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Kosher Elegance

Written by Efrat Libfroind on Monday, 16 May 2011. Posted in Food Mood

We all appreciate a delicious, beautifully served meal. But what do we do when faced with a special occasion that calls for something unique ? We often hesitate to attempt the extraordinary, assuming that the art of exquisite presentation is beyond us.

In KOSHER ELEGANCE: The art of cooking with style, Efrat Libfroind dispels that notion. Efrat, a highly acclaimed pastry chef whose recipes appear regularly in Binah magazine, presents her finest recipes, sharing trade secrets that will help you transform any dish into a work of art.

Flip through the pages of this sensational cookbook and you’ll encounter an incredible variety of stunning dishes. Made from simple, classic ingredients, these recipes will revolutionize your dinner presentations and upgrade any meal you host into something you can truly be proud of.

Not halfway. Not partly. Perfectly.

EfratLib2

 

Show- Stopping Fillet of Trout

This is one of my signature recipes. The results are stunning, and produced with minimal effort. Once you know how easy it is, you can’t resist making it. All you need is a muffin pan and fresh, skinless fillet of trout. Then stand back and watch as this dish virtually makes itself.

 

8 slices fresh fillet of trout (4 fish preferable small)

Marinade:

6 tablespoons olive or canola oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon paprika

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup

½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Freeze fish for half an hour before slicing. Cut each fillet in half lengthwise. Mix marinade ingredients and marinate fish for half an hour  (you can marinate the fish for up to 24 hours). Arrange a strip of fish along the wall of a muffin cup, continuing with another strip in a spiral fashion until the entire cup is full. Bake for 15 minutes until nicely golden.

Tip: For a colorful presentation, prepare a small salad from fresh coriander and thin strips of hot pepper. Season salad with a bit of olive oil and salt and place a small mound of salad on top of baked fish.

EfratLib1Beef Medallions and Pears in Wine

Serves approx 12

This dish is superb because the beef is cooked in wine without adding water. The onions get caramelized while cooking in the wine, making them crispy. Add to that the sweet-and-sour flavor of the pears, and the results are out of this world.

I’ve given you a particularly gorgeous presentations, but since the flavor of this dish really speaks for itself, I only make the medallions on special occasion. Usually I just cool the cooked meat, slice it thinly, and serve it in the center of the table. No complaints yet…

1 4lb shoulder roast

5 Tablespoons oil

4 1/2 cups good-quality sweet red wine

2 medium onions, sliced thinly

6 cloves garlic, sliced

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons tomato paste

½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon paprika

4 pears, cored and cut into eighths, lengthwise

 

Heat oil in a wide, shallow pot. Place meat in hot oil and brown on all sides to seal in the juices. Pour wine over meat and cook for about 10 minutes. Add onions and garlic. Simmer 3 hours, turning meat over every half hour.

Add honey, tomato paste, seasoning and pears.

Simmer for an additional half hour, until meat is very tender. Let meat cool in the pot for an hour or two, and then transfer it to a bowl and pour unstrained cooking juices over it. Refrigerate 12 hours. Slice meat thinly.

For an elegant presentation, cut meat into medallions with a 2-to-3-inch round cookie cutter. Heat medallions in the gravy. Stack 3-4 medallions in the gravy. Stack 3-4 medallions on each plate and rest a wedge of caramelized pear on the uppermost medallion.

For a simpler presentation, heat meat slices in gravy. Transfer to a serving platter, arranging pear wedges between the slices.

Tip: Even if you’re not fond of sweet additions to meat, don’t leave out the honey. It tenderizes the meat without dominating the dish’s flavor.

EfratLib3Caramel- Pine Nut Gelato

There’s nothing like the combination of nuts and caramel. They’re delicious sugared whole or ground into a crunch and added to a dessert. Caramelized almonds and walnuts appear in lot of recipes, so I went in search for a variety. In this dessert, I caramelized pine nuts. The result? Tasting is believing…..

Gelato:

1 cup sugar

½ cup pine nuts

2 ½  cups coffee rich or soy milk

4 egg  yolks

¼  cup sugar

2  tablespoons cornstarch

7 ounces pareve bittersweet chocolate

2 tablespoons orange liqueur

1 teaspoon good-quality instant coffee, dissolved in 2 teaspoons water

28-ounce containers Rich’s Rich Whip

 

Decoration:

3 ½ ounces pareve baking chocolate

2/3 cup ganache (see recipe Chocolate Ganache )

1 3x3 inch acetate sheet (report cover)

1 decorating comb (available at specialty baking stores)

 

Pine nut crunch: In a shallow pan, melt 1 cup of the sugar until it turns an amber-colored caramel. Add pine nuts and mix with a wooden spoon until all the nuts are coated in sugar. Transfer contents of pan to a sheet of aluminum foil and carefully spread the nuts out in an even layer before the sugar hardness. Let cool. Break up the caramel by hand into large irregular-sharped shards. Reserve some shards for the decoration and grind the rest in a food processor.

Gelato: Heat Coffee rich in a small pot until almost boiling. Meanwhile, mix egg yolks, ¼ cup sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Slowly pour the hot coffee rich into the egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly until evenly mixed. Return mixture to the pot and cook until thick, stirring constantly.

Divide mixture into two bowls. Add the bittersweet chocolate to one bowl and mix until melted. Let cool completely. Add half the ground, caramelized pine nuts to each bowl.

Add the orange liqueur and the coffee to the mixture that doesn’t contain the chocolate. Beat the Rich Whip until stiff and fold half into each mixture. Pour the darker mixture into individual silicone molds of any shape and freeze for half hour. Remove from freezer and pour the lighter mixture on top of the darker mixture. Freeze for 6 hours and then release from molds.

 

Decoration: Melt baking chocolate and spread in a think layer on the acetate sheet. Comb chocolate with the decorating comb to form thin strips. Position the sheet in front of you so that the chocolate strips round horizontally across the sheet. Bring up the right-and-left-hand sides of the sheet so that the edges of the two sides are joined at the top, forming a teardrop shape. Fasten edges together with a clothespin. Freeze for 10 minutes.

Remove clothespin and carefully open the acetate sheet, removing the chocolate. You should have individual, tear-shaped rings. If some of the rings are joined together, use a scissors to separate them. Fill a pastry bag with ganache and fit with a star shaped tip. Squeeze a star atop each serving and attach chocolate teardrops and caramel-pine nuts shards.

 

Tip: For a more interesting look, divide the egg-yolk-Coffee Rich mixture into two-thirds and one-third instead of two even halves. When dividing the caramel-pine nuts crumbs and Rich Whip, be sure to divide them similarly into the appropriate proportions.

 

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About the Author

Efrat Libfroind

Efrat Libfroind is a highly acclaimed pastry chef and graduate of elite international cooking schools. She is a sought-after lecturer in Israel and abroad whose recipes appear regularly in Binah magazine. She speaks on a wide range of culinary themes, from food technology to gourmet cuisine. Her creations are renowned for their intricate, award-winning designs. www.efratpastry.com

Comments (2)

  • rachel
    19 May 2011 at 14:48 |

    WOW! Efrat has some really amazing food presentations.

  • CookMama
    22 May 2011 at 02:35 |

    The food looks stunning-can't wait to try out her recipes. What is so amazing is that the fish and meat recipe seems quite simple yet so elegantly presented. There was a lovely article written in the English Haaretz about Efrat; very interesting and informative. Hope to see more recipes from her. Thanks a lot!

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