Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pad Thai Time

As our Southern California weather finally turns cooler and a little rainy, I find myself spending more time in the kitchen and heating it up. My cool weather favorites are pasta dishes and soups since they are comfort foods and use the fewest pots! I love cooking, but not the cleaning.

This week we announced the registration for the Creative Cooking Classes and it reminded me of a dish brought to us by
Chef Dadi Revivo at last Spring's cooking class. Chef Dadi prepared a Thai meal consisting of Green Papaya Salad, Pad Thai ("Dadi Style") , Red Curry and Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango. All very delicious, but the Dadi's Pad Thai was my favorite and a big hit with the class. I consider his Pad Thai comfort food and perfect for our fall weather. So, with Dadi's permission we are sharing his recipe with you. This Pad Thai recipe is versatile and can be made vegetarian and enhanced by adding your favorite vegetables or proteins (see serving suggestions below). The presentation is beautiful and is perfect for family style eating and entertaining.


Pad Thai -"Dadi Style" (Pareve

1 Tablespoon oil
2 medium onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves, smashed
4 inch ginger, cut into thin slices
3 small red chili, sliced and seed removed (keep seed if you want super spicy)
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound linguine or spaghetti
2 Tablespoons fish sauce*
1/4 cup tamarind paste**
2 large eggs, beaten


1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 limes, cut into wedges

A handful of bean sprouts

Over medium-high heat, heat oil in a large, heavy bottom pan or a wok.

Add onions, garlic, ginger, chili and cinnamon sticks. Season with salt and pepper.

Mixing occasionally, cook until onions are soft and brown (do not burn the onions...)

While onion mixture is cooking, cook pasta to al dente and drain. Set aside.

At this point add your optional protein (except eggs, that comes later). Though not in the recipe, we added chicken during this class.

Once onion mixture is soft and brown, add the scallions and the pasta. If pasta is dry, rinse with water to bring back to life.

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring until pasta is well mixed with the onion mixture and the pasta is getting darker, about 2-4 minutes.

Add brown sugar and cook, mixing constantly. The sugar should be caramelized and not burnt.

We were introduced to tamarind paste, which is made from the fruit of the tamarind tree. Tamarind adds a sweetness to the dish. If tamarind is not readily available, Dadi suggests a substitution with prunes (see below).

Once the sugar is caramelized, add soy sauce, fish sauce and tamarind paste. Stir until liquid is absorbed and reduced.

Next, drizzle eggs over the pasta while mixing, until eggs are cooked, about 4 minutes.

Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed.

As we know, cooking is a lot of fun! Smacking peanuts with a rolling pin is sure more fun than chopping them!

Discard cinnamon sticks and transfer to a large platter and garnish with cilantro, roasted peanuts and lime wedges.

*To make this dish vegetarian use 2 more tablespoons of soy sauce instead of fish sauce and add your favorite vegetables to the onion mixture.

**Instead of tamarind, you could use prunes. Cut 5 prunes into halves and cook them with 3/4 cup of water until they are soft. Transfer to a blender and puree.

Serving suggestions:

For those who love peanut butter- mix 1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter, unsalted and smooth to the soy sauce before adding to the dish.

Add chicken (as pictured above), turkey, beef, tofu. Sear small pieces of selected protein to the pan after you add the pasta.

Creative Cooking Classes

Adat Ari El's Sisterhood is Celebrating! Multi-Interest Day (M.I.D), our adult education program, is celebrating it's 50th year. Adat Ari El's Sisterhood proudly presents this program to our members and to the community at large. Among the classes offered throughout the year is a Creative Cooking Series.

Creative Cooking Classes meet four times throughout the year and include culinary field trips. Cooking students meet in private homes to learn from professional chefs, as well as accomplished home cooks. Over the years, menus encompassed fare from all over the world: Thai, Moroccan and Italian. Thanksgiving and baking are on the menu this year, as well as a tasting tours of Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. The classes are informal and interactive.

The classes will meet on November 17, January 19, February 16 and March 16 from 9:30 to approximately noon.

Join us for a couple classes or all four. For more information regarding registration, please contact Deborah at Adat Ari El (818)766-9426 x 207.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cookies, Kids and Home

Today we welcome our guest blogger, Marla. Marla is currently the Vice President of Service for the Adat Ari El Sisterhood, overseeing the Kiddushim and Sisterhood Kitchen. She is also the Religious School Cooking instructor and volunteer extraodinaire!

I love to cook and bake, and when my children were small, we always had a lot of fun baking together. Of course baking with your mom is something that a kid can only do if mom has a house and a kitchen. What about kids whose families are homeless? A lot of homeless families live at L.A. Family Housing in North Hollywood California, and I started thinking about how much fun it would be for them to have a chance to bake. So, this summer I went to L.A. Family Housing once a week and baked with the children who live there. There were kids of all ages, from 4-15. Some of them had spent time in the kitchen with their parents when they had a home, and others had never cooked or baked at all. We had a lot of fun making cookies, cupcakes, cobblers, and for the finale, Strawberry Shortcake! Now that school has started, the baking at L.A. Family Housing has ended, but you might want to so some baking with your children. They will love making something sweet and delicious that they can take to school in their lunchboxes or have for an afternoon snack. Here is an easy and delicious recipe that is perfect for little hands.

Disappearing Delights (Dairy)

This recipe can also be found in California Kosher.

Bottom Crust:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
4 oz melted margarine (not butter)

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add egg and melted margarine to form a course meal. Pat into greased 10x15 jelly roll pan. Then make topping.


2 eggs
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional) (my own addition, not in original recipe)

Mix topping ingredients and spread over crust. If using coconut sprinkle a little over the top. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool on wire rack and score for 2 inch bars. To avoid crumbling cool thoroughly, cut into bars and remove each one carefully.

Notes: I leave out the coconut and walnuts and add chocolate chips when baking with children because kids usually don't like coconut, and if you use walnuts you may run into nut allergy issues. Although it is easy and fun for the kids to pat down the dough for the crust, you may want to help them spread the topping because it tends to stick to the crust if you spread it too much. Although it won't change the taste of the finished bars, they will look a little messy if the topping and crust get mixed up. In any case, this is an easy and fun recipe for kids to make, and it will taste delicious even if it doesn't look perfect in the end. The children will be so proud to help you put the cooled bars on a plate and then hand the plate to mom or dad and say "look what I made!"

Don't forget, anyone can cook!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gefilte Fish? The Results Are In...

It was a close one! The winner of our gefilte fish poll is...the fish! Surprisingly, the results were split with 42% "Loving it" and 36% stating "It should be banned!" I side with the latter. However, I will go out on a limb and guess that my sister-in-law will make a case for the presence of gefilte fish at our Passover Seder this year! (You can read her comments on the Gefilte Fish? post.)

So, I will continue to request your help. Keep submitting your jarred fish makeovers and your original homemade recipes of all fish varieties. I will be looking for the advice as Passover nears.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Swedish Pancakes

Breakfast for Dinner has always been my favorite. My children agree, nothing beats pancakes, eggs and juice any time of the day. Sometimes that Sunday morning breakfast just isn't enough to satisfy the pancake craving. So, when my oldest son started weeknight Hebrew School I decided to make those nights "Breakfast Night". After a long day, the menu is easy for me and he, along with his brother, look forward to pancakes, scones, waffles or bagels when they come home. Every week I make something different, but one of their favorites is Swedish Pancakes. These crepe-like pancakes were my favorites growing up, too. On Sunday mornings my dad would make "Sunday Breakfast". Nothing got me out of bed faster than the wonderful smell of pancakes permeating through the house. He didn't limit his Sunday Breakfasts to eggs and toast. We were treated to Freach Toast, German Pancakes (aka Dutch Babies) and these wonderful Swedish Pancakes. In Oregon, there is a restaurant that serves them with butter, powdered sugar and lingonberries...yummm!

When the kids ask, "What is for breakfast night?" I get the fist pumping "YES!" when the answer is "Swedish Pancakes".

I hope you enjoy them too.

Happy Cooking,

Swedish Pancakes (Dairy)

4 eggs*

1 2/3 cup milk*

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons sugar

2/3 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in milk and then dry ingredients. Batter may be lumpy*.

Pre-heat 10 inch non-stick skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Using a cube of butter, lightly coat the bottom of the skillet.

Pour 1/3 of a cup of batter in the skillet. Tilt the pan as necessary to cover the bottom of the skillet with batter. Cook until the edges and a majority of the pancake is dry on top. Turn the pancake over and continue cooking another minute or two.

Turn the pancake onto a plate, roll up and sprinkle powdered sugar over pancake.

Re-coat the skillet with butter and continue the process with the remaining batter.

Makes 10 (10-inch) Swedish Pancakes.

*Notes: No matter how much you beat the batter, it will be lumpy. However, the flour will dissolve in the cooking process. You can reduce the amount of flour lumps by starting with the eggs and milk at room temperature.