Yom Kippur: Before and After the Fast

Although we don’t have to cook for Shabbos this year, we still need hearty meals before and after the fast. When we were first married and living in the Old City in Jerusalem, I made an elaborate dairy meal before the fast. Then, one of my husband’s rebbeim told him that since it was a seudas mitzvah, we should be eating meat. I ran to the markolet, grabbed a frozen chicken (if you have lived or live in Israel you know the ones I mean!) and spent Erev Yom Tov desperately defrosting and cooking it. I won’t make that mistake again. Our family “tradition” is have Oven-Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and another mild vegetable. Watermelon is our dessert of choice – juice and refreshing without the thirst-inducing danger of sugary treats.

Oven-Fried Chicken
Mashed Potatoes

After most fasts I made a pareve minestrone soup to which my kids love to add grated cheese. But after Yom Kippur, you need something more. It hasn’t just been a physical effort but a tremendous spiritual one as well and our bodies need rejuvenation. Try this hearty soup to replenish your energy.

Rich Mushroom Barley Soup with Flanken

Oven-Fried Chicken


Easy
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups panko
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 chickens, cut in 1/8th’s
¾ to 1 cup canola oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place rimmed nonstick baking sheet on lower rack of oven. Place the eggs in one bowl, the panko in one bowl, and the flour mixed with garlic and cayenne in a third bowl. Dredge chicken in flour, then egg and then panko. Pour the oil onto the baking sheet and roll the chicken pieces in it. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/3 cup non-dairy creamer
1/3 cup tofutti cream cheese
2 tablespoons margarine
1-2 teaspoons salt

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over a high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork. Drain completely and mash, adding non-dairy creamer, tofutti cream cheese, margarine and salt as you go.

Rich Mushroom Barley Soup with Flanken

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms, wild and regular (it will work with just regular if you like)
1 onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, sliced
4 teaspoons minced garlic
3 to 4 pounds flanken (short ribs)
4 quarts water
3 tablespoons beef broth powder
1 red pepper, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
1-3/4 cup barley
1 (15 oz) canned crushed tomatoes

Preparation:
In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onions and sauté for about 15 minutes. Add celery and garlic and continue to sauté a few minutes longer. Brown short ribs and then add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and let simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Menu Ideas for Rosh Hashannah

So many great recipes and so many meals, but what to make and when? Here are a few menu suggestions from recipes available on GKC. Remember to mix and match whatever you like and make extra to freeze for Succot. What are you making? Anything to share?

Easy Menu
Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder
Rosh Hashannah Salad
Simple Elegant Short Ribs
Sweet Tzimmes
Curried Rice
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Menu 1
Pumpkin Challah
Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
Brisket Braised in Pomegranate Juice with Onion Confit
Best Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Apples
Roasted Baby Beets with Truffle Chive Vinaigrette
Mango and Cranberry Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
White House Honey Cupcakes

Menu 2
Curried Apple Soup
Chicken & Fruit Fricassee
Corn Pudding
Roasted Asparagus
Apples, Cranberries and Almonds Salad
Chocolate Caramel Bread Pudding

Menu 3
Onion-Poppy Seed Challah
Pumpkin-Coconut Bisque
Rare’s Signature Sea Bass: Sea Bass with Balsamic Reduction and Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Apple Coleslaw
Roasted Baby Vegetables
Pomegranate Sweet Custard Tart

Menu 4
Apple Challah
Chilled Melon and Tomato Salad
Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine
Soda Meatballs
White Rice
Sweet Tzimmes

Simanim

On Rosh HaShanah, it is customary to eat symbolic foods that express our hopes and aspirations for the new year. As we take a bite, we pray for, among other things, a sweet new year (the famous apple in the honey), the destruction of our enemies (this requires more than just one food!) and an increase in both our individual merits and those of the Jewish people.

These foods can be served raw or cooked and presented creatively. My good friend Debby used an artist’s palette last year to display her treats.

Here are just a few possible recipes that make use of the simanim and get us fully involved in the blessings they invoke. We’d love to know what you use.

Leek Patties with Meat
Pumpkin Tarts
Coconut Date Balls

Extraordinary Chocolate Babka for Holiday Company

Two weeks ago I spent an amazing Shabbos in East Hampton NY. Yes, it is all its cracked up to be, magnificent mansions, beautiful architecture, gorgeous beaches, and super beachy glam. Additionally we had the good fortune of meeting some really interesting and diverse Shabbos guests including a Chihuahua with pink painted toe nails, the man behind GossipCop.com (a website that verifies the accuracy of celebrity news – or as we called him, the Hollywood lashon hara fact checker) but best of all was meeting my new friend and fellow foodie – Lee.

I first heard about Lee, Shabbos morning when my wonderful host and very dear friend Yael told me she had a special treat with our morning coffee. Now Yael has been a member of GKC since day 1 and she knows how much I love something sweet and delicious. So, when Yael says “I have a treat for you” she means it, and boy was she right! Yael gave me a piece of babka (already on the right track!) and said, “Enjoy”… I did! Wow! It turns out my new friend Lee had adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart and the results are delicious. The amazing thing was when I pictured the woman behind this babka I didn’t picture a beautiful young woman with a demanding career as a TV producer, but when I met her later at lunch that’s exactly who she turned out to be. Since then Lee and I have shared lots of great recipes and have bonded over our love of all things epicurean. Lee’s babka was twisted and rolled in a way that yields a beautiful layered and ribbon like appearance. The chocolate inside was so thick that the slices were clean and mouth watering. Turns out, Lee’s babka is easy to make and the chocolate layering is almost as pretty to look at as it was delicious to eat. The crumble on top gives it a perfect finish. Needless to say Shabbos was Yum!

Try it and let us know what you think. It’s become a GKC favorite.

Thanks Lee!

Chocolate Babka
by Lee Kushnir

When shaping the babka, twist dough evenly throughout the length of the roll a full 5 to 6 turns. The babka can be prepared up to step 8 and frozen for up to a month before baking. When ready to bake, remove from freezer; let stand at room temperature for about 5 hours, and bake.

This makes two full-sized and four miniature ones.

1 1/2 cups warm soy milk, 110 degrees
2 (1/4 ounce each) packages active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups plus a pinch of sugar
3 whole large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) margarine, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus more for bowl and loaf pans
2 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped*
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon soy milk
Streusel topping (below)

1. Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar over soy milk; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. In a bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and egg yolks. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture, and whisk to combine.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Change to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks margarine, and beat until flour mixture and margarine are completely incorporated, and a smooth, soft dough that’s slightly sticky when squeezed is formed, about 10 minutes.

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few turns until smooth. Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

5. Place chocolate, remaining cup sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in remaining 1 1/2 sticks margarine until well combined; set filling aside.

6. Generously grease three 9-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pans; line them with parchment paper. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon soy milk or pareve milk; set egg wash aside. Punch back the dough, and transfer to a clean surface. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut into 3 equal pieces. Keep 2 pieces covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining piece. On a generously floured surface, roll dough out into a 16-inch square; it should be 1/8 inch thick.

7. Brush edges with reserved egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of the reserved chocolate filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Refresh egg wash if needed. Roll dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch ends together to seal. Twist 5 or 6 turns. Brush top of roll with egg wash. Carefully crumble 2 tablespoons filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold right half of the roll over onto the coated left half. Fold ends under, and pinch to seal. Twist roll 2 turns, and fit into prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough and remaining filling.

8. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of streusel topping over each loaf. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place 20 to 30 minutes.

9. Bake loaves, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until babkas are deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, and transfer to wire racks until cool. Remove from pans; serve. Babkas freeze well for up to 1 month.

* After chopping the chocolate into moderately sized chunks, use the food processor to pulse the rest of the chocolate in two batches to small bits. It saves a lot of time!

Streusel Topping

Makes 3 3/4 cups.

1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted margarine, room temperature

In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and margarine. Using a fork, stir until fully combined with clumps ranging in size from crumbs to 1 inch.

Rosh Hashannah

Yes, its true…Rosh Hashannah is really early this year (is it ever on time?), and GKC is ready to help you get ready. First, check out the amazing all new recipes perfect for your Yom Tov tables. Then bring extra gourmet dishes to your table with the famous restaurant recipes sections. See what the professional chefs from some of our favorite restaurants make at home and see how easy it is to cook like a pro. Next, submit for the great giveaways (we will have one EACH week!). Don’t miss out on the amazing gifts from honey and honey dishes to challahs and artisan glass. Of course, we will include wine recommendations, health articles, crafts, and more new recipes and features each week. Send us your cooking questions and any recipes you would like us to share with our readers. GKC wishes all of our readers a very sweet New Year.

Poppy Seeds

the_poppy_seed
I think I was born in the wrong generation. One trivial reason is my love of poppy seeds. They seem to be associated with my great aunts and my buby. Who else buys poppy seed danishes or strudel or hamantashen? My kids go for the chocolate-filled ones or even better yet, the chocolate-peanut butter. But I’m a traditionalist and, as mentioned, a big fan of poppy seeds. I like them in hamantashen, in danishes and strudels, in cakes and cookies. There are worse ways of being old-fashioned…Here are a few of my favorite recipes incorporating poppy seeds: some cookies, a cake based on a cake mix (always good when the craving needs to be satisfied now!) and a scratch cake. Pick one or try all three. You can join my poppy seed fan club.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Cookies become classic for a reason.

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, softened
½ cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¾ teaspoon lemon extract
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
⅓ cup poppy seeds

Cream together the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon extract and vanilla. On a low speed, add the flour and poppy seeds and beat until well mixed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half and roll out one piece on a lightly floured surface. Cut out cookies in the shape desired (can just be plain round ones if you like) and place on greased baking sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes, until just barely brown around the edges.

Yellow Cake with Poppy Seed Filling

1 package Duncan Hines Classic Yellow cake mix
1 package vanilla instant pudding
1 cup orange juice
½ cup oil
4 eggs

Filling:
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all cake ingredients in a mixer and beat until blended and lumps have disappeared. Pour half the batter into a greased 10-inch tube pan. Stir together filling ingredients. Drop half the filling over the batter and swirl with a knife. Add remaining batter and repeat the process. Bake for about 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

DSCN0223

Poppy Seed Cake with Tofutti Cream Cheese Icing

Cake:
1 cup nondairy creamer
½ cup poppy seeds
2 cups flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup margarine, softened
1¼ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 egg whites

Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) package tofutti cream cheese
¼ cup margarine, softened
2½ cups powdered sugar

Microwave nondairy creamer until hot and stir in poppy seeds. Set it aside. Place flour and baking powder in a small bowl or measuring cup. With mixer on low, gradually beat in dry ingredients alternating with the milk-poppy seed mixture. Cream together the margarine, 1 cup sugar and vanilla. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients, alternating with the liquid, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. In a clean bowl beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form. Beat in remaining ¼ cup sugar. Fold into batter. Pour into greased 10-inch round bans and bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan. Cool completely before frosting.
For frosting, cream together all ingredients and speak across bottom layer and all over top and sides of cake.

Back to the Barbeque

blog

With the summer in full swing and lots of warm weather and friends to catch up with, I am back at the barbeque. In New York, we have a shorter season for this so I try and use it as often as possible. This means lots of variety and homemade condiments to take the ordinary to extraordinary. Try these but also check your grocery store for interesting sauces like spicy mayonnaise (from the sushi guy), or smoked cheese for the top of a veggie burger, or homemade guacamole with beans on a turkey burger.

These are some fun favorites that dress up an ordinary barbeque and make a buffet look a little more gourmet.

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbeque Sauce
Balsamic Roasted Onions
Bourbon Baked Beans
Homemade Butter Pickles
Curry Slider Sauce

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

1 cup ketchup
½ cup bourbon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons mild molasses
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons (fish-free) Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1½ teaspoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce is reduced to 2 cups, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Can be made up to two weeks in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Use on chicken, meat, brisket or ribs.

Balsamic Onions

3 red onions, sliced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Preheat into 375ºF
. Cut the onions in half and slice ¼-inch think, place on a baking sheet and toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, until the onions are tender.

Bourbon Baked Beans

2 (16-ounce) cans baked beans, drained
½ cup chili sauce
¼ cup bourbon
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Directions
Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium and continue boiling for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Homemade Zesty Bread and Butter Pickles

5 pickling cucumbers (about 4 inches long)
4 slices fresh horseradish, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
4 sprigs fresh dill weed
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons pickling spice
2 teaspoons turmeric
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Special equipment: 1 (1-quart) mason jar, sterilized by boiling in water
Wash cucumbers, slice into ¼-inch thick rounds, and place in a heated, sterilized mason jar with horseradish and fresh dill weed.
Set a large pot over medium heat and add vinegar, sugar, water, garlic and pickling spices. Bring the brine to a boil then pour over cucumbers and horseradish in still-hot mason jar and seal lid. Allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. You can serve once chilled, but for best flavor serve after the pickles have been left overnight.

Curry Slider Sauce

¾ cup mayonnaise
2¼ teaspoons curry powder
1½ tablespoons plain tofutti sour cream

1½ tablespoons ketchup

1 garlic clove, minced

Mix mayonnaise, curry powder, tofutti sour cream, ketchup, and garlic in small bowl for sauce. Let stand at room temperature while preparing sliders.

Coconut

coconut1
Coconut

Coconut – you either love it or you hate it. I happen to love it (which is why I have a secret stash of Mounds bars hidden in the closet). I like it in cookies, in cakes, mixed with chocolate, mixed with oatmeal. I like the sweetened flaked kind, not the healthier (drier) version. So if you’re like me, read on. Here are some of my favorite recipes. And if you’re not, in the spirit of adventure, try some of these. Or wait for next week’s blog!

Coconut Pound Cake

1 cup margarine, softened
¾ cup shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup nondairy creamer
2 teaspoons coconut extract
½ cup flaked sweetened coconut (the best kind!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream together shortening, margarine and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Combine dry ingredients and add to batter alternatively with the nondairy creamer, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in extract and coconut. Pour into greased 10-inch Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, loosen sides and invert onto wire rack to finish cooling.

seven-layer-bars
Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars

This milchig dessert is the classic use of coconut. These are really good and need to be saved for special occasions – and when no one in the family is watching their weight!

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup butter, melted
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup butterscotch-flavored chips (I usually leave these out)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1-1/3 cups coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together graham cracker crumbs and butter and press into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with remaining ingredients. Bake 25 to 30 minutes – until lightly browned. Cut into bars when cool. Store in the refrigerator and take out a few minutes early to soften before serving.

Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together margarine and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time and mix in vanilla. On a low speed, beat in flour, baking soda and baking powder. Then add oats and coconut. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on sheets for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Nine Days

The Nine Days isn’t a big deal around my home – culinary-wise that is. With a female-dominated household and living in southern California, we don’t have meat that often on weekdays. We are used to fish, pastas, quiches and other dairy dishes. In that respect the nine days are not noticeably different from the rest of the year. Except that human nature is to rebel. If I can’t have it, then I really want it. We promise that these recipes will make you forget your craving for meat. They are so good, however, that they may not reinforce the proper spirit of mourning!

Baked Salmon With Blackberry Ginger Glaze
Tarragon Salmon
Seared Tuna with Mustard and Soy Sauce
Caramelized Onion and Boursin Cheese Pizza
Greek Salad
White Chocolate Pound Cake
Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes

Start with the Baked Salmon with Blackberry Ginger Glaze. It’s the perfect sweet and savory sauce for salmon. I add ¼ cup sugar to the extra glaze and drizzle it over ice cream for dessert. And don’t forget to try all the other fish and dairy recipes in our index as well as the Nine Days Recipes.

Baked Salmon with Blackberry Ginger Glaze

5728 f0

1 cup water
12 ounces blackberries (fresh or frozen and any berry can be substituted)
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
1/2 lemon, juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 (8-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small sauce pot over medium-high heat, combine water, blackberries, ginger and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until berries break down, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl, using the back of a spoon to push blackberry pulp through. Return blackberry mixture to the sauce pot, add sugar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Remove from heat and let cool.

Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and set fillets on top. Brush fillets with oil and season with salt and pepper. Once blackberry mixture is cool, brush over salmon fillets and bake for 4 minutes. Brush again with blackberry mixture. Turn oven to broil and broil another 3 minutes.

July 4th

blog-american-flag-2a

July 4th is a special time to celebrate. I’m not sure why all American holidays turn into 3-day weekends (well I guess I do understand that!) and barbecues but since I enjoy both, who’s complaining? For those of us who live in the United States, there’s a lot to be grateful for and for those of us who don’t, even with all its problems, the United States is still our good friend. So light up the grill, raise your glasses and let’s have a toast to our grand old flag.

Barbecued Ribs

These ribs don’t actually go on the barbecue but they are so easy (and delicious) and they fit perfectly with the spirit of the day. Serve with some potato salad and coleslaw and this patriotic cake for dessert!

Enough ribs for each person to have two
Sliced onions to Cover
Char-B-Que barbecue sauce to cover
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ribs in a large baking pan (or two depending on the size of your family). Top with sliced onions. Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours. Remove onions and drain fat from pan. Cover for with barbecue sauce and return, uncovered, to the oven. Bake for another hour.

blog-flag_cake
American Flag Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 (8 ounce) container vanilla icing
1 pint blueberries, rinsed and drained
2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced (raspberries can also work; don’t slice)
Directions
1. Prepare cake according to package directions and bake in a 9×13 inch pan. Cool completely.
2. Frost cake. Place blueberries in a square in the corner, and arrange sliced strawberries as stripes to make an American flag. Chill until serving.

Summer is Time for Guacamole

chunky-guacamole

Summer is the perfect time for guacamole because avocados (although available year round) are in season and are at their peak of ripeness. We love guacamole for chips of course, but also on burgers, salmon, mixed with rice, and in different varieties like the ones below.

Here are a few tips for the tastiest variations and for the perfect guacamole every time. First, use Hass avocados, the brown wrinkly kind for guacamole. They’re especially rich and creamy. Buy avocados that are slightly soft but not squishy. Ripen in a paper bag with an apple or a banana at room temperature. Store ripe whole avocados in the fridge for 2 to days. Use lime juice instead of lemon juice. Mash garlic and salt with a mortar and pestle (available in our shop), to fully incorporate the ingredients and add avocados for soft and creamy guacamole. Leave one pit in the guacamole to keep the bright green color of the avocados from oxidizing. Lastly, to keep a halved avocado from becoming black while reserving for later use, generously sprinkle the exposed flesh with flour and wipe off before reusing.

Try these variations for a little break with traditional guacamole.

Papaya Guacamole
1 small diced papaya
Juice of a lime
½ chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper (mashed in a mortar with a pestle with salt into a paste)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup cilantro, chopped fine
2 avocados, diced
½ cup red onion, chopped fine

Combine all ingredients together. Let flavors blend for 20 minutes.


Southwest Corn Guacamole

1 ear of corn
chili powder
ground coriander
kosher slat
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3 avocados, diced
2 minced jalapenos, seeded, diced (optional)
¼ cup cilantro, diced
juice of 1 lime

Sprinkle the corn with chili powder, coriander and slat. Broil the corn for 2 minutes. Remove kernels from cobb when cool enough to handle. Add the rest of the ingredients and season with more chili powder, coriander and salt.

Salad Bar

salad-bar

Even when the air-conditioning is blasting, the urge to cook is just not as great in the summer as it is on those cold winter nights. And while the desire to eat never leaves me, I’m definitely interested in lighter dinners. I’m really grateful that my kids enjoy eating vegetables (in fact we tried to feed my grandson pizza the other day but he only wanted orange pepper!) and so on particularly warm or slow summer days, we have a salad bar for dinner. You can supplement this with fresh bagels or crusty bread (buy it from the bakery since this is all about avoiding the heat!) and voila – dinner is served. You can certainly roast vegetables to put in your salad but I like to keep things simple and limit myself to cutting them and opening cans. Here are some possible salad fixins – feel free to add your own.

Romaine Lettuce
Butter Lettuce
Red Leaf Lettuce
Iceberg Lettuce
Arugula
Spinach
Hearts of Palm
Cucumbers
Baby Corn
Garbanzo Beans
Carrots
Celery
Radishes
Peppers – of all colors!
Jicama
Kalamata Olives
Green Olive Rings
Dried Cranberries
Toasted Pine Nuts
Toasted Almonds
Toasted Sunflower Seeds
Avocado
Chinese Noodles
French-Fried Onions
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Grated Mozzarella Cheese
Crumbled Feta Cheese

Dressing:
1 cup olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
Shake well!!

Panini

Panini have been around for centuries, and these days they’re being grilled up in practically every kosher lunch restaurant. The popularity of grilling Panini at home reached an all time high when Oprah Winfrey featured a Panini Press among her 2007 “favorite things” (I bought mine after that I admit!). As I mentioned in Great Products they are the ultimate traveling machines for kosher families. Why? Real food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while you travel (get one for summer in our shop). We toast bagels, grill sandwiches, grill fish and so much more. Here are a few gourmet Paninis to try but simple grilled cheese Panini, Pizza Panini, tuna melts and mashed bananas with nutella (family travel favorite) work just as well and are super easy and very family-friendly.

Try these:
Grilled Vegetable Panini with Basil Pesto
Cheese and Olive Tapenade Panini
Mediterranean Tuna Panini

Here are 7 tips that will ensure that the Panini you make at home are as scrumptious as can be.

1. Experiment with a variety of breads and fillings. Just because Panini originated in Italy doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to foccacia, mozzarella and other Italian ingredients. Or even just savory ingredients. If it’s got bread and fillings and is prepared on the grill, it’s a Panini!

2. Go for the crunch. What separates Panini from “regular” sandwiches? It’s the grilling! Grilled bread is the hallmark of Panini – make the most of it by brushing olive oil or melted margarine on top for a crostini-like crunch.

3. Be careful with “wet” ingredients. No one likes a soggy sandwich. Many of the great fillings we enjoy on “regular” non-grilled sandwiches, such as tomatoes and juicy meats, sometimes aren’t ideal candidates for Panini, where crispness is key. Seed tomatoes before using them and brush fish with panko before grilling in the sandwich. Also, add the wet ingredients to the center of the sandwich.

4. Cut with a straight-edged knife. A sharp, straight-edged knife, rather than a serrated one, will ensure a smooth separation for your finished Panini.

5. Greens go last. Greens, like lettuce or spinach get wilted when grilled. Food Network’s George Duran (aka “Ham on the Street”) offers a great solution: add them in last. Grill your sandwich and then insert anything you’d like to keep leafy – lettuce, spinach, arugula, and cilantro to name a few – right before serving.

To purchase a Panini press go to our shop and get ready for delicious food even when there are no kosher restaurants for miles.

Cheese and Olive Tapenade Panini

vegetarian_panini

Ingredients
1 loaf artisanal white bread, sliced thin, slices cut into 3-inch squares
Olive tapenade, recipe follows
Mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
Softened butter

Directions
Spread bread pieces on a work surface. Spread 1/2 tablespoon olive tapenade on half the pieces, then cover with a slice of mozzarella, then cover with the remaining bread slices. Butter both sides of the sandwich and grill in batches in a panini press until browned on both sides. Put on a platter and cover with foil to keep warm until serving.

Olive Tapenade
3 anchovies
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, plus additional as needed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional as needed

Put anchovies, garlic and thyme in a blender or food processor and puree. Add olives and olive oil, and pulse to a smooth paste. If it is too thin, add more pitted olives. If it is too thick, add more olive oil.

Mediterranean Tuna Panini

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Ingredients
2 6-ounce cans chunk light tuna, drained
1 plum tomato, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped marinated artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
8 slices whole-wheat bread
2 teaspoons canola oil

Directions
Place tuna in a medium bowl and flake with a fork. Add tomato, feta, artichokes, onion, olives, capers, lemon juice and pepper; stir to combine. Divide the tuna mixture among 4 slices of bread (about 1/2 cup each). Top with the remaining bread.

Heat Panini press. Place paninis in the pan and lower top grate. Cook the panini until golden on one side, about 2 – 4 minutes.

Summertime Sangria

The menu doesn’t need to be Mexican to enjoy the refreshing cool wine drink known as Sangria. Choose either the more traditional red wine version or the updated white wine style the next time you need (or just want!) . You can serve it for Shabbos lunch, with a Sunday barbecue or just because…Although oranges and lemons are standard fruits, you can vary the rest if you like and add cherries or strawberries or raspberries as the whim hits. Sit back, relax, enjoy!

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Red Sangria
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh is always better)
½ cup orange juice
1 (750-milliliter) bottle red wine, preferably a Merlot or Burgundy but you can use what you have
1 small orange, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Combine sugar, lemon juice and orange juice in a large pitcher, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add remaining ingredients, give a gentle stir and add ice.

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White Sangria

1-1/2 cups sugar
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 limes, thinly sliced
1 red apple, thinly sliced
2 (750-milliliter) bottles white wine, preferably Sauvignon Blanc although again you can use what you have (it adds more sparkle but I prefer Moscato d’Asti)
1 (1-liter) bottle lime seltzer
1 (1-liter) bottle lemon seltzer
1 cup frozen green grapes (Freeze more than you need; they’re great for snacking!)

Combine sugar, lemons, limes, apple and wine in a large pitcher. Stir and chill. Before serving, add seltzer and grapes. Gently stir and add ice.