Kasha Varnishkes

Kasha Varnishkes

Happy Hanukkah and Kasha Varnishkes

Roasted Whole Grain Buckwheat, Bow Tie Pasta,
Caramelized Onion, Sautéed Mushrooms, Walnuts, Parsley

This dish never fails to bring back sweet memories of my Nana and Auntie Edythe. This year my version of Kasha Varnishkes (also called Kasha & Bows) includes mushrooms and walnuts. I remember that Auntie Edythe would prepare hers with lots of kasha in proportion to the bows and no doubt used plenty of schmaltz. My recipe has more pasta and vegetables in relation to the buckwheat.

I was looking through boxes of my mom’s photographs and came across the one below. It is so wonderfully perfect for sharing my Kasha Varniskes recipe and celebrating Hanukkah. Sadly, everyone in the photo except my cousin Robert has passed away. We bless them and they bless us each time we think of them. Our memories keep the people who have passed on close to us.  May their memory be for a blessing. Always and forever.

Kasha and Bows
The Palmer House Chicago c. 1956 Left to Right: Dad Leonard, Mom Joyce, Cousin Robert, Auntie Edythe, Uncle Sydney, Uncle Syd’s Mother Rose, Papa Irving, Nana Fanny.

My Nana (paternal grandmother) was born in Kiev, Russia 1894. The family fled to Canada to escape the pogroms when she was a young girl. Her birth name was Vitte but she took her sister’s name, Fanny, after Fanny was killed in a machine accident.

She met my Papa (paternal grandfather) when they were teenagers and their families were living in the same apartment complex in Montreal. His name was Yitzcok when he was born in Romania 1891 but changed it to Isadore upon arrival in Canada when he was 13 years old. They say he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on the boat.

Fanny and Isadore married then made their way to America and settled in Chicago where Papa took the name Irving, and they raised their children, (my aunt) Edythe and (my dad) Leonard.

Our extended family always called Papa by the name Izzy (from Isadore) and Izzy is now my nephew Jett’s middle name. And Jett’s older brother Stone has Leonard as his middle name. By keeping their names alive, we bless them.

Wishing a very Happy Hanukkah to my big dear family, near and far…past and present.

Kasha Varnishkes Recipe

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Spaghetti alla Bottarga

Spaghetti alla Bottarga

Spaghetti alla Bottarga

A sea breeze, a multi-leveled palate of peat and iodine, a very long citrus aftertaste. That is how Trikalinos describes their grey mullet bottarga. I serve this gastronomic delicacy in a traditional manner – over a simple pasta prepared with olive oil, garlic, lemon, red chili, and parsley.

It is a special dish for connoisseurs of the sea. Lovers of caviar, sea urchin, anchovy and oysters will be enamored with spaghetti alla bottarga with its briny, complex captivating flavors and luxurious texture.

Spaghetti alla Bottarga Recipe

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Palos Verdes Pastoral – An Enchanted Dining Experience

Palos Verdes Pastoral - An Enchanted Dining Experience

Palos Verdes Pastoral
An Enchanted Dining Experience

Al fresco dining with magnificent views of Catalina Island, on a warm Autumn evening at sunset – this is Palos Verdes Pastoral, an enchanted fundraising event that brings people together amidst nature for an exclusive experience at Terranea Resort.

In addition to the camaraderie, gourmet foods, stellar wines, and ambiance that is truly second to none – the evening increases awareness of the important work of the Conservancy in protecting and stewarding our open space and nature. We celebrate the mission of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy to “preserve land and restore habitat for the education and enjoyment of all.”

The Palos Verdes Peninsula is part of one of five regions in the world that enjoys the Mediterranean climate, with all its bounty and biodiversity from our aromatic hillsides to the deep blue ocean.

The cuisine that has been borne out of this land and sea inspired Terranea Resort Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra to create a captivating menu reflecting those flourishing textures, colors, flavors and aromas of our unique region.

Mediterranean life revolves around the table, so it is fitting that this year’s Palos Verdes Pastoral is a dinner where 200 people gather to partake in these regional foods and flavors, where we celebrate and support the land and open spaces we adore so much.

Palos Verdes Pastoral

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Happy Hour: Figs, Cheese, Sherry

Happy Hour: Figs, Cheese, Sherry

International Happy Hour
Mission Figs/Cambozola/Oloroso Sherry

Fresh figs from California, creamy cheese from Germany, and semi-sweet sherry from Spain together create an amazing food synergy. They enhance each other in this simple yet stellar international happy hour fare.

Our cherished dark purple California figs were brought to the New World in the 1500s and got their name from the Franciscan missionaries who brought them up from Mexico and planted them in the mission gardens along the Pacific coast in the late 1700s.

  • Black Mission Figs have a honeyed-earthy-fruity flavor and creamy lusciousness. They are available fresh from mid-May through November.
  • Cambozola is German cow’s milk cheese reminiscent of a combination of French Brie and Italian Gorgonzola…triple creamy with that distinctive bleu cheese flavor.
  • Oloroso Sherry from Jerez, Spain has wonderful aromas of nuts, vanilla and caramel plus rich nutty semi-sweet creamy flavors. Oloroso sherries offer a terrific balance between sweet and dry.
  • A chewy rustic bread brushed with good olive oil is key, be sure to grill the bread over an open flame rather than toast it, that smoky char adds an important element to the combination.
  • Fresh thyme sprigs add another earthy layer.

Enjoy figs warmed in adorable cast iron pans with bubbling cambozola on grilled bread with a nip of oloroso sherry for a rich, savory, smoky, and sweet happy hour. Cheers to Fall!

Fresh Figs and Melted Cambozola Recipe

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Lemon Butter Spaghetti Tower with Caviar

Lemon Butter Spaghetti Tower with Caviar, Creme Fraiche, Chives

Lemon Butter Spaghetti Tower with Caviar
Crème Fraîche, Chives

Taking little sturgeon eggs to new heights, the usual suspects are combined in an unusual presentation. Spaghetti is tossed with lemon butter and twirled into a tall tower. Chives and crème fraîche make their predictable appearance then the pasta is crowned with a most heavenly California caviar. It’s definitely a special occasion pasta dish.

Lemon Butter Spaghetti Tower with Caviar Recipe

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Sole Meunière à la Julia Child

Sole Meunière à la Julia Child

Sole Meunière à la Julia Child

Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! Today would have been Julia’s 105th birthday. It has been a tradition to celebrate her birthday here on Taste With The Eyes for the past 10 years.

Julia Child Birthday
Rouen, France – Novembre 1948

Please join me as I re-create Julia Child’s very first meal in France, one that she experienced with her husband Paul Child. The story takes place in Rouen, France in November of 1948. I originally wrote this post back in 2007. I resurrect it every year in August, with some minor changes, to celebrate Julia Child’s birthday. This year I am including her recipe for Sole Meunière.

The text is as she describes her meal to us in My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006. The re-creation photographs are ones that I have taken on my travels; some are from France, others from California, a couple are shot in my own home. I use the sepia tone to give the images the feel of a single place almost 70 years ago.

Come, let’s travel back in time and enjoy French food and revel in its perfection via Julia…

Julia Child’s First Meal in France and Sole Meunière

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