Cooks Corner

South Florida eateries among ‘Top Kosher Restaurants’

Fettucine: From Cine Citta in Surfside, as featured in a new book that highlights kosher restaurants.
Fettucine: From Cine Citta in Surfside, as featured in a new book that highlights kosher restaurants. ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications

Once upon a time, when you talked Jewish cuisine in South Florida, it was to compare the corned beef or knishes or flanken at the grand old delis that nurtured our taste buds for decades before fading from the scene.

But a new cookbook gives the “tops in the world” rating to five local kosher restaurants that authors Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek maintain are revolutionizing the cuisine. Secret Restaurant Recipes from the World’s Top Kosher Restaurants ($29.99 ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications) includes dishes from all of the places it cites, like the mushroom pasta here from Cine Citta in Surfside.

The other South Florida restaurants featured are Beyond by Shemtov’s in Miami Beach; Rare Hospitality and Rare Bistro in Miami Beach; The Harbour Grill in Surfside; and Serendipity Yogurt Café in Surfside.

Reader requests

Q. Every year around this time I get nostalgic about my mother’s date logs — you baked the batter first and then scooped out teaspoons and rolled in sugar to finish. It was really fun for kids because they could do the rolling in sugar. I have never been able to find a recipe like this and hers was lost in the move to assisted living. Can you help?

Kathleen Toomer

A. I looked in my collection of vintage cookbooks and came up with the recipe here, which seems to hit all your touch points. The primary source was the 1949 Good Housekeeping Cookbook. I updated directions and added explanatory terms, since mid-century-era cookbooks took a lot more for granted. I also increased the flour called for when I tested the recipe (flour then was not as finely milled). It is a lovely confection and, as you said, would be perfect to make with children.

Q. I always make coquito for Three Kings Day but have misplaced my recipe. I believe I cut it out of The Herald or El Herald many years ago. It is better than eggnog and always is a hit at the party – my family gets together then, rather than Christmas Day when we are all busy with our little ones.

R.M., Miami Shores

A. Coquito, for those unfamiliar, is a Puerto Rican take on eggnog that is wonderfully sweet with a tropical twist — the great taste of three milks, including coconut and of course a spirited hit of rum. You can, of course, skip the rum for those who don’t imbibe.

Sleuth’s Corner

Q. A recent request in Cook’s Corner for a Rich’s Department store recipe jogged my memory from my days of living in that area. They also had a terrific black walnut cake with black walnut frosting. Is it possible to come up with the recipe?

Dorothy A. Roman, Pompano Beach

A. Alas, a check of my files and the Internet turned up recipes attributed to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution for Rich’s coconut cake, brownie bourbon pie, chicken pie, chicken salad amandine with frozen fruit salad, brown sugar bar cookies, chocolate chess pie, cheese straws, nut pound cake and rum glazed pound cake, but none for black walnut. So we’ll hope someone can add to the trove of gone-but-not-forgotten recipes from the legendary Old Atlanta department store.

Q. In the early 1950s my mother made Christmas cookies she called Angel Wings. She would give them to us with hot chocolate on Christmas Eve and tell us angels were all around us this night. They were puffy cookies and I remember them as shaped like wings and being shiny white, almost glistening. I talk about them every Christmas Eve but never have found a recipe. I’m wondering if perhaps this is a recipe someone who reads your column can help me make for my grandchildren.

Grace Villa

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

More recipes

Miss our Holiday Recipe Guide? Find it at hrld.us/Holiday2014.

Main dish

Cine Citta’s Fettuccine Tri Funghi

6 ounces fettuccine

1 tablespoon butter

1 portobello mushroom, sliced, gills removed

4 button mushrooms, sliced

1 small shallot, chopped

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

1/4 cup white wine

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

Kosher salt to taste

Coarse black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Melt butter in a sauté pan over low heat. Add portobello and button mushrooms and shallot, and cook until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Add porcini mushrooms and wine and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add cream and cook until sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the pasta in the sauce and sprinkle parmesan on top. Makes 1 serving. Recipe can be multiplied as desired.

Note: This makes one enormous serving at the restaurant, but home cooks may want to consider it makes 3 servings (6 ounces of dry pasta yields about 1 1/2 cups cooked).

Per serving: 2,987 calories (71 percent from fat), 237 g fat (145 g saturated, 67 g monounsaturated), 852 mg cholesterol, 42 g protein, 167 g carbohydrates, 19.7 g fiber, 329 mg sodium.

Source: “Secret Restaurant Recipes from the World’s Top Kosher Restaurants” (Art Scroll/Meshorah Publications).

Drink

Coquito (Puerto Rican Eggnog)

2 egg yolks, beaten

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 (13 1/2-ounce) can cream of coconut

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup white rum, or to taste (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and/or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine the egg yolks and evaporated milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisking constantly, cook until mixture reaches 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and will coat the back of a spoon. (Use pasteurized eggs or egg substitute to eliminate salmonella worries.) Transfer to a large mixer bowl and add remaining ingredients. Beat 3 minutes. Pour into a glass decanter, cover tightly and chill thoroughly. Makes 10 servings.

Per serving: 310 calories (43 percent from fat), 15.2 g fat (11 g saturated, 2.9 g monounsaturated), 71.1 mg cholesterol, 8.4 g protein, 36.6 g carbohydrates, 0.9 g fiber, 128.9 mg sodium.

Source: Linda Cicero from Cook’s Corner archives.

Dessert

Date Nut Logs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind, optional

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup cut-up, pitted dates

Granulated or confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease one 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and set aside. Beat the brown sugar with the eggs, vanilla and orange rind if using until thoroughly mixed. Gradually fold in flour mixture then fold in dates and nuts. Spread evenly in prepared pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until firm to touch but not crusty on top. Cool in pan until just cool enough to handle. Cut into finger-size lengths and roll between palms to form logs. Roll each log in your choice of granulated or confectioners’ sugar. Cool completely. Makes 18.

Per serving: 123 calories (34 percent from fat), 4.8 g fat (0.6 g saturated, 0.8 g monounsaturated), 20 mg cholesterol, 2.6 g protein, 18.9 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber, 37 mg sodium.

Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero from vintage recipes.

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