop led by national food columnist and cookbook author Bonnie Stern and Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, spiritual leader of City Shul.

Stern prepared guacamole, sweet-potato latkes, and jelly-filled, donut-holes, her version of home-made sufganiot.

Rabbi Goldstein explained that the Hanukkah tradition of eating sufganiot originated in Israel during the 1920s. To help bakers increase business, the government encouraged them to make large, filled donuts for Hanukkah, a greasy treat that has grown in popularity over the years.

It turns out Rabbi Goldstein was a bartender in her college days. She invented and demonstrated some vodka martinis specifically geared to Hanukkah: “Menoratini,” “Chocolate Geltini,” and “Sufganitini” (a jelly donut martini!).

This week’s recipes include Gilletz’s Easy Potato Latkes as well as her Smashed Potato “Latkes,” a “no-grate alternative to potato latkes,” as she put it. It’s from The Brain Boosting Diet: Feed Your Memory. This may be heresy, but I actually prefer these “latkes” to traditional ones.

As well, there are two recipes from the Latkes and Vodka Workshop: Stern’s Jelly Filled Donut Holes and Rabbi Goldstein’s Menoratini.

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT:

Restaurateur Judy Perly is undaunted by COVID 

This month Free Times Café, a restaurant/bar at 320 College St., will mark its 40th anniversary. Owner Judy Perly said she will be celebrating the milestone despite the impact of the pandemic on her business.

Over the years, she has faced significant challenges that have made her resilient and able to deal with problems brought on by COVID, she said in a recent telephone interview.

“I’ve had my business destroyed four times and I had to reinvent myself each time.”

Judy Perley with Latkahs

With the pandemic, she has had to pivot from serving to catering restaurant fare. There is a big demand for the traditional Jewish foods she’s been serving at the restaurant. They’ll be delivering latkes to homes across Toronto.

Free Times’ Jewish themed Sunday brunch, “Bella! Did Ya Eat?” has become an institution in the Jewish community. For 25 years, people across the GTA have been enjoying the buffet laden with traditional foods like blintzes, bagels, lox, gefilte fish, salmon patties and other Ashkenazi delicacies.

The meal has always been accompanied by live Jewish or klezmer music.

Perly lamented that due to COVID, she could not celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Bella! Did Ya Eat?”

After a fire at Free Times in 1990, Perly decided to create the Jewish buffet – one of the times she had to reinvent herself.

“I wanted to get back to my roots and I wanted to reconnect to the Jewish community,” she recalled. “It was a success from day one.”

The first COVID lockdown last spring coincided with Passover. Perly let people on her mailing list know that she would be catering for the holiday. She had a huge response. The catering expanded to Sunday brunches, Friday night dinners, Shavuot and other holiday meals.

During the summer Perly was able to open her patio and have some live entertainment. Last month’s lockdown has created additional financial challenges.

On the eve of Hanukkah, the pace at Free Times was hectic. Perly and her staff were preparing orders for 400 latkes and other traditional dishes. “I am very grateful for the support I am getting from the Jewish community,” she mused. “They have kept the restaurant afloat for the last 25 years.”

EASY POTATO LATKES Norene Gilletz

4 medium potatoes, peeled or scrubbed
1 medium onion, cut in half 
2 eggs
1/3 cup (100 ml) of flour or matzah meal
1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
3/4 tsp (4 ml) salt 
Freshly ground black pepper to taste 
2 tbsp (30 ml) oil plus extra as needed

Cut the potatoes in chunks and place them in the food processor bowl fitted with the steel blade. Add the onion and eggs. Process until pureed, about 20–30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil. Process a few minutes longer for a smooth consistency.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop the potato mixture into the hot oil by large spoonfuls to form pancakes. Brown them well on both sides. Drain them well on paper towels and add 

more oil as needed. 

Stir the batter before cooking each new batch of latkes. They can be placed on a baking sheet and kept warm in a 250°F (130°C) oven. Makes 24 latkes

SMASHED POTATO “LATKES” Norene Gilletz

12 baby red-skinned potatoes (2 inches/5 cm in diameter)
Lightly salted water
1–2 tbsp (15–30 ml) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Additional seasonings (to taste): dried basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika

Boil the potatoes in enough lightly salted water to cover them for 15–20 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain them well. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or sprayed foil. Place the potatoes in a single layer, about 3 inches (8 cm) apart, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover them with a piece of parchment paper. Smash each potato once or twice with the flat part of your palm, to make a flat disc. Round off any ragged edges by pushing them together with your fingers.

Brush the tops lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings.

Bake, uncovered, for 20–25 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and crispy. If desired, turn the potatoes over halfway through baking. (Optional add more oil for brushing). Makes 2–3 servings

Norene’s Notes:

Easy hack: In Step 1, instead of boiling potatoes, roast them on a rimmed baking sheet for about 1 hour at 350°F (175°C), until they are fork tender. Continue as directed in Steps 2–5.

• In Step 3, use the flat side of a meat tenderizer to smash the potatoes. 

BONNIE’S BAKED JELLY DONUT HOLES

1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour 
½ cup (125 ml) sugar
½ tsp (2 ml) baking powder
¼ tsp (1 ml) baking soda
¼ tsp (1 ml) kosher salt
¼ tsp (1 ml) nutmeg
1 egg
¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk*
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
¼ cup (60 ml) strawberry jam (remove any large pieces) topping
½ cup (125 ml) butter, melted
3/4 cup (375 ml) sugar
3/4 tsp (4 ml) cinnamon 
* yogurt can be substituted for buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375°F (180°C). Butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray a 24-cup mini muffin pan.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. In a medium sized bowl whisk the egg with oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients together with the dry ingredients just until blended. 

Individual ½ tsp (2–3 ml) portions of jam can be frozen a head of time or fill a zip-lock bag with jam, close and cut a small opening in one corner. 

Place about 1 tsp (5 ml) of the batter in the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Place a frozen jam portion or squeeze a small amount of the jam in the zip-lock bag in the centre of the batter that is in the pans and top the jam with another tsp (5 ml) of batter. 

Bake 12–14 minutes until the cakes are puffed and lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and place in a shallow dish. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in another shallow dish. When the cakes are still warm roll them all over in the butter and then all over in cinnamon sugar. Makes 24 baked donut holes.

MENORATINI Rabbi Elise Goldstein

3 oz (90 ml) vodka
½ oz (15 ml) sweet vermouth.
Splash of blue curacao

Fill a cocktail shaker (or a 500 ml preserving jar with lid) with ice. Pour in the vodka and sweet vermouth and shake. Strain into 2 martini glasses, then splash in some blue Curacao and add a few fresh blueberries. Or put a “surprise” small drop of blueberry jam on the bottom of the martini glass! 

You can also “rim” the martini glass. Before pouring the cocktail into the glass, dip it into 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice mixed with ½ tsp (2 ml) vanilla. Dip the wet rim into blue or white coarse sugar, available at some bulk food stores.