Chag Sameach

Just a few days to go and I am sure your cooking has begun. Here are a few more extra recipes for those dairy meals. Each are not only delicious but are quick and easy and sure to be a crowd pleaser. I love the sweet potato gratin. The tanginess of the goat cheese and the sweet potatoes pair so well. The pecan streusel bars are just plain addicting. My kids love the rustic look and taste of the pesto smashed potatoes and everyone loves my Aunt Thelma’s Chilled Strawberry Sour Cream Soup.

Chag Sameach!

Cheesecake!

GKC loves cheesecake and we have over 40 cheesecakes in our index waiting for you to make for Shavuos!  Seriously how could you decide which one to make? Oreo cheesecake, one of my all time favorites, The White House Special Cheesecake, Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake, or classic or so many other choices.  Share which cheesecake you are making and share the recipe too so we can try it and add it to our collection.

This year we added a few more to try out and enjoy.  Both are spins on the traditional with a little zing.  I loved testing and tasting them and now I’m even more confused about what to make on Shavuos!

Three Cheese No Bake Cheesecake
Caramel Pear Cheesecake Trifle

Elizabeth

The Recipe Box

Here it is, the GKC video series which we are calling The Recipe Box. The videos were so much fun to make. Special thanks to SW and MH for lending me their awesome kitchens. We have completed about 20 episodes and I can’t wait to share them with you. Let me know what you think, what you want to see me make and catch the others on www.justherfood.com

The New GKC

Did you see our new look? In an effort to make GKC more fun, easier to use, and full of content that you read, enjoy, and use, I have updated the look of GKC. What do you think?
So here is what is new and different. Each week I will feature one new recipe in the recipe of the week section (sometimes more in the blog too) but one recipe that is carefully tested and photographed. I’m trying to appeal to all palates so hang in there when its not to your taste but comment and send out (yup via email, facebook, twitter, instagram) the ones that you like (GKC is only as strong as my audience so help us to continue to grow!). Also weekly, I will share a blog post, a food thought, an insightful tip or yes, finally a cooking video (did you see me on www.justherfood.com?) . I have cleaned up and streamlined the index so you can find the recipes you want faster. We still have our terrific Wine section, Great Products, Cooking With Kids, and Giveaways but they will alternate week to week. I love hearing from you and creating recipes that you are excited to try so keep up the great comments, questions, and share some of your recipes too! Your recipe box is still saved, you just have to login to access it (no worries, we can reset anyone who forgot their info). While we enhance the site, please be patient with the technical difficulties but let me know if something is not working right.

Thank you for your terrific enthusiasm and support for GKC. Your great energy is what keeps it going! Happy cooking!

Flouring Pan


Should I flour my cake pan? Is it really necessary?

This is a common question I receive both online and in my cooking classes. I think most people, myself included are hoping to skip any steps that are not completely necessary. And although I have skipped this step many times, I will tell you that for no-fail results and cakes that pop out of the pan, the flouring step is important. Most cake recipes instruct you to grease a cake pan and flour it too. We all know the grease stops the cake from sticking, but the flour is important for two reasons. First, the flour helps the cake grip the sides of the pan so that it rises evenly. It also creates a barrier between the grease on the pan and the batter so that it does not melt into the batter, changing the chemistry of the recipe. If you are making chocolate cake, make sure to use cocoa instead of flour so that the coating matches the cake and you do not have a white layer on a chocolate cake.

I know you are now thinking that these reasons are not as compelling as you were hoping for. And truth is, if you are okay with slightly uneven cake then go ahead and skip it. I like to test my cakes first without using the flour method, meaning I make them and do not flour the pan. If the results are good then I make a note on the recipe that I skipped the step and all was fine. If the cake was still sticking to the pan or it comes out a bit uneven then I make the note to remember that flouring the pan is a must.

And in the end remember that even cakes that stick to the pan or look uneven, still taste great!

Homemade Candies and Salts for Purim Gifts

I love candy and all things homemade. I thought it would be fun this Purim to try some new recipes for homemade candies and salts. I have been known to enjoy jelly bellies and those little red fish too but I had to go a little more gourmet this Purim. I like to wrap everything in brown parchment paper and use downloadable labels that make sure to give the gift that rustic homemade look. To see more homemade Purim gift ideas go to www.gourmetkoshercooking.com

Soft Apple Caramels
Pecan Pie Brittle
Citrus Salt

Homemade Citrus Salt


I saw this about a year ago in Sunset magazine. What a great idea! Give people homemade seasoned salt to use in everything from cooking to baths. I love it on chicken and fish and it looks stunning.

1 cup flake salt, such as Maldon, or coarse salt
3 tablespoons citrus zest (any kind), lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange

Mix salt and zest in a bowl; work zest into salt with your fingers to release oils and flavor. Spread on a baking tray. Air-dry until dried completely, 8 hours to overnight.

Note: Zest’s color will fade over time, but this won’t affect taste.
Make ahead: 2 months, kept airtight at room temperature.
Bottle it: 4-oz. jam glass jar, $0.57; specialtybottle.com; BambooImportsMN 3.5-in. oval bamboo spice/salt spoons, $9.8 8/10; amazon.com

Soft Apple Caramels

Makes 150 Caramels
You can make these two weeks in advance. These are an adorable homemade gift that taste amazing.

2 quarts apple cider
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 cups sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
Canola oil, for brushing

In a large saucepan, simmer the apple cider over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour. Pour the reduced cider into a bowl.

Line a 9-by-13-inch rimmed pan with foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream and condensed milk and bring to a simmer over moderate heat; keep the mixture warm over low heat.

In another large saucepan, combine the sugar with the reduced apple cider, corn syrup, water and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Carefully whisk in the butter until melted. Gradually whisk in the warm cream mixture until incorporated. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until a golden caramel forms and the temperature reaches 245° on a candy thermometer, about 45 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, allspice and cloves and scrape the caramel into the prepared pan. Let cool completely, then refrigerate the caramel overnight.

Lightly brush a sheet of parchment paper with oil. Invert the caramel onto the parchment and peel off the foil. Using a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut the block crosswise into 1/2-inch rectangles. Wrap each caramel in a square of parchment paper or a candy wrapper and twist the ends to seal. Serve or pack the caramels into boxes.

Storage info: The wrapped caramels can be stored in a cool spot or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. The uncut caramel can be tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks; cut just before serving.

Pecan Pie Brittle

Serves 5
2 cups sugar
2½ cups broken pecans
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, cubed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat sugar in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, swirling pan often, until golden amber and completely liquefied. Add pecans and butter and cook, stirring, until caramel is liquid again and butter is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Combine vanilla extract and baking soda in a bowl and then add to pan along with salt; stir to combine. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with foil or a silicone baking mat and spread into an even layer with a small rubber spatula; let cool completely. Break into bite-size pieces and store in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper.

Kosher Food and Wine 2013

Bigger, better, and so much fun, Kosher Food and Wine 2013 was a huge success!  KFWE was a sold out event with old and new wine and food favorites.  It’s an event that truly demonstrates the incredible and large amount of kosher wine that Royal Wine Company is involved with.  You name the palate, the flavor, the look, the geography, the price point; Royal Wine Company is working on creating an incredible selection of wine from around the globe for the kosher consumer.  We are really lucky.

Gilad, winemaker of Flam

Hagafen winemaker Ernie Weir

Soreka Winemakers

I began the night with some of last year’s favorites, Flam, Tulip and Psagot that had some 2013 favorites too.  The Flam Classico and Rose are super.  I love the Classico with anything and think the Rose will be a big hit this summer for warm days and lighter meats, like veal.  Tulip wowed me with their “Just” Merlot and Reserve Cabernet. The Syrah is excellent. Get their wines while they are available, the Just 2010 sold out before I could get my hands on it.  Psagot is always pleasing to me and I loved tasting the new Single Vineyard.  It pairs well with Shabbos food like chicken and lighter meats.  Soreka was a new wine to taste and I loved the bite of honey at the end of it.  It’s not a sweet wine but has a port like quality to it, rich and enjoyable with a hint of sweet.  Goose Bay from New Zealand is making great wines.  For white wine drinkers, I like the Sauvignon Blanc and for the Pinot lovers, their Pinot is terrific. We get a lot of requests for good Pinot Noir and this one is a good one to try. Another newcomer to KFWE that I enjoyed, Domaine Netofa.  Their Tinto wine is light and fruity and full of aroma and flavor.  It was great to see Ernie Weir of  Hagafen winery in Napa Valley.  We visited his winery many years ago when they were making just a limited number of bottles.  Now, so popular and successful, they have a gorgeous wine-tasting room and facility for visitors.  His Pinot and Dry White Riesling were event favorites.  I can’t wait to visit his winery this summer.

Fabulous grilled hanger steak by Le Marais

BBQ short ribs with jalapeño cream from Prime Grill

"FLT" sandwich by jack's Gourmet, facon, lettuce and tomato yum

My brother Bobby's awesome salsa

Jeff and Alison Nathan from Abigael's

And Yes, there was great food at this event.  In between wine tasting, I enjoyed seeing GKC friend Jose Meirelles, from Le Marais.  My comment after tasting the grilled hanger steak with winter vegetables, “always perfectly prepared!”  So tasty, seared on the outside and pink on the inside, Chef and owner Jose masters the art of preparing steak.  Chef David Kolotkin from Prime Grill, made an amazing dish of BBQ short ribs with a jalapeno cream sauce over a polenta cake.  The meat had amazing slow cooked barbeque flavor and I could eat the jalapeno cream on anything.  Jack’s Gourmet is all the rage with their new “Facon” product.  You know I’ve used it many times on GKC and I loved their FLT sandwich.  Chef Moshe Wendel from Pardes always scores well with his interesting combinations and my taste buds.  This year he soared with Smoked Rib eye Carpaccio stuffed with molasses braised bacon mousse, topped with pickled shitake and mustard threads and a yummy crunch on top made of watermelon radish.  How is that for complex and unusual?  We saw Bobby from My Brother Bobby’s Salsa, still the tastiest salsa ever.  I love the color, the flavor and especially the freshness.  We always love to see you Bobby!  Lastly, I enjoyed the magnificent presentation by Heavenly Events and Catering (their fish tartars looked super chic and creative) and Gemstone Caterers with their super unique and delicious jello shot bar.  This is not your mother’s jello!

Best of all, we always love sharing KFWE with good friends and all the GKC vendor friends.  Royal Wine and especially Gary, thanks for an amazing job!!

Olive Oil

I love getting your questions online. It lets me know you are engaged in the site and curious about cooking and cooking techniques. I of course share these interests. Last week, I received a question from Marlene in Passaic, NJ. “I ran out of extra-virgin olive oil but I have some pure olive oil left over, can I use it in place of the extra-virgin?

The simple answer is Yes. But let me clarify the difference between the different types of olive oils. First, all olive oils are made from the pressed fruit of the olive tree.

Pure Olive Oil: sometimes referred to as “classic” or “pure” olive oil, has a milder flavor with just a hint of fruitiness and is a blend of refined and virgin olive oils. It’s usually darker in color and is a great choice fro frying, searing, grilling, and some baking. It is also good for lighting candles.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Top grade of olive oil and is naturally extracted through mechanical means with no heat or chemicals. It is high quality and pricier than other types due to the techniques used to extract it. Use it for everything but when you find a special or pricier bottle (you can taste a difference) use it for uncooked items like salad dressings, marinades, pastas, and toppings. It’s also good in soups, stews, and grilling.

Light Olive Oil: Blended with less virgin oil than regular olive oil to create a very mild flavor, the “light” refers to the color and flavor as opposed to the caloric value (which is the same as others). I don’t use light olive oil at all.

Poaching foods with olive oil have become a big food trend. It adds flavor to the poaching liquid so that the finished item is much richer and tastier. Try olive oil in Olive-Oil Poached Salmon or Eggs Poached in Olive Oil.

For conversions see chart below:

Eggs Poached in Olive Oil

Serves 1

This technique creates super flavorful poached eggs. You can easily make more eggs with the same amount of oil. Just use a small pan so that the olive oil can coat the whites of the eggs.

1 fresh egg
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
3 ounces fresh arugula
1 piece of toasted bread, I like ciabatta or challah

Place a teaspoon of olive oil in a small saucepan. Saute garlic in the olive oil, and spread evenly around the saucepan.

Add 1/2 cup of olive to the saucepan and bring to a medium heat. Don’t overheat the olive oil.

Add bay leaf to the olive oil.

(The trick to poaching an egg in olive oil is to use a small saucepan so you can bring the level of the olive oil over the whites of the egg, but just below the yolk, without having to use too much olive oil.)

Carefully place a fresh egg cracked gently into the heated olive oil. As the egg cooks, sprinkle kosher salt and pepper over the egg.

Continue cooking the egg until the egg whites are congealed. But don’t overcook the egg, you want the yolk to remain soft and liquid.

Place toast on a serving plate and arrange a bed of fresh arugula over the crisp bread. Carefully remove the poached egg from the saucepan and place over the bed of arugula.

Olive Oil Poached Salmon

Serves 4
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, peel removed in wide strips with a veggie peeler
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
1 quart extra-virgin olive oil
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Kosher salt
Lemon juice
Special Equipment: cheesecloth, butcher’s twine

Place the garlic, thyme, lemon zest, coriander, and bay leaves-in cheesecloth. Tie into a sachet. Add the oil to a large straight-sided saute pan and toss in the sachet. Bring the pan to a medium heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Let the salmon come to room temperature and season generously with salt. Add the salmon fillets to the pan with the olive oil. Let the fish cook in the oil for 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oil with a spatula to a plate before serving.

Serve with rice and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Nana Carole’s Pancakes

Growing up my mom made a well-rounded and delicious dinner every night. I think that is where I get my inspiration to make a wholesome meal each night as well as my interest in cooking. She doesn’t enjoy cooking as much anymore but always has time to cook with the kids and make their favorites when we visit. All the grandkids line up for the morning pancakes. They are creamy, sweet and light. My mom is surprised that we can plow through a whole batch in one morning.

Lucky for me, I finally got her to share the recipe and her pancake making tips with me. Mom sometimes adds fresh blueberries or bananas while cooking and she always serves them with warm maple syrup (no artificial syrup here please). This recipe calls for buttermilk which is one of the secrets to fantastic pancakes. Buttermilk adds a creaminess and a tart twist to the otherwise neutral flavored ingredients.

Nana Carole’s Pancakes

Makes about 20 pancakes

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2-2 1/2 cups buttermilk (depending upon how thick or thin you like your pancakes. I prefer thinner ones so use more than 2 cups)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter (I have also used less to reduce fat content w/out noticing much difference although you do need the fat

I add all the dry ingredients through a small holed strainer (easier to use I’ve found than a sifter that for me is always harder to clean) into a large bowl. Most recipes don’t call for sifting but I’ve found makes for lighter pancakes.

Melt butter in microwave in a large 4 cups Pyrex measuring cup. Cool a bit, then add eggs & sour cream. Beat well with a fork to incorporate, then add buttermilk. Add wet ingredients to dry ones and fold in so all is mixed but don’t overmix. It’s ok if a bit lumpy. Let rest for at least 10 minutes or longer (overnight works well, too)

Heat griddle on med- low heat, spray with Pam, when heated take a paper towel and remove most of the Pam spray. You want the griddle to be very lightly coated.

When drops of water sizzle on the griddle, it’s ready for batter. First batch always takes twice as long it seems than the pancakes following. Make sure griddle’s heat remains constant & doesn’t get too hot, because pancakes can burn quickly. Nothing like light, fluffy hot off the griddle pancakes. Serve with only real maple syrup.

Blueberries or sliced bananas can be added to each pancake while it’s 1st cooking on the griddle & before it’s been turned. This controls amount of fruit in each pancake.

Bringing Home Cooked Meals on Vacation

For the first time in years my boys and girls have the same vacation week so we decided to go away and get out of the cold weather.  We are off to a vacation but for me that means a few days of meal planning because we are going somewhere that does not have kosher food readily available, that’s right I am not going to Florida, Israel or Los Angeles (which are all great trips too).

I also find it difficult traveling to places that do not have lunches or dinners to purchase but I like to enjoy a variety of destinations so I make it work.  And with a little planning it can still be a vacation.  I prepare dinners ahead of time and freeze them and then each morning I take something out to defrost and I can enjoy the day without worrying about what’s for dinner.   I bring 3 kitchen items that help.  First, I bring a Panini maker for sandwich making, pizza warming and bagel toasting.  I use it to melt tortillas with cheese or make grilled cheese sandwiches.  Second I bring a pot for rice and pasta.  If you add a little starch to any meal, everyone is more satiated.  And third, I bring an electric pan.  This is a large pan/pot that plugs into the wall.  It warms anything in about 5 minutes.  I use it to warm chickens with a little sauce, meatballs, Chinese food and just about anything. I bought one from Costco made by WestBend for about $30. It’s a great item to have especially if you are in a hotel without an oven.

A few other tips for traveling with food include:

  • • Speak to friends about what they have done and what worked for them
  • • Make sure that you are traveling to a destination that allows food to be brought in, meaning be careful about bringing prepared foods to other countries, some have strict regulations about what can be brought in.
  • • Freeze food in double aluminum and then wrap two layers of aluminum around the entire tray in case it leaks out the sides.
  • • I put the aluminum trays in a plastic bag before putting them in boxes or suitcases.
  • • Most items will remain frozen through a flight because the cargo area is freezing.

Here are a few recipes I used this year:
Turkey Strips with Mushrooms and Wine
Soda Meatballs
Salmon Croquettes
Beef or Chicken Lo Mein
Potatoes with Sauce and Cheese
Chicken Marsala

Enjoy!

Twinkie

Could it be true? Is the twinkie really gone forever? I’m not even sure how many times I have actually eaten a twinkie in my life but the national news craze about the Hostess company going out of business, sent hundreds, maybe thousands of people in search of their last twinkie. Instead, I tried numerous recipes to come up with the best homemade version in case the news is actually final (btw, definitely some rumors about reorganization or possible brand sale so we may not have seen the last of the twinkie).

I do not own the twinkie shaped baking pan so I made the first recipe as cupcakes. The recipes are calibrated for the twinkie shape so watch them as they are cooking to check that they are both cooked through or not over cooked. They should have moist crumbs when a toothpick is inserted and the cooking time should be close to the actual recipes.

Homemade Twinkies
Super Easy Cake Mix Twinkie Recipe

Food Trends 2013

Illustration by Myldwin Pierre

I am always interested in the articles on food trends and what people are really eating. First because I am a foodie and so I genuinely like to be making and creating recipes that are considered “hot” but second, because I often find them humorous.  I mean, what makes a chocolate cake a food trend? I think chocolate cake is in style any time.  And this year the must try food of 2013, according to CNN food reporter, is rabbit…ehhh, gross, and treif.  Another interesting and somewhat laughable choice, duck eggs (yes, this was on lots of lists), apparently richer tasting than chicken eggs and really expensive. I will keep you posted on this, as I have never tried a duck egg.

After reading many predictions and suggestions, here are the GKC food trends of 2013 that are kosher and worth exploring.

Greek Yogurt – In my opinion Greek yogurt has been a food trend since I first posted about it four years ago. Its my go to breakfast, makes a great yogurt parfait and is wonderful mixed with cucumbers, dill, apple and lemon juice, served with grilled fish.  See recipes with yogurt here.

Blondies – I guess the brownie is stepping aside this year and making room for the Blondie.  I’ve always loved blondies and am thrilled it made the list.

Goodbye S’riacha…apparently, my fav spicy sauce, S’riacha has been lost its stature to fresh horseradish.  Its popping up on upscale menus across the country as a condiment and entree, in horseradish ketchup sauce, topped on grilled steaks, and layered on shaved vegetable salads (this is a big trend too – all that mesclun is no longer the salad to make).  This one I may save for Passover.

Soda machines – I think the kosher community has been ahead of its time on homemade soda and seltzer. Everyone I know (except me) owns an in-home machine.  Costco sold out of them around here but they are getting colored and fancy from companies like Soda Stream.

Wacky Ramen noodle mixtures – Ramen noodles with mango, cucumber and curry or Sausage, roasted tomato, and ramen noodles, that’s the new pasta trend.  GKC loves ramen noodles in salads and for extra crunch.  Try it in these recipes.  We have a great wacky ramen salad in our upcoming book, but you have to stay tuned for that!

Chef mashups – I love this idea.  Chef Eric Ripert and chocolatier Christopher Curtin and author/chef Anthony Bourdain came together to create the ultimate Good and Evil Chocolate bar (its not kosher but the concept intrigued me).  I think it’s awesome to have experts from different venues come together to create something divine.  Kosher chefs, anyone in? GKC readers would love to cool kosher mashups.  Sounds like a good event to me!

Mastering Stir Fry

Leaning how to make knock’em dead stir-fries is an essential technique for mid-week cooking. Becoming a Wok Master is easy with these quick tips.

GKC stir-fry master tips:
1. All ingredients must be super dry, or they will steam instead of sauté plus this added moisture will make the stir-fry mushy.
2. Cut veggies into same-size pieces so they cook evenly.
3. Get the wok or sauté pan really hot. It should be just starting to smoke before adding oil to the pan.
4. Use oil that has a high smoke point (one that can heat to a high temperature), like canola, peanut or sunflower.
5. Add dense vegetables and meat first, then seasonings (like ginger and garlic) and then fragile ingredients (like leafy greens). Add sauce last and just heat until warmed through.
6. Drizzle sauce down the inner edge of the wok or sauté pan so the temperature stays high.
7. Don’t overstuff the wok, or the food will steam. Its important that all the food touches the surface of the pan to get a nice browned and crisped texture.

Try these tips with this easy and delicious Chicken or Meat Stir Fry recipe.

Kosher Food and Wine Experience 2013

Ready, Set, Party! GKC loves KFWE and can’t wait for the February 4, 2013 extravaganza at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers. The best wines and kosher foods are open for tasting. Plus winemakers and chefs are there to answer all of your pressing questions and give you the best wine and food tips.

I’m looking forward to tasting the Single Vineyard wine from Herzog (all the wine critics are raving about it) and a Rose from Capcanes (I haven’t met a wine from Capcanes that I didn’t like). Last year I was wowed by Flam and Tulip and insiders say they are bringing some higher end wines to try. These Israeli wineries and wine makers are not to be missed.

The chefs from Le Marais, Gemstone Caterers, and Prime Grill impressed us last year. I am still raving about the apple smoked pulled brisket sliders from last year and the seared tuna and jicama salad. I’m looking forward to seeing the restaurant line-up for the event (coming soon!).

Don’t delay, get your tickets now and join me for the event. Special discount code for GKC readers, use GKC20 and get $20 off each ticket price. They sell out and the discount is only valid until December 31, so don’t miss out. I’d love to personally greet you and take some fantastic pics for the post event post online. Let me know if you are joining me! Get your tickets here.

Some New Beginnings

Although January 1st does not mark the New Year on the Jewish calendar, it will mark some new beginnings on GKC that we are very excited about. First, the site is currently being renovated. No big overhaul just a few small changes to clean it up a bit and improve the index. Second, and very exciting, we are adding video to GKC! I am currently contracted with a production team to create a large library of cooking videos that will be syndicated to some popular magazine websites and also appear on GKC.

We spent two days shooting video thus far and completed 13 videos. Speaking to a camera is harder than it looks but the cooking part was a blast. The crew is amazing and so talented and they make it all look so great. I loved the kitchen (many thanks SW for your amazing set and graciousness!) and all my new kitchen tools are almost too beautiful to use. I can’t wait to share the videos with all of you! Here are few sneak peak photos to let you in on our fun.

Happy Last Day of Hanukah!

Elizabeth

Latke Time

It’s Chanukah time and that means lots of latkes.  In preparation for latke season, I tested lots of new latkes, like Squash Latkes with Apple Butter, and Potato, Parsnip and Chive Latkes and few others that shall remain “non-postworthy”.  For most latke recipes, they begin with some kind of potato or vegetable and end with frying.  Basically, what could be bad? They are all good and we never have any leftovers.  But no matter what latke or version I make, I still prefer my basic classic potato latke recipe and no one ever tires of it.  It tastes like Chanukah to me and it is honestly what my family and guests like best.  Try the others, maybe a latke each night, but make sure you include some classic potato latkes each night because those purists will be asking for them. And if you have any leftovers, make sure you check out how to store latkes so that you save some time the next night.

Applesauce is the perfect accompaniment. We have lots to try.  I love applesauce on its own or over a little vanilla ice cream, that is, if you can save any for later.

Homemade Applesauce
Chunky Cranberry Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce with Pears
Maple Cinnamon Applesauce

Classic Potato Latkes
Sweet Potato Latkes
Zucchini Latkes
Squash Latkes with Apple Butter
Potato Latkes with Smoked Salmon
Potato, Parsnip and Chive Latkes
Cheese Latkes

Happy Frying!

Baked Chocolate Fudge Doughnuts

Makes 12 regular size and 24 mini doughnuts

Kinda like a cross between cake, muffins, and doughnuts. The edges get toasty and the interior is moist. Baked and not fried and full of chocolate flavor, what could be bad?

Doughnuts
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1-3/4 cups flour
1-1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional (I recommend it, it brings out the flavor of the chocolate)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pareve mik or milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons vinegar, white or cider
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) melted margarine, butter, or 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Chocolate icing, optional
1 cup chocolate chips
6 tablespoons pareve whip, pareve milk, half & half or cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the wells of two standard doughnut pans.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, pareve milk, vanilla and vinegar.
Add the wet ingredients, along with the melted margarine or vegetable oil, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend; there’s no need to beat the batter, just make sure everything is well-combined.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s), filling them between 3/4 and full.
Bake the doughnuts for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
Remove the doughnuts form the oven, and after 30 seconds or so, loosen their edges, turn the pan upside down over a rack, and gently let the doughnuts fall onto the rack.
For sugar-coated doughnuts, immediately shake the doughnuts in 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; add 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder to the sugar for an additional touch of chocolate.
If you want to ice the doughnuts rather than shake them in sugar, allow them to cool completely before icing.
To make the icing: Combine the chocolate chips and pareve milk, half & half or cream in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Heat until the half & half is steaming and starting to bubble.
Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chips have melted and the icing is smooth.
Spread icing on the doughnuts.

Cinnamon Sugar Baked Doughnuts

Makes 12 regular doughnuts and 24 mini doughnuts

Batter
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) margarine or butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-2/3 cups flour
1 cup pareve milk or milk

Topping
1/4 to 1/3 cup cinnamon-sugar

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the margarine/butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth.
Add the eggs, beating to combine.

Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.

Spoon the batter into the lightly greased doughnut pans, filling the wells to about 1/4″ shy of the rim.

Bake the doughnuts for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and wait 5 to 7 minutes before turning them out of the pans onto a rack.

Shake warm doughnuts in a plastic bag with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup cinnamon-sugar. Best when warm.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

Makes 12 regular sized and 24 mini doughnuts

Doughnuts
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups pumpkin purée (canned pumpkin)
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons flour

Coating
3 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly greased standard doughnut pans.If you don’t have doughnut pans, you can bake these in a standard muffin tin; they just won’t be doughnuts.

Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.
Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.
Fill the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full; use a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each well. If you’re making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15, so you’ll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans).
Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. If you’re making muffins, they’ll need to bake for 23 to 25 minutes.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges, and transfer them to a rack to cool.
While the doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently shake them in a bag with the cinnamon-sugar. If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle their tops heavily with cinnamon-sugar.

Cool completely, and wrap airtight; store at room temperature for several days.

Doughnut Time Lightens Up


Doughnuts, Sufganiyot, Zeppoles, whatever you call them, they are good! And Chanukah is doughnut time.  GKC has all kinds of doughnut recipes, remember the cinnamon sugar doughnut holes or the Oreo Stuffed Doughnut? Or maybe you don’t want to make doughnuts but still want them on the menu, I love the Doughnut Bread Pudding and my kids favorite are the Doughnut Ice Cream Sandwhiches.

This year I decided to lighten it up a bit and tried all sorts of recipes for Baked Doughnuts. I know, I know, don’t throw anything at me, they are not the same.  It’s more like toasty cake or a fresh hot muffin. But if you adjust your thinking, kinda like eating frozen yogurt instead of ice cream (not the same at all but still sweet, creamy and delicious by my standards) than you will enjoy some of these options that save your frying time for latkes next week.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
Baked Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts
Baked Chocolate Fudge Doughnuts