Valentine’s Day comes with high expectations. Oh, the pressure to create romance.
Add to that an expensive dinner in a restaurant overburdened by so many romance-seeking customers, and the evening often ends in disappointment.
I remember one Valentine’s Day dinner, at a top New York restaurant famous for its magnificent cheese course, which it presents on a rolling cart. The most fun part of the meal, for me, would be discussing the various selections with the knowlegeable and enthusiastic cheese master, learning about his offerings, and then tasting our choices.
A restaurant-quality recipe reworked for the home cook from “Secret Restaurant Recipes”.
Makes 4 servings
3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 pound mushrooms, quartered
1 pound salmon, skin removed, cut into 1-in wide strips
1 pound tuna, cut into 1-in wide strips
Kosher salt, to taste
Pinch coarse black pepper
2 scallions, green parts only, cut into rings
½ cup cashews
⅓ cup sesame seeds
1 cup sugar
2 carrots, finely diced
1 onion, diced
1 celery rib, diced
2 ounces fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup white wine
2 cups low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 5 tablespoons water
Lettuce, for plating
1) Prepare the teriyaki sauce: Add sugar to a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; caramelize sugar. When the sugar at the edges of the pan begins to melt, gently stir. Continue to stir gently until sugar is liquefied. (If your sugar turns into rocks, it’s too cold. Raise heat and let it warm up, then gently stir.)
2) Add carrots, onion, celery, ginger, and garlic and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Some of the sugar may harden; that’s okay. Add white wine and cook an additional 5 minutes.
3) Add soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Lower heat; simmer for 1 hour.
4) Strain out vegetables and return sauce to the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in cornstarch mixture. When sauce reaches desired consistency, remove from heat. Set aside.
5) Prepare the fish: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until completely soft and tender, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
6) In the same pan, heat remaining olive oil. Once oil is hot, add fish. Sear on all sides until medium-rare (the tuna will cook much faster than the salmon; remove while you still see pink inside). Remove from pan and set aside.
7) Return vegetables to the pan. Stir in ¾ cup teriyaki sauce and cook for 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary (extra salt may not be necessary, depending on the type of soy sauce used).
8) Spread lettuce onto each plate. Arrange salmon and tuna in a row on top. Top with mushroom/teriyaki mixture and sprinkle with scallions, cashews, and sesame seeds. Drizzle 1-2 additional tablespoons teriyaki sauce on top.
Recipes from Secret Restaurant Recipes by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. Reprinted with permission from the copyright holders: ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications
I was in New York last week so I know firsthand what sort of spring the east coast has had. I was more than happy to shed my winter wardrobe and return to the balmy warmth of Israel, where spring has fully sprung. Since the growing seasons here tend to be a bit ahead of the States, I have a preview of what will be hitting American farmer’s markets any day now: artichokes, fava beans, asparagus, and the like.
I wanted to make a Shabbat meal that would celebrate springtime, a promise of what’s to come for those still shivering and seeking comfort food. So I came up with a light, healthy, clean meal bursting with the flavors of the season that can be served warm, room temperature, or even made ahead and served cold. The entire menu is parve and gluten free, so it can accommodate a variety of diets.
There are few things healthier than simple poached fish, nor easier to make. It takes about 3 minutes of prep and 5 minutes of cooking and you have perfectly cooked fish. Firm-fleshed salmon is an excellent choice for this cooking method, but halibut or cod would also work well.
For many consumers, even those comfortable purchasing and consuming GM products, there is something “different” about creating transgenic animals for human consumption. When people are confronted with the idea of genetically modified animals many think of Dolly, the famous sheep who was the first successful clone of a living animal. One of the first arguments against both cloning and genetically modifying animals is that scientists are “playing God.” However, in the 21st century, our society is used to other invasive measures which, at other points in human development, may have also been viewed as “playing God,” such as surgeries, birth control and fertility treatments. While the idea of “playing God” may be a compelling reason in some religious communities why humans should abstain from certain acts of which we are intellectually capable, this argument may not hold as much water in the Jewish religion. It could even be argued that Judaism encourages us to “play God;” or perhaps Judaism envisions these human innovations as “playing with God,” rather than pretending to be God.
Mile End Sandwich, the newest deli shop from Mile End Deli, a Montreal-style deli in New York, has opened its doors and it’s serving smoked meat and breakfast sandwiches. [Grub Street]
Russ and Daughters, the iconic New York appetizing shop, shares their recipe for chopped liver with caramelized onions. [Serious Eats
The New York Times announces the winner of their Essay for Ethical Meat Eating Contest. Tell us why you think eating or not eating meat is an ethical decision. [New York Times]