Noodles and Kelsonnes, Revisited

A while back, Stephanie posted about kelsonnes, a traditional Syrian stuffed pasta dish. While many people use pre-made dough, making it from scratch is not so hard. It’s pasta that you can make without a pasta maker, so it’s totally worth it. The stuffed pasta is so giant that you get a ton of cheese, which is amazing. We usually eat these with egg noodles baked with butter. The buttery noodles get nice and crispy, mmm.

The recipe said that it yields 60 kelsonnes. I made 50. It really depends on the thickness of the dough. And no, I don’t serve/eat all of them at once. I usually make about 4 per person (of course we serve this alongside other traditional Syrian foods) and freeze the rest for an easy dinner later in the week.

I made individual bowls of noodles and kelsonnes here. You really don’t have to do that, but I like to take advantage of my oven proof bowls, so I do. If doing it this way, reduce the oven time and watch them closely. You don’t to burn the noodles too much!

Kelsonnes, adapted from the red Deal Delights cookbook:

For the dough:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • About 2 cups water

For the filling (I cut the original recipe in half for you – otherwise there is WAY too much leftover cheese):

  • 1 pound meunster cheese, grated finely (I use the grating disc in my food processor), about 5 cups
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

1. Make the dough: combine flour, eggs, and salt. Add the water in a slow stream and mix together until you get a soft dough.

2. Combine filling ingredients, set aside.

3. Split the dough in half and roll out each half of the dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness.

4. Drop a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture every 3 or so inches on half the dough (make sure you have enough room to close the dough between – see picture).

5. Cover the mounds with the other half of the dough.

6. Cut out the rounds with a round cutter (about 2 1/2 inch).

7. Repeat with remaining dough.

To assemble the dish:

For 4 people you will need:

  • 1 pound bag egg noodles
  • 12-20 kelsonnes, depending on how much your eaters like them
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Some salt

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

3. When boiling, add the kelsonnes. Boil for 5 minutes before adding the pasta.

4. Boil according to the time written on the package. Drain.

5. Combine butter, a pinch of salt, noodles and kelsonnes in a large casserole. Mix until the butter melts.

6. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, until the top noodles begin to brown and get crispy.

Superb Butternut Squash Soup

I remember watching Jamie Oliver on the Food Network, back when he was the Naked Chef. Well, he wasn’t actually naked, which is why I wasn’t surprised when they changed the name of his show (or did they just start a new one) called Oliver’s Twist. Anyway, he would “strip down” recipes so that they were really just the essentials of cooking. No fancy gadgets or ingredients, just great homemade food. Now he’s never on the Food Network anymore, and I don’t get the Cooking Channel, so I never see him on TV. I can’t even watch the reruns of his show Jamie at Home. But I can still get most of the recipes on the Food Network website, which makes me happy. His recipes are simple and tasty, and he doesn’t use any gross ingredients; it’s mostly natural, earthy food. His recipes really bring out the essential flavors of the main ingredients.

And this is why I was so excited to make this soup recipe. I love Jamie Oliver and I love butternut squash! It’s definitely my favorite winter squash, even though it’s a pain to peel and chop. Everything else about it is just perfect, an my favorite way to eat it is in soup form. Something about butternut squash soup just makes me smile.

Sage is a classic combination with butternut squash, and infusing the oil with that flavor imparts a wonderful undertone to the soup. The sage on top adds a great crispiness. I ate a lot of those sage chips before serving the soup. Oops. Hence the lack of crispy sage on top of the soup in the picture. It’s delicious with a teaspoon of sour cream mixed in, too. Just so you know.

Superb squash soup, adapted from Jamie Oliver (serves 8):

Ingredients:

  • 16 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 red onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds taken out and chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. Heat large saucepan over medium heat and pour in some olive oil, enough to cover the bottom.

2. When it’s hot, throw in the sage leaves and fry for about 30 seconds, until crispy. Remove with a slitted spoon and drain on paper-towel lined plate.

3. Add your celery, onion, and carrot, garlic, and jalapeno to the pot. Add salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

4. Add the squash and stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. When the squash is soft, blend the soup using an immersion blender until you have a smooth puree (or as chunky as you like it).

6. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle the sage leaves on top.

7. Serve with croutons if you want (that’s how Jamie Oliver did it).

Winter Squash Penne: Check Our Our Guest Post on Kosher in the Kitch!

Now that it’s November, we’ve been getting a lot of winter squash from the CSA. You may remember my zucchini overload this summer, which I turned into a pasta dish, but winter squash is a totally different vegetable (and butternut is our favorite), so we created a pasta and squash dish just for these chilly months.

Head on over to Kosher in the Kitch for our Winter Squash Penne recipe!

(You may remember them from when we shared our Kosher Pad Thai there.)

Basil Green Goddess Dressing

I don’t usually make creamy salad dressings. I usually make just a simple vinaigrette. While leafing through Barefoot Contessa at Home for the millionth time, this salad dressing really caught my eye, and I knew I had to try it. It has a wonderful basil flavor and a nice creamy texture. You don’t need many vegetables to make this salad extraordinary. Just lettuce, maybe some avocado and tomato. The dressing is enough to make just lettuce seem special.

I don’t have a blender. But don’t worry, this dressing was still easy to make, using my immersion blender and the measuring cup that comes with it. Actually, that might have made the task a bit easier. Not only was I able to measure the ingredients in the cup, I also stored the dressing in it and didn’t have to dirty an extra dish! Not owning a dishwasher makes you really think about that one extra cup, bowl, or spoon.

Ina’s recipe for this dressing suggests serving it with Bibb lettuce and a few tomatoes. I happened to have had some romaine lettuce in my fridge, so I just used that. I think a crispy lettuce is just perfect for this dressing, so don’t go pouring it over your baby arugula (or if you try it, let me know).

This is a perfect way to use up some of the basil in your summer garden if you’re sick of making pesto (or you just don’t have enough basil to make pesto). It’s also a good creamy salad dressing for the winter, though. Which is when I like it best.

I’ve actually never made regular Green Goddess dressing before, which is made with tarragon instead of basil. I’m not such a fan of that flavor, and I happen to love basil, so my guess is that I’d like Ina’s updated version better. She also added anchovy paste, something I don’t stock in my pantry. If you want to add it, add a teaspoon.

Not only is this a good salad dressing, but since it’s thick you can use it as a dipping sauce for veggies, a perfect mid-day snack!

Zeke, who usually doesn’t eat any salad, went back for seconds of this one.

Basil Green Goddess Dressing, adapted from Ina Garten. I halved the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and light green parts only (6-7 scallions)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Directions:

1. Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Add the sour cream and process until smooth.

3. Pour the dressing over salad and serve.

Meatless Mondays: Spanach Jibben

We just hate all those commercials about how gross vegetables are that they have to hide them in gross fruit drinks! We love vegetables, so here’s a traditional Syrian way to eat them. It’s an easy way to get spinach into your diet, even for those picky eaters, and a great Meatless Monday dinner! Continue reading

Soba Noodles with Vegetables

This was served as the side dish with my broiled tofu, which Martha Stewart suggested as a meal. Well, I will always listen to Martha, because this was a great meal! Maybe I would have considered this the main dish and the tofu the side dish, but I served them on the same plate at the same time, so whatever. It’s delicious nonetheless.

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Meatless Mondays: Broiled Black Pepper Tofu with Ginger Lemon Dipping Sauce

Soooo remember when I was freaking out about that almost-exploding tofu package? I had been preparing to make this meal. And I made it anyway, but I bought a new package of tofu, because I didn’t want to risk anything.

Think you don’t like tofu? That’s probably not true; I’ve made a slimy tofu before, but you just have to cook it the right way and it’s great! And it’s as easy as broiling it for less than 10 minutes. This is a great start to a Meatless Monday meal!

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String Bean Salad with Radish Dressing

I wanted to do something different with radishes than I did the first time we got them from our CSA, so I consulted the justfood.org tip sheet that is included with our weekly CSA emails and found this recipe. Having all of the ingredients and therefore not having to run to the supermarket was a sign that I was supposed to eat this string bean salad with radish dressing for dinner! It was a light dinner for me with leftovers to send with David for lunch the next day. It’s also a great recipe for those delicious string beans we’ve been getting, instead of Syrian or Asian style beans.

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Inside Out Grilled Cheese

Note: Don’t forget to enter our birthday giveaway!

You might think that this recipe is boring, but it really is the best grilled cheese. Ever. I make it in my mini cast iron skillet with pita bread, butter, and two kinds of cheese.

The most important part of this sandwich? To put the cheese on the outside of the pita bread. The pocket side gets all buttery, crispy, and delicious, and is just so much better when it’s outside the sandwich! Don’t believe me? Try it! Continue reading

Guest Post: Avocado and Cream Cheese Sandwich

Please welcome the lovely Leat, who turns 24 today, as we share a delicious sandwich whose ingredients we never thought of combining. Happy birthday, Leat!

I usually get one of two responses when I tell people about my favorite breakfast sandwich: “well I like cream cheese, and I do like avocados,” implying that they are game to try said sandwich, or a confused look, implying that they are confused by said sandwich. The only reasons not to try this deliciousness would be because you either hate avocados (fie!) or cream cheese (more understandable). Continue reading