SERVES 4 - 6
Hummus with Toasted Pita Triangles
The Middle Eastern chickpea dip, hummus, is so popular, that you can buy it in flavors ranging from plain and roasted garlic to Sriracha. Serve a selection along with a basket of crisp packaged pita chips, or fresh pita bread that has been cut into triangles and toasted on a baking sheet for 5-6 minutes in a 350°F oven.
Baby Greens with Apples, Toasted Walnuts,
and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
In Jewish tradition, the pomegranate is a symbol of righteousness because it is said to have 613 seeds, which corresponds with the 613 mitzvot, or commandments, of the Torah. Thanks to its high antioxidant qualities, today you can find fresh pomegranate juice and seeds (arils) in your supermarket and avoid the hassle of juicing and seeding a fresh pomegranate.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive or vegetable oil
2 Tbs. pomegranate juice
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 medium Fuji or other sweet, crisp apple, unpeeled
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 package (12 ounces) baby spring or baby romaine lettuce
1/4 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see note)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
Note: To toast the chopped walnuts, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts out in a single layer on an ungreased backing pan, and toast them in the oven until they begin to brown and smell aromatic, 5 to 7 minutes.
In a screw-top jar, combine vinaigrette ingredients. Tighten the lid and shake well. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Core and slice apple thinly, and in a small bowl, toss with the lemon juice.
To serve, place greens, apple slices, and onion slices into a large salad bowl. Toss with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the leaves, then toss in the walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle with the mint.
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Dates, Olives, and Capers
with Couscous Pilaf
An homage to the Silver Palate Cookbook's '80s classic Chicken Marbella, this recipe evokes the flavors of ancient times with ingredients from olives and dates to date syrup or honey. For vegetarians, substitute one half of an acorn squash, skin on, per person. Date syrup is available online or at some Trader Joe's and Whole Foods stores.
Roasted Chicken Ingredients:
8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps. dried oregano
1/3 cup capers
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1/2 cup roughly chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup date syrup or honey
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsleySalt and pepper to taste
Place the chicken in a large bowl or a large Ziplok bag.
Prepare the marinade: In a small bowl, combine all other ingredients except the white wine, date syrup or honey and chopped parsley, and mix well. Add the chicken thighs to the marinade, and, using your hands, toss until all the thighs are well covered. Cover the bowl (or seal the bag) and marinate in the refrigerator for from 2 hours to one day, turning the chicken pieces once or twice in the marinade.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Place the chicken thighs, skin-side down, in a large roasting pan and cover with the marinade.
In a small bowl, whisk together the wine and date syrup or honey. Pour evenly over the chicken.
Roast the chicken thighs for 30 minutes, basting once, then turn them over, skin-side up, baste again, and raise the oven temperature to 400°. Roast chicken for 20 to 30 minutes more, basting with the marinade 2 or 3 times, until the skin is crisp.
3 cups chicken broth
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cups regular or whole-wheat couscous
1/2 cup sliced almonds
In a medium-size sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, then add the onions and lower the heat to low. Sauté, uncovered, until soft and golden, about 8-10 minutes, stirring often.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Cover the saucepan, and remove it from the heat, leaving it covered for 6 minutes. Then remove the lid, and fluff the couscous with a fork.
To Serve: On a round serving platter, spoon the couscous on the outer edges and sprinkle with the slices almonds. Transfer the chicken to the middle of the platter. Spoon the solids from the marinade over the chicken. Sprinkle with the parsley. Pour the marinade liquid into a gravy boat, and serve on the side.
Almond Honey Olive Oil Cake
Olive oil and honey lend a special fragrance to this moist almond cake. Cover and refrigerate the leftover cake for tomorrow's breakfast.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond flour or finely ground sliced almonds
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. fine kosher salt or fine sea salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Grated rind of 1 orange
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted (see note)
1/2 cup sweet orange marmalade
2 tablespoons orange liqueur, orange juice, or water
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (see note)
Note: To toast the sliced almonds, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the almonds out in a single layer on an ungreased baking pan, and toast them in the oven until they begin to brown and smell aromatic, about 5 minutes. Check them frequently beginning at 4 minutes as they burn easily.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan. Drop a tablespoon of all- purpose flour into the greased pan, and shake the pan until all sides are covered with flour. Turn the pan upside down and discard the extra flour.
In a medium-size bowl, sift both flours, the baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
With an electric mixer at medium speed, blend together the eggs, honey, extract, and orange rind. Reduce the speed to low, and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the olive oil in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Add the toasted sliced almonds and mix well.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set it on the middle rack of the oven, and bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched and the edges start to brown and pull away from the pan, about 45 minutes. If the top browns too quickly before then, cover lightly with foil.
Remove the cake from the oven, and let it cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the marmalade in a small saucepan or in the microwave until bubbly. Remove from the heat and add the liqueur.
To serve, carefully open the spring-form pan, loosening the cake with a knife at the edges if necessary, and remove the sides. Place a plate over the cake, and flip the cake over. Then place a serving plate over the cake, and flip it again. Prick the top all over with a toothpick, and drizzle on the marmalade mixture. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds, and allow the cake to cool completely before serving.