Monday, June 27, 2011

6-27-2011 Mu Shu Madness

Oh yes, I must be completely mad, because tonight, I made Mu Shu chicken complete with Mu Shu Pancakes from scratch.

The mu shu madness all started recently while I was dining at P.F. Changs. Near our table, I spotted a waiter filling pancakes to serve to a table. Instantly, I knew I needed to attempt to recreate the dish at home.

Making the Mu Shu Chicken was very easy, and the result was yummy. I highly recommend giving it a shot, and serving it with good quality flour tortillas, such as La Tortilla Factory found at Tom Thumb, or going mad and making your own pancakes.

Making the Mu Shu or Mandarin Pancakes was a huge project, that was tedious, fun, and well worth the effort. A friend of mine described her experience of making gnocci, as a "labor of love", I would describe this as the same.

Mu Shu is always served with hoisin sauce which can be tricky to find kosher. I found some at the Christmas Tree Store, the brand is Joyce Chen, it's very tasty.

We also had Ginger Salad, Steamed Brown Rice, and Asian Asparagus. Our dinner was A-MAZ-ING!

Here is the Mu Shu Recipe and Pics:

Mu Shu Pancakes

makes 20 pancakes

3 C. all purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1 C. boiling water
1/4 C. cold water

2 T. vegetable oil
1/2 t. sesame oil

Place the flour and the salt in a large bowl, and mix with a fork.

Slowly add the boiling water, stirring slowly as you add it in.

Add the 1/4 C. cold water slowly, and then use your hands to form a stiff dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth.

Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 45 minutes. (You can make the Chicken filling during this time.)

After 45 minutes, divide the dough in 4 equal portions.

Take one portion and roll into a 1 1/2 inch wide log. Cut this log into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Flatten the ball with your palm. Use a rolling pin and roll until 3 inches in diameter. Repeat with all of the pieces. You should have 20, 3 inch circles.

In a small bowl mix together the two oils.

Take half of the circles and brush with a pastry brush lightly with the oil. Place another circle ontop. You will have 2 circles ontop of eachother, sandwiched with oil. You will have 10 stacks.

Use the rolling pin and roll the stacks of twos together until they are 8 inches in diameter.

Seperate each stack with a paper towel or parchment.

Take a large frying pan, and the pan with 1 tsp. of oil and then use a paper towel to wipe the entire inside, there should be a tiny bit left on the pan.

Heat the pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add a stack and cook about 30 seconds, just until light brown specks start to form on the bottom. Flip the stack over and cook 30 more seconds on the other side, also until the light brown bubble show.

Remove to a plate, let cool a few seconds, and peel apart the stack, you will now have 2 mu shu pancakes. Repeat with the rest of the stacks.


Mu Shu Chicken

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into very thin pieces
1 8 oz. carton mushrooms, I used baby bellas, cut into matchsticks (julienned)
2 green onion, green part only, chopped
1 (14 oz.) bag, coleslaw cabbage mix, with white cabbage, carrots, and purple cabbage
1/4 t. garlic salt
2 T. vegetable oil

Chicken Marinade:

1/2 t. sugar
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. sherry, I used kosher cooking sherry
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 T. sesame oil


1 T. soy sauce
1/2 T. sherry
1 t. sugar

To marinate the chicken: Place the cut up chicken in a large ziploc baggy. Add the sugar, and mix thoroughly. Add each ingredient one by one in the order listed above, mixing thoroughly in between each time. Squeeze out the excess air, seal, and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Mix together the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a large skillet or wok on high and add 1 T. of the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and stir fry for 5-10 minutes until the chicken is slightly browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate.

In the same pan add the other 1 T. oil, and heat on high. Add the mushrooms and the green onions. Cook for a minute or two until the mushrooms give off a little of their liquid. Turn down the heat if they start to burn.

Add the coleslaw mix and stir with the mushrooms until mixed. Add the garlic salt.

Stir fry until the cabbage is soft, about 5 minutes.  Return the chicken to the pan, and add the sauce. Stir everything together.

To assemble, take a teaspoonful of hoisin sauce and spread in the center of the pancake. Next, add a generous scoop of the mu shu chicken, and fold up the sides, and then the bottom.



Have a great night! Pin It

Sunday, June 26, 2011

6-26-2011 Sunday Night Hamburgers

This blog post is dedicated to my dear Grandmother, Mimi, who passed away today. I am sad that my Mimi is forever gone, but comforted knowing that her life of suffering (from severe arthritis for many years) is over.

I would love to share with you somet hings about my Mimi, where do I begin?

Mimi was the epitome of class, style, and poise. She taught me manners at a young age, and she strictly enforced them...Sit up straight, napkin in your lap, left arm in your lap, fork in your right hand, elbows never touch the table, chew with your mouth closed, eat slowly, and it goes on and on.

She was a very creative woman, surely where I get my creativity from. She loved to decorate homes (especially with English antiques), be very fashionable by wearing beautiful clothing (mainly Escada),  and love cooking and baking. She used to make birthday cakes for my mom, aunts, and uncle when they were children.

Mimi was never scared to share her opinion, whether it be that she thought I needed a haircut, or that she didn't like my outfit. I had special clothes I would have to wear when I was with her, and she herself gave my hair a trim from time to time.

She endlessly drank Coca Cola. Her favorite foods were chicken salad, scones (stemmed from her love of London), steaks, and hamburgers.

My grandmother was very grand. She enjoyed the finer things in life, from Rolls Royce to Mercedes, to having me rub Chanel cream on her face for long periods of time.

One of my favorite memories of Mimi, is one summer going to her house for a week with my cousins to "Camp Mimi." She even had hot pink shirts made with the Camp Mimi logo on them. We spent the week cooking, baking sugar cookies, going on a train ride, having a picnic, and just hanging with Mimi.

She will be greatly missed.

I already had plans to have my whole family over for dinner tonight. After the bad news came in this morning, there was even more reason for us to all get together. Nothing soothes sadness better than being around loved ones, and of course eating.

I made the most delicious hamburgers, the recipe for that is below. We also had potato wedge fries, green beans, corn on the cob, and skillet peach cobbler. The meal definitely raised every one's spirits.

One important part of good hamburgers is the accoutrements. I always make a thousand island dressing a.k.a.  McHockald's Secret Sauce. I also always have a platter of fresh cut tomatoes, lettuce, and hamburger pickles. You can never go wrong putting out a variety of sauces too, ketchup, mustard, mayo, whole grain mustard, dijon mustard, relish, etc.

Here is the hamburger recipe:

Jay's (and Lee Hock's) Burgers

This recipe is inspired from Jay's Burgers in Kosher Palette 2. It has barbeque sauce in with the meat, which gives it a nice flavor, not a barbequey taste.  

2 pounds ground beef (80/20)
1/2 large onion, very finely chopped
3/4 C. bread crumbs, plain or seasoned
1/2 C. barbeque sauce, I used KC Masterpiece
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 T. dijon mustard
1 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. pepper

Preheat the grill. Mix all of the above ingredients. Shape meat into balls and then patties. Grill to your liking. . If you want your burger to have a bbq flavor, feel free to brush the patties generously with extra bbq sauce, and more when you flip it.


Enjoy your life, live each day to the fullest. Be happy. Hug your loved ones.

Have a good night.

R.I.P. Mimi

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Friday, June 24, 2011

6-24-2011 Just the Two of Us Shabbat Dinner

King Hock and I are constantly entertaining our friends and family with Shabbat dinners. This is one of our greatest pleasures.

Rarely, do we forgo having guests, where it's just the two of us (not counting the kiddos.) When it is just us, it's an extra special time for us as a family, also after the kids go to bed, as a couple. We sometimes stay up late, deep in coversations, or we crash early depending on how we feel.

I'm looking forward to our "Just Us" Shabbat dinner tonight.

It is really hard for me to keep in mind that I am only cooking for 2. I try not to make as many dishes, but I always end up adding more as I cook, I can't help myself.

Here is our menu for tonight:

1. Challah
2. Salmon Cakes with Horseradish Aioli
3. Spinach Salad with Pink Poppy Seed Dressing, recipe below
4. Carrot Cumin Soup with Israeli Couscous, recipe below
5. Sticky Orange Herb Roasted Whole Chicken, see recipe below
6. Stuffed Mushrooms, see recipe below
7. Steamed Haricot Vert
8. Cookie Dough Ice Cream Bars

Here are some of the recipes and pics:

Pink Poppy Seed Salad Dressing

1/2 C. sugar
1 t. dried mustard powder
1 t. salt
1/2 C. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 T. grated white onion, with the juices released from grating
1 C. vegetable oil
1 1/2 T. poppy seeds

In a large measuring cup place the sugar, mustard powder, salt, red wine vinegar, grated onion and juice, and vegetable oil. Use an immersion blender, and blend for 5 minutes until mixed and very thick. Stir in the poppy seeds. Refrigerate until ready to use. Serve with any salad, goes well with a fruit salad too.


Carrot Cumin Soup with Israeli Cous Cous

I do not like cooked carrots, but I love this soup. This outstanding recipe is from Kosher by Design Short on Time, I tweaked it a bit. My version is perfect for 2 people plus a little extra.

1 1/4 C. water
pinch of salt
1 C. raw Israeli couscous

1 T. olive oil
1/4 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 t. ground cumin
pinch of tumeric
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of black pepper
pinch of salt
6 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 C. chicken broth
1 C. unsweetened soy milk

soy sour cream, garnish
green onions or chives, finely chopped for garnish

To make the Israeli couscous:

Bring the water and pinch of salt to a boil in a small pot. Add the couscous, cover with a lid, remove from heat, and set aside.

In a medium pot, place the olive oil and heat over medium. Add the onion and celery. Sautee for 5 minutes until the onion is tranlucent. Add the cumin, tumeric, nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Stir until the spices are fragrant.

Add the carrots and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are fork tender.

Use an immersion blender, and blend right in the pot until smooth. Stir in the soy milk.

To serve, make a mound of Israeli couscous in the middle of a soup bowl, ladle the soup around the couscous. Add a dollop of soy sour cream, and sprinkle on some chopped green onions or chives. Sprinkle with a little bit of cumin, and serve.


Sticky Herb Orange Roasted Whole Chicken

YAY! This is the first recipe I have made from my new cookbook, Kosher by Design Teens and 20 somethings by the talented Susie Fishbein. I made it a little bit differently then she did, I can't wait to eat it tonight. I used a chicken stand. I think they sell them at Lowe's, I found mine at Walmart in the outdoor grilling area.

1 whole chicken
salt and pepper
1 orange
6 T. orange marmalade
2 T. teriyaki sauce
1/2 t. dried or fresh rosemary, crumbled or chopped
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the orange in quarters. Stuff the inside of the chicken (or the chicken stand) with  3 of the quarters. If using chicken stand, place the chicken on it. Use the remaining orange quarter and squeeze the juice all over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.

Mix together the orange marmalade, teriyaki sauce, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder in a medium bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush this all over the chicken. Set aside the remaining glaze.

Place chicken in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove, and brush with glaze. Put back into the oven for another 20 minutes, brush again, and put back into the oven for another 20 minutes. Bake the chicken for 30 more minutes until it is nicely glazed and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees. (Total cooking time 1 1/2 hours)

Remove from the oven. Let stand 10 minutes, then cut into pieces to serve.

The above pic is before the chicken was placed in the oven the first time.

This is a picture of the chicken after 1 hour of cooking.

Stuffed Mushrooms

This also is inspired from my new cookbook KBD Teens and 20 somethings. King Hock LOVES mushrooms, he is going to flip! These actually come from the appetizer section, although I'm making them as a side dish. I halved the recipe because it's for 2, this is the full recipe.

In case you are wondering Panko bread crumbs are Japanese bread crumbs that are crispier than regular bread crumbs. You can find them in the Asian section at any grocery store. There is an organic one I like that comes in a plastic container, Kikkoman also sells them in a box.

1 pound mushrooms, white, or baby bella
2 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 C. panko bread crumbs
6 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 C. non dairy cream cheese, I use Tofutti

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Clean the mushrooms by washing them in water, and drying with a paper towel removing the dirt.Remove the stem by pulling it out. Set the mushroom caps aside, and finely chop the stems.

In a large fry pan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped stems, onion, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and basil. Sautee until the mushrooms start to release a bit of liquid (5 minutes).

Sprinkle on the panko breadcrumbs. Cook for 1 more minute stirring.

Remove from the heat and mix in the green onion and soy cream cheese. Stuff this mixture into the mushrooms caps, making mounds ontop.

Bake for 25 minutes.

This is before the mushrooms were baked.

Here is a pic of the Cookie Dough Ice Cream Bars from yesterday this is so you can see the layers:

King Hock just walked in the door and saw the table set with only 4 places, he said "Is is just us tonight?!", I shook my head yes, and then he goes, "Wow!"

Have a good Shabbat! Pin It

Thursday, June 23, 2011

6-23-2011 Cookie Dough Ice Cream Bars

I am not one of those who goes around licking spatulas, fingers, and bowls. For example, if I am cooking a pot of soup, and I want to taste it to check if it needs more salt, I will use a clean spoon each time I add salt and taste, this could be 10 spoons!

It's plain and simple, I am a germ phobe. I am scared of even my own germs when I'm healthy. I go to crazy extremes to prevent anyone from getting sick from eating any food I prepapre.

I will always remember when I was in culinary school, in a cake decorating class, when I spotted a girl sucking icing out of the tip of her pastry bag, and then she went on to ice a cake with it. Gross.

I have a confession though, when I made the cookie dough for the Cookie Dough Ice Cream Bars tonight, I caught myself licking the spatula and empty bowl.  It was very uncharacteristic of me. The truth is, I couldn't help myself.

Normally, when I make cookie dough I would never do this because of the raw eggs (again, I'm a germ phobe.)  No need to worry about getting sick from the cookie dough in these bars, they are sans eggs.

This recipe is easy and delish. It's a great dessert to pull out of the freezer on a hot day.

Thank you to Lauren at for the idea to make these.

Here is the recipe and pics:

Cookie Dough Ice Cream Bars (Pareve)

Cookie dough, 1 recipe, see below
3 C. vanilla ice cream, I used So Delicious
2 C. chocolate chips

Line an 8 or 9 inch square pyrex dish with wax paper. Press the cookie dough mixture evenly into the bottom, it helps if you wet your hand a little bit. 

Next make several scoops of the ice cream on top of the cookie dough, and spread together, so that the cookie dough is covered by ice cream.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl, first for 30 seconds, then at 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth and melted.

Pour the chocolate over the top and spread evenly.

Place in the freezer for at least 1 hour.

Cookie Dough Layer:

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons soymilk
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Cream margarine and sugar until well mixed. Add the soy milk, and vanilla, mix in. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and chocolate chips. Mix until dough has come together.


Right now, they are in the freezer hardening, I will take a picture tomorrow to show you the end result. 

Enjoy your evening.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

6-21-2011 Lee Likes

We just got back from a beautiful bris, at which a sumptuous feast was served. My boys loved the food I can't remember the last time I saw them eat so much. Therefore, I did not have the joy of cooking dinner tonight.
Instead of recounting my dinner to you, I am going to share with you some of the things I am liking, loving, and desiring at this moment, "Lee Likes"

1. Ezekiel Bread with Avocado

Toast the bread very well (I use either the original (pictured) or sesame). Then spread 1/2 of a ripe avocado ontop. Spritz a few drops of fresh lemon juice ontop, and sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper, and salt.

2. Manuka Honey

This honey is from New Zealand, and supposedly it can heal a wide range of conditions from infections to stomach ulcers. It is not cheap, it costs around $30 a jar. I take 1 tsp. a day first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, it has definitely helped my heartburn. Manuka honey is also known to help boost energy levels and well being. You can find it at Central Market, Sprouts, and possibly Whole Foods.

3. Kosher By Design: Teens and 20-Somethings

Product Details

I was a little skeptical about buying this cookbook for a few reasons, but after reading reviews on Amazon, I changed my mind. I just received it on Friday, and there are a bunch of recipes I want to try: Cranberry Chicken Dippers, Hot Pretzel Challah, Turkey Sliders, Honey Mustard Slaw, Tator Tot Casserole, Molten Deep Dish chocolate chip cookies, and the list goes on and on.

4.  Ray Bans RB 3293

I'm so excited because I just ordered these with my prescription in them. I originally thought I wanted aviators, but after going to a store and trying on all the different models, I realized these were the ones I liked.

5.  $5 Gap T-Shirts

See that t-shirt? Yup, I paid $5 dollars for it today at the Gap. They had about 100 things that were an additional 50% off of the sale price, basically they are giving their clothing away. Check it out, fast!

6. N.A.P Luxe Blanket and Temperpedic Suprima Pillow

The Suprima Pillow by Tempur-Pedic available at Rest on 7 Mattress and Furniture Gallery in Branson and Springfield, MO

I cannot live without either of these things. I'm not sure who likes the blanket more, me or my dog Charlie.I will say that the pillow does take some getting used to, but once you are used to it, you won't be able to sleep without it. 

7. Bosch Mixer

This is a bread and challah makers dream come true. I do not own one of these, but I have been dreaming about getting one for 5 years now!

8. Talenti Sea Salt Caramel

Sea Salt Caramel 

I'm not just saying this because I am related to the owner of this company. THIS FLAVOR IS THE BEST ICE CREAM EVER!! It is salty, and sweet. The base is a caramel ice cream and it has pieces of chocolate covered sea salt caramel inside. So rich, so good!

9. Duncan Donuts XL Water

Every once in a while, I take the boys for a breakfast treat on the way to school. I order them donuts, and I ask for an extra large cup of water. The cup holds enough delish icy water for me to sip on for hours, and it has a fat straw, love everything about it.

10. Donut Pan

Standard Doughnut Pan

Talking about donuts, I have my eye on this donut pan. It is an easy way to make much healthier baked donuts. I'm sure the boys would love homemade donuts.


I'm nearing my 100th post, woohoo! I would like love your feedback on your favorite recipes. Please either leave a comment at the bottom of this post, or email me at

Tell me the recipes of mine that you have made and loved, and if there is anything you would like to see me make in the future

Have a lovely night!
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Monday, June 20, 2011

6-20-2011 Homemade Gnocci

Phenomenal, unreal, out of this world, and beyond delicious are a few ways to describe tonight's dinner. I made homemade gnocci with meatsauce, a green salad with honey mustard dresssing, steamed yellow squash, and garlic bread.

 I will admit making the gnocci was labor intensive, but very well worth it. If you do decide to give it a shot, the outstanding results will be your reward. If you are not up for the challenge or the mess, you can always buy premade gnocci and just make the meatsauce.

The gnocci (pasta potato dumplings) are like pillows of joy.  If made correctly, they will melt in your mouth.

The salad I made consisted of mixed greens, chopped tomatoes, cucumber slices, red bell pepper pieces, and carrot slices. The salad dressing on it (homemade honey mustard) was amazing, the recipe for that is below.

The recipe for this gnocci (pronounced No-Key) is a culmination of different recipes I found while researching online. Here it is:

Homemade Gnocci

2 large Russet potatoes unpeeled, must be Russets
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 c. all purpose flour + extra for dusting

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and crosswise, you will have 8 pieces. Place in a large pot filled with cold water.

Place the pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon and remove the potatoes from the water, place them on a large cutting board. Save the water in the pot, and set aside.

Quickly peel away the skins, and discard. You can use a paring knife if they don't automatically peel off easily.

Use a fork and scrape away at the potatoes to fluffily "mash" them, you can also use a potato ricer which is even better. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, until they are no longer hot. Sprinkle with salt, approx. 1/4-1/2 tsp.

Use a pastry cutter (a.k.a. a bench scraper) and push the potatoes into a mound. Pour over the beaten egg, then the flour. Use the pastry cutter and scrape underneath and fold the potatoes with the egg and flour until it is lightly crumbled.

Gently pull the crumbly mixture together and start to very gently knead it. You want the mixture not to be too sticky, add more flour if necessary, up to 1/4 C. You want it to be moist, but not sticky.

Once a dough has formed, cut it into 8 equal pieces with a knife or pastry cutter. Roll each of these pieces into a long rope on a lightly floured surface, roll the width of your thumb. Repeat will all 8 pieces.


Now cut each rope into 3/4 inch pieces. Use the tines of a fork to create ridges by pressing each piece into the tines with your thumb, see picture. Dust with flour as necessary to prevent the gnocci from getting to sticky.

Bring the pot of potato water back to a boil. Drop in 20 gnocci at a time. Gnocci are done when they are floating at the top of the water for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon and remove the gnocci to a serving dish. Ladle on the meatsauce, recipe next.


Homemade Meatsauce

Pouring marinara sauce from a jar over cooked ground beef is convenient, but will never compare to making it like this.

1 ½ lbs ground beef
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1-28 oz. can chopped tomatoes, Italian Style
1 can tomato paste
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. onion powder
½ t. pepper
Brown meat with onion and garlic. Mix in tomatoes and paste. Add sugar, salt, oregano, onion powder, and pepper. Cook sauce covered anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours on a low simmer, stir every so often  to make sure bottom of pot isn't burning.  Add a few tablespoons of water if sauce is too thick.
Here's a close up!
Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing
1/4 C. whole grain mustard
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1/4 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 C. honey
1 clove garlic, minced
Place all of the above ingredients into a jar with a lid. Screw on the lid and shake until thoroughly combined.
It would not be right if I wrote a post about gnocci and didn't mention a really cool gnocci tradition they have in Argentina. On the 29th of every month it is Gnocci Day, supposedly it is good luck to eat gnocci on that day. Argentineans will place money under the plate or bowl they are eating the gnocci from, and this is so that they should become wealthy, and be lucky. I wish we had that holiday here in the U.S.!
I hope you have a nice night.
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