Tuesday, September 20, 2011

a bit of cooking

A few weeks ago I decided to utilize our 'engagement" herb garden. A lot of the herbs had died from it just being too darn hot, but since I cut all the dead leaves off, and used a lot of the good ones, they have now grown back quickly and are staying nice and green! 

Above is the basil I was able to use. I made a pesto and marinated some chicken. It's in the freezer still - will use for a big batch of weekend cooking at some point.

This is the curry plant. A lot of it had dried up from the heat. I used this with some tikka paste and chicken broth and chicken in the crock pot. It came out spicy and delicious, and lasted us FOREVER. The last bit of it I served over pasta and mixed goat cheese into the sauce. Yum!

A week and a half ago we had the Schlossbergs over for Shabbat dinner. Remy was my student in 8th grade and she is now in 10th grade, and I still have a very close relationship with her. This year they have taken in a girl named Noa who is a junior in high shcool from a reform jewish community in Israel that my synagogue sponsored to come as a student ambassador for four months. I wanted to make an Israeli dinner so I had a specialty bread made that you always get in Jerusalem and eat with zaatar, I made cheese bourekas, served Israeli pickles and olives, fresh pita, and we had rice and "ktzitzot". Ktzitzot are basically "patties" of anything, and they are usually about the size of a meatball, but flat. They can be meat (usually) but you can also do turkey or chicken (what I usually do) and you can make them with anything! You can shred up vegetables and bind it with egg, coat it in breadcrumbs and pan fry it, and it's a ktzitza! I made two different kinds. 

In the left bowl is a packet of very lean turkey meat, a small bit of lean beef, an onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, and ketchup. You basically mix it all up in a food processor, add salt and stir it in (if you put salt in the food processor it can dull the blade), let it sit for a bit in the fridge, and then form it into small meatball sized patties, and pan fry it. 

On the right, I have ground chicken, peanut butter, fresh ginger, cilantro, green onion, an egg, and panko breadcrumbs. I had made these once before and they turned out good, but I used too much peanut butter this time and they came out dry. I also should have added some soy sauce or some liquid to the mix. Any suggestions? I mixed up the two ktitzot with sauce for leftovers though and this one was fine. The other was great!

I don't really bake besides cheesecake (although I have recently discovered Ilana Shapiro's cookie recipe, and they are the best cookies in the world - seriously, they are). I've wanted to make a peanut butter cheesecake for forever so I did! It was Gail's birthday, and Anthony/Jess were arriving later that night for the weekend and it was Jess's birthday, so I made two cakes. This was what was remaining - plain cheesecake (that came out too lemony for plain, but not lemony enough for lemon), and peanut butter cheesecake.

We had a great time having a few drinks with Anthony and Jess when they came in, and the next day we went to a huge breakfast together (Charlie completed a dish that was on man vs food). We both had stuff to do that day, but that evening we joined them at Fleur for Jess's birthday dinner. It was great to finally meet them and I can't wait to go to their wedding in Antigua next month!!!

Here is some homemade chocolate yogurt that I made about 5 weeks ago. 
I made this the same exact way I made the regular yogurt which I have referenced before, but I used chocolate milk instead. At the end of draining, I added a a teaspoon of vanilla, and splenda to taste (don't remember how much). It was SO good. I had a bowl one night and gave Charlie a bite, and he literally just took it away from me and ate it like he hadn't had a meal in days! I made another batch about a week ago and something didn't work - I even tried to restart it and it just failed. I think the milk was getting old and it only works with fresh milk. I'll try again and report - it was so good!

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