Friday, October 5, 2012

Knish: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato Goodness

As usual, I was running a few minutes behind when I rushed into Starbucks on a beautiful day in early September around noon. The boys were at their second day back to school and I was meeting a wonderful lady from the local Jewish Temple.

We had a lovely roving visit about all kinds of things for over two hours - it was delightful.

In preparation for the Jewish-inspired lunch that took place after church on September 30th, I needed some culturally appropriate guidance and insight. This coffee date would shed light on my path into culturally appropriate fare.

Near the end of our conversation about food, my new friend's eyes lit up with delight as she started explaining this delicious Jewish treat called "knish". Bread dough with mashed potatoes inside. There were strict instructions, it was difficult to pull off, but INCREDIBLE and culturally appropriate.

But it would be far too difficult to pull off for our purposes - I mean, feeding 200+, scratch making the dough, and then forming them all by hand? It could not be done.

Sounds delicious.

Sounds like a challenge. A challenge I wanted to take on and execute.

I wanted to make knish and make it well. Make it delicious. Make it memorable.

Here is what we made.

RECIPE: Knish with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

garlic confit
2 lb potatoes, cubed
1 package phyllo pastry
olive oil for brushing

1. make mashed potatoes (wash & cube the potatoes and toss them in a pot, fill with water until just covering the potatoes, boil until tender when pierced with a fork, drain from the hot water)

2. you can either add milk and butter as usual (heat them first so your potatoes do not become gluey) or you can just add roasted garlic from the garlic confit - either will work

3. now it's time to get out the phyllo; free it from the plastic, but keep it rolled; slice the roll into 4 equally sized portions

4. put away 3 of the four rolls of phyllo and roll out one so all the sheets are in a stack

5. put about 1 tbsp (I got an ice cream scoop for this) at the top of the sheet

6. now fold over the top corner into a triangle, then follow it all the way to the bottom of the sheet

7. once you reach the bottom of the sheet, brush the phyllo with olive oil or garlic oil from the garlic confit, seal the packet, and lay it on a sheet pan

8. repeat until you're out of potatoes or phyllo

9. bake at 210ºC or 400ºF for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown

It is a little fiddly, but worth the work in the end.

This can be adapted for any number of fillings. It is a wonderful thing to stuff with cheeses as it becomes cheese and cracker. I enjoyed these full of sun dried tomato hummus or made with puff pastry instead of phyllo (think biscuit).

You could pre-make these and freeze them on a sheet pan then put them into zippered baggies once they are frozen solid for baking just a few at a time. I also then write the temperature and time it will take for them to cook on the bag.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kosher Salt & Mint Crusted Leg of Lamb

When our church announced we would be moving locations for Sunday mornings to a Jewish Temple, we knew we wanted the first church lunch there to be inspired by the Jewish culture.

Clearly, lamb would HAVE to be on the menu.

After some research, we found an amazing local farm with fresh lamb available weekly. To order your own, go here.

RECIPE: Kosher Salt and Mint Crusted Lamb

1 leg or shoulder lamb roast (with or without the bone)
1 large bunch of fresh mint
1/3 cup kosher salt
2 tbsp kosher salt
up to 1 cup olive oil

1. in a blender, blitz the mint, 1/3 cup kosher salt, and add olive oil until the mixture blends into a thick, liquidy mixture

2. place the lamb roast and the mint mix into a ziplock bag and allow to marinate for one day

3. once you are ready to cook the lamb, preheat the oven to 190ºC or 375ºF

4.  place the lamb in a roasting pan and pour over the remainder of the marinade then sprinkle 2 tbsp of kosher salt over the works

5. roast until cooked through - the FDA suggests a temperature of 145ºF or 63ºC

6. slice the roasted lamb and serve in the roast drippings