Creamy Roasted Broccoli Soup

creamybroccoli

This soup can be made pareve by using tofutti cream cheese in place of the cream cheese. You can also substitute the butter with margarine. I like it both ways but its fun to make it dairy for Shavuos and its extra creamy because of the real cream cheese.

Serves 6

5 unpeeled garlic cloves
2 pounds broccoli—cut into 1-inch florets, stems reserved for another use
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 ounces cream cheese
3 cups low-sodium pareve chicken broth
Croutons, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400°. Wrap the garlic in a foil packet and roast for 50 minutes, until softened. Meanwhile, in a small roasting pan, toss the broccoli with the olive oil and butter and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins into a blender. Add the roasted broccoli, cream cheese and broth and puree until smooth. Transfer the soup to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and serve with croutons.

Caramel and Pear Cheesecake Trifle

caramel-cheesecake

Serves 10-12
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large slightly underripe Bartlett pears—peeled, cored and diced
1 cup store-bought caramel sauce (or salty caramel sauce)
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups cold heavy cream
8 ounces crunchy cookies (like gingersnaps or sandwich cookies), plus crushed cookies for garnish

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the diced pears. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pears are tender, 5 minutes. Scrape the pears onto a plate and refrigerate until cool.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of water. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Microwave at high power for 5 seconds, just until the gelatin is melted. Transfer the gelatin mixture to a bowl and add the cream cheese and the remaining 1/2 cup of caramel sauce. Using an electric mixer, beat at medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

In another bowl, whip 1-1/2 cups of the cream until firm peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Spoon one-fourth of the mousse into a medium trifle bowl. Top with one-fourth of the cookies and one-fourth of the pears. Repeat the layering, ending with a layer of pears. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream until soft peaks form. Dollop the cream over the trifle and garnish with crushed gingersnaps.

Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

stuffed-mushroom

Makes 24

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
24 large white button mushrooms (about 2-1/2 inches wide; 2-1/2 lb. total), stemmed; stems finely chopped and caps wiped clean
Kosher salt
¾ cup shredded or grated Parmesan (3 ounces)
3/4 cup panko
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

Melt the butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Set aside 2 Tbs. of the melted butter in a small bowl. Add the mushroom stems and 1/4 tsp. salt to the skillet and cook, stirring often with a wooden spatula, until tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, add 2 Tbs. of the Parmesan and the panko to the reserved melted butter and mix thoroughly; set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining Parmesan, the mayonnaise, parsley, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Add the mushroom stems and mix until well combined.

In a large bowl, toss the mushroom caps with the oil. Fill each mushroom cap with a rounded teaspoon of the filling and top each with about 1 tsp. of the panko mixture. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet with space in between. Bake until tender and the topping is golden-brown, about 25 minutes. Cool briefly before serving.

Spinach Puffs

spinach-puffs

Makes 6 large or 12 mini

These are cute and really tasty.

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped dill
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce package), thawed, rolled out to a 12-inch square, kept chilled

Using your hands, squeeze spinach until dry, forcing out as much water as possible (too much water will make for a soggy filling; you should have about 2/3 cup well-drained spinach). Mix spinach and next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg to blend; fold into spinach mixture.

Cut puff pastry into 3 equal strips. Reserve 1 strip for another use. Cut each remaining strip into 3 squares for a total of 6. Place a square in each muffin cup, pressing into bottom and up sides and leaving corners pointing up. Divide filling among cups. Fold pastry over filling, pressing corners together to meet in center. DO AHEAD Spinach puffs can be assembled 3 hours ahead. Cover puffs and chill.

Preheat oven to 400°. Beat remaining egg to blend in a small bowl. Brush pastry with egg wash (this will give the pastry a nice sheen). Bake until pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let puffs cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp paring knife around pan edges to loosen; turn out puffs onto rack to cool slightly before serving.

Limoncello Tiramisu

limoncello-tiramisu
Serves 8-10

I saw this recipe in the Wall Street Journal about a year ago. It inspired me to duplicate it in a kosher version for Shavuous. If you like lemon, this one is for you! It’s worth the effort.

5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1½ cups limoncello

Juice of 6 Meyer lemons, plus zest of 3 Meyer lemons (if you cannot find Meyer lemons – most will not be able to find them, use regular lemons and extra zest)

1 cup water
2 cups mascarpone, at room temperature
40 ladyfingers

Make zabaglione: Set a metal bowl over a pot to create a double boiler. Add enough water to pot to reach just below bottom of bowl. Separate eggs, putting yolks in bowl of double boiler and setting whites aside. Beat yolks with ¼ cup sugar and ½ cup limoncello. Heat water in double boiler to a steady simmer. Whisk egg mixture until thick enough to form a ribbon when you lift whisk, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and let zabaglione cool.

Meanwhile, pour remaining limoncello, ¾ cup lemon juice, 1 cup water and ½ cup sugar into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens, 5 minutes. Let syrup cool.

In a large bowl, stir mascarpone to soften, then add zest and whisk until light and creamy. Using an electric mixer, whip reserved egg whites with remaining ¼ cup sugar until mixture holds moderately firm peaks, about 3 minutes.

When zabaglione is cool, use a rubber spatula to fold a third of it into mascarpone. Fold in remaining zabaglione in two or three additions, then fold in whipped egg whites in several additions. Stir gently until mixture is light and evenly blended.

Fill a shallow bowl with cooled syrup to ¼-inch deep. One at a time, roll ladyfingers in syrup and transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange moistened ladyfingers in tight rows to form a single layer of about 20 ladyfingers. Trim edges to fit.

Spread half mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers. Repeat to form second layers of ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture.

Cover tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to 24.

Ballpark Cookies, or Pretzel and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pretzelcookies

Makes 2 ½ dozen

I call these ball park cookies because they include white or chocolate chips, salty pretzels, and peanuts, all flavors that remind me of the ballpark. The shortening (use the canola oil shortening sticks made by EarthBalance or use canola oil as a substitute) adds a crunchiness to the cookie. I love the pretzels and the nuts in them. It’s an awesome contrast in flavor, salty pretzels and nuts to sweet batter with chocolate chips.

½ cup margarine, softened
½ cup shortening (or use canola oil)
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup white chocolate chips or chocolate chips
½ cup peanuts or pecans
3/4 cup chopped pretzels (the original recipe has ½ cup pretzels but I thought it needed more)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together margarine, shortening and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. On low speed add flour and baking soda, white chocolate chips, peanuts and pretzels.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool on cookie sheet 1 to 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.

Citrus Rice Salad

citrus-rice-salad

Serves 6

I saw this recipe in one of Giada’s cookbooks and thought it looked amazing and that the flavors would be vibrant and well-blended. It was great and I loved that I made it the day before and served it room temperature for Shabbos lunch.

Rice Salad:
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups white or brown basmati rice, rinsed
3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 medium orange, zested
1 lemon, zested
1 cup thinly sliced green onions

Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
For the Rice Salad:
In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock, salt and oil to a boil over medium-high heat Stir in the rice. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat, and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 18-40 minutes (depending on the type of rice you are using). Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a fork, fluff the rice and place in a large serving bowl. Add the parsley, orange zest, half of the lemon zest, green onions, and 1/4 cup of the almonds. Toss well.

For the Vinaigrette:
In a blender, combine the olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, and cumin. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the vinaigrette over the rice mixture and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with the remaining lemon zest and almonds.

Veal Stew with Bread Crumb Gremolata

Serves 6

2 lamb shanks
2 pounds cubed veal
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 celery rib, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons chopped thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups jarred tomato sauce or marinara sauce
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup panko
1 cup lightly packed parsley, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste, it adds spice)
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 375°. Season the lamb and veal with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the lamb and veal and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned all over, 12 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate.

Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the dish. Add the onion, carrot, celery and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half, 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Return the meat to the pot, cover and simmer for 1 hour and half hours, until the meat is very tender. Let stand covered for 10 minutes.

For the bread crumb gremolata: In a small pan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add panko and mix until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley, red pepper, and lemon zest. Add kosher salt to taste.

Transfer the veal stew to a platter. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and spoon it over the veal. Sprinkle some gremolata over the veal.

Apple Cobblers in a Cup

Serves 6

Little apple cobbler cakes in ramekins. So cute and so moist. I love the ginger, brandy and vanilla bean that all add additional flavor to this recipe.

Filling
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted margarine
4-5 medium apples (such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith; about 2 1/3 pound), peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup brandy
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Topping
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted margarine, melted
Pareve Vanilla ice cream
Six 5-6-ounces ramekins or custard cups

To make the filling:
Melt margarine in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add apples, brown sugar, and ginger. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve bean for another use). Cook, stirring often, until apples are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add jam, brandy, and lemon juice. Stir until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Divide filling among ramekins.

To make the Topping
Pulse almonds, flour, and powdered sugar in a food processor until almonds are finely ground. Whisk sugar and ginger in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, add egg whites one at a time to sugar mixture, beating to blend between additions. With mixer running, gradually beat in hot melted margarine. Fold in almond mixture (topping will be thin).
Preheat oven to 350°. Pour topping over filling in ramekins, dividing equally. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until topping is puffed and tops of cakes are golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm, topped with a small scoop of pareve ice cream.

Coffee Rubbed Steaks

Serves 4

Super flavorful with pepper, smoked paprika, and coffee grounds which bring out richness in steaks.

Spice Rub
2 tablespoons finely ground coffee beans
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1- 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Steak
2 (2-inch -2 1/4-inch-thick) bone-in steak(about 2-2 1/2 pounds)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted margarine
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
4 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
kosher salt

To make the Spice Rub
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer to an airtight container.

To prepare the steak
Preheat oven to 400°. Set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Season steak with kosher salt and 2 tablespoons spice rub, pressing onto all sides of meat and adding more spice rub by the teaspoonful if needed to coat entire surface.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over high heat. When oil begins to shimmer, place steak in skillet (be sure to have fan on high; the rub creates some smoke). Sear steak for 1 minute (any longer and the rub will start to burn). Transfer steak to a plate and carefully drain fat from skillet.

Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet and sear other side of steak for 1 minute. Add margarine, garlic, and herbs to skillet; cook until foamy. Carefully tip skillet and, using a large spoon, baste steak repeatedly with liquid for 1 minute. Turn steak and baste other side for 1 minute.

Pile herbs on top of steak, transfer skillet to oven, and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center of meat registers 125° for medium, 15-17 minutes.

Transfer steak to prepared rack; let rest for 20 minutes. Cut steak from bone, slice, and sprinkle with sea salt.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Dip

Serves 8-10

This is a great homemade gift or a tangy appetizer. I love the combination of salty olives and sweet sun-dried tomatoes.

4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed), about 1 1/2 cups
4 ounces pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon drained capers
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 slice of white sandwich bread, torn
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, soak the tomatoes in hot water until softened, about 20 minutes; drain.

In a food processor, combined the softened tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, bread, red pepper, balsamic and red wine vinegars and the oregano and puree to a chunky paste. With the machine on, add the oil and process to a fine paste. Add 1/4 cup of warm water and process until slightly creamy. Scrape into a bowl and serve with the crudités.

Homemade Citrus Salt


I saw this about a year ago in Sunset magazine. What a great idea! Give people homemade seasoned salt to use in everything from cooking to baths. I love it on chicken and fish and it looks stunning.

1 cup flake salt, such as Maldon, or coarse salt
3 tablespoons citrus zest (any kind), lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange

Mix salt and zest in a bowl; work zest into salt with your fingers to release oils and flavor. Spread on a baking tray. Air-dry until dried completely, 8 hours to overnight.

Note: Zest’s color will fade over time, but this won’t affect taste.
Make ahead: 2 months, kept airtight at room temperature.
Bottle it: 4-oz. jam glass jar, $0.57; specialtybottle.com; BambooImportsMN 3.5-in. oval bamboo spice/salt spoons, $9.8 8/10; amazon.com

Soft Apple Caramels

Makes 150 Caramels
You can make these two weeks in advance. These are an adorable homemade gift that taste amazing.

2 quarts apple cider
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 cups sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
Canola oil, for brushing

In a large saucepan, simmer the apple cider over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour. Pour the reduced cider into a bowl.

Line a 9-by-13-inch rimmed pan with foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream and condensed milk and bring to a simmer over moderate heat; keep the mixture warm over low heat.

In another large saucepan, combine the sugar with the reduced apple cider, corn syrup, water and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Carefully whisk in the butter until melted. Gradually whisk in the warm cream mixture until incorporated. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until a golden caramel forms and the temperature reaches 245° on a candy thermometer, about 45 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, allspice and cloves and scrape the caramel into the prepared pan. Let cool completely, then refrigerate the caramel overnight.

Lightly brush a sheet of parchment paper with oil. Invert the caramel onto the parchment and peel off the foil. Using a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut the block crosswise into 1/2-inch rectangles. Wrap each caramel in a square of parchment paper or a candy wrapper and twist the ends to seal. Serve or pack the caramels into boxes.

Storage info: The wrapped caramels can be stored in a cool spot or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. The uncut caramel can be tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks; cut just before serving.

Pecan Pie Brittle

Serves 5
2 cups sugar
2½ cups broken pecans
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, cubed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat sugar in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, swirling pan often, until golden amber and completely liquefied. Add pecans and butter and cook, stirring, until caramel is liquid again and butter is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Combine vanilla extract and baking soda in a bowl and then add to pan along with salt; stir to combine. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with foil or a silicone baking mat and spread into an even layer with a small rubber spatula; let cool completely. Break into bite-size pieces and store in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper.

Lo Mein Noodles with Mushrooms and Snow Peas


Serves 4

My kids love this Chinese food knock off. I throw in leftover chicken or steak to make it full of protein.

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese oyster sauce or hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese chile-garlic sauce, plus more for serving
12 ounces fresh linguine or spaghetti
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
6 ounces snow peas, trimmed
3 scallions, julienned

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth with the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and the 1 teaspoon of chile sauce. Add the linguine to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the linguine briefly.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the linguine and snow peas and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until the snow peas are barely cooked, about 2 minutes. Stir the sauce and add it to the skillet along with the scallions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is absorbed and the noodles are browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Serve right away, passing more chile sauce on the side.

Roasted Sugar Glazed Pears

Serves 6

I love poached pears, roasted pears, baked pears and even pear jelly bellies. These are sweet and soft and delicious.

7 firm pears
3 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons dried currants
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole, blanched almonds, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 2″-piece ginger, peeled and minced (optional)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
4 tablespoon margarine, softened, plus more for greasing
½ cup sugar

Peel, core, and finely chop 1 pear and place it in a 2-qt. saucepan along with rum, currants, raisins, brown sugar, almonds, ¼ tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, ginger, and both zests and juices; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring, until mixture is soft and thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9″ glass pie dish with margarine; set aside. Combine remaining cinnamon with sugar in a bowl; set aside. Using a channel knife, cut a spiral pattern in the skin of each remaining pear from top to bottom, if you like. Carefully core each pear from the bottom with a melon baller, coring about 1½–2″ deep. Divide stuffing among pears; brush outsides with butter and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Stand pears upright in the prepared dish, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar; bake until just tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Zesty Zucchini

Serves 8-10

This is a great side dish because it has some great zucchini flavor and lots of great color.

1 tablespoon margarine
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 green onions, chipped
2 green zucchini, chopped in ½ inch pieces
2 yellow squash, chopped in ½ inch pieces
1 red pepper, chopped in ½ inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric

Melt margarine and olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, squash, red pepper and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper and turmeric. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until zucchini is soft. Don’t overcook. Serve warm or at room-temperature.

Steak Diane

Serves 4
This classic steak dish is traditionally made with filet mignon but GKC tried it with both London Broil and skirt steak. Both worked perfectly, and were lighter on the budget. Its great warm and at room temperature.

1-½ pounds skirt steak or London broil
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
3 tablespoons sherry wine or red wine
2 tablespoons brandy
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (non-fish type)
2 tablespoons chicken broth
4 tablespoons cold margarine cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives or scallions
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
½ teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Season steak with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof heavy-duty skillet heat the oil over high heat. Brown the steak on both sides about 4 minutes total. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted reads 135 degrees, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to plate to keep warm.

Pour off the fat in the skillet. Set the skillet over medium high heat; add the shallot, sherry, brandy and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Reduce the sauce by half, about 2 – 3 minutes. Lower the heat to low, add the chicken broth, margarine, chives and parsley and whisk, swirling the pan occasionally to emulsify the butter. The sauce should look creamy. Remove from the heat, whisk in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt, pepper and more lemon juice.

Slice the steak. Serve with the sauce.

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Honey Dressing

Serves 4

1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 pound small red thin-skinned potatoes, cut in half
1 medium fennel bulb, ends trimmed and cut into 8 wedges
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons honey
5 cups loosely packed mixed salad greens

Preheat oven to 425°. Toss onion, sweet and red potatoes, fennel, and bell pepper in a large bowl with 3 tbsp. oil and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Transfer vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast vegetables until tender and golden, about 40 minutes, turning over halfway through baking time. About 10 minutes before they’re done, sprinkle walnuts on baking sheet with vegetables and toast until golden.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp. oil, the vinegar, honey, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper.

Toss greens in a large bowl with one-quarter of dressing; divide among plates. Let vegetables cool about 5 minutes, then transfer to the large bowl. Toss with walnuts and about two-thirds of remaining dressing; spoon over greens. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.

Banana Blueberry Cake

Serves 8

1 cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) margarine
2 eggs
¼ cup coffee rich or soymilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 ¼ – 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Frosting (optional):
2 sticks margarine, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons coffee rich or soy milk, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9 x 13 pan and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and margarine. Add eggs, coffee rich, vinegar and vanilla and blend until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the batter and mix well. Stir in the mashed bananas. Fold in the blueberries. Pour into the pan and bake for about 35 minutes. Cool. Spread frosting on cake, sprinkle with some blueberries and serve.

For the frosting: Cream the margarine and vanilla extract together on medium speed with an electric mixer. Alternate adding powdered sugar and milk, mixing well on low speed after each addition.

Eggs Poached in Olive Oil

Serves 1

This technique creates super flavorful poached eggs. You can easily make more eggs with the same amount of oil. Just use a small pan so that the olive oil can coat the whites of the eggs.

1 fresh egg
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
3 ounces fresh arugula
1 piece of toasted bread, I like ciabatta or challah

Place a teaspoon of olive oil in a small saucepan. Saute garlic in the olive oil, and spread evenly around the saucepan.

Add 1/2 cup of olive to the saucepan and bring to a medium heat. Don’t overheat the olive oil.

Add bay leaf to the olive oil.

(The trick to poaching an egg in olive oil is to use a small saucepan so you can bring the level of the olive oil over the whites of the egg, but just below the yolk, without having to use too much olive oil.)

Carefully place a fresh egg cracked gently into the heated olive oil. As the egg cooks, sprinkle kosher salt and pepper over the egg.

Continue cooking the egg until the egg whites are congealed. But don’t overcook the egg, you want the yolk to remain soft and liquid.

Place toast on a serving plate and arrange a bed of fresh arugula over the crisp bread. Carefully remove the poached egg from the saucepan and place over the bed of arugula.

Olive Oil Poached Salmon

Serves 4
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, peel removed in wide strips with a veggie peeler
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
1 quart extra-virgin olive oil
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Kosher salt
Lemon juice
Special Equipment: cheesecloth, butcher’s twine

Place the garlic, thyme, lemon zest, coriander, and bay leaves-in cheesecloth. Tie into a sachet. Add the oil to a large straight-sided saute pan and toss in the sachet. Bring the pan to a medium heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Let the salmon come to room temperature and season generously with salt. Add the salmon fillets to the pan with the olive oil. Let the fish cook in the oil for 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oil with a spatula to a plate before serving.

Serve with rice and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Joyce’s Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Makes about 16 pancakes.

My mom’s good friend Jeryl Abelman, wrote a cute book called “Quickly’s Magical Pancake Adventure”. It’s a great story about a magic spatula and is fun for kids who love pancakes. GKC is not the only one to think its a great book, it has won some prestigious awards (Winner of the London Book Festival Children’s Book Award and also 2nd Place in the Cookbook Category in London. Most recently, a winner at The New York Book Festival).

The book is also filled with some delicious pancake recipes from famous chefs. This recipe is from the book. Joyce’s Chocolate Chip Pancakes is from Chef Justin Fields, Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Denver

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup milk
1 ¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
6 ounces chocolate chips
Butter for cooking

In a small saucepan, combine butter and milk. Place over low heat just until warm and the butter is melted. Let it cool
In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs with a fork. Whisk in milk mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until blended.
Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat.
Add 1 teaspoon butter and melt until bubbly.
Ladle 3 tablespoons batter for each pancake onto the hot surface and cook until bubbles begin to form on the edges.
Add chocolate chips to the top of the pancakes.
Cook for ten seconds and then turn and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 30 seconds more. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Cinnamon Mascarpone Pancakes


This is a recipe by Bobby Flay. Everything he makes is good, including these. I omitted the cherry flambé and just put strawberries on top. Super delicious!

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 plus 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch fine sea salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for griddle
2 cups canned sour cherries, with their juice (optional)
2 tablespoons cherry brandy, such as Kirsch (optional)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Stir the confectioners’ sugar into the 1/2 cup mascarpone and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. 

Whisk together the sugar and eggs until pale. Add the buttermilk, 1/3 cup mascarpone, vanilla and orange zest and mix until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Add the butter and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Let the batter sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. 


For the cherry topping (if making)
Put the cherries and their liquid into a saute pan and warm over medium heat. Add the cherry brandy off the heat, and then return to the heat and flambe (cook off the alcohol). Once the flames die down and the alcohol is cooked out, remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Transfer to a bowl. 



Heat a griddle over medium heat and brush with some melted butter. Add about 1/4 cup of the batter to the pan and cook until the bottom is lightly golden brown and bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, about 3 minutes. Flip the pancake over and continue cooking until the bottom is golden brown. Serve 3 pancakes per person, top with cherries, a dollop of the sweetened mascarpone and some chopped hazelnuts.