The Best Chocolate Cake

best-chocolate-cake
Easy
For those of you who missed this recipe on theyeshivaworld, I just have to reprint it. My husband could not stop raving about this cake when I served it this past Shabbos. And yes, true confessions, it starts with a mix! And it stays moist all week (our waistlines can attest to that). The adults preferred it with the walnuts, the kids voted for no nuts. Use your own judgment.

1 Duncan Hines Devil’s Food cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding
½ cup water
½ cup oil
4 eggs
1 cup tofutti sour cream
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup chopped walnuts

Glaze:
3 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil, eggs and sour cream until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips, marshmallows and walnuts. Pour into a well greased Bundt pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Let cook in pan for 10 to 15 minutes before turning onto wire rack to finish cooling. Cool completely before drizzling with glaze
For glaze: Heat margarine with corn syrup and water in microwave until margarine is melted. Remove and add chocolate chips. Stir constantly until melted and smooth.

Broiled Salmon with Salsa

salmon-salsa-cilantro
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 oranges, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped scallions
¾ cup chopped cilantro, divided
1 jalapeno, diced
½ cup margarine
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 (4 to 6 ounce) salmon fillets

Combine tomatoes, oranges, scallions, ½ cup cilantro and jalapeno in a bowl. Set aside. Blend margarine, remaining ¼ cup cilantro, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Broil salmon, brushing with cilantro spread, until no longer cooked – about 10 minutes per side. (When you turn it, brush again). Serve at room temperature with the salsa. (If you are not using it for Shabbos, you can serve the salmon hot from the oven)

Spanish Chicken Salad

My friend Jyl introduced me to this salad, perfect for a summer Shabbos lunch.

Salad:
3 cups cooked chicken (from the soup is perfect), shredded
1 cup cubed salami
3 potatoes, peeled, chopped and boiled
1 red pepper, chopped
3 radishes, thinly sliced
¼ cup green olive rings
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
10 asparagus spears, steamed until crisp-tender and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
1 head Boston lettuce, broken into pieces
Dressing:
3 tablespoons sherry
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon ground pepper

Place the Boston lettuce across the bottom of a large salad roll and place all other ingredients on top. Whisk together dressing ingredients and shake well. Pour over salad and toss.

Ginger Noodles

1 (16 ounce) package vermicelli, cooked until al dente and drained
3 tablespoons peanut oil
6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
½ cup pine nuts

Whisk together oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, ginger, crushed red pepper and garlic. Toss with noodles. Garnish with pine nuts. Store in refrigerator and serve at room temperature.

Blueberry Apple Kugel

blueberry-apple-kugel
This is a slight variation on the strawberry apple kugel in kosher by design. We have tried the kugel with strawberry pie filling, blueberry pie filling and raspberry pie filling. Our family favorite is the raspberry pie filling but I am having a hard time find one that is pareve and not d.e. – please let me know if you have one. The next favorite is the blueberry one (reproduced below) and the strawberry came in last. But taste is subjective so try them all.

3 cups flour
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 Granny smith apples, cut into small cubes (I’m lazy and I never peel the apples I’m cooking with)
Dash cinnamon
1 (21 ounce) can blueberry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, vanilla, oil, egg and baking powder. Mix with the tips of your fingers until it forms crumbs. Sprinkle 1/3 of the crumbs in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan and press down. Top with the apples and sprinkle with cinnamon. Top with another 1/3 of the crumbs. Pour the pie filling over the crumbs and top with the rest. Pat down lightly. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Giant Brownies

giantbrownies
2 cups margarine
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 eggs
2-1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 tablespoons brewed espresso
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the margarine and chocolate in a microwave and stir until smooth. Beat the eggs and sugar together. Add the vanilla and espresso and continue beating. Add the flour and baking powder and then beat in the melted chocolate mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts, if suing. Pour into greased 9 x 13-inch pan and bake for about 1 hour. Let cool completely on wire rack. Cut into 12 large rectangles (or just serve as regular brownies and cut into smaller pieces!)

Tri-Colored Salad

2 spears endive, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
1 small head radicchio, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
About ⅓ pound baby arugula, washed, dried, and thinly chopped
2 cups baby spinach lettuce
1 cup cherry tomatoes
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
Homemade croutons or garlic crackers

Dressing
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions
Combine all lettuces and tomatoes in large bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss with the nuts. Whisk the mustard, vinegar, and oil together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Top with croutons or garlic crackers.

Rosemary Chicken with Potatoes

rosemary-chicke
Serves 4; may be doubled

¾ pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved
Kosher salt
2 sprigs fresh rosemary plus 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Juice of 2 lemons (reserve squeezed lemons)
4 skin-on, bone-in pieces of chicken
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Pile the rosemary leaves, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and the red pepper flakes on a cutting board, then mince and mash into a paste using a large knife. Transfer the paste to a bow. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and the olive oil. Add the chicken and turn to coat.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken skin side down, cover and cook until the skin browns, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken; add the mushrooms and potatoes to the skillet and drizzle with the juice of the remaining lemon. Add the rosemary sprigs and the squeezed lemon halves to the saucepan. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast uncovered until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp, 20 – 25 minutes.

Saffron Rice

saffron-rice
2 tablespoons margarine
¾ cup diced onion
1 cup long-grain, white rice
3 cups chicken stock
Pinch saffron threads
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
In a large saucepan or pot, melt the margarine over medium heat. Add the onions while stirring in the rice to coat with the margarine. Pour in the chicken stock, saffron, salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork before serving.

Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

garlic-stuffed-mushroom
2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 cup pareve whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup panko or white bread crumbs
24 large button or cremini mushrooms, stems removed
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon pepper

In a small saucepan over low heat, slowly cook garlic and pareve cream until garlic is soft enough to mash with a spoon, about 45 minutes (cream will be reduced and thick). Remove from heat and mash garlic into cream with a fork, making a rough puree. Stir in salt and panko and mix thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay mushroom caps, topside down on an oiled baking sheet. Brush edges with oil and fill center with garlic cream. Bake until starting to brown about 15 minutes. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes. Lift mushrooms from any released liquid and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

strawberry-shortcake
1 large angel food cake or large pound cake

For the custard:
1 (8-ounce) package pareve tofutti cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounces) can cream of coconut (not coconut milk)
1 container of pareve whipping cream, whipped

For the glaze:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons strawberry kosher gelatin
1 cup water
2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in ½ (if berries are extra large, they can be cut into quarters)
Whole fresh strawberries and mint leaves, for garnish

Directions
Slice cake, using a serrated knife, horizontally into 3 equal layers.

For the custard:
Mix together tofutti cream cheese, cream of coconut, and pareve whipped cream in a bowl; set aside.
For the glaze:
In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and kosher gelatin; add water. Cook stirring over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Fold in strawberries.

For assembly:
Place 1 layer of cake in a large clear bowl. Top with a layer of glaze, followed by a layer of custard mixture. Repeat layering in this order for remaining cake, glaze and custard. Top cake with 3 whole fresh strawberries and fresh mint leaves.

White Grape Gazpacho with Toasted Almonds

white-grape-gazpacho
½ cup lightly toasted almonds
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 ½ cups white grapes
1 cup white grape juice
½ cup water
2 slices country white bread or challah, crusts removed and cubed
1 cup pareve whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons walnut oil
Chopped chives, for garnish
Toasted slivered almonds, for garnish, optional
Champagne grapes, optional

Directions
Place almonds, pine nuts, garlic, grapes, grape juice, water, and bread in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the mixture into a bowl. Chill the soup for at least 30 minutes.
Remove soup from refrigerator and fold the whipped pareve cream into the soup. Finish with a few tablespoons each of the white wine vinegar and walnut oil. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish each with chives, almonds and grapes, if desired.

Lamb Chops and Roasted Salsa

lamb-chop
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
Finely shredded lemon zest from 1½ lemons
¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
8 lamb chops
1 ripe tomato
1 small, halved red onion
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 green bell pepper, seeded and quartered
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high heat (450° to 500°; you can hold your hand 5 inches above cooking grate only 2 to 4 seconds) or prepare a grill pan. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine garlic cloves, mint leaves, lemon zest, olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add 8 lamb chops and mix to coat.

Grill tomato, onion, red and green bell peppers, turning twice until soft and blackened, 6 minutes. Grill chops (keep marinade on meat), turning once; 5 minutes total for medium-rare.

Chop vegetables, mix with olive oil and flat-leaf parsley, fresh lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Spoon over lamb.

Sugar Snap Peas with Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

1 pound sugar snap peas
1¼ cups (about 5 ounces) chopped sweet onions, preferably Vidalia
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon each fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook sugar snap snow peas until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water and pat dry.

Using a food processor, pulse chopped sweet onion with honey. Add fresh lemon juice and Dijon mustard and salt, then process until smooth.

With the machine on, slowly add extra- virgin olive oil until combined. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in poppy seeds. Add the sugar snap snow peas and pine nuts and toss. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

This also makes a great salad dressing.

Fingerling Potato Salad with Sherry-Mustard Vinaigrette

potato-salad
Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Potatoes
2 cups coarse sea salt
2 pounds fingerling potatoes (such as Ruby Crescent or Russian Banana)
¼ cup Baco’s or imitation Bacon (crisped in oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees)
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced

For Vinaigrette:
Combine mustard and vinegar in small bowl. Whisk in oil, then herbs. Season with sea salt and pepper.

For Potatoes:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread sea salt in even layer on rimmed baking sheet; arrange potatoes over salt, spacing slightly apart. Cover sheet with foil and bake until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, uncover, and cool to lukewarm.

Peel potatoes; cut in half-length wise. Place warm potatoes in medium bowl. Add Baco’s, shallots, eggs, onions, and vinaigrette. Toss well and serve.

Milky Way Tarts

milky-way-tart
Crust:
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted margarine, room temperature
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 large egg yolk

Filling:
3½ ounces high-quality chocolate, chopped
2 cups pareve whipping cream, divided
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted margarine
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
Unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting)

For crust:
Whisk flour and cocoa in medium bowl. Beat margarine and powdered sugar in another medium bowl until well blended. Beat in yolk. Add flour mixture in 2 additions, beating just until blended. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours.

Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Press each onto bottom and up sides of 4½ inch diameter tartlet pans with removable bottom or use one large tart pan with removable bottom. Refrigerate crusts 1 hour or freeze 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake cold crust until set and dry-looking, about 12 minutes, pressing with back of spoon if bubbles form. Cool crusts in pans.

For Filling:
Place chocolate in medium bowl. Bring 1½ cups pareve cream to simmer in small saucepan. Pour pareve hot cream over chocolate; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until melted and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours overnight.

Combine remaining ½ cup pareve cream and margarine in small saucepan and stir over medium heat until margarine melts; remove from heat. Combine sugar and 3 tablespoons water in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium-low hear until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until color is deep amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 8 minutes. Immediately add hot cream-margarine mixture (mixture will bubble vigorously). Remove from heat and stir until any caramel bits dissolve. Transfer caramel to small bowl and chill until slightly firm (semi-soft), stirring often, about 40 minutes.

Spoon caramel into center of baked crusts (about 2 generous tablespoons for each crust). Set aside.
Using electric mixer, beat chilled chocolate-pareve cream mixture until peaks form; spoon atop caramel in crusts, dividing equally (about 1/2 cup for each crust) and spreading evenly. Chill at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.
Remove tartlets from pans. Top with some extra whipped cream and lightly sift cocoa powder over tartlets and serve.

Tapenade (Olive Paste)

tapenade
1 cup pitted olives (can be black or green depending on your preference or you can make one of each)
3 anchovies, rinsed and drained (if you really have an aversion to anchovies, you can replace with 1 teaspoon salt but the taste won’t be as good)
2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Dash pepper
¼ cup olive oil

Using hand-held immersion blender, purée all ingredients except olive oil. Slowly add oil until mixture thickens. Store in refrigerator.

Fiery Carrot Soup

carrot-soup
Easy
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
10 thin slices fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon crushed chili pepper flakes
4 cups chicken broth (real or pareve)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup nondairy creamer

In large stockpot, sauté onion and garlic in oil until softened. Add carrots, ginger, chili pepper flakes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender – about 30 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and purée with hand blender.

Thai Spicy Green Beans

spicy-greenbeans copy
1 pound green beans, trimmed
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Chopped peanuts, if desired

In a medium saucepan, bring about 6 cups of water to a boil. Add beans and cook for about 6 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water. Whisk together all remaining ingredients except peanuts. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving pour dressing over beans and garnish with chopped peanuts, if using.

Peach Custard Tart

peach-custard-tart
5 peaches, sliced
1 pre-baked tart crust (recipe follows)
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
¾ cup pareve whip
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Arrange the peach slices atop tart crust in a decorative pattern. Whisk together sugar, egg yolks and whip. Stir in flour. Pour carefully over peaches. Sprinkle almonds over top and bake until custard is almost set – about 35 minutes. Cool and remove sides of tart pan.

Tart Crust

2 cups flour
1 cup margarine, room temperature
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients (use a kitchen aid or food processor) and press into 10-inch tart pan. Bake until golden.

Smoked Turkey Salad

smoked-turkey-salad
4 cups shredded Chinese cabbage
2 cups shredded Iceberg lettuce
2-1/2 cups cubed smoked turkey
1 (15 ounce) can cut hearts of palm, drained
1 cup fresh pea pods, trimmed
1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

Dressing:
½ cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon ginger

Toss together salad ingredients. Heat dressing ingredients and stir until marmalade is melted. Cool. Mix gently with salad and serve.

Jalapeno Slaw

1 package cole slaw
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
3-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss together cole slaw, onion, fennel and jalapenos. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over vegetables. Mix well.

Dolmas (Grape Leaves) Salad

dolmas-salad
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-½ cups long-grain white rice
2-½ cups pareve chicken broth
½ cup chopped preserved grape leaves (reserve brine)
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup raisins
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
1 lemon, rinsed and quartered

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sauté pine nuts and ¼ cup scallions in oil until softened – about 5 minutes. Stir in rice, broth, grape leaves, ¼ cup brine, lemon juice, raisins and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed – about 35 minutes. Fluff rice and cool. Stir in dill and remaining scallions. Garnish with lemon. Serve warm or at room temperature.