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Cooking with Pizzazz

Cooking with Pizzazz

Choice selections from a sizzling new cookbook.

by Maimonides Academy PTA

Maimonides Academy, a very warm and welcoming school in Los Angeles, has just published a cookbook, entitled "Kosher Delicious." With its Sephardic roots and its embrace of Jews from varied backgrounds, you just know the recipes are going to have some pizzazz. Here are a few of their unique creations.

Mexican Gefilte Fish
Pareve

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
15-ounce can tomato sauce
Juice of 3 limes
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
8-ounce can green Israeli olives, pitted
1 loaf frozen gefilte fish

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onions and saut? until slightly brown. Add tomato sauce, lime juice and cilantro. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add olives and simmer one more minute.

Place frozen gefilte fish in a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Pour sauce over fish and bake covered for 1 hour at 375°. Remove cover and bake an additional 20-30 minutes.

Chill overnight. Slice and serve cold.

Servings; 6

Cilantro, the American term for coriander; Mexican or Chinese parsley: Looks similar to flat-leaf (Italian) parsley; but can be distinguished instantly by its pungent fragrance. Fresh cilantro is a key ingredient in Mexican, Indian and Chinese cooking.

Tomato and Fennel Soup

4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons pareve margarine
2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups fennel, (1 large bulb), chopped, reserve leaves for garnish
2 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil and margarine in a large stockpot over very low heat. Add onion and fennel and cook, covered, until softened about 45 minutes. Add chicken broth and bay leaves.

Increase heat to medium and cook until broth is reduced by half, about 1 hour. Add tomatoes, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Discard bay leaves. Transfer soup to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Return soup to stockpot. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve hot. Garnish with fennel leaves.

Servings: 10

Pralined Mango Salad

1 head red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 head green leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced diagonally
3 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 mango, peeled and cubed

Dressing
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

Pralined Almonds
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup sliced almonds

Salad: Combine red and green leaf lettuce, celery, scallions and mango in a salad bowl.

Dressing: Whisk together Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, honey and sugar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil.

Pralined Almonds: Heat canola oil in a small skillet. Stir in sugar until it begins to melt. Add sliced almonds and continue stirring until caramelized. Remove pralined almonds and set aside to cool.

Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle pralined almonds on top.

Servings: 8-10

A ripe mango will have a blush of yellow-orange or red, which will increase in size as the fruit ripens.

Rack of Lamb with Tomato Glaze

2 racks of Iamb
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°.

Trim excess fat from each rack. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Saut? shallot and garlic until fragrant, about one minute. Stir in tomato paste and blend until bright red. Add hot water, mustard, honey and thyme until blended thoroughly. Simmer mixture until thick, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large saut? pan over medium-high heat. Brown the outside of each rack, turning several times with tongs to evenly sear the meat on all sides.

Transfer racks to a roasting pan. Brush each rack lightly with the glaze. Roast, uncovered, bone side down in a 400° oven, until glaze is set and lamb reaches an internal temperature of 160°, about 25 minutes. Brush the racks with extra glaze periodically.

Remove racks of lamb from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Turn racks, bone side up, to slice easily. Serve with pan juices.

Servings: 6-8

Serve with Minted couscous with currants and pine nuts.

Easy Apricot Cake
Pareve

8 ounces unsalted margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
21/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Topping
2 (8 ounce) cans apricots, drained
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Grease a 10-inch spring form pan with margarine and lightly dust with flour. Set aside. Beat the margarine until soft in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Add the sugar and mix. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly incorporated after each addition. Add the flour and baking powder, beating only until incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan.

Place the apricot slices on paper towels to dry. Arrange the fruit on top of the cake. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the fruit. Bake in a 350° oven for 50-60 minutes. Let stand until cool.

Servings: 12

Use may substitute other toppings such as cherry or blueberry pie filling, canned pears or peaches.

If you want more great recipes, you can purchase the cookbook "Kosher Delicious" by contacting:

Maimonides Academy PTA
310 Huntley Dr.
LA, CA 90048
Tel: (310)659-2456 Fax: (310)659-2865

Published: January 24, 2004


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