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A Little Bit of Israel Brought Home

September 14, 2006
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Student chefs heat up the kitchen at Hadassah College in Jerusalem.
In recent years, Israeli restaurants have come into their own, but replicating those tasty and exotic dishes has not been easy for the home chef.

Now, with the publication of What's Cooking? at Hadassah College in Jerusalem, that task has been made much easier.

The educational institution -- located in the heart of Jerusalem and sponsored by Hadassah: The Women's Zionist Organization of America -- has a culinary-arts department that has trained a great many of Israel's restaurant chefs.

The 163-page cookbook -- a compendium of recipes by student chefs -- is peppered with information about the origins of dishes, and includes sections on appetizers, breads, soups, eggs and dairy meals, main dishes like fish and chicken, and, of course, desserts.

Following are several What's Cooking? recipes that are perfect for Rosh Hashanah.

Carrot-and-Orange Soup With Spices

[Meat]

4 carrots, cut into chunks
3-4 minced shallots
4 minced garlic cloves
2 tsps. olive oil
31/4 cups kosher chicken soup
juice of 1/2 orange
1 tsp. fresh ginger
pinch of ground fresh nutmeg
salt and white pepper to taste
10 to 12 fresh basil leaves

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Fry shallots and garlic until golden.

Add carrots and cook.

Add chicken soup, cover and cook until carrots are tender.

Blend the carrots in batches with half the liquid and return to a pot. Slowly add liquid until desired consistency.

Add orange and taste.

Add ginger, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

To serve, pour into individual bowls and decorate with basil leaves.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Chicken Legs Stew and Rice

[Meat]

1/2 cup olive oil
1 eggplant, cut into cubes
1 cauliflower, divided into flowerettes
2 sliced carrots
3 cubed onions
4 sliced potatoes
6 kosher chicken legs (lamb, a common food item in Middle Eastern kitchens, can also be used instead of chicken)
10 cut garlic cloves
water
11/2 cups rice
1 tsp. cardamom
pinch of saffron
salt and pepper to taste

Place oil in a frying pan.

Sauté eggplant for 5 minutes and put in a bowl.

Sauté cauliflower and put in another bowl.

Sauté carrots for 5 minutes and put in a third bowl.

Sauté onions for 5 minutes and put in a fourth bowl.

Heat oil in a pan, and sauté the chicken legs with garlic until lightly browned.

Pour water over chicken and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and save liquid.

For the rice, heat the oil in a pot. Sauté the rice, saffron, salt and pepper for 3 minutes.

Heat 3 cups of water and add to rice in order to partially cook for 10 minutes. The rice must be covered and simmered on a low flame. This is how to braise rice. Set aside.

Place potato slices in a pot.

Add vegetables, one layer at a time. Then add chicken and rice in layers. Add chicken cooking liquid to cover the food and cover the pot. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes.

To serve, turn pan's contents onto a serving plate.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Beef With Dried Prunes

[Meat]

A "tajine" or "tazeen" is an earthenware pot with a chimney-shaped lid, and refers to a Moroccan stew often cooked with fruit.

oil for frying
2 lbs. kosher shoulder beef, cut in large cubes
6 onions, cut in long strips
6 cut garlic cloves
5 peeled and mashed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric
13/4 cups dried prunes
oil
1 cup almonds

Heat oil in a pot.

Lightly brown meat.

In a second pot, heat oil and sauté the onion.

Add garlic and tomatoes, and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the meat to the onion-garlic-tomato mixture.

Add salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric.

Cook over low heat for one-and-a-half hours.

Add prunes and cook for 30 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat a pan with a small amount of oil.

Peel the almonds and then fry them until they become lightly browned.

Serve with almonds on top.

Serves 6.

Vegetable Casserole 'Kugel'

(Pareve)

2 lbs. potatoes
2 carrots, cut in 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped parsley
7 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
dash of saffron
oil
lemon slices

Place potatoes in a saucepan of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until soft.

Drain and mash. Place in a bowl.

Add the carrots, peas, parsley, eggs, salt, pepper and saffron. The mixture should be smooth, but loose.

Heat oil in a frying pan.

Pour in the mixture, and cook on high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat and continue cooking until part hardens. Turn out onto a plate.

Heat oil in pot.

Place "kugel" with top on the bottom and brown for 15 minutes.

Remove, and serve hot or cold with lemon slices.

Serves 8.

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