Saturday, March 21, 2009

Recipe from the TWiT Army Mess Hall - Kasha Pilaf

Here's another recipe for the holidays (but only if you're Sephardic since Askanazi won't eat any type of grain over Passover)


* 1 cup Kasha, coarse granulation or whole grain
* 1 egg, beaten
* 2 cups chicken or beef broth or water, I usually match the liquid to what I'm cooking
* 2 tbl of oil
* 2 cups of mixed chopped vegis, I use onions, celery, and peppers but you can use whatever you want as long as they can stand up to sauteing without turning into mush. Mushrooms, green beans etc also work


Heat the oil in a saucepan which you have a close fitting lid for. Mix the kasha with the egg and cook in the oil until the egg is completely dry and the grains have separated, you don' t want to start this with a kasha & egg pancake. If you want to saute the vegis do it in a separate pan with a little oil or you can just add them raw at this point.

Add the liquid salt & pepper to taste. How much salt you'll use depends on how salty the liquid is. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes and check to see if all the liquid is absorbed, if not continue cooking covered until the kasha is moist but there is no free liquid. Remove from the heat, uncover and fluff with a fork before serving. Serve relatively soon, if it sits around uncovered it will dry out. This also doesn't reheat really well but you can use leftovers the next day for a 'fried rice' type of dish in the same way you can use leftover rice.

Serves 4

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Recipe from the TWiT Army Mess Hall - How to make fluffy matzo balls

Matzo balls are considered by many to be an integral part of the passover holiday. Depending on your preferences and family history (how your mother & grandmother made their matzo balls) you may like 'floaters' (light fluffy balls) or 'sinkers' (dense, heavy balls).
My preference has always been floaters & over the years I've tried many, many methods to produce them. Some of the techniques have included adding club soda to the dough or, the most sure fire, using shallow soup plates.

All of the techniques seem to rely on one common ingredient, make sure that there is air incorporated into the matzo ball dough. This makes sense and explains how the club soda works. Personally, I think that club soda or seltzer adds too much salt to the dough so I don't use that. That said here's how I make my 'floaters'.

I just use a standard Passover style matzo ball mix (regular matzo ball mix may have leaven in it so you can't use it for Passover). I prepare the mix according to package directions but there here's where I vary.

1) I ALWAYS make the dough the day before & let it rest in the refrigerator overnight, this allows for the maximum hydration of the matzo meal & make the dough very cold which is important for the next step

2) I use a cookie scoop, medium size to scoop out dough balls & once scooped handle them the minimum amount possible. This keeps the dough cold & prevents squeezing out any air bubbles present in the dough. Don't make the balls any bigger than a small walnut, if they are much bigger the outer part of the dumpling with get soggy before the inner part is completely cooked.

3) Cook the matzo balls in boiling hot soup or extra broth. Keep the soup boiling & don't add so many dough balls that it will cool off. This, IMHO is the most important step, the high heat of the soup serves to heat the air bubbles trapped in the dough expand and makes the matzo balls fluffy.

4) Get the dumplings out of the soup when cooked and put aside in a covered bowl until ready to reheat for dinner. If you leave them soaking in the soup, like a sponge they will get sodden with soup an sink.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Korean BBQ

This is what Korean BBQ looks like before we put it on the table to wrap up in lettuce leaves.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hysterical Happy Dance Continues

Bragging rights here. Our daughter has now been accepted into 4 colleges! Right now she's in:
  • UC San Diego - Revelle College
  • USC
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic
  • University of Colorado - Boulder Campus
We're still waiting on UCLA, Berkeley, and a few others but this has been great news!

Latest update:
As of 6 pm EDT today, UC Santa Barbara is also a YES!!!!!

W00t! She's now a Sun Goddess being chased by a buffalo ridden by a Trojan, hitting a hockey puck (Renssalaer's mascot is Mr. Puck Man) at a Gaucho!

Recipe from the TWiT Army Mess Hall - Sauted Scallops with Cherry Tomatoes, Green Onions, and Parsley


  • 1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops, side muscles removed, I use frozen but be sure that they are completely thawed
  • Fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt, not regular table salt you need the large grains for this dish to work
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 large green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
  • 1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild Spanish paprika (pimentn dulce)* or Hungarian sweet paprika


Rinse and drain scallops; pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops; sauté until browned outside and just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer scallops to plate; cover. Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet; add white parts of green onions and sauté until almost tender, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and green parts of onions and sauté until tomatoes begin to burst and release juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons parsley, lemon juice, and paprika. Return scallops and any accumulated juices to skillet and stir just until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer scallop mixture to platter. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.

This is good to serve with rice or a pasta like orzo to soak up the juices.

Serves 4