2/27/13

What to do with Pomegranate Molasses: Pork in Pomegranate Molasses, Ginger & Garlic Marinade


I'm a cultural Jew. This means I don't observe Kosher laws, nor do I fast for Yom Kippur. I do like Jewish food and culture, and have visited Israel twice. Still, I'm always happy that I wasn't brought up in a strict Jewish home, because then I would not have been able to make and eat this Pork in Pomegranate Molasses, Ginger & Garlic Marinade recipe.

I came up with this recipe a few weekends ago and finally get to share it with you. Hope you make it for yourself and your family soon!

Pork in Pomegranate Molasses, Ginger & Garlic Marinade

Ingredients
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
4 garlic cloves, microplaned
1" ginger, peeled, microplaned
salt & pepper
2 boneless pork loin chops (1 pound total)
oil
to serve sauteed cabbage with carrots or rice
garnish pomegranate seeds

Directions
1. In a glass container combine the first four ingredients. Add pork loin chops, turning them around in the marinade until they are fully covered. Marinade the chops for at least 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.


2. Take the pork from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
3. Heat oil in a stainless steel skillet and cook pork for 3-6 minutes on each side depending on how pink you want it to be in the middle. {Remember that the pork will continue to cook after you turn the heat off. Try to get the internal temperature around 135F.}


4. Allow the pork to rest for about five minutes before slicing.
5. Serve on top of sauteed cabbage and carrots and garnish with pomegranate seeds.


The pork remained juicy and had a great sweet and sour flavor from the pomegranate molasses and a bit of heat from the ginger.


Have you cooked with pomegranate molasses before?

2/24/13

Russian Salted Cabbage with Carrots, Garlic & Apples: Russian Recipes Revisited


February is almost over, so it means it's time for another Russian Recipes Revisited post. This time I decided to copy my twin sister Anna and make Russian Salted Cabbage with Carrots, Garlic & Apples. My parents have been salting/pickling cabbage for as long as I remember, but this was the first time I gave this technique a try.

Russian Salted Cabbage with Carrots, Garlic & Apples
Adapted from Snacking in the Kitchen by Anna Berman

Ingredients
2 medium sized cabbage heads, shredded
1/4 cup kosher salt
5 carrots, peeled & shredded
1 head of garlic, separated and peeled
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, sliced into 16 pieces each
Russian sunflower oil
chopped white onion

Directions
1. In a large pot combine cabbage with salt and massage the cabbage with your hands until it slightly softens and is reduced in size.
2. Add carrots, garlic and apples and combine.
3. Put a large plate on top of the vegetables and add a few heavy jars to top to weigh it down.
4. Let the vegetables (and apples) hang out in your kitchen non-refrigerated for 5 days.
5. After 5 days, transfer with salted cabbage with carrots, garlic and apples into containers and refrigerate.
6. Serve drizzled with good Russian sunflower oil and chopped white onion.




I used a variety of jars for storage!



Note: some of the apples got oxidized and I decided to trash them because they looked gross. If you add apples, make sure they are completely covered by cabbage.

Any ideas for what I should do next month for Russian Recipes Revisited?

2/21/13

Burnt Eggplant with Tahini: Recipe from Plenty Cookbook


This Burnt Eggplant with Tahini is the second recipe I've made from Plenty Cookbook {the first one was Two-Potato Vindaloo}.

Growing up in Russia, I ate eggplant plenty {ha, ha, ha}. My parents and grandparents often made an eggplant dish in which eggplant was either burned directly on top of the gas stove or roasted in the oven and then finely chopped and mixed together with home made marinated tomatoes, onions and sunflower oil. I can still smell the lovely aroma of the charred eggplant skin.

My mom also made an eggplant appetizer in which eggplant was thinly sliced and roasted topped with garlicky mayonnaise. I actually attempted to recreate that recipe a while back.

And of course there was a dish of cubed eggplant with carrots, onions and garlic slowly cooked until all the flavors intermingled and were deepened with the addition of tomato paste.

Needless to say, I love eggplant.

What makes this Burnt Eggplant with Tahini recipe from Plenty special is the addition of the pomegranate molasses and pomegranate seeds. Thanks Cecilia for supplying me with both :)

Since I followed the recipe almost exactly, I used cilantro instead of parsley, I'm not going to retype it. You can find it here.

Here's what you do: First, make sure you have a gas stove! :)

Place the eggplant directly on the gas flame and turn the eggplant occasionally to make sure its skin is burnt all around.

Place the burnt eggplant into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow it to cool a bit. This will also help you remove the skin easier.

I found that slicing the eggplant lengthwise and scooping out the flesh with a spoon worked really well.

You then place the eggplant into a fine sieve and allow the liquid to drain.



Then it's time to combine tahini paste, water, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, minced garlic, and chopped cilantro with salt and black pepper.


All that's left to do at that point is to add chopped eggplant and combine. Put the dip into a shallow dish, drizzle with olive oil and top with fresh pomegranate seeds.



This was a super simple and delicious recipe. I thought the amount of pomegranate molasses could have been increased in order for the dish to have a more pronounced sweet/sour flavor. I'll definitely make it again!


What's YOUR favorite dish to make with eggplant?

2/19/13

New West Knifeworks' Superbread Knife & Baking Bread in Le Creuset by Ruhlman


Remember the post where I swooned about my new The 8 knife from the New West KnifeWorks? Well, I've used this knife so often and have been so happy with it, I decided to pitch a new idea to the company: I would FINALLY bake bread in my Le Creuset and then use their gorgeous Superbread Fusionwood knife to cut into my loaf of bread.

Guess what? They said YES and sent me the knife for a review. {Happy dance!}


When I posted a photo of the knife on instagram and Facebook, some of my followers were surprised by the shape of the knife: it doesn't look like your traditional bread knife. I think it looks way better! Plus, on top of its great design, it has great function:

"An offset bread knife with an edge. The shape of the Super Bread Knife not only allows room for your knuckles on the cutting board, it is more versatile, and the chef knife shape allows better control than most offset bread knives. Our unique 'wave' serration gives you an incredibly sharp edge and has the unique capacity to be honed and fully sharpened using a diamond or ceramic steel. Kullens or dimple grinds on the side of the blade allow the Super Bread Knife to pass through food cleanly and helps prevent food from sticking to it."
Read more about the knife's steel, handle and the fact that it's made in the USA here.


But now let's chat about how I tested out this Superbread knife. I finally decided to make no knead bread in my Le Creuset. The recipe has been going around for a few years and I have put it on my mental cooking resolutions list and can finally put a mental check mark by it!

I'm not going to retype the entire recipe because I followed it exactly. You can see the recipe and the video by Michael Ruhlman for yourself. The only thing I would tell you is to add way more salt to the dough: mine was a bit on the bland side.

Since I don't have a stand mixer, I made the dough in my KitchenAid food processor by combining flour, water, yeast and salt. The dough was a bit sticky, but I just formed it into a ball and let it rise for a few hours.


After the initial rise, I punched the dough a few times and kneaded it a little bit to release the gas and formed it into a tight ball once again. Then I put it into an oiled Le Creuset and let it rest again. 

Once the bread was ready to be baked, I brushed it with olive oil, sprinkled it with salt and made a snowflake design with my Superbread knife.


The bread gets baked first covered at 450F oven and then uncovered at 375F. It comes out GORGEOUS!! I was so incredibly proud of myself ;)


The photo below on the left shows how perfectly golden brown the bread is all around. You have to be patient and let the bread cool for a bit before cutting into it.


The Superbread did an awesome job cutting through the very crispy crust and not tearing the bread. It was also long enough to handle this large loaf.



I had to dig in as soon as I cut a few slices: the bread was great with olive oil and salt and also with a drizzle of thick balsamic (not pictured).


Thank you SO much New West Knifeworks for my new gorgeous knife! If YOU want to buy one, you can use a special discount code for Mango & Tomato readers to get 25% off your purchase: M&T25.

You can also try your luck at winning your own New West Knifeworks knives!

2/15/13

Eating out with Instagram: NYC & Brooklyn Edition


At the end of January I went to New York City (for the first time in almost two years) to visit my good friend Jenny and her boyfriend Chris.

I really had no plans (very unlike me). I was just looking forward to spending a lot of quality time together, maybe doing some shopping and relaxing.

The one place I really wanted to go to, however, was Talde. I thought Dale was awesome on Top Chef and I wanted to check out one of his restaurants for brunch. And we did!!
We took the Subway to Brooklyn and had an incredible brunch at Talde.


While waiting for our table, we hung out at the bar and ordered drinks. Jenny and Chris really liked their Bloody Marys garnished with pickled ginger. After getting over the disappointment of not being able to have a mango bellini, I was surprised at just how much I liked a mixed berry one. It was pretty, bubbly and sweet and had just enough of a kick to make me slightly woozy (it doesn't take much).


As for food, we ordered a bunch of dishes to share. My favorite ones were
KOREAN CHICKEN WINGS & WAFFLES – coconut brown butter syrup
TATER TOTS – sriracha ketchup
BREAKFAST RAMEN – buttered toast broth, honey-glazed bacon, six minute egg {not pictured}


After brunch and checking out the Brooklyn flea market, we made our way back into Manhattan and stopped at Cafe Green for a quick dessert of macarons. The cassis flavor was my favorite! {This was actually the same place Jenny took me and Anna the last time we were in NYC.}


Sunday Jenny and I took a bus to Chinatown and had dim sum at Oriental Garden. Of course it's best to have dim sum with a large group of people so you can try a bigger variety of dishes, but Jenny and I managed just fine! My favorites were the pork buns, the mini bok choy and the pork sui mai.


My last night in New York we decided to cook. I made a salad with mache, orange segments, candied pecans, figs, blue cheese and pickled red onions.


Chris made cioppino and home made bread! Jenny is a lucky (and deserving) girl.


On Monday I walked around the Union Market and Eataly and then had lunch at Republic.



I chose Curry Vegetable bowl with rice noodles, coconut milk, tofu, snow peas, carrots, fried shallots, cabbage, broccoli and cilantro. It was so perfect for a cold and snowy day!


Hope the next time I don't wait two years before visiting New York! Thanks Jenny and Chris for a fun weekend!

2/14/13

Happy ♥ Day

I hope you all feel ♥ around you today and always!


These are just some of the cards I sent out to my friends and family. All you need to make them (and you still have time) are blank cards from a craft store, rub off stickers and fancy scissors. Go make someone's day special! {And don't forget yourself!}

2/12/13

Valentine's Day Salad: Beet, Persimmon & Avocado Salad Recipe


Whether you are single or part of a couple, celebrate Valentine's day or not, I urge you to make this Beet, Persimmon & Avocado Salad. You don't even have to use a ♥ shaped cookie cutter. As long as you love beets, you will love this recipe!


Beet, Persimmon & Avocado Salad 

Ingredients
watercress
roasted beets***, cooled, peeled, sliced and cut into ♥s
persimmons, sliced across and cut into ♥s
avocado, sliced
blue cheese, crumbled
salt
olive oil
juice of minneola (or you can use orange or grapefruit juice)

Directions
1. Add watercress to your salad bowl.
2. Add a layer of beet and persimmon hearts.
3. Arrange avocado slices around the edge of the plate.
4. Sprinkle crumbled cheese on top and season with a bit of salt.
5. Drizzle with olive oil and minneola juice. 

*** To roast beets, cut the tops and bottoms of the beets, carefully wash and put each beet on top of a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Tightly wrap each beet in the aluminum foil and roast on top of a cookie sheet in the 450F preheated oven. The roasting time will depend on the size of your beets: anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.
 

Also, check out my ♥ shaped sandwich with smoked salmon, egg and avocado cilantro cream cheese.

I'm getting together with a few friends for Valentine's day dinner. What will you be doing?

2/10/13

A Heart Shaped Breakfast for Valentine's Day or ANY Weekend: Smoked Salmon, Egg & Avocado Cilantro Cream Cheese on an English Muffin


 I ♥ savory breakfasts! Since my usual breakfast during the week is some random ingredients put together and consumed in my cubicle, on the weekends I tend to put a bit more thought into my first meal of the day.

Since Valentine's Day is coming up, I decided to take out my ♥ shaped cookie cutters and use them to make breakfast for myself. {Yep, totally single.}

This is a really easy sandwich to make and of course you don't have to use a ♥ shaped cookie cutter, but why not? The avocado cilantro cream cheese is something I had in NYC and absolutely loved: genius idea.

A Heart Shaped Breakfast for Valentine's Day or ANY Weekend: Smoked Salmon, Egg & Avocado Cilantro Cream Cheese on an English Muffin

Ingredients 

English muffin, split in half, cut into a ♥ shape, toasted
smoked salmon, cut into a ♥ shape
avocado cilantro cream cheese: mix together avocado with cream cheese and chopped cilantro
fried egg {I fried mine directly in a cookie cutter}
quartered tomatoes as a side 


Directions
Basically assemble the sandwich any way you want ;)


Doesn't this look adorable??? Of course it's not incredibly easy to eat, but that's not the point ;)


What do YOU like to eat for breakfast on weekends?