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December 27, 2002 - Image 76

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-12-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Food

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from page 73

O

Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish
Kitchen, chronicles Italy's Sephardic
recipes and their origins. The second
volume, Sephardic Flavors: Jewish
Cooking of the Mediterranean, examines
recipes from Turkey, Greece and the
Balkans.
-
Like Sephardic Flavors, Goldstein's
new book presented challenges in both
research and translation.
She relied on travels to many of the
countries referenced in her books and
on a vast library of cookbooks, along
with the Internet. "I love doing culinary
detective work," said Goldstein.
Most of the recipes she found were in
French, so she had to translate them
into English. Then she tackled the task
of converting their metric measurements
into U.S. standards.
Fortunately, the recipes themselves
are straightforward, and Goldstein
promises that nothing is lost in the
translation.
"The recipes were originally done by
peasants in primitive kitchens, so they
are already simple," she said.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y.,
Goldstein grew up eating Ashkenazic
fare, which she describes as "heart attack
food." This characterization is based on
sad experience. Her father died of a
heart attack when he was 47, which
Goldstein attributes to the over-rich_
Eastern and Central European diet.
She did not learn to cook until she
was a graduate student at Yale. "My
mother didn't want me to dirty up the
kitchen," she said, adding, "In my fami-
ly, we're not good cooks." Goldstein
would prove the exception.
Her ambition was to become a
painter, so she studied painting and art
history at Smith College and at Yale.
Then, marriage and family intervened.
"I painted until I had three children,"
she said.
A year-and-a-half spent studying in
Italy introduced Goldstein to
Mediterranean-Sephardic cuisine. "I
began collecting recipes and started
cooking like crazy," she said.
Sephardic dishes piqued her culinary
passion because of their difference from
the Ashkenazic experience: more vegeta-
bles and less meat, lighter and less heavy.
The passion led to more recipes,
cookbook collecting and hours in the
kitchen. Her education in art history
served her well as she delved deeper into

the recipes' roots and underlying culture.
Then came teaching, from classes for
home cooks to kitchen design at the
University of California's Department of
Architecture. Goldstein began working
at Berkeley's Chez Panisse — owned by
famed organic cook Alice Waters — in
1981 and opened her own restaurant,
Square One, three years later.
In 1996, she closed Square One:
`After 12 years, my feet were tired."
Today, at 67, Goldstein's plate stays
full — she writes cookbooks and maga-
zine articles, teaches and does fund-rais-
ers for Meals on Wheels, which delivers
food to shut-ins.
Her next book, due in fall 2003, is a
collection of recipes for single people,
because no one can live on take-out
alone, she said. Goldstein also is doing
research for a book on slow-cooked
Italian dishes. Here are some of her
recipes.

LE POISSON SAUCE SOLEIL
Fish with Sun Sauce
The turmeric and saffron in the sauce
create the illusion of fish bathed in gold-
en sunlight. This dish is often served in
Morocco during Rosh Hashanah. A
variation on this recipe adds 1/2 pound
of green olives at the end of cooking.
2 small lemons, peel and pith
removed, cut into thin rounds
1 T. turmeric
Salt
Olive or peanut oil
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped,
divided
4 fish steaks or fillets, each about 6
ounces (halibut, sea bass, cod, etc.)
4 cloves garlic, green sprouts removed,
chopped
1/2 t. saffron steeped in 1/4 cup warm
water
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound pitted green olives, option-
al
114 t. cumin
2 pounds boiled little new potatoes
Chopped flat leaf parsley
Place the lemon slices in a shallow
bowl or platter and sprinkle with
turmeric and salt.
Press down on them with a fork to
extract some juice. Drizzle with a bit of
olive oil.
In a large wide saute pan, saute the
garlic in a tablespoon of oil over medi-
um heat for a few minutes; do not let it
color. Deglaze with the saffron infusion
and then arrange the lemon slices on the
bottom of the pan, reserving all of the
accumulated juices in a bowl. Sprinkle
with half the chopped coriander. Then
arrange the fish fillets on top of the
lemons.

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