Cooking Class: Gourmet express

A new cookbook offers ideas and solutions for making great foods in less time.

(photo credit: MCT)
‘A good recipe is an easy one, or one that if not very easy compensates heavily for every minute we put into preparing it,” say the authors of ’Al Hashulchan Express’, a new Hebrew cookbook. Orly Pelee-Bronstein and Michal Moses bring almost 200 recipes from their own kitchens, ones that the two food editors enjoy time and again in their homes. The two are contributing editors in the Israeli gourmet magazine Al Hashulchan.
This is the Tunisian twist to salad Niçoise. The potatoes are seasoned with pilpelshuma (garlic-pepper, a seasoning mixture). The egg yolk is kept slightly soft and mixed with the dressing.
✔ 1 bag tiny potatoes or new potatoes ✔ 1 Tbsp. pilpelshuma (get it at specialty shops or make your own) ✔ 4 eggs ✔ 200 gr. frozen whole green beans ✔ 20 lettuce leaves, choose the smaller light-colored ones ✔ 2 cans tuna fish in oil or in water, drained ✔ 2 pickled lemons, sliced ✔ 20 Kalamata olives
For the dressing: ✔ 4 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ 1 Tbsp. juice from the lemons ✔ Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook potatoes in the microwave oven or in boiling water until ready. Cool, half and mix in a bowl with the pilpelshuma.
Boil water in a small pot and boil eggs gently for 5 minutes. Remove and place eggs in ice water to stop cooking. Chill and shell carefully.
Blanch beans in boiling water, drain and chill.
Mix all the dressing ingredients well.
Assemble salad and serve: arrange four plates, place a few lettuce leaves on each plate and drizzle dressing over all leaves. Add green beans, potatoes, tuna, lemon slices and olives. Place one halved egg on each plate and serve immediately.
Option: for a more festive version replace canned tuna with 400 gr. fresh tuna fish sliced into 1⁄2 cm slices. Sear each slice for a minute on each side and add to salad.
The roasted cauliflower and almonds add festivity and taste to this rice dish.
✔ 1 head of cauliflower, separated into small flowers.✔ Olive oil ✔ Salt and freshly ground pepper ✔ 1⁄4 cup oil ✔ 1 chopped onion ✔ 1 carrot sliced lengthwise into strips
For the rice: ✔ 1 cup basmati rice, washed, soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained ✔ 1 cup cooked, canned or frozen chickpeas ✔ 1⁄2 tsp. baharat (optional) ✔ 1⁄2 tsp. salt ✔ 2 cups water
Garnish: ✔ 2 Tbsp. roasted white almonds ✔ 1⁄2 bunch coriander
Heat oven to 180º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Season cauliflower With salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place on the baking sheet and roast about 20 minutes until golden.
Meanwhile prepare majadra: steam onion and carrots in a pot with a little oil about 5 minutes, until onions transparent.
Add rice, chickpeas, baharat and salt. Add water and bring to boil, cover and cook for 15 minutes over very low heat. Turn heat off and leave pot covered for another 15 minutes.
Transfer rice onto a serving dish, add cauliflower, mix, sprinkle with roasted almonds and chopped coriander leaves and serve warm.
Marinate the salmon for a few hours in lemon-mint-garlic and honey and follow with a very short bake. The honey creates a crispy and delicious crust.
✔ A whole fillet of salmon, 11⁄2 -2 kg.
✔ Juice of 1 lemon ✔ 1 cup chopped mint leaves ✔ 20 garlic cloves ✔ 4 Tbsp. honey ✔ 1⁄2 cup olive oil ✔ Salt and freshly ground pepper
Mix marinade ingredients, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place salmon in it and pour marinade over the fish. Refrigerate the salmon in the marinade for 4 hours.
Heat oven to 180º. Bake uncovered for 18 to 20 minutes. Serve with green vegetables and steamed rice.
CHICKEN IN A COOKY BAG WITH MEDITERRANEAN HERBS Makes 4 Five minutes’ work and the rest is done in the oven, but what a result… ✔ 4 chicken legs separated into drumsticks and thighs ✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ 1⁄2 cup dry white wine ✔ 1 sprig rosemary ✔ 1 sprig oregano ✔ 2 sprigs thyme ✔ 4 cloves garlic with the skins ✔ Salt and freshly ground pepper ✔ 6 potatoes cut lengthwise into 8 pieces. You may leave the skins on ✔ 1⁄2 lemon sliced into 2-3 mm. slices Heat oven to 180º.
Mix chicken with rest of ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to a cooky bag, tie and place in a baking sheet and make a few small holes on the top. Bake about 75 minutes until the chicken is tender and browned and potatoes ready and crispy.
Variations: Japanese style chicken: Mix the meat with 3 Tbsp. of oil, 4 Tbsp. soy sauce, 4 Tbsp. Mirin sauce, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp. ginger and 2 sprigs scallion.
Mid-Eastern chicken: Use sweet potato and chickpeas instead of potatoes, omit the wine and herbs and season with 3 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. Hawaij mix for soup, salt and pepper. You may add 1⁄2 cup chicken soup.