Italian Ricotta Cookies

italian-ricotta-cookies
By Melissa Clark, from the New York Times

Lush, creamy, crunchy and full of lemon.

2 sticks (1 cup) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
425 grams sugar (about 2 cups)
1 ¾ cups ricotta cheese (15 ounces)
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
480 grams all-purpose flour (about 4 cups)
10 grams baking soda (2 teaspoons)
4 grams fine sea salt (about 3/4 teaspoon)
450 grams confectioners’ sugar (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup to 1/2 cup milk, as needed

Using an electric mixer, cream 2 sticks butter with sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add ricotta, lemon zest and 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and beat well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula, then beat in flour, baking soda and salt. Cover dough and chill for at least 2 hours and up to a week.

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake until pale golden on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks
Melt remaining tablespoon butter. Whisk confectioners’ sugar to break up any large lumps, then whisk in melted butter, lemon juice, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and enough milk to make a spreadable icing. Spread icing on cooled cookies, then let set for at least 20 minutes before serving

Sweet and Sour Strawberry Semifreddo

sweet-and-sour-strawberry-semifreddo

Serves 8

I tried this recipe from Bon Appetit and it’s not only gorgeous and chic but creamy, sweet and delicious. Omit the black sesame seeds if they are too strange for you or serve with extra chopped strawberries.

1 pound strawberries, hulled, quartered
⅓ cup sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of kosher salt
⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

Cook strawberries and sugar in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until strawberries have broken down into a thick, chunky jam (they should not be syrupy), 10–15 minutes. Stir in vinegar; let cool.

Meanwhile, toast black sesame seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Whip cream and salt until cream holds a medium-stiff peak. Gently whisk in sweetened condensed milk and yogurt until completely blended. Gently fold in half of strawberry jam, just enough to create streaks, then gently fold in remaining jam (mixture should look marbled with pockets of jam).

Transfer to a medium bowl or loaf pan and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

Serve semifreddo topped with toasted sesame seeds.

Penne Alla Vodka

pennealavodka
Serves 4

Here it is….a great classic penne alla vodka. Everyone loves it, admit, even food snobs like me. This one is creamy, and also super flavorful, others can be cloying and overly rich. This is definitely a Shavuos treat!

Kosher salt
12 ounces penne
1 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 large cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta for 1 minute less than package directions for al dente.
Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and use your hands to break them up.
Heat the oil and garlic in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Discard the garlic.
Add the tomatoes (and their juice) and the red pepper flakes to the garlic oil; raise the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 8 minutes.
Add the vodka and cook for about 2 minutes to mellow the alcohol. Stir in the heavy cream and 1-1/2 tsp. salt.
Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Toss over medium heat until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce, about 3 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the cheese and parsley.

Herring

My mom enjoys herring and my grandmother did as well. I didn’t get the Jewish fish gene, and cannot tolerate herring or even smoked salmon. So despite my personal interest in herring, I think it’s great to have some homemade special versions to serve to mom or at a Shabbos Kiddush. Anyone can buy it, but these versions have delicious taste and texture and are truly unique. Summer is a great time to entertain, these herring recipes are a perfect way to start a meal or to serve at Shalosh Seudas. They can be made days in advance and stored, covered in the refrigerator.

Mustard Pickled Herring
Curried Pickled Herring

Mustard Pickled Herring

staple-herring
Serves 10 – 12

1 cup Tofutti sour cream
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onions
1 tablespoon pareve whipping cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
Dash of white pepper
2 apples, peeled and finely diced (about 1 pound)
10 ounces pickled herring, drained and spices removed

Mix together the sour cream, onions, cream, mustard, sugar, white pepper and apples in a medium bowl. Gently toss the pickled herring with the mustard mixture until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for 2 hours prior to serving.

Curried Pickled Herring

Serves 10-12

1/2 cup seedless green grapes, halved, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely diced red onions
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 apples, finely diced (about 1 pound)
10 ounces pickled herring, drained and spices removed

Mix together the grapes, mayonnaise, onions, curry powder and apples in a medium bowl. Gently toss the pickled herring with the curried mayonnaise mixture until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving.

My Mom’s Dairy Rugelach

rugelach-14
Makes 2 dozen
My favorite combination is cherry jam with walnuts, but use whatever you have or whatever combination you like.

Dough
2 cups flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature, cut into small pieces
1 cup cottage cheese
Pinch of salt

Filling
1/2 cup cherry jam, strawberry, or any flavor jam
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts, divided
1/2 chopped dried cherries, craisins apricots, optional, divided
1/2 cup coconut, optional, divided
Topping
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar

In a food processor, use pulse to gently blend dough ingredients together until a smooth dough forms. Divide into 4 equal pieces, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Dough can also be frozen for up to three months.

Preheat oven to 375.

On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 8-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick.
Spread each circle with 2 tablespoons jam, Then sprinkle 2 tablespoons nuts, 2 tablespoons dried fruit and 2 tablespoons coconut on top of jam. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the circle, like a pizza, into 8 wedges. Starting at outside edge, roll each wedge to enclose filling.

Grease two cookie sheets. Place rugelach seam side down on prepared cookie sheets about 2-inches apart. In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle each cookie with cinnamon sugar topping.

Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Let rugelach rest 10 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.

Coconut Cookies

3 eggs
2 cups flour
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

In an electric mixer, beat eggs, flour, butter/margarine, sugar, baking powder and vanilla extract until smooth. Separate into 4 equal parts. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While dough is chilling, make filling: In a small bowl, mix coconut, pecans, sugar and lemon juice.

Sprinkle flour on work surface. Roll each of the four sections into a rectangle, about 12-inches long and 8-inches wide. Dough should be about ¼-inch thick. Sprinkle ¼ of the filling on top of dough, spreading evenly but leave about ½ inch on each side. Roll dough lengthwise into a log. Wrap in plastic or parchment paper and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes. Repeat with other 3 pieces of dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Slice dough about ½-inch thick. Place on baking sheets, two inches apart, and about 12 on each sheet. Bake for 18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Rocky Road Fudge

Betty Snider’s Rocky Road Fudge, made with love whenever we visited.
Makes 5 dozen 1-inch fudge squares

2/3 cup (1 small can) evaporated milk
1 2/3 cup sugar
½ cup chopped nuts
1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
1 ½ cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine evaporated milk and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan. Refrigerate. When cool, cut into 1-inch squares.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

895_Page_231web
Makes 24
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted margarine or butter
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia d'Oro
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole walnuts in large chunks
1 cup whole pecan in large chunks
2/3 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a double boiler or over very low heat, in a medium saucepan, melt butter, 6 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate, stirring occasionally, until just melted. Remove from the heat and cool for 15 minutes.

In an electric mixer, beat the eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla until combined. Add the sugar, raise the speed to medium-high, and beat for 2 minutes, until the batter is thicker.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Combine the 1/3 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and fold it into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. In another bowl, combine the walnuts, pecans, peanut butter chips, the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips, and the tablespoon of flour and fold it into the chocolate mixture. Drop by rounded mounds, about 2 tablespoons each of batter, 1 inch apart onto the prepared sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes exactly. Cool on the baking sheets.

Carrot-Walnut Loaf Cake

carrot-walnut-loaf-cake
Recipe by Bread Bakery, NY
If you only have an 8½x4½" pan, there’s no need to go out and get a new one. Simply hold back about 1¾ cups batter for later—it makes a mean waffle!

SERVINGS: MAKES ONE 9X5" LOAF

1 cup vegetable oil, plus more
1¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour; plus more
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces carrots, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
2 teaspoons light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil and flour a 9x5" loaf pan. Whisk baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and 1 ¼ cups flour in a small bowl. Toss raisins, walnuts, and remaining 1 Tbsp. flour in another bowl.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs and granulated sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. With mixer running, gradually drizzle in 1 cup oil, then add vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients, raisin mixture, and carrots; scrape batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 65–75 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Strawberry-Almond Cornmeal Cake

strawberry-almond-cornmeal-cake
Equal parts fruit crumble and coffee cake, this not-too-sweet dessert starts out bright pink but bakes to a toasty golden brown. As seen in Bon Appetit magazine.

SERVINGS: 12
Strawberry Crumble
½ cup raw skin-on almonds
2 ounces freeze-dried strawberries
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter or margarine, cut into pieces

Cake And Assembly
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup cornmeal
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces almond paste
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 pound strawberries, hulled, half halved, half quartered
Powdered sugar (for serving)

Special Equipment
A 9" springform pan

Strawberry Crumble
Pulse almonds in a food processor until about the size of grains of rice. Add strawberries and pulse to a coarse powder. Add flour, sugar, and salt and pulse just to blend. Add butter/margarine and process until no dry spots remain.

Cake And Assembly
Preheat oven to 350°. Coat pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, break up almond paste in a large bowl until crumbly. Add sugar and butter/margarine and mix until blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well to incorporate after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and mix in dry ingredients.

Scrape batter into pan; scatter strawberries over top, followed by clumps of crumble. Bake cake until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 80–90 minutes. Let cool in pan before unmolding. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Do Ahead: Cake can be baked 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

How I love it: With a hot cup of coffee and any extra crumble from the pan.

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.

3 Spring Salads To Enjoy

asian-kale-salad
Winter comfort food no more! Spring is finally here! The minute warmer weather arrives in NY, I’m motivated to create light and fresh recipes. I also enjoy the outdoors so I like spring recipes that are quick and easy and allow for more time to enjoy the sunshine. However, just like the lazy winter blues shouldn’t compromise your meals neither should spring fever. Try these simple, light, and super tasty salad recipes. Welcome Spring welcome ☺

Grilled Chicken and Romaine Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing
Asian Kale Salad
Mixed Green Salad with Coffee Vinaigrette

Good luck! Share your favorite spring salad recipes or any spring salad ideas in the comments below!

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.