Chopped liver is one of the most iconic Jewish dishes. It’s been consumed spread on top of challah and matzah for generations. But the Ashkenazi version doesn’t really do much to impress me, with only onions to add flavor, I find the taste bland.
I wanted to create something that would enhance the naturally rich flavor of liver. So I looked for inspiration from more Middle Eastern flavors. Ironically, nothing is more Israeli than Turkish coffee. And perhaps also surprising is that the bitterness of the coffee really compliments the liver and apple flavors.
The result is a classic Jewish dish with an elegant twist and a really delicious taste.
1 heaping Tbsp Turkish coffee or instant espresso
2 Tbsp honey
1 lb chicken livers
½ cup warm water
½ tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 green apples, peeled and diced
Place the Turkish coffee (or instant espresso) and honey in the bottom of a heat proof bowl. Stir in the hot water until the honey dissolves.
Add the livers and let marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Heat a small pot over a medium heat along with the cloves, vinegars and brown sugar.
Once the contents of the pot begins to simmer add the apples.
Lower the heat to medium low and cover the pot. Allow the apples to cook for half an hour.
The apples should be soft and darkened slightly when they are ready. After the apples are done cooking, use a slotted spoon and remove them from the pot leaving whatever liquid remains in the pot.
Raise the heat under the pot to medium high and drain all the liquid from the bowl except approximately 2 Tbsp worth of the marinade.
Add the liver and marinade to the pot and cook the livers until there are no more visible pink parts.
Combine the liver and cooked apples in a medium bowl and mash until desired consistency. For a smoother consistency you can use a food processor fitted with blade attachment.
The weather is starting to take a turn, and it’s debatable whether it’s for better or worse. There is a definite bright side, and it’s not the skies: it’s soup season. Right when you’ve started unrolling your blankets, and reminiscing about fire places, that’s the time to stick a pot on the stove top.
I think everyone has a memory of tomato soup warming them up from the inside out. Tomato soup is one of those comfort food classics, that like coke, doesn’t need a new formula.
Tomato soup + me + spoon = happy.
That’s why I took the liberty with this recipe to not reinvent the wheel that’s been rolling smoothly; instead I played with it just a touch. While making this soup I couldn’t help but think about matbucha, the tomato based salad Jews have been drowning their challah in for generations throughout the Middle East. Its acidic touch of lemon and hint of cumin is what makes the salad so popular among noshers of all ages.
I added some lemon juice and spices similar to the ones found in matbucha, and some sweet peppers to give it a touch of unexpected flavor that’ll warm you up like an Indian summer.
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 medium purple onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 hot pepper, diced (optional)
1 ½ Tbsp sugar
5 plum tomatoes, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
3 cups of tomato juice
3 cups of boiling water
Salt and white pepper to taste
1/2 cup of cooked wild rice
Toast cumin and paprika in large pot on medium heat until fragrant, about three minutes.
Add olive oil and lemon juice to the pot and cook for one minute. Once they are hot, stir in the onion, garlic, and hot pepper if you are using it.
Let your onion mix cook for about 6 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
Mix in your sugar, tomatoes, and sweet peppers. Let them cook for about 6 minutes. They should be done when the tomatoes and peppers have softened slightly.
Add tomato juice and water to the pot. Bring soup to a slow boil. Lower the heat to medium and let it cook uncovered for 40 minutes.
Fill bowls with a few spoonfuls of rice and then ladle soup over it.
Did you know that it is traditional to eat stuffed foods on Sukkot?
Originally, I thought it was just because they tasted good. Not quite content, I did a little bit of research and came up with a few answers.
Some say that we eat stuffed cabbage on Simchat Torah because if you put two of these bundles together they look the two tablets of the Ten Commandments.
This answer didn’t thrill me because two store-bought dinner rolls have the same effect, except they don’t require, blood, sweat, and tears to serve them.
A bit more digging and I uncovered another answer: we eat stuffed foods because they symbolize an overwhelming bounty. Fall is when farmers harvest wheat in Israel. A simple vegetable overflowing with delicious filling reminds us of our desire for a year of overflowing harvest.
In biblical times, farmers would put collecting their crops on hold to sit in a sukkah with their family and celebrate Sukkot. Sitting out on the field studying Torah with their children, these farmers were surrounded by two great desires; one, that this year’s harvest would be plentiful and two that like those vegetables, their year would be bursting with moments like that one, doing what they loved most, studying Torah with who they loved most.
In the year 2013, when most of us do not run out to cut wheat, and the closest thing we’ve done to harvesting is scope out sales at the mall, I think it’s time to give this ancient tradition a modern twist – and what better than with dessert!
This is a healthy autumn dessert that helps you stick to your new year resolutions. Or you can serve it with a side of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. My favorite part about this recipe is that if I somehow end up with leftovers, I can have dessert for breakfast without even the slightest bit of guilt!
5 large apples (whichever variety you prefer)
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup of crushed walnuts
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup of instant oatmeal
1/4 cup of craisins
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted margarine cut into five small cubes
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and boil 1 1/2 cups of water.
Place a small pan over a medium heat and toast your spices and nuts. Toast until they become fragrant, around 3-5 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
This shouldn’t take more than five minutes. Keep an eye on them while you continue with the recipe to prevent them from burning.
While you wait for you ingredients to toast, cut off the top of your apple.
You should cut off about 1/4 inch off the top, enough that it isn’t a wobbly thin slice of apple but a sturdy "hat" you can easily place back on top of your apple later.
Remove the center of your apples creating a hollow circle in the middle of your apple with an inch or so diameter. You can use an apple corer to help you remove the center of your apple. If you don't have an apple corer you can also using a paring knife or any small sharp knife.
Remember the hollowed core of you apple doesn’t have to be a perfect circle as long as you remove all the pits your apple is perfect.
Once your spices and nuts are fragrant, add the almond milk and honey and continue to heat.
Once your almond milk mixture is hot but not bubbling, stir in the oatmeal and craisins.
Cook the oatmeal stuffing for a few more minutes, until most of your almond milk has been absorbed, stirring every few minutes.
Fill your apples with approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp of filling so that they are entirely filled.
Place your apples into a small baking dish.
Put a single piece of margarine on top of each apple's filling and then the top of each apple in order to "seal" the apple closed.
Pour the 1 1/2 cups of boiling water into the baking dish along with the apples.
Cover your baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Bake your apples for 30-40 minutes while basting their stuffing with the cooking water every 10-15 minutes.
They are ready when the apples' stuffing is hot and the apples are soft but not mushy.