Friday, April 29, 2011

4-29-2011 Welcome Back Shabbat

We are back at home and getting into the swing of things. I dove right into the kitchen to make our shabbat dinner.

Our menu for tonight:

1. Challah
2. Carmelized Onion Baba Ghanoush
3. Greek Quinoa Salad
4. Apple Cider Slaw
5. Pickles, Olives, and Dolmas (I bought these at Central Market, they are Cedar's brand)
6. Tuna Cakes
7. Tuscan Lemon Chicken
8. Mustard Roasted Potatoes
9. Steamed Green Beans
10. Cake Batter Blondies
11. Cookies-n-cream Truffles
12. Fresh Fruit

After having excellent baba ghanoush at a restaurant in Miami, I decided to make my own. I looked through several cookbooks to get an idea of how to make it. Most of the recipes included raw garlic, which gives me terrible heartburn. My remedy for this was to carmelize the onions and garlic. The result was fabulous.

King Hock is not a quinoa fan, but that doesn't mean I will ever stop trying to make him like it. I made a delicious Greek quinoa salad for tonight, we will see how that goes with him.

The Tuscan lemon chicken, and mustard roasted potatoes are both Ina Garten recipes. I adore Ina Garten. I actually don't own any of her cookbooks, but Aunt B does. I had the pleasure of reading all of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks on our vacation. Her recipes are all simple and gorgeous.

I can't take the credit for the cake batter blondies. I found the recipe on another blog ( right before Pesach, and have been dreaming about making them ever since.

Also while on vacation, King Hock's cousin informed me about cookies and cream truffles. After hearing about them, I couldn't wait to get home to make them. They are spectacular, and super easy to make.

Here are the recipes and pictures:

Carmelized Onion Baba Ghanoush

1 large eggplant
1 onion, sliced
6 T. olive oil
1 large lemon, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3 T. mayo
3 T. tahini (optional, I left this out)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick the eggplant on all sides with a fork. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour until soft.

Split the baked eggplant, and allow to drain. Scoop out the pulp, and discard the peel.

Heat 2 T. of the olive oil in a sautee pan, and add the onion. Sautee on medium, until carmelized, turn down the heat if the start browning too fast. Once semi carmelized, add the garlic, and cook until lightly browned.

Using a food processor, or an immersion blender, blend the cooked eggplant, onions, garlic, remaining 4 T. olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mayo, and tahini (if using) until creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning. You may want to add more lemon if you like it tangier.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Greek Quinoa Salad

1 C. uncooked quinoa
1 cucumber, peeled seeded and diced
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley, minced
1/2 c. feta cheese, optional for a dairy meal

2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. olive oil
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Cook quinoa according to the package. Let cool. Mix together the cooked and cooled quinoa, cucumber, tomato, parsley, feta cheese (if using).

In a small bowl mix together the dressing ingredient. Pour over the quinoa. Stir until completely combined.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Apple Cider Slaw

1 package Angel Hair Shredded Cabbage
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 c. slivered almonds, toasted
handful dried cranberries

In a small bowl, mix together the apple cider vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl place the cabbage, almonds, and dried cranberries. Pour dressing over and toss. Best served immediately, so cabbage stays crunchy.

Tuscan Lemon Chicken

1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, flattened
Kosher salt
1/3 cup good olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved

Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt on each side. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a small measuring cup. Place the chicken in a ceramic or glass dish just large enough to hold it flat. Pour the lemon marinade over the chicken, turning it in the dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the chicken 2 or 3 times while marinating.

When ready to grill,  turn a gas grill on low heat. Place the chicken on the cooler side, skin side up, and weigh it down with the dish you used for marinating. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the underside is golden brown. Turn the chicken skin side down, weight again with the dish, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Place the lemon halves on the cool side of the grill, cut side down for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut in quarters, sprinkle with salt, and serve with the grilled lemon halves.

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
2 yellow onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the potatoes into one-inch cubes (halves or quarters for the small potatoes, several more cuts for the larger ones). Place potatoes into a large plastic bag with a zipper seal. Peel onion and cut in half. Slice crosswise to about 1/4 inch thickness to make half rounds and add to bag.

Add the olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to bag; seal, and toss together. This can be prepped a few hours in advance and left in the plastic bag until ready to roast.

Line a sheet pan with foil and spread potatoes and onions onto pan. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour; until potatoes are lightly browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss the potatoes occassionally to prevent sticking and for even browning.

Garnish with chopped parsley and more salt if needed and serve immediately.

Cake Batter Blondies

1 box yellow cake mix, Duncan Hines preferably
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/3 – 1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional hard to find parve)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray an 8x8 baking dish with non stick spray.

Combine the cake mix, oil, and egg in a large bowl. Add the soy milk slowly – you want the batter to be as dense as possible.  Mix in the rainbow sprinkles, and white chocolate chips if using. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

You want to bake it just until the edges turn golden brown, the center will be under baked, but this is what you want.

Cookies-n-cream Truffles

45 chocolate sandwich cookies
1 package Tofutti soy cream cheese, softened
2 bags, parve chocolate chips

Place 9 of the cookies in a medium ziploc. Place 36 of the cookies in a large ziploc. Using a skillet or a meat mallet (the flat side) Crush the cookies until fine.

Mix the contents of the larger baggy and the soy cream cheese until thoroughly combined.

Melt the chocolate over a double broiler, or in the microwave at 15 second intervals until melted.

Form the cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Drop the balls into the melted chocolate. Use a fork and shake of the excess. Place onto a sheet pan covered in parchment or wax paper. Place the truffles in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Store in the refrigerator.


Have a great weekend! Pin It

4-28-2011 End of Pesach Eating

I haven't blogged or cooked in a week, whoa! The reason for that is because we went on a vacation to visit King Hock's Aunt B in Florida, and made a little trip to Disney World.

As you can imagine I am still pretty tired from our travels. I always need a vacation after my vacations.

We first arrived in Miami, and went straight to a restaurant that was kosher for Passover. What a treat, after slaving in the kitchen every single meal for 5 days. We ate an assortment of dishes including, Israeli salad, baba ghanoush, mixed meat fajitas, chicken schnitzel, french fries, and roasted potatoes. Here are some pictures:
Next, we arrived at Aunt B's house. I was excited to find out she had made a lot of the Passover recipes off my blog, a huge compliment.  Some of the recipes turned out even better than when I made them. She made chocolate chip meringues, chocolate matzah toffee, flourless chocolate cake (was out of this world!), and sun dried tomato basil chicken.
One morning for breakfast we had matzah with lox and cream cheese on it, which was awesome.
So happy Passover is over. King Hock said he didn't think it was too bad this year. I must disagree, I cannot tell you how happy I am to be able to eat normal again. I am still relishing every bready morsel I put in mouth.
I'm looking forward to having challah tomorrow night.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

4-22-2011 Shabbat for A-rock

My hubby has lots of nick names for his brother such as A-rock, and A-rizzle to name a couple. We are so excited to have A-rock come for Shabbat dinner tonight. He is always complimentary of my cooking, which  makes me want to cook for him even more.

Since it is still Passover, I had some menu planning parameters. Here is what I'm making:

Spinach Hearts of Palm Salad
Cucumber Salad
Avocado Dip
Tomato Baked Gefilte Fish
Chicken Marbella
Steamed Brocolli
Baked Kale
Roasted Potatoes
Chocolate Matzah Toffee, Chocolate Covered Raisins, and Cookies

Although it seems like a lot of work, it actually is not. Not baking challah takes a huge chunk out of my normal workload.  I made the brownies and cupcakes yesterday. The chicken marbella has been marinating since yesterday, and the rest of the things shouldn't take too long to prepare.

Chicken marbella is one of my all time favorite chicken recipes, it's delish! I had to change the recipe a bit to make it ok for passover. I haven't had it in a while, so I am really looking forward to it tonight.

Here are a few of the recipes I am making tonight:
You may of seen me post something similar before, these are tailored for Pesach.

Spinach Hearts of Palm Salad

1 package of Spinach
1 can hearts of palm, sliced
handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 avocado diced
10 white mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/4 C. ketchup
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 C. vegetable oil (safflower)
1/4 C. apple cider vinegar
1/4 t. pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

Whisk the dressing ingredients together until combined. In a large bowl place the spinach, hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and mushrooms. Drizzle the dressing on, and toss the salad.

Cucumber Salad

2 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 C. white sugar
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt and pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, water, vinegar, salt, and vinegar, until the sugar dissolves. Add the cucumbers and onions, mix together. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Avocado Dip

This is good with carrot and celery sticks, and matzah crackers or matzah. I learned to make it this way from my friend Michal. After we had it at her house one time, King Hock wouldn't stop raving about it to me and Michal. I swear every time we eat over there now she makes this just for him.

My secret with avocadoes is to let them ripen on the counter. Once they are a little bit soft, I place them in the refrigerator for up to a week. There is something about them being refrigerated when ripe, that makes them extra creamy.

2 avocadoes
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Peel the avocadoes, and remove the seeds. Place the flesh into a small bowl. Mash with a fork until creamy. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mix together, and taste to see if it needs more salt, or lemon juice. I prefer it really lemony.

Chicken Marbella

This recipe is out of the Kosher Palette, although I have seen it in numerous cookbooks. You should see the page it is on in my Kosher Palette, it is all stained, you can tell I have made it a bunch of times.

1 C. pitted prunes
1/2 C. pitted green olives
1/2 C. capers with 3 t. liquid (I had to omit this for Passover)
1/4 C. fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 C. red wine vinegar (I had to use apple cider vinegar)
1/2 C. olive oil
1 head garlic, minced
kosher salt
1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 C. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 C. white wine
1/2 C. fresh chopped Italian parsley

Combine the prunes, olives, caper, liquid, oregano, vinegar, olive oil, and garlic, in a large shallow ovenproof dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the chicken, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Uncover the chicken and sprinkle with brown sugar. Pour wine over the chicken and bake 1 hour covered.

Uncover and bake 30 minutes more or until golden brown. Can broil the skin if it is not browned.

Meatloaf for Passover

1.5 lbs. Ground Beef
2 eggs
1/4 C. green onions, chopped
1/4 C. red or white onion chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C. matzo meal
1/4 C. ketchup
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

1/4 C. ketchup
2 T. packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the above ingredients in a bowl. In a small bowl mix together the glaze ingredients. Place in a greased loaf pan. Spread the top with the glaze.

Bake covered for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.


We are halfway through Pesach, and I'm getting impatient. When I went to the grocery store yesterday, the bakery section was torturous with it's sights and smells.

I am ready to start blogging and cooking normal food again. Only 4 more days!

Have a Great Shabbat! Pin It

Thursday, April 21, 2011

4-21-2011 Matzah Pizza Margherita

What is it about Passover? I feel as though I am constantly starving. Does eating bread really make that much of a difference?

I was so hungry today, I actually ate matzah pizza on 2 separate occasions. First, it was my snack immediately following lunch, an example of my ravenous state.

Then, for dinner tonight, I made pizza margherita, and served it with a mixed green salad with fresh herb balsamic vinaigrette. I just finished that dinner and then had a smorgasbord of Passover desserts. I am still hungry, help!

The dessert binge included chocolate covered raisins, chocolate toffee matzah, brownies (made from a Manishewitz mix), cupcakes (made from a Streit mix), and some very berry Passover muffins.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the results from the mixes I made. The cupcakes were moist, and hard to tell they were for Pesach. The brownies had a little bit of that matzah flavor, but were good enough.

Here are some pics and recipes:

Matzah Pizza Margherita

Pizza or Marinara Sauce
Shredded Mozzarella
Tomato, thinly sliced
Fresh Basil, Chopped

Preheat the broiler.

Place the matzah on a sheet pan or pizza pan covered with foil or parchment paper. Spread on 1-2 T. pizza sauce per matzah. Spread sauce to cover the entire matzah. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4- 1/2 C. shredded cheese. Lay the slices of tomatoes on top of the cheese.

Place in the oven. Watch pizza, will be ready when the cheese is bubbling and nicely browned. Do not under cook, you want it more on the well done side.

Remove from oven, and sprinkle with basil.

Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette

This salad would make a nice dinner with poached eggs on top. If it wasn't Passover, you could serve it with crusty bread for a complete meal.  Feel free to put any salad topping you like in this salad.

1 package mixed greens
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1 avocado, diced

1 recipe Fresh Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette

Place all of the above ingredients into a salad bowl, and toss to coat.

Fresh Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 t. sugar
1/2 t. fresh garlic, minced
1/4 t. onion powder
1/8 t. pepper
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 t. fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/2 t. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. olive oil

Place all of the above ingredients into a jar with a lid, shake to emulsify. I didn't have a jar, I made it in a bowl, and used a fork to whisk it to emulsification.


I am excited to cook Shabbat dinner tomorrow night. My brother in law with a gigantic appetite is coming. He always enthusiastically relishes my food.  I can't wait to stuff him up! Pin It

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

4-20-2011 Vamos Argentina!

I know I have told you before, but my hubby King Hock, is obsessed with Argentina. When he was 22, he went on a trip across South America. When he got to Buenos Aires, Argentina, it was love at first site. He then, promptly decided to pick up and move there.

His love affair continued while living there for 6 years. At 28, he decided it was time to come back to the US, he missed his family too much. Argentina still holds a special place in his heart.

I have been fortunate enough to visit there a few times. Upon arriving my first time, I instantly fell in love too. For me it was 2 things, shopping and the food. The shopping there is incredible, great prices and unique fashions.

The food was what really sealed the deal for me. I can go on and on about it for hours. I love their coffee shops, steak houses, gelato shops, empanada stands, and their bakeries.

The first thing that comes to most people's minds when Argentina is mentioned,  is beef. They are famous for their meat, particularly grilled. The meat is always served with chimichurri sauce, something I could not get enough of while I was there.

King Hock got a taste of his second home tonight because I made an Argentinean dinner.

 Our dinner was fantastic! We had: Grilled London Broil with Chimichurri Sauce, Puree de Calabaza, Ensalada con Palmitos y Salsa Golf Viniagrette, and Ensalada de Remolacha. Pics and Recipes are below.

Also, this morning I made some Very Berry Passover Muffins, which are all gone now. I got the recipe for these moist muffins from my friend Sarah. Thanks Sarah, they were a hit! You can find that recipe below too.

Grilled London Broil

1 London broil steak (1.5-2 lbs.)

1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 C. olive oil
2 T. honey
2 cloves garlic
pinch of dried rosemary
pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 t. dried basil

Mix all of the above marinade ingredients, in a gallon size Ziploc baggy. Add the London broil, press out the extra air and seal the bag. Place into the refrigerator and marinate for at least 8 hours, overnight is best. Turn the meat over in the marinade half way through.

Heat the grill. Remove meat from the marinade and discard marinade. Grill 10-15 minutes per side, depending on the size and thickness of the meat, and how well done you like it.

Let rest 10 minutes covered with foil. Slice across the grain into thin slices.

Chimichurri Sauce

This recipe comes from the cookbook Seven Fires written by Francis Mallman, the most famous chef in Argentina

1/2 C. water
1/2 T. salt

4 cloves garlic
1/2 C. fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 C. fresh oregano
1 t. crushed red pepper flake (I left this out because I didn't have it kosher for Passover)
1/8 C. red wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar because of Passover)
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil

Crush the garlic into a medium sized bowl. Mince the parsley and oregano, very finely. Add to the bowl. Add the crushed red pepper. Whisk in the vinegar, then the oil. Then the salamuera. Place into a jar with a lid. Let sit for at least an hour before serving, the longer the better to let the flavors develop. Can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Puree de Calabaza

This translates to puree of pumpkin. In Argentina they use a pumpkin or squash we cannot find here in the US. I was able to replicate a very similar version with butternut squash.

1 large butternut squash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the squash in half, and remove the seeds. Place cut side down in a greased baking dish. Bake for 45-60 minutes until easily pierced with a fork.

Remove from the oven. Let cool on the counter, until you can easily handle it. Peel of the skin, and place the flesh into a bowl. Mash until smooth. Serve immeadiately or keep warm in the oven at 200 until ready to serve.

Ensalada con Palmitos and Salsa Golf Vinaigrette

Hearts of Palm is a very typical food of Argentina. Salsa golf is the most popular Argentinean condiment, think our ketchup.

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 can hearts of palm, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1 cucumber, sliced thinly
Salsa Golf Vinaigrette, recipe below

In a large bowl, toss together the above ingredients.

Salsa Golf Vinaigrette, you probably will have some leftover

1/2 C. mayo
1/4 C. ketchup
1 T. apple cider vinegar

Whisk together in a small bowl.

Ensalada de Remolacha

Remolacha= Beets, another very typical Argentinean food. I found this delicious recipe on, Snack Girl suggest keeping a batch of this in your fridge for a quick healthy snack.
 My hands are stained a beautiful shade of red, you may want to wear gloves.

1 pound or bunch of beets, peeled
1/2 C. orange juice
1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
2 T. olive oil
4 T. fresh herbs, I used parsley and basil, can also use chives
pinch of salt, or to taste

Grate the beets and place in a medium salad bowl. Add the orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, and salt. Mix together completely.

Very Berry Passover Muffins

These are sweet, maybe that is why they disappeared so quickly. I am going to make them again tomorrow. I changed the original recipe slightly.

Makes 1 Dozen

1 cup Sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla (if you have it kosher for passover)
½ cup cake meal
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup potato starch
3 eggs
1 C. fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2-1 C. fresh blueberries
Zest of lemon rind


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners.

In a large bowl mix together the above ingredients, until combined, do not over mix.

Spoon into muffin cups, filling 1/2 full. Bake for 30 minutes. 


All of this talk of Argentina is making me want to hop on a plane right now.  Buenos Noches, Good Night!
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Monday, April 18, 2011

4-18-2011 Happy Passover

There is no escaping it now, Passover is here.

I've been in the kitchen all afternoon working hard on our seder food.

My refrigerator is busting at the seams, here's a peak inside:

The brisket is in the oven slow cooking to tender perfection. Hubby is a huge meat lover, and he is going to be ecstatic when I serve the brisket tonight.

The chicken broth for the matzah ball soup is simmering away. I think the secret to unbelievably flavorful chicken soup is cooking it for several hours. Right now my house seems as though it may permanently smell like chicken soup, but any smell is welcome after the horrible odor from the self clean cycle I did on my ovens yesterday.

The tomato baked gefilte fish is done, and chilling in the fridge.

The chocolate toffee matzah is also finished. I know you are not supposed to eat matzah until the seder, but I couldn't help myself with this treat. I "tasted" it for quality assurance. Yup, just as good as I remembered it.

I also made an angel food cake from a Manischewitz mix, not convinced it will be anything special.

When I was at the grocery store today for the 100th time this week, I discovered some kosher for passover yogurt I had never noticed. I bought it to eat for breakfast, and was inspired to make some passover granola (recipe below) to go with it. I'll serve it with fresh sliced strawberries too, yum!

I still have to make a salad, the potato kugel, and balsamic portobello mushrooms (recipe below).

Here is the granola recipe and picture:

Passover Almond Granola

4 matzahs, broken in small pieces
1/4 c. almonds
2 T. oil
1/4 c. honey
2 T. water
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 T. brown sugar
1/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place the almonds in a ziploc, and close the zipper. Using a meat mallet or a frying pan, crush the nuts.

In a large bowl, place the matzah pieces, crushed almonds. In a small bowl mix together the oil, honey, and water. Pour the liquid over the matzah almond mixture. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, sugar, and salt. Toss until all combined.

Place on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.


Balsamic Portobello Mushrooms

I am making this for my brother Drew. He came up with the idea to make this because he loves balsamic vinegar, and mushrooms.

3 Portobello mushrooms, sliced into strips
1-2 T. olive oil
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove, garlic
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. salt, or to taste
1/4 t. pepper, or to taste

In a large skillet, pour in the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and turn heat onto medium. Add the onion and sautee 2-4 minutes, until starting to soften, add the garlic, and cook another 1 minute.
Add the mushrooms, balsamic, basil, salt and pepper. Lower heat and cook for 7-12 minutes, until the mushrooms are completely cooked.


Have a Happy Passover! Pin It

Sunday, April 17, 2011

4-17-2011 What a Day

What a day, oh my gosh. I can't tell you how happy I am right now to be sitting in bed in my pajamas. 

My day started at the crack of dawn at 6 a.m. I woke up early to make the pumpkin muffins for my son's second birthday party. I didn't make them ahead of time because I would never want to serve anything that was not as fresh as possible.  They turned out really cute:

I then went to the birthday party to set up. The party was a blast, most importantly the birthday boy had the best time. The muffins were great.

Next, I came home and baked my sister a birthday cake. She and my son share the same birthday, isn't that cool?

I made her an awesome chocolate cake from scratch, look below for the recipe. I know the other day I was  blabbing about how good cake mixes are, but this cake is truly an exception. Sorry for giving you this recipe right before passover. 

After I made the cake, it was time to get down to business. I made my kitchen ready for passover, a huge undertaking. This part of my day was a brutal 5 hours. I am happy to say I'm finished. Now, I can focus on the meals I'll be preparing over the next few days.

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake

This cake comes from my favorite cookbook, The Kosher Palette. I have made it a zillion times, always turns out moist, and yummy.

2 cups sugar
1 ¾ cups flour
¾ cup cocoa
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup non-dairy creamer or soy milk (I used soy milk, could use almond or rice milk)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add all of the ingredients together, except the boiling water, mix thoroughly. Fold in the boiling water. The batter will be very loose. Pour batter into a well greased cake pan. You can bake the cake in either a bundt pan or a 9”x13” pan, or 2 round pans. Make sure to coat the pan in a lot of baking spray, so the cake will not stick.

Bake the bundt cake for 25-45 minutes depending on the pan, 45 mins. for bundt pan. Cake is ready when the center springs back when touched, and the cake starts to pull away from the sides, and/ or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If you baked it in a bundt pan, make sure to let it cool completely before removing it.

Is great alone dusted with powder sugar. Of course, it is good with any icing. I used the Duncan Hines whipped, for convenience.
And now for some Passover inspirations:

I am so excited to announce that King Hock went to Home Depot today and bought us a brand spanking new grill. Now we will be able to make grilled food during the holiday. Yay!

We will definitely make hamburgers and hot dogs at some point. I'm really wanting to try to replicate the kosher for passover hamburger bun like the one I had in New York City, last Passover.

I have an idea to make an Argentinean Dinner, using our new grill. I would make grilled meat, chimichurri sauce, wedge salad with hearts of palm and salsa golf dressing, and some type of Argentinean side dish. I'll update you during the week with these recipes.

I also am looking forward to our annual Matzah Pizza Night. I like to get fancy with it and make Margherita Pizza with thinly sliced tomatoes, garlic, and basil. I also want to make some pizzas with assorted vegetables. I might try to make a white pizza, depending if I can find some certain kosher for passover items. In my opinion, matzah makes an excellent thin crust pizza.


I'm going to try and get some rest now. I have a looooonnnnnngggg day ahead of me tomorrow, going to relish my relaxation time right now. Goodnight! Pin It

Friday, April 15, 2011

4-15-2011 Shabbat for Sue

Whoa! I cannot believe it is Friday already. This week flew by. Must be because of all my Passover anticipation. The next few days, I am going to savor eating bread as if I am never going to eat it again. Tonight, I may eat an entire loaf of challah myself.

We are going to celebrate my good friend Sue's birthday tonight with a sumptuous Shabbat dinner. 
I finished the chocolate chip cake I told you about yesterday, you can see a picture of it below.

I changed up my usual Shabbat dinner framework. I usually serve fish in the first course with the salads, but tonight I am serving meat with the salads, and making fish as the main course.

Also, I got off kind of easy because Sue and my other friend who is coming, are both bringing a few dishes.

Tonight's Menu:

1. Challah- Used the Bread Machine because it makes 2 loaves, and I definitely do not want leftovers
2. Beef Kofta Kebab- recipe below
3.  Peanut Chicken Wings- recipe below
4. Zaatar Bean Salad- recipe below
5. Caesar Salad- Sue wanted to make this
6. Dijon Breaded Salmon- recipe below
7. Roasted Asparagus- another friend is bringing this
8. Quinoa- Sue is bringing this
9. Chocolate Chip Cake
10. Fresh Fruit

Here is a picture of the cake and my dining room table already set (you may spot my dog Charlie peeping out the window):

Beef Kofta Kebab

 1 pound Ground Beef
1/4 onion, finely chopped
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 t. salt and pepper
1/2 t. meatball spice (I found this at an Israeli grocery store)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the above ingredients. Form into balls. Place 3 balls onto a skewer, and form the balls into a cigar shape along the skewer.

Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from skewer to serve.
If serving as a main course, serve with rice pilaf and a salad for a complete meal.

Peanut Chicken Wings

1 t. toasted sesame oil
1 C. water
1/2 C. sugar
1/3 C. soy sauce
1/8 C. peanut butter
1 T. honey
1 T. rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package chicken wings

Place all of the above ingredients except the chicken into a large skillet.  Turn heat on medium, and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the peanut butter is smooth.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
 Place the wings in the skillet in the sauce. Cover the pan, and simmer on low 30 minutes. Remove lid, .and place the wings and the sauce into a baking dish. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, or longer until they are carmelized.

Zaatar Bean Salad

3 cans of different beans of your choice, I used kidney, cannelini, and black beans
1/4 C. green onion, chopped
2 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 C. olive oil
2 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. salt and pepper
1 T. zaatar spice, (Can be found at an Israeli Grocery Store, or in some Kosher sections)

Drain the beans and rinse them in a colander. Place into a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, and mix together. Place in the refrigerator at least an hour, to let the flavors develop.

Dijon Breaded Salmon

This is the easiest recipe ever! I can't remember where I got it from, I have been making it for many years, it's a favorite.

1 salmon fillet
dijon mustard
seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the salmon fillet in a baking dish. Spread the top generously with dijon mustard. Sprinkle on bread crumbs to cover. Bake for 30 minutes or until salmon is done.


There you have it. It is hard for me sometimes to let other help out, but tonight I made an exception. So, I am happy to report I will not be exhausted at my shabbat dinner tonight. From now on, maybe I should start taking everyone up on their offers to help.

Enjoy the pre Pesach Shabbat, eat lots of bread! Shabbat Shalom.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

4-14-2011 Chocolate Chip Cake

Tomorrow night I am making a Shabbat dinner to celebrate a dear friend's birthday. She wants to keep it low key, and not make a big deal of her birthday.  Well sorry, (Sue) I love birthdays, and of course I am going to make a big deal to celebrate yours.

I have been hounding her all week to tell me her favorite foods, so I can make an extra special dinner. I'll post about the dinner tomorrow. One food my friend is obsessed with is chocolate chips, particularly cold ones (kind of strange.) So, I'm going to make her a chocolate chip birthday cake, and then store it in the refrigerator.

The recipe I'm using involves a cake mix. I don't understand why cake mixes have a bad rap. Personally, I love them, they always turn out perfectly moist, and incredibly delicious. Although, I do still bake scratch cakes every so often, cake mixes are nice when you are short on time.

I remember when I took my first cake decorating class, and the teacher told us a story about how they did a research project to figure out if people liked cake mix cake or from scratch cake better. The results were astounding, every single person in the study liked cake mix cake better.

I'll post a picture of the finished cake tomorrow.

Chocolate Chip Cake

This awesome cake is versatile because it can be baked in a bundt pan, a tube pan, 2- 8 or 9 inch pans, or as cupcakes. You can get creative with what flavor cake mix and pudding you choose.

1 Yellow Cake Mix, Duncan Hines only
1 (3.4 oz) box Jello Pudding Vanilla Flavor Powder
1 C. water
4 eggs
1/3 C. vegetable oil
1 (12 oz.) bag chocolate chips
1 T. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease the baking pan/s of your choice.
In a large bowl mix with an electric mixer, mix the cake mix, pudding powder, water, eggs, and oil for 2 minutes. Scraping down the bowl as necessary.
In a small bowl toss the chocolate chips with the flour (This prevents them from falling to the bottom). Mix them into the cake batter.
Pour batter into baking pan.

Bake for:

 Tube or Bundt Pan- 50-60 minutes, or when a cake tester or tooth pick is inserted, it comes out clean

Layer Cake Pan- 8 inch: 33-36 minutes, 9 inch: 28-31 minutes, or when the cake is starting to pull away from the sides

Cupcakes- 18-21 minutes, or when you press the center it springs right back.

After removing from the oven, let warm cake stand in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Then remove from pan, and place onto a cooling rack. DO NOT FROST, until completely cook.

Use Frosting of your choice. I will probably use the Duncan Hines Whipped Chocolate Frosting.

Cannot wait to eat a piece of this! I bet Sue is going to be excited. Pin It

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

4-13-2011 More Passover Recipes

It's countdown time, we are 5 days away from Passover.

 I have been trying to nail down some Passover menus, but my mind has been scattered. Because of my lack of organization, I feel as though I have bought the entire Pesach section at the grocery store. Ketchup, spices, oils, vinegars, chocolate, sugars, etc.

Lacking a particular food item could get in the way of my cooking, I would hate that. Now you understand why I went on a shopping spree in the passover aisles.

 The worst part will be when Passover is over, and I'm sure I'll have a ton leftover. Yuck!

For my seder, I am planning on making charoset, tomato baked gefilte fish (recipe below), some kind of salad that I haven't decided yet, matzah ball soup, brisket (recipe below), potato kugel, a veggie, and an assortment of desserts (recipes below).

Tomato Baked Gefilte Fish

The first time I had this, was at my friend Michal's house. It is as easy as it gets. After having this, you will NEVER go back to the jarred type. People who swear they hate gefilte fish, try this, and then can't get enough.

1/2 C. marinara, or canned tomato sauce
1 frozen gefilte fish log or loaf

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the loaf from the plastic packaging.
Run the frozen loaf under water to loosen and remove the parchment wrapping. Discard the wrapping.
Place the log onto a greased baking dish.
Pour the tomato sauce over the gefilte fish, covering the entire thing.
Bake for 1.5 hours, uncovered.
Remove from the oven and cool on the couter a bit before placing into the refrigerator.
Chill completely before serving.
Slice into thin slices, and arrange on serving platter.
Serve with an assortment of horseradish and spicy sauces, I usually do horseradish with beets, schug, and creamy horseradish sauce. Wasabi mayo is also good with it.

Passover Brisket

1 brisket any size
ketchup- kosher for passover
brown sugar- C&H brand is K for P
1 onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
garlic powder

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Line a greased baking dish large enough to fit the brisket with the sliced onions. Place the brisket in the baking dish ontop of the onions.
Spread ketchup to cover the top.
Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Cover the top of the baking dish with heavy duty foil, sealing it. I usually wrap mine 3 times, to ensure a good seal.
Place in the oven for at least 4 hours, the longer the better.
After 4 hours, and when the aroma is apparent, remove from the oven. Let stand 30 minutes.
Remove brisket to a cutting board and thinly slice AGAINST THE GRAIN, and reserve the pan juices.
Place the slices of brisket back into the baking dish with the pan juices, and serve immediately or place into a warm oven until ready to serve. Or-
Cover and place into fridge until you are ready to warm it to serve.
Reheat in the oven at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

Chocolate Toffee Matzah

I can't survive Passover without this, it's my favorite! King Hock complains that this treat always sticks to his teeth. Who cares when it's that good?!

4-6 unsalted matzohs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or unsalted Passover margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup coarsely chopped chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large (or two smaller) cookie sheet completely with foil. Cover the bottom of the sheet with baking parchment — on top of the foil. This is very important since the mixture becomes sticky during baking.
Line the bottom of the cookie sheet evenly with the matzohs, cutting extra pieces, as required, to fit any spaces.
In a 3-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter or margarine and the brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (about 2 to 4 minutes). Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and pour over the matzoh, covering completely.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°. Bake for 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the mixture is not burning (if it seems to be browning too quickly, remove the pan from the oven, lower the heat to 325°, and replace the pan).
Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the chopped chocolate or chips. Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the matzoh. While still warm, break into squares or odd shapes. Chill, still in the pan, in the freezer until set.


I will probably make this for our seder because my mom loves this. If you are not big on using non dairy whipping cream, you could use a jam or jelly in it's place.
This is a beautiful dessert, and has a bit of fanciness to it.

4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, kosher for passover imitation
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons potato starch
1 pint non dairy whipped cream, kosher for passover
fresh fruit, such as sliced strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, blueberries, etc.

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9 inch circle on the parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Overbeaten egg whites lose volume and deflate when folded into other ingredients. Be absolutely sure not a particle of grease or egg yolk gets into the whites. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice and potato starch.
Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center. Imagine a boat.
Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.
In a small bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. Remove the paper, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream (or a thin layer of jam), top with fresh fruit.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I'm not the biggest chocolate lover, but King Hock is. This cake is as rich as it gets, but any chocolate lover will go nuts to eat this. I got this recipe from

1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
18 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter or margarine for meat meals
6 eggs

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
Cut the butter or margarine into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This is always sure to impress your guests.

strawberries, with stems on, washed and dried
chocolate chips

Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring each time, until the chocolate is completely melted. Holding onto the stem, dip the strawberries into the chocolate, leaving a small amount of red peaking out at the top. Place onto a plate. Put plate into the refrigerator, until chocolate has hardened and until ready to serve.
For children, after dipping into the chocolate and placing onto the plate, sprinkle with kosher for passover sprinkles.

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

Super easy and always a winner.

2 egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil.
With an electric beater, beat egg whites until peaks form. Add sugar into the egg whites 1 teaspoon at a time. Gently stir in vanilla and salt, beat until the egg white are stiff and shiny. Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop mixture by teaspoon onto the sheets. Turn off the oven, place the cookies inside the oven and leave them for a few hours or overnight.

Apricot Torte

I got this recipe from my cousin Robin. I am dying to try it because I love anything apricot, but sadly, I don't have a kosher for passover cuisinart bowl. Maybe next year I will.
Also, it's gluten free!

8 oz. Almonds, plus ¼ c. sliced almonds used for garnish

1 c. sugar, plus a tiny bit for the pan
8 oz. Dried apricots
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg, (not sure if you can find this kosher for passover, if not, omit it)
¼ tsp. cloves, (not sure if you can find this kosher for passover, if not, omit it)
8 large eggs, separated
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 325.   Place nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and sliced nuts in a single layer on another sheet.  Toast until golden and aromatic, 8-10 min.   Shake the pans halfway through toasting to make sure they brown evenly.  Set aside to cool.  

 Grease a 10 spring form pan and sprinkle with sugar.   Set aside.  Place 1/4 c. sugar, whole almonds, and apricot in the bowl of a food processor, process until finely chopped, 1-2 mins. 

Transfer to a medium bowl, add lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and stir to combine; set aside.  Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and ½ c. sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 min.   Transfer batter to large bowl, set aside.  

Clean and dry beaters, then beat the egg whites with salt and lemon juice until frothy,   Slowly add ¼ c. sugar, and continue on medium speed until peaks form and are stiff but not dry.   Gently fold beaten whites into beaten yolks.  Add the apricot and almond mixture, and fold in just til combined.

  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until torte is golden brown and toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, 50-60 min.  It may be necessary to cover the torte lightly with foil to stop the top from burning.   Transfer to wire rack to cool for 10 min.  

Run a knife around the edge of the torte, and release from the pan.   Allow to cool completely on the wire rack.   Place the apricot preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.   Remove from heat and strain.   Brush glaze onto cooled torte.  Sprinkle with made for Passover powdered sugar and top with sliced almonds.


I hope you got some ideas from the recipes above. If all else fails, you could always use a Manishewitz cake or brownie mix. I have made them before, and been happy with the results. I actually bought a few out of curiosity, and will be giving them a try. I'm laughing at myself now, because I have to remind myself, Passover only last 8 days. I think I have enough dessert options now to last a month!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

4-12-2011 Fast Asian Dinner

King Hock (my hubby) was going to be absent from our dinner tonight. So, at 5 p.m., I had a big decision, make a quick dinner, or drag 2 wild boys to a restaurant by myself.

I chose to make a quick dinner. I could always make them chicken nuggets and french fries, and then what am I supposed to eat?

I hadn't originally planned on cooking tonight, but I quickly got my creative juices flowing.

I always keep my pantry and fridge well stocked with just about anything and everything for times just like these.

I decided to make an Asian Orange Chicken, Sesame Spinach Sushi, and Rice.

First of all, I loved it. Anytime chicken is prepared in a sweet sauce, I love it.
My older son couldn't get enough, he had 2 servings of chicken and rice. Although my younger son, who usually has an heartier appetite, had too many snacks before dinner, and didn't eat a single bite. Drives me crazy when they don't eat.

When King Hock reads this post, he is going to be upset he missed this dinner. He always adores it when I make Asian food.

Here are pics and recipes:

Orange Chicken

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes or small pieces
2 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 large orange, zest and juice
1/4 t. fresh grated ginger, or ginger powder, or crystallized ginger
3/4 t. red pepper flakes (I left this out because I served it to my kids)
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 T. ketchup
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. soy sauce
1 T. cornstarch, dissolved in 2 T. ice cold water
1 orange, peeled, and cut into segments  (supremes) for garnish

In a large skillet, place the olive oil, and turn the heat onto medium high. Add the chicken, and stir fry until all sides are browned.

Remove the chicken to a plate.

In the same skillet add the orange juice, orange zest, garlic, ginger, red pepper, brown sugar, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, water, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stir in the cornstarch water mixture.

Add the chicken, cover the skillet. Lower heat so the chicken is simmering. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve garnished with fresh orange segments, as shown in the picture above.


Sesame Spinach Sushi

I know it's another Susie Fishbein recipe. I just love her cookbooks, I can't help myself. This is really tasty. Be sure to squeeze out all of the water for the best results.

4 (9 oz.) Bags fresh spinach leaves
1/2 c. sesame seeds
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. toasted sesame oil
2 T. sugar (I would use less, I found it to be a little sweet for my taste, maybe 1 1/2 T.)

Pour 1/2 inch water into a large pot. Add the spinach. Turn heat onto medium, and cover the pot.

Cook for 2-3 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Drain into a sink, and press out as much water as possible.
Return spinach to the pot.

In a small frying pan, spread the sesame seeds in a single layer and heat them over medium heat for 30-60 seconds until they turn golden brown or start to pop. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar, until the sugar has dissolved. Add this to the spinach in the pot, and mix.

Divide the spinach into thirds and place each onto a piece of parchment paper. Roll it, using the paper to help form a skinny log. Open the paper and cut each log into slices, 1 inch thick.

Dip one end of into the toasted sesame seeds. Place on a platter to serve. Can be served with soy sauce to dip. Might also be yummy, to dip into a wasabi mayo.

I know I promised Passover desserts, they are coming tomorrow. Pin It

Monday, April 11, 2011

4-11-2011 Baking with the Boys pt. 2- Pumpkin Muffins

The boys and I were baking all together again this afternoon.  I think it's their new favorite activity. We made amazingly moist pumpkin muffins. Here is why:

My baby is turning 2 on Sunday, I can't believe how time flies. We are having a birthday party for him around lunch time, so I am going to serve his favorite food, pizza.  Instead of a cake or cupcakes, I am going to make pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting.

I really excited about the party favors, I ordered a mix of personalized M and M's with his face on them, and some with mickey mouse on them (his party's theme).

I promised myself I would never be one of those mom's who denied their children any type of treats. My motto is, if you deny them sweets, they only want them more.

My friend's children love to come to my house because we always have a huge supply of candy, sugar cereals, and juice boxes. My kids do not sit around all day eating this junk, in fact I would say they want it less because it is always there. Don't get me wrong, they still love sweets.

Anyways, making pumpkin muffins in place of cupcakes is very out of character for me. With all of that said, these muffins are outstanding, and I know the children (and adults) at the birthday party, will love them.

You will not be able to eat just 1 of these muffins, they are quite addictive.

The Best Pumpkin Muffins
1 C. all purpose flour
1 C. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz.)
2 eggs
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin cup with muffin papers.
In a large bowl mix together all of the above ingredients, until combined. Pour muffin batter into the muffin cups, filling them almost to the top.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until when you press the middle of one of the muffins, it springs back.
I promise tomorrow I will post some much requested Passover dessert recipes.
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

4-10-2011 Sunday Dinner with the Fam

Tonight we had dinner at my sister and brother-in-law's house.  My sister, Ashley, and I collaborated on making dinner. We both share a love of cooking and food, it runs in our family.

 My brother-in-law Marc was happily enjoying his dinner, when he mentioned that the food was as good as eating at a fine restaurant. Wow! What a compliment.

Ashley and Marc have a great grill, so we put it to use tonight. We made Spice Rubbed Grilled Salmon with a Homemade Spiked BBQ Sauce, Grilled Asparagus, Cheese Mashed Potatoes, and a Mixed Green Salad. Yum!

This was my first time to ever make BBQ sauce, and will not be the last. It was very easy to make. After eating homemade barbeque sauce, I think I will never be able to go back to the bottled variety.

Pics and Recipes:

Spice Rubbed Grilled Salmon with Homemade Spiked BBQ Sauce
For the Salmon:
4 Salmon Fillets, skin on or off, about 4 oz. each
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. kosher salt, cumin, paprika, dry mustard, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
1/8 t. cinnamon (optional)
Preheat the grill. Mix the above ingredients together in a small bowl and rub onto the top side of the salmon.
Place salmon onto the heated and greased grill spice side down.
Grill for 6 minutes per side, or until done.
For the Homemade Spike Barbeque Sauce:
1/2 C. whiskey
1/4 C. pineapple juice
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. onion, minced
1 t. garlic minced
2 t. paprika
1 t. chipotles in adobo, minced
2 T. honey
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. ketchup
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper, freshly ground
3 T. butter or margarine, cut into cubes
Combine whiskey, pineapple juice, vinegar, onion, garlic, paprika, and chipotles in a small saucepan over medium high heat.
Bring to a boil and reduce until there is a little bit of liquid left (about 1/4-1/2 C.)
Stir in the honey, tomato paste, ketchup, Worcestershire suace, salt, and pepper. Whisk in cubes of butter, a little at a time.
Transfer to a glass bowl and set inside a bowl of hot water to keep warm until ready to put on salmon.
Grilled Asparagus
Bundle of Asparagus, woody ends snapped off
juice of 1 lemon
2 T. olive oil
sprinkle of salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Place asparagus on a plate and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Let sit for 20 minutes, or until ready to grill.
Heat the grill.
Place asparagus on the grill for 8 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.
Drizzle with homemade or bottled salad dressing, or squeeze more fresh lemon juice ontop (optional)
Cheese Mashed Potatoes
This recipe is a real treat for me because at home I rarely cook dairy. These mashed potatoes were not too cheesy, they had just a hint of cheese.
4 baking potaotes, peeled, and chopped
1/2 C. shredded cheese of your choice, I used Colby Jack
4 T. Butter
Salt and Pepper
Milk, only needed if potatoes are dry
In a pot of water with the potatoes, place on the stove and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are fork tender. Depends on the size you cut the potatoes (about 20 minutes for pieces cut small)
Drain the potatoes into a colander, and place back into pot.
Use a potato masher and mash the potatoes. Add the butter, and cheese. Mix with a spoon.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Add some milk if the potatoes seem too dry. Mix until everything is thoroughly combined, and creamy.
The salad I made was made up off the top of my head at the spur of the moment. It had mixed greens, avocado, cherry tomatoes, hearts of palm, and spicy pecans. I also concocted a dressing, which I would love to give you a recipe for, but I didn't use measurements, I just threw a bunch of stuff in.
The whole dinner was yummy! You should definitely give the homemade BBQ sauce a try sometime, you will love it.
Have a nice night.
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4-10-2011 Some Passover Poultry Recipes

The dreaded "P" word is around the corner, and I am wishing I could just Pass it Over. Most years we escape to New York City, which saves me a great deal of effort. Nope, this year we are staying home, and I won't have the luxury of calling up a kosher restaurant and ordering in a kosher for passover hamburger that's complete with a real bun. I have to man up, and make the burger and bun myself.

Don't get me wrong, I always love the cooking part of Pesach. It's the pre-cleaning part I loathe. The past few days, I have been planning my menus, recipes, and such. I always get disgusted as I browse Passover recipes, they are all laden with margarine. It's like we might as well sit there eating a stick of margarine.

My plan is to cook simple healthier dishes, and save the margarine for the desserts. I will make and serve a lot of fresh fruits, salads, and vegetables.

Some of my friends have been requesting Passover recipes, so I posted some chicken recipes below.

For our Seder, I am going to stick with very traditional dishes like matzah ball soup, brisket, and gefilte fish (not the nasty jar kind).

 If you have any Passover recipes you absolutely love, please send them my way:

Here are some good Passover Chicken Recipes:

These 3 chicken recipes come from my cousin Robin, who host large seders every year.

Utterly Delicious Chicken with Onions

Preheat oven to 350.

*Chicken- you can use 2- 8 piece cut up chickens or 12 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 large onions, sliced thin
4 cups red wine (can use Manishewitz concord grape)
Put the chicken in a baking pan, sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle with garlic powder (don’t be skimpy, you can never have too much garlic)
Lay the onion pieces atop the chicken, spreading them around.
Pour the red wine over the chicken.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes-1 hour. Uncover, baste and bake for another 30 minutes to get nice, crispy onions, and a lovely glazed skin. (Serves 10-12)

Baked Chicken with Herbs
12 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless /or 2- 8 piece cut up whole chicken
1 ½ tsp. pepper
6 tsp. tarragon, divided
6 tsp. chives, divided
6 tsp. parsley, divided
¾ cup margarine
¾ cup dry white wine
½ c. fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. paprika

Preheat oven to 375. Combine pepper and 2 tsp. EACH of the herbs in a zip lock bag (the original recipe called for 1 c. flour and 1 tsp. salt in addition to this stuff but I have left them out to accommodate for Pesach and it worked well without them).
Add chicken pieces, a few at a time and shake well to coat. Place each chicken piece in a large roasting pan, sprayed with Pam.
Combine margarine, wine, lemon juice, and the remaining 2 tsp. of each herb in a saucepan. Heat on medium stirring until well combined.
Pour over chicken, cover with foil.
Bake for 1 hour covered, then remove cover, sprinkle with paprika and bake another 30 minutes or so, until chicken is lightly browned. (Serves 10-12)

Balsamic Herb-Rubbed Chicken
½ c. basil leaves
½ c. fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. Chopped rosemary
2 Tbsp. Chopped thyme
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (Imitation for Passover)
¾ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
12 boneless, skinless, breasts or 2 cut up 8 piece chickens

Preheat oven to 350. In food processor, chop basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and red pepper flakes. Pulse until it forms a coarse herb paste.
Place chicken pieces into baking dish sprayed with Pam. Rub each piece with the paste, coating chicken completely. Bake, uncovered, for 1 ½ hours, or until cooked through.

These next 3 recipes are from Susie Fishbein's Passover by Design, and were suggested by my cousin Robin, and I have made them before numerous times:

Glazed Chicken Breasts with Strawberry Salsa

This chicken turns out gorgeous with it's red strawberries. The chicken and strawberry combination is quite addictive.

4 boneless, skinless breasts of chicken
Salt and pepper to season
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 shallot, Minced
1 tsp. potato starch
½ c. chicken broth
3 Tbsp. Strawberry preserves
1 ½ Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar


2 c. fresh strawberries, chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped red onion
1 ½ Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
Dash ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
Juice of 1 lime

Heat grill and grill chicken until done. Or heat a grill pan over medium heat, sear chicken on both sides, 4-5 minutes per side, cook until done.

In a saucepan, add olive oil and minced shallot and sauté on low heat until soft, about 4 min. In another bowl, dissolve potato starch in the chicken stock. Add it to the pan. Add jelly and balsamic vinegar. Cook until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and coat evenly on all sides with the glaze.
Prepare the salsa: Place chopped strawberries into a small bowl. Toss with red onion, balsamic vinegar, pepper, mint and lime juice. Allow flavors to blend for 10 min. Serve with chicken.

Greek Garlic Chicken

I love this recipe, it is very aromatic. I remember going to a friend's house for Shabbat once, and walking in, taking a whiff, and asking my friend "Did you make Greek Garlic Chicken?!"

2- 8 piece cut up chickens
2 onions, cut into large chunks
2 lemons
12-16 sprigs fresh oregano
8 cloves garlic, halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ c. olive oil
1 c. white wine
1 ½ c. Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
½ c. whole Kalamata olives for garnish

Preheat oven to 450. Place the chicken in a single layer in baking pan sprayed with Pam. Add onion chunks. Slice the lemons in half lengthwise. Squeeze the lemon halves over the chicken. Cut each lemon half into 4 pieces, and add to the chicken.
Set aside 4 sprigs of oregano and strip the rest of the oregano leaves. Scatter the leaves and the stripped sprigs over the chicken. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and wine. Toss the mixture together. Sprinkle the chopped olives over the chicken.
Bake, uncovered, for 45 min.-1 hour. Transfer to a platter and garnish with whole olives and reserved oregano sprigs.

Tomato Basil Chicken

I make this recipe year round, it is delish!

2- 8 piece cut up chickens
2 large tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 (8-oz. Bottle Italian dressing)
½ c. fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
Jar of sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil

Preheat oven to 350.
Place chicken in single layer in sprayed baking dish.
Place chunks of tomato into food processor and pulse to chop. Add dressing, basil, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse to puree and emulsify.
Pour the tomato basil dressing over the chicken pieces.
Bake, uncovered for 1 hour.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves.


I will continue adding Passover recipes this week, check back for more! Pin It