Garden Tips, Careers in Cooking, Dreamy Dulce de Leche

Hosted by
Karen Hillenberg is an instructor at the New School of Cooking in Culver City. Evening, part-time Professional classes begin soon.

In addition to its regular menu, Angeli Caffe will be serving a special Passover dishes on Friday and Saturday, April 17-18. Here are some of the recipes that the restaurant will feature.

Fish Dumplings in Tomato Sauce from Joyce Goldstein's Saffron Shores and Kitty Morse's The scent of Orange Blossoms.

  • 2 pounds boneless fish fillets
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Process all ingredients in a food processor. Shape into tapered dumplings with wet hands and drop into simmering salted water. When dumplings float to the top they are ready to be put into a savory tomato sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, caper, and olive oil.

Soofer Family Iranian-Israeli Haroset from Joan Nathan's The Foods of Israel Today .
Yields about 10 cups

  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/3 cup unblanched almonds
  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 pears, peeled and quartered
  • 2 red apples, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cups seedless black raisins
  • 1 cup seedless golden raisins
  • 2 3/4 cups pitted dates
  • 1 1/4 cups pomegranate juice
  • 3 cups sweet red wine (about)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
Roast nuts by placing them in the microwave on medium power for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Place the roasted nuts in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely ground. Add the pears, apples, raisins, and dates and pulse until the nuts are finely ground and the fruits coarsely chopped. Gradually add the pomegranate juice, continuing to process until thick. Add the wine and the spices, and process once more to incorporate, adjusting to taste.

Stacie Hunt spoke about Kosher wines. She is a wine consultant at Duvin Wine & Spirits, 540 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood. (310) 855-1161.

NV Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne: $26.95
The world's best sparkling wines come from the specific region of France called Champagne. After primary fermentation, the wines are put in bottle where they undergo a second fermentation, which produces the tiny, festive bubbles that are the famous trademark of the beverage. This is a delicious, world class bottling from a leading producer that just happens to be Mevushal! No compromise in quality here. Made from 20% Pinot Noir and 80% Chardonnay grapes, it has the rich, creamy flavors some find "biscuity" or reminiscent of fresh baked bread. It is labeled Brut, meaning it is made in a relatively dry style (paradoxically, Extra Brut is actually sweeter!), but still finishes with a subtle kiss of honeyed sweetness. While Champagne is a beverage generally reserved for celebrations of special occasions, it is actually an incredible wine to enjoy with food. From bagels and lox to a veal shank, there is a Champagne for any meal. Versions with a higher percentage of Pinot Noir, particularly a ros-, tend to match better with dark meat. A bottle labeled Blanc de Blancs will be made entirely from Chardonnay

2001 Yarden White Riesling, Galilee: $ 15.95
This wine is made from the famed Johannesburg Riesling. Riesling is considered one of the world's great white-wine grapes. The grape has been cultivated in Europe for at least 1000 years, most successfully in Germany, France (Alsace), and Austria. Its ability to retain its zesty acidity while achieving high sugar levels makes it capable of long aging and gives it a tremendous affinity for food. The color can range from pale, white-gold to deep yellow-gold, depending on age. The wines are very aromatic of peaches and apricots and other light stone fruits, combined with honeysuckle flower. The taste is delicate and characterized by a spicy, fruity flavor, with a clean and dry finish, making it the perfect wine with foods that are spicy such as Hunan Chinese, Thai, and sushi with wasabi.

2002 Dalton Estate Unoaked Chardonnay: $17.99
Far too often, the true flavors of Chardonnay are masked by winemakers overuse of new oak barrels for ageing. So prevalent is the trend that consumers have come to associate those "woody' "buttery' "vanilla' flavors with the grape itself! Here is a beautiful wine that showcases the terrific flavors of Chardonnay, unencumbered by outside influence. Fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, Dalton Estate in Upper Galilee allows the bright and assertive flavors of green apple and pear to jump out of the glass. This is the vibrant, assertive style one would associate with a Chablis or Pouilly-Fuisse, and it lends itself to an endless array of food pairings including an apple walnut matzoh kugel!

2001 Abarbanel Syrah: $18.95
This is a wonderful example of why Syrah -- also know as Shiraz -- is quickly becoming one of the world's most popular red wine grapes and why the Languedoc region of France is a hotbed for quality wines at reasonable prices. Capable of producing majestic wines with great aging potential (see Hermitage or Cote-Rotie), Syrah is also adept at creating exuberant, approachable, wines such as this. The flavors are complex and beautifully nuanced, showing black pepper, spice, and a distinct hint of smoked meat. The nose betrays its Southern French origin, bursting with aromas of lavender and thyme. It has great flexibility when it comes to food pairing, but will likely show best with lamb, chicken with wild mushrooms, or pasta with meat sauce.

2000 Baron Philippe de Rothschild / Mouton Cadet Rouge Bordeaux, France: $17.95
From the already legendary 2000 vintage, the Rothschild family's consistently excellent winemaking shows beautifully here in the latest rendition of the world's most popular Bordeaux brand. This wine is ready to drink right now, showing textbook characteristics of cigar-box and pencil lead in the nose, with flavors chocolate covered cherries, mint and vanilla. The wine is medium-bodied with good structure and a broad, creamy mouth feel. There are five black grapes used in Bordeaux, three of which are employed here: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. There is generally no indication on labels what the percentages used, and the recipe will vary depending upon the nature of each vintage. Food pairing naturals would be beef brisket, roasted chicken, or a 'meatier' fish such as salmon or halibut.

1999 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon, Galilee: $27.95
Often called the 'king' of red wine grapes-- (although you'd get an argument in northwestern Italy, where Nebbiolo produces a wine called the -king- of wines, Barolo) - this grape is the most successfully planted grape throughout the world. The flavor and structure as well as the complexity makes this a wine worthy of great aging, especially from the famed vineyards of Bordeaux and some areas in Italy and of course, California. The flavors are bold, and can be best described as having black cherry, black currant (cassis) and raspberry tones, with some minty, cedar and red bell pepper. In older vintages, there is also an aroma of tobacco. While fruit-heavy, the wine also has a good balance of acids and tannins which allow it to age very gracefully and fully. This Yarden Cabernet is dark-ruby red in color, with clarity and bright lights. The aroma is of ripe cherries, berries and some fresh plums. Cabernet just loves oak, and you can smell the spice and toast that comes from that combination in this wine. The wine is full-bodied and muscular in your mouth, with a long, complex and flavorful finish. This has the ability to age for 5-15 years. The wine pairs well with lamb, mushrooms, roasted foods and truffles.

Roxanna Quiros is the pastry chef at Opaline restaurant.

Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies (Alfajores)
This cookie is to Latin America what the chocolate chip cookie is to the United States.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • Additional powdered sugar
For the cookies:
Place the flour and 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar in a food processor, pulse to blend. Add the butter, and pulse until a fine meal forms. With the machine running, gradually add the cold water until the dough forms. Transfer the dough to a work surface; flatten into a disk. Wrap the dough with plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch diameter, round cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles. Transfer the dough to two heavy large baking sheets, spacing evenly. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets.

For the dulce de leche:
Remove the wrapper from the can. Place the can in a heavy large saucepan. Add enough water to the saucepan to cover the can by 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil. Simmer for 3 hours, adding more hot water every 30 minutes or so to the saucepan to keep the can covered completely. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Set the saucepan aside until the pan, water and can are completely cool (Do not open the can!) Refrigerate the can overnight or until completely cold.** (Cookies and dulce de leche can be made 1 week ahead. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Keep the dulce de leche refrigerated.)

To assemble: Spread about 2 teaspoons of the cold dulce de leche over the bottom side of one cookie. Top with a second cookie, bottom side down. Repeat with the remaining cookies and dulce de leche. Dust with powder sugar, and serve. (Cookies can be assembled up to 2 hours ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.)

** WARNING: Do not open the can until it is completely cold. Also, monitor the appearance of the can. If it shows any sign of expanding, cautiously remove it immediately from the heat and allow it to cool completely. If you are concerned at all about the risk and high-pressure nature of this recipe, alternatively, you may poke a small hole in the top of the can, and reduce the water level so that the can is not submerged. This will reduce the risk by allowing the internal pressure of the can to be released while it cooks, but will also extend the cooking time.

Sharon Lovejoy is the author of Trowel and Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener. To find out more about Sharon and her tips or to read her online newsletter, go to Sharon mentioned Coast of Maine Organics as a source for fermented salmon fertilizer.