20141124

Spicy Maple Walnuts


  • Candied nuts are a nice addition to salads. Try them on top of a salad made with greens and beets. They are also great on ice cream or with a piece of fruit or just by themselves.
  • This recipe has no butter and less maple syrup per nut compared with other recipes.
  • I wanted a recipe that used maple syrup and the oven (not a skillet). I also wanted to make a big batch (one pound of walnuts -- that's about 6 cups). For most recipes that meant using a cup or more of maple syrup which would be quite expensive.
  • Walnut halves make a great presentation but these are so yummy no one will complain it you use chopped nuts.
  • I'm pretty sure this recipe could also be made with pecans or mixed nuts.
  • I've made this recipe twice and I'm still playing with the flavorings. Have fun experimenting with you favorite flavors. I still think they are not spicy enough and that maybe I want to try a full teaspoon of cayenne next time.

20140406

Sephardic Charoset #2

Sephardic Charoset #2 in a tiny bowl (1.75" diameter)
  • Recipes for Sephardic charoset easily number in the dozens . . . probably the hundreds. I put together this combo after looking at many other recipes. It's quickly becoming my new Passover favorite. I especially like the way the cayenne pepper gently sneaks up on you long after you take a bite!
  • Pistachios were selected for their color and flavor. Start with roasted and salted pistachios, shell them, and then chop them. 
  • For extra flavor, toast whole cumin seeds in a dry skillet for just a minute or two. Watch carefully so they do not burn. Grind them in a mortar and pestle.

Sephardic Charoset #1


  • Charoset is one of the foods on the Passover sedar plate. This is the simplest form of Sephardic charoset. 
  • It also makes a great spread for bread any time of the year!
  • I prefer medjool dates, but any type will do. I avoid dates coated in sugar because some people have food sensitivities or allergies to sugar. Dates are plenty sweet without sugar.
  • Steps #1 and #4 make 2 cups date puree. If you want to buy date puree already made, you can skip those steps.
  • The toasted and ground almonds (steps #2 and #3) can be made as much as a week in advance and stored in a jar.
3 cups chopped dates
3 ounces almonds
1½ teaspoons cinnamon

  • To make the date puree, put the 3 cups of dates in a saucepan with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until the dates are tender. If a lot of the water cooks off, add more.
  • To toast the almonds, use one of the methods found here. This can be done as much as a week in advance or while the dates are cooking. I like to preheat my oven to 400°, line a jelly roll pan with foil, spread out the almonds, and toast them for about 10-15 minutes. Every 5 minutes, I turn them with a spatula so they are toasted on all sides. Watch them carefully as they brown quickly. 
  • Whirl the toasted almonds in the food processor until they are pretty fine. Take the nuts out of the processor. If it is a week ahead, store the nuts in a jar.
  • Put the dates and any leftover cooking water in the food processor and whirl until the puree is smooth. Add more water, if needed.
  • Add the cinnamon to the date puree and whirl again.
  • Add the nuts and whirl again..
  • Store in the fridge.

20130919

Watermelon Gazpacho


  • Since it requires no cooking, gazpacho is perfect for a hot summer day. Chilled gazpacho is refreshing. The complex flavor is a delight.
  • Some will find the olive oil too oily, so start with the smaller amount and decide how much you like. 

20130814

Falafel Chicken


  • I would have posted this recipe a few weeks ago when I first made it, but it tasted so good I forgot to take a picture. Last night, I did the same thing all over again. Luckily, I had a piece left over so I took the picture this afternoon.
  • With only three ingredients, it's very simple.
  • A friend gave me this recipe idea. Looking online, I see that some serve the chicken inside warm pita bread with hummus and slaw.
  • Warning: This chicken is addictive! I could not stop eating it! If you're counting calories, serve a large salad or a bowl of a broth-based soup first and maybe a glass of water before you serve the chicken. Serve it with one or two vegetables to help you fill up on more than chicken.
  • I used chicken thighs but you can use any chicken part. In fact, I suspect one could use this recipe with a fish filet or turkey meatballs or bison meatballs . . . you get the idea!
  • I prefer the skinned and boned chicken because that way you get more seasoning on the meat.
  • I used Telma brand falafel mix. I'm pretty sure any brand would work.

20130804

Cucumber Salad


  • This recipe comes from The Art of Jewish Cooking by Jennie Grossinger.
  • My mom used to make this salad most every summer. Momma often served it with fried fish. I believe she used white vinegar, so I wonder if she used a similar recipe from another cookbook.
  • I changed a few things: switched the pepper to cayenne, and left out the scallions. The vinegar seems too strong to me; I might increase the water from 2 tablespoons to 3 next time. I used salad cucumbers, which were not waxed, so I did not peel them. I prefer the milder flavor of kosher salt for this recipe.
  • Serves 4-6. 

20130326

Baba Ghanoush

Hand-chopped baba ghanoush
  • How do you like your baba ghanoush? Pureed or hand-chopped? This recipe has directions for both.
  • Once you roast the eggplant, this is a quick recipe -- especially if you use your food processor; hand chopping will take a little longer.
  • Baba ghanoush can be used as an appetizer or a sandwich filling. 
  • For more flavor, start with whole cumin seeds. Toast them in a dry skillet, and then grind them in a mortar and pestle.

20130324

Passover Chocolate Cake 2013 -- à la Robyn


Chocolate cake without chips
  • For the last three Passovers, I've adapted a chocolate cake recipe. This year's is the best ever! The batter is similar to last year's Passover chocolate cake recipe with a few changes including doubling the cocoa from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup. The addition of chopped dates was inspired by a cake my mom used to make and the topping comes from my cousin Robyn's Famous Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Walnut Cake.
  • It fell a little bit. Maybe I did not bake it long enough, but I'm telling you, after you taste it, you won't care what it looks like!
  • I used pistachios instead of walnuts thinking they would add color to the topping but they browned so much you cannot tell the difference. I recommend ground walnuts or pecans -- or sliced almonds.
  • I ground the nuts fine to prevent them from sinking into the center of the cake, however, I also thickened the batter with more cake meal (than last year) and the addition of potato starch this year. Who knows; maybe with the new thicker batter, the nuts could be chopped rather than ground.
  • Knowing that making your own whole-wheat cake meal might be a deal breaker, I'm betting you could replace the whole-wheat cake meal with regular cake meal. The two products behave the same when I use them in other recipes including cakes.
  • Here's the thing: I used two different pans. Both cakes fell but the one in the wider pan fell more. The cake that fell more was in a traditional loaf pan: 4.5" x 9.75" with tapered sides (and nearly 3" tall); it had chocolate chips on top. The cake that did  not fall was in a pan with straight sides; it is 3.5" x 10.25" (and nearly 2.5" tall); it had no chips. Perhaps the chips made a difference but I really think it had more to do with the width of the pans.
  • Getting the cakes out of the pans was a mess. I recommend making some parchment paper handles. See directions below.

20121204

Pumpkin Pudding


  • It's pumpkin pie minus the fuss and calories of the crust!
  • This is an amalgam of several recipes.
  • This recipe calls for a can of pumpkin puree but you can easily substitute yams, sweet potatoes, or some other winter squash. You can use store-bought puree or make your own.

20121202

Apple Sauce

Chunky pink applesauce
My father had a Jonathan apple tree in the backyard. (See below.) I remember sitting outside with my dad peeling apples with the juice running down our arms and the flies buzzing around. We would try to peel it in one continuous strip . . . just to say that we did!

We gave away bags and bags of apples, but we still had lots for us. Every fall, the whole family would pitch in and make applesauce. This went on for days . . . maybe weeks. My mom would can dozens of jars of applesauce. And, through the winter, we would eat it all! By the time I was in junior high school, I could peel and slice apples blindfolded.

I make applesauce different ways. Different apple varieties give different results. Sometimes I peel the apples, other times not. Sometimes I use only white sugar, other times I use brown, or a mix of the two, or honey or maple syrup. I've even made applesauce without cinnamon. See the Slicing Details below for tips on how to vary the texture (and color!) of your applesauce.

Applesauce can be eaten hot, lukewarm, or cold. It's great as a snack or as dessert. I love to pile hot steamed Macintosh apples over waffles and top them with a shake of cinnamon and a splash of maple syrup!

20121124

Turkey Mushroom Barley Soup

  • Turkey soup can be a meal in itself. 
  • Start with the Turkey Broth recipe. That includes the carrots, turkey meat, and bay leaves reserved from that recipe.
  • Adjust the amount of potatoes depending on how much stock you have, and how much barley you use.
  • Barley has gluten in it. To make this recipe gluten free, leave out the barley and use rice, wild rice, millet, or quinoa instead.

20121123

Turkey Broth

Thanksgiving 1957
  • I adapted this recipe from my brother's recipe for turkey barley and lima bean soup.
  • This is a great recipe for the day after Thanksgiving. Certainly, the amount of meat left on the bones will vary but either way this makes a rich turkey stock that can easily be turned into a tasty turkey soup. 
1 turkey carcass
2 large onions, cut in half
6 peeled carrots
6 stalks of celery
Salt
Peppercorns
2 bay leaves
  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Place the carcass on a jellyroll pan with the onions, carrots, and celery. Do not grease the pan. Do not line the pan with foil or parchment paper. The turkey will render some drippings that will brown on the bottom of the pan and you want to use these later. That's easier to do with a bare pan.
  • From time to time, turn the bones and vegetables as they brown. When I made this it took 1½ hours.
  • Transfer the bones and vegetables to a stock pot, breaking the rib cage if it doesn’t fit in your stock pot. 
  • Usually, drippings from the turkey and vegetables will gather and brown on the bottom of the pan. This will add a lot of flavor and color to your turkey stock. To retrieve it, soak a little water in the pan for a while and then you can scrape all of it into the stock pot.
  • Add just enough water to cover the bones and vegetables. 
  • Add salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves. 
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for at least an hour. 
  • When the stock tastes good, remove the bones and vegetables to a colander. Reserve the carrots for a soup or other use. Discard the other vegetables.
  • Pour the stock through a fine strainer. 
  • Pick the meat from the bones and reserve. Discard the bones.

20121103

Butternut Squash Soup


  • This is a rich and hearty soup  – great for a cold winter night. 
  • For the herbs, use one or a mixture of those suggested – basil, marjoram, thyme, or winter savory.
  • Top with sour cream or Greek yogurt, a dash of cinnamon, and a sprinkle of Spicy Toasted Squash Seeds.
  • This made a very thick soup -- too thick for my taste. By the time I added enough water to get the consistency right, the volume had nearly doubled, but the flavor was still wonderful.

20121102

Spicy Toasted Squash Seeds

  • Toasted squash seeds make a nice snack or a topping for soup or salad.
  • Any variety of winter squash seeds can be used for this recipe. I chose butternut squash. One large butternut squash has about ½ cup seeds.

20120930

Chalky Beans


  • My mom used to make this hearty entrée in the winter. I loved the texture of the beans. In high school, I renamed it "Chalky Beans," and that's what my family has called it ever since.
  • I modified the ratio of beans to meat so that it uses less meat. In fact, you could add even more beans.
  • This recipe tastes even better the second day. Consider making it a day in advance.

20120901

Escarole Salad with (Vegan) Italian Sausage


  • I know I say it all the time but this recipe is simple and delicious – and it's vegan!
  • I like to use homemade vinaigrette made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, and marjoram (or basil or thyme).
  • This salad tastes great with or without the olives.
  • The Tofurky Italian Sausage is seasoned with basil and sun-dried tomatoes. The nutrient and ingredient info is here and a photo of the packaging here.

20120630

Peach Cake

  • Roasted peaches and peach schnapps are the secret to this recipe. It's a way to get the peach flavor without drowning the batter in peach juice and ending up with a gummy mess.
  • I started with a recipe from Cook's Illustrated. They used almond extract in the batter and topping. I used cinnamon and peach schnapps instead.
  • I made a few other changes. They said to use light brown sugar but I only had dark brown. I forgot to add the vanilla, and the cake was fine so maybe that's an optional ingredient. I did not have vegetable oil spray and just used vegetable oil.
  • The sliced peaches for the topping marinate in a yummy mix of peach juices and schnapps. Do not add those juices to the cake (the batter cannot support all that liquid). Drink it! It is divine!

20120423

Gnocchi

It started with an email with a link to this video with a gnocchi recipe.

I typed it up so it was easy for me to use but with all the recent changes on Blogger, I lost the recipe. For now, I'm just reposting the link to the video and a photo of my version. Maybe another day, I'll retype the whole thing. Blogger has me bummed.

Chocolate Toffee Matzo

Arg! I wrote it, saved it, shredded my notes. Saved it to post another day....and now it's gone...ARG!!! Blogger I hate you!

20120422

Lhassi Pudding with Kiwi

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm posting yet another version of the Lhassi Pudding recipe. This time, I added kiwi and garnished it with black sesame seeds (to play off the black kiwi seeds).

20120412

Shmura Matzo















I love shmura matzos -- especially whole wheat shmura matzos. This week, I found this great video that shows how shmura matzot are made and wanted to share it with you. Shmura matzot are not cheap, but as my brother said after watching this video, "I"m surprised they do not charge more." Don't give them any ideas!

20120405

Passover Chocolate Cake 2012

Every year, I revise my recipe for Passover chocolate cake. Here's the link to the 2013 edition -- the best ever! It's even better than this recipe!

This cake is better the second day -- if it lasts that long! And (shhh, don't tell anyone) it's made with whole wheat matzo!

Edits
I started with  the recipe for Mrs. Strait's Passover Chocolate Cake and made so many edits, I decided it was time for a new post. Here's what I changed:

20120301

Carrot, Currant, and Candied Ginger Muffins

  • They are loaded! (See second photo.) This recipe fit into 12 muffin cups -- but just barely.
  • I happened to have walnut oil that I wanted to use up but canola is my usual first choice for muffins.
  • If you don't have (or don't like) currants, you can use raisins or chopped dried fruit -- or more carrots.
.
Adapted from: The Tassajara Bread Book
Makes 1 dozen (or more) muffins -- see note above
 .
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Click to enlarge.
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup honey
1½ cups skim milk
1 packed cup grated carrot
1 cup currants
1 cup slivered almonds
2 -4 tablespoons diced candied ginger

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Grease muffin cups (or line cups with muffin papers).
  • Combine dry ingredients.
  • Combine wet ingredients.
  • Mix the wet and dry ingredients together just until the flour is moistened. The batter should be lumpy. Overbeating will create tunnels in the muffins.
  • Add the carrots, currants, almonds, and candied ginger. Mix just until combined.
  • Spoon batter into muffin cups.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes. Muffins should spring back when you touch them with with your finger. Remember, they continue to cook after they come out of the oven.

20120227

Scrambled Egg with Snap Peas and Goat Cheese

  • I love the fresh flavor and crunchy texture of chopped snap peas.
  • This is more of an ingredient idea than a recipe, because everyone has their favorite way to make scrambled eggs. If you don't,  just search on YouTube.
  • If you prefer to make plain scrambled eggs and serve the sugar snap peas on the side, I suggest doubling or tripling the amount of sugar snap peas. In fact, you could make a lot and save the leftovers for a snack!
  • I rinse the mixing glass with water to keep the egg from sticking to the glass -- plus, the water keeps the egg tender.
  • Fresh herbs are preferable, but I only had dried herbs. Try thyme, basil, or tarragon.
  • This recipe is for one egg. If you add more eggs, you need more herbs but only a little more than what you'd use for one egg, so the herbs do not overpower the dish.

cooking oil or butter
½ cup chopped sugar snap peas (or less)
½ teaspoon fresh thyme, basil, or tarragon (or a pinch dried) (optional)
1 egg
pinch sea salt
pinch of black pepper
2 tablespoons goat cheese
  • Rinse a glass with water. Do not dry it. Add the egg and beat it.
  • Warm  a small skillet. Add cooking oil or butter. 
  • Add the chopped sugar snap peas and thyme. Stir fry a few minutes.
  • Be sure the pan is hot. If you use butter, it should be bubbling.
  • Add the egg to the peas. Add the salt and black pepper.
  • Use your favorite method to cook the egg.
  • When the egg is almost done, remove it from the heat, add the goat cheese and stir.
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