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Slice of Life, Nine Days

July 26, 2011

Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog, or web site.

Certain produce requires careful examination and scrutiny for any bugs and insects. For more information, please visit : OU Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Chart

The 3 weeks and 9 days often present a food dilemma. While meatless meals are good for you, unless you’re a true vegetarian often they become burdensome as well, we’re carnivores, or rather as my son says, omnivores (he eats anything kosher that isn’t nailed down, locked up or otherwise off limits because I need it for something else I’m making).

I look upon this time frame as a chance to test my skills and come up with recipes than don’t mimic or approximate but rather stand on their own as really good substantial and different recipes that just happen to be dairy or pareve.

The following recipes are terrific for the summer, the three weeks, and the nine days or just anytime you want to have something just a little different.

GRAPES AND CREAM CHEESE DIP (dairy)

4 cups red or green seedless grapes
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese (you can use low fat)
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 toasted pecan pieces

Place the grapes in the bowl of a food processor and process. Place the puree and the cinnamon in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat slightly and simmer for 20 minutes or until mixture thickens Remove from the heat and let cool. In the bowl of the processor combine the cream cheese and honey. Spoon the cream cheese mixture into a serving bowl and then swirl in the grape mixture making sure you don’t over mix. Top with toasted pecans. This is great with hot pretzels or toasted bagels. Makes 2 cups.

Submitted by Rachel Orneason Rock Island IL, source unknown

GRAPE GAZPACHO (dairy)

3/4 to 1 cup seedless green grapes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 green onions cut into pieces
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cup cold water
Salt and pepper to taste.
croutons

In the bowl of a food processor combine the grapes, dill, cucumber, apple and green onions. Process slightly and then add the buttermilk and water. Process to desired consistency. Place in a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours for the flavors to combine. Serve with croutons. Serves 4 to 6.

Unknown source

PEPPER AND PORTABELLAS (dairy)

4 large Portabella mushroom caps (remove the stems and dice them)
1/2 cup diced onions
1 cup diced red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups instant brown rice
1 cup black beans
4 oz shredded mozzarella or sharp cheddar
Garlic to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Cook the rice according to the package direction and set it aside. In a skillet saute the onion, pepper, chopped stems and garlic in the olive oil. Do not overcook; the veggies should just be starting to wilt. Add the whole caps and just lightly cook them on both sides (about 1 minute on each side) and remove the caps to a greased 9X13 pan, gill side up. Add the cooked rice and black beans to the vegetable mixture, mix to combine heat thoroughly, about 3 minutes. Spoon the rice mixture into the mushroom caps and then top the vegetable mixture with the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Serves 4.

RED PEPPER SOUP (dairy)

5 red peppers seeded and cut into bite sized pieces
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 medium potatoes, diced
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup whipping cream or half-and-half
Chopped green onions
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lime zest

In a large soup pot saute the peppers, potato and onions in the olive oil. Cook, stirring often, for about 8 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, coriander and cumin and continue cooking and stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add red pepper flakes and broth, and bring the soup to a boil. Add the cream and reduce the soup to for 8 to 10 minutes. I like to use my immersion blender at this point but you can use a blender. Puree the soup until you have the desired consistency, smoother or chunkier. In a bowl combine the yogurt and lime zest. Spoon the soup into 4 to 6 bowls. Place a dollop of the lime yogurt on top and then sprinkle the green onions on top. Serves 4 to 6

ANCIENT SWEET STUFFED PEPPERS (dairy or pareve)

I make this recipe all the time and everyone who’s ever had it loves it.

6 SUNSET® Ancient Sweets™ Peppers
1 cup vegetable broth
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup dry couscous
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained well
2 large ribs celery, diced 1/4″
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a baking sheet with pan spray. Slit the peppers down the center of the top of the pepper, from stem to near the tip, leaving the stem intact. Gently spread peppers open and carefully remove seeds. Season the inside of the peppers lightly with salt.

In a small saucepan, combine broth, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, curry powder, garlic and cayenne pepper. Bring to a quick boil over high heat. Stir in couscous. Immediately remove from heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. When couscous is cooked, remove lid and fluff with a fork. Place couscous in a large bowl, add the cranberries, apricots, walnuts, cheese and egg and toss to combine. (I don’t always add the nuts, egg and cheese as sometimes I just want a simpler pareve dish). Divide the filling mixture among peppers and lightly pack into peppers. Place on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Modified from the Sunset Ancient Sweet website

Browse through the OU’s growing collection of nearly 3000 recipes by visiting: OU Kosher & Holiday Recipes

Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen