Aussie Meat Pies

I am visiting my family in Australia, and I thought I would have a go at trying to make my own meat pies so I wouldn’t be so homesick when I got back to New York. My daughter and I made a big mess in my mum’s kitchen but the end result was well worth the efforts (not to mention the mess). Of course my mum made us Pavlova for dessert.  Look for the pavlova recipe posted under desserts on my blog.

An iconic Aussie Dish

An Australian  meat pie is a hand-sized meat pie containing largely diced or minced meat and gravy, sometimes with onion, mushrooms, and often consumed as a takeaway (“to go”) food snack. The pie itself is similar to the United Kingdom’s steak pie.

It is considered iconic in Australia. It was described by former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr in 2003 as Australia’s “national dish”

Aussie meat pies  

Ingredients
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion peeled and finely chopped
1 pound lean minced beef
2 tablespoon plain flour
11/4 cup beef stock
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 sheets ready-rolled frozen shortcrust pastry
4 sheets ready-rolled frozen puff pastry
1 Egg beaten
Note: if you can’t get prepared short cut frozen short crust you can use puff pastry in both parts of the pie crust
Preparation

1  Heat the oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Add the minced beef, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps for 6-8 minutes, or until the mince is brown.

2  Sprinkle the flour over the meat and cook for 1 minute. Add the beef stock, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the meat from sticking to the base of the pan, for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thick. Stir salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

3  Preheat the oven to 375°. Using a small plate about 8 inch in diameter as a guide, cut four circles from the shortcrust pastry and use them to line the base and sides of four 1 cup pie tins or ramekins. Fill the pastry with the meat mixture – avoid spilling any on the edges.

4  Using the same plate as a guide, cut four circles from the puff pastry. Brush the shortcrust pastry edges of the pies with water to moisten and top with the puff pastry circle. Press the pastry edges together to secure. Trim the excess pastry with a sharp knife and crimp the edges. Cut a small cross in the center of each pie and brush the top with beaten egg.

5 Bake the pies in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350° and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden. Serve the pies immediately with some extra ketchup, if desired.

aussie_meat_pie_

Fish Quesadillas

Growing up in Sydney, Australia we didn’t have too much choice about which restaurants to eat at. Of course we had a few falafel joints, Australian cuisine (which is meat pies), and even a traditional fish and chips shop. No pizza shops, can you imagine!!!! So if you wanted Chinese you made your own. If you wanted Mexican you made your own. I love international cuisine Mexican is my favorite. Fish is always a challenge especially getting the children to eat it. This recipe does that. It takes the fun of eating Mexican food and making it a bit healthier.

NOTE: If you want to use Pam instead of butter you can do the switch easily. 

Fish Quesadillas

1 pkg flour or corn tortilla

1 jar salsa (your favorite brand)

1 pkg shredded mozzarella cheese

2 pounds flounder

Cumin powder (to taste)

Garlic powder (to taste)

Salt

Pepper

Butter

 

Season flounder with garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper, and sear on a well oiled grill pan for a few minutes on each side until cooked through. Fish may break apart but that is okay. Once it’s cooked set aside.

On one tortilla, spread salsa to cover the whole surface. Take a handful of cheese and spread over the salsa. Place fish over the cheese then cover with another plain tortilla making a sandwich.

On medium heat, melt some butter on a 9 inch sauté pan.

Once butter has melted place tortilla on it and cook for a few minutes on each side and the cheese has melted and the outside is slightly brown.

Slice into wedges like a pizza. Serve with guacamole, sour cream or salsa.

fish q

 

Summer Dinner Menu

Now that summer is almost in full swing, I am looking to make light, healthy, delicious dinners.  I came across an article last week from a magazine that I subscribe to called Southern Living.  It’s a great magazine with real southern charm.  It features tips on hospitality and cooking, and always has some interesting tidbit regarding Southern culture. Recently, they featured two recipes that I wanted to try: Baked Zucchini Chips and Frozen Fruit Pops.  These encapsulated my idea of healthy, light dinners. My kids are always freezing the fresh fruit that I buy and making smoothies out of them.  I thought Frozen Pops was a great twist on that snack and also makes a great breakfast idea too.

Here is a great dinner menu for a weeknight supper that is also festive.  Who doesn’t want to eat chips for dinner?

Note: serve with a bottle of Baron Herzog Orange Muscat for a wonderful integration of tastes.

 

Pistachio pesto salmon

1/8th cup Ossie’s pesto sauce available at Gourmet Glatt

1/8th cup mayonnaise

1 cup shelled salted pistachios, crushed

½ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon

2 pounds salmon fillet (one whole side of a salmon)

 

Mix the pesto and mayonnaise together in a small bowl.

Place the salmon on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Spread the pesto mixture over the fish and set aside.

In a food processor crush the nuts until they are course ground but not too fine, then and add the brown sugar and lemon. It should look like wet sand.

Pat nut mixture on top of salmon and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

pistachio pesto salmon

Baked Zucchini Chips

This recipe can also be made gluten free by using Jeff Nathan’s gluten panko.

Adapted from Southern Living Magazine

Ingredients
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
Vegetable cooking spray

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 450°. Process first 3 ingredients in a food processor 10 to 15 seconds or until finely ground. Stir together breadcrumb mixture and cheese in a medium bowl. Toss zucchini rounds with oil. Dredge zucchini, 1 round at time, in breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Place rounds in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve hot and immediately.

 baked zucchini chips


Creamy Frozen Fruit Pops

Also makes a great fun breakfast. You can also use your favorite fruit. I toss in mango or pineapple too.

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups frozen raspberries
1 1/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 (7-oz.) container low-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons milk

Preparation
Process fruits, honey, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor until smooth. Stir together yogurt and milk. Fold yogurt mixture into fruit mixture. Pour into 10 (2-oz.) pop molds. Top with lids; insert craft sticks, leaving 1 1/2 to 2 inches sticking out of pop. Freeze 4 hours or until sticks are solidly anchored and pops are completely frozen.

Note: If you don’t have pop molds you can freeze them in paper cups.

fruit pops

 

 

Memorial Day BBQ Tips and Marinade

I love to BBQ. In fact I have been known to do it with 3 feet of snow on the ground. I BBQ chicken, lamb chops, vegetables even fruit. Now that the BBQ season officially opens this weekend with Memorial Day I have tried to come up with new BBQ ideas for my friends, family and readers.
Note: meat should always go on the grill at room temperature for maximum flavor of the meat.

Here are a few ideas for your BBQ that I always do at mine.

* I find that lamb has its own natural flavors and doesn’t need a marinade you can just throw it from the package straight onto the grill. (yay no extra work)
*Sliders are very popular nowadays; I buy all kinds of great chutneys, sauces and flavored mustard to go as an complement.
*My favorite sausages are Abeles and Heymann Sausages. Try buying a variety of them, You can put some facon bacon, and place them on the grill for a few minutes until they are crispy which is a great topping for hot dogs or sliders.
*make a topping bar for hot dogs. Anything from grilled onion, poached eggs, grilled pineapple, hot sauce, guacamole on a hotdog is a lot of fun.
*I make a platter of all kinds of pickles. (half sour, and sour pickles, sour kraut and pickled tomtatos).
• I serve platters of sliced of tomatoes, red onion, and shredded lettuce and some sautéed onion.
• No bbq is ever complete with out coleslaw. Either homemade or store bought.
• I always have big fresh garden salad, corn on the cob and French fries. (I’m love the 5 minute McCains fries).
• Fresh pineapple and mango are delicious on the grill. 3-4 minutes per side max.

The marinade below is great for chicken or vegetables. For the meat let it soak for 2 hours or overnight. If you are using it for vegetables leave out the ketchup and marinade for up to 2 hours.

Dijon garlic marinade

1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup seeded Dijon mustard
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup ketchup
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves crushed fresh garlic
1 tsp thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (Only if it doesn’t say OU fish, than you can have it for meat)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

In a small bowl whisk all ingredients together. Expect the meat.
Place the meat in a shallow pan in one layer and pour over the marinade.
Try to marinade for several hours. It helps tenderize the meat.

Place the meat on a medium- hot grill about 4 inches above the heat and cook on both sides until cooked through.
chicken strips

hasselbeck salami on the grill

The weather was perfect this past Sunday for a Mother’s day BBQ. Seeing as I am the one who cooks the BBQ at our place, I wanted a quick and easy food for the grill that didn’t take too much preparation time so I could relax with my family. I went to Gourmet Glatt and picked up some ready-made beef kebabs, some vegetables to grill and some delicious water melon for dessert. I also bought chicken wings without any seasonings. I find that you can rinse off and clean the wings when you want to keep it simple and just throw them on the grill. They were so crispy and delicious. I had also noticed in my freezer that I had an Abeles and Heymann salami. I decided I would try to make a Hasselback Salami on the grill. I had only made it in the oven so it was an experiment to try and grill it to get the “out-doorsy” flavor. It was a huge hit and the easy sauce/marinade was so versatile you could use it to marinade chicken cutlets, or use it as a dipping sauce.
Note: in the 1940′s, a dish of whole potatoes cut to resemble an accordion was first served at the Hasselbacken restaurant in Stockholm. Cutting the potatoes this way results in a soft and creamy interior with crisped and browned edges.

Easy Hasselback Salami
Inspired by Busy In Brooklyn – Chanie Apfelbaum
1/3 cup duck sauce
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
Any size Abeles and Heymann Salami. The bigger the better as it’s so delicious. (Just make more sauce)
Mix the two sauces together, and set aside.
Remove the wrapper from the salami and place on a cutting board with chopsticks on either side. Holding the salami down with one hand, slice into thin, even slices (don’t worry, the chopsticks will ensure that you don’t slice all the way through). Place on a hot BBQ on indirect heat. That means the BBQ burners are on but not directly under the salami. You must watch for burning as the sauce has sugar and can burn. By the time you finished cooking your other meats on the grill the salami will be ready. I also continue to baste every 15 minutes. Alternatively you can back it in the oven at 400 degrees on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Serve warm with leftover sauce for dipping.
hasselbeck salami

Hush Puppy Patties – Perfect for pesach

Hush Puppy Patties for Pesach

This recipe is so versatile, as it can replace a hot dog in a bun as a meal. You can also use it as a side dish, appetizer and a snack to tide the kids over between the long stretches of time between lunch and seder or dinner on yom tov. You can also serve also funky dipping sauces that you can buy in Gourmet Glatt, such as Dougie’s wing sauce, sweet chili sauce or just plain old ketchup. I use Abeles and Heymann hot dogs as they are the tastiest and use the highest quality meats in their products.

6 large Idaho potatoes, peeled chunked
4 medium eggs, divided
3 Tablespoon potato starch
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon salt
pinch white pepper
2 Abeles and Heymann hotdog or garlic sticks, sliced thinly about (1/2 an inch)

Method:
Boil the potatoes in a medium pot until fork tender.
Drain, and mash the potatoes well in a bowl.
Add 3 eggs, potato starch, mayonnaise, salt and pepper mix well and then set aside.
On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, take a small scoop of the potato mixture and place it on the cookie sheet. Place in the center of each potato mound, a slice of the hot dog burying each slice so you can’t see it.
Whisk the remaining egg and brush each potatoes mound.
Bake at 350 for approximately 40 minutes.

hush puppy patty with spicy mayo drizzle
Hush puppy patties with spicy mayonnaise

Cauli”flour” pizza

It’s always hard to come up with easy fun things for the kids to eat during Pesach that is homemade or at least semi homemade. There has been a lot of buzz lately about cauliflower pizza. The recipe has appeared on many blogs and internet articles and cooking magazines. My friend and blogger, Melinda Strauss, of kitchen-tested.com had a version on her website. We reworked her recipe together using bodek cauliflower. This eliminated the use of grating and then steaming fresh cauliflower, as the frozen cauliflower is already very soft to the point that it’s par-boiled. I made this for my husband who LOVES pizza and he was pleasantly surprised that it was so delicious. It’s not only perfect for Pesach but it’s great for all the people who can’t eat wheat during the year.

Cauli”flour” Pizza – Perfect for Pesach

1 – 28oz bag frozen checked cauliflower, partially defrosted
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus extra for topping
1 egg
Salt to taste
½ tsp Onion powder
½ tsp oregano
Marinara sauce
Assorted toppings

Grate the cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles small crumbs.
Place the cauliflower crumbs in a clean dish towel. I split it in half and use each half in its own dish towel.

Tightly Wrap the cauliflower in a bundle and squeeze it dry. If it’s still cold from being frozen let it sit out for another 20 minutes and squeeze it again. Tey to make sure the cauliflower is very dry.
After the water has been squeezed out place it in a bowl and add the egg, cheese and spices. You can also choose to add in your own favorite spices. Mix it really well and will resemble“dough” like quality.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and form the dough into a pizza disk on the parchment paper and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. It will start to tinge brown.

Take the pizza out of the oven and put on sauce, (like love gefen classic marinara), more cheese, and your favorite toppings.
Turn the oven on to broil and place the pizza under the broiler for another few minutes till the cheese melts and the toppings look like they have softened.
Yields a 9 inch round pie

cauliflower pizza

Pesach Dips

I love to make dips for Shabbat, so why not have it on Pesach too? The key to having great dips is the fresh ingredients: including garlic, lemons and cilantro. With the introduction of so many spices that are kosher for Pesach, you can also spice up your palate by adding cumin, cayenne and pepper to your Pesach dips.

Matbucha

1-tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion cubed
4 garlic crushed
1 can 28oz-crushed tomato
1 can 14oz can diced tomato
1 bunch chopped cilantro finely diced
1-tablespoon cumin
¼ cup sugar
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste

Saute onion in a tablespoon olive oil until onions are soft and translucent.
Add both cans of tomatoes, and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the cilantro, cumin, sugar and cayenne pepper. Stir gently and cook until cilantro has wilted into the recipe.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cook for 15 minutes until reduced down and flavors are concentrated. Adjust any seasoning to your family’s palate.

matbucha

Matbucha Dip

Pesach olive dip

3 cloves crushed garlic
2 19oz cans green pitted sliced olives
1 19oz can Israeli pickles
½ cup pickled red peppers (optional)
1-teaspoon cumin
Dash cayenne pepper
2-tablespoon olive oil
Mix all ingredients in a food processor until blended. It shouldn’t be too smooth like a paste but it should have a little texture.

olive dip
olive dip

Marinated Eggplant

This recipe is from my mother, Miriam Stein, from Sydney, Australia. I asked her if I could print the recipe but she only had it in her head. She just told me that she makes it by adding a little of this and a little of that. You know the Yiddish expression: “shitz arein”. I had to figure out the amounts of each of the ingredients, but after experimenting and some further adjustments and tweaks, I was able to reconstruct her recipe.

1 large eggplant
Canola oil for frying
Fist full of parsley finely chopped
1 cup Ketchup
4 Tablespoon sugar
½ lemon, juiced
4 cloves garlic crushed
salt and pepper to taste

Sliced eggplant into ¼ inch rounds
Heat a large fry pan and fry eggplant in batches until light to medium brown.
Drain the eggplant in a colander to let the oil drip out. (Yes it’s fattening but totally worth it). I leave a plate underneath the colander to catch the oil.
Sauce
In a medium bowl mix all the ingredients together.
Once the eggplant has drained for an hour you can add it gently into the sauce being careful not to break up the eggplant slices.
marinated eggplant dip
Eggplant dip

Fabulous Fish For Pesach

I am constantly challenged to come up with new ideas for Pesach. I try to create original sensational recipes with fresh new ideas for my clients as well as for my family. This recipe was a really big hit with my tasters (i.e., my family, who are my biggest critics!). My husband loves almost anything with pistachios.
The marriage of flavors and textures between the creamy chrain kick and the crunchy salty and sweet nut mixture makes this dish a real winner.

Nut crusted salmon with creamy chrain sauce

1/8th cup red horseradish
1/8th cup mayonnaise
1 cup shelled salted pistachios
½ cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 pounds salmon fillet (one whole side of a salmon)

Mix the horseradish and mayonnaise together in a small bowl.
Place the salmon on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Spread the mixture over the fish and set aside.

In a food processor crush the nut until they are course ground but not too fine. Add in the brown sugar and lemon juice and mix until it looks like wet sand.

Pat nut mixture on top of salmon and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

nut crusted salmon

SWEET AND SOUR TILAPIA (OR SALMON)

This salmon recipe is very family friendly, doubles easily and freezes well.

1-2 pounds Tilapia cut in half lengthwise
½ cup matza meal (optional)
Salt and pepper
Oil for pan searing

2 onion cut into rings
2 cloves garlic crushed
1-cup ketchup
¾ cup brown sugar
Pinch cinnamon
1 can pineapple chunks with syrup
4 carrots sliced into rings
1 Tablespoons potato starch
2 cups water, divided

Rinse then pat the fish dry. Mix the matza meal together with salt and pepper. Dip fish in mix and shake off excess. If you are not using matza meal, just salt and pepper the fish.
Heat oil in a fry pan and pan sear the fish until golden and crisp about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on absorbent paper.
Slice the onions thinly and sauté with garlic until soft. Add ketchup, pinch cinnamon, brown sugar, can of pineapple chunks with the liquid, and ½ the water. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl combine the potato starch and remaining water until all clumps are dissolved and add to simmering sauce. Bring back to boil until sauce thickens stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place fish in casserole dish and pour over sauce and bake for 15 minutes at 350

Middle Eastern White Fish

This recipe bursts with Israeli flavors. If you like it spicy add more cayenne pepper. It’s delicious hot or cold.

Can also use tilapia, or salmon

8 slices white fish
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon of cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 gloves garlic, minced or 4 cubes from frozen package
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro or 6 cubes from frozen package or parsley
1 Plum tomato, diced
14oz can tomato sauce
Kosher salt to taste
Water

Heat a large sauté pan for a minute and the add oil. Add onion and sauté until soft. Add
Place fish fillets on top of mixture. Cook for a few minutes and turn to coat other side and cook for another 3 minutes.

In a small bowl mix cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic, cilantro or parsley, plum tomato, tomato sauce, and salt. Pour over fish in sauté pan. Add enough water to cover fish (not more than 8oz). Cook for another 15 minutes until fish is cooked through.

Persian fish

Persian fish

Perfect Seder Roast

There is a minhag not to eat roast on seder night. For me, it’s a challenge trying to come up with new recipes to cook on the stove-top. I have tried so many recipes over the years, but I have never fallen in love with them. There is always a traditional corn beef, but after years of making that, I knew it was time to really experiment. I had read a bunch of recipes on the internet about cooking meats on the stove-top. I had to choose a cut of meat that needed a lot of cooking time to braise. I choose a California roast, and it was amazing. I used some of the ingredients that go into a regular roast but rather than putting it in the oven, I cooked it on the stove-top.
NOTE: Braising, from the French “braiser”, is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat; typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavor. Braising relies on heat, time, and moisture to break down the tough connective tissue collagen in meat, making it an ideal way to cook tougher cuts. Many classic braised dishes such as coq au vin are highly evolved methods of cooking tough and otherwise unpalatable foods. Pressure cooking and slow cooking (e.g., crockpots) are forms of braising.

California Pot Roast
4 pound California roast
2 Tablespoon potato starch
1 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion quartered
2 large loose carrots
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup red wine
½ cup ketchup
¼ BBQ sauce
Dredge the roast in potato starch and sprinkle with salt.
Heat a pan with the vegetable oil, big enough to hold the roast with a snug fit and sear the roast on all sides

Add the remaining ingredients, cover and simmer on low for 3 hours. The meat will be very tender.
Cool and slice. Serve warm with sauce and vegetable.

California pot roast