Italian Ricotta Cookies

italian-ricotta-cookies
By Melissa Clark, from the New York Times

Lush, creamy, crunchy and full of lemon.

2 sticks (1 cup) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
425 grams sugar (about 2 cups)
1 ¾ cups ricotta cheese (15 ounces)
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
480 grams all-purpose flour (about 4 cups)
10 grams baking soda (2 teaspoons)
4 grams fine sea salt (about 3/4 teaspoon)
450 grams confectioners’ sugar (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup to 1/2 cup milk, as needed

Using an electric mixer, cream 2 sticks butter with sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add ricotta, lemon zest and 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and beat well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula, then beat in flour, baking soda and salt. Cover dough and chill for at least 2 hours and up to a week.

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake until pale golden on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks
Melt remaining tablespoon butter. Whisk confectioners’ sugar to break up any large lumps, then whisk in melted butter, lemon juice, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and enough milk to make a spreadable icing. Spread icing on cooled cookies, then let set for at least 20 minutes before serving

Sweet and Sour Strawberry Semifreddo

sweet-and-sour-strawberry-semifreddo

Serves 8

I tried this recipe from Bon Appetit and it’s not only gorgeous and chic but creamy, sweet and delicious. Omit the black sesame seeds if they are too strange for you or serve with extra chopped strawberries.

1 pound strawberries, hulled, quartered
⅓ cup sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of kosher salt
⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

Cook strawberries and sugar in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until strawberries have broken down into a thick, chunky jam (they should not be syrupy), 10–15 minutes. Stir in vinegar; let cool.

Meanwhile, toast black sesame seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Whip cream and salt until cream holds a medium-stiff peak. Gently whisk in sweetened condensed milk and yogurt until completely blended. Gently fold in half of strawberry jam, just enough to create streaks, then gently fold in remaining jam (mixture should look marbled with pockets of jam).

Transfer to a medium bowl or loaf pan and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

Serve semifreddo topped with toasted sesame seeds.

Penne Alla Vodka

pennealavodka
Serves 4

Here it is….a great classic penne alla vodka. Everyone loves it, admit, even food snobs like me. This one is creamy, and also super flavorful, others can be cloying and overly rich. This is definitely a Shavuos treat!

Kosher salt
12 ounces penne
1 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 large cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta for 1 minute less than package directions for al dente.
Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and use your hands to break them up.
Heat the oil and garlic in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Discard the garlic.
Add the tomatoes (and their juice) and the red pepper flakes to the garlic oil; raise the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 8 minutes.
Add the vodka and cook for about 2 minutes to mellow the alcohol. Stir in the heavy cream and 1-1/2 tsp. salt.
Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Toss over medium heat until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce, about 3 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the cheese and parsley.

Herring

My mom enjoys herring and my grandmother did as well. I didn’t get the Jewish fish gene, and cannot tolerate herring or even smoked salmon. So despite my personal interest in herring, I think it’s great to have some homemade special versions to serve to mom or at a Shabbos Kiddush. Anyone can buy it, but these versions have delicious taste and texture and are truly unique. Summer is a great time to entertain, these herring recipes are a perfect way to start a meal or to serve at Shalosh Seudas. They can be made days in advance and stored, covered in the refrigerator.

Mustard Pickled Herring
Curried Pickled Herring

Mustard Pickled Herring

staple-herring
Serves 10 – 12

1 cup Tofutti sour cream
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onions
1 tablespoon pareve whipping cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
Dash of white pepper
2 apples, peeled and finely diced (about 1 pound)
10 ounces pickled herring, drained and spices removed

Mix together the sour cream, onions, cream, mustard, sugar, white pepper and apples in a medium bowl. Gently toss the pickled herring with the mustard mixture until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for 2 hours prior to serving.

Curried Pickled Herring

Serves 10-12

1/2 cup seedless green grapes, halved, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely diced red onions
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 apples, finely diced (about 1 pound)
10 ounces pickled herring, drained and spices removed

Mix together the grapes, mayonnaise, onions, curry powder and apples in a medium bowl. Gently toss the pickled herring with the curried mayonnaise mixture until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving.

Moms Day Recipes from Friends and Bloggers

photo: Kosher Spoon

photo: Kosher Spoon


Thank you for all the special and delicious “mom” recipes. Here are a few favorites from some of my favorite “Mom” bloggers and friends.

My friend Melinda Strauss, from Kitchen-tested.com, sent me this scrumptious German Apple Cake.

“My father-in-law’s mother, whom my daughter is named after, used to make this cake for my father all the time and it's been an honor to recreate it for him. It's become a fun recipe to make with my kids and I even make it with my own mom when I go visit my parents and siblings in Seattle. It's definitely a family favorite! “

Jamie Geller, from Joy of Kosher, makes this bright and fresh California Avocado Salad for her mom. It’s her mom’s favorite. Her mom is in awe of Jamie’s cooking skills as she doesn’t cook and did not pass that on to Jamie. Well, look at her now, mom! Tamar Genger, from Joy of Kosher, has a mom fave too. Her mom is great at making schnitzel and all kinds of latkes, but this is probably her specialty that she actually posted to the site in the very early days, Stuffed Veal Roast 

Shoshana Ohriner, from Couldntbepareve.com shared two nostalgic and classic recipes. Her dad is the chef in their home but the original recipe is from her maternal grandmother who was a great cook. How cool is that, her dad makes a recipe from her mom’s family. It’s called World’s Best Brisket and is filled with flavorful ingredients like thyme, oregano and Manishewitz wine.

Shoshana’s husband’s grandmother comes to visit and makes these Grandma Rose Mandelbrot with her grandkids. Now that’s how memories and great recipes are shared.

Fellow blogger and friend, Ronnie Fein wrote this touching and memorable article for the yahrzeit of her mom. It would have been her 100th birthday. Ronnie’s mom was a wonderful cook (check out the recipes in her post, fried chicken, Fannies, apple pie, corn fritters!) and the Famous Nut Roll Recipe which is delicious and easy to make! Ronnie, it’s a beautiful tribute to your mom.

Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox, sister bloggers and chefs from MayIhavethatrecipe.com shared these Sweet Semolina Borekas because it reminds them of their mom. The orange blossom syrup is citrusy and sweet and amazing on the borekas.

Thanks Sina from the Thekosherspoon.com for sharing this Israeli/Separdic dish from your mom. The pictures are stunning, I’d like to eat these Meatballs in Tomato Garlic Sauce right now.

Mother’s Day Great Gifts

gifts

Although, I believe everyday is Mother’s Day, the official, American "holiday" is just around the corner. Today I'm going to share with you 8 Mother's Day gift ideas that are perfect for your mother, mother-in-law or any special mother you want to show appreciation for. Everyone enjoys receiving presents so I suggest, spread the love and bring happiness to all moms on this day.

1. A sorbet machine: My kids bought this for me last year and we all reap the benefits. I use it almost every week and have so much fun experimenting with different flavors. I've made pareve Italian straccata and tons of fruity varieties for summer Shabbos and dairy versions for Shavuos. My favorite machine is the Cuisinart, it’s small and easy to use. Watch for specials, mine came with two bowls as a promotion.

2. An immersion blender:
If you don’t already have one of these, then you must be given one as a gift. Every household needs a juzer (that’s my word for what it does, juz the food)! It’s the best for pureeing soups and making salad dressings. Have fun, buy it in a funky color. Immersion blenders come in all sorts of colors and prints. I like the Cuisinart immersion blender and they go on sale often too.

3. A grill pan: I use this pan all-year long but especially when it’s too cold to grill outside or you just have a small amount to grill. It’s great for people who don't have the space for a grill or simply don't own one. I have one for Passover too!

4. Photo gifts: This is a good idea for the mom who does not want another kitchen item. My mother-in-law's favorite presents are anything with photos of the kids on it. We have created them all, umbrella, blankets, ties, photo books and this year personalized oven mitts. That’s perfect for the kitchen lover too.

5. An ihome: One of my favorite childhood memories is singing and dancing in the kitchen with my sisters while we helped my mom prepare dinner. Lucky for me, my children and I continue to do the same thing all the time. Cleaning dishes and setting the table has become so much more fun when we play music and sing along. With technology today there are so many ways to get music going in your kitchen and share the good times. Costco usually has a good deal on some kind of ihome too.

6. A Bosch Universal Mixer (for Challah):
Admittedly, I was married for 15 years before I got one, but now, wonder why I waited to get one. This is the best and easiest way to make challah. High capacity, high quality, great challah!. I highly recommend this to anyone who frequently makes bread or challah and even for those who are interested in starting to make challah but find the kneading time too daunting by hand or a smaller machine.

7. A peppermill: This kitchen essential is not only helpful but super chic too! I love finding different pepper mills that match the season or the kitchen space. These are gorgeous and decorative.

8. A thermapen: Good quality, instant read thermometers make everyone a better cook. They are so helpful when making chicken, turkey, caramel and so much more. Again, get one that's got a bright color and have fun with it! You're giving it as a gift so wrap it up in a fun way too! This one is a bit of a splurge so it’s a great gift and it’s the best one out there.

Of course, jewelry is always nice too

Whatever you decide to get, don’t forget to send your mom a card, flowers or just some extra TLC over a text message. Do you have any other ideas? Share your gift ideas with us so we can share them with others too!

My Mom’s Dairy Rugelach

rugelach-14
Makes 2 dozen
My favorite combination is cherry jam with walnuts, but use whatever you have or whatever combination you like.

Dough
2 cups flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature, cut into small pieces
1 cup cottage cheese
Pinch of salt

Filling
1/2 cup cherry jam, strawberry, or any flavor jam
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts, divided
1/2 chopped dried cherries, craisins apricots, optional, divided
1/2 cup coconut, optional, divided
Topping
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar

In a food processor, use pulse to gently blend dough ingredients together until a smooth dough forms. Divide into 4 equal pieces, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Dough can also be frozen for up to three months.

Preheat oven to 375.

On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 8-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick.
Spread each circle with 2 tablespoons jam, Then sprinkle 2 tablespoons nuts, 2 tablespoons dried fruit and 2 tablespoons coconut on top of jam. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the circle, like a pizza, into 8 wedges. Starting at outside edge, roll each wedge to enclose filling.

Grease two cookie sheets. Place rugelach seam side down on prepared cookie sheets about 2-inches apart. In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle each cookie with cinnamon sugar topping.

Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Let rugelach rest 10 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.

Share a Recipe from Your Mom

Honoring Moms…What’s the recipe you remember mom making? Have mom’s best recipe? Please share it!
My mom (now a grandmother) is famous with my kids for homemade pancakes and rugelach. As a kid, I actually remember her making lavish (or just very messy) Chinese food. She took a Chinese cooking class and became a wok master.
blogmomday 1

blogmomday 2
I also remember making Rocky Road Chocolate Fudge with my grandmother, but cannot locate the recipe L but my mother remembers her making excellent babka and cookies, like these Coconut Cookies. I actually have her old recipe binder with neatly typed out and handwritten recipes filed by recipe type. Yes, there is a big jello section, but tons of sweet cakes like Ethel’s coffee cake, or Sophie’s Barbkie (I guess that’s Babki, like Babka?)

Help me celebrate Mother’s Day by sharing a recipe that you remember your mom making. Share the recipe so that I can share it with all the other moms too.

Coconut Cookies

3 eggs
2 cups flour
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

In an electric mixer, beat eggs, flour, butter/margarine, sugar, baking powder and vanilla extract until smooth. Separate into 4 equal parts. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While dough is chilling, make filling: In a small bowl, mix coconut, pecans, sugar and lemon juice.

Sprinkle flour on work surface. Roll each of the four sections into a rectangle, about 12-inches long and 8-inches wide. Dough should be about ¼-inch thick. Sprinkle ¼ of the filling on top of dough, spreading evenly but leave about ½ inch on each side. Roll dough lengthwise into a log. Wrap in plastic or parchment paper and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes. Repeat with other 3 pieces of dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Slice dough about ½-inch thick. Place on baking sheets, two inches apart, and about 12 on each sheet. Bake for 18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Rocky Road Fudge

Betty Snider’s Rocky Road Fudge, made with love whenever we visited.
Makes 5 dozen 1-inch fudge squares

2/3 cup (1 small can) evaporated milk
1 2/3 cup sugar
½ cup chopped nuts
1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
1 ½ cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine evaporated milk and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan. Refrigerate. When cool, cut into 1-inch squares.

Mother’s Day Treat

It’s almost Mother’s Day and sorry to burst your bubble, but I don’t want breakfast in bed! I want to sleep in (what’s that?), I want someone to drive any and all carpools, I want a great cup of hot coffee, and I definitely want to eat one or all of these recipes. I’m easy, just make something I like ☺ that means, almost anything with chopped, toasted nuts, or crumble, maybe something chocolate, and definitely something moist, delicious and satiating. And…please clean up after you make it for me, tysm
I love being a mom!
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Strawberry-Almond Cornmeal Cake
Carrot-Walnut Loaf Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

895_Page_231web
Makes 24
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted margarine or butter
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia d'Oro
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole walnuts in large chunks
1 cup whole pecan in large chunks
2/3 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a double boiler or over very low heat, in a medium saucepan, melt butter, 6 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate, stirring occasionally, until just melted. Remove from the heat and cool for 15 minutes.

In an electric mixer, beat the eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla until combined. Add the sugar, raise the speed to medium-high, and beat for 2 minutes, until the batter is thicker.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Combine the 1/3 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and fold it into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. In another bowl, combine the walnuts, pecans, peanut butter chips, the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips, and the tablespoon of flour and fold it into the chocolate mixture. Drop by rounded mounds, about 2 tablespoons each of batter, 1 inch apart onto the prepared sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes exactly. Cool on the baking sheets.

Carrot-Walnut Loaf Cake

carrot-walnut-loaf-cake
Recipe by Bread Bakery, NY
If you only have an 8½x4½" pan, there’s no need to go out and get a new one. Simply hold back about 1¾ cups batter for later—it makes a mean waffle!

SERVINGS: MAKES ONE 9X5" LOAF

1 cup vegetable oil, plus more
1¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour; plus more
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces carrots, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
2 teaspoons light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil and flour a 9x5" loaf pan. Whisk baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and 1 ¼ cups flour in a small bowl. Toss raisins, walnuts, and remaining 1 Tbsp. flour in another bowl.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs and granulated sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. With mixer running, gradually drizzle in 1 cup oil, then add vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients, raisin mixture, and carrots; scrape batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 65–75 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Strawberry-Almond Cornmeal Cake

strawberry-almond-cornmeal-cake
Equal parts fruit crumble and coffee cake, this not-too-sweet dessert starts out bright pink but bakes to a toasty golden brown. As seen in Bon Appetit magazine.

SERVINGS: 12
Strawberry Crumble
½ cup raw skin-on almonds
2 ounces freeze-dried strawberries
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter or margarine, cut into pieces

Cake And Assembly
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup cornmeal
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces almond paste
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 pound strawberries, hulled, half halved, half quartered
Powdered sugar (for serving)

Special Equipment
A 9" springform pan

Strawberry Crumble
Pulse almonds in a food processor until about the size of grains of rice. Add strawberries and pulse to a coarse powder. Add flour, sugar, and salt and pulse just to blend. Add butter/margarine and process until no dry spots remain.

Cake And Assembly
Preheat oven to 350°. Coat pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, break up almond paste in a large bowl until crumbly. Add sugar and butter/margarine and mix until blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well to incorporate after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and mix in dry ingredients.

Scrape batter into pan; scatter strawberries over top, followed by clumps of crumble. Bake cake until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 80–90 minutes. Let cool in pan before unmolding. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Do Ahead: Cake can be baked 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

How I love it: With a hot cup of coffee and any extra crumble from the pan.

Grilled Chicken and Romaine Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

grilledchickensalad
Adapted from Sunset.com
Serves 4
1-1/4 pounds boned, skinned chicken breast, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2 small firm, crisp apples, cored and chopped
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (1/4 cup)

Heat a grill or a grill pan to medium-high (about 450°). Brush chicken with 1 tablespoon oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Grill chicken, turning once, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
Whisk remaining 1/4 cup oil in a small bowl with tahini, lemon zest and juice, honey, garlic, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces, and place into a large salad bowl. Add apples, almonds, and dates. Add dressing and toss and serve.

Preciosa Crystal Encrusted Celebration Pitcher

pitcher
The Oprah Magazine, 15th Anniversary Crystal Edition has some gorgeous "bling" items that I love. Our friends at the Alan Lee Collection are represented with their Princess Collection, crystal serving pieces (congratulations! for making the list).

I think this Preciosa Crystal Encrusted Celebration Pitcher would be gorgeous on a Shabbos table.
Originally $175, now 20 percent off with code OPRAH
Available at Divino.us

Oven Baked Short Ribs with Beer Boosted BBQ Sauce

ovenbakedribs

I’m a fan of Amy Thielen, chef and host of Food Network’s Heattland Table. I actually owned her book, The New Midwestern Table, before she had a cooking show. She recently moved back to Minnesota and is growing her own vegetables, cooking over open fire in her yard, and really living the Midwestern life. Although, most of the working the land, growing her own food (almost all of it!) is not familiar to me or relatable ☺ , her cooking style is fantastic and I love her recipes. She uses fresh ingredients, great flavor combinations and easy techniques to create scrumptious meals that families would enjoy. This one is slightly adapted by me, to make it simpler and I’ve also included a crock-pot version for those of you who like that easy cooking option. These are seriously flavorful ribs that fall off the bone. Make them mid-week as a treat or on a Shabbos night.

Oven Baked Short Ribs with Beer Boosted BBQ Sauce
Serves 6 - 8
Ribs:
6 pounds beef short ribs, on the bone
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon crusted red pepper
1 -inch knob fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into 4 pieces, then slightly smashed
Beer BBQ Sauce:
1 fresh jalapeno pepper (depending on desired heat), stem discarded – for a little heat just chop and include seeds, for little to no heat, remove seeds and membrane)
1/2 medium sweet onion, cubed
4 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons margarine
1 bottle dark beer
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or parsley
Zest and juice of 1 lime (2 teaspoons zest, 2 tablespoons juice)

For the ribs: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Rub each piece of rib with salt, and sprinkle with the pepper, thyme and crushed red pepper. Arrange the ribs in a large roasting pan, add 1/4 cup water, and the ginger, cover tightly and bake until tender when poked with a fork, about 3 hours.

For the beer bbq sauce: In a food processor, combine the jalapeno, onions, ginger and salt, and process until smooth.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the margarine. Add the onion mixture to the pan and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the beer, molasses, brown sugar and maple syrup, and cook at a simmer until the mixture thickens but is still saucy, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cilantro, lime zest and juice and a bit of the pan juices.

To glaze the ribs, raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. (You may also glaze these ribs over a medium-hot grill.)

Brush the mop on both sides of the ribs and roast, stopping to reapply the mop, until you've used it all and the ribs are coated with shiny black glaze, about 10 minutes.

Crock Pot Version

Rub each piece of rib with salt, and sprinkle with the pepper, thyme and crushed red pepper. Arrange the ribs in crock pot, add 1/4 cup water, and the ginger, cover tightly and cook on high until tender when poked with a fork, about 3 - 5 hours.

For the beer bbq sauce: In a food processor, combine the jalapeno, onions, ginger and salt, and process until smooth.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the margarine. Add the onion mixture to the pan and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the beer, molasses, brown sugar and maple syrup, and cook at a simmer until the mixture thickens but is still saucy, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cilantro, lime zest and juice and a bit of the pan juices.

Add sauce to ribs and toss to coat. Cook an additional 1 -2 hours or until ribs are tender.

Alternatively, place ribs, spices, water and cooked prepared bbq sauce in crock pot and toss to coat. Cook on high 5 – 7 hours until ribs are tender and cooked through.

Mixed Green Salad with Coffee Vinaigrette

grilled-green-salad
Serves 8

1 red onion, sliced thin
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
⅔ cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (recommended brand Megdalia D’Oro)
Vegetable oil (for grill)
3 cups mixed greens, romaine, frisee, red leaf or lettuce of choice
1 cup arugula
½ English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, thinly sliced

Combine onions, tomatoes, garlic, and ⅓ cup olive oil in a large resealable plastic bag; season with salt and pepper. Seal bag, pressing out air, and toss to coat. Let sit at least 1 hour.
Whisk vinegar, honey, and espresso in a medium bowl until honey and espresso are dissolved. Gradually add remaining ⅓ cup olive oil, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Prepare grill for medium-high heat; lightly oil grates. (Or, heat a grill pan over medium-high.) Remove onions and tomatoes from marinade; grill, turning occasionally, until tender and charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Let cool. ALTERNATIVELY, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place onions and tomatoes on a low-sided pan in a single layer. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes or until softened and slightly browned. .
Arrange greens on a platter. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with half of vinaigrette. Top with cucumber, and grilled vegetables; drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.
Do Ahead: Vinaigrette can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Asian Kale Salad

asian-kale-salad
Serves 4 - 6

1 bunch kale (about 8 oz.), chopped *If you have extra time and enjoy your kale a little softer and less bitter, try massaging a teaspoon of olive oil into the leaves before adding the rest of ingredients
1 bunch cilantro (about 4 oz.), chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 carrots, shredded (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup roughly chopped roasted almonds
1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Toss all ingredients together in a large salad bowl. Let sit, tossing often, until slightly wilted, 15 to 30 minutes.

3 Spring Salads To Enjoy

asian-kale-salad
Winter comfort food no more! Spring is finally here! The minute warmer weather arrives in NY, I’m motivated to create light and fresh recipes. I also enjoy the outdoors so I like spring recipes that are quick and easy and allow for more time to enjoy the sunshine. However, just like the lazy winter blues shouldn’t compromise your meals neither should spring fever. Try these simple, light, and super tasty salad recipes. Welcome Spring welcome ☺

Grilled Chicken and Romaine Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing
Asian Kale Salad
Mixed Green Salad with Coffee Vinaigrette

Good luck! Share your favorite spring salad recipes or any spring salad ideas in the comments below!

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Confessions….one of my favorite parts of teaching cooking classes is the pseudo therapy the women in the class give one another. Sometimes its hard to quiet people down because they are so passionate about the topics from how to feed picky eaters, how to make healthier meals without a fuss, dinner and Shabbos recipe suggestions, and very often lately, how to save money and still feed a family in a nutritious way.

I think these are very relatable. I very often go to the store for one or two items only to spend much more money than I planned for a couple of groceries. And I like to cook wholesome and healthy for a big family and often lots of company on Shabbos and want it to be affordable and time efficient.

As I've become more experienced in the food industry, I've come to realize there are lots of ways to make grocery shopping quick and less expensive (this applies to healthy eaters who like specialty stores like Whole Foods Markets, as well those who are looking for ways to spend less on organic and nutritious groceries).

Here are my tips on how to grocery shop efficiently and affordably without over spending:

1. Meal Prep! I cannot stress this tip enough. Every Sunday, take 10 minutes and create a few weeknight and weekday (for lunch makers) meals for that week. I usually plan Monday through Wednesday and then create a grocery list from these meals. I add in snacks, and the regular items that are standards, like milk, fruit, salad vegetables, and juice. It may seem a bit ridiculous, but meal prepping saves you time by not having to decide what to make each night and money by not over buying and shopping carelessly. It may be hard to incorporate what you want to make for Shabbos in your preparations, so don't worry you can also think about Shabbos meals on Wednesday or Thursday and shop for Shabbos then.

2. Order Online if possible. Unfortunately, many markets do not have this online feature. However, if your market allows you to make an order through email for pickup or delivery, I strongly suggest it. It saves both time and money. Most people walk through the grocery store and select unnecessary items that add up. Even sale items that you do not need, will add to a bill. How often are you surprised at the grocery bill when you check out? Some of that overspending at the market can be avoided with online ordering. Of course, I enjoy trying new products that catch my eye, but try to keep the "extras" to a minimum when I’m actually in the market.

3. If you are a fruit and vegetable lover like me, this tip is especially applicable to you. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Many times we go to the market looking for artichokes, persimmons, cherry tomatoes, or mangos, look down at the price and they are double the usual cost. This is because fruits and veggies work with supply and demand. If they are in season, there is a greater supply so the cost goes down. And the opposite, when they are not in season, causing the prices to jump. Therefore, try to buy fruits and vegetables that are seasonal to get the best value for their cost.

4. Look for sales- this may seem a bit extreme, but don't ignore super market sales. Follow the advertisements and buy items on sale in bulk. I buy cereal on sale, always, granola bars, flour, sugar, and yogurts too. I don’t run from market to market because it just takes too much time, but I do watch the sales at my favorite market and make sure to put away my staple items at those time when I see a great sale. Even markets like Whole Foods has great sales. Last week I saw Kind Bars for 3 for $1, and Chobani yogurts for $.89.

5. Certain stores provide cash back for bringing your own bag (to avoid using plastic). This is a great and easy way to save money. Don't forget your canvas bags! And many markets have school “give back” programs where they give a % of the proceeds from every sale to the school of your choice. That way you can feel good about all that grocery shopping.

I love hearing your thoughts and learn so much from all my readers! Share the way you save time and money to become a pro shopper in the comments below. Happy shopping!