Sweet Corn Soup with Imitation Crab or Smoked Salmon

sweet-corn-soup-crab-ck
Serves 4
Refreshing and sweet and perfect as a first course for Shabbos! Use any type of fish, imitation crab, smoked salmon, sushi-grade salmon or tuna, or omit and serve with microgreens as a garnish.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
5 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 6 ears)
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups water
1/3 cup non-dairy creamer, pareve whipping cream or soymilk
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 pound imitation crab, or other fish, chopped

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add corn, salt, and pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 6 minutes. Place corn mixture and non-dairy milk/whipping cream in a blender. Be careful blending hot mixture, allow some steam to escape. Blend until smooth.
Place peas in a small bowl; mash slightly with a fork. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil, basil, and imitation crab; serve over soup.

No-Mess Corn Cutting

no-mess-corn-cutting

Here's a clean and easy way to remove kernels from an ear of corn.
Whip out your Bundt pan, but not for making a cake.
1. First, fit the tip of a shucked ear of corn into the hole in the center of a Bundt pan.
2. Then, firmly hold the ear near the top, and slide a sharp knife down the side to cut off the corn kernels.
3. Rotate the cob and repeat cutting, letting the cake pan neatly catch the kernels as they are removed.

Fresh corn is delicious this time of year while it's in the height of season. Watch for Long Island white corn in August.

Try these terrific corn recipes:
Romaine and Corn Salad with Avocado Dressing
Summer Corn and Tomato Salad
Corn and Black Bean Salad with Basil Lime Vinaigrette
Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad
Fresh Corn and Avocado Salad

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Celebrate Dads and Grads with these adorable and delicious cupcakes. They scream bright, fresh, adorable and happy! Perfect for BBQ time too. The frosting is so decadent and these have a showstopper presentation.

02_Cupcakes_091.tif

Makes 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup pareve creamer (non-dairy milk), soymilk, or whole milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the meringue:
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze:
2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
1 tablespoon limoncello or other lemon-flavored liqueur (optional)
6 to 7 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners (or bake one batch and repeat with same pan). Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl until combined. Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, pareve milk, vegetable oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla in a large bowl until combined. Whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling them ¾ of the way to the top (not more or they will bake too high). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 24 to 28 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Make the meringue: Beat the egg whites and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to high and gradually beat in 2 tablespoons granulated sugar; beat until stiff shiny peaks form, about 3 minutes.

Combine the remaining 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, the corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture registers 245 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 6 minutes; remove from the heat. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites; increase the speed to high and beat until the meringue is fluffy and cool, about 6 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe onto the cupcakes; set aside at room temperature to firm up, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, limoncello and food coloring in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth. Microwave 1 minute, then whisk again until the sugar dissolves; let cool about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Dip the meringue-covered tops of the cupcakes into the glaze, letting the excess drip off. If the glaze gets too thick, microwave 20 seconds.

Burger Roundup Time

Father’s Day and graduation are definitely a terrific kickoff to summer. Burgers are an essential part of summertime and we make them any and all ways in our house.

Before starting any BBQ or burger night, start with these BURGER MAKING TIPS, to ensure perfect juicy results every time. And get more tips and the best Turkey Burger recipe on this GKC Turkey Burger Video. It’s a fan favorite on both Aol and Yahoo video, with over 200,000 views.

Next, we have a few burger recipes to keep on hand all summer! Serve them with different condiments, ketchups, chili sauces, tzatziki, or mustards, and assorted breads/buns, including pitas, Indian bread, wraps, etc. This way every burger seems like a very different meal and cuisine. Let me know your favorite burger recipe too, so we can share it with all GKC burger fans.

Easiest Father’s Day Burger
Mini Moroccan Lamb Burgers
Grilled Burgers with Lemon Margarine
Asian Burgers with Chili Mayonnaise
Beer Bathed Pulled Brisket Burgers
The New American Burger (Turkey and Veal)

Mocha Ice Cream Pops – Pareve or Dairy

mocha-ice-pops
I saw these delicious and fun summer treats in Food and Wine magazine. I made them for a BBQ and they were a big hit and definitely scream, “Summer is here!” I made them pareve but they are certainly creamy and good in the dairy version too.

Serves 10

2-1/2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup ground medium-roast coffee (3 ounces)
1 cup heavy cream or pareve whipping cream
Chopped toasted hazelnuts, toasted nuts, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips

Line a sieve with cheesecloth. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the coffee and 
1 3/4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 4 minutes, stirring. Strain the coffee over the chocolate; whisk until melted. Let cool, then refrigerate for at least 
2 hours or overnight. In a medium bowl, using 
a hand mixer, beat the cream with the remaining sugar at medium speed until soft peaks form. Whisk the chilled mocha mixture until smooth, then fold in the whipped cream. Pour the mocha mixture into the ice pop molds and freeze for at least 4 hours. If using hazelnuts, press the frozen 
ice pops into the chopped nuts and return to the freezer 
for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Aluminum Rolling Pin

aluminium-rollingpin
Product development is ingenious these days. Engineers are usually basic science to improve products in the kitchen. For example, these rolling pins are incredible for making pie dough because aluminum stays cool. Chill it in the fridge, give it a tiny dusting of flour coating, and roll out pastry dough without overworking the dough, sticking, or melting, all the normal pitfalls of great pie crust making. They come in striking colors too. This is a must-have for summer pie making.
Available at kmnhome.com

Classic Cucumber Salad

classic-cucumbersalad
Serves 8 -10

2 English cucumbers, sliced thin
1 Vidalia onion, sliced thin
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill

In a large bowl, mix cucumbers (don’t peel them, the color is nice). Add water, sugar, vinegar, salt and dill. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve. Best prepared a few hours or a day ahead of time, so that the flavors have time to meld together.

Cucumbers, All Types and How To Use Them

cucumber-variety
What’s the difference between the variety of cucumbers you see in the market? Actually the difference is huge in terms of taste and crunch but all can be used interchangeably in a recipe, although I certainly have my preference. Check out these varieties and get your summer started with some Classic Cucumber Salad.

Kirby
Knubby and mixed shades of green. About 3-inches long and often 2-inches wide. Tasty firm flesh and thin skin make it a natural for eating raw or pickling.

Persian
My personal favorite! High ratio of skin to flesh, resulting gin concentrated flavor and crunchy texture than can stand up to cooking but excellent as a snack or in salads. Great flavor.

Common Cucumber a.k.a. American cucumber
Thick, often waxed skin and big seeds, which means, peeling is a must. I seed them too because they often shed too much water in salads. Good for the American cucumber salad, but that’s about it.

English Hothouse
Delicious, thin, crisp skin and a delicate aroma. Ideal for juicing and cocktails, salads, and eating. The skin adds color and flavor so leave it on.

Try these recipes with terrific flavorful cucumbers, perfect for sunny days of summer…
Chilled Cucumber Soup
Cucumber and Sesame Mixed Green Salad
Spicy Cucumber Salad with Peanuts
Tandoori Chicken with Cucumber Sauce
Indian Spiced Cucumber Salad
Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad
Classic Cucumber Salad

BBQ Desserts

BBQ season has officially begun. This means not only great meats, marinades, condiments, and side dishes but also special desserts that pair so well with BBQ. For me, that is either poundcake, strawberry shortcake, fruit crisps, or brownies and blondies. These are all big hits on GKC. What are your BBQ dessert favorites? I’d love to share your BBQ recipes, please SHARE your recipe with us! Or take a pic of it and send it to us.

Super Terrific Poundcake
BBQ Strawberry Shortcake
Cherry Berry Crisp
Crunchy Chocolate and Pareve Nutella Brownies

Cherry Berry Crisp

cherry-berry-crisp

Serves 8

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks cold margarine
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Three 12-ounce bags frozen tart cherries
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
To Serve:
2 cups pareve whipping cream
Pareve Vanilla ice cream, optional
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare the crumb mixture: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.

Cut the cold margarine into pieces. Add to flour mixture and with a fork or pastry blender, cut it into the flour mixture. The mixture should resemble a moist, coarse meal. Add the slivered almonds and combine thoroughly.

Place the still-frozen cherries in a bowl, add blueberries, the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch and almond extract and gently stir the cherries to combine.

Pour fruit into an oven-safe baking dish or divide fruit between 8 ramekins (about 1/2 cup each). Top with the crumb mixture, pressing it slightly onto the fruit.

Bake until the topping is crisp and golden brown, about 45 minutes. If the topping appears underdone, continue baking in 10 minute increments until it's done.

To serve: Whip the pareve whipped cream in a standing mixer. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serve the individual crisps warm or at room temperature with a dollop of freshly whipped cream or pareve vanilla ice cream.

BBQ Strawberry Shortcake

strawberry-shortcake
Serves 10

1 Super Terrific Poundcake
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup pareve whipping cream or heavy cream, whipped until soft peaks form

In a small bowl, mix strawberries with sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Slice poundcake in 1 ½ inch thick slices and place on a dessert plate. Spoon berries and juices over slice. Top with whipping cream.

Alternatively, slice cake horizontally. Spread whipped cream over center of cake, top with berries and juices. Place other half of cake on top of fruit and whipped cream. Chill. Top cake with any additional fruit, berries and whipped cream. Slice and serve.

Super Terrific Poundcake

poundcake
Serves 10

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup pareve whipping cream or heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Do not preheat the oven. Grease and flour the bottom, sides and tube of a 9-inch tube cake pan.

Cream the margarine/butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, but do not overbeat. Set the mixer on slow speed and stir in the flour and cream alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the vanilla and stir well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and put the cake in a cold oven. Set the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Begin timing now and bake the cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake. The toothpick should be clean when it is removed. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to continue cooling.

Zoku Character Pops

frogpops
Zoku is back with new shapes for the summer popsicle season. 8 collectible creatures, frogs, kitty, princess, songbird, turtle....easiest molds to use, made of silicone, and quick freezing. Check out their quick pop makers too. There patented technology makes pops freeze in just 7 minutes.

Character pops, $7.99 available at Zokuhome.com

2 Weekday Dishes, So Easy Peasy

We just finished a beautiful Yom Tov, lots and lots of cooking and serving and great meals shared with special people. I’m a bit tired though and in need of some quick and light dinners to get through the next few, very busy, weeks before summer. Luckily, a guest bought me an interesting and useful new cookbook, titled, Sheet Pan Suppers, by Molly Gilbert. She brings a whole new perspective to the art of weeknight cooking. Everything cooks right on a rimmed baking sheet, quickly and with little cleanup. Try these two from her book.

Broiled Salmon and Asparagus with Crème Fraiche
Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs with Zucchini and Summer Squash

Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs with Zucchini and Summer Squash

spicy-chicken-thighs-summer
Serves 4

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for cooling rack
6 medium yellow squash or zucchini, or both (about 1 1/2 lbs. total), sliced into 1/2-in. rounds
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1-1/2 pounds boned, skinned chicken thighs (5 to 8 pieces)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat broiler with oven rack 3 to 4 in. from heat. Set a metal cooling rack in a 12- by 17-in. rimmed baking sheet and coat lightly with oil.
Remove cooling rack and put squash on baking sheet. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper; toss to coat. Spread squash in a single layer and set cooling rack on top, nudging squash aside as needed so rack lies even.
In a large bowl, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt with the curry powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne. Set aside 1-1/2 teaspoon spice mix.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the chicken thighs to large bowl and toss chicken to coat. Place spiced chicken smooth (skinned) side up on cooling rack over zucchini.
Broil chicken and squash, turning chicken once, until starting to char at edges, about 16 minutes total.
Meanwhile, make glaze: Whisk together reserved spice mix, honey, mustard, and vinegar in a small bowl.
Remove chicken and zucchini from oven. Generously brush chicken with glaze. Return to oven and broil, smooth side up, until nicely charred and an instant-read thermometer registers 165° when inserted in thickest part, about 4 minutes. Remove rack of chicken from baking sheet and set aside.
Return squash to oven and broil until most pieces are charred, 2 to 3 minutes more. Lift squash from juices and serve with chicken.

Broiled Salmon and Asparagus with Crème Fraiche

broiled-salmon-asparagus
Serves 4

2 bunches asparagus (about 2 lbs. total)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 skinned salmon fillets (5 to 6 oz. each)
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or scallions

Preheat broiler with oven rack about 4 in. from heat.
Snap off bottom of an asparagus spear to see where it breaks easily. Line up remaining spears and slice off bottoms at the same spot. Put trimmed asparagus on a 12- by 17-in. rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on baking sheet.
Season salmon with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then set on top of asparagus in a single layer.
Broil salmon and asparagus until salmon is no longer translucent but still moist in center and asparagus is browned in spots, 8 to 12 minutes. If asparagus isn't done, lift salmon to a platter and return asparagus to oven for a few more minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together crème fraîche, mustard, chives, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
Serve salmon and asparagus with crème fraîche sauce.

Cooking Tips and Tricks and Answers to Your Questions

q-a
Thanks for the great questions, it helps all of us become better cooks. Please send me your questions, and I’ll share the answers with GKC readers.

Fluffier Brown Rice?
Soak brown rice for 30 minutes before cooking for fluffier texture.

What can I use in place of an egg wash?
Substitute pareve cream, heavy cream, soymilk or milk. The result will be slightly less glossy. Sometimes I brush challahs with a combination of 1 tablespoon soymilk, ½ teaspoon honey and a splash of vanilla extract

Flakier pie crust?
Add a drop of white distilled vinegar to the dough for a flakier crust.

What can I use in place of pareve whipping cream?
This is tough because there are no products on the market currently that whip as well as the artificial product we currently use. However, I have been whipping the firm layer that forms from a can of chilled unsweetened coconut milk. Whip it just like heavy cream. After soft peaks form add ¼ cup sugar, very gradually and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.

Crisper roasted vegetables?
For roasted vegetables, always use a low-sided baking sheet and high oven heat (400 degrees) or convection bake or roast (for convection, I use 375 degrees). Also, add a little oil to baking sheets and put them in the oven while it heats. When you add the veggies, they will immediately sear.

How much salad dressing do I need to make?
Count on 1 - 1 ½ tablespoons dressing per serving.

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