IM­PRES­SIVE EN­TER­TAIN­ING

The Jerusalem Post Magazine - - CON­TENTS -

• Text, pho­tos and styling: PAS­CALE PEREZ RU­BIN

Pre­par­ing fancy dishes for guests doesn’t al­ways mean you need to fol­low com­plex recipes and spend long hours in the kitchen. Some dishes that are quick and easy still man­age to both look and taste fan­tas­tic.

Be­low I’ve pro­vided three recipes for fun dishes that are easy to pre­pare but look fancy. The first recipe is but­ter­nut squash filled with cous­cous, herbs and pome­gran­ate seeds. You bake the squash halves and, af­ter let­ting them cool, fill them with cous­cous, herbs, wal­nuts and pome­gran­ate seeds.

The sec­ond one is tri­an­gle meat-filled pas­tries that can also eas­ily be pre­pared as vege­tar­ian or with chicken or fish. And while you’re let­ting the pas­try dough set, you can quickly pre­pare the rest of the meal.

The third recipe is sweet potato in silan and pome­gran­ate sauce, which caramelizes in the oven beau­ti­fully.

Trans­lated by Han­nah Hochner.

BUT­TER­NUT SQUASH FILLED WITH COUS­COUS, HERBS AND POME­GRAN­ATE SAUCE

Makes 6 serv­ings

3 small but­ter­nut squash Lots of olive oil

6 sprigs of thyme Kosher salt

Fill­ing:

2 cups of cooked whole-wheat cous­cous 1¼ cups wa­ter

½ bunch of pars­ley, chopped finely ½ bunch of mint, chopped finely

½ bunch of cilantro, chopped finely 4 scal­lions, chopped finely

50 gr. cran­ber­ries or pome­gran­ate seeds 50 gr. light raisins

4 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. pome­gran­ate juice or cherry syrup Juice from 1 le­mon

Salt and pep­per, to taste

Hand­ful of roasted al­monds or wal­nuts

Rinse the squash and cut in half. Clean out fibers and seeds in­side and rinse well. Line a tray with bak­ing pa­per and place squash on top. Brush with olive oil and sprin­kle with thyme and kosher salt. Bake in an oven that has been pre­heated to 190° for 30-40 min­utes, or un­til they are soft. You can flip them over for the last 10 min­utes if de­sired. Re­move from oven and let cool slightly.

Pre­pare cous­cous ac­cord­ing to direc­tions and trans­fer to a large bowl. Add the rest of the in­gre­di­ents and mix well. Taste and ad­just sea­son­ing. Fill squash with cous­cous mix­ture.

MEAT TRI­AN­GLE PAS­TRIES

These pas­tries are made with 1 kilo­gram of flour and 1 ta­ble­spoon of dry yeast, which makes the dough thin and crispy. You are wel­come to use vege­tar­ian or any other fill­ing that you de­sire.

Makes 12 large or 24 small pas­tries

1 kg. flour, sifted

1 Tbsp. dry yeast

4 Tbsp. oil

1 Tbsp. vine­gar

1 Tbsp. (15 gr.) silan

2½-3 cups wa­ter (if nec­es­sary, add a lit­tle more) 1 tsp. salt

Fill­ing:

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped finely

6 cloves gar­lic, crushed

1 cup chopped mush­rooms

300 gr. cooked beef or chicken, ground or chopped 1 potato, cooked, peeled and cut into small cubes 1 Tbsp. chicken-soup pow­der

½ tsp. sweet pa­prika

½ tsp. turmeric

½ tsp. cumin

Salt and pep­per, to taste

3-5 Tbsp. wa­ter

Egg wash:

1 egg, beaten with 2 Tbsp. wa­ter

Top­pings:

½ cup sesame seeds mixed with nigella seeds, fen­nel, aniseed, poppy, flax or chia seeds

Serv­ing sug­ges­tion:

Serve with raw tehina on the side or driz­zled on top.

To pre­pare the dough, add to the bowl of an elec­tric mixer the flour, yeast, oil, vine­gar and silan. Be­gin mix­ing on low speed while grad­u­ally adding the wa­ter. Mix for 6 min­utes. Cover and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

To pre­pare the fill­ing, heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion and gar­lic. Sauté for a few min­utes un­til onions turn translu­cent and then add mush­rooms. Sauté for an­other 2 or 3 min­utes and then re­move from the flame. Trans­fer to a bowl and add the cooked meat (crum­ble by hand or chop). Add the potato pieces and mix well.

Add the spices and wa­ter and mix well. Taste and ad­just sea­son­ing.

Sep­a­rate dough into 12 equal-sized pieces. Roll out each piece on a floured work sur­face into a cir­cle. Al­ter­na­tively, roll out all the dough un­til it’s ½-cm. thick and then cut out cir­cles with a 20-cm. (or larger) di­am­e­ter cup. Place one or two spoon­fuls of fill­ing in the mid­dle of each cir­cle and flat­ten. Fold over to form a tri­an­gle, but leave a small hole open where the fill­ing can peek out. Pre­pare the rest of the pas­tries in the same way.

Place the pas­tries on a tray lined with bak­ing pa­per. Make sure they’re not touch­ing one an­other. Let rest for 30 min­utes and then brush with egg wash and sprin­kle with sesame and nigella seeds, or aniseed, fen­nel, poppy, or chia seeds.

Bake in an oven that has been pre­heated to 200° for 5 min­utes.

Lower tem­per­a­ture to 180° and bake for an­other 25 min­utes, or un­til they’ve browned on the bot­tom, too. Serve hot or room tem­per­a­ture. Driz­zle with tehina.

SWEET POTATO IN SILAN AND POME­GRAN­ATE SAUCE

This easy, quick dish al­ways man­ages to steal the show. The com­bi­na­tion of the silan and pome­gran­ate sauce forms a nice crispy coat­ing.

Makes 6 serv­ings

3 medium sweet pota­toes

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. silan or honey

1 tsp. pome­gran­ate con­cen­trate

Salt and pep­per, to taste

Leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme

More olive oil to driz­zle on sweet pota­toes

Serv­ing sug­ges­tion:

Fresh thyme leaves or chopped cilantro

Rinse sweet pota­toes well. Cut them in half length­wise. On the cut side, make cuts in a criss­cross fash­ion. In a bowl, mix olive oil, silan, pome­gran­ate con­cen­trate, salt, pep­per and thyme leaves. Spread mix­ture on cut side of each piece of sweet potato and pour the rest on the bak­ing sheet. Driz­zle some more oil on the bak­ing sheet and ar­range the pieces of sweet potato with the cut side face­down. Driz­zle more olive oil on top and sprin­kle with salt and pep­per.

Bake in an oven that’s been pre­heated to 200° for 20-30 min­utes, un­til sweet pota­toes are soft. If they’re still hard, lower tem­per­a­ture to 180° and bake for an­other 10-15 min­utes, but make sure they don’t burn or get over­cooked. Serve hot with thyme leaves or chopped cilantro and kosher salt sprin­kled on top.

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