About three weeks ago I attended an event organized by the Jerusalem Foundation of Canada (JFC). Henry and Julia Koschitzky hosted a garden party for about 85 people to welcome Shai Doron, the new president of the Jerusalem Foundation. Nimrod Barkan, the Israeli ambassador and his wife, Dr. Shlomit Shulov-Barkan, flew in from Ottawa for the occasion.
It was a lovely low-key event with really good food catered by PR Creative Caterers. I sampled hors d’oeuvres like mini chicken kabobs, grilled pineapple skewers and Thai rice paper rolls (my favourite).
I was really struck by the buffet. It was a tasteful spread of simple dishes, like grilled fish and beef and several salads.
The presentation and floral arrangements in the Koschitzkys’ backyard were gorgeous and certainly had a professional touch, but that kind of buffet spread is doable for the home cook. The menu really lent itself to outdoor entertaining and many of these dishes included grilled fish and beef along with a selection of salads that are not that hard to prepare. Many salads can be made ahead of time.
At JFC, the buffet dinner had four salads on offer: Heirloom Tomato, Frazier, Quinoa and Mango. The main courses included Cajun Grilled Salmon with Red Pepper Relish; seared tuna, rib eye, grilled salami and turkey roulade.
I have matched up some recipes that are similar to some of the dishes that were served at this buffet. Since we will be observing Tish’a B’av on Aug. 11, all the following recipes are parve. The baked Cajun Salmon I found online at a site called What’s in the Pan. I tried the recipe and it’s pretty good. The Red Pepper Relish is from Martha Stewart.
The other recipes are from well-known food authors from our community. The Cranberry Quinoa Salad is from The New Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz, the Heirloom Tomato Salad is from Friday Night Dinners by Bonnie Stern, and the Mango Salad is from Kosher Taste by Amy Stopnicki.
1 lb. salmon fillet (skin on, boneless)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/ tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoky paprika
Black Pepper to taste
1/4 lemon, zested and juiced)
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Mix seasonings of the blend together.
Rinse and pat dry the salmon. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and place the salmon in the skillet skin side down. Add the second tablespoon of olive oil over the top surface of salmon.
Season with salt and rub the seasoning blend into the salmon’s surface. Top it with lemon juice and zest.
Bake at 425°F for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the fish from the oven.
Makes 3 to 4 servings. Serve with Red Pepper Relish.
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium red bell peppers, diced small
1 medium red onion, diced small
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high.
Add the bell peppers and onion; season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes.
Add the red-wine vinegar and sugar and simmer until the liquid is evaporated and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the vinegar.
Let the relish cool completely, about 1 hour.
To store, refrigerate in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.
HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD (Friday Night Dinners, Bonnie Stern)
2 lb heirloom tomatoes
2 cups of cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp torn fresh basil
Slice the heirloom tomatoes and place in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with cherry tomatoes.
Sprinkle tomatoes with vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and basil.
Makes 8 servings
CRANBERRY QUINOA SALAD (The New Food Processor Bible, Norene Gilletz)
3 cups vegetable broth
11/2 cups of quinoa
1/2 cup fresh parsley or mint
1/4 cup fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
1 medium red onion cut into chunks
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
1 yellow or green pepper, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
1/4 to 1 cup cranberries
2 cloves garlic
1 slice fresh ginger, peeled or 1 tbsp frozen or bottled ginger
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water for 1 to 2 minutes, until the water runs clear. Drain well. (Rinsing removes the bitter coating.)
Add quinoa to the boiling broth. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove the quinoa from the heat and let it stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff it with a fork and transfer it to a large bowl to cool. (This step can be done in advance.)
In your processor, using a steel blade, process the parsley and basil until they are minced. Process the onion, bell peppers and celery with quick on and off pulses until they are coarsely chopped. Add herbs vegetables and cranberries to the cooled quinoa.
Continuing with the steel blade in your processor drop the garlic and ginger through the feed tube, while the machine is running. Process until they are minced. Add the oil, orange juice and honey and process briefly to combine. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and vegetable mixture and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Chill for 24 hours before serving.
Makes 8 servings.
MANGO SALAD WITH RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE, Kosher Taste, Amy Stopnicki
1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced hearts of palm
5 cups mixed greens, cleaned and checked
1/4 cup toasted cashews
4 tbsp raspberry jam
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
Mix all the salad ingredients together in one bowl.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Lightly coat the salad with the dressing.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.