Happy Birthday Kim! Kim's "Chopped" party was a blast. Thank you to Riki and Fran for inviting me to host the event and thank you to all of Kim's friends for making it so incredible. The ladies had a basket full of 4 secret ingredients, their challenge, prepare a delicious and nutritious salad with those ingredients and anything from the pantry. Ready, set, cook! They were creative and fun even with the trivia and sabotages I threw at them while they cooked.
Celebrate the ones you love each and everyday by cooking and caring for them!
WHY WE COOK. . .
A home cooked meal says I want to take care of you.
A home cooked meal says I want to nourish you.
A home cooked meal says I care and I want you to be healthy.
A home cooked meal says I love you.
A home cooked meal is remembered forever.
As seen in CELEBRATE, page 2 (BTW, CELEBRATE makes a great Valentine’s Day Gift, especially if you want to eat well!)
Valentine’s Day or any day, CELEBRATE the ones you love by preparing delicious dishes they love.
Breakfast in bed for your sweetheart? These pancakes are our favorite! Add a little more milk or buttermilk and it’s a great crepe recipe too. Fill them with strawberries and cream, nutella, or any other delicious filling. And serve it with a Nespresso latte (A Nespresso machine is a good gift too). My dad always buys me a Starbucks card so that I can have a virtual coffee with him everyday for a few weeks after Valentine’s Day ☺ I love this!
Feel like making something decadent and special? Try the Fall off the Bone, 4-Hour Lamb or Lamb Shanks with Shallots and Cherries.
Or a cozy, rustic and hearty Fall Beef Stew
Or something dairy and lighter, Angel Hair Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese and a classic Caesar Salad.
Dessert…I love dessert especially when I share it with someone I love.
Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake or Molten Chocolate Cakes
Chocolate truffles, cookie dough truffles, or tons and tons of other truffles
Chili Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Stunning Red Velvet Treats of all kinds or from CELEBRATE, the red velvet pareve cheesecake brownies, extra yum.
Thank you Emuna and the fabulous ladies from JWI for a beautiful and delicious day in Los Angeles.
Thank you Malki and Avrumy at Evergreen Market in Monsey for a great event. I've received numerous calls and texts from the participants who had a great time and wanted more foodie advice and tips.
In most national US markets, so-called yams are often sweet potatoes. True yams, which are commonly grown in parts of Africa, are a totally different vegetable. While they resemble sweet potatoes and can be used interchangeably, yams are thicker skinned and more pale, and have more starchy flesh. The confusion dates back to the when enslaved Africans referred to native American sweet potatoes as nyami, a West African word for yam. The term stuck and most people do not usually know what they are actually buying.
There are thousands of varieties of sweet potatoes. They come in different sizes and color, both outside and inside and are mostly grown in the southern United States. I like the darker flesh and skinned sweet potatoes often found in 3 pound bags. Sweet potatoes in my opinion have a sweeter, lighter taste than yams. They can be used interchangeably but next time you are in the market, check and see where they are from or if they are actually a sweet potato or a yam.
Try sweet potatoes in these delicious dishes:
Coconut and Sweet Potato Bisque
Terrific Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet Potato Casserole with Granola Crumble
Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Salad
Sweet Potato Muffins
Thank you to my dear friend Adeena and Sinai academy for a wonderful Santa Monica class. The kitchen was beautiful and the ladies were knowledgeable and inquisitive. What a fun day!
Thank you Edjewcate, Sima, Mojdeh, and all the fantastically festive ladies at the cooking demo in Beverly Hills last Wednesday. It was so much fun to teach you and learn from you too! Thanks for the pomegranate tips.
Thank you Shalhevet for a great first event in Los Angeles. Great seeing old and new friends there!
Thank you Emunah of Los Angeles for a fun evening. Thanks for a great event on a Thursday night!
Thank you Yeshiva Ketana of Los Angeles! I loved meeting all of you.
Thank you Keshet in Peterson Park for a wonderfully warm but snowy welcome to Chicago! We made it toasty and delicious and had a great time.
Thank You Amit of Skokie, for a great event!
I traveled to Chicago this week to teach and WOW, winter is on. Across the nation, cold weather has arrived. The west coast has more snow in the mountains and Los Angeles temperatures in the 50’s? In NY we have been spared a bit until now. My soup pots are out! It’s time for hearty, meal-in-a-bowl, delicious warm soups. Here are a few options that fit the bill.
Smoky Spanish Meatball Soup
Red Pepper, Corn and Black Bean Chowder
Alphabet Soup with Meatballs
Chicken Udon Soup
Caramelized onions are a great “secret” ingredient to have on hand. They lend their deep flavor to so many dishes, like roasted chicken or mashed potatoes or pizza. But also to stews, sandwiches, burgers and more. The secret to making them is patience. It can take awhile for the onions to become deeply browned. Covering the skillet at the beginning helps the onions to soften and release their liquid, then slowly cooking them uncovered makes them meltingly soft and sweet. Since caramelized onions stay well covered in the refrigerator for a week, and can even be frozen, you may want to make a double batch to keep some for an instant source of flavor to enhance weekday meals. If you do that, use a 12-inch skillet to accommodate the extra volume.
Common problems and solutions that I think are "Good to Know"…. Let me know if you have others, I love to answer reader questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Soup too salty?
Add two peeleded potatoes, cut in four or five large pieces. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes in soup. Remove potatoes, add more water to soup if necessary. Reserve potato for mashed potatoes or as a snack. The potatoes will draw out the saltiness.
Dish too spicy?
Add sour cream, non-dairy sour cream, any dairy product or product that acts like a dairy product, like soymilk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, cook and stir into dish. Or add a bit of honey or sugar.
Burned your soup?
Submerge pot of soup into a larger bowl filled with cold water. Don’t mix! Let it sit for about 10 minutes and do not stir the soup. Leave the scorched part on the bottom and ladle out the soup from the middle of the pot. Rewarm and serve.
Bread is stale?
Make bread crumbs, croutons, or bread pudding. Or wrap it in damp towel and bake in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes. It will be ready to eat.
Preserved lemons add a salty zing to any dish, especially in tagines or soups. They are available in some markets, but its also easy to make your own. The only hard part is waiting 4 weeks for them to be ready to use.
Use them in these recipes. They add zesty, salty, freshness.
Roast Chicken with Shallot and Meyer Lemon Sauce
Baby Lamb Chops with Minted Meyer Lemon Spread
Add them to this tagine:
Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine
Hanukah is a time for frying everything, so why not give you some tips on classic cutlets for Hanukah too.
Fried meat just tastes good. But to unlock the wonders of breading and frying, I’m talking a seriously crispy crust, you have got to use the right technique.
1. Pound: Put meat between two pieces of plastic wrap, then use a meat mallet or the bottom of a skillet to pound to a ¼” thickness. This ensures quick cooking and plenty of surface area for big-time crunch. Or buy them pounded evenly.
2. Season: Liberally seasoning the pounded-out cutlet with salt and pepper before the breading process adds another layer of flavor.
3. Bread: The key to great schnitzel: Coat the meat in flour, then dunk it in beaten egg and let the excess drip off; firmly press cutlet into finely ground crumbs, turning to coat both sides and making sure there are no gaps. I use seasoned crumbs or season my own crumbs with garlic and onion powder, kosher salt and pepper, dried parsley, or whatever extra seasoning I’m in the mood for.
4. Fry: Heat ½” oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Test if it’s hot enough by adding a pinch of crumbs to the pan. If the oil immediately bubbles rapidly, it’s ready. Cook chicken in batches. Drain on paper towels; season with salt.
Try this recipe: Pretzel Crusted Chicken Cutlets
After latkes have been fried, let cool completely, group in stacks of 6, wrap in plastic wrap and then in foil, and freeze for up to 3 days.
To reheat, place frozen latkes on a wire rack st inside a rimmed baking sheet and cook in a 425F until hot and crisped, about 10 – 12 minutes.
Lots of Latkes here, including potato, sweet potato, zucchini, lighter side, wild mushroom, cheese and from friend Melinda Strauss, S’mores Latkes
Homemade applesauce. Lots of types and flavorshere
Doughnuts, fried and baked. A new chocolate baked doughtnut with chocolate glaze too.
Hanukah craft - Hanukah Marshmallow Dreidels
What you need
Nutella hazelnut spread or Pareve hazelnut chocolate spread
Chocolate candy kisses
Cake decorating gel
Chocolate or vanilla candy coating
Parchment paper, cookie sheet (for candy coated dreidels)
First, push a pretzel into the flat side of the marshmallow, sticking it in as far as you can without puncturing the opposite side. Next, spread a small amount of Nutella onto the base of a chocolate kiss. Use the Nutella as “glue” to attach the kiss to the flat end of the marshmallow. At this point, you can use cake decorating gel to write one of the four Hebrew dreidel letters onto the surface of the marshmallow… Nun, Hey, Gimel, Shin Here are the Hebrew letters if you need a guide: These letters stand for the Hebrew phrase, Nes Gadol Haya Sham– which means “A great miracle happened there.” Cake decorating gel takes a long time to dry, so give your letters a few hours to set… if your kids can wait that long! If you want to add a candy coating to your dreidel instead of the letters, make sure your marshmallow dreidels are prepped and ready to go before you start working with the chocolate. You will need to work quickly while the chocolate is soft. Place the dreidels on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, with at least an inch or two in between each dreidel. Melt your chocolate or vanilla candy coating according to the package directions at the lowest temperature setting possible. Ideally the consistency of the melted coating should be like chocolate syrup—not overly thick. If your candy coating seems too thick after melting it, you can thin it out using a tablespoon or two of vegetable shortening. Once it’s melted, transfer the melted candy coating to a cool bowl. Working quickly, dip your dreidels one-at-a-time into the coating and roll them until the surface is evenly covered. As you dip the dreidels, make sure you don’t leave them in the hot candy coating for longer than a few seconds at a time. If you leave it longer, the Hershey kiss will melt and you’ll have a flat-bottomed dreidel. Pull the dreidel out of the coating and hold it over the bowl, point side facing downward, for a few seconds to get rid of excess drips. Place it on the parchment-lined cookie sheet and coat immediately with sprinkles. Once all of your dreidels are coated, let them dry for 15-20 minutes until the candy coating has set. A slight “puddle” will form underneath each dreidel, so it won’t look perfect—but that’s not the point. It will still look dreidel-ish, and it will taste yummy! Have fun!