Friday, July 1, 2022

The Weitzman Clan Composts

 I have always been nervous about having a compost pile in the backyard. We already have enough critters, and I didn't want to attract any more. But composting is better than throwing the food waste into the trash.

When you separate the food waste, it breaks down faster.

We have been composting using Black Earth Compost for years. It is really easy. I have a countertop bin near the sink, that is lined. It is really easy to put egg shells, potato skins, coffee grounds, etc into the bin. When the bag is full, I bring it to my lined plastic collection bin, and once a week, I bring the "large" bin (13 gallons) to the curb. And Black Earth comes and collects it like clockwork. I also order the liners for the countertop bin and the large bin through Black Earth, and it is delivered when the bin is emptied! Magic.

We started composting BEFORE the City of Newton started partnering with Black Earth. The more customers Newton has the less expensive the service is. If you haven't started, sign up now.

You can also get the finished product for your own garden.

What do I compost? chicken bones, fish, skins and pits of fruits and veggies, old pasta, green cheese, egg cartons, paper towel tubes, and a whole bunch more.

Be a good earthling and compost. If you work in an office, have your office start composting!


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Chocolate - pieces of heaven

Last night I had the privilege of hearing from the owner of ChocAllure, Liron Gal, about how she became a chocolatier. The Israeli born owner was a software engineer for a cybersecurity company. But her passion was baking. While in Israel, she went to Paris to take classes in the art of French baking. The last two classes were all about chocolate, and that ignited a passion in her. In all her years traveling, she said she has walked around France and visited around 150 chocolate shops. She was patient with the crowd as we asked the difference between French chocolate, Belgium chocolate and Swiss Chocolate. The mission at ChocAllure is to deliver happiness by turning every day treats into exquisite and memorable fine art. While taste is important, the visual art that Liron creates is outstanding. 



Everyone was given six chocolates.

The first chocolate we started with was the bottom right one - silver and pink dots. It was a Strawberry Cheesecake bonbon. She instructed us to bite the chocolate in half, which we all did. The room was all in awe of the initial taste. We had a strawberry pate de fruit (French fruit confection, with strained yogurt and white chocolate ganache with a graham cracker praline crust. OMG. Heaven on earth. We then had our white chocolate chaser (the top right chocolate) which had a 35% cocoa butter content, which is high for white chocolate. And it was made with blonde cane sugar, which is unrefined, and contained less sugar.

The next piece was the bottom middle bon bon, which was a caramel hazelnut bonbon. Again, we bit the piece in half. Inside was a vanilla bean salted caramel and caramelized hazelnut praline. Stunning taste. Then we chased it with a 46% single origin dark milk chocolate from the Dominican Republic. It contains a very high cocoa solid content for milk chocolate which is more of a dark milk and was amazing. (BTW, did you know Valrhona chocolate knows all of its sources and can guarantee no child labor?)

The last bonbon of the night was the blue bottom left piece, which was a hot chocolate and marshmallow, which is a homemade chocolate marshmallow with a dark chocolate ganache from Madagascar. The very last piece of heaven was a 64% single origin dark chocolate from Madagascar, which was fruity. Delicious. Heaven again.

I can't wait to purchase more chocolates from this local artisan.



Monday, June 20, 2022

Cardamom Chickpea Cookies

 Another great recipe from the cookbook, Persian Food from the Non Persian Bride.


Ingredients:

2 cups chickpea flour

2 T all purpose flour

1 1/4 c powdered sugar

1 T cardamom

1 1/2 sticks of butter (or parve butter)


Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a silpat on a sheet pan.
  • Combine everything but the butter
  • Melt the butter (on the stovetop or in the microwave)
  • Mix melted butter into the dry ingredients. It will be VERY dry.
  • Press the dough together and flatten to about an inch thick. Use a small cookie cutter (about an inch big) to cut out cookies and place an inch apart on the sheet pan.
  • Bake 15 minutes; cool on wire racks. Cookies are very delicate and crumble easily.



Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Carrot and cumin fritters from Charred

 


Another great vegetarian meal last night! I used my cookbook Charred, which is relatively new to my collection.


Ingredients

 9 oz carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 cup chickpea flour

1/3 c cold water

2 large eggs

1 t cumin

1 t paprika

salt and pepper

a little oil

Yogurt Sauce

1 cup Greek yogurt

3 T tahini

1 clove of garlic

3 T chopped cilantro


Stir together the carrot and onion in a bowl, and add chickpea flour, water, eggs, cumin, paprika and salt and pepper. Let sit for 20 minutes.

For the sauce, stir all the ingredients together.

Heat up a frying pan with a bit of oil, and then drop 2 T of the mixture of carrots onto the fry pan to create little pancakes. I used two fry pans.

Heat for 3 minutes, and then flip.

Cook for another three minutes.

Put on a paper towel on a wire rack and then serve with sauce.

Delicious.   



Monday, May 9, 2022

Yotam's Cous Cous Cake

 Last week I decided to make Yotam's VERY GIANT COUSCOUS Cake, and it was delicious. Yotam did indiciate that the cook time is 1 hour and 20 minutes, however it isn't all at once.

Three out of four of us liked it!


Ingredients:

1 2/3 c pearl couscous (rounder than regular couscous)

1 1/3 c boiling water

10 scallions (about a bunch) - cut into large pieces

8 T olive Oil

5 oz baby spinach

1 T coriander seeds (toasted and crushed with a mortar and pestle)

1 c. grated mozzarella

1/2 c grated pecorino

2 garlic gloves, minced

3/4 c basil leaves

3/4 c Greek Yogurt

2 large eggs

6 T AP Flour

Pepper Sauce Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers

1 tomato

4 T olive oil

2 large heads of garlic

1 1/2 T red wine vinegar

1 t maple syrup

Salt

Pepper



Preheat the oven to 425. Cut the peppers into quarters and cut the tomato in half. Put them on a piece of parchment paper with 1 T olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cut the top off the garlic heads and put them on some tin foil. Put a bit of oil on each with salt and pepper and wrap BOTH in one piece of tinfoil. 

Roast both for 35 minutes and let cool.

Peel and discard pepper and tomato skins and put flesh into the food process along with the roasted cloves of garlic. Add the vinegar, maple syrup and 3 T of oil. Process until smooth.

Pour the boiling water and couscous together into a pan. Cook. Let cool.

In a large sauté pan, heat the scallions with 2 t olive oil for 4 minutes. Take out scallions and set them aside.

Heat another 2 t olive oil and add the spinach and cook for 90 seconds. Put in a large bowl. Add scallions and couscous, coriander seeds, mozzarella cheese, pecarino cheese, garlic, basil, yogurt, eggs, flour and salt and pepper. Mix really well.

In large sauté pan, heat 5 T olive oil. Add couscous mixture and smoosh into large pancake. Heat over medium heat for 15-18 minutes. Carefully flip the pancake and put back into the pan with 1 T olive oil. Cook for 8 minutes.

Flip onto cutting board, and slice into servings and serve with pepper sauce.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Yotam Ottolenghi - In Person

 In February, 2020, my husband gave me two tickets to an upcoming talk with Yotam Ottolengi in Boston. I was so eager to hear him speak, as I am a big fan of his cookbooks. It is rare for me to have all of the cookbooks from one chef, but he is the ONE. I have made so many successful dishes from his cookbooks.

I also follow him on IG, and was delighted to see him dine at Oleana, which is one of my favorite Boston restaurants.

The original tour was supposed to be about this cookbook Flavor, however because Shelf Life was now his most recent cookbook, there was lots of discussion about this book. I do like his book Simple.

Here are my takeaways from his talk:

*  He has two children that also give him honest feedback about his meals that he prepares for them.

* If he could pick two spices and an herb that he was limited to he would pick cumin, allspice and cilantro. I had picked for him cumin, cinnamon and cilantro. His backup to allspice would have been cinnamon. 

* Hummus in Arabic means chickpea! 

* He gives credit to the chefs that work for him. He doesn't claim their dishes as his own.

It was a fabulous 90 minute talk, and if you are able to hear him speak, get tickets.


Monday, April 25, 2022

Salad?

 Last year was the year, my daughter wanted elaborate salads. Fancy ingredients or not the usual salad ingredients.

I am not creative with salads. Lettuce, peppers, cukes, tomatoes. Fancy is Israeli Salad.


I was listening to a podcast on my daily walk, and this episode was about new cookbooks. One got my attention - Salad Freaks.


Made my first salad this weekend: Roasted and Raw Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad and it was FANTASTIC!