My Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup

Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup

My Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup with Herbs and Flowers

Among the many Seder rituals, out of innocence the youngest child able asks ‘The Four Questions.’ The first Question posed, “Why is this night different from all other nights? On all other nights we eat leavened bread or matzoh but tonight we eat only matzoh. Why?”

And to all the children at Seders around the world, the first Question is answered, “This night is different because we eat the unleavened bread called matzoh in remembrance of our ancestors’ haste to escape from Egypt’s bondage as there was no time to let the dough rise.”

Among the many Passover dishes, Matzoh Ball Soup is a perennial favorite.

Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup

Since 2007, I have shared many a matzoh ball here on Taste With The Eyes. But this year, because winter had been especially rainy, cold, and snowy from LA, to Las Vegas, to Chicago…I am giving an extra nod to rebirth and springtime by adding more green herbs and pretty edible flowers to the soup.

Everyone had the same reaction to this bowl of soup. “That’s beautiful!” they said, so here I present the 2019 version called My Beautiful Matzoh Ball Soup.

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Vegetarian Meatloaf, Mushroom Gravy

Vegetarian Meatloaf, Mushroom GravyA Moist, Tasty, Satisfying Vegetarian Meatloaf
made with
Oatmeal, Quinoa, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, and Gruyere Cheese
served with
Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy

The somewhat mysterious walnut loaf on the vegetarian restaurant menu seemed way too heavy for lunch, so I ordered the sprouted salad instead.

While the salad was completely delicious, I was still curious about that hearty, compelling “vegetarian meatloaf” so I decided to make one at home.

While researching vegetarian walnut meatloaf recipes, I came across several that sounded similar to our local restaurant’s version. Upon further investigation, it appears that the original recipe is over 2 decades old, from famous vegetarian chef Deborah Madison.

Madison recently noted that 20 years ago she would add cheese to many of her recipes. These days however, with the variety and quality of vegetarian ingredients, she no longer relies on cheese to substitute for the meat. In this vegetarian meatloaf, cheese does play an important role…but vegan cheese should work fine too.

In my interpretation of the recipe, I substitute oatmeal and quinoa for Madison’s brown rice, and make many other adjustments as well, but credit for the concept definitely goes to her.

Vegetarian Meatloaf, Mushroom Gravy Recipe

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Vegetarian Indian Biryani

Vegetarian Indian Biryani

Vegetarian Indian Biryani

If you were one of the 90,000 people who attended Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center earlier this month, you may have had a chance to sample my uber-popular Indian Biryani with Chickpea Risoni.

My friends at Explore Cuisine introduced this new product at the Anaheim show to rave reviews. Chickpea Risoni is rice-shaped chickpea flour (made into pasta, orzo style) produced in Italy that is gluten-free, higher in protein and fiber than white rice.

South-Asian Biryani is traditionally made with white rice and incorporates chicken, meats or fish to make a flavorful, all-encompassing one-pot dish. Here we substitute chickpea risoni for rice to provide protein for a very substantial vegetarian dish. Exotic spices, garlic, ginger, nuts, fruits, fresh herbs, caramelized shallots, and fresh lime juice all add fabulous textures and flavors.

The recipe is simple and easy…the result is layered and complex.

Vegetarian Indian Biryani Recipe

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Red Lentil Risotto with Chorizo

Red Lentil Risotto with Chorizo

Red Lentil Risotto with Chorizo

My friends at Explore Cuisine have just released a new product, Red Lentil Risoni, an orzo made exclusively of red lentil flour. It is produced in Italy, and has 13 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per 2 oz. serving, it’s organic and gluten-free too.

I am excited to be joining them again this year, at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California on March 7, 8, and 9 to help debut this terrific product. Please stop by Booth #4906 to sample this uber-tasty risotto in a rotation with Edamame Spaghetti with Pesto, Green Lentil Lasagne, Brown Rice Noodle Pad Thai, Black Bean Black Sesame Fettuccine, Edamame Ramen and more. Most of the dishes will be vegan or vegetarian, all are gluten-free.

For this dish, the classic risotto cooking method is applied to the rice-shaped lentils. The result is a creamy high-protein lentil dish masquerading as rice, flavored with spicy pork sausage (handmade by my San Pedro butcher). Just add a green salad for a wholly satisfying meal.

Red Lentil Risotto with Chorizo Recipe

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Trio of Vietnamese Dipping Sauces with California Citrus

Vietnamese Dipping Sauces

A Trio of Vietnamese Dipping Sauces with California Citrus
Grapefruit, Ginger, Fresno Chile Dipping Sauce
Key Lime Jalapeño Dipping Sauce
Tangelo Nuoc Cham

Get your taste buds ready for a wild ride! I’ve spiked traditional invigorating Vietnamese sauces with fresh citrus from my winter garden: grapefruit, key lime, and tangelo. Now those bracing Viet dipping sauces have a sunny California twist.

Try them to perk up grilled chicken or seafood; lift flavors in soups; brighten noodles or rice; add zip as a dressing for salads; to make a vibrant dip for spring rolls; add a tangy heat when paired with beef or pork. All three are magically refreshing, each with a unique combination of sweet, fruity, salty, sour, and spicy flavors.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauces

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Sardine Smørrebrød

Sardine Smørrebrød

Sardine Smørrebrød

Smørrebrød is a Danish word that simply translates to buttered bread. What comes after the butter has been spread, however, is where plain bread is elevated to an absolute art form.

There is specific etiquette associated with composing and consuming these fabulous Danish open-faced sandwiches:

  • It would not be prudent to lift the sandwich to the mouth and risk the precious toppings falling off. A knife and fork are required.
  • Proteins are not mixed, each smørrebrød has a stand-alone special protein.
  • Several types of smørrebrød sandwiches are to be eaten in a particular order: herring is always enjoyed first, then other fish, then on to meats and last, cheeses.
  • The bread is always spread with a generous portion of butter, for taste, of course, but it also adds a protective layer to keep the other ingredients from turning the bread into a soggy mess.
  • Dense dark rye bread is the bread used most often, and always paired with herring. But sometimes white bread is used and often paired with smoked salmon.
  • The toppings always generously cover the entire piece of bread in an artful manner.

In planning to make a sardine smørrebrød, I chose ingredients that have a natural affinity for the fish: fennel, orange, lemon, dill, onion, garlic, chili. As always, color and texture enhance the taste, so I added peppery pink radish and some edible flowers too. It is the presentation that makes this open-faced sandwich so compelling.

Sustainable wild-caught sardines are a nutritional powerhouse. Ounce per ounce they boast more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more potassium than coconut water, and as much protein as steak.

Sardines are an excellent source of Omega 3s and low in mercury due to their petite size on the food chain. Canned sardines are readily available and have a long shelf-life. Lightly smoked canned sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil that are cleaned and scale-free are preferred.

Mimosas make the perfect sparkling orange accompaniment. Be sure to toast with friends between bites. Cheers and Skol!

Sardine Smørrebrød Recipe

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Norwegian Smoked Salmon Toast

Norwegian Smoked Salmon ToastNorwegian Smoked Salmon Toast
Poached Egg, Steamed Baby Beets, Wild Arugula
Horseradish Cream Cheese, Pickled Red Onion

How many colors, textures, and flavors can fit on one piece of toast? Well, lots. But to be worth the effort, they must harmonize and have a natural affinity for each other. That is the beauty of this Norwegian Smoked Salmon Toast. It is pleasing to the eye with pretty hues of orange, yellow, red, pink and green. And it has a balanced variety of tastes and textures: earthy and sweet, creamy and pungent, silky and buttery, peppery, jammy, fresh, crunchy, sour, toasty, rich, salty…all this makes for one delicious piece of toast.

Norwegian Smoked Salmon Toast Recipe

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