Archive for August, 2011

Ina’s Coconut Cupcakes, Parevized

August 21, 2011

Ina Garten says that these coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting were favorites at her Barefoot Contessa store. In the past, I have found cream cheese frosting not so easy to make pareve. This time, I tried something new and was pretty pleased, although the frosting doesn’t really taste that cream cheesey.


Easy Un-Recipes for Shabbos Salads

August 19, 2011

I made a few super easy recipes from Un-Recipes for Shabbos:

Tropical Carrot Salad:


Asian Pasta (I added Hoisin sauce and used honey instead of sugar, plus I added a little mirin and lime juice and some sesame oil, and I added grated carrots):

Red Cabbage and Green Grape Salad:

Parshat Eikev: Not by Bread Alone

August 18, 2011

In Eikev, Moshe reminds B’nei Yisrael that Hashem provided manna in the wilderness “so that He would make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but rather by, whatever comes forth from the mouth of Hashem does man live.”

Moshe also speaks of the goodness of Eretz Yisrael, a land with “wheat and barley, vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil producing olives and (date) honey,” (the seven species) “a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity.”

And then follows the pasuk that is the source for the obligation to say Birkat HaMazon: “And you will eat and be sated, and you shall bless Hashem, your G-d, for the good land He has given you.” (also here and here)

This week’s parsha project was making challah. We made a batch of whole wheat and a batch of regular challah. The whole wheat challah included some silan (date honey) and olive oil. The white flour used for making the regular challah includes some barley flour. Part of the dough was used to make a cinnamon raisin pull apart loaf. So, our challah included five of the seven species: barley, grapes, olives, dates, wheat.

For one of the challahs, I made a four-strand with two white and two whole wheat strands:

How Easy is That? Ina Garten’s Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame

August 18, 2011

This recipe from the first Barefoot Contessa cookbook is so easy, it isn’t even really a recipe, just a really great idea. Take sugar snap peas, drizzle them with toasted sesame oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and black sesame seeds. Amazing flavor. The sweetness of the peas is perfectly set off by the richness and deep flavor of sesame oil. So simple, so good.

Pesto Tilapia

August 11, 2011

This fish got attacked straight from the oven, so I didn’t have a whole piece left for a photo.

A very easy dish, especially if you have pesto already made. Just spread pesto on the fish (about 1 Tbl. per fillet) and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or so. About halfway through baking, sprinkle over some Parmesan cheese (about a Tbl. or so per fillet) and continue baking until the top is golden and the fish flakes easily. I tried added some chopped sun-dried tomatoes, but they burn pretty easily. If you want to add the sun-dried tomatoes, add them towards the end of baking.

I made Melissa Clark’s pesto from the NYT (1/2 cup toasted pignoli nuts, 4 ounces basil, 3/4 cup olive oil, 2-3 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp. salt). I froze a batch, then cut it up in cubes. Whenever I need a bit of pesto for a recipe, I pull a cube or so from the container in the freezer.

Parshat Va’etchanan, Shabbos Nachamu

August 11, 2011

Va’etchanan contains the words of the Shema, which states (among other things) the mitzvot of Torah study, tefillin and mezuzot.

“And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart.  And you shall teach them to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for tefillin between your eyes. And you shall inscribe them upon the doorposts (mezuzot) of your house and upon your gates.”

My kids wanted to incorporate this chocolate house kit into the parsha project. The obvious solution was to make a teeny-tiny mezuzah and affix it to the doorway.

More on mezuzah

Onkelos and the mezuzah

Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi and the mezuzah

Mezuzah syllabus

Shabbos Nachamu

Another Shabbos Nachamu

Mom’s Tomato Salad

August 10, 2011

Usually, when I make tomato salad, I just slice some fresh beefsteak tomatoes from the farmers market, add salt and pepper and drizzle over some extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I sprinkle over some fresh basil leaves, and I’m done:

This tastes best with tomatoes that have not been refrigerated, and it does not really pay to make this ahead and refrigerate it. Generally speaking, refrigeration does no favors to the taste and texture of tomatoes.

My mother makes a tomato salad that actually tastes better after it has been refrigerated a while. It is good ice-cold from the fridge. Her recipe is an easy do-ahead salad that is a great way to use up end of summer tomatoes. (more…)

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette Health Food Super Salad

August 4, 2011

This is a hearty main dish salad, the over-the-top filled with everything kind of salad that has always been a mainstay of vegetarian restaurants. It particularly reminds me of late 70’s Health Food places (like “Greener Pastures” or “Great American Health Bar”).


Suzy Cohen’s Moroccan Salmon

August 4, 2011

Salmon simmered in a spicy tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, olives and chick peas. This easy but different fish course comes from Suzy Cohen. “Great for Friday night dinners,” she wrote on the recipe, “A real crowd pleaser!”


Parshat Devarim, Shabbat Chazon

August 4, 2011

In Devarim, Moshe begins a repetition of the Torah, recounting prior events, including the incident with the meraglim (spies) who spoke against Eretz Yisrael(see Shelach). When I was talking about the parsha with my children, my son remembered that only two of the twelve meraglim–Calev and Yehoshua–said that the land was good and could be conquered. Of their generation of B’nei Yisrael, only Calev and Yehoshua would enter Eretz Yisrael.