Quinoa Salad with Mustard Roasted Vegetables

Quinoa is my new favorite superfood. It is a protein-rich seed with a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture and somewhat of a nutty flavor. Although some consider it to be a grain, it is actually a relative to spinach and swiss chard, which is why some people eat it on Pesach. It is similar to couscous, with a chewier texture and more health benefits.

Much Thanks to GKC friend Chanie for sharing the recipe.

Chanie Apfelbaum keeps Busy in Brooklyn, blogging about her cooking, crafting and coping adventures. She combines her love of writing, photography and design to bring you original dishes and crafts that your whole family will enjoy.

Quinoa Salad with Mustard Roasted Vegetables

Quinoa:
2 cups quinoa, rinsed until water runs clear, drained well
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Mustard Roasted Vegetables:

1 yellow zucchini, chopped
1 green zucchini, chopped
1 small red onion, diced
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 container cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp dijon mustard
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Dressing:
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Method:
For Quinoa: Heat up a pot with 1 tbsp olive oil. Add rinsed quinoa and saute for a few minutes until toasted and fragrant.
In a separate pot, boil broth with 1 tsp of salt. Add broth to quinoa. Simmer, covered, on a low flame, for 15 minutes.
Fluff with a fork.

For Roasted Vegetables: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix vegetables with garlic, oil, balsamic, mustard seeds, mustard, salt and pepper. Spread vegetables out on a baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until crisp-tender and tomatoes have burst (you can help them along by pressing gently with a fork).
Combine quinoa with vegetables and their juices. Mix in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

For Passover: Substitute Passover Mustard for Dijon Mustard and omit mustard seed.

Ojos de Haman Bread


Try this unique and spectacular bread for your Purim seudah – you will wow your kids and your guests!

(The Eyes of Haman)
By Debby Segura © 2008

Years ago, we visited the home of another young couple for a Purim Seudah. The couple was Moroccan and the woman was an accomplished traditional cook. To begin the meal, she brought out a beautiful Moroccan Purim bread called “Ojo de Haman”, crowned by a hard-boiled egg. One of the men at the table gamely plucked out the egg. He explained that this action symbolized the destruction of Haman in Megillat Esther. Well, I had never seen such a thing!

When I started baking bread I immersed myself in the study of all the different types of challah. I saw that several Sephardic communties have their own type of Purim breads and pastries in many different shapes and sizes, some with one egg, some with two. The first time I made a Purim bread, I made a bread with one hard boiled egg, much like the “ojo de Haman” made by my friend.

The second or third year I made it, I was invited to a large Purim Seudah. Rather than make many small “Ojo de Haman” breads, I decided to make one huge bread with two ojos, or eyes. I called it the “Ojos de Haman” and created a bread version of the head of Haman. People loved it! Kids ran to pluck out those eggs and vanquish Haman. And now, whenever we go out for our Purim Seudah, I know what I’ll be asked to bring!

Below is the recipe for “Ojos de Haman”. For a large Seudah, I triple the recipe. The recipe itself is a Challah recipe I have been using for years. Made in a food processor, this dough is quick and easy to make. Putting the “Ojos de Haman” together is a fun project. Just leave yourself 20 minutes or so to patschke with it!

Ojos de Haman
(The Eyes of Haman)

Makes 1 large bread
(Serves a group of 12-15)

5 cups Better for Bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 scant tablespoon (or 2 envelopes) Rapid Rise Yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg
Canola oil
1 ½ cup warm water
Pam, and flour, cornmeal or polenta to dust the pan.
2 dyed hard boiled eggs (I dye mine by putting brown onion skins in the water while they boil.)
Red fruit leather
Egg wash (made by whisking 1 raw egg with 1 tablespoon water) Slivered almonds
Poppy seeds
Sesame seeds

In the work bowl of a 14-cup food processor, place the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a two cup glass measuring cup, place the egg and just enough canola oil to total ½ cup. Add to this 1 ½ cup warm water. Place the top on the processor, and turn it on. Pour in the water and, when the dough just forms one cohesive ball, allow the machine to continue running just 60 seconds to complete kneading.

Place the dough in a large mixing bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Rotate the dough to coat with the spray and cover the bowl of dough loosely with plastic wrap.

Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Punch the dough down to remove air bubbles. Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and lightly dust it with flour, cornmeal or polenta.

And now the fun begins! Did you ever play with Mr. Potato Head as a child? Well, Haman is a lot like that!

First, divide the dough into thirds. Cut about 1/4 of the first piece off, and form the rest into a round disc, about 4 inches across. This is the face. Place it just above the center of the prepared pan. Form the smaller piece into a snake that tapers at both ends and place it on the top of the head.

Divide the second piece of dough into quarters.

Form the remaining piece into a square and then cut it in half to form 2 triangles. Place these two ears on either side of the face.

• Take the first quarter. Roll it into a 7″ long snake and make it into a uni-brow.
• Take the second quarter and cut it in half. Shape one half like a long potato. This is the nose. Center it on the face. Place the two eggs on either side of it and press them gently into the dough. Pull a walnut-sized piece of dough from the next piece and form 4 skinny 5″ long snakes. Use these small snakes to make and “X” over each eye.
• Divide this piece into a smaller and a larger half. Make the smaller piece into a short snake with tapered ends. Cut a slit into the middle. This is the mouth. Make the remaining piece into a large snake. This is the mustachio. Center it under the tip of the nose and curl up the ends. Take the mouth and place it beneath the mustachio to finish the face.

Divide the last piece into eighths and make each into a snake.

These make up the beard. Affix each to the bottom of the face. Spray the entire creation with Pam and gently cover it to rise for 45 minutes or so.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Paint the surface of the bread with the egg wash and decorate the beard, eyebrow and mustachio with poppy seeds and the horns with sesame. Use fruit roll for the tongue and just generally have fun decorating! Place the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Then raise the temperature to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes or so more.

Cool on a rack. Chag Purim Sameach!

Bison Shepherd’s Pie


From GKC friend and fabulous chef Levana Kirschenbaum of Levanacooks.com

One of my favorite comfort foods, made affordably lean with the choice of bison: tomorrow’s meat I hope, even predict! Although the classic Shepherd’s Pie features mashed potatoes, if you would rather substitute other white vegetables it would be perfectly delicious too: Celery root, parsnips, turnips etc…

Ingredients:
6 large potatoes, cut into large chunks
1 cup soy or other dairy-free milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Good pinch nutmeg
¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, quartered
8 cloves garlic
1 large carrot
4 ribs celery
2 pounds ground bison, beef or turkey
¼ cup tomato paste
Optional: 1 cup frozen peas or corn, or a combination
Ground pepper, oregano and ground bay leaf to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring water to boil in a large pot, add the potatoes and cook until tender. While still hot, drain them thoroughly, add the milk and seasoning and mash them thoroughly. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large skillet. In a food processor, mince the onion, garlic, carrot and celery, and add to the skillet. Saute until the mixture is translucent, and add the bison. Saute until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the tomato paste and seasonings, and frozen veggies if using.

Spread the meat mixture in a 9×13-inch baking dish, and spread the potato mixture carefully on top. Spray the top with vegetable spray. Bake 30 minutes, until the top is golden. Cut into squares and serve hot.

For more recipes from Levana go to www.levanacooks.com

Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms


From GKC friend and fabulous chef Levana Kirschenbaum of Levanacooks.com

You can stuff artichoke bottoms with virtually anything you like: meat, fish, rice, vegetables, cheese, breadcrumbs: The latter is what I am choosing to go with in this recipe, just so I can let the artichoke be the main star.

Ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, quartered
4 large cloves garlic
2 ribs celery, peeled
1 bunch flat parsley
6-8 sprigs dill, fronds and stems
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons capers
3 cups fresh bread crumbs, gluten-free OK
Salt and pepper to taste
14-16 large frozen artichoke bottoms, no need to thaw before using.

Cooking liquid:
2 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 good pinches saffron

Instructions:

Heat the oil in large skillet. In a food processor, coarsely grind the onion, garlic, celery, parsley and dill, and add to the skillet. Sauté the mixture until translucent. Add all but last ingredients, and mix thoroughly, adding a few drops water if necessary to form a thick paste. Fill the artichokes with the mixture, using it all up. Bring the cooking liquid ingredients to boil, and place the bottoms stuffing side up in the skillet. Reduce the flame to medium, and cook covered 20 minutes. Transfer the artichokes to a platter, and look at the liquid left in the skillet: if it is too thin reduce to thicken, and pour over the artichokes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

For more recipes from Levana go to www.levanacooks.com

Lamb and Pine Nut-Stuffed Grape Leaves

From GKC friend and fabulous chef Levana Kirschenbaum of Levanacooks.com

This treat might cure you of all misguided urges you may have to open a can and find a dozen insipid ready-to-eat grape leaf rolls: Instead, spend a few minutes on the preparation of these fabulous gems, and enjoy them with family and friends! You can stuff the leaves with anything- meat, fish or vegetarian – but today this filling is the star!

Ingredients:
Filling
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic
1 large onion, quartered
1 small bunch flat parsley
¼ cup mint leaves, packed
1 pound ground lamb
1 large tomato, halved, seeded, and diced small
1/2 cup golden or black raisins
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (325 degree oven, 10-12 minutes). Skip if you are avoiding nuts
Good pinch saffron
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pepper to taste
1 (15 ounce) jar grape leaves, separated and rinsed
1 cup pomegranate or cranberry juice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the oil in a skillet. In a food processor, finely grind the garlic. Add the onion, parsley and and mint, and grind coarsely. Add the ground mixture to the skillet, and saute until translucent. Add the lamb and tomato, and cook 2-3 more minutes. Add all remaining filling ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place a tablespoon stuffing at the bottom center of a leaf (smaller leaves: Make them overlap to get a larger more workable surface) . Roll once, fold the sides towards to center, and roll all the way up. Place seam side down in a pan just large enough to fit the leaves snugly in one layer. Repeat with the remaining leaves and stuffing. whisk the juice, tomato paste and oil in a little bowl, and pour evenly over the leaves. Bake about 40 minutes, until the juices are reduced and the leaves look nicely browned on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For more recipes from Levana go to www.levanacooks.com

Hammentaschen Recipe: with Gluten-Free Variation


From GKC friend and fabulous chef Levana Kirschenbaum of Levanacooks.com

The signature triangle-shaped fun Purim cookie, shrouded in legend and folklore (ear-shaped? purse-shaped? Read on!) with three points pinched around a jam filling. It matters not at all if you don’t celebrate Purim—you will love ’em!
Excerpted from my latest cookbook, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen: Glorious Meals Pure and Simple

Ingredients:

Dough:
4 cups flour: all-purpose, whole wheat pastry, or spelt (gluten-free: any GF flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ salt
4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup orange juice
Zest of 1 orange

Instructions:

Make the dough: Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs, sugar and oil in a food processor or with an electric mixer (or even by hand) until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, juice and zest, and the flour mixture, mixing at low speed (in a food processor, use the pulse button and pulse only until combined) or by hand until well combined. Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to one day.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut out a portion of dough and roll out evenly on a very lightly floured board, 1∕8 inch thin. Cut out 3-inch circles with a scalloped cookie cutter. Place a heaping teaspoon of your favorite filling (suggestions below) in the center of each circle. Bring up the sides at 3 equidistant points, pinching firmly and leaving the centers exposed. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling, using the scraps of the previous portion of cut-out dough with the next piece of dough you cut out, taking care to flour the board very lightly so the dough will not get too heavy.
Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, 1 inch apart. Bake about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Store in tins, do not refrigerate. Makes 3 dozen.

Fillings:
Choice of:
- Prune butter (lekvar), poppy seed (mohn) filling, apricot, or strawberry preserves; try your best for all-fruit, available at health foods stores.
- Make the following mixture: ½ cup brown sugar or Sucanat, 1 cup raisins, ½ cup walnuts, 1 tablespoon cinnamon; pulse in a food processor just long enough to get a fine but not mushy grind.

For more recipes from Levana go to www.levanacooks.com

Hamentaschen with Two Fillings

Last week GKC ran into Geila Hocherman, author of Kosher Revolution, the beautiful cookbook with outstanding recipes for the Modern kosher cook. I love her hamentashen and fillings because they have great flavor and consistency. Some other favorite recipes from the book…Pistachio Crusted Tuna with Wasabi Mayonnaise, Velvet Chestnut Soup, and Dumplings with Orange-Ginger Dipping Sauce. She has great ideas and recipe suggestions for everything. GKC loves the book, get one at Amazon.com and start creating her delicious food in your kitchen.

makes 36

These triangular Purim treats are traditionally made with a poppy seed or prune filling, but nowadays, they’re available with other fillings like apricot and raspberry. My own “hamentasching” has resulted in the new and delicious fillings included here, such as dried cranberries with apricot and Nutella with coconut. Adding breadcrumbs to the fillings ensures that they stay put. These are easily made and are welcome year round.

Geila’s Tips
It’s much easier to work with the dough and fillings when they’re cold. I like to prepare everything the night before and
form and bake the hamentaschen the next day. (It’s necessary to make and freeze the chocolate filling in advance.)

Crust
2-1/2 cups flour, plus more for flouring work surface
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon orange juice (optional)

Raspberry Filling
One 12-ounce jar raspberry jam
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Coconut-Chocolate-Hazelnut Filling
One 13-ounce jar Nutella, or other
chocolate-hazelnut spread
1 cup flaked coconut


1. First make the crust. Sift the flour and baking powder onto parchment paper. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the oil, sugar and vanilla, and blend at medium speed. One at a time, add the eggs, incorporating the first before adding the second, and blend. Add the orange juice, if using, and blend. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture gradually to make a dough.

2. Divide the dough into 2 parts and flatten each to make a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap, stack the discs on a plate, and refrigerate until stiff enough to work easily, at least 2 hours.

3. Meanwhile, make the filling(s). For the poppy, raspberry and/or apricot fillings, combine the ingredients in small bowls, stir to blend, and refrigerate for 1 hour. For the chocolate, combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Transfer half the filling to the center of an 18-inch piece of plastic wrap, fold the wrap over the filling to enclose it, and squeeze the mixture to create a log 1-inch in diameter. Repeat with the remaining filling and freeze the logs.



4. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Flour a work surface well and roll 1 of the discs out on it. Using a 3-inch glass or round cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Pipe about 1 tablespoon of the poppy, raspberry, and/or apricot filling(s) in the center of each round, wet the edges with water and bring up the sides of the rounds to make a three-sided triangular shape. Pinch the dough together to seal. Alternatively, drop the filling onto the dough by heaping tablespoons. For the chocolate filling, cut the frozen logs into 1/2 1/2-inch discs. Fill the rounds by placing a disc in the center of each, form, and seal.

5. Transfer the hamentashen to 1 or more cookie sheets and bake, in batches if necessary, until pale gold, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.

Elizabeth and Geila

Click here to purchase Kosher Revolution Cookbook.

Oven Baked Super Easy Basmati Rice with Dried Cranberries and Saffron

Serves 8

From The Persian Food Cookbook by Reyna Simnegar
4 cups basmati rice
6 cups water
½ cup chicken consommé powder
1 stick margarine, cut into pieces
1 cup craisins
½ teaspoon ground saffron
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread rice in the bottom of the pan. Add water, chicken consommé, margarine, craisins, saffron, turmeric, and salt. Stir together and cover with foil.
Bake for 1-½ hours or until rice is tender and water has evaporated.
Fluff rice with a fork and serve on a shallow platter, mounding rice into a pyramid.

Poppy Seed Bread


Makes 2 loaves

2-¼ cups flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
¾ cup poppy seeds
1 tablespoons baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
1-¼ cups soymilk
¾ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, poppy seeds, and baking powder. In a small bowl, beat eggs, soymilk, oil, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until evenly moistened. Do not over mix.

Fill prepared loaf pans 2/3rd’s full of batter. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted in center of each loaf comes out clean.

Cool breads in pans on wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool.

This is best made one day in advance. Wrap loaves in foil.

Indian-Spiced Cashews and Pistachios

photo: bluejeangourmet.com


Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Live!

These are the perfect snacks to have on your table.
Nuts:
1-1/2 cups raw cashews
¾ cup raw shelled pistachios
2 tablespoons currants

Spice Mix:
1 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon cumin

Glaze:
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

For the nuts: Spread cashews on prepared pan in an even layer. Toast for 8 minutes, rotating halfway through. Add pistachios and toast an additional 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and mix in currants.

For the spice mix: In a large bowl, stir together sugar, salt, curry powder and cumin; set aside.

For glaze: In a medium saucepan, bring water, brown sugar and margarine to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Stir in nut mix and cook, stirring constantly, until nuts are shiny and most of liquid has evaporated, about 1-1/2 minutes.

Transfer nut mix to bowl with spices and toss well to coat. Spread glazed and spiced nuts back on baking sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.

Lamb in Filo Dough

photo: recipes.co.nz


I cannot recommend this dish highly enough; if you like lamb and you like spices…

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground lamb
5 green chiles, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
¾ teaspoon pepper
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1 (8 ounce) box filo dough, thawed
¾ cup margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

In a large Dutch oven, brown lamb, chiles and onions in oil over medium-high heat, 5 to 8 minutes. Add soy sauce, ginger, garlic, pepper, cinnamon and cloves and mix well. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Mix in cilantro, if using.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a thin layer of melted margarine along bottom of 9 x 13-inch pan. Add 2 sheets of filo dough and brush with margarine. Repeat until half of box is used. Spread lamb mixture over dough. Cover with remaining filo and melted margarine (using same method). Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 45 minutes, or until top of dough is golden brown. Save me the leftovers!

Lemon Scented Almond Milk Custard

photo: whatscookingamerica.net

This recipe was submitted by www.mayihavethatrecipe.com and is the perfect ending to a fleischig Indian meal. We love when our readers send us their favorites!

Ingredients:
2 cups UNSWEETENED almond milk
1 stick cinnamon
1 lemon rind
4 egg yolk
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cooking Instructions:
Heat up almond milk, cinnamon stick and lemon rind together in a pot at medium heat until bubbles start to form on the sides.
In the meantime, in medium bowl beat eggs yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Add corn starch and keep beating for another minute or so.
Add vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy.
Remove cinnamon stick and lemon rind from milk. Slowly add about ½ cup of warm milk to the egg yolks, stirring constantly.
Add the rest of the milk and stir until well incorporated.
Return mixture to stove and cook at medium to low heat, until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon (do not let it boil)
Pour into ramekins, let it cool and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.
Before serving, sprinkle each ramekin with sugar and caramelize using a torch or oven broiler.

submitted by:
www.mayihavethatrecipe.com
recipes@mayihavethatrecipe.com

Tequila Mustard Glazed Chicken Skewers

photo: foodandwine.com

Makes 24 skewers

Marinated Chicken
1/2 cup tequila
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips

Tequila Mustard
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup tequila
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

In a large bowl, combine the tequila, brown sugar, olive oil, garlic, oregano and salt. Add the chicken, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, water, vinegar, honey, tequila, lime juice, dry mustard, coriander, cumin and chile powder. Cook over low heat, whisking, until thickened, 5 minutes; do not boil. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Stir in the lime zest. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

Soak 24 bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Transfer 1/2 cup of the mustard to a small bowl. Thread the chicken onto the top third of the skewers. Add to pan, and cook about 8 minutes. Brush the chicken with the reserved 1/2 cup of mustard and continue cooking until cooked through. Serve the skewers with the remaining mustard.

Rice with Lentils and Caramelized Onions

Adapted From the Persian Food Book by Reyna Simneger

3 cups basmati rice
8 cups water
2 tablespoons salt
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
½ cup canola oil

Topping
½ cup brown lentils
1-½ cups water
1 onion
1/8 cup canola oil
dash turmeric

Fill a 6 quart nonstick saucepan with 8 cups water. Add oil, salt and turmeric. Cover and bring to a brisk boil over high heat. When water boils, add rice and continue cooking, uncovered over medium heat, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Drain in a colander.

For the topping:
In a small saucepan, bring the water and lentils to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 7 – 10 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add a dash of turmeric.

To assemble, combine rice, lentils and onions. Season with salt and pepper.

Butterscotch Blondie Bars with Peanut –Pretzel Caramel

photo: epicurious.com


Makes 40

BLONDIE
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) margarine
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

PEANUT-PRETZEL CARAMEL
4 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine
1/2 cup pareve whippingcream
1-1/2 cups 1-1/2″-wide thin twisted pretzels, coarsely crushed

BLONDIE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on long sides of pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Stir margarine in a medium skillet over medium heat until browned bits form at bottom of pan, 7–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add brown sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat until well combined and mixture resembles wet sand, 2–3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy and well combined, about 2 minutes. Add dry ingredients; beat until smooth (batter will be thick). Using an offset or regular spatula, evenly spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake blondie until golden brown, edges pull away from sides of pan, and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20–25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

PEANUT-PRETZEL CARAMEL
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread peanuts over sheet in an even layer. Bake, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, 5–7 minutes. Set aside.

Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring, occassionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until caramel is deep amber, 12–15 minutes. Add honey; return to a boil, stirring often, about 1 minute longer. Add margarine; stir until blended. Add pareve cream (mixture will bubble vigorously); whisk until smooth. Stir in peanuts and pretzels. Pour over cooled blondie. Chill until cool, about 30 minutes.

Run a knife around short sides of pan to release blondie. Using parchment-paper overhang, lift from pan. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into squares.

Iced Irish Coffee

Serves 8

8 cups strong, brewed coffee
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 pint pareve coffee ice cream or pareve chocolate
½ cup Irish whiskey

Combine the coffee and sugar in a pitcher and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Refrigerate until well chilled. Place ¼ cup of ice cream in the bottom of 8 tall glasses. Pour the chilled coffee and whiskey into each glass and serve with long handled spoons.

Substitute Kahlua, sambuca, ouzo or other liquor for the whiskey to make Iced Mexican or Greek coffee.

Sweet Monkey Bread

SWEET VANILLA YEAST DOUGH
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2-1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1-1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 cups flour

FILLING AND DOUGH TOPPING
1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/ 2 to 3/4 cup caramel bits
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

BUTTER VANILLA GLAZE
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream

Combine milk, butter, yeast, salt, vanilla, sugar, egg and flour by hand or with a mixer. Mix until smooth. Allow dough to rise, lightly covered with a towel, for 1 hour. Dough should rise and get puffy.

Gently deflate the dough and pat to an 8″ x 10″ rectangle. Cut into 4 equal lengths, then cut each length into 10 pieces.
Taking one piece at a time, create a small well in the dough ball and add a few chocolate chips and caramel pieces. Seal the dough into a ball and place in a well-greased 10 cup bundt pan.
Continue to fill and add dough balls to the pan until all dough is used.

In a small pan, heat butter and vanilla until melted. Pour the melted butter/vanilla mixture over the dough and cover the pan with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes or until puffy.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on the outside.
Turn the hot bread out onto a rimmed serving platter. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Prepare the glaze by whisking butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and cream together until smooth and pourable, adding more cream if needed. Pour over the bread and serve warm.

Lemon Marinated Olives

photo by A. Baranowski


While smashed and somewhat showed through the Machane Shuk in Israel, I still managed to be drawn toward the endless spice and olive stands. We bought many types, Moroccan, herbed, spicy amongst others but the stand out was the Lemon Garlic Green Olives. Alone, on a cracker, or with chicken or fish, this recipe is a must try.

Lemon Garlic Olives
1 pound good quality green olives
(preferably cracked)
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice

4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
¼ teaspoon coriander
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 lemon, cut in ½ inch chunks
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

In a large bowl, mix olives with oil, lemon juice, garlic, coriander, cilantro, mint, lemon and crushed red pepper (if using).

Stir well to combine. Cover olives with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 1 month. Bring the olives to room temperature before serving.

Deconstructed Cookie Jar

photo by bakerella.com


What’s a Deconstructed Cookie Jar, you ask? It’s simple: Layers of dry cookie ingredients are placed in a jar, and the directions for adding wet ingredients and baking the cookies are attached. With a shelf life of several weeks, these are ideal mishloach manot, they look great in a clear jar and are easy to make. Make a cute label with the baking instructions for a great finish.

My go to blondies in a Jar
(I suggest a half of recipe per jar)
Recipe and instructions below are for one full recipe

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 ½ cups walnuts
2 cups chocolate chips
Or 2 cups dried fruit, chips of your choice, marshmallows, or coconut (Get creative, it looks fabulous in the jar)
Glass covered jars, 3 cup capacity

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

In the bottom of the jar, pour in the chocolate chips (or add in of your choice). On top of the chips, pour in the walnuts and on top of that the flour mixture. Cover the jar.

Include a tag with instructions:

**** (If you are making jars with ½ the ingredients make sure to adjust below to 1 stick margarine, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and use an 8 x 8 inch pan)

Blondies in a Jar
(All you need is 2 sticks margarine, 2 eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
Melt margarine and mix with 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and the Blondies in a Jar. Stir until combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
Pour batter in pan.
Bake for 25 minutes or until blondies are just set in the center.

Almond and Olive Biscotti

I like the idea of sending a soup (any kind you like) in a glass jar with some homemade savory biscotti like the almond and olive biscotti below. These are dairy so it would need to accompany a dairy soup but for fleish soup just omit the Parmesan cheese. They are also great served along side a homemade sun-dried tomato pesto.

1 cup whole almonds
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons margarine, room temperature
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs
¾ cup pitted green olives, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread almonds on a large baking sheet and toast them until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool. When cool, coarsely chop them.

Place flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a mixer, beat margarine, and Parmesan on low until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add eggs and mix until the dough comes together. Mix in almonds, olives and sage.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a flattened log about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Place the logs several inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the logs 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from oven and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Transfer logs to a cutting board and cut them into ½ inch thick slices. Lay the slices cut side down on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake cookies until they are crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Mini Meaf Loaves

Meat loaf sometimes gets a bad rap. It’s a great comfort food, especially when served with mashed potatoes. And when made in mini-loaf pans and smothered in mushroom sauce, everyone in the family sits up and takes notice.

Meat Loaves:
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
½ pound ground turkey
2-1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup nondairy creamer
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (fish free)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 eggs

Sauce:
3 tablespoons margarine
1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon beef consommé powder
1/3 cup red wine
1 cup water
1 (4 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together beef, turkey, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nondairy creamer, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and eggs until well combined. Pack into mini loaf pans – each one will be about 2/3 full – and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Let sit briefly before removing to platter.

In a small sauce pan, melt margarine. Sauté onion until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in flour. Stirring constantly, add consommé powder, wine, water and mushrooms. Cook until thickened.

Pour over meat loaves and serve.

Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

1-½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups margarine, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped roasted and salted peanuts

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside

In a mixer, beat margarine and brown sugar until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the peanut butter and then beat in eggs one at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl and add vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating just to blend. Fold in the peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and peanuts.

Cover dough with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm. Remove from fridge.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Using 1 tablespoon of dough, roll into balls and place on about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten the top of each cookie slightly.

Bake for 8 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Italian Herb Meat Loaf

4-5 pounds of chopped meat (preferably beef, and lean)
3/4 can of Italian Herb bread crumbs (if you cant get this, use regular bread crumbs and add extra amounts of the spices listed below
7 whole eggs
3 generous shakes of the following spices:
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Dried parsley
4 pinches of salt so about 1 teaspoon or more
2 shakes of black pepper
2 jars of marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the meat, eggs, and spices together. Add about 1/3 of a jar of marinara sauce, mix well, then add bread crumbs. Shape into a loaf, taking care to seal as many cracks as possible to prevent breaking. Gently pour marinara sauce on the entire outside of the loaf, taking care to cover all surface areas. Bake for approx 1 1/2 hrs or until a knife stuck into the middle comes out completely clean and extremely hot. When it is cut into, the meat should be completely cooked.

Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes

5-7 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and quartered
Salt
Margarine to taste

In a 8 quart pot of boiling water, add several shakes of salt. Add quartered potatoes. cooking until you can cut through easily with a knife. Drain well, then add margarine and mash. You may wish to add more salt at this point. (Alternate preparation: after potatoes are drained, add a bit of olive oil. mix well, and bake in the oven at 350degrees for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes get a nice golden crust)

Meat Gravy with Mushrooms

1 large handful chopped meat
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 medium onion
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons dried basil, chopped
Dry Red wine for cooking (I prefer Gefen Burgandy Royale)
2 3-fingered pinches of flour

In a saute pan, add a small amount of red wine, the meat, garlic, onion and mushroom. Cook for several minutes, until the meat is thoroughly cooked, and onions are soft. By this time you should a good amount of juices from the meat. Add a little more wine and the basil, and cook on high for about 3 minutes, or until it reduces noticeably. Add flour, and stir in completely. Gravy is ready when all ingredients are incorporated and thick. Serve with potatoes.