Ghee

Ghee.. where to start. So we met a guy studying at Hebrew University who is from India. Through some conversation at lunch one day he offered to come over and prepare for us some authentic Indian dishes. He asked us to try and find ghee because he could not find it in Jerusalem. I didn’t even bother to look in Tel Aviv, and instead looked online how to make it. Using techniques from a few sources I tried my hand at it. Lo and behold, its easy to make and AMAZING! No seriously, it’s aroma, its properties for cooking, health benefits.. it’s amazing stuff. I’d encourage you to look into it, but for myself it’s a new staple.

— How To —
Any amount of Butter

Completely melt the butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. Stir and keep it going until it starts to foam a bit and the milk solids separate and come to the top. After about 10 minutes or so lots of foam will start to form, keep stirring. Keep it going until the solids sink to the bottom and start to turn golden brown. When the solids are golden and there is a good deal of foam it’s done!

Let it cool then pour into a strainer lined with several layers of cheese cloth to filter out the solids. The clarified butter is now ghee!

Zulfi told me there is a really good dessert that the solids are traditionally used in.. I forget the name.

— An Aside —

It turns out that Zulfi not only can cook, his family is known for good cooking and he’s a master.The ghee adds some amazing flavor complexity. This turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.

Here is his Chicken Masala

Lamb Dum Biryani … simply amazing.

 

 

 

Apricot Custard

Fresh Apricots
6 Eggs
1/4 Cup Cream/Milk
1/3 Cup Sugar
Cinnamon

Remove pits from apricots and cook in pot with sprinkles of cinnamon and sugar until soft. Whisk together eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and cream in a baking bowl. Mix in apricots.

Set baking bowl in a larger baking pan with water. Bake at 175° C about 45 minutes or until firm throughout.

Taiwanese Spicy Beef Noodle Soup (Niu Rou Mian)

Seared Beef Chunks
Water
Soy Sauce (the good stuff.. none of that die nasty junk)
Onions (lots)
Garlic (lots)
Ginger (goodly amount)
Star Anise
Pepper Corns
Spicy Chili Peppers
Carrots

Noodles
Spinach
Cilantro
Green Onions

Lets just start by saying that if you can do a broth with beef bones its better, but if not its still good.

Sear beef chunks then add to pot or slow cooker. Chop onions into thin strips. Chop garlic into large chunks. Add water, soy sauce, onions, garlic, and spices. Let cook for a long while. Adjust soy sauce, garlic, pepper, and spicy peppers along the way to taste.

Serve with raw spinach and noodles, and garnish with cilantro and green onions.

Turkish Lentil Soup

On our way to Taiwan our flight was delayed by over an hour. I suppose this isn’t too big of a deal if the airline coordinates things properly. Well they didn’t.. and our 1 1/2 hour stopover in Turkey turned out to be over 24 hours as we waited for the next available flight to Taiwan. “Where’s Taiwan?” .. not a good question to be asked by your airline. Long story short, it was a rough stopover to say the least.

However!! and this is the silver lining part.. the lentil soup! Wow.. we had it several times, and man is it good. Half way through my first bowl I made up my mind to learn how to make it. So here ya go! The fruits of our “trip” to Turkey!

1 Part Lentils (Soaked overnight in cold water)
Onion Red/Purple
Carrots
6 Parts Chicken/Vegetable Broth
Butter (use a goodly amount)
Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Pepper flakes, Paprika
Tomato Paste
Lemon
Mint

Finely chop onion and carrot. Saute in butter until slightly soft (not browned). Add lentils, broth, and seasoning. Simmer until lentils are soft. Use a stick blender to make it smooth, then add the seasonings to taste.

Garnish with lemon and mint and serve with pita or bread.

::: Turkish Inspired Lentil Stew with Beef :::
Same as above except more lentils will make it thicker, and braise some beef chunks and add while cooking. I made a huge pot of this for the college meeting and it got emptied post haste.

Mushroom Garlic Sauce

Few Tablespoons of Butter
Large Handful of Mushrooms (more for stronger flavor)
Few nubs of Garlic (again..)
Milk
Flour
Pinch of Salt and Pepper

In a sauce pan melt the butter, then add the chopped mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Saute over low heat until the mushrooms are cooked down and the flavors are thoroughly saturated into the butter. Add flour until its thick and pasty. Slowly add milk while stirring over medium heat. Add milk and keep stirring until desired thickness.

Goes great over pasta or raviolis.

Homemade Ravioli

Meat
Egg
Parmesan Cheese
Onion
Garlic
Mushrooms
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Pasta Dough

It’s all to taste really so no proportions. I used about a 1/2 kilo of beef, 1 egg, 1/2 bulb of garlic.. You get the idea. Savory.

Roll dough into large rectangle, then cut in half. Spoon meat into a grid.
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Dampen the areas in between meat if dry, then cover. Starting from one side so you can p push the extra air out, press in between each piece of meat to seal it in.
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After its all sealed, cut along the center of each groove to make individual raviolis.
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Boil in salted water with a drizzle of olive oil. These are large so I served 4 per bowl with a large scoop of pasta sauce.
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Also great to freeze for later.

Another fantastic sauce we used was a simple mushroom garlic sauce.

Corned Beef

Curing

2-3 Kilos Beef
2 Liters Water
2 Cups Celery Puree
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Salt
1/2 Bulb Garlic (pealed and smashed)
Pickling Spices

Heat a small portion of the water and dissolve salt and sugar. Combine the rest of the spices and then add in the remaining cold water and celery puree to finish the brine. Put brine and beef into a large air tight zipper bag making sure to remove all the air. Let sit in fridge for at least 7 days to cure, and up to two weeks depending on the thickness of the beef chunk.

After curing, remove from fridge then rinse the beef in cold water. It will look a little funky and green because of the celery so rinse well. It will clean up even more on the first part of cooking.

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Note: Discard all the spice material. It’s been sitting with raw beef so yeah.

Cooking

Put beef in a large pot with hot water that more than completely covers the beef. Slowly bring to a simmer for 30 minutes. DO NOT BOIL or it will get tough. After 30 minutes discard the water then cover with fresh hot water and simmer again, except this time for about 3 hours or until very tender.

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Corned Beef and Cabbage

As above except add carrots, potatoes, and cabbage chunks about 30 minutes before done.

Reuben Sandwiches

Slice beef cross grained. Beef, Swiss Cheese, and sauerkraut on sliced Rye bread. Fry in butter like a grilled cheese or broil until bread is slightly crunchy. Add sauce of 1/2 mayonnaise, 1/4 mustard, 1/4 ketchup and a liberal amount of Tapatio. Fantastic.

Corned Beef Hash

Chopped beef, chopped potatoes, chopped onions fried in a pan with some butter. Top with a fried eggs, or drop raw eggs on top to cook just before done. Optional: garlic, mushrooms, celery, bell peppers, hot peppers.

Pastrami

Cover with ground pepper then smoke. I’ll be trying this as soon as possible.

Homemade Pasta

Homemade Pasta (פסטה הביתי)

: : Firm : :
4 Cups Flour
6 Eggs

: : Softer : :
3 Cups Flour
6 Eggs

That’s seriously it. Start with a volcano pile of flour, then drop the eggs into it. Gently beat the eggs in the flour and start to blend with flour. Keep blending until its mostly together. Kneed the dough.. a lot. It’s really firm dough so its a tough job. Keep it up until its smooth and blended. Wrap air tight in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes to rest.

After rested, cut 1/4-1/3 of the dough and roll out into a large flat sheet. Squarish is probably easiest to work with. Very lightly dust with flour every so often to prevent sticking.

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Once its rolled into a very thin sheet, fold it into a loose roll.

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Cut into strips of your desired width.

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Unfurl into pasta strings.

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Boil a pot of water with salt and a bit of olive oil. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, drain and serve.

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Works great with pasta sauce. I suppose it could also be cut wide and used as lasagna noodles. I bet if rolled thin it could probably be used to make ravioli too! Definitely going to try that. Golly I love ravioli..

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 Cup Softened Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Peanut Butter
3 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt

Cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add in eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Add in peanut butter.. again until smooth.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly mix into creamy mixture until fully combined and smooth. Should be a smooth sticky batter. Cover air tight and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 180° C. Roll cold dough into balls and press with a fork if you want the cross hatching on top.

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Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned on the edges. The middle may look under cooked, but that’s what is going to give a nice soft cookie later.

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Pickling Spices

2 Tbs Black Pepper Corns
3″ Whole Cinnamon Stick
2 Tbs Dill Seeds
1 Tbs Hot Chili Flakes
1 Tbs Mustard Seeds
1 Tbs Coriander Seeds
1 Tbs Celery Seeds
4 Bay Leaves
1 Tbs Thyme Leaves
2 Tbs Ground Ginger
2 Tsp Allspice Berries
1 Tsp Whole Cloves
2 Star Anise

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