Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Aunt Ruth's Kitchen

Normally I don't write about home cooked meals, but in this case I'll make an exception. The month of August is an eventful month for my parents. In a matter of three weeks they each have their birthdays, and smack dab in the middle is their anniversary. My Aunt Ruth and Uncle Ed wanted to do something to celebrate these three events, and decided to invite the whole family over for dinner the other night.

 Happy Birthdays and Anniversary to you!

There's not much logistically in this case, so I'll give some background on my Aunt and her cooking. Not only is she an excellent cook, but she's extremely adventurous with what she'll make. She makes complicated recipes look easy and easy recipes taste great. One thing that stands out about her home is that the walls are covered with bookshelves. A large portion of one of the shelves is devoted to cook books, and I wouldn't be surprised if she's already cooked through most of the recipes.

Something that you all have to check out is her website, Ruth's Kitchen. Here she's listed some of her favorite recipes, and this is definitely my go to for interesting cooking ideas. Additionally, if you want a traditional recipe for a Jewish home, there is no better place. If you've attended any of my shabbat dinners over the past year, you've likely tried many of these recipes. You might not all get invited over to her house for dinner, but at least you can try out some of her favorites in your kitchen.

The Food
I'd like to first extend an apology to my Aunt Ruth if my descriptions are slightly inaccurate or not up to snuff. Normally I have a menu to review as I write to make sure I've gotten the flavor profiles and dish titles correct. I hope this is suitable.

The first thing we had was some homemade bread. It had a hearty crust and somewhat of a sourdough flavor inside. It was similar in style to the bread that was served at the Girl and the Goat but was significantly better in both texture and flavor. This was then followed by a chilled Peach Soup. Sometimes I find cold fruit soups to be either too runny or too thick and smoothie like, but the texture of this soup was right in the middle. It was a refreshing way to start the meal.

 The Homemade Bread

For the main course we had cold Roasted Asparagus, Heirloom tomatoes, and Halibut. The vegetables were well dressed with what I think was a spicy olive oil that gave them a real nice kick. The Halibut was cooked perfectly and had a crispy crust.

 The Halibut

The Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes

The Roasted Asparagus

In a traditional European style we had salad after the main course. It was a Fig and Arugula salad that was dressed similarly to the veggies but had a much more peppery flavor to it. The salad was light and had a nice balance with the citrusy figs.

 The Arugula and Fig Salad

For dessert my Aunt made something special. I don't know if you picked up on this, but up to this point the meal was very healthy. My family has always focused on healthy eating, and I think it's largely due to influence from my grandmother. At the same time, there's always been an understanding that dessert should be fantastic at any cost. That being said, Aunt Ruth gave us what I think was her Caramel Spice Cake. It had faint hints of nutmeg which usually I dislike, but this cake was great. It was moist to the point where it melted in your mouth, and the frosting had just the right amount of sweetness. It was rich, scrumptious, and most importantly there were leftovers for me to take home.

 The Caramel Spice Cake

In what could be one of the last of my "summer" meals, this one encompassed so many of the right components. We had fresh fruits and vegetables combined in both a nice salad and chilled soup. The fish allowed for a large meal without me feeling far too full. From start to finish the meal was impeccable, and I hope my Aunt continues to host meals for special occasions. You can find almost all of these recipes on her website, and I encourage you to try them out and let her know how they go.


  1. My nephew Jeff has always been one of my best and certainly sweetest "customers." What a thrill to be on his circuit and part of his blog :)

  2. Mmmm, my mouth is watering. A combination of jeffeatschicago and ruths-kitchen are all a food lover needs! :) Love, Rachel