“I wanted to feature Jewish cuisine at Dacha, because I’m proud of my heritage. Jewish food is largely underrepresented in the Pacific Northwest, and I had been wanting to start this beast of a project for years. After leaving New York, I ran a catering business and deli in Prague for a number of years before moving to Seattle. This is food from my childhood, from family gatherings and celebrations. Kreplach were something I ate growing up and reminded me of fall. It’s just one of the many comfort foods I enjoy when the weather turns.”
Kreplach with Chicken-and-Mushroom Filling
Yield: 20 small servings
For the dough:
¼ c olive oil
1¼ c warm water (100°)
1 tsp salt
4 c all-purpose flour (sifted)
For the filling:
6 c chicken broth
2 chicken legs (breast meat can be used, but I prefer leg)
¼ oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh dill (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Rinse chicken and remove skin; reserve for schmaltz. Rinse chicken again. Place it in a pot with broth and boil. Lower to simmer and cook chicken until tender (around 45 minutes). Remove chicken from broth, and cool in fridge. As soon as chicken is cool enough to handle, remove chicken from bones and cartilage, and place boneless chicken back in fridge.
2. Cook chicken skin in a small frying pan over low heat until fat is rendered. Discard skin. Pour schmaltz into small bowl. Return 2T schmaltz to frying pan. Reserve remainder if desired.
3. Soak mushrooms in 1 c hot water for 30 minutes. Strain mushrooms and chop.
4. Sauté mushrooms and onions in the 2T schmaltz for 10 minutes. Cool, then combine with chicken, and chop very fine. Place in bowl and mix with parsley, dill, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to fill kreplach.
5. In a 5-quart stand mixer bowl, gently beat together egg, olive oil, water, and salt. Using a dough hook, slowly incorporate flour into egg mixture on low setting. Mix for 7–8 min. Place dough on floured surface, knead, and divide into four pieces. Wrap pieces in plastic and place in fridge until ready to roll.
6. Roll a ball of dough onto floured surface until very thin. (Use pasta roller if desired.) Try to roll into long rectangular shape. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 3-inch squares. Place roughly 1 tsp of chicken filling in the middle of each square. Fold each square to form a triangle. If dough does not stick when trying to seal, brush a little water along the inner edge of the square. Place finished kreplachs on a floured cookie sheet and put in fridge.
7. To cook, bring chicken broth or salted water to a boil. Place kreplach in pot and boil for 5 min. Remove to bowl and pour hot chicken broth over kreplach. Garnish with chopped parsley.
“The high-spirited vibe of our Asian American restaurant, TanakaSan, is intended as a modern mashup of LA and Japan. Major inspiration came from my friend and partner, Eric Tanaka (known as ET), whose life story as a Japanese American kid growing up in Los Angeles’s cultural melting pot helped set the tone. One of my favorite dishes from TanakaSan’s opening menu is ET’s spin on classic Jewish matzo ball soup with umami notes of kombu, miso, and shiitake, inspired by ET’s love of LA’s classic Jewish delis, a type of food he grew up eating even though his heritage is Japanese.”
Miso Matzo Ball Soup
Yield: about 6 servings
For the matzo balls:
½ c seltzer water
¼ c olive oil
1 c matzo meal
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the miso chicken dashi and marinated shiitakes:
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
8 c water
2 sheets kombu
2½ lbs chicken parts, skin-on and bone-in
8T red miso paste
2T soy sauce
To finish the soup:
1 lightly packed cup chopped kale (stems removed)
Freshly ground black pepper
1. To make the matzo balls, mix the eggs, water, and olive oil. Add the matzo meal and season with salt and pepper. (Be sure to use enough salt, about 1½ to 2 tsp). Refrigerate for at least one hour.
2. To make the dashi, combine the shiitakes, water, and garlic in a pot. Simmer until the shiitakes are soft, about 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the kombu. Steep for 30 minutes. Strain and return the broth to the pot. Reserve the shiitake mushrooms from the strainer (and discard the garlic and the kombu), setting the mushrooms aside.
3. To the broth in the pot, add the chicken and bring to a simmer. (Depending on the shape of your pot, if there is not enough stock to cover the chicken parts, add some water.) Poach the chicken, skimming the scum that rises to the top, but do not skim off the fat. When the chicken is cooked, which will take about 30 minutes, remove it from the pot and reserve for another use. Whisk the miso into the broth in the pot. Remove from the heat until you are ready to poach the matzo balls.
4. Slice the rehydrated shiitakes and place in a bowl. Add the soy sauce and set aside to marinate while you finish the soup.
5. Form the matzo mixture into small balls. Bring the miso chicken dashi back to a simmer, add the matzo balls and poach until cooked, about 30 minutes.
6. To serve, put some chopped kale in each soup bowl. Ladle miso chicken dashi and matzo balls into each bowl. Garnish each bowl with some marinated shiitakes and a grinding of black pepper. (Because the miso and the soy are both salty, you likely won’t need to add more salt.) Serve.
“I attended a few Passover dinners at friends’ houses, and the meaning and symbolism of the Passover foods really resonated with me. The cultural diversity of Jewish food creates interesting flavor combinations, which is a huge part of why I like Jewish food. For the sweet potato tart, the rich earthiness of the sweet potato and the tanginess of the goat cheese accent each other well...I love that about this dish!”
Sweet Potato, Red Onion, and Goat Cheese Tart
Yield: 2 large tarts or 4 medium tarts
For the dough:
1.5 c all-purpose flour
¾ c butter, cold, diced
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. With the processor running, add diced butter. Mix together egg and milk. Pulse in processor until a dough forms. Wrap in plastic and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.
For the filling:
2T olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced ¼ inch
½ c heavy cream
1 bunch cilantro
½ lb goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Smoked paprika to taste
For the egg wash:
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the onion and garlic over medium heat until tender and fragrant. Stir in sweet potatoes and cream and cook until cream is reduced by half and the potatoes are just tender. Chop ½ bunch of cilantro. Season with salt, pepper, chopped cilantro, and smoked paprika to taste. Let cool.
2. Preheat oven to 375°. Divide tart dough, depending on number of tarts you are making, and roll out to approximately ⅛-inch thick in a circle shape. Place dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Spoon the filling onto the tart dough, leaving a 1-inch border of dough. Begin folding over small sections of the excess dough until the tart is enclosed by the dough. Sprinkle goat cheese on top. Make an egg wash with the egg and water and brush it around the outside of the tart. Bake 20-25 minutes, depending on size, until tart is golden brown. Let cool and garnish with remaining cilantro sprigs.
“I’m from Jalisco, Mexico, and then lived in Los Angeles before coming to the US about 17 years ago. I used to work for someone else, at another bakery, and he taught me how to make challah, blintzes, rugelach, coconut macaroons, and bagels. I really like the rugelach, though, and at my bakery, I bake what I really like. People think it’s like a croissant dough, but there’s no water added, it’s just butter and cream cheese. I cut the butter down a little bit from how I learned, and I like that it’s not too sweet.”
Yield: 15–20 cookies
Mix sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and chopped walnuts to your preferred taste.
6 oz butter
6 oz cream cheese
10 oz pastry flour
1½ oz powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1. Mix all the dough ingredients together until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Roll dough out flat, and then fold it over three or four times. Wrap well and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Roll the dough to preferred thickness (about ⅛-inch thick), then spread with the filling. Roll it up and slice into individual cookie size. Brush each cookie with the egg and bake at 365° for 15–17 minutes.