Cooking Class: The main event

A new kosher cookbook focuses on the main course for everyday meals, as well as festive family dinners

By NERIA BARR
September 23, 2014 13:47
Salmon and potato salad

Salmon and potato salad. (photo credit: LIMOR LANIADO-TIROCHE)

‘I wanted to write a cookbook for a few years now,” writes Limor Laniado-Tiroche, a chef, food writer and blogger who just published her first cookbook, called The Main Course (in Hebrew). She decided that the only thing missing from the very rich and varied array of Israeli cookbooks was the obvious.

“I realized that it was the main course, the anchor of every meal, that was missing,” she says.

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Laniado-Tiroche is not only a seasoned chef. She started her career in her mother’s kitchen, studied in Europe and became a professional food photographer and writer. She also teaches small private cooking classes.

It took her three years to collect, try and re-try, style and photograph the recipes that she included in the book.

The Main Course is divided into midweek family meals; home Asian cooking; Shabbat recipes; and holiday recipes.

A special part at the end of the book is dedicated to tips and shortcuts that will help even less-experienced cooks succeed in the kitchen.


QUINOA PATTIES WITH RICOTTA AND HERBS

Makes 6 to 8


✔ 1 cup quinoa
✔ 200 gr. ricotta cheese
✔ 1 Tbsp. oil
✔ 1 large onion, finely chopped
✔ 1 carrot, peeled and grated
✔ 1 zucchini, grated
✔ 4 eggs
✔ 4 Tbsp. bread crumbs
✔ 1 cup mint leaves, chopped
✔ 2 Tbsp. pine nuts
✔ 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries or blueberries
✔ 2 tsp. dried mint
✔ 2 tsp. salt
✔ 1 tsp. pepper
✔ ¼ tsp. turmeric
✔ Olive oil for frying In a large pot, boil plenty of slightly salted water, like you would for pasta.

Add the quinoa and cook for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Transfer the cooked quinoa to a thin strainer lined with a paper towel and let it drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet and sauté the onion until it is transparent.

In a large bowl, mix well quinoa, fried onion and the rest of the ingredients for the patties.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and form the mixture into flat patties.

Heat olive oil in a skillet and fry the patties about 5 minutes on each side or until they are nicely browned and crispy.

Serve with tehina or yogurt on the side.

If you want to save on calories, bake the patties in a 220° oven for 20 minutes.


BLACKENED CHICKEN WITH PLUMS

This is an Asian-inspired chicken dish with plums, wine, tea and soy sauce, which is great for any of your holiday dinners.

The chicken comes out dark and crispy. This dish is perfect for entertaining, and children love it. The secret of the flavor, though, is marinating the chicken for two days in the refrigerator. The quantity of the marinade is enough for 2 chickens, so if you are making only one, keep the leftover marinade in the refrigerator. It will keep for several weeks.

✔ 1½ kg. whole chicken, rinsed and dried
✔ 1 tsp. coarse salt
✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil For the marinade (makes enough for 2 chickens)
✔ 750 gr. fresh red plums (about 10-15), halved and pitted
✔ 1¼ cups sugar (250 gr.)
✔ 3 anise stars
✔ 2 tsp. ground fresh ginger
✔ ½ tsp. cinnamon
✔ 2⁄3 cup soy sauce
✔ 2⁄3 cup red wine
✔ 3 Earl Grey teabags

To prepare the marinade:
In a medium-size pot, place the plums, sugar, anise stars, ginger and cinnamon. Cover and cook for 30 minutes over low heat.

Add the soy sauce, wine and tea bags. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

Remove the teabags and anise stars. Let cool and mash, using a hand blender, until smooth.

Tie the chicken legs together using a string. Place the chicken in a deep dish and pour half the marinade over the chicken. Make sure all the chicken is coated. Pour a generous amount into the cavity of the chicken as well.

Reserve the leftover marinade in a jar.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 days. From time to time, turn the chicken in the dish and massage the marinade into the meat. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting.

Heat the oven to 220°.

Brush a roasting pan with oil, remove the chicken from the marinade and transfer it into the roasting pan, breast side up.

Reserve the marinade for basting during the roasting.

Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper and olive oil and roast for 10 minutes.

Turn the chicken breast side down, quickly brush it with 2 Tbsp. of the marinade and roast for 10 more minutes.

Lower the heat to 180°, baste the chicken with the juices from the pan and continue roasting for 30 minutes.

Again flip the chicken to the other side, baste with the pan juices and marinade and roast for 30 minutes more.

The overall roasting time is 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a serving plate. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before carving.


SALMON, POTATO AND GREEN BEAN SALAD

This salad is Laniado-Tiroche’s version of the classic salade Nicoise. It is elegant and impressive, she writes.

Poached salmon is well worth the effort, but this will also work with canned tuna. If you are entertaining, prepare all the ingredients in advance and put the salad together at the last minute.

✔ 400 gr. salmon, poached and crumbled (see recipe below)
✔ 4 eggs
✔ 3 medium potatoes
✔ 200 gr. green beans
✔ 20 cherry tomatoes, quartered
✔ Hearts of lettuce
✔ 15 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
✔ 2 Tbsp. capers For the dressing
✔ 3 anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
✔ ¼ cup olive oil
✔ ¼ cup lemon juice
✔ 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
✔ 2 Tbsp. thick yogurt
✔ 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
✔ 1 garlic clove, minced
✔ 1 tsp. salt
✔ 1 tsp. pepper

Boil eggs for 6 minutes, leaving the yolk’s center soft.

Transfer to a bowl with cold water. When cooled, peel and halve the eggs.

Cook the potatoes until soft but not mushy. Let cool, peel and cut into 2-cm. cubes.

Boil water in a medium-size pot. Cut off the ends of the green beans and blanch the beans in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove from the pot and place in ice water to stop the cooking.

In a jar with a tight lid, mix all the dressing ingredients and shake well.

Place all the salad ingredients, except the salmon and the eggs, in a large salad bowl.

Add the dressing and toss well. Arrange the eggs and the salmon on top, season with a little salt and serve.


POACHED SALMON

This is easy and tasty. Poached salmon crumbles easily and is great with salads, pasta dishes and risotto.

✔ 400 gr. skinless fillet of salmon, cut into 2 equal parts

For the liquid:
✔ ½ liter water
✔ ½ cup wine vinegar
✔ ½ cup olive oil
✔1 bunch thyme
✔ 1 small onion, quartered
✔ 1 bay leaf
✔ 1½ Tbsp. kosher salt
✔ ½ tsp. allspice

In a large pot, bring all the poaching liquid ingredients to a gentle boil. Add the salmon and simmer for 6 minutes.

Turn off the heat and remove the fish from the liquid, using a slotted spoon.

Let cool and crumble.

The poached salmon will keep for up to 2 days when covered with olive oil, but only if you used very fresh fish; otherwise, use immediately.


PERSIAN MEATBALLS WITH SWISS CHARD AND POTATOES

Makes 8 to 10


Years ago, writes Laniado- Tiroche, she heard about a Persian woman who lived in a small moshav near Jerusalem and cooked things that one cannot find in any restaurant or cookbook. “I was very surprised to get a call from her daughter one day, asking me if I could visit her mother’s kitchen. It was a dream come true for me.

From her I learned the secrets of the Persian cuisine and the unique preparation of some wonderful dishes.”

This recipe is one of those dishes, adapted by Laniado- Tiroche.

For the meatballs:
✔ 500 gr. ground beef
✔ 1 egg
✔ 1 carrot, peeled and grated
✔ 1 small potato, peeled and grated
✔ 1⁄3 cup bread crumbs
✔ ½ tsp. salt
✔ ½ tsp. ground pepper
✔ ¼ tsp. coriander
✔ ¼ tsp. cumin
✔ Pinch hot paprika

For the sauce :
✔ 4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 12 chard leaves, washed and chopped
✔ 2 celery stalks, sliced
✔ 5 cloves garlic, sliced
✔ 1 Persian lemon*
✔ Juice of 1 lemon
✔ 1 cup water
✔ 1 tomato, grated
✔ ½ tsp. salt
✔ ½ tsp. pepper
✔ ¼ tsp. coriander
✔ ¼ tsp. cumin
✔ Pinch hot paprika

*Persian lemon is small dried lemon or lime. It is available in spice stores.

In a bowl, mix all the meatball ingredients. Refrigerate the mixture, covered, for 1 hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and form round meatballs with your palms and set aside.

Pour oil into a wide low pot and sauté the chard until softened.

Add the celery and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the Persian lemon and lemon juice, water, potatoes, grated tomato and seasonings and bring to a boil. Gently place the meatballs in the sauce, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 30 minutes.

Tip: The secret is chilling the meat mixture before shaping the meatballs. This makes rolling the balls easier and keeps them from falling apart during the cooking.

Recipes and photos courtesy of Limor Laniado-Tiroche. The cookbook was published by Matar and is available in bookstores. www.matarbooks.co.il


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