Ultimate Bistro Salad:
Salade de Laitue
Living whole heads of Bibb lettuce, high quality vinaigrette components, and the synergistic combination of a few fresh herbs result in a deceptively simple yet exquisitely balanced salad, one that is the best imaginable of its kind. Period.
Chef Thomas Keller writes in his fabulous bistro cookbook Bouchon, “The word laitue comes from the Latin word for milk, from the milky juices some lettuces can exude. Hearty, buttery Bibb leaves are a good example of the rich juicy quality lettuce can have. They’re so big and rich, in fact, that this salad almost qualifies as a meal in itself.”
Salade de Laitue Recipe
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Purple Pierogi Ruskie
Stuffed with Purple Potato & Farmer Cheese
Served with Purple Sour Cream
Caramelized Purple Onion
These meatless potato and cheese dumplings are known as pierogi ruskie, and while the flavor is classic, their color is certainly not!
In many Central and Eastern European countries, pierogi ruskie are usually stuffed with the traditional farmer cheese and russet potatoes. Farmer cheese is tasty tangy dry curd cheese with a perfect consistency for the filling. Here, baby purple potatoes, besides their striking color, have a rich earthy flavor and just the right texture when passed through a ricer.
Combine the farmer cheese and purple potato to make this dramatic magical-hued filling. Imagine your family and friends’ delight as they bite into a crispy chewy pierogi and discover a purple filling!
Let’s have some fun with our food! We deserve it…
How to Make Purple Pierogi Ruskie
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Oatmeal Date Walnut Cookies for the Holidays
They’re really terrific all year round, but just a little dusting of powdered sugar can make this hearty-crispy-chewy oatmeal cookie perfect for the holidays as well.
Oatmeal Date Walnut Cookie Recipe
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Latkes with Farmer Cheese, Two Ways
Sweet with Pomegranate Arils
Savory with Fresh Herbs
A jug of olive oil, which held enough oil to last for one day, burned for eight when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated. So we eat foods fried in olive oil to commemorate that ancient miracle. As far as symbolic foods go, potatoes fried in oil are pretty much everyone’s favorite.
This year I’m serving my latkes two ways, sweet and savory, both topped with farmer cheese. My favorite, Lifeway Farmer Cheese, is a cultured soft cheese made from an old world recipe with a distinctive tangy flavor, and it’s packed with probiotics to boot. You might say farmer cheese and latkes are a match made in heaven…
Latkes Two Ways
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Fiesta in a Bowl
Black Bean Soup with Salsa Verde
This is one sassy black bean soup. It is easy to make and gets a kick of heat and smoky authentic flavor from the addition of fire-roasted salsa verde added at the end of cooking. Let each diner go crazy with the garnishes according to their own taste: pickled red onion, garlic crema, tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro all add to this fiesta in a bowl. The black bean canvas is artistically painted with a array of flavors, textures, and colors.
With only 4 ingredients (tomatillos, jalapeños, salt, and water) – our favorite Salsa de Molcajete Verde from the refrigerated section at the supermarket, adds robust Mexican taste without having to take the extra steps to roast chiles and tomatillos over an open flame.
Black Bean Soup with Salsa Verde Recipe
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Heavenly Farmer Cheese Blintzes
An enjoyable dinner at the new Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse here in Las Vegas and the approaching Jewish High Holy Days curiously inspired us to make homemade blintzes.
We discovered that infamous Jewish mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky were huge fans of the Cheese Blintzes at Ratner’s Restaurant. Founded in 1905 and located on the Lower East Side of New York City, Ratner’s did not serve meat in deference to the kosher prohibition against mixing milk with meat. They served a Jewish kosher dairy menu with cheese blintzes as one of the most loved dishes.
Growing up, our Jewish pancakes were always stuffed with farmer cheese, but, alas, not the easiest cheese to find in modern times… As luck would have it, my friends at Lifeway Kefir make Farmer Cheese that is happily having a resurgence. It is a cultured soft cheese made from an old world recipe with a distinctive tangy flavor, and packed with probiotics. Feeling nostalgic for Jewish comfort foods from our youth, we found the perfect authentic filling for our blintzes.
We prefer our blintzes cooked in browned butter for a nuttier taste and on the slightly crispy side, always served with the obligatory sour cream and lots of other complementary toppings. Here’s our recipe….
Farmer Cheese Blintzes Recipe
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Chilled Soup Bliss
Beet, Fennel, Kefir, Sour Cream
Horseradish, Lemon, Garlic, Dijon Mustard
You can chug this chilled soup from a tumbler and be in heaven, but ladle it into cold shallow bowls and garnish with some fantastic accompaniments, and it will be one of the most extraordinary hot weather soups you’ll serve this summer.
It is garnished with a dizzying array of chopped hard boiled egg, a kefir drizzle, radish, sliced pickles, lemon, chives, and fennel fronds.
The best part is the mind-blowing complex flavors with tangy notes from the kefir, earthiness from beets, hints of anise from fennel, a pungent kick from the Dijon mustard and a peppery kick from the horseradish.
The second best part is how easy it is to make. Combine the soup ingredients in a blender until smooth, chill until nice and cold – and there you have a perfect summer soup… simple and easy enough to enjoy for lunch today or with jazzy garnishes that make it elegant enough to serve at your next al fresco dinner party.
This recipe was inspired by the famous Eastern European Cold Beet Soup called Holodnik. I add fennel, Dijon mustard, garlic, and prepared horseradish to the traditional ingredients for a more spicy and complex flavor profile. Chopped bread & butter pickles replace the usual cucumber to add sweet and sour elements.
Chilled Beet, Fennel, Kefir Soup Recipe
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