Over the last few weeks, it felt like a whirlwind passed through my kitchen. I did a bunch of photo shoots of dishes I’d created; I cooked, baked and hosted meals for friends and family; then prepared lots of new and creative delicacies for Purim. In other words, by the time I got to Friday morning at the end of my hectic week, I was petered out and just wanted to make something easy and quick for Shabbat dinner.
But since my kids were joining us, I still needed to prepare a decent Shabbat meal. So I began looking through my fridge and pantry and found lots of ingredients that could go together, and whipped up a dish with everything I could put into the oven and be done with it. I didn’t want to have to mix anything in the middle, flip something over or even check if it was done cooking. I wanted to be able to cover the pan, put it in the oven for a set amount of time, and voila!
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Luckily, the last time I’d been grocery shopping, I’d bought some frozen Nile perch, and I paired this up with some vegetables I had in the fridge. I put this all together in a baking pan, and placed it in the oven.
I used this same method to make my famous “fridge soup.” In other words, I found some cauliflower in the fridge and decided to make a soup with it, together with barley that I had in my pantry. The flavor came out beautifully.
Next, I wanted to prepare a side dish that would be fun, so I decided to make Persian rice with carrots, raisins, kidney beans and lots of spices and herbs, which are all cooked on top of a crunchy layer of sliced potatoes. I always get tons of compliments when I make this rice dish.
And since it was a family Shabbat meal, I of course had to bake a fresh cake. I decided to make my signature marble cake, adding either chocolate, dried fruit or nuts – whatever I would happen to find in my pantry. You can use various combinations of flour too, which means that it will come out with a different texture every time you make it.
Cauliflower & barley soup
Makes 6-8 servings.
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 stalks of celery, cut into 1 cm. pieces
- 2 carrots, sliced or cut into cubes (or 1 medium sweet potato)
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½ a cauliflower, cut into small florets (cut stems into thin slices)
- 1 medium potato, cut into small pieces
- ½ - ¾ cup pearl barley (depending on how thick you want the soup to be)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ tsp. cumin
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, or 2 Tbsp. chicken soup mix mixed into 6 cups of water
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, celery, carrot (or sweet potato) and garlic. Sauté for 1 or 2 minutes, then add the cauliflower and its stems and the potatoes. Sauté for another 2 minutes.
Add the barley, salt, pepper, cumin and chicken broth. Stir, then add water so that it reaches about ¾ of the pot. Stir again, then cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours. You can add more water if it gets too thick. Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve hot.
Level of difficulty: Easy-mediumTime: 2 hoursStatus: Meat (if chicken broth) or parve
Nile perch & spicy vegetables
Makes 6-8 servings.
- 2 large onions, sliced into rings
- 8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 6 Swiss chard leaves, sliced in half
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 red peppers, sliced in half
- 1 spicy pepper (optional)
- 1 small eggplant, sliced
- 3 small tomatoes, sliced
- 6-8 Nile perch fillets (or other fish)
- 2-3 Tbsp. spicy pickled lemons
- 1 cup parsley and cilantro, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- ½ cup water
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2-4 thyme sprigs
Line a pan with baking paper. Arrange the vegetables on bottom of the pan in the order they appear in the ingredients list, then place the fish fillets on top.
In a separate bowl, mix together the lemon, parsley, cilantro, salt, pepper, turmeric, water and olive oil. Add the wine and the thyme and mix again. Pour on top of the fish and vegetables, cover with baking paper, then aluminum foil on top.
Bake for 40 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 190°-200°. Remove from the oven, and take off the foil and baking paper. Use a spoon to baste the fish with juice from the vegetables. You can add a little more water if necessary. Put the pan back in the oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.
Level of difficulty: MediumTime: 50 minutesStatus: Parve
Persian rice with kidney beans & carrots
Makes 6-8 servings.
- 2 ½ cups Persian or jasmine rice, soaked in water overnight with a little salt
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 150 gr. kidney beans (soaked overnight)
- 3 carrots, sliced into thin strips
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 Tbsp. oil
- ½ cup oil
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. cilantro, ground
- ¼ tsp. cardamom
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- 2 potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1-cm. thick pieces
Drain the rice and transfer to a pot with water. Add the lemon juice and cook for exactly 8 minutes, then drain.
In a separate pot, cook the kidney beans for 25 minutes, then drain.
In a medium pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté the carrots and raisins for 3-5 minutes.
In a large pot, heat the oil, then add the salt, turmeric, cilantro, cardamom and cinnamon, and stir well. Arrange the potato slices on the bottom of the pot, then add a thin layer of kidney beans and the carrots, and then on top a layer of rice. Then add another layer of beans and carrots, and another layer of rice. Continue alternating until you’ve used up all the ingredients. Cover the pot with a lid that has been wrapped in a towel, and cook for 30-40 minutes. Serve hot.
Level of difficulty: Easy-mediumTime: 1 hourStatus: Parve
Use a 22 cm. or 24 cm. diameter pot, 2 loaf pans or a Wonder Pot.
- 200 gr. butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups sugar or demerara sugar
- 2 packets vanilla sugar
- 1 tsp. rum
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups self-rising flour, sifted (or 1 cup flour, sifted + 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour + 2 ½ tsp. baking powder)
- 1 tub (150 gr.) yogurt
- ½ cup milk
- 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp. Nutella
- 2-4 Tbsp. milk
- ½ cup candied nuts (or sesame seeds)
- 1 Tbsp. silan
Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a mixer and mix until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla sugar, rum and eggs and mix until smooth. Lower the speed and gradually add the flour, baking powder, yogurt and milk, alternating each time.
Pour half of the mixture into a pan. To the bowl with the rest of the mixture, add the cocoa powder and milk and mix well.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan, and smooth it out. Take a knife, and stick it into the batter. Make a figure eight using the knife to create a marble design.
Sprinkle the nuts or sesame seeds on top, then drizzle silan on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 180°, then take it out and let it cool on a wire rack.
Level of difficulty: Easy-mediumTime: 1 hourStatus: Dairy
Translated by Hannah Hochner.