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
Hearts of Palm
Baby Corn
Garbanzo Beans
Peppers – of all colors!
Kalamata Olives
Green Olive Rings
Dried Cranberries
Toasted Pine Nuts
Toasted Almonds
Toasted Sunflower Seeds
Chinese Noodles
French-Fried Onions
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Grated Mozzarella Cheese
Crumbled Feta Cheese

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 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


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

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


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

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!


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.


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.

Solash Bakery

Recently GKC got to be on the other side of the kitchen counter and attend a cooking class /birthday party for a friend.

It was a lot of fun…good company, great food, new recipes. Something caught my eye on the table -big, fluffy, fresh-smelling, and very inviting challah rolls, piled in baskets. Normally, GKC doesn’t wash for weekday lunch but those rolls just needed to be tasted. They wafted homemade as they called out my name. They looked so light but, seriously, who makes challah on a Wednesday? Even for a birthday? Were these going to be part of the class?

GKC was smitten and went in for the kill… Wow! Delicious, light, homemade-tasting and gorgeous with the perfect muffin shape and a twist on top, almost like a cream puff.


Okay, GKC needed to know who made them. Was it a neighbor, the cooking instructor, my friend – who was the woman behind this challah??!! … Little did GKC know, the secret chef was…a man named Laizer. And here’s the kicker: these challah rolls as well as large challahs (regular and whole wheat) are made, available and delivered each week by Laizer’s bakery, the Solash Challah Bakery in the Five Towns.

The Who?

Laizer Solash, owner and head chef/baker at Solash Challah Bakery, bakes and delivers challah, challah rolls, sandwich rolls, and specialty sizes to the New York area each week (free delivery to the Five Towns, Rockaways, Ocean Side and Great Neck) – sorry out-of-towners, but maybe if you scream loud enough Laizer will figure out a way to get some to you…

Laizer started the business just a few months ago when a friend suggested that if he pursued his passion, he’d find success.

GKC asked and received some tips on baking beautiful and delicious challahs every time. “One of the keys to great challah making is in the rising. Here’s a tip: they need humidity to rise beautifully every time. If you have a proofing oven, great, but I can’t imagine that every home owner has a proofing oven in their kitchen, so an alternative would be to run the dishwasher for a cycle with no soap. When it’s done, place the challahs in the pan that they will be baked in, and put them in the dishwasher on a tray until they rise above the pan. Take them out and bake as your recipe instructs. Let them cool on a cooling rack, serve and wait for the compliments to follow!”

Try this with your favorite recipe or better yet, take a break and order one for Shabbos, or many for your next event. Call 718-337-6706 or email them at

Chocolate and Peanut Butter

My husband loves the combination of chocolate and peanut butter (He also likes chocolate and coffee and just plain chocolate – you may detect a theme here!). He likes chocolate and peanut butter brownies, Reese’s peanut butter cups, you name it – almost every variation and every form works. So I was thrilled to discover the products by Peanut Butter & Co. Not only do they have regular smooth and crunchy peanut butter but they have a series of variations including mighty maple and cinnamon swirl. However the one that really caught my eye – and is now sitting in my pantry – is the Dark Chocolate Dreams, peanut butter blended with rich dark chocolate. No need to bake. Just dip in your spoon, I mean, use your knife and spread it on the bread or cracker of your choice.
There is also White Chocolate Wonderful for those whose tastes run in that direction. Check out their website and enjoy! Mmmm…

For Babka Lovers!


I love babkas. I love the fluffy yeast dough. I love the crunchy streusel topping. I love them with chocolate. I love them with cinnamon. I love them with apples and I love them with cheese. I’m an equal opportunity babka lover. And this recipe makes a rich and delicious one. Use either the chocolate or cheese filling or make half and half. But don’t do what I just did – this recipe makes 4 good-sized babkas – I tried to make 2 large ones. They looked beautiful but they collapsed in the middle…and my kitchen was full of cheese filling!! So we all took out our spoons…

Babka – Cheese or Chocolate

4 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
10 cups bread flour
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) margarine, softened
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups nondairy creamer, slightly warmed

Cheese Filling:
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
2 (7.5 ounce) packages farmer’s cheese
4 teaspoons vanillin sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1-1/2 cups sugar

Chocolate Filling:
1-1/2 cups cocoa
3 cups sugar
10 teaspoons vanillin sugar

Streusel Topping:
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, cut into pieces
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar

Proof yeast in warm water. Add sugar and nondairy creamer. Mix in a few cups of flour, some of the margarine, some of the eggs and continue like that until flour is totally incorporated. Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 1-1/2 hours.
In the meantime, beat all filling ingredients (either cheese or chocolate) until smooth.
For streusel topping, use food processor to pulse together margarine, flour and sugar until coarse crumbs form. Set aside.

Cut dough into 4 pieces and roll each one out on a lightly flour surface. Place filling along edge and roll up like a jelly roll. Attach ends to form circle and place in tube or other round pan. Cover and let rise another ½ hour. Sprinkle with streusel and bake until golden – 45 – 50 minutes. Take a piece for yourself – you won’t get another chance!

More Great Products to Use on Shavuos

Cooking for kids is easy (really!) if you use the right ingredients and flavors. We know that our GKC readers enjoy hearing about new or existing products in the market (thanks for all those great comments that tell us so) and how we can use them in our everyday and holiday cooking, especially if they help get our kids to eat. Here are a few more products to use in your Yom Tov – just watch; your kids will eat every bite.

Slide 1
Jeff Nathan’s Gourmet Panko: Panko finally became kosher a few years ago and it is a “must have” staple in my pantry. Panko is the name for Japanese-style bread crumbs. They are crispier than regular bread crumbs and create a crunchier texture since they hold up better through the cooking process. They are less greasy too because they absorb less oil. This brand has a variety of flavors that add a little zing to every recipe. Try them in our Panko Crusted Chicken Nuggets or in Salmon Burgers. They can be used in place of breadcrumbs in any recipe to create a crispy topping or a lighter feel in meatballs.

Mehadrin Ice Cream: Everyone looks forward to extra ice cream on Shavuos. Mehadrin’s dairy and pareve ice creams are so smooth, creamy, and sweet that they are delicious on their own or in these decadent ice cream desserts – Tiramisu Bundt Cake or Razzle Dazzle Ice Cream Pie.

Lipton Onion Soup Mix: Finally, Lipton made a kosher onion soup mix! A welcome addition to the every kitchen. Onion soup mix adds great flavor to meat, dips, and of course, soup. Try the traditional recipes on the back of the package, like the onion dip with sour cream (I put that on top of salmon and bake it in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes – amazing, melt-in-your-mouth salmon) or use it in Brick Roast for the easiest and most delicious Shabbos roast.

Let us know how you use these products and we can post your recipes. Submit a recipe here or send us an email with a product you would like to see featured and we can make some recipe suggestions. Happy cooking and good Yom Tov!

Panko Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Panko Crusted Chicken Nuggets

1 large egg
1/3 cup soy milk or pareve milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cups Jeff Nathan’s Gourmet Panko bread crumbs (fine herb or Italian)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
Honey mustard or barbecue sauce for dipping, optional

Whisk the egg, the pareve milk or soymilk, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Soak chicken pieces in egg mixture and marinate for 30 minutes (this makes the chicken tender). Meanwhile, in another shallow bowl combine panko with paprika, garlic powder, and salt and pepper, to taste. Set a rack on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Lift chicken out of pareve milk mixture, letting excess liquid drain back into the bowl, then dip into panko and turn to coat on all sides.
Carefully place chicken in oil and cook until they are golden and crispy and cooked through, about for 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to the rack to cool. Serve with honey mustard sauce or barbeque sauce for dipping.

Salmon Burgers with Sesame Mayonnaise

8 servings

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup Jeff Nathan’s Gourmet Panko
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds salmon fillets, skinned and finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
Sesame mayonnaise, recipe follows
8 toasted sandwich buns
8 lettuce leaves
8 slices tomato

In a medium bowl, combine peppers, panko, garlic, and salmon.
In a small bowl, combine egg, soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger and salt; add to pepper mixture, tossing gently to combine. Form mixture into 8 patties.
Lightly coat a grill pan or skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Grill or cook patties, 5 minutes per side, or until desired degree of doneness. Spread Sesame Mayonnaise evenly over toasted buns. Top each with a lettuce leaf, tomato slice, and salmon patty. Cover with tops of buns.

Sesame Mayonnaise:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill.
Yields: 1 cup

Tiramisu Bundt Cake


1 box (18.25 ounces) white cake mix
1 pint coffee ice cream, such as Mehadrin’s, melted
3 eggs
1 container (12 ounces) whipped vanilla frosting (or make homemade, recipe follows)
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Cinnamon sugar for dusting, optional

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, melted ice cream and eggs on low speed for 1 minute. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape into prepared pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
4. In large bowl, beat together frosting, cinnamon and instant coffee mixture.
5. Place cake on stand and spread with frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Dust with cinnamon sugar, if desired.

Vanilla Frosting
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted margarine, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons pareve milk

In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the margarine on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon pareve milk. Beat at high speed until fluffy, adding an additional 1 tablespoon pareve milk if necessary.

This makes a generous amount of frosting but it keeps in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Ice Cream Razzle Dazzle Pie


Dairy or Pareve

2 store bought pie crusts, baked
4 tablespoons chocolate syrup
6 tablespoons peanut butter
20 black & white sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped (any sandwich cookie is fine)
¾ cup chopped nuts (optional)
Mehadrin ½ gallon vanilla ice cream dairy (or pareve)
8 pieces Viennese crunch or other toffee candy bar
3 cups rice crispies

Thaw ice cream
Combine rice crispies, and the cookies in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the chocolate syrup, nut crunch, and the peanut butter, until well mixed. Add the cookie mixer to the peanut butter mixture.
Add thawed Mehadrin vanilla ice cream and mix well.
Divide equally into 2 pie crusts.
Chop Viennese crunch and garnish on top.
Place into freezer until frozen.

Gourmet Shavuot Cooking

There are two mistakes that frequently occur every Shavuos. The first is that we are intimidated by the thought of creating a dairy menu so we just pull out our everyday standbys to use for a Yom Tov meal (They’re not so elegant but they taste good, they’re reliable…). The second is the fear that otherwise very inspired cooks have when they see unfamiliar products with like mascarpone cream cheese, crème fraiche or dulce de leche. This year we will right both of those wrongs.

Welcome to Gourmet Shavuos Cooking and the opportunity to use some new ingredients and try out some new recipes (for those of you who already use these items, add these recipes to your files).

Mascarpone Cheese:

Mascarpone is a triple-crème cheese, made from a generally low-fat (25%) content fresh cream. It’s made from the milk of cows that have been fed special grasses filled with fresh herbs and flowers – a diet that creates a unique taste often described as “fresh and delicious.” It gets its name from a Spanish word that means better than good, although it originated in Italy. Whatever its history, it is a luscious, creamy, almost butter-like cream cheese that tastes like a sweet whipped cream. It tastes naturally sweetened and is amazing in tiramisu, the fig or plum tart, and the mascarpone cheesecake. It is made by BelGioioso and Polenghi and carries the CRC or OKD heksher. It is available in many mainstream supermarkets, Whole Foods markets, Trader Joes, the Cheese Shop in Cedarhurst and Fairway market in NYC.

Dulce De Leche:

Dulce De Leche is a Spanish milk caramel sauce that is creamier and thicker and much better than the American version. It is amazing straight on ice cream or brownies or try it in Dulce De Leche cheesecake or the Dulce De Leche Chocolate Chip Thumbprint Cookies. The kosher markets nationwide carry the one made by La Salamandra that is Cholov Yisroel too!

Crème Fraiche:

Nope, it is not just fresh cream in French. It comes from France and is technically a soured cream. It is thicker and sweeter than sour cream and really heavenly smooth. Alouette, makes one with the OUD heksher, that is available nationwide in regular markets, but it is also available in Fairway market in NYC, Whole Foods stores, and most Trader Joes. Try it on fresh berries, or a baked potato to feel a little French and romantic. Or better yet, try it in the Roasted Mustard Fish or on the Brown Sugar Strawberry Tart. If you cannot find it, you can make it, you can easily make it at home. Crème Fraiche recipe.

Fresh Parmesan Cheese:

This cheese, finally available kosher in this country has changed pasta and Caesar Salad making for me. The sharp, smooth, creamy taste is unlike and so much better than the shredded or grated versions available. It is fresh and wonderful and will upgrade your Caesar salad to new heights. Made by Fanticini, and available in many kosher markets, the Cheese Store in Cedarhurst, and Fairway Market in NYC. Try it in this amazing Frittata or in Fettuccini Alfredo with Mushrooms.

Let us know what you try and how you like it. We love to share your comments and your recipes. Chag Sameach!




6 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled
2 teaspoons (or more) mocha liqueor, like coco dejava, or godiva
24 packaged ladyfingers
1 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish
3 teaspoons cinnamon


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix until thoroughly combined.

In a small shallow dish, add remaining espresso and mocha liqueor. Dip each ladyfinger into espresso for only 5 seconds. Letting the ladyfingers soak too long will cause them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfinger on the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, breaking them in half if necessary in order to fit the bottom.

Spread evenly 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Sprinkle with ½ of the cinnamon and ½ of the chocolate shavings. Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with remaining mascarpone mixture.

Cover tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 8 hours.

Before serving, sprinkle with remaining cinnamon and chocolate shavings.

Dulce De Leche Chocolate Chip Thumbprint Cookies


1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey
2 ounces semisweet chocolate squares, chopped (not chunky)
1/4 cup dulche de leche

1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
2. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and honey; beat until combined well.
3. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture, beating until just combined. Fold in chocolate. Chill dough until firm, about 2-1/2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degree F and arrange rack in center. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared sheets about 1 inch apart. Using the end of a wooden spoon, make a dent in center of each cookie. Freeze 15 minutes.
6. Bake 1 sheet of cookies 10 minutes. Remove from oven and redent centers. Fill with generous 1/4 teaspoon dulce de leche and bake until set, about 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining sheet.
7. Transfer cookies on sheets to racks and cool 5 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. (Can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, in single layers separated by waxed paper, up to 1 week.) Makes about 40 cookies.

Crème Fraiche

1 cup heavy or whipping cream, room temperature

1 tablespoon buttermilk or 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

In a jar with a lid, place whipping cream and buttermilk (or sour cream); cover securely and shake 15 seconds. Set aside at room temperature for 24 hours or until very thick. Stir once or twice during that time. NOTE: Cream will thicken faster if the room is warm.

Stir thickened creme fraiche well. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Brown Sugar Strawberry Tart

1 cup flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup whipping cream
12 oz strawberries hulled and sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, whirl flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, cornstarch,and salt. Add butter and 1/2 tsp vanilla until fine crumbs form and dough just begins to come together. Press into 9 inch tart pan with removable rim. Bake until edges are golden 20-25 minutes. Let cool, then gently push out of pan and set on plate.
2. In a bowl with mixer at high speed, beat creme fraiche, whipping cream, remaining 2 Tbsp sugar,and remaining 1/2 tsp vanilla until thick. Spread into cooled crust. Arrange strawberries in circles on top.
Chill loosely covered for up to 4 hours

Pass the Chocolate – Now!


My husband feels it’s important not to let a day go by without eating chocolate, preferably with a cup of coffee. He is constantly forwarding articles to me that extol its recently discovered health benefits – antioxidants, possible lowered blood pressure, increased endorphins which give a feeling of pleasure (I didn’t need science to tell me that!), serotonin which acts as an anti-depressant (I didn’t need a sophisticated study for that either!) and so on. He is even on the cutting edge; unlike me who thinks the creamier the better, he prefers the dark chocolate which is considered healthier and is certainly trendier. But he’s wasting his time and energy. There’s only one reason to eat chocolate everyday – it tastes good!! Eat it alone (a piece of a bar) or try one of our recipes. The main advantage of the information my husbands sends is that we can now indulge (in small amounts) and actually feel virtuous doing so!

Spring is Here!


I love this food trend!

Spring is here! Finally I can go into a frozen yogurt store and not wonder what’s wrong with me that I’m eating something frozen while there’s snow on the ground (for all you Southern Californians, snow is a white water-based flake that falls from the sky and covers the ground looking beautiful but of no redeeming food value. However, you can knead it into a ball; and throw it at your kids or husband, very therapeutic… But now that spring has sprung this California alum needs no excuse to enjoy her yogurt. And the exciting news is that last year a new food trend took off and I have to say I am extremely grateful. Sweet, tart, plain frozen yogurt has made it to the big leagues! Its been served for years in Bloomingdales in NYC but recently has popped up in specialty yogurt stores around the country as the featured item. And I will forever be grateful to the Pink Berry chain. Yup, I have harkaras hatov to a treif yogurt store because its incredible success has triggered yogurt stores, including kosher yogurt stores to pick up the trend. Locally, in Cedarhurst, we have Berrylicious, and Cravings who both serve it and in LA, I just had it at Toppings in Beverly Hills. For some this tart, creamy yogurt, with only a hint of sweetness is too strange but I say try it with chopped strawberries, berry sauce, granola, or chopped nuts. Now that is the perfect breakfast or lunch (or anytime snack of the decade). My husband is convinced that there’s a defect in my DNA for choosing plain/tart over chocolate (or any other flavor for that matter), but he’s just one of those that can’t understand why God bothered with any flavor other than chocolate … Trust me, find some tart yogurt, add the topping of your choice and apologize to no one. Spring is Here!!

Spring is Here, Time to Celebrate!


Although the harvest traditionally takes place in October there is something about the spring bounty that makes you want to count your blessings. All the beautiful and luscious fruits and vegetables in their vibrant colors dancing in the sunshine just make you want to smile. It’s much easier to eat healthier this time of year when each bite of a ripe peach or bright red strawberry is filled with flavor. I like to go the Farmer’s Market just to look – and appreciate. In the weeks to come, here at GKC we will be providing recipes that take advantage of the bright spring vegetables and the juicy summer fruits. Stay tuned. And if you have some great recipes of your own, send them in. We like pies, ratatouilles, crisps and some vegetables just barely sautéed. We’re working on less time in the kitchen and more time outdoors…

Not To Be Missed Challah

On the Shabbos after Passover there is a widespread custom to bake challah with a key in it. Whoever gets the piece with key will merit a year of financial success. Not that we need any extra incentive to eat homemade challah after a week of matza! Not that we need any extra motivation to eat this delicious challah any time at all! This recipe makes a lot of challah so you can stick the extra (if you have any) in the freezer. (For great challah pans please visit our SHOP).

Not To Be Missed Challah

1/3 cup yeast
5 cups warm water
1-1/2 cups sugar
8 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup oil
2 tablespoons salt
12 – 14 cups bread flour

Proof yeast in water. Add sugar. When yeast is bubbly, whisk in eggs, egg yolks, oil and salt. Slowly stir in flour and knead until smooth and elastic. Drizzle oil in bowl and roll dough in oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rise for 2 hours. Punch down dough; divide into 6 to 8 large pieces. Divide each piece into 3 long ropes. Braid challah and place on greased baking sheets or in greased loaf or challah pans.) Cover again and let rise for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until crust is golden and challah sounds hollow when tapped.

Le Marais

Continued from last week…

Another secret I learned is that the aging process not only intensifies flavor but also shrinks the meat. So after the meat is cut and prepared by the butcher it will only reduce a small amount when cooked. Most meats can shrink by 50% in the cooking process. This aged meat is already reduced so you are getting much more for your money. Jose and Dominique have created unique cuts of meat at Le Marais like their “surprise” (top of the rib eye) and “tournedo” (middle of the rib eye, used for pepper steak, steak au poive or as a roast).

Le Marais Steak 2

Today, Le Marais’s aged meats, served in the restaurant and also sold behind the butcher counter, are some of the most tender and delicious cuts of meat found in the kosher world.

Jose gave us some tips on how to make sure your meat is flavorful.
1. First, buy aged meat
2. Never cook meat more than medium rare. Well-done meat is tough to chew and loses its flavor.
3. Let your meat rest after cooking and before slicing and serving. This ensures that the flavorful juices stay in the meat and does not run off as you cut the meat. Ten minutes is plenty of time for meat to rest before slicing.
4. Don’t be afraid of fat. Fat gives meat flavor. The marbleizing in meat will add flavor.
5. Use second cut brisket, it has more flavor.

Jose also gave me some information on the best ways to cook certain cuts of meat.
Best for Braising: minute steak, short ribs, and brisket
Best for Stew: Veal or Beef Shank
Best for Grilling: anything lean, Le Marais Surprise, silver tip
Best for Pan Searing: Le Marais Tournedo, rib eye, prime rib

Today, Jose loves to cook for his family and friends big one-pot meals and he says his fridge is always stocked with good meat. But what else can he not live without?? Fresh Parmesan and good chocolate. No wonder we all love Le Marais. He clearly has a good palate.

Try the recipes from Le Marais, at They are amazing! Imagine restaurant quality food for Passover at home too, remarkable.

Le Marais is located at 150 West 46th Street in NYC, 212 869-0900

Their butcher is Kosher for Passover starting March 8th. They are open for Passover, for complete schedule and menu, go to They ship nationally.

Also, try The Clubhouse, owned by Jose Meirelles, at 155 West 46th Street in NYC, 212 354-3838

Blog – Le Marais


How to choose the best cuts of meat? An exclusive with Le Marais

I was really beginning to question my sanity. The streets of NYC were covered in snow and frozen slush, and at every curb there were ice-filled puddles that looked like they were at high tide. Yet there I was, leaping over them, trying to get to one of my favorite restaurants, Le Marais , to learn “How to Choose the Best Cuts of Meat” – and on a Friday no less! Anything for my readers and a good story; at least that’s what I told myself. And, as I turned the corner on 46th Street (right into a gust of Nordic blast), I saw the famed iconic sign for Le Marais and all thoughts of turning back disappeared. I’m glad I hung in there, because the frigid weather outside was no match for the warm greetings awaiting me as soon as I walked in the door and was greeted by chef and owner, Jose Meirelles, and the butcher, Dominique Courbe. After offering me a cup of tea, Jose and Dominique sat down to talk to me and tell me their secrets to consistent great food.

Jose, pronounced Joe-say, now a very successful chef and restaurateur came to the United States from Portugal over thirty years ago. His first job in America was as a private driver for a family in NY. It turned out the family also needed someone to cook for them so he began cooking their meals and discovered that he was not only a good cook but that he enjoyed it. Jose then pursued his culinary passion at the French Culinary Institute. He has subsequently owned a number of successful restaurants in the non-kosher world. With all the challenges that come with opening a kosher restaurant, I asked him what made him explore the kosher option.

He had been approached many times to consider opening a kosher restaurant, he explained, but he resisted. The tipping point came when he discovered that kosher butchers were not aging the meat properly (or at all), creating meat cuts that were tougher and had less flavor. That was more than he could bear and gave him the opening he needed. If Jose knew anything, it was how to age meat and what that meant to the flavor of a meal. The second ingredient in creating success at Le Marais was partnering with Dominique, his butcher extraordinaire. Dominique comes from a large family of butchers and uses French techniques in cutting each piece into the gorgeous cuts you see behind the counter at Le Marais (GKC can’t wait to share the video we created with Jose and Dominique on cutting the perfect pieces of meat and selecting the right type to prepare- it’s coming soon).

Le Marais uses both dry and wet aging techniques to intensify the meat flavor and ensure a perfect texture. I got to see first-hand the stages of aging that the large racks of meat rest on. The longer the meat is aged, the more intense the flavor. In the aging process, the outer parts of the meat become extremely dry creating a cocoon for the flavorful piece on the inside. The dried exterior becomes the most amazing beef jerky you have ever had (buy it at Le Marais and taste for yourself) and the interior is cut into extraordinary pieces ready for grilling, braising, pan-searing, or any easy preparation. Jose recommends simple pan-searing with olive oil, garlic and kosher salt or very slow braising in wine, shallots, and chicken stock.

Another secret I learned…well, you’ll have to tune in to next week’s blog to discover it! In the meantime, try the recipes from Le Marais at

Leftover Candy

What to do with leftover Purim candy? If hiding it, consuming it all in 24 hours, or sending it with your husband to work are not your strategies, then we have a few ideas to help make good use of the ingredients. (Remember the local schools love wrapped, marked candy donations to use as treats for the kids – check with your local school. In New York, JEP (the Jewish Enrichment Program) collects the wrapped, marked candy at many of the schools in the tri-state area to use for their kiruv programs. If you do not have a collection at your school you can mail it to them at JEP 110 Rockaway Turnpike, Lawrence, NY 11559.)
candy-2Spotted Cow Cheesecake
If your pantries are too full and you would like to make good use of some of the candy, try these recipes.

Candy Bar Blondies
Tootsie Roll Cheesecake
Hershey Bar Banana Treat
Potato Chip Baked Chicken