Posts Tagged ‘Shavuot’

The Silver Platter

May 19, 2015

Disclosure: Artscroll provided me with a review copy of The Silver Platter. Opinions expressed are my own.

The Silver Platter is what you would expect from an Artscroll cookbook: beautiful photos of food, attractive layout and stylish recipes. The book also represents the launch of a new kosher food personality, Daniella Silver, under the mentorship of the beloved cookbook author (and fellow Canadian) Norene Gilletz.

If the book has a distinct “culinary point of view,” it is best summed up as follows: easy, uncomplicated recipes that are simply seasoned, gluten-free (or adaptable to gluten-free) and feature lots of fresh vegetables/grains/legumes. While the cookbook looks like it belongs on a coffee-table, it will get a work-out in the kitchen.

Within two days of getting the book, I made four recipes from it. On Thursday, I made the Cheesy Smashed Roasted Potatoes (big hit–see below for recipe), and on Friday, I made the Lemon-Infused Lentil Rice, the Roasted Baby Potato & Tomato Medley and the Shaved Corn & Asparagus Salad (substituting string beans for the asparagus–also see below for recipe). Everything was easy to make and was a success.

The cookbook has a certain level of health-consciousness, prominently featuring trendy grains and vegetables like quinoa and kale. As a nice bonus, the back of the book lists nutritional data for every recipe. But, the cookbook seems to be more about “family friendly” than “super healthy.” While sweeteners aren’t tossed into every recipe, sugar, honey, maple syrup, ketchup and jam are fairly frequent additions to marinades/sauces for fish/chicken/beef and to salad dressings.

The dessert section features mostly simple, home-ey recipes, like cookies, brownies and bundt cakes, which all use oil instead of margarine or butter. Additionally, every dessert recipe is either flourless or can be made with gluten-free flour mix. Not all the dessert recipes will work for Passover, but quite a few will, such as the Rocky Road Brownie Cake and the Almond-Crusted chocolate Tart.

Here is one thing that I wished this cookbook had: suggested menus. I would have loved to have seen how Daniella Silver puts these recipes together into full meals for different occasions.

Speaking of menus, if you are still looking for dairy recipes for Shavuos, here is a list of dairy recipes in the book: Dairy Blueberry Soup, Double Cheese Cauliflower Gratin, Crustless Spinach & Feta Cheese Tart, Caprese Penne Salad, Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes & Feta Cheese, Fresh Berry Toast, Lemon Garlic Spaghetti, Cauliflower Crusted Pizza, Grandma Marion’s Cheese Muffins, Carrot Cake and Heavenly Halvah Cheesecake.


Reproduced from The Silver Platter, by Daniella Silver with Norene Gilletz, with permission from the copyright holders, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications.


Donna Hay-esque Dairy Spinach Kugel (and My Mom’s Dairy Spinach Kugel)

June 15, 2011

This is actually a mash-up of two different Donna Hay recipes: Spinach Pie from The Instant Cook, and Spinach and Ricotta Baked Pasta from Off the Shelf. It is sort-of like spanakopita, without the phyllo, or a crustless quiche. With some salad on the side, it makes a nice light lunch.

The results reminded me very much of my mother’s dairy spinach kugel, which is a good thing. My mother’s recipe (which I am also including) uses farmer’s cheese and sauteed onions and mushrooms.

This recipe is a little easier because you skip the sauteed onions (but adding them could only make this even better). Putting the halved grape tomatoes on top is not only pretty, but adds a lot to the flavor as the acidity of the tomatoes cut through the creaminess of the dish. Serve this with a salad on the side. If you don’t want to add the tomatoes to the top of the dish, trying serving it with a tomato salad on the side.


Three Easy Pieces: A Three Casserole Tex-Mex Party Meal

June 13, 2011

I can be quite lazy when it comes to cooking, wanting maximum results for minimum efforts.

Here is my almost fail-safe and easy menu for dairy meals: mac-n-cheese, bean chili, and yellow rice. All three dishes can be made quickly, and well ahead of serving. I put each in a casserole dish (9×13) for reheating and fill out the meal in different ways to change around the meal a bit.

For a large party, I serve these three easy pieces with cornbread, quacamole, salsa, and tortilla chips, plus lots of salad. The foil pans of chili, rice and mac-n-cheese go into chafing dishes to stay hot.

For a smaller meal (and you could do this for the large party, too), I serve guacamole, salsa, salad, tortilla shells and soft flour tortillas, plus taco sauces and condiments.

I used to serve a Mexican lasagna with this meal, but it is not necessary.


New York Style Cheesecake

June 13, 2011

One of my favorite cheesecakes was one served at a long gone kosher dairy restaurant in NYC. It was so soft and light I was sure that the recipe involved whipped egg whites. All other cheesecakes seemed unbearably leaden in comparison.

I never made anything close until I made Nick Malgieri’s Sour Cream Cheecake. The lightness does not come from whipped egg whites, but from a large amount of sour cream, which gives the cheesecake a super soft texture and a delightful tang.


Ultra Light Cheesecake

May 29, 2011

Made from low fat vanilla yogurt and reduced fat sour cream, this cheesecake has a very delicate texture: light and airy, like a souffle or meringue, but moist and creamy. It is crust-free, which saves both effort and calories.

Per serving (1/8 of whole cheesecake,about 4.5 ounces): about 224 calories, 6 g. fat, 8 g. protein.


Parshat Bamidbar

May 27, 2011

A floating chocolate Har Sinai: a chocolate shell covers chocolate mousse topped with coffee cream, all resting on a thin sponge cake layer.

This week’s dessert is inspired by the Wednesday ladies parsha class. This week’s shiur covered the census discussed in Bamidbar (and see here for an explanation for the census) but, in anticipation of Shavuoth we also discussed the events around the giving of the Torah.


Homemade Labneh: Make Low Fat “Cream Cheese” with Yogurt

May 25, 2011

I had lots of plain yogurt leftover from Passover that I had to use up before the pull date. Plain yogurt is one of those things that I buy with the best of intentions, but it usually just languishes in the fridge, buried behind all the sugary flavored yogurt containers.

Once I turn it into yogurt cheese, though, it gets gobbled up in a couple of days. (more…)

Super Easy Delkelech, Dairy-Free

May 15, 2011

I was wondering if I could apply the principal behind the dairy-free cheese danishes to delkelech. With those pastries, a dip in a lemon-vanilla syrup gives the cheese-less crescent rolls a dairy taste.

For my dairy-free delkelech, I filled puff pastry squares with frangipane–a French almond cream. I also added some black currant jam to some of the pastries. After baking, I dipped the pastries in the lemon-vanilla syrup.

Chilling in the fridge helps bring out the dairy flavor, but this combination of frangipane and pastry is so classic, it does not depend on simulating cheesiness to be delicious. (Note: some like these better warm, or at least room temperature)

My husband loved these so much, I made the recipe again, but filled some of the pastries with a Tofutti “cream cheese”-based filling.

I had lots of filling towards the end, so I turned the last eight delkelach into mini-cheesecake tarts. These tasted the most like delkelach because there was the highest ratio of filling to pastry, and the moisture from the pastry softened the puff pastry so that it was less flaky/crisp and more flaky/chewy like real danishes.

This recipe is super easy because it relies on puff pastry.  And, yes, you can make cheese danishes with puff pastry. This is what the Barefoot Contessa used to do at her Hamptons store, and it is a shortcut even some old-fashioned bakers have taken. In a discussion of Mindel Appel’s recipe  for  delkelech (first printed in a Joan Nathan, NYT article), a Chowhound confessed: “‘I hate to tell you this, but my Hungarian mother – who passed away at 93 just a few years ago – used to make delkelekh with frozen puff pastry dough. The filling was similar to the NY Times recipe, though. I have had delkelekh very much like what was described in the article, but we all liked the puff pastry version so much better. I don’t know when she adopted this shortcut, but it didn’t seem to faze her a bit.” (more…)

Are You Serving Dairy on Shavuot? Pareve Cheese Danishes

May 10, 2011

“Are you serving dairy for Shavuot?”

The question caught me off guard. “Uh, yeah . . .”

“All the meals … all dairy? Who can eat that much dairy?!”

Okay, so some people are not so into eating all dairy on Shavuoth.  Or, if they are lactose-intolerant or vegan , they are not into eating any dairy.

Those people who want to have their cheesecake and to eat meat too do the cheesecake kiddush before a meat meal.

I suppose you could also make pareve cheesecake . . . But, some people don’t like using soy-based pareve “cream cheese.”

A couple of years ago, I made really delicious “cheese” danishes. Completely pareve, they get their cheese-ey flavor from being dipped in a vanilla-lemon scented syrup. I don’t know why the lemon-vanilla flavor makes the crescents tastes dairy, but it does.

Daring Bakers Make Croquembouche

May 27, 2010

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

Changes I made to the recipe: oil instead of butter for the pate a choux and coconut milk for the milk in the pastry cream. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as it was written.

What I had wanted to do was to make this for Shavout, decorating the base with marzipan flowers. The croquembouche reminded me of my son’s school project of making Har Sinai (Mt. Sinai) with paper flowers at the base. Flowers, Har Sinai, dairy . . .  all Shavuot themes. But, I was worried that the croquembouche wouldn’t keep very well. I ended up making this the friday after Shavuot (and I made it pareve rather than dairy). Actually, it does keep nicely. So maybe this will be a Shavuot dessert for next year!