Cooking Class: Chilli with cheese

As the temperatures continue to rise, Tnuva offers ideas that will add color to any outdoor meal.

Salad (photo credit: Kfir Harbi)
(photo credit: Kfir Harbi)
I think that summer meals should consist of salads, the occasional baked or fish dish, and great desserts.
The following recipes were created by various cooks and chefs for Tnuva Dairies throughout the year, and I suddenly felt like preparing them as the days grew hotter and hotter.
Chefs tend to use high-fat creams and cheeses becausethey taste so much better than the low-fat versions.
But I usually try to replace fatty cheeses with less fatty kinds and, when possible, replace 38% whipping cream with 10% cooking cream or yogurt. Whatever you choose, do not use margarine instead of butter. Not only because of the inferior taste but because margarine is simply not good for you.
Chef Muki Salim likes to make his own crème fraiche – a welcome addition to many salads and egg dishes. Here it is, served with freshly baked Italian-style bread.
For the focaccia:
✔ 550 gr. flour
✔ 15 gr. yeast
✔ 50 gr. olive oil
✔ Pinch salt
✔ Kosher salt
✔ 400 ml. lukewarm water
For the crème fraiche:
✔ 200 ml. 38% whipping cream
✔ 3 Tbsp. 4.5% yogurt
✔ Olive oil
✔ Chives, chopped
✔ Salt
To prepare the bread:
In a mixer bowl, mix together flour, table salt and olive oil for 5 minutes on low speed.
Add the water gradually while the mixer is turning. Change speed to high and continue mixing 5 more minutes. Let batter rest for 30 minutes.
Remove from bowl, knead a little and place on a greased baking sheet. Flatten with your hands; make a few dents in the batter, sprinkle with kosher salt and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a preheated 200º oven for 30 minutes or until bread is golden.
To prepare the crème fraiche:
Mix whipping cream and yogurt in a small bowl, cover and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. Season with salt, a few drops of oil and chopped chives.
Serve with sliced tomato, parsley or rosemary.
Note: Once you get the hang of it, try topping the bread before baking with small bits of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped rosemary leaves, grated hard cheese, fried onion or the like.

Makes 10
Courtesy of Tnuva.
This is one of the more festive and tasty salads we have had in a long time. Serve when friends pop over for lunch. Feel free to use whatever nuts you have in the pantry. And, if you have the time, make your own blintzes. If you do so, there is no need to fry them again.
✔ 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
✔ 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
✔ 2 cloves garlic, minced
✔ 1 Tbsp. mustard
✔ 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
✔ 1 Tbsp. honey
✔ 1⁄2 cup olive oil
✔ 100 gr. butter
✔ 1⁄2 cup hazelnuts
✔ 1⁄2 cup cashew nuts
✔ 1⁄2 cup other nuts
✔ 1⁄2 Tsp. kosher salt
✔ 1⁄2 package (700 gr.) frozen blintz leaves, defrosted
✔ 1 head of lettuce, sliced
✔ 1 package greens (baby mix)
✔ 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
✔ 200 gr. Roquefort cheese, crumbled
In a jar with a lid, shake together vinaigrette ingredients: vinegar, oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic and sugar.
Heat oven to medium and line a baking sheet.
Melt half of the butter. Place the nuts on the lined baking sheet and drizzle the nuts with the melted butter. Sprinkle salt and bake for 10 minutes until golden. Let cool.
Cut the blintz pastry into 1-cm.-wide strips. Heat the rest of the butter in the skillet and fry the pastry strips over low heat, until golden.
To assemble the salad: Place lettuce, baby leaves and tomatoes on a serving dish. Pour the dressing and mix gently.
Add the blintz strips, sprinkle with crumbled cheese and nuts and serve.
Makes 8
Chef Rahamim Moshe offers a very rich spinach soufflé that can be served as a main dish with salad. For a reduced-fat version, use salty 5% white cheese instead of the Camembert and replace the 38% whipping cream with 10% cooking cream.
✔ 120 gr. spinach leaves steamed, cooled, and water squeezed out
✔ 220 gr. melted butter
✔ 250 ml. whipping cream
✔ 6 garlic cloves
✔ 8 eggs, beaten
✔ 1 tsp. nutmeg
✔ 1 round Camembert-style cheese
✔ Salt and white pepper
In a food processor, blend the spinach and garlic, about 5 minutes. Add butter and cream and continue blending a few more minutes until smooth.
Pour into a bowl and add beaten eggs.
Grease eight individual baking dishes (you can use disposable ones). Fill them to 3⁄4 of the height. Place a cube of cheese in the middle of each form. Fill with the rest of the mixture.
Place the baking dishes in a baking pan filled halfway with water and bake in a 140º oven for 45 minutes.
Makes 6
✔ 25 gr. butter
✔ 1⁄2 red onion, chopped
✔ 1 red pepper, chopped
✔ 6 fillets of trout, skinned
✔ 100 gr. melted salted butter
✔ Salt
✔ 1⁄4 tsp. black pepper
✔ 225 gr. Napoleon cheese, garlic-dill flavor
✔ 1 Tbsp. dill, chopped
Melt butter in a skillet and sauté onions and peppers until tender. Heat oven to 180º. Pour the melted salted butter over the fish fillets and season with salt and pepper. Mix the cheese, dill and steamed vegetables and season to taste. Spread a generous layer of the cheese mix on each fillet of fish, roll the stuffed fish and place each fillet in small tins or secure with a toothpick and place in a deep pan. Bake about 20 minutes.

Makes 8
You will need eight ovenproof cups or jars.
✔ 50 gr. butter
✔ 900 gr. Napoleon natural cream cheese
✔ 250 gr. 9% white cheese
✔ Zest of 1 orange or lemon
✔ 1 tsp. vanilla extract
✔ 11⁄2 cups sugar
✔ 3 eggs, beaten
✔ 3 Tbsp. self-rising flour
✔ 250 gr. whipping cream
✔ For the topping: 250 gr. whipping cream
✔ 6 fresh passion fruits, halved
Heat oven to 150º. Brush the cups well with butter.
Place a baking pan filled halfway with boiling water at the bottom of the oven.
In a food processor, blend the cheeses, zest, vanilla and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, flour and cream and blend again until smooth. Pour the mixture into cups or individual baking dishes and bake 35-40 minutes until golden and settled. Let cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To serve:
Whip cream with a little sugar. Top each cup with a little of the passion fruit and serve with the whipped cream.
Makes 10
This mousse by chef Ilan Pinkhas is good year-round.
For a lower-calorie mousse, you can use 9% cream cheese – the taste won’t be the same, but it will still be good.
Another way to cut down on calories to substitute half the sugar with stevia sweetener (available in health food stores). Add the stevia very gradually and taste, since it is much sweeter than sugar or other sweeteners.
✔ 350 gr. Napoleon 30% cheese, no flavor
✔ 120 gr. sugar
✔ 1 stick vanilla (or a few drops of real vanilla extract)
✔ 1⁄2 cup fresh orange juice
✔ Zest of 1 orange (or lemon)
✔ 4 egg yolks
✔ 1 liter (two 500 ml. containers)
✔ whipping cream 38%
✔ 120 gr. sugar
✔ 25 gr. gelatin
✔ 2 Tbsp. water
For the base:
✔ 20 plain dry cookies, crushed
For the sauce:
✔ 10 green apples, peeled and diced
✔ 10 Tbsp. brown sugar
✔ 1⁄2 bottle white wine
✔ 2 cinnamon sticks
✔ 100 gr. butter
In a mixer bowl, use medi- um-low speed to mix the cheese and sugar with vanilla and orange zest. Keep the mixer going and add orange juice in three times, then the egg yolks, and continue mixing until the mixture is smooth.
Remove from the mixer bowl and rinse out the bowl.
Whip the cream and sugar in the mixer until thick. Fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture.
Melt the gelatin in 2 tsp. of water and add to the mixture.
Mix thoroughly but gently.
Butter a spring baking form and spread cookie crumbs on the bottom. Pour the cheese mixture over the crumbs and smooth the surface. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To prepare sauce: In a large pot, cook wine and brown sugar over medium heat, add apples and cinnamon and cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid is reduced into a caramel.
Add butter and mix.
To serve:
Place a slice of mousse on each plate and a spoon of hot apple sauce on the side.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Tnuva.