Corn and Vegetable Chowder Recipe

Photos by Sarah Elliott
Photos by Sarah Elliott

I am headed to Long Island this week and my first stop (after I say hello to my parents) is the nearest farm stand.  My father’s vegetable garden is wonderful and bursting with all sorts of goodies, but there’s no corn to be found.  And I can’t be on Long Island in the summer without corn.  I think my father doesn’t plant it because A) corn takes up too much space and B) when he was growing up on a farm in Italy, corn was fed to the pigs, not to human beings.  He just doesn’t get it.

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Tex-Mex Matzo Brei Recipe (Migas with Matzo!)

my favorite passover breakfast

I used to look forward to Passover when I was a child even though I wasn’t Jewish and was never invited to a seder.  But Pathmark and Shop Rite would carry matzo for about 2 weeks around the time of the holiday and I loved it.  Do you know about matzo?  It’s like a giant, light and crispy cracker usually made with wheat flour and a little salt, typically only eaten for Passover.  Funny enough, my grandmother (also not Jewish) was the one who introduced me to matzo which she slathered with Breakstone’s whipped butter.  This was really the only way I ever ate it unless I was feeling adventurous in which case I might spread on a little peanut butter and jelly.

I like to soften the matzos a little by running some water over them.

I remember back then we could only find plain wheat matzo or egg matzo which was a bit softer.  But now, it’s amazing to see all the different varieties available.  Just the other day in addition to the traditional egg and wheat, I spotted gluten-free matzo, both plain and toasted onion flavor, spelt matzo (I bought two boxes), whole wheat, whole wheat with extra bran (good because matzo can be a tad constipating), and matzo crackers (Mr. Picky’s favorite.)  Matzo has come a long way!

saute bell pepper and onion; add jalapeño if you like.

break up the matzo and add it to beaten eggs

My matzo consumption has also evolved and become a little more interesting since I married a Jewish guy.  I’ll tell you the truth, I really don’t eat much matzo anymore, but when I do I’ll turn it into a matzo lasagne or my favorite, matzo brei (rhymes with “sky.”)  Matzo brei can be sweet or savory, but essentially you break up some matzo and combine it with beaten eggs and cook the whole thing in a skillet.  For savory, you can add cooked onions, smoked salmon, salt and pepper.  For sweet, we add a little cinnamon and serve it with maple syrup and fresh fruit on the side, sort of like French toast.

just needs some salsa and guac!

Well if you live in Southern California long enough, you’re bound to be influenced by the flavors south of the border.  One of my favorite breakfast dishes is migas, which is eggs scrambled with fried corn tortillas and all the delicious accompaniments you would expect like salsa and avocado.  I can’t believe it took me this long to cook up a Tex-Mex matzo brei!  This has become my favorite matzo dish so far and there are so many ways to adapt it to suit your taste. I also included sweet bell pepper and onion and then served it with fresh pico de gallo, guacamole and cilantro.  If Mr. Picky hadn’t been eating this the morning I photographed this, I would have added a little minced jalapeno to the bell pepper and onion.  If you eat dairy, this is a natural for cheese and/or sour cream.  And if you aren’t keeping Passover, by all means add some refried beans!  This would be equally delicious for lunch or dinner.  Enjoy!

i love this with salsa, guacamole and cilantro

Tex-Mex Matzo Brei
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 sheets matzo (don’t use egg matzo as it’s too soft)
  • 6 large eggs
  • suggested accompaniments: fresh pico de gallo or salsa, guacamole or fresh sliced avocado, fresh chopped cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese like Monterey Jack, crumbled Cotija cheese, refried beans
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté peppers and onions with a pinch of salt until tender and translucent.
  2. Beat eggs in a large bowl.
  3. Run cold water over the matzo for a few seconds to barely soften them. Crumble the matzo into bite-sized pieces and mix with the beaten eggs.
  4. Add the egg and matzo mixture to the skillet with a healthy pinch or two of salt and pepper and cook, stirring often until cooked to desired doneness. This should take 5 minutes more or less. Serve with suggested accompaniments.

Muhammara recipe (turkish red bell pepper and walnut dip)

 

muhumara|pamela salzman

I know those holiday parties are coming up and I thought another hors d’oeuvre post would be helpful.  My good friend Cheryl gave me this recipe.  She is an outstanding cook and everything she makes is a home run.  I love the fact that this dip is mostly roasted red bell peppers and walnuts and it is easy-peasy to put together.  A bonus is that it tastes better if you make it ahead and we all know how much I like to prep in advance.   You can certainly use jarred roasted peppers or the ones that you can find in some deli cases, but I find (no surprise, I’m sure) that the ones you make at home taste so much better.  Maybe it’s all that love that goes into them!

muhummara|pamela salzman

muhummara|pamela salzman

 

 

A note about the pomegranate molasses:  I try not to use ingredient that are expensive, hard-to-find or that have a short shelf-life.  I found pomegranate molasses easily at my local Whole Foods and it cost only about $4.  Also, it lasts for a long time, so I didn’t hesitate to keep it on the ingredient list.  However, if you can’t find any and you don’t live close enough to me to borrow it, you can add a drop of raw honey and some extra lemon juice to mimic the tart-sweetness that pomegranate molasses brings to the dish.

muhummara|pamela salzman

 

Here I am serving it with endive leaves and gluten-free sweet potato chips, but feel free to go with the traditional pita or other raw vegetables.

muhammara recipe (turkish red bell pepper and walnut dip)
Author: 
Serves: 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups raw walnuts
  • ½ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped, about 1 ½ cups or 1 12-ounce jar
  • ¼ cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses plus more to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • A few shots of hot sauce or ¼ teaspoon ground red chiles, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Toasted pita, your favorite chips or endive leaves
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add the walnuts and bread crumbs. Process until finely chopped.
  2. Add the roasted peppers and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients (except the pita) and blend.
  3. Taste and adjust with more oil, molasses and/or salt.
  4. Refrigerate, covered until ready to serve. The flavors will come together as the dip sits. Serve with pita, chips or endive leaves.