Week in Review

This week’s highlight was that candied lemon salad. Sounds odd, I know, but the mild sweetness of the lemon is tamed by the strong mustard and briny olives in the vinaigrette. It’s a beautiful, bright salad and one that I have already made three times this week.

Candied lemon salad. I added a bit more mustard, but I can eat the stuff with a spoon.

Composed candied lemon salad

Everything we ate this week gets put in the “Remake Category.” On the good side, everything we had this week I would actually make again. On the down side, everything we had this week I would actually make again — ack! Too many recipes, too many food combinations, not enough time!

The roast chicken with plums was surprisingly delicious. My dear husband (who has a thing about dry chicken) claimed it a juicy birdie, even when re-heated as leftovers. Just be sure to turn the oven down to 325 or 350 after the first 20 minutes or you risk burned plums.

A juicy, spiced chicken pairs beautifully with roasted plums. Who knew?

A juicy, spiced chicken pairs beautifully with roasted plums. Who knew?

Grilled Rockfish with Charred Eggplant and Peppers

Grilled Rockfish with Charred Eggplant and Peppers (topped with toasted pepitas)

When Your Israeli Husband Craves Falafel …

My husband will happily eat chicken out of a can.

He likes kokoretsi — squiggly lamb intestines roped around a melded mush of  lamb heart, lung and brain.

He has slurped down not one duck testicle, but two.

Needless to say, the man is not a picky eater. But when it comes to his beloved falafel, he is almost impossible to please.

But I think I managed to woo him!

Falafel Fixings

Falafel Fixings

 

Nothing, he says, compares to the falafel he grew up eating in Israel. And he’s right. He’s taken me to eat falafel in Tel Aviv and Netanya, and I have yet to find a match in the states. It’s not the actual falafel itself that is such a standout, it’s the smorgasbord of gorgeous salads that accompany the meal. I was not prepared for the onslaught of salads that were placed on our table during our first meal in Tel Aviv. I was so surprised by the sheer number that I actually counted them up. We were served 23 different salads. Yes, 23.  Twenty three different ways to prepare eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, lemons, avocados, beets, cabbages, carrots and greens. We stuffed our pitas full of the salads, ate some off the top, and re-stuffed. And re-stuffed. And re-stuffed. It was healthy and delightfully satisfying — “fast” food at its best.

Sizzling Falafel

Sizzling Falafel

So, that was my challenge last week — to make falafel and an array of salads to please our palates. I certainly didn’t create 23 different salads, but I did manage to turn out 5 salads plus a tahini sauce, not to mention softly-boiled eggs and freshly fried falafel. It was quite a bit of work the first time, but the salads kept beautifully so turning out leftovers on a weeknight was easy. Not much beats a delicious meal and a happy husband.

The Falafel Bar

The Falafel Bar

 

Recipes:

Falafel

Beet Salad

Roasted red pepper salad with harissa

Israeli salad: Finely chop the following and mix with lemon juice and salt and pepper: red onion, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, fresh mint and/or parsley

Eggplant salad: thinly slice and grill eggplants. Stuff into pita with everything else

Onion salad: thinly slice red onions. Toss with mint, lemon juice, salt and sumac

Tahini sauce: whisk tahini with lemon juice and warm water. Salt and pepper to taste

 

Spicy Mango Salad

Adapted from Vietnamese restaurant chef and cookbook author Charles Phan

ingredients

1 tablespoon sugar
1 small clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced Thai chile
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
4 firm yet ripe mangos
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

preparation

Combine the sugar, garlic, chile and salt in a mortar; pound with a pestle until finely mashed. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use the bottom of a heavy knife (like a cleaver) in a bowl to mash the ingredients together. Transfer the paste to a large bowl, add the lime juice and fish sauce, and stir well to combine.

Stand 1 mango, stem end down, on a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, cut straight down along one side of the flat oval pit. Cut down along the opposite side of the pit. Put half the mango, skin side down, on a cutting board and cut it into slices about 1/8 -inch thick, cutting to, but not through, the peel. Using a small paring knife, cut the slices away from the peel. Repeat with the remaining mango half and then with the remaining 3 mangos.

Add the mango slices to the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with cayenne and serve.

Horseradish Dressing

Whisk all of the following ingredients together:

1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (more if you prefer a high voltage kick).

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

A squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice to taste

A drop or two of honey if you wish

Salt & Pepper to taste

Fresh chopped herbs if desired: chives, thyme, etc.

Kale Salad with Roasted Vegetables & Feta

Kale Salad with Roasted Vegetables & Feta

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 bunch Tuscan kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch squares
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 medium golden beets (about 1 bunch), trimmed
1 1/4 cups pearl barley
4 ounces feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons (or more) unseasoned rice vinegar

Preparation

Whisk 1/4 cup oil, white wine vinegar, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add kale and shallots; mix until completely coated. Cover and chill until kale is tender, at least 3 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°. Arrange beets in a small baking dish and drizzle with a little oil. Season with salt and turn beets to coat. Cover with foil. Bake beets until tender when pierced with a thin knife, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Peel beets. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces (you should have about 2 cups).
Cook barley in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 45 minutes. Drain barley and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, cool.
Add beets, barley, and feta to kale. Drizzle salad with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar; fold gently to combine. Season to taste with pepper and more rice vinegar, if desired. DO AHEAD Salad can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine