Masei: Recipes for the Road
Chef Yochanan Lambiase
“These are the journeys of the Children of Israel…”
We end off Sefer Bamidbat, the Book of Numbers, this week. Parshat Masei speaks about our journeys in the desert. Read in the summer, it is a time when we often journey from home (and out into the heat) to see new things, meet new people and explore new places. To help you out with the ‘Tzeidah l’derech”, the food for the way, below are a few recipes to take with you.
It often feels when taking a trip that you’ve packed ‘everything but the kitchen sink’, and sometimes even that too. In an effort, to travel a bit more lightly I’ve included a small list of kitchen essentials to take with you.
Founder of The Jerusalem Culinary Institute
• Stash a basket or backpack filled with the basics in a hall closet or car trunk, and keep reusable gel packs in the freezer. That way you'll be ready to picnic at a moment's notice.
• Blanket, ground cloth or tablecloth
• Serving utensils, bottle opener/corkscrew
• Moist towelettes or hand sanitizer
• Forks, spoons, knives, cups, plates, napkins
• Paper towels and trash bags for clean-up
• First aid kit: include bug spray, sunscreen, bandages
Grilled Tuna Salad Sandwiches with Lemon Mayonnaise and Watercress
3 cups fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 1 whole red chili, chopped (only use the whole if you like it hot)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup best-quality mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 large stalk celery, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 (8-ounce) tuna steaks
8 slices hearty bread (Italian, French, ciabatta, or country white)
Heat grill to high. Place lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to boil on the grates of the grill. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly. Leave grill on high heat.
Place lemon syrup, lemon zest, and mayonnaise in a blender and blend
until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a large bowl. Add the onions, celery, and parsley and set aside.
Brush tuna with oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill for 3
minutes per side or until slightly charred and cooked to medium doneness. Remove from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before cutting into small dice or flaking with a fork. Add the flaked tuna to the mayonnaise mixture and gently mix until combined. Divide the tuna salad among 4 slices of bread. Top the salad with a few sprigs of watercress and top with the remaining bread.
Fried Chicken with Pecan-Honey Glaze
1 (3 1/2-pounds) frying chicken, cut up, or your favorite chicken parts
2 large eggs
Salt and pepper
Vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup honey
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Brown paper bag
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Beat the eggs in a 9 by 13-inch dish. Lay the chicken pieces in the dish, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Turn the chicken and season the other side, then slosh the chicken parts around in the egg until well coated.
Put enough shortening or oil in a cast iron pan or electric skillet to come just halfway up the sides of the chicken parts. Heat the shortening or oil just until smoking, about 375 degrees F. Put the flour in a paper bag; add the chicken pieces, a few at a time, and shake to coat well. Remove the chicken with tongs and place it in the hot fat. Cover the pan, leaving a crack for steam to escape, lower the heat to 325 degrees F for electric skillet, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken with tongs, cover again (leaving the lid open just a crack), and cook for 10 minutes longer. Very large pieces may need to be cooked a little longer. Drain the chicken on paper towels and transfer to a platter.
To make the glaze, melt honey until well blended. Bring to a simmer and add the pecans. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle the glaze over the hot fried chicken and serve.
Mango Iced Tea
1 1/2 quarts cold water
6 high quality black tea bags
2 cups mango nectar
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Thinly sliced mango
Bring water to a boil, turn off heat add tea bags and steep until tea is dark, about 5 minutes.
Remove bags, add mango nectar and add sugar, to taste. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Place in pitcher and add mint leaves. Pour over ice and garnish with mango slices.
Grilled Alaska Salmon
8 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
1/2 cup peanut oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons green onions,
3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons crushed red
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Place salmon filets in a medium, nonporous glass dish. In a separate medium bowl, combine the peanut oil, soy sauce, vinegar, green onions, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and salt. Whisk together well, and pour over the fish. Cover and marinate the fish in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
Prepare an outdoor grill with coals about 5 inches from the grate, and lightly oil the grate.
Grill the fillets 5 inches from coals for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the thickest part, or until fish just flakes with a fork. Turn over halfway through cooking.
Caponata Picnic Sandwiches
1/4 cup olive oil
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1(14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons raisins
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 loaf ciabatta bread, cut crosswise into 6 equal pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled
6 slices (1/3-inch-thick) drained fresh water-packed mozzarella
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and sauté until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and sauté until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Season with salt. Add the red pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, raisins, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, and capers. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cut the bread pieces horizontally in half. Grill the bread cut-side down on a grill pan over medium-high heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Rub the whole garlic cloves over the toasted side of the bread. Add a slice of mozzarella to bread bottom, cover with the other bread half, and serve.
To take for a picnic: Wrap the sandwiches separately in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Chill until ready to serve, or keep at room temperature up to 1 hour.