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Siniya Will Become Your New Best Friend

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So Rosh Hashanah is tomorrow and I have been debating on what to make…stick to the classics?!? or try something new and fun?!?…what do you think I am going to do?? 

I am obviously going to serve the honey, apples and challah (to celebrate a sweet new year). But I feel like Jewish food, as good as it is, can be a little old school and since you are bringing together family and friends, why not try out a new recipe and bring something fun and fresh to the table?!? 

I love this recipe..it is bold, EASY TO MAKE, colorful and full of flavor. Also, it has an exotic feel without having to use ingredients that you cant find at your local supermarket. This is my version of Siniya, a Palestinian dish of ground lamb baked in tahini sauce. I actually had it for the first time just a couple of weeks ago at a restaurant in Jaffa… I LOVED it and was obviously inspired. It may seem a little complicated, but to be honest…it is just a combination of easy recipes that you bring into one.

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Siniya W Roasted Cauliflower, Preserved Lemon & Tomato Salad

Step 1-

Roasted Cauliflower-

1 whole head of cauliflower, stems and leaves kept on

extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt to taste

Directions- pre-heat the oven to 420 d F

Bring a large pot of water to boil, than place the cauliflower in the boiling water. Cover and let boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the water and let steam dry. When the cauliflower is almost dry, cut into even sized pieces and drizzle with a nice amount of olive oil, season well with the salt. Place in the hot oven for 20-30 minutes, until golden all over. Remove and place on the side.

Step 2- Ground lamb and beef patties- NOTE -If you can not find all these spices, than just use the ones you have on hand…the lamb is so flavorful, you can make this dish even without the spices.

1/2 pound ground lamb

1/2 pound ground beef

1 onion, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, finely grated

Kosher Salt to taste

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper 

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp all spice

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cardamom powder

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 

1 tbls finely chopped parsley and cilantro- plus extra for garnish

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts- for garnish

Directions-

in a bowl combine the ground lamb, beef, onion, garlic, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, all spice, cloves, cumin. cardamom, nutmeg, cilantro and parsley. Mix well and form into 2-inch patties. Let sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Remove from the fridge and get a grill pan or a frying pan very hot. Season the patties with salt and sear them on both sides, just to get some color. Remove and place in a baking dish. Make the tahini.

Tahini sauce-

1 cup of tahini

1/2 lemon squeezed

salt

1 garlic- grated

water

directions-

In a bowl combine the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and water…add water until the tahini is a liquid state…like 1/2 cup. Season with salt and assemble the dish.

Assembling and finishing the recipe- Pre-heat the oven to 425 d F

Place the cauliflower into the baking dish, around the lamb and beef patties, drizzle the tahini all over. Place into the pre-heated oven for about 10-15 minutes, than remove. Place the tomato salad all along the top with the toasted pine nuts and the freshly chopped parsley and cilantro. Serve hot.

Tomato And Preserved Lemon Salad

2 cups of cherry tomatoes sliced

1 preserved lemon, washed and finely chopped

salt to taste

1 drizzle of olive oil

directions-

In a bowl place the tomatoes with the preserved lemon, olive oil and salt, toss and check for seasoning.

Just One More For Summer! Tomato & Eggplant Salad With A Yogurt Dressing & Fresh Herbs

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Trying desperately to not let summer go!! I am going to miss this.

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I get most of my inspiration from my travels and from what is in season. I just recently got back from a trip to Israel, where they have mastered the art of vegetable dishes and salads….and I am not talking about mixed greens with tomatoes and a balsamic vinaigrette OR roasted brussels with parm…I am talking about salad combinations and vegetable dishes that include root vegetables, nuts, fresh cheeses, fruits, herbs, yogurt, tahini, spices….that are served and prepared, fresh, roasted, fire roasted, grilled, toasted…combinations and techniques that are so different and exciting….I am going to be on a salad/veggie kick for a while!

note- It is all about layering, colors, textures and flavors…it doesn’t need to be tricky. If you learn the art of killer salads…you will never think of salad as a lame or boring thing ever again.

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Tomato & Eggplant salad with a yogurt dressing and fresh herbs

3 small eggplants or 1 large eggplant

1 large heirloom tomato (or 2 regular)

1 cup of cherry tomatoes (i like getting different colors…makes it look extra pretty)

1 jalapeno- finely chopped ( I remove the ribs and the seeds, but you can keep them in if you like it spicy)

1-2 garlic cloves-grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup sheeps milk feta (or whatever feta you have on hand)
1 cup plain whole yogurt
1/2 lemon- squeezed
1 lemon zested
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
2 tbls finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Cracked black pepper and salt to taste
Directions-
Preheat a grill or a pan. Slice the eggplants to 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and let sit outside for 10 minutes. Pat dry before using.
Drizzle both sides of the eggplant with a nice amount of extra virgin olive oil and season well with salt.
Grill or pan fry  the eggplant on both sides for 10 minutes until they are cooked through and have char grilled marks. Place on the side.
In a blender place the feta with the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and a little bit of water, blend until completely smooth (you want to Jackson Pollock your salad, so if the yogurt dressing is too thick, than add a little bit more water….you might need 1 tablespoon in total)
Slice the tomatoes 1/4 inch thick and start, layered the eggplant and the tomatoes, seasoning with salt along the way. When you are done, drizzle over a nice amount of the yogurt sauce. Season well with salt and pepper and then sprinkle over the jalapeño, chives, lemon zest and the pine nuts. Drizzle with a nice amount of olive oil, a little squeeze of lemon juice and then sprinkle over the parsley. You want the dish to be rustic and colorful. I make sure there is always olive oil around he sides…so pretty.
This recipe is perfectly simple, elegant and really highlights all the fresh local flavors.

Make it your own! GRRRANOLA!

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Sometimes…buying already-made products in store can be a little scary… so much sugar…so much salt…we do not even realize it but we are consuming tons!! (not like I am obsessed but I eat out all the time and when I eat at home…I like to be in control (or at least try to be)…right?!?)

I love making my own granola. IT IS SO EASY!!! There is no excuse to not do this! 

The combination of maple syrup and coconut oil rocks. You will see…it gives the granola a sweet aroma and helps the oats toast up perfectly. 

You can add whatever goodies into this granola as you would like. I used sour cherries and almonds in this recipe but you can also add in-sesame seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, raisins, dates, apricots, currants, coconut, pecans, walnuts…etc…make it your own! xo

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Maple almond & cherry granola

3 cups of oats (can use GF oats)
3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
3/4 cup pure maple syrup 
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup lightly toasted sliced almonds
Directions-
pre-heat the oven to 300 d F
In a bowl, place the oats, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Mix together and spread out on a lined baking tray. Place in the oven and let bake for 10 minutes, stir the oats on the tray and place back in the oven. Bake for another 10 minutes and stir. When the granola is all golden around 30-35 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool completely. Mix in the almonds and the cherries and store in an air tight container.
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Toasted Coconut String Beans…COCONUTTY!!!!!!

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I bought a mature coconut the other day from the local supermarket and was totally inspired. From one coconut I made coconut basmati rice, coconut shrimp curry AND this delicious toasted coconut bean dish. All these dishes and flavors are extremely influenced by my travels in the South of india. The coconut adds a rich nutty flavor and by toasting it in the unrefined coconut oil you really get that coconut flavor all throughout the dish. 

-I took the coconut, cracked it, removed the white meat (this is hard to do, but totally worth the work) and peeled (with a peeler) the brown skin off. I ground up the coconut meat (in a blender) and added in 2 cups of boiled water. (if you check out my instagram @edengrinshpan, you will see how some of these steps look) I then squeezed it aggressively through a cheesecloth and got 2 cups of incredibly delicious coconut milk out of it.
-I then used the shredded meat that was left in the cheesecloth for this bean dish. If you are not in the mood to fuss around with a whole coconut, then just buy unsweetend dried coconut.
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Toasted coconut string beans-
1 tablespoon of safflower oil- can use vegetable or canola as well
2 lb string beans- cut and cleaned
2 tbls mustard seeds
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbls ginger, finely chopped 
4 curry leaves (optional)
1 tsp turmeric
1 serrano chili- finely sliced
1/2 cup water 
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 lime squeezed
Cilantro to garnish- finely chopped
1 cup toasted coconut (recipe follows)
directions-
Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil and toast the mustard seeds, when they start to pop add in the garlic, chili and the ginger, sauté for 5-10 seconds and then place in the beans with the turmeric and toss. Add in the water and cover with a lid. Let cook for 5 minutes on medium heat until the beans are just cooked (you still want them to have a crunchy bite), remove the lid and season with salt and squeeze over the lime, toss and check for seasoning. Turn off the heat and add in the toasted coconut, garnish with the cilantro and serve immediately..
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toasted coconut-
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2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
1 large pinch of kosher salt
2 large pinches of sugar ( I like unrefined)
directions-
In a pan heat up the oil, add in the coconut and toss. It toasts up quickly, so keep mixing. Add in the sugar and salt and keep on medium heat, tossing until light brown and nutty. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool on the side.


Mash it up!!!

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I have been seeing many variations of this dish and decided it was time to add my own…you know…put an Eden twist on it. Cauliflower is an awesome alternative to potato, a great base that can really take on any flavor and has a nice creamy lightness to it.

If the turmeric is too much then just leave it out. I just love the extra flavor and color it brings to this dish (plus turmeric is really good for you…it is an anti-inflammatory and has a ton of other health benefits).

For all you meat and potato peeps…or for all you women married to them…Try this out as the substitute for the mashed potatoes and let me know what he thinks.

Cauliflower puree with turmeric and confit garlic

Confit garlic…do not be afraid of this term,  all it really means is garlic cloves slowly simmered in a fat, in this case I used olive oil. Lightly smash and peel the garlic, then place in a small pot with the olive oil to cover, bring to a light simmer and then immediately turn to the lowest heat. Let simmer on low for around 30 minutes till the garlic becomes sweet and creamy- You can also just roast a whole head of garlic for 30 minutes at 350 D f. Cut the top of the garlic head off, place the garlic in a piece of tin foil and drizzle with a little olive oil, wrap up and place in the oven until the garlic is really soft, squeeze out of the skin and use that instead.

Ingredients-

1 head of cauliflower

6 cloves of garlic

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2-1 tsp turmeric 

1 tablespoon plain whole yogurt

1 tsp salt

directions-

Clean the cauliflower, remove the stems and the core, cut into even sized medium chunks. Place a pot filled with 3 cups of water on the stove and place the cauliflower inside. bring to a boil and then turn to medium low and cover. Let steam for 15 minutes until the cauliflower is really tender. Place in a blender and blend a little.

On the stove heat up the milk with the butter, once the butter is melted add it into the cauliflower with the garlic and blend, you want it to get really creamy. Season with salt and a little freshly ground black pepper. Add in the turmeric and the yogurt, check for seasoning and serve in a big bowl with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter on top.

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I want some FRENCH TOAST!!!!! grilled cheese style.

I have clearly been in a grilled cheese loving mood (bathing suit season right! LOL).

Here is the second grilled cheese recipe I played around with this week. French toast grilled cheese…yeah…I said it….FRENCH TOAST GRILLED CHEESE!!!!

I had this at an event the other night and had to create it at home to share the love. This is the perfect weekend treat. Serve it up with some bacon for a killer brunch.

Very important- There are so few ingredients for this recipe that it is crucial to use good quality….crusty gorgeous bread, well made cheese and make sure you are using real maple syrup for this…I cant stress that enough! I am a purist when it comes to maple syrup (Canadian here!).

French toast grilled cheese with sharp white cheddar and maple syrup

recipe makes 2 sandwiches-

2 eggs

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 pieces of sourdough or white pullman (or whatever bread you have on hand…it is totally up to you)

Sharp white cheddar cheese- can also use fontina or gruyere

Pure maple syrup

directions-

in a bowl mix the eggs with the cream, cinnamon and vanilla.

Heat up a cast iron pan on medium heat with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in it. Take the bread and dunk one side into the egg mixture, then place the coated side into the hot pan. Let the one side get golden and crisp around 1-2 minutes, then flip over and let the other side get golden and toasted, remove when it is done, wipe down the pan and then repeat with the rest of the slices. Only one side of each piece should have the french toast crust on it. When all the pieces are done assemble a sandwich, french toast crust facing out and place back in the pan. Take a heavy pan and lay it on top, then lay a kettle or something heavy on top of that. You want the outside to stay crunchy and the inside to remain fluffy and cheesy. Let toast like this for a couple of minutes and then flip over. When both sides are golden and the cheese is all melted remove from the pan, cut in half or into quarters and drizzle a little pure maple syrup, eat immediately.

This pic is of the grilled cheese assembled before I place the weight on top.

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Here you have it! Toasted, cut up and doused in maple syrup.

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#cheeseface

Starting the week off in the cheesiest way imaginable.

I put this recipe together based off of a trip I took to Saxelby Cheesemonger. An adorable cheese shop in the Lower East Side that has a fantastic assortment of seasonal, sustainable, cheese, butter, milk, yogurt etc. produced in Northeastern united states…pretty much their dairy products rock. They have a grilled cheese menu that featured a cheese curd grilled cheese and I was like…hell YEAH!!! I am making me one of those!

Cheese curds are basically what cheddar is before it gets pressed together and aged. it is fresh, lightly salty and when melted gets stringy and perfect for a grilled cheese (these guys are insane deep-fried…Wisconsin style).

Below is a couple of cheeses I was playing around with while grilled cheese recipe testing. The curds are the cheese nuggets in the plastic container. The top right cheese is like a fontina and the cheese underneath it is a 2 year aged cheddar. All of these would be perfect in the grilled cheese but the cheese curds to me just seemed like such a fun twist (the cheese curds and the fontina together are also amaze). 

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Sage, honey, cheese curd grilled cheese

4 pieces of bread- I love A white pullman or sourdough

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 sage leaves-kept whole or chiffonade

1/4 lb cheese curds 

honey to drizzle

finishing salt (only use if you are using the cheese curds as your cheese, since they are the most mild)

Directions-

Lightly brush one side of the bread with the melted butter and set aside.

Place a cast iron pan on the stove and heat on medium heat for 5 minutes. Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and add in the the sage leaves. (if you are keeping them whole then place them close together if you are chopping them then just scatter them in). Place one piece of bread in butter side down (if the sage leaves are whole place the bread directly on top of them) and them place a nice amount of cheese curds on top. Lay the second piece of bread on top, butter side up. Place a pan and a weight on top (i use my kettle). Let toast for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. When the bottom is golden flip over and place the pan and the weight back on top. Let golden on the other side for a couple of minutes. When the grilled cheese is completely golden, flattened and the cheese is all melted, remove from the pan. Cut into 4 pieces, drizzle with a nice amount of honey and sprinkle with some finishing salt. Serve right away.

This is a pic of the grilled cheese with the whole sage before it is cut up. Looks so cool right?!

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this is when you chiffonade the sage instead of keeping it whole. I love the way this looks too. You simply cant go wrong.

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