Monday, September 26, 2011

Chef Avram's Achiote Paste

Here is Chef Avram's recipe for Achiote Paste, which can be used in his recipe for his Yucatan-style Mexican Chicken.


5 tablespoons achiote (annatto) seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
8 whole allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
3 habanero peppers, seeded
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
8 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons salt
5 lemons, juiced
1 teaspoon premium tequila


With a spice grinder, grind the annatto seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, allspice berries, and cloves to a fine powder.

In a blender or food processor, mix the ground spices, Habanero peppers, orange juice, vinegar, garlic, and salt. Blend until smooth. Mix in the lemon juice and tequila.

Pollo Ticul: Yucatan-Style Chicken

Chef Avram is particularly proud of his new recipe for Pollo Ticul, a Yucatan-style Mexican chicken. He debuted the recipe at his recent class on the cuisine of Mexico. It's spicy and flavorful; sure to impress friends on Sukkot or whenever you choose to serve it.


Achiote Paste 2 oz.
Sour orange juice ¼ cup
Garlic, peeled and finely chopped 2 cloves Honey 1 ½ Tablespoons
Cumin seeds, toasted 1 Tablespoon
Oregano, dried 1 teaspoon
Banana leaves 4 leaves
Corn oil ¼ cup
Plum tomatoes, small dice 3 ea.
Green pepper, small dice 5 oz.
Onion, Spanish, small dice 6 oz.
Chicken 3-4 LBS. cut in 1/8’s 1 ea.


Mix the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Use a hand blender if possible to help bruise the seeds. Place the chicken in the bowl and marinate, covered overnight, in the refrigerator. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the onion and green peppers. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and season well with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Lightly oil a large baking dish. Line the pan with aluminum foil then alternate lying banana leaves lengthwise then widthwise. Make packages of chicken with the marinade and the sautéed vegetables by wrapping the chicken in a leaf and forming a “package.” Wrap each package in aluminum foil and seal. Bake 45 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve hot.

We Want YOU! It's Time for Culinary Boot Camp!

It's time to take that next step and sign up for one of the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts' hottest classes! Culinary Boot Camp an intensive culinary experience designed for everyone from the frustrated home cook who wants to learn classic techniques to the budding chef looking to take his or her kitchen prowess to the next level.

Learn some of the same basic culinary fundamental skills taught to chefs in the finest cooking schools. Topics covered include: knife skills, principles and application of all the major cooking methods, how to cook poultry, meat & fish, plating & presentation, and more. This program is a must for anyone who is tired of ruining dinner or conversely, dares to call him or herself a good cook!

5 Tuesday nights, Oct 25, Nov 1, 8, 15, 22, 7 – 10 pm
$375 -- CALL TO REGISTER -- 718.758.1339

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rosh Hashanah Carrot Pear Gratin


3 pounds carrots
1 cup ripe chopped pears, minced small or crushed (if using canned pears, drain very well)
3 eggs
1/4 cup Coffee Rich or milk substitute
1/2 cup flour
3-4 tbsp honey
1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1 tbsp grated or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
fresh, sliced pears for garnish


Peel and boil carrots until tender. Shock the carrots in ice water to stop the cooking and to retain the bright color. Puree in a food processor with the pears, and reserve in a large colander. Drain the carrot-pear mixture well.

Whip the eggs in a clean mixing bowl. Add all the other ingredients and season well. Divide the mixture into well greased molds or one large baking dish and place onto sheet pans into a preheated 325 degree oven. Pour hot water onto the sheet pans to provide steam while baking and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Test for doneness by inserting a skewer and internal temperature should reach 160 degrees and be firm on top. Garnish with sliced pears.

Rosh Hashanah Recipe: Flemish Carbonnade of Beef

Chef Avram shares a Flemish-style beer braised beef recipe which is both impressive for company while having the characteristic of reheating well, making it a perfect gourmet main course for Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot. This recipe yields only four portions, so if you're having a lot of guests, make sure to double or even triple the recipe!

Yield: 4 portions


Swiss steaks (or top round) 1 pound, cut into 3-4 inch steaks
Oil or clarified 4 oz.
Flour as needed for dredging
Onions, Spanish 24 oz. or 2-3 onions
Dark beer 12 oz.
Brown stock (veal or beef stock) 16 oz.
Bay leaves 2
Brown sugar 2 oz.
Chopped parsley for garnish


Cut and pound the beef into four, 4oz. Swiss steaks. The meat should resemble larger than average beef stew pieces, pounded out slightly to assist with tenderization. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Slice the onions into medium slices. Dredge the steaks into a plate of flour and shake off any excess flour. Heat about an ounce or two of oil in a frying pan and fry the steaks on both sides till golden brown. Remove the steaks and reserve.

Heat the remainder of the oil in the same pan and add the onions. Cook the onions over medium heat until a golden brown color is achieved. Replace the beef. Add the beer, bay leaves, sugar and the stock and bring to the boil. Skim any accumulated oil or foam. Cover tightly and place in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven. Place the pan on the stovetop on a low fire and uncover. Turn the steaks. Add additional stock or water if the sauce reduces too much. Cook until the beef is tender and the sauce thickens to coat. Taste to season with salt and black pepper.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rosh Hashanah Herbed Roasted Chicken with Apples

This recipe is inspired by the classic British combination of roasted pheasant with apples and herbs. It's a perfect fall recipe and is sure to help wish your family and guests a sweet new year.

3 tart apples, cored and quartered
3 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut unto 2-inch pieces
1 leek, peeled, cleaned and roughly chopped
2 medium onions, quartered
1 whole head fresh garlic, halved
8 sprigs fresh rosemary
8 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1-2 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Arrange apples, vegetables and garlic at the bottom of a deep roasting dish or cooking tin. Chop four each of the rosemary and thyme leaves and add them to the apples and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.

Pat the chicken dry. Place several apple pieces inside the chicken cavity as well as the remainder of the rosemary and thyme sprigs. Truss the chicken legs if you wish, or position the legs under the wings. Season the bird generously with salt and pepper and rub all over with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Place chicken on top of the apples and vegetable, breast side up.

Roast uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove chicken from oven to rest, covered lightly with foil, and return apples and vegetables to the oven for 10-20 additional minutes until golden.

To make a pan sauce, combine 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp flour in a pan and mix continuously on top of the stove over low heat until a paste is formed and bubbling (approximately one minute). Slowly add the roasted chicken juices from the bottom of the roasting pan and as much apple cider as you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool and refrigerate or keep sauce warm until ready to serve.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall Recipe: Butternut Squash Wheatberry "Risotto"

Now that squash is in season, this is a great opportunity to bring out their sweetness by roasting in a hot oven. This is a great side dish for fall and winter and you can use different squash types, and well as different cheeses, herbs and toppings (such as dried cranberries, or pecans), to make any kind of wheatberry risotto you like.

Serves 4 as a side

Leftover Potential: Since this isn’t really risotto, it reheats well – not losing much of its texture in the process.


1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1/4 inch dice
olive oil, as needed
salt and pepper, as needed
1 Tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup wheat berries
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable broth, kept warm over low heat
1 Tbsp rosemary, chopped
2 tsp sage, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Toss the cubed squash with the olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Spread into an even layer on a baking sheet, and roast in a 400 degree oven until lightly golden and tender, about 20-25 minutes. Set aside.
3. Heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until translucent, about 1 minute more.
4. Add the wheat berries and stir to heat through, about a minute. Add the wine, and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the wine has mostly evaporated.
5. Add the broth a ladleful at a time, stirring occasionally, until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth until it is all absorbed and the wheat berries are tender.
6. Stir in the cooked squash, rosemary, sage, and parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, finish with another knob of butter. Serve warm.

Friday, September 9, 2011

CKCA's Fall Recreational Schedule

Along with traditional and non-traditional date nights, challah baking, culinary boot camp, cake decorating and chocolate making-classic classes, CKCA is mixing it up a little this fall with several new classes, including Exquisite Italian Desserts (Nov. 6th), Deliciously Healthy Baking (Dec. 11th) and Jewish Baking Classics (Nov. 13th).

Visit the below links for descriptions of the individual classes, or if the full description isn't listed, visit the CKCA website for full descriptions and prices. We are looking forward to seeing you this Fall!

Challah Baking (Sept. 18th)

Date Night, 'Last Chance for Summer' Feast (Sept. 20th)

Date Night, Fall Feast (Choice of Nov. 12, 19, Dec. 3, 10, or 17th)

Date Night, Couples Competition (Nov. 26)

Date Night, Asia (Choice of several dates tba)

Intro to Cake Decoration (Five Monday evenings, beginning Oct. 24th)

Cake Decoration, Fondant (Five Monday evenings, beginning Nov. 28th)

Culinary Bootcamp (Five Tuesday evenings, beginning Oct. 25th)

Servsafe Food Safety Course (Three Sundays, beginning Oct. 30th)

Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate! (Oct. 30th)

Exquisite Italian Desserts (Nov. 6th)

Jewish Baking Classics (Nov. 13th)

Mother and Daughters Baking (Nov. 20th)

Sophisticated Cupcakes (Nov. 27th)

Steak Night (Nov. 29th)

World Class Desserts (Dec. 4th)

Cuisine of Mexico (Dec. 6th)

Deliciously Healthy Baking (Dec. 11th)

Taste of Asia (Dec. 13th)

Knife Skills (Dec. 20th)