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From the kitchen of… Leah Koenig

Food writer Leah Koenig is author of the newly released “Hadassah Everyday Cookbook” (Rizzoli, 2011).  Former editor-in-chief of the award-winning blog, “The Jew & The Carrot,” Koenig write a monthly food column in The Forward called “Ingredients.”  Her work has also appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Saveur, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Food Arts, Hadassah Magazine and others.   Koenig will present “The People of the Cookbook: Good Cooking for the Contemporary Jewish Kitchen,” a cooking demonstration, at Temple Shalom in Norwalk on Tuesday, April 5, with entertainment provided by her husband, musician Yoshie Fruchter. Here is a sampling of the recipes included in her new book.

Moroccan Orange and Olive Salad
Claudia Roden writes in The Book of Jewish Food, that orange and olive salads are a Moroccan specialty.  This version uses red-fleshed blood oranges for a striking presentation.
Serves 4-6
4 oranges (Valencia or blood oranges)
1/4 cup of oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Peel oranges, removing as much of the pith as possible then slice horizontally into 1/4-inch rounds. Arrange orange slices on a serving platter and scatter with olives. In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, garlic, parsley, paprika, cumin (if using) and olive oil; drizzle over oranges and olives, followed a sprinkling of sea salt and pepper to taste.

Sesame Seed Chicken Cutlets
Fried chicken cutlets are a simple, go-to dish for many Jewish chefs. This version gets a punch of wholesome and tasty goodness thanks to ground flax seeds and toasted sesame seeds.
Serves 4
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Seasonings: kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and chili powder
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup ground flax seeds (flax seed meal)
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted
Vegetable oil for frying
Lemon wedges for garnish
Butterfly chicken breasts but do not cut all the way through the breasts. Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and chili powder to taste. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and then transfer to a large plate. On a separate large plate, mix the breadcrumbs, ground flax seeds and toasted sesame seeds. Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan (use enough oil so that it comes halfway up the sides of the pan). Dip the chicken breasts in the egg followed by the crumb mixture. Shake off excess crumbs and pan fry. (You should hear a sizzle, otherwise the oil is not hot enough.) Do this in batches if necessary in order to not crowd the pan. When the chicken pieces are golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes per side, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the breasts before serving, and garnish with lemon wedges if desired.

Year-Round Fruit Crumble
Crumbles are one of the easiest and most satisfying desserts to make. A good crumble topping tastes delicious on just about any combination of fruit. Make a double (or even triple) batch of the topping and freeze the excess, so it’s ready whenever the crumble craving strikes.
Serves 6
Crumble Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (optional)
Pinch of salt
7 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter or non-hydrogenated margarine, cut into small pieces
Stir to combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add the butter or margarine and, using your fingers or a food processor, incorporate the ingredients until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle topping liberally over an 8×8-inch glass dish filled with fruit mixture. Bake until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 25-30 minutes. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla or cinnamon ice cream after a dairy meal.

Winter Crumble
Pear and Chocolate: Combine 4-5 ripe pears, cut into 1/4-inch pieces with juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 cup of sugar.  Mix 2/3 cup of chocolate chips into the topping.

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