Grilled Chicken and Romaine Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

grilledchickensalad
Adapted from Sunset.com
Serves 4
1-1/4 pounds boned, skinned chicken breast, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2 small firm, crisp apples, cored and chopped
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (1/4 cup)

Heat a grill or a grill pan to medium-high (about 450°). Brush chicken with 1 tablespoon oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Grill chicken, turning once, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
Whisk remaining 1/4 cup oil in a small bowl with tahini, lemon zest and juice, honey, garlic, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces, and place into a large salad bowl. Add apples, almonds, and dates. Add dressing and toss and serve.

Oven Baked Short Ribs with Beer Boosted BBQ Sauce

ovenbakedribs

I’m a fan of Amy Thielen, chef and host of Food Network’s Heattland Table. I actually owned her book, The New Midwestern Table, before she had a cooking show. She recently moved back to Minnesota and is growing her own vegetables, cooking over open fire in her yard, and really living the Midwestern life. Although, most of the working the land, growing her own food (almost all of it!) is not familiar to me or relatable ☺ , her cooking style is fantastic and I love her recipes. She uses fresh ingredients, great flavor combinations and easy techniques to create scrumptious meals that families would enjoy. This one is slightly adapted by me, to make it simpler and I’ve also included a crock-pot version for those of you who like that easy cooking option. These are seriously flavorful ribs that fall off the bone. Make them mid-week as a treat or on a Shabbos night.

Oven Baked Short Ribs with Beer Boosted BBQ Sauce
Serves 6 - 8
Ribs:
6 pounds beef short ribs, on the bone
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon crusted red pepper
1 -inch knob fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into 4 pieces, then slightly smashed
Beer BBQ Sauce:
1 fresh jalapeno pepper (depending on desired heat), stem discarded – for a little heat just chop and include seeds, for little to no heat, remove seeds and membrane)
1/2 medium sweet onion, cubed
4 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons margarine
1 bottle dark beer
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or parsley
Zest and juice of 1 lime (2 teaspoons zest, 2 tablespoons juice)

For the ribs: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Rub each piece of rib with salt, and sprinkle with the pepper, thyme and crushed red pepper. Arrange the ribs in a large roasting pan, add 1/4 cup water, and the ginger, cover tightly and bake until tender when poked with a fork, about 3 hours.

For the beer bbq sauce: In a food processor, combine the jalapeno, onions, ginger and salt, and process until smooth.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the margarine. Add the onion mixture to the pan and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the beer, molasses, brown sugar and maple syrup, and cook at a simmer until the mixture thickens but is still saucy, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cilantro, lime zest and juice and a bit of the pan juices.

To glaze the ribs, raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. (You may also glaze these ribs over a medium-hot grill.)

Brush the mop on both sides of the ribs and roast, stopping to reapply the mop, until you've used it all and the ribs are coated with shiny black glaze, about 10 minutes.

Crock Pot Version

Rub each piece of rib with salt, and sprinkle with the pepper, thyme and crushed red pepper. Arrange the ribs in crock pot, add 1/4 cup water, and the ginger, cover tightly and cook on high until tender when poked with a fork, about 3 - 5 hours.

For the beer bbq sauce: In a food processor, combine the jalapeno, onions, ginger and salt, and process until smooth.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the margarine. Add the onion mixture to the pan and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the beer, molasses, brown sugar and maple syrup, and cook at a simmer until the mixture thickens but is still saucy, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cilantro, lime zest and juice and a bit of the pan juices.

Add sauce to ribs and toss to coat. Cook an additional 1 -2 hours or until ribs are tender.

Alternatively, place ribs, spices, water and cooked prepared bbq sauce in crock pot and toss to coat. Cook on high 5 – 7 hours until ribs are tender and cooked through.

Mixed Green Salad with Coffee Vinaigrette

grilled-green-salad
Serves 8

1 red onion, sliced thin
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
⅔ cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (recommended brand Megdalia D’Oro)
Vegetable oil (for grill)
3 cups mixed greens, romaine, frisee, red leaf or lettuce of choice
1 cup arugula
½ English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, thinly sliced

Combine onions, tomatoes, garlic, and ⅓ cup olive oil in a large resealable plastic bag; season with salt and pepper. Seal bag, pressing out air, and toss to coat. Let sit at least 1 hour.
Whisk vinegar, honey, and espresso in a medium bowl until honey and espresso are dissolved. Gradually add remaining ⅓ cup olive oil, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Prepare grill for medium-high heat; lightly oil grates. (Or, heat a grill pan over medium-high.) Remove onions and tomatoes from marinade; grill, turning occasionally, until tender and charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Let cool. ALTERNATIVELY, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place onions and tomatoes on a low-sided pan in a single layer. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes or until softened and slightly browned. .
Arrange greens on a platter. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with half of vinaigrette. Top with cucumber, and grilled vegetables; drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.
Do Ahead: Vinaigrette can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Asian Kale Salad

asian-kale-salad
Serves 4 - 6

1 bunch kale (about 8 oz.), chopped *If you have extra time and enjoy your kale a little softer and less bitter, try massaging a teaspoon of olive oil into the leaves before adding the rest of ingredients
1 bunch cilantro (about 4 oz.), chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 carrots, shredded (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup roughly chopped roasted almonds
1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Toss all ingredients together in a large salad bowl. Let sit, tossing often, until slightly wilted, 15 to 30 minutes.

Asian Meatballs

asian-meatball
Makes 1 ½ cups

1/2 cup sake or dry white wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mirin
25-count bag Basic Meatballs

In a saucepan, combine the sake, soy sauce, sugar and 1/4 cup of the mirin; boil until reduced to 1-1/2 cups, 3 minutes. Let cool.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet-and-Sour-Meatballs
Makes 2 cups sauce and serves 6 – 8

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 1/4 cups pineapple juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
25-count bag Basic Meatballs (still frozen is fine)
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
1 cup drained small pineapple chunks
Steamed long-grain rice, for serving
2 tablespoons sliced green onions, for garnish

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and 2 cups of the pineapple juice. Bring to a boil.

Mix the cornstarch into the remaining 1/4 cup pineapple juice, whisking to get out all the lumps. Whisk into the skillet and add the Basic Meatballs. Bring to a simmer and add the sriracha. Cover and cook until the sauce is thickened and the meatballs are heated through, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the pineapple chunks.

Serve over steamed rice, garnished with green onions.

Barbeque Meatballs

Barbecue-Meatballs
Makes about 2 cups of sauce and serves 6-8

2 cups barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, non-fish variety
25-count bag All-Purpose Meatballs (still frozen is fine)
Mashed potatoes, for serving

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the barbecue sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, hot sauce and Worcestershire and bring to a boil. Add the Basic Meatballs and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the meatballs are heated through, 8 to 10 minutes.

Spoon over mashed potatoes and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with a green salad.

Meatballs with Three Sauces

Make these basic meatballs and freeze them in bags so that you can whip them out and add a sauce for a quick dinner any day of the week. These can be made with ground chicken or turkey too.

Basic Meatballs
Makes about 125 meatballs

5 pounds ground beef, chicken, turkey or a mixture
1-1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup soymilk or almond milk
1/4 cup non-dairy creamer or pareve whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 large eggs

To make the meatballs, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, soymilk, pareve cream, parsley, mustard, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Mix together well with your hands. Scoop out 1-tablespoon portions and roll them into balls with your hands. Place the meatballs onto parchment-lined baking sheets and put the baking sheets.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Freezer instructions: Put the cooked meatballs in a single layer on baking sheets and put into the freezer. When frozen, divide them into freezer bags, 25 per bag, and return them to the freezer.

Three Cheese Calzone with Tomatoes and Balsamic Glaze

calzone

Makes 4 calzones

BALSAMIC GLAZE:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

DOUGH:
Olive oil, for brushing
Homemade or store-bought pizza dough

TOPPINGS:
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
1 pint cherry heirloom tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Tomato Sauce, for serving, recipe follows
TOMATO SAUCE:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomato
2 cloves garlic, grated
Pinch sugar
Red pepper flakes, as needed
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh basil leaves, torn

For the glaze: Add the balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire to a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes.

For the dough: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Grease 2 baking sheets with olive oil. 
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. 

On a floured work surface, using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a circle. Place the circles onto the prepared baking sheets.

For the toppings: Place 1/4 of the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella and tomatoes on the bottom half of each of the rounds. Season the filling with salt and pepper, tear some basil leaves over the cheese and tomatoes and drizzle with a spoonful of the balsamic glaze. 

Fold the dough rounds in half to resemble a half-moon shape, covering the filling with the dough. Starting at one end of the half-moon, begin to fold the dough over on itself pressing down as you go. Continue to fold the dough until you reach the end and then tuck the final end under and pinch it shut. 

Brush the calzones with some more olive oil and, with the tip of a knife, make 2 slits in each calzone so the steam can escape. 

Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden and crisp.

For the tomato sauce: Heat a medium saucepan to medium-high. Add in the olive oil. Saute the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes on medium low. Season with salt and pepper and fold in the basil.

Cook's Note: Cutting slits in the top of the calzone will prevent the calzone from leaking and let the steam escape. You can fill this calzone with whatever you like.

Gorgeous and Savory Garlic Knots

garlicknot
Makes 12

1 homemade or store-bought ball of pizza dough
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
10 cloves garlic, grated
Flour for board
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the butter with the thyme, rosemary, 2 tablespoons Parmesan and garlic.

Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 12-inches by 18-inches. Spread half of the butter mixture on half of the dough. Then fold the dough in half, covering the butter with the dough.

Using a pizza wheel, divide the dough into 18 strips. First cut through the middle, then you can cut each half into 9 pieces. Stretch each strip and tie into a knot and tuck the ends underneath the center of the knot. Place the knots onto a baking sheet.

Sprinkle the knots with some of the Parmesan and bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt the remaining herb butter.

Once the knots come out of the oven, baste them with the melted butter and sprinkle them with the remaining Parmesan. Serve warm and enjoy!

Homemade Pizza Dough

Makes 1 large ball of dough, enough for 2 pizzas, can be doubled
1-3/4 cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons salt
Nonstick spray

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar. Allow the yeast to dissolve and proof, about 5 minutes, it will appear foamy and puffed up. Once proofed, add the olive oil.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment, combine the flour and salt. Stream in the water/yeast mixture and as the dough begins to come together. Allow the dough to knead, adding a bit more flour if needed, so that the dough releases from the sides of the bowl, 1 to 3 minutes. You should be able to touch the dough and not have the dough stick to your fingers. Once the dough has kneaded and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl, remove the dough from bowl to a floured work surface and, with floured hands, continue to knead it by hand for 1 to 2 minutes. Then form the dough into a round ball and place it into a large bowl sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let the dough rise in a warm area of your kitchen until it doubles in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Roll out and top anyway you like.

Crispy Herb Roasted Chicken

crispy-herb-roasted-chicken
Serves 4

1 (3 -4 pound) whole chicken, or pieces
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) margarine, room temperature (use Earthbalance margarine sticks which are compressed canola oil)
Zest and juice of 1 orange
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
½ - 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 - 3 tablesooons fresh herbs of your choice, basil, oregano, chives, tarragon, sage, dill, parsley, etc.)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (for Passover use Passover mustard)
2 tablespoons honey

Place chicken in large roasting pan.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix margarine, orange zest(reserve juice for later), garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, herbs, and Dijon mustard until blended. With your fingers, gently separate skin from chicken, leaving the skin on the pieces/whole chicken but allowing space to coat the top of the chicken meat. Use half of the herb mixture and spread under the chicken skin, coating all the chicken. Use the other half on top of the chicken skin, coating all the skin with herb mixture. Drizzle the orange juice and honey over the chicken.

Cook for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Internal temperature should be 165 degrees. For chicken pieces, 1 hour should be enough.

Maple Dijon Chicken

Serves 8 servings

2 chickens, cut in 1/8’s
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard (for Passover use 2 tablespoons Passover mustard)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme or rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chickens in two low-sided roasting pans. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a small saucepan, whisk together maple syrup, orange juice, mustard, oil, and thyme or rosemary. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour evenly over chicken.

Roast chicken, basting occasionally, for about 50 minutes or until juices run clear, or an internal thermometer registers 170 degrees.

Serve with pan juices.

Asian Chicken Meatballs

asian-chicken-meatball
Serves 5

1 pound ground chicken
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup minced scallions
3 tablespoons minced ginger
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
Sauce: Store bought Chili-Garlic, Duck, or Peanut Sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients together. With your hands, gently form into 1 ½-inch balls and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet in one layer. Spray meatballs with non-stick cooking spray or brush with canola oil.

Bake for 13 minutes. Serve with store-bought Asian-Chili sauce or Peanut Sauce.

Chicken Caesar Skewers

chicken-caesar-skewer
Serves 6

½ cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (for Passover use Passover mustard)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, non-fish variety (for Passover use Passover soy sauce)
2 pounds, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1–inch pieces
Skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Sauce, optional: Store bought pareve Caesar dressing

In a large bowl mix mayonnaise, garlic, Dijon, olive oil, and Worcestershire sauce. Add chicken, tossing to coat chicken well. Marinate for 20 minutes and up to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Thread chicken on skewers. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to broil. Broil for 8 minutes. Serve with romaine lettuce, croutons, store-bought Caesar dressing.

Fire and Iceberg Salad

fireandiceberg
For a dairy meal add goat cheese or blue cheese, as pictured

Super colorful and great flavors. I found this recipe from a book called The New Midwestern Table, by Amy Thielen the new food network chef.

½ clove garlic, finely grated
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
½ cup walnut halves, toasted
½ large head iceberg lettuce
1 small head radicchio
2 stalks celery, sliced

For the dressing: Combine garlic, tomato paste, paprika, honey, vinegar, and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir to combine. Whisk in 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with cayenne, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Tear the iceberg and radicchio into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Add celery and walnuts and toss to combine. Add dressing and toss and serve immediately.

Tip: Toss just before serving or pass dressing alongside the undressed salad. The lettuce wilts very quickly in this dressing.

Spiced Lamb Hand Pies

photo: Bon Appetit

photo: Bon Appetit

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit and thought it looks great for Purim. If you’re not a lamb person, ground beef will also taste great.

SERVINGS: 4

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons dried currants
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ pound ground lamb
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
⅓ cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Store Bought or Homemade Pie Dough or puff pastry squares
All-purpose flour (for surface)
1 large egg, beaten to blend

Bring vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Add currants; set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomato paste, cumin, ginger, cardamom, and turmeric and cook until fragrant and sticky, about 1 minute. Add lamb and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Stir in peas; cook until bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain reserved currants and add to lamb along with parsley. Let cool.

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Working with one at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 12” squares. Cut each into 4 squares; transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Spoon filling onto one side of squares, leaving ½” border. Brush edges with egg and fold dough over filling. Press to seal; crimp with a fork. Cut a few vents in tops; brush with egg.
Bake until pies are golden brown, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Do Ahead: Filling can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Sugar and Spice Nuts

sugarspicenut

Makes 4 cups

4 tablespoons margarine or butter
¼ cup honey
4 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Ras El Hanout (recipe below and available in the spice aisle in most markets)
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a skillet, melt margarine with honey, sugar, Ras El Hanout and salt over medium-low heat, whisking to dissolve sugar. Once smooth, remove and add pecans and toss to coat.
Transfer to a parchement lined baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Bake 20 – 25 minutes.
Cool and store in an airtight container.

Ras El Hanout is a North African spice blend.
2 tablespoons cumin
¼ cup sweet paprika
¼ cup ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric

Buffalo Wing Popcorn

buffalopopcorn

Why this spicy caramel popcorn didn’t already exist, we have no idea.

Makes 4 cups

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
8 cups popped plain popcorn (from ½ cup kernels)
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup Sriracha sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted margarine, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 300°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat parchment and a large bowl with nonstick spray; add popcorn to bowl. Set baking sheet aside. Bring sugar and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally, until caramel is a deep amber color, 10–12 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in hot sauce and margarine (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to a boil and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salt, baking soda, and cayenne. Working quickly (and carefully—caramel will be very hot), pour caramel mixture over popcorn and toss to coat.
Spread out popcorn on prepared baking sheet and bake, tossing once, until dry, 15–20 minutes. Let cool.

Sweet and Spicy Popcorn

sweetspicypopcorn1

Makes 6 servings

Nonstick cooking spray
6 cups popped popcorn (using no oil)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Spray a cold 13x9x2 -inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place popcorn in the baking pan.
In a small mixing bowl stir together sugar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Add spice mixture to popcorn in baking pan. Toss popcorn until coated. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Transfer popcorn from baking pan to a large piece of foil. Cool popcorn completely. If desired, store in a tightly covered container up to 3 days.

Poppy Seed Hamentashen Filling

4 ounces poppy seed
½ cup nondairy creamer
1 tablespoon unsalted margarine or butter
¼ cup seedless raisins
¼ cup walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine the poppy seeds, creamer, margarine, raisins, walnuts, and honey. Bring to a boil and stir over medium heat until the creamer is absorbed and the mixture thickens. Cool. Stir in the vanilla.

Click here for hamantashen recipe.

Basic Hamantashen

3 cups flour
½ cup finely ground almonds
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
½ pound unsalted margarine or butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, almonds, baking powder, salt, sugar, and lemon zest. Blend or cut in the butter until the mixture resembles very fine crumbs.

In a small bow, beat the egg, water and lemon juice until well blended. Add to the flour mixture and beat until completely blended and the mixture begin to form a dough. Do not over mix.

Transfer to a floured board and knead the dough into a ball. Divide the ball into 6 equal portions for easier handling. Flatten each portion with the palms of your hands and roll it out to ¼ inch thick. With a scalloped cookie cutter or the top of a water glass, cut into 3 ½ inch rounds. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each round. Fold the edges of the dough toward the center to form a triangle, leaving a bit of the filling visible in the center. Pinch the edges to seal them.

Place the hamantashen on a lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet and brush with egg white. Bake fro 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and eat.

Spicy Sweet Potato Hamantashen

This recipe was contributed by Naomi Nachman at www.theaussiegourmet.com

2 sheets puff pastry
2 sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cumin
Salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 egg

Peel the sweet potatoes and boil them until they are soft then drain them.
Once they are slightly cooled, mash them with a fork.
Add honey, cinnamon, cumin, salt and. Mix well.
Cut defrosted puff pastry dough into 3-4 inch round with a cookie cutter. Place the filling inside the center and bring up 3 sides of the dough to form a hamentashen. Brush circles with egg wash and bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 350 for 20- 25 minutes until golden.
Serve warm

Praline For Purim

by Moshe Dembitzer, GKC contributor

For as long as I can remember I have had an addiction to praline. Whenever praline chocolate truffles or praline brownies were placed in front of me, my eyes would light up and my mouth would water. After you try this recipe you will understand. With Purim just around the corner everyone is looking for a new ingredient to spruce up their Shalach Manos, Seudah, or even favorite Hamantashen recipe. And after you try this surprisingly easy recipe for Praline paste, you will have just the thing to elevate any recipe and make it a Purim to remember.

Try these praline recipes:
Chocolate Cake and Praline Topping
Warm Bananas Praline with Pareve Vanilla Ice Cream

Or add some Praline paste to the chocolate filling in this Classic Hamantashen recipe to take them to the next level.