Finally, a perfect salad cuite.

The mysterious Sephardic salade cuite has been reproduced in my kitchen today! I had almost given up on this savoury tomato and pepper salad but I thought I would give it one more chance.

I am very happy that I did. It turned out perfectly and the secret ingredient is patience.

I am posting the recipe here before I forget what I did. I wonder what the Jittery Cook and Norene have to say about this salad.

Caryn’s Salad Cuite Ashkenaz Style

  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 2 red peppers whole
  • 2 green peppers whole
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP Paprika
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil

Cook the peppers in the oven or on the BBQ (I used the BBQ because my oven was busy with Apple Cake, Broccoli and Lukshen Kugels) until they are totally black. Let them cool and then peel off the blackened skins. Remove all seeds. Chop them up and set aside.

Heat a TBSP of canola oil and toss in the garlic. Cook for about a minute. Dump the tomatoes in and bring to a boil. Add the sugar.

Toss in the peppers and the rest of the oil into the pot. Now is a good time for the paprika, salt and pepper. Get a good boil going and then turn the heat down, to just below the medium setting.

Here is where the patience comes in. You have to stir the mixture so it doesn’t burn. Do this every 5 minutes or so while the recipe reduces. It took about 2 hours to get to the right consistency.

Let the recipe cool down and then transfer it to a container and store in the fridge. Serve cold.

If you like it spicy add some tabasco sauce or hot pepper flakes along with the other spices.

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Dirty Cookbooks

How do you know you have your hands on a good cookbook?

You know, because it is filthy. As in it is covered in flour, sauce and other ingredients. If you want to find a great cookbook all you need to do is go into your best friend’s kitchen and pull off her shelf the dirtiest cookbook. Guaranteed you will find treasure in there.

Across Canada and the United States, kitchens everywhere are filled with dirty cookbooks written by Norene Gilletz. Every Ashkenazi Jewish woman knows where the best recipes are. Over the recent Passover holiday many ladies including myself reached for one or more of Noreen’s books to create sensational holiday meals. Lucky for me I got an advanced copy of her brand new updated book called The New Food Processor Bible. I started using it before Passover and felt the real test would be what I could cook with it during Passover. Basically, Passover is a challenging Jewish holiday because we cannot cook with flour only with Matzah meal and potato starch.

If you are a regular reader you know I was a baking disaster until late last year. Once I built up the confidence that I could actually bake I felt I needed to expand my kitchen gadgetry. There are 2 schools of thought for purchasing a machine. The first is the Stand Mixer group and the second is the Food Processor types. The first group favours a machine that has a removable bowl and a mixer that can take different attachments like a beater or a bread hook. The latter group like their machine with a steel blade in the middle. Many companies produce both types of machines. Kitchen Aid makes a popular stand mixer and Cuisinart makes an equally famous food processor. I figured if I was going to invest in a machine I better choose one that really meets my needs. I also polled a bunch of friends and 50% said stand mixer and 50% said food processor. It was fascinating to hear why each friend loved their particular machine. Some people even had both!

Finally, I decided to go with the Food Processor because Grandma told me to. I stole her old Food Processor cookbook. The yellow one that Norene wrote 30 years ago. I also noticed several recipes in Norene’s other cookbooks that own, had instructions for using the food processor.

The old recipes are tried and true but they lack essential nutrition information like calories and carbohydrate content important for weight control and diabetes information. The new cookbook is updated with nutrition information for every recipe. Norene added 150 new ones and many are even gluten free.

Back to Passover. I cannot believe I waited THIS long to get a food processor. What was I waiting for? The Messiah? I confess that in the past I ordered many side dishes. This was partially due to the kugel disaster of 2002 . This year I had my new friend and together we cooked up a storm. I made 2 perfect potato kugels, one white and one sweet. I made delicious Passover brownies and lemon squares. The piece de la resistance was the charoset.

My pro-stand mixer friends think that this machine is the cat’s meow for baking. I think they need to try some recipes from Noreen’s new book. Last night I made a sour cream chocolate cake. It was stupid easy and the clean-up even better. I wish I had a picture but it’s been eaten. Here is what the clean up looks like.

I am really enjoying my new toy and exploring the “Bible”. I still have Grandma’s old yellow one and I suppose I should give it back to her. I hope she can pry the sticky pages apart without ripping them!

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A tale of a broken fridge, bad customer service and the guy who saved the day!

We don’t realize how much we rely on modern conveniences until they break.  I woke up Saturday morning to a wet and soppy freezer/fridge mess.  I salvaged what I could and brought it to Grandma Toby’s and then tried to figure out what to do.  This Maytag fridge was only 6 years old.  My grandmother has a fridge in her basement that is way older than me and is still keeping things cold and frozen.  What’s up with 6 years?  Some salesman at Leon’s actually told me that I should be thrilled that I got 6 years out of it.  He even said with a smile on his face that whatever I bought today would last between 5 and 10 years.  Yay.

It’s been a challenging weekend without ol’ Bessie.   It really surprises me how much we rely on perishable foods.  All I could really make from my pantry was pasta with tomato sauce.  I made that a few times.  But it sucks not to have fresh veggies on hand to jazz it up. I have a ton of cereal in the pantry but that requires milk (which Richard would go and get every morning at Grandma Toby’s).  I just couldn’t get creative with the pantry items to make something substantial.  This bothers me.  I feel like I should be able to whip up something tasty for my family without having to rely on the refrigerator. We ended up eating too much takeout. It could have been my frustration with having to deal with this same fridge conking out on me twice in 1 year or I am simply not a Norene Gilletz. I guess I could have picked up some Chef Boyardee and tossed it in the micro.  At least I made some decent lunches for the boys.

Since everything was closed on Monday, I started off my day Tuesday at Corbeil and found a French door style fridge I liked.  I thought the salesman was great but I still wanted to look around.  Off I went to The Brick but the customer service and selection were not there. Then I went to Future Shop and the salesman was so desperate for a sale he was begging me not too leave.  There is no way I will shop at Brault & Martineau or Sears so I headed to Leon’s where I promptly left after what that guy said about appliance life.   I went back to Corbeil in Lasalle, credit card in hand ready to purchase my new refrigerator. Hah! When I got there, they told me that the fridge could not be sold at the price quoted.  Apparently, the large price sticker on the model I chose was wrong or something.  They actually said some kids must have come in and switched the stickers around.  The lady at the counter was so rude I could not believe it. The salesman who had impressed me earlier was embarrassed and apologetic but it was clear there was nothing he could do.  They actually let me walk out of the store.  Hmmmm

The power of social media saved the day.  One of my friend’s was following my status updates on Facebook when he suggested I forget about retail.  He said cut the middle man out and go straight to the broker.   I know you can do this with diamonds but I didn’t know you could do it with appliances.  I called up my friend’s “guy” and it turned out to be a legitimate business.  Stewart Libstug immediately put me at ease and explained how his company works.  He holds very little stock but has access to all the major appliances.  You just have to know what you want.  Since I spent the day looking at fridges I knew what I wanted and I had the model numbers ready to go.  Stuart was friendly and most importantly inspired confidence.  He answered all my questions patiently and when he quoted me the price I was blown away.  I am paying way less than the phony ticket price at Corbeil.  Oh and the best part is I don’t have to wait from 9am to 9pm for the delivery.  Stuart said they will give me a time and they will come at that time.  I will have a new fridge on Thursday!