Kosher Foodies Campaign

Kosher-Foodie-TshirtMy friend Dani, at yeahthatskosher.com , has initiated a fantastic campaign that I can't wait to support. His mission is to gather "kosher foodies" to do good for others by raising money to help others who go hungry on a regular basis. He is selling adorable kosher foodie shirts (lots of colors available in all sizes) until August 20,and these funds will be donated to organizations like Masbia and Yad Eliezar. Join us, and help fight hunger, Buy shirts here, yeahthatskosher.com

Summer Time Salad Time

The requests for new salads come fast and frequent all summer long. Whether for weeknights, Shalosh Seudos, or for Shabbos day, people are hungrier for salads during the summer and definitely craving new recipes. This week I have two versatile summer vinaigrettes (and salad suggestions to go with the vinaigrettes) that will brighten your palate and your table. These are both fresh, light and easy.
Lemon Vinaigrette
Blueberry Vinaigrette

Blueberry Vinaigrette

blueberry_vinaigrette
Makes ½ cup, can be doubled

¼ cup blueberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce) or Sriracha sauce
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Sprinkle black pepper

In a small saucepan, mash blueberries with sugar and lemon juice and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Cook until thickened about 8 minutes. Cool.

Whisk in oil, vinegar and adobo sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve on mixed greens with blueberries, toasted nuts, and avocado. Or add some goat cheese for a dairy side dish.

Serve on baby spinach lettuce with radishes, blueberries, red onion, and toasted sweet nuts.

Double the dressing, and pour over mixed cabbage, purple and green, with blueberries, red onion, parsley, and cilantro.

Lemon Vinaigrette

Lemon-Vinaigrette
Makes ½ cup, can be doubled

2 tablespoons minced shallots
½ teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix shallots, zest, juice, vinegar, and thyme. Whisk in olive oil until fully blended. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve on mixed greens or kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives. Or atop boiled potatoes with grilled vegetables and fresh basil for a great potato salad.

More Reader Q & A….

You ask great questions and I love sharing both the question and the answers with all of my readers. Best of summer q and a….

Basil-in-a-glass
Q Why does basil die when I put it in my fridge?
Farmer market girl, Los Angeles

A Vibrant, lush fresh perfumey basil quickly becomes limp and brown after being stored in the refrigerator. Basil is a tropical plant, highly sensitive to cold. If stored below 40 F, and most refrigerators are set between 35 and 38. Instead, keep basil in a cool, shady place in your kitchen, stems submerged in a glass partially filled with water. Then place a large zip lock plastic bag over the top of the basil: this keeps the leaves moist while still letting the plant breathe.

Watermelon2
Q What is that yellow spot on the watermelon and someone said it is important for ripeness? How do I pick a ripe watermelon?
Martha, Brookline, MA

A I just learned this myself! Although a ripe melon says “punk” when thumped and a green one says “pink or pank”, this can be very difficult. Look instead for a deep cream or yellow ground spot, where the melon sat on the ground as it grew, to show that it ripened adequately before harvest. Light green or whitish spots indicate underripe melons. Also, shiny melons may be unripe and dull rinds can be overripe. I like to smell them too, the fragrant melons, all types are usually riper.

Two Pre-fast Recipes

Here are two pre-fast items that are both refreshing and delicious. Watermelon is terrific because it contains a lot of …water, and is hydrating and filling. I’m serving it in this Watermelon Gazpacho but also as dessert alongside these adorable Mason Jar S’mores. My kids still love Caramelized Onion and Boursin Cheese Pizza and I like Pan Seared Cod with Creamed Corn. I’ll serve a simple green salad with a light lemon vinaigrette alongside these filling dishes plus lots and lots of water. Finally, back by popular demand, What’s Best to Eat Before a Fast.
Recipes:
Watermelon Gazpacho
Mason Jar S'mores

Mason Jar S’mores

masonjar-smores
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
5 whole graham crackers
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

PUDDING:
3 cups whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

TOPPINGS:
50 miniature marshmallows
2 graham crackers, broken into large pieces















Special equipment: Six 5-ounce jars and a kitchen torch or broiler

For the graham cracker crust: Pulse graham crackers and butter in a food processor until crushed into crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs to each of six 5-ounce jars. Press the crumbs down to the bottoms with the back of a spoon. Reserve the remaining graham cracker crumbs.

For the pudding: Heat the milk until hot but not boiling in a saucepan on the stove or in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave (1 minute on high). Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl and add the hot milk, slowly at first, stirring constantly so the eggs do not scramble. Continue until all the milk is incorporated.
Add the sugar, cornstarch and salt to a medium saucepan. Whisk until there are no lumps. Slowly whisk in the hot milk mixture in a steady stream so lumps do not form. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble and has thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Distribute the pudding among the jars and refrigerate until fully set, 2 to 3 hours.
For the toppings:
Remove the jars from the refrigerator 2 hours before serving to come to room temperature. Just before serving, top the pudding with another layer of the reserved graham cracker crumbs. Add the miniature marshmallows to cover. Use a kitchen torch to brown the marshmallows (or carefully place under the broiler for 15-30 seconds). Top each S'mores in a Jar with a large piece of graham cracker.

Watermelon Gazpacho

watermelon-gazpacho
Serves 6

1 ½ cups mint, chopped
4 large English cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2 1/3 cups seeded and diced watermelon
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or Tofutti sour cream
1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup pepitas, toasted

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mint. Place the remaining mint in a large bowl along with the cucumbers, 2 cups watermelon, yogurt, onion, cilantro, lemon juice, ginger, cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoon salt. In small batches, puree in a food processor until smooth. Place in a pitcher or large bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Taste the gazpacho before serving and season with additional salt if needed. Divide the soup among 6 chilled bowls and top with the feta, toasted pepitas, remaining watermelon, and reserved mint.

The Nine Days

The Nine Days are here again…and we have the GKC Nine Days Recipe Roundup Here with something for everyone, from pasta making tips and recipes, quiche, homemade pizza, to tons and tons of fish options, vegetarian chili, and more. Send me your favorites so that I can add it to our extensive collection. And don’t forget to search the index by ingredient too, like salmon, or flounder, or ice cream.

A few other favorites right here:
Pan Roasted Maple Halibut with Herbed Pistou
Mushroom and Spinach Frittata
Crispy Kani Salad with Cucumber and Spicy Mayo by Esther Deutsch
Salmon with Yogurt Zaatar Sauce

I know, I know…your kids won’t eat that, just for kids then, try these
Homemade Pizza Dough and Pizza
Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes
Greek Salad
Pizza Puffs
Mini Macaroni and Cheese Puffs
Vegetarian Chili and Taco Selections
Three Cheese Calzone with Balsamic Glaze
Pizza Loaves
Garlic Knots
Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizza

I also like to make lots of bean dishes during the nine days. Try some of these.
Black Bean, Edamame, and Quinoa Salad
Corn and Black Bean Salad with Basil Lime Vinaigrette
Black Bean Caesar Salad
Roasted Tomatoes with Fennel and White Beans

And Vegetarian Indian Dishes:
Indian Spiced Salmon
Indian Cauliflower and Tofu

Or Japanese Dishes too:
Cold Sesame Noodles with Vegetables
Make it a meal and add a piece of Mirin Glazed Salmon
Or Tuna Tartare

Whatever you make, end it with some delicious dairy desserts, like homemade ice creams or cookies made with butter! You might skip meat more often.

Trio Beverage Dispenser

trio-beverage-dispenser
I love pretty drink dispensers but just don't have room to store such large items. This one is worth storing and buying because it's not just for a party. I use this at every BBQ and for Shalosh Seudos. Fill it with three different drinks with varied colors and its gorgeous and refreshing.

Trio Beverage Dispenser, available at Zgallerie.com

Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies

malted-choc-chip-cookies

Need a summer or beach snack? Want to liven up regular chocolate chip cookies? How about make an incredible ice cream sandwich with crispy, soft, and flat chocolate chip cookies? These cookies are a great spin on regular chocolate chip cookies and have become a late afternoon treat for the kids playing in the yard. Malted milk powder is the secret ingredient and it adds a smoky, sweet, flavor to these cookies. They spread on the baking sheet so don’t cook too many at the same time, and this makes them awesome in homemade ice cream sandwiches too.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

2 sticks unsalted margarine/butter, softened
3/4 cup golden brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup malted milk powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
One 12-ounce bag milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream the butter, then add both sugars and cream until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat slightly, then add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add the malted milk powder and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture, beating gently until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir in gently.

Drop by teaspoonfuls (or use a cookie scoop) on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between the cookies (they spread out quite a bit). Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. The cookies will be very flat and very chewy. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan with a spatula.

Optional: Allow to cool completely, then use 2 cookies to make an ice cream sandwich. Add sprinkles to the sides of the ice cream, then wrap individually in plastic wrap.

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.