Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Come See My New Kitchen

The Need To Feed is leaving its Blogger home and migrating over to Wordpress. Please stop into the kitchen for a chat or a bite.

Bye, Blogger. It's been fun.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


These are really easy to make and are always a hit. Make more than you think your family or guests will eat because people will gobble them up! Give yourself an hour to get these on the table, unless you have chopped the vegetables in advance.

4 lbs. skirt steak, cut to fit your grill pan or grill
2 green peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4" strips
1/2 large white or sweet onion, cut into 1/4" strips
1/2 lime
1 large tomato, diced
15-16 flour tortillas, soft taco size
1 pint sour cream, for garnish
Chimichurri Sauce, for garnish
Guacamole, for garnish
kosher salt
black pepper, freshly ground

Special equipment: grill pan or grill, non-stick frying pan

I use a round Le Creuset grill pan because I've had it for years. Le Creuset now makes square and rectangular grill pans, either of which would be a great investment. Le Creuset cookware conducts heat beautifully, but it is very heavy!
  1. Preheat the grill pan over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the skirt steaks with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a little lime juice.
  2. When the pan is hot, but not smoking, place two or three skirt steaks on the grill. Grill for 3 minutes on one side, flip the steaks and grill for 3 minutes on the other side. This meat will be medium-rare to medium. When the steaks are cooked, remove them to a warm, covered tray to stand for a few minutes; a warming oven works well also. Repeat this step for the rest of the skirt steaks.
  3. While the steaks are cooking, preheat the non-stick pan over medium heat. Warm one tortilla at a time, for approx. 10 seconds a side. Remove the warm tortilla to a warm plate and cover with foil. Repeat this step until all the tortillas are warm.
  4. While the steaks are resting, grill the onions until they are nearly caramelized and the green peppers until they are soft. You can even cover the grill pan to speed up this process. Toss occasionally while cooking to avoid scorching. Remove to a serving bowl.
  5. When the cooked steaks have rested for a few minutes, slice each steak across the grain into very thin (1/8") slices. Place the sliced steak back on the warm try while you set out the meal.
Serves 4 adults or 2 adults and three children.

Serve the meat on a tray. Serve the Chimichurri Sauce and Guacamole in bowls. Serve the tortillas on the warm, covered plate. Serve the diced tomatoes in a bowl. Serve the sour cream. Each guest places a warm tortilla on her plate and adds a few pieces of skirt steak. Garnish with any or all of the tomatoes, grilled vegetables, sour cream, Chimichurri sauce, and Guacamole. The best way to roll up the little fajita is to fold up the bottom third of the tortilla; fold in the sides, and roll the whole thing up.

For those who prefer not to eat beef, you can substitute chicken or an assortment of grilled vegetables for a delicious vegetarian meal.


It's been weeks since I've posted anything here. I must have been so busy preparing for Jeopardy! that I forgot to add some recipes. Tonight, I made guacamole to go along with fajitas for dinner. Trust me, this is the best guacamole you'll ever taste.

6 tablespoons white or sweet onion, finely chopped
7 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped (2-3 pulses in the food processor)
1 cup tomatoes, finely chopped (yellow tomatoes OK)
1 small jalapeño, seeded, ribs removed; finely chopped
1 lime, cut in half
2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 ripe Hass avocados
1 ripe Florida avocado

Avocados, a note: Many avocados you find in the grocery store are hard. These are not good. They are not ripe, and they have no taste. Make sure you choose fruit that just yield to the touch, not mushy. Hass avocados have dark green – almost black – skin and are about the size of a tennis ball. They have a nuttier and more buttery taste than Florida avocados. The Florida avocado is larger and has less natural fat than the Haas, so it helps balance the flavor and texture of guacamole. This recipe calls for a mixture of the two. If you can't find Florida avocados, use 6-7 Haas avocados, depending on their size.

Special equipment: food processor, citrus reamer
  1. In a large mixing bowl, place onion, cilantro, tomatoes, jalapeño, and salt. Mix together. Squeeze the juice from both lime halves into the onion-tomato mixture. and mix again.
  2. Cut avocados in half and remove the pits. Peel the skin off carefully, leaving the flesh in tact. For chunky guacamole, cut the flesh in half lengthwise and then cut flesh into 1/2" slices; turn 90º and slice again into 1/2" cubes. For smooth guacamole, mash the avocado halves into the onion-tomato mixture with a fork.
  3. Gently toss avocados into the onion-tomato mixture. Using a clean spoon, taste for balance of flavors. Add more salt or lime if necessary.
Serve immediately. Do not make ahead.
Yields approximately 5 cups.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chimichurri Sauce

Here's a wonderfully green condiment that goes great with grilled skirt steak or grilled vegetables. Chimichurri is the national sauce of Argentina and Uruguay. There are hundreds of versions. When I went to make the sauce the other day, I mistakenly bought curly parsley instead of flat-leaf, and I did not have enough fresh lemon juice. So, I substituted the curly parsley and added some fresh lime juice I had on had, and the sauce was a big hit.

1 cup curly or flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 cloves fresh garlic
1 teaspoon dried hot-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt

Special equipment: food processor
  1. Put the garlic cloves in the food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Add the curly parsley and process all for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the lemon juice, lime juice, hot pepper, and salt. Pulse until the juices are incorporated into the parsley mixture.
  3. Turn on the food processor and add the olive oil in a steady, slow stream until the chimichurri comes together. Most food processors have drizzle cups built-in to their lids; feel free to add the oil that way.
Makes a little more than a cup of chimichurri sauce.

Tomato Dill Soup

It's been a while since I've posted here. I just came across a delicious recipe for tomato dill soup that is light enough for summer fare.

1 stick butter
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh garlic
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 28-ounce can whole Italian plum tomatoes, drained and retain juice
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 1/2 cups juice from drained Italian tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
Sour cream or creme fraiche for garnish
Dill sprigs for garnish

Special equipment: heavy skillet, 6-quart saucepan, food processor, potato masher
  1. In a large skillet, sauté carrots, celery, and garlic until tender. Pour mixture into a food processor and process until smooth. Do not drain these vegetables, but set them aside.
  2. Put the butter into a heavy saucepan set on medium low heat. Add flour and cook this roux for five minutes, until the roux is light brown and smells nutty. Add the vegetable mixture to the roux and turn the heat to low.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mash the whole Italian plum tomatoes with a potato masher, until the tomatoes are in chunks less than 1/2 inch. Add the mashed Italian plum tomatoes to the vegetable and roux mixture in the saucepan and stir.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together the retained juice from the canned tomatoes, the tomato juice, and the tomato purée. Add the sugar to this tomato juice mixture and stir well to blend.
  5. Add the chicken stock to the tomato juice mixture, and then add this liquid mixture to the vegetables in the saucepan. Bring the vegetables and liquid to a boil.
  6. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Add cream to the soup and mix thoroughly to blend. Add dill, basil, thyme, and tarragon to the soup and stir well.
  8. Remove the soup from the heat. Serve each bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill.
Serves 6-8.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Poached Gefilte Fish

Gefilte fish, literally "stuffed fish," used to be like a fish mousse cooked in the fish skin. Today, gefilte fish is known as balls of processed freshwater fish (whitefish, carp, pike) vacuum-packed in gelatinous goo. You can easily the stuff right out of the jar, but poaching it makes gefilte fish a little sweeter and less fishy.

Although I credit my favorite aunt with this recipe, it was really inspired by my mother and grandmother.

1 64-oz. jar gefilte fish, packed in jelly
2 small onions, peeled and quartered
2-3 carrots, peeled, and sliced in 1/4" circles.
  1. Remove fish from jar and set aside.
  2. Pour fish jelly into a 6-quart stockpot. Add onions and sliced carrots. Bring the jelly to a simmer, not a rolling boil.
  3. Add the fish balls to the pot. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Remove fish from pot and chill on plates or platters.
  4. When the fish is completely cool, serve each fish ball on a lettuce leaf and top with a slice of cooked carrot.
Note: Poached gefilte fish is best made in advance and chilled in the refrigerator, so you can serve it cold. To store the fish, place the poached fish balls back into their original jar. Remove the carrots from the poaching liquid and store separately. Cover the fish balls with the poaching liquid. Seal tightly and store.

Sephardic Charoset

Charoset, a mixture of chopped fruits and nuts, symbolized the mortar used by the Israelite slaves in Egypt. Recipes vary greatly, depending on the family's country of origin. My family is decidedly Ashkenazi (Eastern European), but Sephardic (Mediterranean and Asian) flavors really perk up otherwise bland Passover food. You can use this condiment like a chutney, and it would be good with roasted meat – lamb – or poultry.

2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
2/3 cup Mission figs (6 oz.)
2/3 dried apricots (6 oz.)
2/3 cup golden raisins (6 oz.)
1 1/3 cups walnuts, finely chopped, toasted and cooled
1/4 cup sweet red wine (sweet Passover wines are good to use)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Place the apples in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add the figs, apricots, raisins and pulse all until finely chopped.
  2. Transfer fruit mixture to a bowl. Add walnuts and wine and mix well. Sprinkle cinnamon and ginger over top and mix again well.
Makes about 3 cups. Can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.