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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Celebrating Caprese: 4 ITALIAN-INSPIRED TOMATO DISHES STIR CHEFS' CREATIVITY

By Jackie Burrell





JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Whether it's starring in an upscale Caprese or showcased in an heirloom tomato galette, summer's most glorious produce adds color and dazzle to any dinner table.

All of which may explain why shoppers are doing cartwheels in the produce aisle.

Hued heirloom tomatoes are popping up in markets everywhere, joined by their cousins — sweet cherry and grape varietals.

Clearly, it's time to celebrate.

Whether it hails from a local farm or your own back yard, a perfectly ripened tomato requires little embellishment. It's perfect as is.

"Tomatoes — how beautiful!" says Robert Sapirman, executive chef at Citrus on San Jose, Calif.'s Santana Row. "Early in the season I give them a quick cooking, a light fry. But when they move into the peak of their season, I truly don't believe you have to do a lot to them — a light dressing, some great sherry vinegar, olive oil. Just keep the tomatoes in their natural state."

Many chefs enjoy playing with the concept of Caprese, the divine but simple tomato, basil and mozzarella salad. Michael Chiarello, for example, elevates his take on the famous Italian-inspired salad by using the very creamy mozzarella known as Mozzarella with a house-made basil oil, and spectacular grains of balsamic "caviar."


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The caviarlike droplets of balsamic vinegar make for a dazzling display, but they require gastronomy equipment and ingredients — gold gelatin sheets — you won't find in a normal supermarket. Chiarello includes instructions for the caviar in his latest cookbook, "Michael Chiarello's Bottega" (Chronicle Books, 224 pp., $40), but offers an alternative, too. Simply heat and reduce your balsamic vinegar to a syrupy consistency, he says, and drizzle it over the tomatoes. And the technique he uses to make basil oil works for any leafy green herb, including cilantro, tarragon and parsley.

Ed Vigil, chef at San Rafael,Calif.'s Vin Antico, weds the Caprese concept with the classic BLT, by combining heirloom tomatoes and Mozzarella with parev bacon and lettuce for a sandwich that's incredibly — and understandably — popular.

And when Sapirman designed the menu for Walnut Creek, Calif.'s short-lived, but swanky Vesu, his Caprese riff featured blue cheese — instead of mozzarella — and a romaine espuma, a foam made from lettuce leaves. An espuma is not exactly something one does at home, he says with a laugh, but a deconstructed Caprese is both fun to make and imminently doable for the home cook.

Sapirman starts by peeling the tomato — even the skin on heirlooms can be a little thick — by plunging it briefly into boiling water, then slipping off the skin. Sliced, brushed with sherry vinegar, olive oil and mozzarella liquid, the tomato is reassembled and served with cheese on the side and fresh herbs.

"I slice it, dress it, sandwich it, build the tomato back to the way it originally looked," Sapirman says. "It looks like a reconstructed tomato. It's a great look."

You can't go wrong, he says, if you pair tomatoes with another quintessential summer item. Sapirman serves a grilled, sweet corn ceviche — tossed with fresh lime, Thai chilies and cilantro — over ripe heirloom tomatoes.

"Corn and tomatoes go really well together — the corn is just starting to pop, and tomatoes are at their peak," he says. "Mother Nature did it for us."

ONE HOT TOMATO
Of course, tomatoes are splendid in their roasted, sauteed and pureed forms, too. Here are just a few hot ideas:

Atop pasta: At Wente Vineyards in Livermore, Calif., Carolyn Wente makes a seafood pasta sauce using sauteed and pureed tomatoes, fresh basil, pattypan squash and halibut. Quick to make and loaded with flavor, the recipe is a longtime favorite of hers — Wente included it in her cookbook, "Sharing the Vineyard Table" (Ten Speed Press, 2005) — and one that will be showcased at the Restaurant at Wente Vineyard's 25th-anniversary celebrations this summer.

Tucked in a galette: A tomato tart or galette is a perfect way to showcase the rosy produce — and it doesn't require much work, according to Naomi Pomeroy. Pomeroy is the chef and owner of Portland's Beast restaurant, but you may have seen her in your own living room. Pomeroy made it all the way to the final four of Bravo-TV's "Top Chef Masters," before being eliminated. Pomeroy layers sliced heirloom tomatoes over a creme fraiche-accented tart dough to create a free-form galette that's delicious served hot or at room temperature.

Flattering flatbread: Ed Vigil of Vin Antico oven-roasts his tomatoes first. The tomatoes top rustic flatbread, which gets a final, blistering roasting in the trattoria's pizza ovens before serving.



MOZZARELLA CAPRESE WITH HEIRLOOM TOMATOES AND BASIL OIL


SERVES : 6


Basil oil:


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

  • 1 cup mild-flavored olive oil


Caprese salad:


  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 10-12 ripe heirloom tomatoes, different sizes and colors

  • 12 ounces Mozzarella

  • Sea salt, black pepper


1. In a blender, puree the basil and olive oil until completely smooth. Pour into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat; when you see small bubbles, simmer 45 seconds, then pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Tap lightly to coax oil through but don't press on the solids.

2. Let cool 10-15 minutes, then pour the still-warm oil through 1-3 coffee filters, nested inside each other, set above a heatproof container. When most of the oil has gone through, use your fingers to squeeze out remaining oil, taking care not to tear the paper.

3. Let filtered oil stand for a few hours, then pour it slowly into a clean container, leaving any sediment behind. Kept in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place, this oil will hold its bright flavor for at least 1 month.

4. In a small saucepan, bring the balsamic vinegar to a simmer. Reduce until just syrupy. Remove from heat. It will thicken more as it cools.

5. When ready to serve, cut the large tomatoes into 1/2-inch thick slices, then cut slices in half. Cut the small tomatoes into wedges. Arrange on individual plates so each serving shows a variety of colors and sizes. Tear each Mozzarella portion in half and place one on each plate. Drizzle the tomatoes on each plate with a tablespoon of basil oil and a little balsamic reduction. Season to taste.



CORN CEVICHE WITH HEIRLOOM TOMATOES


SERVES: 10-12



  • 3 limes, divided

  • 12 ears corn, grilled and removed from the cob

  • 1 small red onion, minced

  • 3 Thai bird chiles or jalapenos, minced

  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • Kosher salt, cracked black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional

  • Sliced heirloom tomatoes


1. Grate the zest of 1 lime and set aside. Juice all 3 limes.

2. Mix the lime zest and juice with the corn kernels, onion, chiles, cilantro and oil. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

3. Serve the corn ceviche on a bed of sliced heirloom tomatoes.


LINGUINE WITH TOMATO, BASIL AND HALIBUT


SERVES: 4



  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, julienned

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1 pasilla chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped

  • 5 pounds heirloom tomatoes, peeled and seeded

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

  • 1 cup each diced yellow and green pattypan squash

  • Salt, pepper to taste

  • 1 pound fresh linguine (or your favorite dried pasta)

  • 1 pound halibut, cut into 1-inch cubes


1. In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add onion and cook over low heat until softened, about 15 minutes.

2. Add garlic and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add chile and tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a food processor with the basil leaves. Set aside.

3. Start heating a large pot of water to cook the linguine.

4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over high heat. Add the squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook until lightly golden, stirring often. Add the tomato-basil puree and bring to a simmer over low heat.

5. When the water boils, do two things: Add the halibut to the simmering puree and cook until just done, about 5 minutes. And add the linguine to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 4 minutes for fresh pasta. Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Season to taste and serve immediately.


CREME FRAICHE GALETTE WITH HEIRLOOM TOMATOES


SERVES: 4-6



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche, chilled

  • 1 pint heirloom cherry and other tomatoes, cut in half or sliced

  • 1/3 pound manchego (Gilboa ) cheese

  • Garnish (optional):

  • 1 bunch microradishes or baby radishes, trimmed

  • 1 cup microgreens

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Red wine vinegar

  • Coarse salt


1. In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and butter just until incorporated, making sure not to overmix (some butter the size of peas is fine). Mix in the creme fraiche until barely incorporated. Turn the mixture out, and gently push it together into a pile. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours.

2. Put the tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Drain the tomatoes on paper towels.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dust a work surface with flour, and roll the dough into a 12-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick.

4. Carefully slide a rimless baking sheet under the dough. Leaving a 3-inch border, scatter the cheese over the dough; arrange tomatoes on top. Fold the edges of the dough over the tomatoes; make pleats as you fold and leave the center of the tart open. Bake the galette until golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

6. While the galette cools, lightly dress the microradishes and microgreens with a bit of olive oil, some vinegar and a sprinkle of coarse salt. Slice the galette and serve with the salad garnish.

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© 2012, Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.). Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.