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Cook It Kosher

Easy Confit Garlic

May 22, 2018

The Only Lasagna Recipe You Will Ever Need

May 13, 2018

I know “the only lasagna recipe you’ll ever need” is a tall claim, but it has been unanimously voted best lasagna by everyone who’s tried it, including about 40 people last Shavuot, so I’m sticking with it.


It does have more steps than a lot of other recipes, so it’s not the recipe to choose when you’re in a hurry, but it's those extra steps that add stacks of flavor and make this so worthwhile.


A few tips:

  1. Grate your own cheese! Just do it. Buy a block and grate it yourself. It’s soft and shreds easily, and it does make a difference. The pre-shredded stuff comes coated with powder to prevent it from sticking together in the packet, but that also prevents it from melting properly.
  2. Use a real pan. Glass or ceramic. Yes, it will still be good in a disposable foil tin, but it will be much better(!) in a pan that conducts heat well. It cooks better and more evenly.
  3. Do not replace the ricotta with cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is ricotta’s limp and wimpy younger cousin. We don’t want that now, do we?







Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3 stalks of celery, peeled and very finely sliced
  • 8 oz. fresh spinach
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz. muenster cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 12 lasagna noodles (not the oven-ready ones)

Directions

  1. Soak lasagna noodles in warm water.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the onion in the oil until translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook down until wilted. Add the garlic and the fresh spinach. Cook until the spinach has wilted. Season with salt as you go along, adding a sprinkle with each add-in. Mix the sauteed vegetables with the ricotta cheese. Set aside.
  3. Layer 1: Spread 1 cup marinara sauce across the bottom of the pan. Place three noodles on top. Spread half the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles and sprinkle half the muenster cheese on top.
  4. Layer 2: Place 3 lasagna noodles on top of the ricotta. Top with 1 ½ cups marinara and half the mozzarella cheese.
  5. Layer 3: Layer three lasagna noodles on top of the marinara. Cover with the remaining half of the ricotta mixture and the remaining half of the muenster cheese.
  6. Layer 4: Last three noodles. Cover with 1 ½ cups marinara and remaining mozzarella.
  7. Pour 1 cup water around the edges of the lasagna. Cover tightly with foil and bake approximately 1 hour at 350F. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 15-20 minutes before cutting.

Yields: 1 lasagna, approximately 12 pieces


Kale Salad with Roast Sweet Potato, Peppers, Sunflower Seeds and Feta

April 22, 2018

For the Salad

  • 1 big bunch kale
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds (roasted, salted)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Spread the cubed sweet potato out on a sheet pan. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30–40 minutes.
  2. Wash and check the kale for bugs. Dry well. Cut into bite-size pieces and place in a bowl.
  3. Add the sweet potato, sliced peppers, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve.
  5. Optional: crumble feta cheese over the top.

For the Dressing

  • 4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2–3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Pour over salad.
  2. Can keep refrigerated for 3–4 days.

Fluffy Vegan Whole Spelt Challah

April 8, 2018

So far I've done good old fluffy plain challah, whole wheat challah, gluten free challah, and sweet raisin challah, but this is the one I've been really holding out for: whole spelt challah which happens to also be egg free and therefore suitable for vegans.


The thing to be aware of with spelt is that the dough is much softer, and it doesn't hold the shape as well. For that reason, I like to do a round challah and bake it in a round pan, which seems to hold shape best. It can be braided, but it does spread, so I'd then bake it in a loaf pan to help keep the shape. I've done one of each here, so you can see the outcome.


For a firmer dough, which will hold its shape better, you can replace some of the spelt flour with white bread flour (details below). But then it will not be fully spelt of course...


Keep in mind that to do the mitzvah of separating challah, you need to use a significant amount of flour. This recipe only makes two loaves, so it is not enough. You can multiply this recipe by three, and then you will be able to make the blessing and do the mitzvah.

Step 1:

  • 2 tbsp. (20 grams) dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp. (12 grams) sugar
  • 1 cup (200 grams) warm water

Place the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes. Mixture should swell and thicken. If it does not, try again with new yeast.

Step 2:

  • ½ cup (110 grams) sugar
  • ½ cup (85 grams) oil
  • ½ tbsp. (5 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (200 grams) warm water
  • 5 cups (600 grams) whole spelt flour
  1. Pour the oil, sugar, salt, and warm water into a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture and whisk gently. Add the first three cups of flour. Mix until a loose batter forms. Add the remaining flour one cup at a time until dough comes together in a soft, but not too sticky ball.
  2. Tip the dough out onto a tabletop or kitchen counter and knead for 5-10 minutes. Return to bowl, cover with a damp cloth or saran wrap, and put in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
  3. [If you want to do the mitzvah of separating challah, you will need to multiply this recipe by three. This would be the point at which you would separate a piece and say the blessing.]
  4. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Each piece will become one challah. You can braid the challah, but dough made from whole spelt flour is quite soft and doesn't hold the shape as well, so make sure to bake it in a loaf pan which will prevent it from spreading too much. You can also make it round, and bake in a round pan, which tends to hold the shape better.
  5. Optional: If you're not vegan, beat one egg and brush over the challahs. Use the topping of your choice (sesame, poppy, garlic, onion) or leave plain.
  6. Otherwise, just leave the tops plain, or for a sweeter finish, brush with a mixture of maple syrup and vanilla (1 tbsp. maple syrup to 1 tbsp. vanilla).
  7. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 30 minutes. Cool fully before cutting. Freezes well.

NOTE: spelt flour makes for a softer dough. For a firmer dough (easier for braiding) you can replace two cups of the spelt flour with 2 cups (290 grams) of white bread flour.

Yields: 2 loaves


Kosher-For-Passover Potato Starch Fried Chicken Shnitzel

April 2, 2018

This recipe is so simple I almost didn't post it, but it's such a Pesach classic in so many Chabad homes that I think it's worth a share.


Many communities, including Chabad, have the custom of not eating wetted matzah on the first seven days of Passover. In these communities, matzah balls and other recipe that use matzah are used only on the eighth day of Passover. That rules out matzah-meal coated shnitzel for many of us, but this potato starch coated shnitzel is a great alternative.


I've served it here with a little salad of thinly sliced cucumbers, onion, jalapeno, peaches, lemon juice, and salt. Something fresh and light helps to off-set the oiliness in fried foods. A squeeze of fresh lemon over the shnitzel just before eating also adds some zingy flavor.


Ingredients

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1-2 cups potato starch
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • oil for frying

Directions

  1. Cut each chicken breast into 5-6 thin slices. It is easiest to slice when half-frozen.
  2. Mix the salt into the potato starch.
  3. Dip each piece of chicken into the egg, then coat with potato starch. Then dip a second time into egg, and into the potato starch again. Make sure it is completely coated.
  4. NOTE: Feel free to season with more spices.
  5. Heat oil to approximately 375°F. Fry the shnitzel in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Test one or two pieces first to make sure you are cooking them long enough that they are not raw inside, but not too long that they become tough and dry.
  6. If you don't have a thermometer, you want to make sure the oil is hot enough that it immediately sizzles when you drop the chicken in. If the oil is too hot, the outside will brown before the chicken is cooked through, in which case you need to lower the oil temperature by either adding additional cold oil or removing the pan from the fire for a few minutes to cool.
  7. TIP: Stick a small piece of carrot in the oil. The carrot absorbs the burnt taste the oil sometimes gets. When the carrot looks dark ad shriveled, take it out and replace with a new one.
  8. Transfer the shnitzel to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Alternatively, you can place them on a cooling rack to allow the excess oil to drip down.
  9. Optional: serve with a wedge of fresh lemon to squeeze over the shnitzel just before eating.

Yields: 18 tenders


Cook It Kosher features recipes from Chabad.org food blogger Miriam Szokovski, as well as guest bloggers and cookbook authors. Let us know if you’d like to contribute!
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