Posts Tagged ‘Shavuoth’

The Silver Platter

May 19, 2015

thesilverplatter
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.

cheesysmashedpotatoesartscroll

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


(more…)

Advertisements

Cookbook Review: Dairy Made Easy & “180 Cal (or Less!) Cheesecake” Ramekins

May 26, 2014

smallcheesecakeramekinstext

Disclosure: Artscroll provided me with a copy of this book to review. Opinions are my own.

Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek have released another book in their “made easy” series in time for Shavuoth. Like the earlier books in this series, Dairy Made Easy is a slim book, very attractively designed. The target audience for this book seems to be cooks who already have plenty of comprehensive, basic cookbooks and are looking to freshen up their dairy menus with recipes that are creative but not too much of a patchke.

The recipes in Dairy Made Easy are clearly explained and reasonably do-able for most cooks.  While most of them look fairly easy to make, not all of them are dead simple. Recipes that sound delicious but a little involved: Arancini (deep-fried cheese-stuffed rice balls), chocolate croissants, and cheese buns/babka.

This being a dairy cookbook, the recipes feature lots of butter, cream and cheese. Most don’t have over-the-top amounts, but some do. The Three Cheese Quiche has a pint of sour cream and almost two sticks of butter in the crust and over 2 1/2 lbs. of cheese in the filling. The Cajun Creamy Pasta, the Penne a la Vodka, the Pesto Cream Sauce and the Alfredo sauce all use about a pint of heavy cream.

The authors do include a “Make it Light” page that lists the lighter recipes in the book and provides tips for lightening up some of the richer recipes. A sidebar explains how to use Greek yogurt as a substitute for higher fat ingredients like cream cheese or sour cream. (Throughout the book, the authors suggest using a particular brand of Greek yogurt and another brand of hard cheese.) There is also a “Make it Pareve” page.

Another thing to bear in mind: the book emphasizes pasta and bread, not whole grains and legumes. The main dishes in this book are primarily divided between the chapters “Pizza,” “Pasta,” and “Soups, Salads & Sandwiches.”  There are ten pasta dishes, five pizza/calzone recipes and four sandwich recipes. Besides these bread or pasta main dishes, there is one fish recipe, one quiche recipe and one frittata recipe.

All that being said, the bottom line with any cookbook is whether or not the recipes are appealing and actually work. On this count, the authors definitely deliver. I have liked everything that I have made from this book and there are a number of other recipes I want to try. Here is what I have already made from this book:

(more…)

Neapolitan Cannelloni (Manicotti)

May 19, 2014

smallcanelloniplateBtext

 

This is how I explained Neapolitan Cannelloni (also known as manicotti) to my son: “Imagine blintzes, but filled with a lasagna cheese filling and topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese. My son pondered this for a while and then said, “Okay, that sounds good.”

It is good. It tastes like lasagna, but with a more delicate texture because crepes (or, as they are called in Italian, “crespelle”) replace the usual pasta.

If you want to make this recipe gluten-free, you can use a crepe recipe based on potato starch instead of flour. I have made this on Passover with Passover crepes with huge success.

If you are already making blintzes for Shavuoth, make extra crepes. Once you have the crepes made, this recipes is a complete snap to make (especially if you use bottled tomato sauce instead of homemade marinara).

smallcanelloniBtext

Note: If you google manicotti and cannelloni, you will see that there is some confusion as to the difference between the two dishes.  Some say the two are interchangeable, some say that the difference is that cannelloni have a bechamel sauce instead of marinara on top, and some say that cannelloni are properly made with pasta sheets while manicotti are made with crepes.

My recipe is based on two similar recipes, both from Italians, one of whom calls the dish cannelloni and one of whom calls the dish manicotti. I went with cannelloni because I made Delma Kelechava’s recipe first (before adding some changes from Stephanie Rhode’s recipe), and Delma calls this cannelloni.

What do the experts say? Well, Lucinda Scala Quinn has a recipe for cannelloni that is similar to this recipe. Mario Batali has a cannelloni recipe that is pasta sheets rolled with cheese filling and topped with bechamel and marinara. Lidia Bastianich has a cannelloni recipe that is stuffed pasta topped with bechamel and a manicotti recipe that is crepes filled with cheese and topped with marinara.

So, it is probably more accurate to call this manicotti (maybe), but since most people associate manicotti with pasta tubes, I still prefer cannelloni.

(more…)

Cheese Blintzes

May 19, 2014

smallblintzestext

Blintzes are not really all that hard to make. A blintz is just a thin pancake (crepe or bletlach) wrapped around a filling and then sauteed in butter until golden brown on the outside.

There are two aspects that intimidate people: (1) making the crepe and (2) wrapping the crepe around the filling.

Mostly, making crepes is a matter of practice and adjusting your standards. You are rolling the crepes up, so they do not need to look perfect. A tear here or there can usually be worked around. As you make the crepes, you will improve your technique, figuring out how much batter you need for your pan and the best way to swirl the batter around to evenly coat the pan. You will fall into a rhythm, with each succeeding crepe looking nicer and being easier to make.

Rolling up blintzes is the same as rolling burritos. You put a line of filling on the bottom of the crepe, fold over the bottom of the  crepe to cover the filling, fold in the sides, and then roll it up.

 

(more…)

Cinnamon Challah Croutons with Berries and Cream (Decontructed Blintzes)

May 20, 2013

smallcinnamoncrouton

Apparently, dessert croutons are a thing, lately. There are places that sell toasted cubes of cake to eat as snacks or use in desserts or salads. The LA Times recently published a recipe by Nancy Silverton which featured bread croutons as a garnish for a rich chocolate dessert (Bittersweet Chocolate Tartufo with Olive Oil Gelato and Olive Oil Fried Croutons). And there are recipes featuring fruit, ice cream or some other creamy mixture, and sweet croutons (see here and here).

Anyway, I was thinking about a recipe from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great American Desserts called Top Secret Topping. It is nothing more than plain or lightly sweetened cottage cheese, which is somehow transformed by being pureed in the food processor into a luscious creamy smooth topping for fresh fruit. Maida said she swooned when she first tried it over strawberries, and her friends couldn’t guess what it was (yogurt? sour cream? creme fraiche? cream?) (here is her original description, reprinted in Maida’s Heatter’s Pies and Tarts).

She says you can use 1% or 2%, but you really need to use 4% to get the full effect. The extra fat in the 4% makes it possible for the mixture to whip up and increase in volume. The increased airiness as well as the smoothness of the pureed cottage cheese creates the impression of creme fraiche or whipped cream.

I decided to add cinnamon challah croutons to Maida’s combination of strawberries and top secret topping. The result: a taste I can only describe as deconstructed cheese blintz. I also tried the croutons on strawberry spinach salad with my fat-free orange dressing. It was nice, but I liked the combination of creamy cheese, berries and cinnamon croutons a bit more.

The cinnamon challah croutons remind me a bit of those mock blintzes made from toast stuffed with cream cheese. Made with coconut oil, they are pareve, but taste dairy, almost buttery.

(more…)

Spinach Quinoa Salad

May 17, 2013

smallquinoaspinachsalad

This is a fusion of spinach salad and quinoa salad, with an equal balance of the greens and the grains. The dressing is a super simple mixture of lime and lemon juice, with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. A drizzle of honey is entirely optional, but a very nice addition to the dressing. Pecans, sliced pears, scallions and red onion add crunch and color. If you are serving this with a dairy meal, crumbled feta cheese is a delicious topping.

The spinach doesn’t get so soggy, so you can take leftovers to work the next day.

I made this for Shavuoth and served it along with a do-it-yourself salad bar, a cheese platter, roast salmon, yellow rice, stuffed shells and eggplant parmesan. Dessert was fresh fruit, plus low-fat cheesecake and regular cheesecake.
(more…)

Almost Fat Free Cheesecake

May 13, 2013

smallzerocheesecake

What would you say to cheesecake that is about 200 calories per (4.5 ounce) serving? Pretty good right? I tried making my ultra light cheesecake with only fat-free yogurt cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon and vanilla, and it came out delicious. I forgot to add the flour and accidentally cut the amount of sugar in half, which ended up not mattering much, so I saved some calories there, too.

I dusted the sides of the baking pan with some crushed Italian lady finger cookies (the crisp kind you use for tiramisu). You can skip the crushed cookies, but it doesn’t add much in the way of calories (you need only 4-5 cookies) and it gives the impression that there is a crust of some kind without the heavy calorie load of a graham cracker crust. The cookie crumbs also add a little extra sweetness to what is otherwise a very lightly sweetened cheesecake.

Here is how I figure the calories:

24 ounces yogurt cheese made from a 32 ounce container of Greek yogurt: 560 calories
3.75 ounces sugar: 384 calories
4 eggs: 280 calories (about 320 calories for extra-large eggs)
5 Italian ladyfinger cookies: 110 calories

Total calories : 1,334, which yields 8 servings, each about 4.5 ounces, at 167 calories per serving. The fat should be mostly from the egg yolks, which comes to 2.5 grams per serving.

(more…)

Wordless Wednesday: Too Good For Words Banoffee Pie

May 30, 2012




(more…)

Dairy Menu Ideas for Shavuoth

May 23, 2012

Still looking for some good recipes for Shavuoth? Here are some ideas . . .

(more…)

Spinach, Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Enchiladas (dairy, but convertible to lactose-free)

May 17, 2012

I think about you, dear readers, I really do. So, when I made these very dairy enchiladas, I thought about those of you who are lactose-intolerant. The recipe calls for eight tortillas and I had a package of ten. With the extra tortillas, I also made some lactose-free enchiladas.

It was an excellent experiment. Crumbled tofu is a perfect substitute for the small amount of cottage cheese in the recipe, and the enchiladas taste fine topped with plain sauce and no cheese. Although, if you wanted to have “cheese” on top, I noticed an interesting product in the local health food store: Daiya cheese style shreds. They are OU pareve. I haven’t tried this product yet (If you have, let me know if you like it).

So make the dairy version offered below, or convert it to lactose-free–your choice.

dairy-free broccoli, corn and red pepper enchiladas with tofu

This recipe is adapted from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin. It is similar to a recipe I was given several years ago (and posted about here), except that recipe was a lot cheesier. That recipe always came out like lasagna, which was yummy in its own way. This is a little lighter.

Jeanne Lemlin has at least two other enchilada recipes that sound good and easy: mushroom and bean enchiladas and these zucchini bean enchiladas.

If you are thinking about dairy menus right now, I like to serve a Mexican themed meal, with salad, chili, yellow rice, guacamole, taco shells, some salmon and pasta or enchiladas.

(more…)