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Kokh Leffle

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    Westlake Village, Ca, St. Catharines, ON CA
  1. Kokh Leffle

    Roasting Turkey

    Ianeccleston My foolproof method that has never failed me is roasting at 250. To calculate the roasting time, simply multiply the weight of the bird by 23 minutes per pound. I prefer a fresh kosher bird but this technique will work with any turkey. I prepare a wet rub with my favorite spices and herbs made into a paste with some oil. I tuck the wings under and truss by cutting small slits on either side of the cavity and inserting the legs crossed over into the slits. Cover the bird with the rub and lay it on a broiler pan thus exposing as much of the bird as possible to the heat. After a couple of hours I periodically spray the bird with non-stick spray. This will ensure a crisp and evenly browned skin. Test the turkey for doneness about ten minutes before your calculated roast time is over. If its done take it out of the oven and allow to rest, otherwise complete roasting for another five or ten minutes. This method takes quite a long time and I usually do mine during the night. If you can manage to sleep with the heavenly aroma wafting through your house, this method will work perfectly even if you leave the bird unattended and omit the spraying. The added advantage of roasting during the night is that your oven will be free for preparing all your sides the day of the feast. I have been using this method for years and it never fails me. It produces a perfectly done bird with moist breast and perfectly done dark meat. Happy turkey day to all. Elie
  2. I vote for Tito's in Culver City. There must be a good reason for the long lines at all times of day. Elie
  3. Hi thecuriousone It sounds to me like you are on the right track. There is not a great secret to vinaigrette. Whisk everything but the oil well, and then start streaming in your oil. Start with a scant drop at a time and then increase the flow as you dressing emulsifies. If you want a lighter color substitute the balsamic for white wine or cider vinegar. I usually keep my vinegar to oil ratio at 1:3. However, that’s a personal preference. If you aren’t achieving a good emulation, try increasing your mustard a bit. If you find the punch lacking, try increasing your salt just a bit. Another thing to keep in mind is that different vinegars have different levels of acidity and that would consequently affect the final taste. The best way to taste your vinaigrette (or any other dressing) is on a piece of lettuce. I hope that helps. Elie
  4. Ciao Ore, Sorrento Italian Market in Culver City has been there forever. I haven't been there myself for quite a while, but used to go there quite frequently when I had an office in Culver City. They have great deli and lots of specialty food items, gifts and accessories. They are at: 5518 Sepulveda Blvd Culver City, CA (310) 391-8969 Give them a call and see if they have what you’re looking for or can get it for you. Elie
  5. Heartfelt wishes for your husband’s speedy recovery Blovi. Here is my menu for tonight: Challah (I tweaked my regular recipe and got fantastic results) Garden Salad with garlic vinaigrette Chicken leg quarters stuffed with mushroom duxel Broccoli with shaved garlic and onion confit (I had a load of confit as a result of playing along with the onion confit thread) Spaetzel Coffee cake with walnut streusel topping Shabbat shalom everyone
  6. Kokh Leffle

    Cooking for One

    Thank you so much for your kind welcome Susan in FL. My remarks were not necessarily directed at the previous posters. Obviously, there are others who enjoy cooking for themselves. My comments are based on personal observations and in response to the original question posed by Basilgirl. Many people feel that they don’t merit the same well-prepared meal that they would offer to others. My contention is that we are equally as deserving and that we can derive benefits beyond nutrition by cooking well prepared meals for ourselves. Elie
  7. Kokh Leffle

    Cooking for One

    I’m perpetually mystified and puzzled by the general attitude towards solo cooking and dining. After all, are we not as worthy as our mate, family or invited guests? Should we not reap the benefit of our love of food and cooking? I cook for myself whenever I find myself alone at mealtime. Not only do I prepare with the same care and attention to detail as I would when cooking for another or a crowd, but I also treat myself to my nicest table setting and plating. Whether it’s a simple omelet or an elaborate multi course meal, I utilize what’s on hand and what is fresh and available at the market. Likewise, cooking for yourself is the perfect opportunity to test a new recipe, experiment with new variations or try your hand at developing something new. Therefore, I encourage you to adjust your portions accordingly, prepare what you’re carving and sit yourself down to the fruits of your labor. Pop the cork on a nice bottle of wine, crank up your favorite CD or plop yourself in front of the TV. By all means, do enjoy the process as well as the results.
  8. These are the best investment I ever made for my feet. They are butt ugly, but once you have broken them in and they have molded to your foot you’ll be able to stand on your feet for 16-hour a day. Life in the kitchen is stressful enough without having to think about your aching feet. Elie
  9. My challah just came out of the oven, my first loaf since Passover. I’m still trying to decide what I’m going to dip it into.
  10. Kokh Leffle

    Onion Confit

    Whowoulda thunk that the common onion could generate 26 pages of posts? I cook some up quite often. I just made up a batch last night while preparing dinner. I always do mine on the stovetop and it generally takes two hours or less. I find that a heavy pot yields the best results as it maintains a constant heat. I slice up eight to ten medium yellow onions, set my burner on low and add about two tablespoons each of butter and olive oil and dump in the onions with a small pinch of sea salt. Give the onions a stir to coat evenly with the fat and leave them be. The onions will go through several stages and require little attention until they start to caramelize and turn dark. You will notice that in about 15 minutes the onions will go translucent. Give them an occasional stir, stirring up from the bottom. At the next stage you will notice that the onions will give up their juice and you will have lots of liquid simmering away. Continue to stir occasionally. As the liquid begins to cook off, the onions will start to turn color. At this point, it requires a bit more attention. Continue to stir up from the bottom to the top every so often and watch to make sure your onions are caramelizing and not burning. Continue to cook and stir until you achieve a deep mahogany color. At this stage I taste and adjust the salt. I don’t like deglazing the pan with the onions still in. I find that this changes the texture dramatically. I remove the onions and deglaze the empty pan. I use whatever liquid is available. Last night I had prepared a beef roast so I had some Au Jus available, at other times I have used some balsamico. Deglaze the pan with about two to three tablespoons of liquid. Pay attention to the sides of the pan, as you will notice lots of caramelized fond there. When the pan is deglazed, I reduce the liquid down to less then a tablespoon of thick, syrupy liquid and return the onions for a quick stir to coat. Allow the confit to cool and transfer it to a clean jar for storage in the refrigerator. No fuss or muss and you can do this whenever you’re planning on spending a couple of hours in the kitchen anyway. You now have no excuse not to keep this on hand. Elie
  11. Thank you to Almass and Daniel Rogov for the recipes. I will be on my way to the fishmonger this weekend so that I can give them a try. I didn’t intend to stir up a discussion of Arabic transliteration, however, thanks for the discourse. Daniel’s reference to the acceptable spelling at HaAretz and the Jerusalem Post yielded this recipe as a result of a search. So, it looks like there will be three pots on the go this weekend. One each containing Haraymi, H’reimi and Chreimeh Thank you all. Elie
  12. I second the vote for William Bounds. They make a quality product and stand by it. I returned a twenty three year old grinder that still worked excellently but had a crack in its Lucite case. The crack was my own fault. I dropped the grinder on a tile floor. Not only did I get a brand new grinder that was EXACTLY the same, but I was also rewarded with a tube of grinding salt and a tube of pepper blend for my trouble. They are a pleasure to do business with and also back up their product. What else could you ask for? Elie
  13. During the mid 1950s there was a great influx of North African Jews into Israel. One of our neighbors was a settler from Libya. I recall a wonderfully spicy fish dish that she prepared every Friday. It was prepared in a thick red sauce that didn’t taste of tomato. I recall a strong hint of cumin and that it was fiery hot. I believe she called it something like H’reimi and she served it with fresh homemade pita. Is anyone familiar with this dish? How is it prepared? Elie
  14. I suffered from this very malady for years before I self diagnosed and cured myself forever. It was my desire to keep from being accused of arrogance and a smattering of self-doubt that kept the obvious so well shrouded. Rich is right on the money. The better you become in the kitchen, the harder it is to be overwhelmed by restaurant fare. I would rather keep control over my ingredients, cleanliness and method of preparation and presentation. Unless I am going to be impeccably served a meal I can’t prepare myself, I would rather stay home and roll my own.
  15. Kokh Leffle

    Pizza--Cook-Off 8

    What a great thread. Kudos, and Bravisimo to all. I’m tremendously impressed with all the jury-rigging in order to duplicate a commercial pizza oven. The level of experimentation to achieve the ultimate pizza base is astonishing. Having lived in the northeast, southeast and the western US as well as several places abroad I have been fortunate enough to sample various interpretations of pizza. My observation is that the pizza you grew up on is the pizza you love. If you grew up on Pizza Hut than that’s what you judge all other pizza by. My first taste of pizza in Naples has been veiled by the passing of forty-five years. But then again, what did a ten-year-old kid who grew up on falafel know about pizza? My standard and what I personally judge all other pizza by is your every day New York pie. Just give me a crisp yet chewy crust, a simple sauce, real Mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil. Fold, blow, bite and chew. As the fat from the cheese slowly drips down to your elbow, you’ve surely been elevated to pizza nirvana. As a chef at a kosher dairy restaurant, I have tossed more then my share of pies. Allow me the honor of sharing what I’ve leaned. A crisp, chewy New York style crust is made with high gluten flour. We used a product from ConAgra that was milled from hard winter wheat. To make the dough, we put fifty pounds of flour, five gallons of water that was resting in a walk-in for twenty-four hours and a brick of commercially available fresh yeast in a Hobart with a dough hook and mixed until a soft, elastic and smooth dough was achieved. The dough was turned onto a table and allowed to rest before being portioned out into individual balls. Each ball was stretched and folded under until a smooth elastic skin was formed and placed on an oiled Sheet-pan allowing room between each portion. This was covered with plastic wrap and placed in a walk-in overnight to develop and mature. For the sauce we used good quality canned crushed tomatoes, chopped fresh basil and a generic dry Italian herb blend (basil, oregano, rosemary, marjoram and thyme). The mozzarella was a kosher product that was grated (shredded). It had good moisture content, nice taste and mouth feel. Stretching and tossing the dough is no great secret. It just takes a little practice. Keep a bowl of flour on your work surface. Pick up the dough and drop it into the flour, flip and coat the other side. Slap off any access flour and place your dough on your counter. You are now ready to stretch your pie. Begin by using your fingertips to demarcate a rim around the perimeter of the dough. Slap and use your fingertips to deflate the dough in the center and release any gas. Now, pick up the dough and toss it between your palms in such a manner that you toss and slightly turn the dough as it travels between your palms. Keep your palms about eight inches off the work surface and allow the weight of the dough to do the stretching. When you begin to feel the dough sweeping your counter you will have a disk about eight or nine inches in diameter. At this point, you want to switch your dough so that it is resting on your knuckles while you make a loose fist. Use your fists to stretch the dough, again allowing the weight of the dough to do most of the work. Watch your dough and work it in such a way that it is stretching evenly with no thin or thick spots. As your disk gets larger, go ahead, I know you can’t resist the temptation to toss it in the air with a spin and catch it on your knuckles. Much has been said here about keeping the dough from sticking to the peel. Using corn meal and making sure your dough isn’t sticking by testing as you build your pie is one solution. Another, easier method, and one used by many commercial pizza operations is an inexpensive screen available in many restaurant supply houses. The usual objection to using a screen is that your pizza won’t come in contact with your oven floor. Or, in the case of a home oven, you’re stone. This is easily remedied by removing the screen a few minutes into the baking. Use your peel to lift the pizza and slide the screen out with a pair of tongs. The key to making a great pizza is to keep it simple and resisting the temptation to overload it with toppings. Place your dough over your knuckles and gingerly drape in on your peel or screen. Do not pat or play with your dough. Simply stretch it into shape by lightly grasping the edge with your fingertips. If you’re using a screen, you can spin it and shape it with your palms around the perimeter to get a perfect circle. Ladle out a measured amount of sauce and pour it in the center. Use the bottom of the ladle and spread the sauce out in concentric circles. Aim for an even, light coating. Its okay if some of the dough shows through. Spread your cheese out over the sauce, again aiming for an even layer. Keep in mind that the cheese will spread out as it melts. You’ve now got a basic cheese pizza ready to top with anything your creative juices can conceive. Vegetables have a high water content. I recommend lightly sautéing them to evaporate most of the moisture. Get your pizza into the oven. Commercial ovens are typically cranking at 600 to 650 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. With a home oven, get it as hot as it will go. Every oven has its own eccentricities and has hot and cold spots. You must learn your oven and use it to your advantage. Home ovens tend to run hotter towards the back wall. Rotate your pizza to take advantage of the hot spots to achieve an even bake. It’s inevitable that your crust will bubble during baking. Don’t panic. Simply poke the bubble with a sharp object to release the gas. This is actually a desirable effect as the thin wall of the bubble will bake up crisp and char around the burst opening. Rest your pizza a few minutes before you cut it. This gives it a chance to cool slightly, allows the cheese to reform and keeps the whole shebang from sliding off the crust. It also prevents the ubiquitous pizza palette. The best and least expensive investment you can make in your pursuit of the perfect pie is to watch a professional pizzaiolo. The next time you’re in the mood to buy a pizza, don’t order in or order ahead. Get yourself down to your favorite pizzeria, order and watch the pizzaiolo at his craft. You’ll know you have achieved a perfect crust when you can hold a slice horizontally without it drooping. Keep experimenting, and remember that flour has a different moisture content at different times of the year and under different weather conditions. Learn to feel your dough so that you will be familiar with how its supposed to be and make slight adjustments to keep it as constant as possible. Elie
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