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

Did you catch me on Rachael Ray last Monday?

Did you catch me on Rachael Ray last Monday? No, I didn’t make a special guest appearance (who knows, maybe one day), but for now I was a special guest in the audience. We had fantastic front rows seats, and got to watch the pro in action. And she is a pro! I loved being a guest in the audience and feeling the friendliness of Rachael and her incredible talent to cook and connect with the audience.

I’ve seen quite a few television shows being taped and wow! Rachael does everything, in one take. The interviews are natural and engaging, the shopping sections are personal and fun and of course the cooking segments make it look so easy. She has a lot of fun with the audience but clearly seems to have a vision and exact idea of how she expects the quality of the show to go.

After the show, we got an amazing tour of the set, backstage, “green rooms”, the test kitchen, the pantry (heaven! see all the pics) and of course, Rachael in her office in the studio. Ahhhh! So cool. She was friendly and took a quick photo, squeezing it all in between her many roles.

Rachael Ray is hosting 3 televisions shows, running her magazine, launching a new book (New book release! My Year in Meals, twelve month’s of Rachael’s homemade favorites, plus A Year in Cocktails from her husband is included!), a cookware line and working on numerous other endeavors including her charities.

While we were there on the show, Rachael made Proscuitto Wrapped Chicken with Sweet and Salty Stuffing. I did the GKC makeover to make it kosher and the results are terrific!

See all the pics below, check out her new book , and try the GKC version of Rachael’s recipe below. Many thanks to Rachael Ray and her entire team for such a fun day.

Pastrami Wrapped Chicken with Sweet and Salty Stuffing

Rachael Ray and Elizabeth and Arielle

Test kitchen at work

One of the many lux rooms for guests of the show

Rows and rows of fabulous Rachael Ray cookware

Pastrami Wrapped Chicken with Sweet and Salty Stuffing


Serves 4

This is the GKC makeover of Proscuitto Wrapped Chicken by Rachael Ray. I loved being a guest in the audience and feeling the friendliness of Rachael and her incredible talent to cook and connect with the audience. Try our version.

2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 (4- to 5-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken or veal cutlets
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon dry sherry or red wine
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds toasted
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons capers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tablespoon grated orange or lemon zest
4 thin slices pastrami **
1 tablespoon margarine, cut into 4 pieces
4 lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Season the chicken (or veal) with salt and pepper, and cook, turning once, for 4-6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

In the same skillet, bring about 1/4 cup water and the sherry or wine, to a boil, scraping up the browned bits. In a small bowl, pour the liquid over the raisins and let plump for 5 minutes, then drain and chop. In another bowl, combine the raisins, breadcrumbs, parsley, pine nuts or almonds, jalapeno pepper, capers, garlic and zest.

Mound the stuffing onto the cutlets and wrap with the pastrami. Top each with 1 piece of margarine. Bake on a baking sheet until the pastrami is browned and a bit crisp, about 8 minutes. Serve with the lemon wedges.

** There is a new kosher product called Facon, made by Jack’s Gourmet that will be in stores in the next two months. This would be even better to use than the pastrami because it crisps up like real prosciutto or bacon. If you use Facon, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees and cook for 5 minutes (just like the original recipe).

Kosherfest 2012

Wow! Another year of new kosher food, lots of tasting, so many special guests and a lot of fun.  GKC loved meeting up with old friends from Royal Wines (see the post on the Pacifica Meritage, so good!), Osem, and Jack’s Gourmet.  While still meeting new friends from new companies that wow our taste buds enough to mention.

So what was newsworthy or blog worthy this year?  First, Facon, by Jack’s Gourmet, was one of the highlights of the show.  Many companies have tried to replicate the taste and texture of bacon but have failed in some way.  Facon,”bacon-like” meat is a big winner!  Facon cooks up crispy and crunchy, just like real bacon and tastes great and even has that bacon-cooking aroma.  The product opens a whole new world to the kosher consumer. I am already imagining it as a great soup starter, crumbled on mashed potatoes, or wrapped around a hearty meatloaf.  No surprise, Facon and Jack’s Gourmet’s Italian Style Salami were Kosherfest product winners.

Non-dairy desserts have come a long way with so many options but more are on the way and these are going to cure your “fear of fleishig”.  I tasted just a few sorbet flavors from Gelato Petrini; chocolate peanut butter, strawberry, cookies and cream, and peach ginger and was so impressed.  Gelato Petrini, all pareve sorbets (they have a dairy line too) are rich, delicious, smooth and well worth serving to company.  Available in stores soon.  Don’t forget to request lots of flavors at your local market because you don’t want to miss out on all their creative genius.

Kosherfest was studded with companies addressing the gluten free needs of so many consumers.  GKC recommends Finchi’s desserts (she started as a Passover baker – yup all of her desserts are kosher for Passover, gluten free, nut-free, and dairy-free).  Delicious chocolate desserts like mousse, torte, brownie fudge. My Dad’s Cookies came out with some additional gluten-free cookies including a “Milano” like treat that looks and taste pretty close to the original by Pepperidge Farms.

GKC friends at Osem have some great Passover and everyday products. Congratulations on their big win at Kosherfest “best new rice or grain product” for Couscous with rice, roasted garlic, and sundried tomatoes.  For Passover, I love the soft keep fresh bag that comes in every 5 lb. set of matzos.  And the mix for Passover rolls will help all those fussy kids who live on air all Pesach.  Bread-like rolls that are kosher for Passover, moist and tasty.

You asked for it, you got it…Both Norman’s and Mehadrin have Cholov Yisroel Greek yogurt coming soon to markets.  And two new just add water challah mixes. My best of the show and great pantry item is called Voila’ Hallah, by Tribes a Dozen.  I tried both the whole wheat and the spelt mixes with great success. Terrific flavor, so easy and mess free.

Snacking is an important part of Kosherfest.  The super winners for me? Sweet Tammy’s cookies and challahs, especially the snickerdoodles.  These cookies are a perfect combination of soft, sweet and a little crunchy.  In very generous sizes and cute packaging you should keep an eye out for them.  Brownie Brittle has been a big hit here on the East coast.  A rustic snack of rich brownie taste with a crisp cookie crunch.  It’s like brownie meets brittle and the only problem is that I can eat the whole bag because it’s such an addictive snack. They have new flavors too, but try any of them, they are all terrific.

Manischewitz is so trendy too, with great new products like red velvet macaroons, frozen macaroon dough for delicious homemade macaroons out of your own oven without the work.

Lastly, well, hardly lastly because I could tell you more about the Golan Beer, or the super products from Pereg (do they make the best spices or what? Wait until you taste their Passover couscous, almost fooled me), yes lastly I wanted to tell you about a terrific new company that I hope we see in National markets soon. Woops, an Israeli company that makes frozen Belgium waffles, super chunky extra large cookies and some really moist and rich molten cakes was a show fav for me.  I loved the waffles and apparently I’m in good company because Max Brenner Chocolates (another chocoholic and talented Israeli) carries their waffles, cookies and more in his chocolate bars

Now, I must get on my treadmill or close my mouth for a bit, well at least until I get home and munch on some of my favorite Kosherfest take home treats.

Thanksgiving


We are “Thanksgiving celebraters”.  We enjoy the extended family being together for what we call a “neutral” holiday, no rules, no trouble keeping things at the right temperature, all celebrating being grateful.  Most years we stay in NY with my in-laws and my husbands cousins because its too difficult to travel that weekend and it’s a fun tradition at their home.  My mother-in-law is not the patcha in the kitchen type (don’t worry she is a proud reservation maker and I am not offending her in any way) but she really works hard to make Thanksgiving a delicious and warm experience for all. She loves a potpourri of stuff like pigs in a blanket, hummos and veggies, stuffed cabbage (that’s her trademark dish that she learned from her mother-in-law and admittedly it’s the recipe I make too because it’s the best ever), smoked and regular turkey, sweet potatoes with crushed pineapple, steamed green beans, and someone brings store bought pies.  Until it’s in my house, I eat what I am served. I always bring a few of the side dishes in the Thanksgiving recipe ideas section, but in general I enjoy that I am a guest and love that it is not all on my shoulders.  My best recommendation, check out all these great recipes and give them out to all your guests to make.  Make it a pot luck and be grateful for good friends, family and good food.

In addition to the new recipes for Thanksgiving, make sure you check out the
a href=”http://www.gourmetkoshercooking.com/?s=turkey&cat=0″ target=”_blank”>Turkey recipes
Stuffing recipes
Cranberry Sauce recipes
Mashed Potato recipes
Squash recipes
Green Bean recipes
Pie recipes

Hurricane Sandy

In the days after Hurricane Sandy, many of us are managing (well barely!) with no power, heat, hot water, closed schools, and an inability to get around easily. Honestly, we are the lucky ones who are just suffering without these luxuries. Many people lost their homes, or sustained tremendous damage that they must somehow manage. It’s always amazing to see how friends and communities pull together to help one another in these types of emergencies – from calling to say, “come stay with us”, to sharing their generator electricity, to late night rescues from water-flooded homes or just enjoying a game of Monopoly by flashlight. I am so privileged to know these types of people and grateful for the welcome they gave us.

On a much lighter note, I cannot help thinking about some of the ideas that came to mind while trying to cook without power. The main goal was to use whatever perishable ingredients I had on hand. Second, I only have a gas powered cooktop so I was limited to cooktop items.

The first night we enjoyed a homemade marinara sauce. I added some flanken that I browned in a pan and then slow cooked it in the marinara sauce for about 45 minutes. The result was a delicious, thick and rich tomato sauce. I cooked some pasta, added a bit of the pasta water to the marinara sauce pan and coated the pasta with the meat sauce. Dinner 1 is done!

The second night I made Asian Chicken Salad Cups. It used up all my leftover chicken from Shabbos and quite a few other refrigerator and pantry items. We devoured the No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bundles while playing board games by flashlight. Mission accomplished.

The third night, we went to a friend….game over :)

Chicken or Meat Stir-Fry with Vegetables

photo: thechinesecookbook.com


Serves 6

This recipe can be make with chicken or meat and any vegetables of your choice. Make sure to follow the Master Stir-Fry quick tips to ensure perfect stir fry results.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 package shiitake mushrooms
2 to 3 carrots, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup onion, diced
1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a large skillet, sauté pan or wok, heat the pan over high heat. When smoking, reduce heat to medium-high and add oil.Add the chicken and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, pepper, and onion and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the water chestnuts. In a small bowl, combine broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and cornstarch. Add to chicken mixture and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium to medium-low, and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.