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.

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.
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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.

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

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!

Purim Menus, Party Style, Mexican, Dairy, Indian, American and More

Party Menu
Party Cocktails…Chocolate Martinis AND Easy Margaritas AND Tutti Frutti’s
Red Pepper Soup with Cumin
Bourbon Chicken
Beer Bathed Brisket
Mixed Green Salad with Avocado, Mango, and Champagne Vinaigrette
Grasshopper Pie

Dairy Menu
Lasagna Soup
Cedar Planked Salmon with Dill Sauce
Asparagus Sesame Maple Dressing
Balsamic Portobello Mushrooms
Oven Roasted Greek Potatoes
Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Box Cake

Mexican Menu
Shrimp Cocktail
Guacomole
Nacho Chicken
Spicy Mexican Brisket
Mexican Cole Slaw
Black Bean Caesar Salad
Mexican Black Beans
Chili Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Mexican Chocolate Pudding

Indian Menu
Poppy Seed Bread
Indian-Spiced Cashews and Pistachios
Lamb in Filo Dough
Vegetable Samosas
Baked Basmati Rice with Cranberries
Lemon-Scented Almond Milk Custard

American Menu
Smoked Salmon and Wontons
Tequila Mustard Glazed Chicken Skewers
Rice with Lentils and Caramelized Onions
Butterscotch Blondies with Pretzel Caramel Topping
Iced Irish Coffee

Lots of Banana Fun – How to Peel Them and What to Make

banana

If you’ve been peeling bananas from the stem, there’s a better way. Monkeys, who know their bananas, use the stem as a handle and pinch the other end to split the peel, as shown here. The peel comes off evenly and cleanly, taking more of those stringy bits with it.

Frozen bananas are great in smoothies and milkshakes and help sweeten treats without a lot of extra sugar. I freeze the overripe ones in the peel, or peel them and slice them and freeze them in a single layer so that they don’t all stick together.

Try these recipes that with bananas…
Pumpkin Bread Sweetened with Banana
Healthy Applesauce Muffins
Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
What to do with an over-ripe banana, more recipes here.

Tu B’shevat

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Tu B’shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar, falls on February 4. Try these delicious Tu B’Shevat recipes. May it be a fruitful year in Israel and everywhere.

Spiced Carrot and Apple Soup
Moroccan Chicken with Dates and Olives
Simple Roasted Pomegranate Chicken
Cumin Scented Eggplant
Spinach Salad with Dates and Jicama
Couscous with Pinenuts and Currents
Fig Newtons
Chocolate Pomegranate Bark
Almond Pound Cake

My Dad’s Tuna Fish

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My dad loves his homemade tuna fish. He is not the chef in the family, although he makes great matzo brei, and grills like a master chef, but he has perfected a wonderful tuna fish and is quite proud of himself. On a recent visit to California, he pulled me aside and challenged my very basic tuna, mayo, and lemon juice combo that I threw together for my hungry family. He proudly shared his California Style Tuna and now I must share it with you. It includes lots of crunch, and both salty, savory and sweet flavors. It’s best on a bed of lettuce with carrot and celery sticks on the side. But my dad loves it on toasted whole grain bread (also California style), with extra lettuce, tomatoes and sliced pickles on the side…and of course a big pile of potato chips too.

California Style Tuna Fish a la Dad

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Need other tuna fish options? Try these…
Tuna Tapenade
Tuna and White Bean Salad
And of course, you could also, just open a can, drain it of any liquid, add mayonnaise and lemon juice, maybe a pinch of salt and serve.

Starting 2015 with Healthy and Energy Boosting Snacks

Although January 1 has no significance on the Jewish calendar, people still use it as a benchmark for restarting a healthy diet. Gym memberships, diet websites, and nutritionists are busier than ever this time of year.

There are no easy fixes for dieting or miracle foods in the energy equation, but smart food choices really boost your day. It’s a crucial time to treat your body well. Kids need more energy and hydration to stay perked up for learning and adults have longer days than ever. In addition to watching my diet, I’m keeping my refrigerator full of kale and arugula for interesting salads and making some homemade snack bars and muffins to keep the kids happy and better nourished. Try these simple and tasty recipes that meet healthy lifestyle standards and taste great.

Healthy Applesauce Muffins
Edamame Dip
Cherry Almond Energy Bars
Pumpkin Bread Sweetened with Bananas
Kale Chips

Spice Blends

spice-blend
Here are a few blends you have heard of but never knew how to use.

Using the right spice blend can mean the difference between an authentic tasting dish and one that’s just okay. Find these spice blends in your local markets, specialty markets and online at penzeys.com or kalustyans.com (make sure you verify kosher certification before purchasing). And if you don’t want to buy them, here are the essential ingredients in each mixture. They take the ordinary dishes and make them extraordinary plus they make everyday cooking so easy because they liven up regular roasted chicken, rice or vegetables. Just use the spice blend with some olive oil, kosher salt and pepper and roast. Delicious and easy.

Za’atar: Classic middle Eastern blend that includes sesame seeds oreganzo or thyme and sumac. I like to sprinkle it on chicken or fish and add lots of lemon, garlic and olive oil.
Try Grilled Chicken with Za’atar and Lemon or Zaatar Salmon.

Ras-el-hanout: Blend of cardomom, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric and coriander. It’s a North African blend and is amazing sprinkled on lamb before grilling or roasting, adds warm flavor to rice pilaf or couscous and delicious added to cholent.

Dukka: This Egyptian ground spice and nut blend includes hazelnuts, cumin, caraway, sesame, coriander and mint. Sprinkle on challah, or roasted vegetables.

Vadouvan: This French-Indian blend is used as a substitute for curry in anything from soup, to chicken or meat. It includes onion, shallots, garlic, cumin and curry.

Baharat: A blend of black pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and cardomom. Season beef or soups with this warm blend.

White Asparagus

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White asparagus has become very popular in Jewish markets because washing green asparagus is more difficult and challenging to confirm that no bugs are hiding in those delicious tops. White asparagus is less bitter and more tender than its green counterpart. It’s pale because it’s grown covered in dirt so it’s never exposed to sunlight and does not develop chlorophyll. I think it has a dressy and elegant appearance, white and silvery, especially combined with another green vegetable or plated with a sliced roast. It is a bit more expensive but it is a great addition to salads, as a side dish and even sliced raw.

Try these recipes with asparagus or use white asparagus in place of green asparagus in your favorite recipes.
White Asparagus Salad with Creamy Tomato Dressing
Roasted Asparagus with Orange Infused Mayonnaise
Asparagus with Sesame Citrus Sauce
Asparagus with Gluten Free Sesame Maple Dressing

New Chocolate Chips On the Market

chocolatechip
I have good news, what I consider really good news! My friend Estee Kafra, of kosherscoop.com has packaged and created a new PAREVE CHOCOLATE CHIP, that is delicious, divine, and full of fabulous flavor. Finally, finally, we can all stop mourning the loss of Trader Joe’s chocolate chips.

These chocolate chips, called Best Ingredients For Best Results, semi-sweet chocolate chips, pareve, gluten-free, vegan, and no nuts are coming soon to your local markets (or go ask for them!) and now available on Amazon.com.

The taste is rich and chocolaty and they are made with 45% cocoa and 100% Barry Callebaut chocolate. No garbage ingredients, real tasty chocolate for baking, cooking, melting and just eating. I did all of the above! I made Aunt Cassi’s low fat Oatmeal cookies, Chili Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, added them to homemade granola, and made a fantastic Chocolate Chicken Mole (it calls for unsweetened chocolate but this made it really good).

These chips are a great new product and I am so excited for you to try them and to change your baking forever. There is no comparison to the imitation chips and other packaged chocolate chips currently on the market that are available. These are affordable and delicious. Way to go Estee Kafra, thank you for filling the needs of the kosher food community.

Chanukah Inspiration and Recipes by Paula Shoyer

HKBCover

Chanukah Inspiration and Recipes by Paula Shoyer, author of The Holiday Kosher Baker and The Kosher Baker

When I was writing The Holiday Kosher Baker (Sterling 2013) I included a spiritual message in every chapter introduction. The Chanukah one is my favorite, because the message is so universal. Chanukah teaches us that you do not have to have all your resources before you start a project. Many of us have great ideas, but do not pursue them because we are waiting to gather more information, be more prepared or just waiting for the right time. When the Jews found the small pot of oil in the Temple, they could have easily decided not to bother lighting the menorah at all. Instead, they decided to just go for it, and they lit the menorah just expecting it to be lit for only one day. The miracle happened and it should inspire us to take chances, even when we cannot imagine what we might accomplish. I try to remember this lesson when I start a new recipe: just try it out and see where it goes.

Here are two of my favorite Chanukah recipes, churros dipped in chocolate as a a change from doughnuts, and an almond and olive oil cake, if you want to celebrate the miracle of the oil without frying, Happy Chanukah!

Paula Shoyer
The Kosher Baker
www.thekosherbaker.com

“Gluten-Free Around the World”

Aviva Kanoff, author of No-Potato Passover, is back with a new book, Gluten-Free Around the World, which not only expands the culinary options for people who follow a gluten-free diet but gives the reader a fantastic taste of traveling the world. Her experiences have become her inspiration for creating great recipes in anyone’s own kitchen.

Gluten-free is not just a food fad, it’s a serious diet for people who suffer from celiac disease, anyone with wheat allergy or an intolerance to gluten or who suffers from any of a multitude of ailments ranging from digestive disorders, asthma or skin problems, may also benefit from a gluten-free diet. The challenge is how to prepare tasty, appealing gluten-free food. There are no simple substitutions, no easy fixes. If you're kosher, the dietary prohibitions make it even more of a challenge. Aviva Kanoff, helps makes this easier with her new book, Gluten-Free Around the World.

It’s packed with recipes for tantalizing, creative foods she has tasted during her travels to such far places as Ecuador and India, Cambodia and Morocco and more. Recipes range from the enduring (Blueberry Scones) to the contemporary (Candied Fig and Goat Cheese Salad), from riffs on classics (Fish Tacos) to ethnic specialties (Beef Pho)..

Aviva is know as the “"the Indiana Jones of cooking" -- an adventurer, world traveler and fearless hero on the ground, in any vehicle and anywhere with a cooktop. This is the kind of person I would like to befriend. Her globe-trotting has taken her to the far reaches of Peru and India, Italy to Israel, Croatia to Southeast Asia and then some, where she has tasted the local flavors, photographed the feasts and recreated the bountifully flavored dishes of these exotic places in her own kitchen. The photos and the recipes will make you feel like you have visited some of these places yourself. Try these sneak peak recipes:

Beef Tacos
Maple Ginger Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Check out her new book. It’s a great Chanukah gift too.
Available at Amazon.com for $29.99

 

Or GKC has one for one lucky winner, Submit to win!

Four Steps to Latke Love

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In my opinion, latkes are either great or not worth eating. One or the other. Crispy, slightly salty, no greasy aftertaste, and full of potato and onion flavor are what come to mind for a great latke. Over the years I’ve tried many recipes and techniques and honestly the recipes only vary in marginal ways, like using flour or matzo meal as a thickener, schmaltz or oil for the fat, baking powder or none, but generally potatoes, onions, eggs, salt and oil yield a great product if made well.

GKC top 4 tips to create awesome crispy, crunchy, delicious tasting latkes…

1. Squeeze out the liquid: Place the grated potato mixture in a kitchen towel and aggressively wring out as much liquid as possible. This concentrates flavor and prevents sogginess.

2. Switch up the fat: If you can find schmaltz (chicken fat), use it, it adds flavor. Blend it with vegetable oil (you need the oil’s high smoke point) for frying.

3. Test the temp: If your oil is too hot, you’ll burn the outside of the latke before it cooks through. If it’s too cool, the potatoes will soak up the oil. Medium-high heat is just right for achieving a beautiful crust. To tell, whether the oil is ready, drop, in a bit of the mixture. If it sizzles, start frying.

4. Keep them crisp: Unless you want to stand at the cooktop while everyone eats, you will need to keep a few batches hot while making the rest. Place the cooked latkes on a wire rack in a 325 degree oven which prevents them from sitting in their grease and lets heat circulate to keep that crunch.

What to do with used frying oil?

Reuse it. I don’t reuse my frying oil but if yours remains clear and light in color, you can extend its life by straining out the crumbs and storing it after its cooled.

Discard It. Don’t pour used frying oil down the drain. Instead, let it cool, pour it into a biodegradable container, such as a paper milk carton, and throw it out with your regular trash.

Try this Heirloom Latkes recipe.

Hanukkah Recipes, Tips, Essentials, Wines and Articles

Hanukkah
Hanukkah o Hanukkah, is around the corner. Are your menorah’s polished? Are you ready for some frying? I feel like I just cleaned up from Succos and finished my pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving, but I guess that is what keeps us going, the celebrations that bring light and joy into our families and homes.

In order to get ready for Hanukkah, I’m often asked about recipes, articles and tips that were previously posted. I like to send at least one roundup piece so that you can find everything and anything you might need all in one place. So here goes…

Looking for:
Latke recipes? Latke recipe roundup right here
Latke Essentials, get all the tools and equipment for perfect latkes
Latke Freezing Tips
Hanukkah Cookies, Jewel cookies
It’s doughnut time, get the recipes here
Lighten Up, lighter doughnuts for all tastes, 3 different kinds
Doughnut making essentials, get all the tools and essentials here
Homemade Applesauce
Kosher chefs light up Chanukah with their favorite recipes
Eight Wines for Eight Nights of Chanukah AND more Chanukah Wines
Almond and Olive Oil Cake
The Dreidel Game, the official one
Chanukah Music by Sam Glaser

Guest Blog by My Friend Barbara Bensoussan, author of The Well-Spiced Life

an authentic food memoir that combines the best of pleasure reading with excellent recipes

Hello to all you Gourmet Kosher Cooks! A Moroccan Chanuka Menu For You…

Let me introduce myself: My name is Barbara Bensoussan, and I began my adult life as a mild-mannered Nice Jewish Girl from Philadelphia, working on a doctorate in psychology and minding my own business. But then, contrary to everyone’s expectations—mine included—my life took a 180-degree turn when I became Shabbos-observant and met and married a Nice Jewish Boy from…Casablanca.

Oy vey! We settled in Brooklyn, that crossroads of culture, and my cooking became a hodge-podge of cuisines from Morocco, Syria, Persia and yes, Eastern Europe. I spent the next twenty years absorbing new styles of cooking (quite literally—I have the pounds to prove it!) while raising a family. I’ve recounted the details of my often-bumbling foray into the world of Sephardic food and culture in a new book, The Well-Spiced Life (Israel Bookshop), sharing both experiences and recipes.

Below are a few samples from the Moroccan recipes, enough to make an entire menu if you add perhaps a little matbucha with the salads and some couscous with the chicken. With the fried eggplant and fried donuts, it’s perfect for Chanukah, the Festival of Oil!
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Fried Eggplant Salad
Chicken with Olives
Morrocan Sfeng (Donuts)

And if you enjoy the recipes, try the book! It makes a great Chanukah gift.

A “Chappy Chanukah” to all,

Barbara Bensoussan

Six Steps to Making Great Stuffing

  1. Start with Stale Bread: Use any type of bread, as long as it can get stale overnight. Drying it out overnight is key to flavor absorption and a good texture (soggy is not good). Torn bread instead of sliced promises extra toasty texture.
  2. Use some fat: You don’t have to add meat, but it does result in a nice savory stuffing. Brown the sausage or ground meat then use the drippings to cook the vegetables. This adds a nice kick and saltiness to the base.
  3. Use flavor-building ingredients: Sage, celery, and onion, leek, or shallots are nonnegotiable. These are the flavors of Thanksgiving. Cook until onions are golden brown.
  4. Deglaze away: Use a little wine or vinegar into the skillet, scraping and stirring to dissolve any crusted-on bits. Next, melt some margarine (this adds richness) into the mixture. This pairs well with the acidity from the wine.
  5. Stock is a must: Dry stuffing is awful and gummy stuffing equally as bad. Stock is a must, especially homemade if you have it. The bread should be moist with no dry spots but not sitting in liquid.
  6. Kick it up with add-ins: Now use your flair and palate. Look for balance when choosing add-ins. If you start with sweet cornbread, use tart dried cherries, or other dried fruit. Need crunch? Toss in nuts, pumpkin seeds, or chopped apples. I always finish it with some fresh herbs, like parsley, sage, basil or rosemary. And make sure you finish it with salt and pepper.

Need stuffing recipes? Try these stuffing recipes.

Kosherfest 2014

Kosherfest 2014 was fun, full of flavor and very fattening. From Jack’s Gourmet Sausage (you gotta try their new beef merguez, a show favorite by all), to gourmet choco- taschen ( pure caramel and chocolate shaped like a hamentaschen), they covered every food and flavor category. I skipped over a few granola, flatbread, and dairy-free, vegan baked goods because, it’s like candles at the gift show, just how many varieties are there? And instead saved my appetite for some new kosher products coming to your markets soon…and if you don’t see them, ask for them.

Here are some highlights and favorites this year…

Rugelach
Rugelach by Marzipan, what’s new here? Really rugelach? YES, really, these rugelach taste and look like “Israel shuk rugelach”,…you know the ones that come out of the oven oozing with chocolate or cinnamon. They are packaged tightly on a tray, warmed in the oven, and voila, Israel in your own home. Seriously, delicious.

teapops_frozen_treats_packaging_hero
Teapops, by Deebeesorganics.com, organic super fruits and teas, without refined sugar, then made into frozen delicious flavored ice pops. I loved the mango and coconut flavors. I’m definitely stocking these next summer in my freezer.

lovefruit
Move over Matt’s Munchies, hello, You Love Fruit. Better tasting dried pure fruit snacks, shaped in heart-sized bites in tons of flavors. Everything you expect like mango coconut, peach, Pomberry Acai, and more too, like key lime, passion fruit and carrot ginger. Coming soon.

moradwinery
Morad Winery not only brings us Pomegranate and Passion fruit wine but now also lychee and limoncello flavors. Gorgeous and delicious, and the friendliest owners ever.   GKC readers loved the wine for Rosh Hashannah, try some new flavors this winter too.

photo-blends
My gluten-free favorite item was easily, BLENDS, by Orly. She ingeniously created and packaged gluten free flour blends specific to the type of baking you are doing. She has a blend for breads, one for cookies, another for cakes, brownies and another for pizza doughs. Each is a special blend depending on the density and final consistency needed for your baking. Use as a one-to-one substitute to gluten based flour in all your recipes. I can’t wait to try it this week!

Tri-State party makers…try Toss It, Gourmet Salad Bar. Suri Engelberg, creator and chef for this company has created over 30 take-out salads in 2 different sizes for parties, Shabbos, weekday or anytime. Green salads, pasta salads, cabbage salads, grain salads and fruit salads are available, and the menu looks great. I tasted a few and really enjoyed the dressing and unique ingredients. Deliveries in some areas too. Check out her menu and pricing, it’s a great alternative to catering. Suri Engelberg 347 401 1920, no website yet.

A few other items, I’m looking forward to are the black truffle pate by La Rustichella , and the red curry paste by Thai Treat. I love Thai and Indian food so red and yellow curry pastes open up a world of flavors and recipes.

I’m looking forward to your feedback and what you liked at the event too. It’s a great food blogger meet and greet too. I loved sharing the day with Naomi Nachman, the Aussie Gourmet, Paula Shoyer, bestselling author of The Holiday Kosher Gourmet, my new friend Malkie Gordon from Kiss the Kosher Cook, Estee Kaffra from Kosher Scoop, Sara Lasry, best selling author of The Dairy Gourmet, Miriam Pascal from the Overtime Cook, Shifra Klein from Joy of Kosher magazine, and Leah Schapiro from CookKosher, and author of the The Made Easy Series, of Artscroll published cookbooks. Thanks fellow foodies and friends!

Thanksgiving Recipes, Tips and Wines

I’m a Thanksgiving lover as I’ve mentioned in previous years. I love the low-key happy nature of the holiday, the playing in the leaves, the football games, the delicious tastes and smells of the meal, and the leftovers too! Some years we get together with family and friends and some years I make the Shabbos meal Thanksgiving themed. Whatever your take on it is, no one can deny that the fall colors and ingredients in Thanksgiving cuisine are beloved by all. Check out all the Thanksgiving ideas and recipes from GKC.

And if you are new to GKC or just need a reminder, I’ve got lots of Thanksgiving and Turkey roasting tips and hints. Check out these past favorites.

Get Prepped for Thanksgiving, Perfect Turkey Roasting Tips and Tricks
Is a Kosher Turkey Really More Tasty?Thanksgiving Wines, What are you serving?3 Thanksgiving Wines we recommend
Win a Chefalarm, and check out all the best Thermometers from Thermoworks.

In addition to the new recipes for Thanksgiving, make sure you check out the
Turkey recipes
Stuffing recipes
Cranberry Sauce recipes
Mashed Potato recipes
Squash recipes
Green Bean recipes
Pie recipes

Or some leftover turkey ideas too:
Quick Chili with Leftover Turkey
Minestrone Soup with Leftover Turkey
Turkey Salad
Turkey Pie with Cranberry Thyme Crust

My New Favs From Thermoworks

It’s no secret, I love the Thermapen and use it all year round for perfect meat and turkey roasting, and indoor and outdoor grilling. It’s on my ultimate kitchen essential equipment list and it will accompany me to all of my Thanksgiving cooking classes. But Thermoworks, the creators of the Thermapen, do not stop with this master thermometer.

Thermoworks has created some of my newest favorite kitchen electronics just in time for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. These are perfect gifts and gifts that give back. Thermometers make every cook better. From meat and turkey to yogurt and candy, kitchen thermometers help you cook with accuracy so foods are moist and delicious and never under or over cooked.

DOT
dot
The DOT is engineered to do one thing really well. Set your target temperature with the up or down buttons, insert the probe in your food, and DOT beeps when it gets there. Simple as that. Hit any button and the beeping stops. The display still flashes till your temperature drops below the setpoint. What’s really cool too is that has only two buttons to learn - Up and Down! No complicated programming, Just $39 at thermworks.com

THERMOPOP
thermopop
I promise I really promise that I love these products because they are more than cute! They work, they really work, accurately, quickly, and effortlessly. The Thermopop is the best pocket thermometer around, and it comes in 9 colors to match whatever you are wearing (no joke, I have a few depending on what I teach in J Now for the cool part, it’s the first rotating display pocket thermometer. A simple button press rotates the display in 90 degree increments. Hold the ThermoPop in either hand or read it when it's upside down. Any angle is convenient! Available for $29 at thermoworks.com

THERMAPEN
thermoworks
Of course the THERMAPEN, continues to be a must-have item and I recommend it in all my classes. Currently, Thermoworks, is selling some outrageous special edition patterns. This one seems like a great gift!

CHEFALARM
And we cannot forget about the CHEFALARM (Hurry! I got one to giveaway, submit to win!)

thermapen
This is a professional oven thermometer that has been Rated #1 by a leading Cook's Magazine. ChefAlarm delivers features not found in "houseware" cooking alarms. Some of these great features include; the main temperature digits are big and easy-to-see from a distance, backlight button to read the display in the dark and dual use, fold flat and use the magnetic back on a metal surface or tilt the display up and use it on a counter. It comes with one Pro-Series High Temp Cooking Probe which ensures your dishes reach the right temperature. Available online for $59 at thermoworks.com

SUBMIT TO WIN A RED CHEFALARM

Last Tuesday was National Chocolate Day, Let’s Celebrate Chocolate!

chocolate-heart

Did you know that Tuesday October 28, was National Chocolate Day? Did you miss it or get a chance to indulge? I actually didn’t know we needed a National chocolate day to celebrate that luscious, divine ingredient. I’m personally okay with celebrating with a little chocolate on almost any day but okay, let’s refill our chocolate drawer at work, grab a box on the way home and make a killer chocolate dessert to enjoy before, or after, dinner. And since the official day was last week, let’s just keep it going, maybe National Chocolate Month?

Although I will help you find a few good chocolate recipes this week, and answer your pressing chocolate questions, I also must first tell you that all chocolate is not created equal. Though many chocolates are tasty, they are not exactly what connoisseurs refer to as quality chocolate. With an array of chocolates available at convenience stores, markets, specialty shops and chocolatiers, those with a chocolate craving are sure to come across plenty of disappointments on their quest for superior chocolates. Additionally the quality of the chocolate used in a recipe can often determine the end product. I use good quality chocolate for everything, eating, baking, shavings, and even in hot cocoa.

A few tips to buying good quality chocolate…

Let the price tag be an indicator of good chocolate. Good chocolate will cost more than commercial grade chocolate, as it should. If you are looking for top quality chocolate, expect to pay more for the quality.

Look at the ingredients. Good chocolate will have cocoa solids (the actual chocolate) and cocoa butter (the creaminess of the chocolate) as top ingredients. If you browse the list of ingredients and see a bunch of things you do not recognize and cannot pronounce, skip purchasing it.

Check the date the chocolate was made. Dark chocolate is recommended to be used before 1 year, milk chocolate within 6 months and white chocolate within 8 months. The date is located on the package.

Smell the chocolate. Chocolate should smell like...chocolate. No smell to the chocolate indicates old or poor quality chocolate. Chocolate that smells of anything else means it has not been stored well. Chocolate absorbs the odor and flavor of its environment, so pay attention to whatever is on display nearby.

Good chocolate has a glossy surface.
If you open the package and it has a foggy appearance than it is probably made with imitation chocolate ingredients. I would not use this in baking or eating but instead of it going to waste, melt it and add it to warm milk for hot chocolate.

AND I’m often asked these questions about chocolate:
In chocolate, what does bittersweet mean versus semisweet?

Typically, semisweet chocolate has lower cacao content and is sweeter than bittersweet chocolate. However, the only FDA requirement is that something called dark, bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate contain at least 35 percent cacao and less than 12 percent milk solids (more milk solids, and it’s required to say it’s milk chocolate).

Bittersweet chocolate contains sugar, but generally not as much as semisweet chocolate, although, by government standards, they could contain practically identical amounts of chocolate liquor and sugar and still retain their bittersweet and semisweet labels. What this means is that one brand's bittersweet chocolate could be close in sweetness to another brand's semisweet chocolate, and vice versa.
Because of this, bittersweet and semisweet chocolate could be used interchangeably in most recipes; unsweetened, obviously, could not because it contains no sugar.

What does % cacao mean on the package?
When you see “% cacao” printed on a label, it refers to the total percentage of ingredients by weight in that product that come from the cocoa bean, including the chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. The term is found most often on premium chocolates, especially dark chocolate.
It’s a guide to specific flavor intensity. The numbers point to milder or deeper chocolate flavor. Finding this number on the label can help you choose a chocolate that matches your taste preferences or your recipe’s needs.

What do the numbers indicate? Higher cacao percentages equal the following:
• Greater Flavor Intensity: In general, a higher “% cacao” lends a more intense chocolate flavor.

• Less Sweetness: A higher “% cacao” means less added sugar. For example, a 72 percent cacao dark chocolate has roughly 12 percent less sugar than a 60 percent cacao dark chocolate. Unsweetened baking chocolate is 100 percent cacao with no added sugar, and it is very bitter.

What type of chocolate should I use in baking?
For melting or baking use chocolate with more than a 32% cocoa butter (I prefer the brands with 52%) but less than 32% will not melt to a proper workable fluid state. When melted it will be thick and be completely unusable for most dipping and other types of uses. Personally, I like bittersweet chocolate in everything but buy and eat whatever you prefer.

And now, chocolate recipes to enjoy…
Brownie Chocolate Chip Pie
Chocolate Almond Ripple Cake
Chocolate Biscotti
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars
Chocolate Meltaway Cake
Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes

And for a huge assortment of chocolate recipes to choose from check out the CHOCOLATE INDEX