Honey Glazed Apple Tarts

September 14, 2016


The trick to these apple tarts is thinly and evenly slicing the apples. That and the judicious use of cinnamon sugar above and below the apple slices. And using cooking spray on the apple slices before baking to seal in moisture. And brushing honey over the tarts when they are warm from the oven to make the tarts shiny. Ok, so there are a few tricks.

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Maple Banana Almond Macaroons

September 7, 2016


The Banana Cookie recipe from Donna Hay’s new cookbook, Life in Balance: A Fresher Approach to Eating, sounds like its shouldn’t work; and the sight of the batter will not inspire more confidence. Have faith, though, and you will be rewarded with moist macaroons that taste intensely of banana and faintly of caramel and maple.

The ingredients are extremely simple: ground almonds, mashed banana, a small amount of maple syrup and a bit of cinnamon. When I mixed together all the ingredients, I had a thick batter rather than a stiff dough (kind of like the texture of matzoh ball batter before you refrigerate it). I was perplexed as to how to follow the instructions to “Roll 16 to 18 spoonfuls of the banana mixture into balls, Press them into the sugar-cinnamon mixture to coat all over, spacing the cookies an inch apart. . .” I ended up dropping spoonfuls of batter on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkling over the Turbinado sugar.

The resulting cookies were at their most delicious straight from the oven: crispy and chewy on the outside from the caramelized coat of raw sugar, and moist and soft on the inside like a macaroon. When the cookies completely cooled, the sugar on the outside melted a bit and the texture of the crust softened. I stored the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator and that seemed to restore a bit of crispness to the sugar coating.

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Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Pilpelchuma

September 1, 2016


Have you had whole roasted carrots? They have a satisfying meatiness to them that makes them seem like more than just a side dish. Served with tahina sauce, they are even more filling. It doesn’t really matter whether or not you use regular carrots or rainbow carrots, but the rainbow carrots are definitely more visually thrilling, especially if you strew over thin slices of roasted lemon.

My sister-in-law introduced me to the roasted rainbow carrots with tahina sauce from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. She served it with a  salad of snap peas, radish and mint, which had a dressing with Aleppo pepper. The smoky heat of the Aleppo pepper went extremely well with the tahina sauce and carrots.

When I recreated the carrots at home, I served it with a tahina sauce flavored with smoked paprika. My sister had given me a seasoning mix from Trader Joe’s that replicates the flavor of the spice paste pilpelchuma. I used the pilpelchuma spice mix on the carrots instead of the cumin and coriander seeds of the Oh She Glows recipe.

The idea for roasting lemon slices on top of the carrots comes from this recipe from Bon Appetit for Harissa and Maple Roasted Carrots.

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Kylo Ren Hamantaschen

March 20, 2016


Did you ever notice how Kylo Ren’s  hood and mask kind of look like a hamantaschen? No? Take a look at this drawing tutorial:

Anyway . . .my mishloach manot theme is Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Kylo Ren Hamantaschen
Storm Trooper Marshmallow and Hot Cocoa
BB-8 Orange
TIE Fighter Cookies (100 calorie pack of hexagonal cookie thins)
Admiral Ack-Bar (granola bar)
Luke Skywater (water bottle)
General Organa Cinnamon Bun (recipe from here)

Here are some other Star Wars mishloach manot ideas:
Han Solo Cup and Wookiee Cookie (or Han Solo Rolos)
Rose Cookies for Princess Leia
Death Star Orange (wrap orange in foil)
Darth Vader Hamantaschen
Yoda Soda
Ice Pop Light Sabers

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Sufganiyot, Jerusalem

December 8, 2015


My husband was in Israel on Chanukah and didn’t eat any sufganiyot. The lines were too long and he didn’t have the cheshek. But, as you can see, they really looked amazing. There is this new thing (well, new to me, anyway) (correction: apparently, this a just-new-to-me-in-the boonies-of-Chutz La’Aretz thing) of putting the filling into a plastic pipette, which you squirt into the doughnut yourself before eating it. Is this to prevent sogginess? Is it just a trendy thing? Does anyone know?



Review: Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes

November 30, 2015


Disclosure: Artscroll supplied me with a review copy of Every Day Secret Restaurant Recipes. Opinions expressed are my own.

For those of you who loved Secret Restaurant Recipes, there is good news: Artscroll has just released Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes. It is an even bigger, wider ranging cookbook than its predecessor, jam packed with lots more recipes from a much larger number of restaurants. The new book repeats the original’s successful concept of dishes from popular kosher restaurants with a side order of chef tricks and tips.

While the first book had lots of special occasion recipes, the twist of the new book is that the recipes are more down-to-earth. The authors, Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek said their readers asked for “more casual recipes that work for everyday meals (or easier recipes that can also work for special occasions!).”

There is plenty here for home cooks looking to try a new technique or trend. Authentic smokehouse BBQ is an important trend, the authors say, and they explain how to home-smoke using a regular grill. A pizza recipe uses the interesting technique of par-baking the crust before adding the toppings, which is a great do-ahead trick.

If you are thinking ahead to Chanukah, there are quite a few recipes here that call for deep-frying and that would work for a party: Avocado Egg Rolls, Kani Poppers, Champignon Crispy Rolls, Broccoli Nuggets, Buffalo Cauliflower, Tater Poppers and Churros with Strawberry-Ginger Coulis (a perfect Chanukah dessert). If you like to make rugelach for Chanukah, there is a recipe for Chocolate Rugelach from Zak the Baker.

Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes makes for great armchair travel, with fascinating descriptions of kosher restaurants across the United States, Israel and beyond. The book covers an impressive 100 restaurants from 11 countries, spanning 5 continents. And the range of places covered is broad, too, encompassing high-end restaurants, cafes, pizzerias, fish grills, falafel spots, sushi bars, burger bars, delis, sandwich shops, BBQ joints, steakhouses, bakeries and gourmet take-out places.

I worked my way through 22 of the approximately 104 recipes in the book. The soups and salads were all excellent (especially the Harvest Salad from Pantry in Toronto) and the Par-Baked Pizza (from Brooklyn Pizza in Uruguay) worked brilliantly. The Dilled Salmon with zucchini and bell peppers (from Mocha Bleu in Teaneck) was delicious, super easy and had the added benefit of being a main dish and side dish all-in-one. The Gong Bao Chicken (from the Chabad restaurant Dini’s in Beijing) worked out really well made with tofu instead of chicken. The Peanut Butter Sundaes (molten chocolate cakes topped with ice cream and peanut butter sauce, from Glatt-A-La-Carte) were easy enough to make on a weeknight and a delicious twist on the usual lava cake.

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Black Eyed Peas, Tomato, Spinach and Quinoa Salad

September 17, 2015


This is another way to combine leeks, spinach and black eyed peas. This delicious salad is worth serving year round–not just on Rosh HaShana.

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Shredded Beet Salad with Carrots and Apples

September 17, 2015

beet carrot apple saladtext

I had roasted a large (14 oz.) beet and had no idea what to do with it. I found a recipe on Saveur that called for combining shredded raw beets, carrots and apples. I shredded the cooked beet with a large carrot and two apples. I seasoned the salad very simply, with a little Montreal Steak Seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic and some other spices). The original recipe called for garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and orange juice.

The beet salad works well as an accompaniment to gefilte fish.

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Spiced Apple Cider Carrot Tzimmes

September 17, 2015


This year, I made tzimmes by simmering carrots with apple cider, spiced with cinnamon, ginger and a pinch of nutmeg. As it bubbled away on the stove, the tzimmes filled the air with the intoxicating aroma of mulled cider. Read the rest of this entry »

Leeks, Spinach, Tomatoes & Beans

September 11, 2015


If you like to serve leeks, spinach and black-eyed peas on Rosh HaShana, here is an easy recipe that combines all three.

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