Champignon en Croûte

by Chef Shaya

This recipe makes about 15-20 hors d’œuvre.

For the croutons:
1 Long thin French baguette
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly ground Black Pepper

For the Champignon topping:
About 10-15 Cremini mushrooms (also sold as Baby Bella mushrooms)
Blended Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
3-6 Cloves of Garlic
½ Bunch of Italian Flat-Leaf parsley (curly parsley is also good, but much harder to wash)

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F
2. Cut the baguette on a bias (diagonal cut), about ½ inch thick.
3. Place the sliced baguettes into a large bowl, and drizzle with olive oil, mix and combine the baguette slices to be evenly coated with oil.
4. Place some parchment paper onto a sheet tray or baking sheet, and lay the baguette slices in even rows, and place into the oven.
5. Lightly salt and pepper the oiled baguettes, ensuring they get evenly coated. Make sure to not over season the slices; you really want a very light and subtle seasoning.
6. Very lightly toast the slices, cooking them for about 5 minutes on one side, then flip them over and toast them for about another 5 minutes. You really don’t want to brown them so much as get the outside crust a little bit toasty, and the inner white bread should only be slightly dry, but still have a level of softness.
7. When they’re done, take them out of the oven and remove them from the sheet tray. They’ll continue to toast on the hot tray, so put them on a cool plate. Also try not to stack them as the steam will soften the middle layers.
8. While the baguette slices are toasting, brush the mushrooms clean with a lightly damp towel, and then slice off the stem so you are left with the cap and a flat underside surface.
9. Cut the mushroom caps into quarters, and set aside. Larger caps can be cut into halves first, and then those halves into thirds.
10. Slice the garlic cloves into thin slices, and set aside.
11. Place enough oil to just cover the surface of a shallow and wide medium flat skillet, and heat under high flame.
12. Let the oil and skillet heat until the surface of the oil begins to shimmer, but before the oil begins to smoke – if it’s smoking, then the skillet is too hot and immediately remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
13. Add the chopped mushroom caps, enough to loosely cover the surface of the skillet. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan, so as to not allow the proximity of the mushrooms to steam each other, what you want to do is sauté the mushrooms by extruding the inherent moisture that mushrooms have and browning the mushrooms.
14. If you have too many quartered mushrooms to sauté all of them at once, sauté them in batches, making sure to evenly distribute the sliced garlic between the number of batches you will need to sauté the mushrooms.
15. After about 3 minutes of sautéing, add the slices of garlic to the pan, and mix the ingredients evenly together. Continue the sautéing until the mushroom get smaller and darken in color. Try not to let the garlic burn and if you feel like it’s about to burn, lower the heat. You should sauté for about 7 minutes.
16. At this point, remove the sautéed mushrooms and garlic onto a cutting board, and with a chef’s knife, begin to give the mushrooms and garlic a rough chop. You want small dice, but not mushroom purée. Transfer the chopped ingredients to a bowl.
17. Make sure to clean the flat-leaf parsley very thoroughly by soaking it in water at least 2-3 times, refreshing the water between each round of soaking. After you’ve cleaned it of all the dirt and sand, make sure to thoroughly dry the leaves, because when you chop them while they’re wet they tend to get mushy and pasty.
18. When the leaves are dry, bunch them up under your fingers into a tight ball, and chop the leaves. You want to get a fine parsley chop to the leaves.
19. Mix the chopped parsley with the chopped mushrooms and garlic in a bowl.
20. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and make sure to taste the mixture until it is seasoned to your taste.
21. With a spoon, scoop up the mushroom mixture and top one side of the toasted baguette slice. Continue until all the slices have a topping.
22. You can keep the topped croutons warm in a 150°F oven until you are ready to serve.

Tandoori-Style Cornish Hens with Tasty Tomato Sauce

1 ¼ cups soy milk
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 teaspoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
4 teaspoons chopped Serrano chilies
2 teaspoons turmeric
6 (1 ½-pound) Cornish game hens
2 ½ tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
3 ½ cups coarsely chopped seeded plum tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
¼ cup dry white wine
2 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup pareve whipping cream

Mix first 6 ingredients in medium bowl. Place hens in 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour mixture over hens. Cover, chill overnight.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Transfer hens to heavy baking pan. Sprinkle inside and outside of hens with salt and pepper. Pour marinade over. Bake until cooked through, basting occasionally with juices about 1 hour 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare sauce: heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine and cumin; sauté until tomatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Purée mixture in blender; return to sauce pan. Add pareve cream and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Cumin-Spiced Corn

1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ½ cup corn kernels (from 4 ears)
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
¾ teaspoon turmeric
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn, cumin and turmeric; sauté until corn is heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Twice-Baked Potatoes


5 Idaho potatoes, washed, and pricked with a fork
4 tablespoons of margarine
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup pareve tofutti sour cream
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped (optional)
Other cooked vegetable like mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the potatoes in a glass dish and spray the potatoes with non-stick cooking spray. Bake the potatoes for 45 minutes in the oven or until cooked through. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half and gently scoop out the white flesh of the potatoes. Reserve the skins for later. Mix the flesh, with the margarine, pareve sour cream, salt, chives, and any other vegetable of your choice. Place the coarsely mashed potato mixture back in the potato skins. Sprinkle with paprika. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Reheat the potatoes in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the top is golden and the inside soft and warmed through.

Individual Chocolate Caramel Trifle Parfaits


My friend Annmichelle brought this to us one Friday evening for Shabbos dessert and we all begged her to share the recipe. She adapted it from the original Turtle Trifle by Paula Deen.

For the Trifle:
1 brownie recipe, 9 x 13 size, baked and cut into bite size pieces
2 (8 oz) containers pareve whipping cream, whipped
1 recipe Caramel Pecan Sauce, below
Pecan halves
Chocolate shavings

To Assemble:
In small dessert bowl, or martini glasses place brownie pieces on the bottom and sides of the dish. Pour the caramel sauce on top. Pipe or just spoon the whipped cream on top of the brownie and caramel layer and garnish with a pecan half and chocolate shavings.

Caramel Pecan Sauce:
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups light corn syrup
1 stick margarine
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups pecans pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a 2 quart pot combine the sugar, corn syrup and margarine. Heat until just barely WARM and margarine just melts. In a separate bowl, mix the 4 eggs. Slowly pour the warm sugar mixture into the eggs and mix well. When most of the mixture has been added to the eggs, pour it all back into the pot. Add the pecans. Bring the mixture to a boil and stirring constantly, continue cooking on a low boil for 10 minutes (no longer) or until a candy thermometer reaches 220 degrees. It will be a rich caramel color. Add the vanilla. Cool until slightly thickened and syrupy.

Mediterranean Grilled Flank Steak


by Chef Shaya

Flank steak is great for grilling because it’s not too expensive, and since it’s naturally a thinner cut of meat, it grills up quickly and easily. Flank steak also really lends itself well to rubs and marinades because of its shape and type of meat.

Yield: About 10-15 servings

1 Flank Steak (about 20 oz – 1¼ lb)
First Cold-Press Oil

For the rub:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coriander, ground
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
½ teaspoon cumin, ground
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
½ teaspoon spicy paprika (optional)

1. Mix all the spices together in a small bowl, and ensure that they are evenly mixed.
2. Wash and thoroughly dry the flank steak. If it was frozen, make sure to completely thaw it out first (preferably overnight in the refrigerator). It’s important that the steak be rubbed dry before applying the spice rub.
3. Evenly coat both sides of the flank steak with the spice rub mixture, massaging it with your fingertips into the meat.
4. Lightly coat the outside of the spiced steak with some oil – you want it to be glistening.
5. Allow the steak to marinade in the rub for at least an hour, but no more than 3 hours, in the refrigerator.
6. About a half hour prior to when you’re ready to grill the steak, take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
7. Make sure your grill is nice and hot, and brush it with oil before you place the steak on the grill.
8. Let it cook for about 5-6 minutes, letting the grill marks form on one side.
9. Flip it once, and allow it to cook for an additional 5-6 minutes on the other side.
10. Remove the flank steak from the grill, and allow it to rest for at least 10-15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
11. Thinly slice, against the grain and on an angle, and serve.

Bow Ties (Farfalle) with Peppers and Basil


4-6 servings as a main course
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound bow ties, or any other small shaped pasta
1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A few drops Tabasco

Preheat the broiler. Line the rack of a broiler pan with foil. Halve the peppers and remove the seeds. Place them skin side up on the foil, and broil close to the heat source (approx. 6 inches) for 6-7 minutes, or until blistered and charred. Wrap in foil, and let cool. The heat will loosen the skin. When cool, peel and dice. Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let soften for a few minutes. Squeeze them dry and dice as well.

Bring 5 quarts of water to rolling boil in a large covered pot. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and all the pasta at once; stir well. Boil briskly uncovered for about 7 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente, tender but still firm to the bite. Drain in a colander without shaking it too much.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat till soft. Add the diced peppers and tomatoes and cook over low heat until the pasta is ready. To this sauce add the drained bow-ties and the basil.
Season to taste with vinegar, salt and pepper and Tabasco. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Spicy Pumpkin Cake with Maple Glaze

from "Cooking with Color" by Estee Kafra

½ cup margarine or canola oil
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/8 cup soy milk

Maple Glaze:
1/8 teaspoon maple extract (McCormick maple flavor)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon water
Pinch of salt
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.
Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. (If using oil, just combine it with the sugar and eggs). Add eggs and beat well.
Combine dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, baking powder and baking soda) in a large bowl. Add egg mixture alternately with the pumpkin and soy milk. Mix until combined.
Pour batter into Bundt pan. Bake 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool 15 to 20 minutes, then invert carefully onto a serving plate. Cool completely before glazing.
Combine all ingredients for glaze in a bowl and stir until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake.
Yield: 12 servings

Another Challah

This is from my friend Yehudis Orloff.

Mix together:
4 cups flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons yeast
5 cups warm water
Let rise for 5 – 10 minutes.

2 tablespoons salt
1 cup oil
8 – 10 cups flour

Knead until elastic, cover and let rise for 2 hours.
Punch down, braid, cover and let rise 1 hour. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds if desired.
Bake at 350 for 30 – 40 minutes.

African Peanut Soup

4 tablespoons margarine
1-1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 onions, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup flour
10 cups chicken stock or Imagine No-Chicken Broth if you want to make it pareve
2 cups non-dairy creamer
½ teaspoon pepper
Harissa sauce (optional)
Roasted sunflower seeds or chopped peanuts (optional)

Melt margarine in a medium-sized stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Whisk in the peanut butter, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the non-dairy creamer and pepper. Serve hot, topped with one teaspoon of harissa sauce, if desired. Can also garnish with chopped peanuts or roasted sunflower seeds.

Standing Rib Roast


1 5-6 pound standing rib roast
2 rounded teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup soy sauce
2 bottles beer

Place meat in a roast pan and smear all over with garlic. Sprinkle on pepper and carefully brush on soy sauce. Let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roast for 1 hour to 1-1/4 hours. (if you will be reheating it in the oven before Shabbos, err on the shorter roasting time because it will continue to cook in the oven later). Baste every 10 to 15 minutes with the beer. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before carving.

Mashed Potatoes with Carmelized Onions


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2/3 cup non-dairy creamer
2 tablespoons margarine
1-2 teaspoons salt

In a large skillet, heat oil over a medium heat. Add onions and slowly sauté, being careful not to brown. Lower heat if necessary. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until onions are soft and becoming golden. Add sugar and salt and cook, still on low heat for 10 minutes more. In the meantime, place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over a high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork. Drain completely and mash, adding non-dairy creamer, margarine and salt as you go. Pour into a 9x 13-inch pan and top with caramelized onions. Warm briefly before serving.

White Beans and Spinach


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
4 cups fresh chopped spinach
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Place all ingredients in a medium-sized skillet and cook slowly over low-medium heat, stirring gently. Continue cooking until spinach wilts. Add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and toss with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.

Homemade Ice Cream Tart with Crunch Topping

This is from my daughter who says it’s really, really good. I’m trusting her on this.

2-1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1-1/2 cups coconut
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) margarine

Melt margarine in a small saucepan. Mix in other ingredients and mix until brown but be careful not to let it burn. Pat half of the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan. Set aside remainder.

Ice Cream:
3 eggs, separated
2 cups pareve whip
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sugar

Beat egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl, whip the pareve whip until stiff. Fold into the egg whites along with the yolks, vanilla and sugar. Place on top of crumbs in pan and freeze for a few hours. Sprinkle rest of topping on the top and return to the freezer until ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Muffins


1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (can be canned)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger and baking soda. Whisk together eggs and sweet potatoes and stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Do not overmix. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with the batter and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture on top. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Cook for 5 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack to finish cooling. Makes 1 dozen.

Thai-Peanut Chicken Breasts

Thai-Peanut Chicken Breasts

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast
¾ cup salsa
¼ cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated ginger or ½ teaspoon dry ginger
¼ cup chopped peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce and ginger. Pour it over the chicken and bake for 1 hour. Serve at room temperature or remove from sauce and warm on blech. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro, if using.

Dried Cherries and Walnut Salad


1 head romaine
1 head red leafy lettuce
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup toasted walnut pieces

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons oil

Whisk together vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil (you can use a hand blender for this). Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Toss lettuces together with cherries and walnuts. Mix in dressing until well-coated.

Mandelbroit with Chocolate Sandwich Cookies


1 cup sugar
1/3 cup margarine, melted
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
16 chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugar, margarine, eggs and vanilla until blender. On a low speed mix in flour and baking powder. Stir in the chopped cookies. Divide mixture in half and shape into loaves. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes; remove from oven. Slice and return to oven for 10 more minutes. Cool completely on wire racks. If desired, drizzle tops with melted chocolate.

Perfect Challah with Sweet Crumble Topping

My good friend makes these and they are a favorite to all who come to her house. I make them in twisted rolls and bake them in a 12 cup muffin tray and they come out shaped well and with great height. You cannot eat just a bite so make a lot of them!

Makes 32 rolls

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
16 - 19 tablespoons oil
Mix flour and sugar. Add oil (start with 16 tablespoons) and add until consistency is crumbly.

Challah Dough
5 lbs sifted flour (sometimes need to add 2 or 3 more cups)
1 cup sugar
4 packets RAPID RISE yeast
2 tablespoons salt
3 eggs
5 cups warm water
1/2 cup oil

Put 5 cups of flour in mixer. Add yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix in water, oil and eggs. Mix until well combined and it has no lumps. Add remaining flour one cup at a time. Knead in the mixer for 12 minutes.

Let dough sit in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The dough should have at least doubled in size. Punch down dough and braid into loaves or use a few pieces and knot for rolls. Place in challah pans or in large muffin cups. Let rise 45 more minutes. Sprinkle generously with crumble topping. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Thai Peanut Stuffed Eggplant


¼ cup brown (natural) sesame seeds
½ cup raw or lightly toasted unsalted peanuts
½ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons water, divided
1 teaspoon finely grated garlic (about 2 large cloves)
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
8 mini Indian eggplants or 6 of the smallest Italian or Japanese eggplants you can find (about 1 ½ pounds)
¼ cup canola oil

Using a coffee grinder or food processor, separately pulse the sesame seeds and peanuts to semi-coarse powders. You don’t want fine powders, but neither do you want chunks of peanuts in your filling. Remove to a bowl. Add the cilantro, sugar, salt, 2 teaspoons of the water, garlic, cayenne, and turmeric to the powdered mixture and mix well with your fingers. The mixture should become lumpy – if it doesn’t, add a few more drops of water. Taste and adjust the salt and sugar if needed. The filling should taste slightly sweet and a little salty.

Leaving the stem end intact, make 2 intersecting lengthwise cuts on the other side of each eggplant. You are basically making an “X”. Do not cut all the way through. Make sure to leave the stems on. Stuff each eggplant in the X with the filling, packing it down well. This is easier said than done – it will feel awkward, but just push in as much filling as the eggplant will take, using your fingers to gently pry open the eggplant. Here is where you will thank yourself for having followed the instructions to make the filling lumpy, since it sticks together better.

Heat the oil on a skillet large enough to hold all the eggplants in a single layer. Gently place each eggplant in the pan and turn the heat to medium. Turn the eggplants occasionally so they are evenly browned on all sides. Don’t worry too much if some of the filling spills out. Once all the eggplants are browned, pour in the remaining ¼ cup water, cover and cooked on low until tender, about 15 minutes. To check doneness, pierce the stem end of each eggplant with a small, sharp knife – it should slide in easily. The whole eggplant should feel soft to the touch as well.

Instead of pan bruising it, you may braise the eggplant in the oven:
Use an ovenproof skillet. After browning the eggplant on the stovetop, pour in the water, cover and transfer the skillet to a preheated 350 degree F oven and roast until the eggplant is tender, between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the size of the eggplant.

Serve the hot eggplants immediately, 2 per person. This recipe can be made a day ahead. Simply reheat in a 375°F oven until warm.

Serves 4 to 6

Nicoise Salad


3 pieces salmon fillet
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ cup fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Coat the salmon with the mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to broil. Broil the salmon for approximately 6 minutes or until cooked through.

For the Dressing:
4 eggs, hard-boiled, whites and yolks separated
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried basil

Mash cooked egg yolks. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and shake well. Refrigerate until using.

For Salad:
6 cups romaine lettuce
½ pint cherry tomatoes
1 can hearts of palm, sliced
1 ½ cup green beans, cooked
1 cup small red potatoes, cooked and halved
4 egg whites

Toss together salad ingredients. Cut salmon in chunks and add. Toss with the dressing. Serve chilled.

Easiest Corned Beef

(my father's favorite)
3 - 4 pound corned beef
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dijon or whole grain mustard

Remove a 3-4 lb corned beef from plastic packing and place on a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Retain seasonings and as much liquid as there is and include with the meat. Wrap the corned beef tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil so no steam can escape, and the meat is fully enclosed. Put wrapped meat on a shallow baking sheet (like a jelly roll pan) and place on the middle rack of a 325 degree oven.

Bake for approx. 2 1/2 hrs; then remove part of foil to expose the corned beef. With a sharp knife make diagonal lines on top of the meat. Mix the sugar and the mustard together.
Pour glaze on the meat, trying to get it in the slits and all over the top and sides of the meat.

Increase oven to 350 and roast uncovered for approximately 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15 min. Then slice against the grain. This is best sliced very thin. Serve with additional mustard. It is nice to have an assortment of mustards of different flavors for the side.