Homemade Basic Granola

basic-granola

Makes 4 cups

3 cups old fashioned cooking oats
6 tablespoons canola oil
6 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or agave
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 cup nuts, any type, chopped
2 teaspoons spices, mix cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cocoa powder, curry, cardamon, whatever you like
1⁄2 cup dried fruit, apples, apricots, raisins, coconut, bananas, whatever you like

Mix all the ingredients except the dried fruit and bake at 250°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes until golden brown.
Fold in the dried fruit, then let cool.

Grilled Salads

grilled-bread-salad
This week I am back at the BBQ with some great grilled salads. Of course, I’m also making grilled mustard chicken with polenta and grilled Tandoori Chicken and pouring Herzog Russian river chardonnay and some grilled steaks with red wine sauce (and drinking Barkan Vintners Choice Cabernetbut these side dishes take the basic meat meal to new heights. Make sure to include some terrific wines with these meals. With the salads I’m serving Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc. See the wine blog, for some other wine pairings from my recent cooking demos.

Grilled Watermelon Salad On Spinach Lettuce, with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Grilled Bread Salad With Sweet Onions and Peppers
Grilled Leeks and Zucchini Salad

Grilled Leeks and Zucchini Salad

grilled-zucchini-and-leeks
Serves 4

⅓ cup walnuts
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise with some root attached
2 large zucchini (about 1 lb.), halved lengthwise
½ cup (lightly packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toast walnuts in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Chop very coarsely. Toss warm walnuts with garlic, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Brush leeks and zucchini with remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables, turning often, until tender and charred in spots, 5–8 minutes for leeks, 8–10 minutes for zucchini.

Transfer vegetables to a cutting board. Trim roots from leeks and cut leeks and zucchini into bite-size pieces. Add vegetables and parsley to bowl with walnuts and toss to combine; season vegetables with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Grilled Bread Salad With Sweet Onions and Peppers

Serves 4
By bonappetit, adapted by GKC

¼ small loaf country-style bread (about 6 oz.), crust removed, bread torn into large pieces
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large red bell peppers, halved, ribs and seeds removed
2 small red onions, peeled, quartered, with some root attached
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh chives, or scallions, plus more for serving

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toss bread with 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Toss bell peppers and onions with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.

Grill bread, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Grill vegetables, turning often, until very tender and charred in spots, 8–10 minutes for peppers and 10–12 minutes for onions; transfer to a cutting board.

Trim root end from onions and separate layers. Transfer to a large bowl, add vinegar and paprika, and toss to coat. Remove as much skin as possible from peppers; discard. Cut into 1½” strips.

Add peppers, grilled bread, 2 tablespoons chives, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil to bowl with onions and toss to combine; season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired. Serve topped with more chives.

Grilled Watermelon Salad On Spinach Lettuce, with Balsamic Vinaigrette

watermelon
Serves 8

½ watermelon, cut into 3-inch wide by 1-inch thick squares or rectangles (about 10 pieces total)
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 – 3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 – 8 cups baby spinach lettuce
½ cup halved grape tomatoes
1 cup sliced mushrooms
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
Crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese, optional
Candied nuts, optional

For the watermelon: Heat a nonstick grill pan or grill over medium-high heat. Brush oil over watermelon slices to thinly coat and place on hot grill pan. Grill each side about 2 minutes until grill marks appear; transfer to a plate and season with salt.

For the dressing: Pour the vinegar and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to a thick syrup consistency, about 7 minutes. Set aside. Whisk in olive oil in a steady stream until dressing is emulsified. Add salt and stir.

Scatter spinach on a large platter. Top with tomatoes, red onions, cheese, and candied nuts, if using. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over salad. Top with watermelon and a bit more dressing. Serve immediately.

Alternative dressing:

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Whisk together dressing ingredients until combined.

Traditional Israeli Falafel

falafel
Serves 6-8

During the nine days, falafel is a perfect menu item and in the spirit of supporting Israel and the gratitude for the people helping the soldiers with food (did you read the blog?), money and their basic necessities, it just feels right to make falafel at home too. This one is delicious with both tahini sauce and yogurt sauce. Don’t forget to serve it with the Israeli Carrot Salad with Lemons and Spices. It will make your house smell like Israel.

Falafel
2 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas
3 scallions, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 egg
1 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup flour for shaping patties
Vegetable oil, for frying

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, scallions, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, parsley, cilantro, egg, and lemon juice. Pulse to combine and season with salt. The mixture will not be smooth, but it should not have large chunks.

Add in the baking powder and 1/3 cup of the flour and pulse to just combine. Remove to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Remove the chickpea mixture from the refrigerator. Add enough oil to a large saute pan so it reaches 1/2-inch up the sides and heat it over medium-high heat until an inserted thermometer reads 360 degrees F.

Meanwhile, drop spoonfuls of the chickpea mixture onto a plate with 1/4 cup flour. Roll into balls on the floured plate and press gently into patties. Fry in batches of hot oil for about 3 to 4 minutes each side and drain on paper towels. Serve in fluffy pita, with lettuce, chopped tomatoes, tahini or yogurt sauce and Israeli Carrot Salad with Lemons and Spices.

Tahini Sauce

Makes about 2 cups
1 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup plus more, if necessary, lemon juice
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 3/4 cup water, as needed
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt

Combine tahini paste, lemon juice, and garlic in a bowl and stirring to combine. Add water a little at a time as needed to form a smooth, creamy sauce approximately the thickness of heavy cream. (Note that the sauce might appear to separate for a bit before enough water has been added; just keep adding more water bit by bit and stirring until the sauce comes together.) Season to taste with salt and more lemon juice, if necessary.

Israeli Carrot Salad with Lemon Oil and Spices

Serves 8

These carrots are seasoned with lemon and lots of Moroccan spices and finished off in a citrus vinaigrette. It’s both savory and a hint of sweet. A nice twist on traditional Moroccan carrots.

1 large lemon, washed, sliced into thin rounds, and then quartered
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for lemons
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon orange zest, plus 1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 medium carrots, peeled and grated (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Place the lemon pieces in a cold skillet. Add a generous amount of oil to cover the bottom of the pan and heat over low heat until the rinds soften and begin to brown and caramelize, about 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the cumin, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, orange zest, orange juice, honey, salt, and pepper. While whisking, pour 1/4 cup olive oil in a thin stream until the dressing reaches your desired consistency. Add the carrots, parsley, and pine nuts. Using a slotted spoon, remove the caramelized lemon from the pan and place in the bowl with the carrot mixture (I start with half of the lemons and add more if needed). Toss and taste for seasoning. Drizzle in some of the lemon infused oil, to taste.

Store in the refrigerator until serving time.

Seared Ahi Tuna with Soy and Lime Salsa

seared-ahi-tuna

Serves 5

I love seared tuna and the salsa topping is a perfect accompaniment. The crunchy fresh cucumber is wonderful with toasted sesame, and rich kalamata olives. You can also make this with sushi grade ahi tuna. Just toss all the ingredients together. Chop up the chilled tuna, and top with the salsa. Serve immediately.

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-1/2 pounds ahi tuna
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup diced peeled seeded cucumber
3 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves or parsley

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sized skillet. When oil is piping hot, add tuna and cook undisturbed for 2 -3 minutes. Flip tuna over and cook another 2 minutes on the other side. Tuna should be lightly browned on the outside and still very rare on the inside. Remove from heat and cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk remaining olive oil, soy sauce and lime juice. Add the diced tuna, cucumber, capers, sesame seeds, olives and cilantro. Carefully toss to combine.

To serve: Slice cooled tuna and lay a few slices on a plate. Top with salsa and juices. Or chop tuna and toss with salsa and serve in glass dishes.

Blueberry, Kiwi, Strawberry and Mint

2 cups blueberries
2 kiwifruit, peeled
16 strawberries
2 cups packed fresh mint leaves

Wash the ingredients well, then cut them up as needed to fit through the chute of your juicer. Juice the ingredients in the order listed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately. Serves 1.


Spinach and Mushroom Salad with Miso-Tahini Dressing

spinach-mushroomsalad
Serves 4, can be doubled

I saw this salad in Fine Cooking Magazine a few months back and added it to my “Try it” file. Finally, this summer, I have had a chance to try some new salad recipes and this one was a big hit. Spinach and mushrooms pair so well together, and the miso-tahini dressing is both bold and creamy. It’s interesting and different and worth a try.

1/4 cup tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white miso
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
Kosher salt
8 ounces (8 packed cups) baby spinach
8 ounces (4 cups) thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup coarsely chopped, roasted, unsalted cashews

Blend the tahini, lemon juice, miso, paprika, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup water with an immersion blender until smooth.
In a large bowl, toss the spinach, mushrooms, and cashews with the dressing. Serve.

Balsamic and Rosemary Marinade

1 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon rosemary (for dried use 2 teaspoons or more)

Marinade Instructions:
Whisk ingredients in a small bowl. In a large resealable plastic bag, coat chicken or steaks with marinade and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours. Remove chicken or steak from marinade before grilling. Add salt and pepper to taste before grilling.

Herb Marinade

1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs, chopped (try basil, tarragon, marjoram, cilantro or any herb of choice)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced

Marinade Instructions:
Whisk ingredients in a small bowl. In a large resealable plastic bag, coat chicken or steaks with marinade and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours. Remove chicken or steak from marinade before grilling. Add salt and pepper to taste before grilling.

Lemon and Shallot Marinade

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons oregano (for dried, use 2 teaspoons or more)
1 small shallot, chopped
1 minced garlic clove

Marinade Instructions:
Whisk ingredients in a small bowl. In a large resealable plastic bag, coat chicken or steaks with marinade and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours. Remove chicken or steak from marinade before grilling. Add salt and pepper to taste before grilling.

Soy and Ginger Marinade

1 tablespoon Sriachi sauce (use less for less spiciness)
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons lime zest
¼ cup lime juice
3 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Marinade Instructions:
Whisk ingredients in a small bowl. In a large resealable plastic bag, coat chicken or steaks with marinade and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours. Remove chicken or steak from marinade before grilling. Add salt and pepper to taste before grilling.

Espresso Barbeque Sauce

espresso-barbecue-sauce

This bbq sauce has great flavor and depth from espresso. I love it on chicken, fish and grilled steaks.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
>4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced (seeds and membrane removed for less heat)
1 cup ketchup
1 cup brewed espresso
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook the sauce over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

With an immersion blender or a food processor puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the sauce to mellow.

MAKE AHEAD
The barbecue sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Melon Gazpacho

melongaspacho
This is a wonderful twist on traditional gazpacho from the Balaboostanyc.com. The restaurant is not kosher but the cooking classes are often worth it (even without tasting the food). A combination Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and flavors is really fantastic. This gazpacho is just one example of this.

1 ripe cantaloupe, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup white wine (I like to use sauvignon blanc)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sliced almond
1 fresh red chili, such as red jalapeno or long red chile, cored seeded and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
Store bought crispy fried shallots or onions
Chopped fresh mint
Finely chopped peeled jicama
Finely chopped fresh red chile (optional)
Almond Chile brittle

Cut the cantaloupe into small pieces and place in a food processor. Add the wine, vinegar, almonds, chile, salt and pepper and puree until the mixture is smooth.
Chill in the refrigerator before serving and garnish with the crispy shallots, mint, jicama, brittle and red chile.

Sweet Summer Fruit Soup

strawberry
Serves 6-8

1 (16 ounce) bag frozen strawberries
1 (16 ounce) bag frozen mixed berries, or other summer fruit iike mango, papaya, mixed tropical fruit, or other choice or use more strawberries
1 (15 ounce) can sour cherries
3 tablespoons vanilla sugar
¼ cup sugar

Garnish: Chopped strawberries and fresh mint
Place cherries and 1 ½ cups water in a 5 quart pot. Turn on heat and bring to a boil. Add strawberries and other fruit with juices, vanilla sugar and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cool slightly. With an immersion blender, puree soup. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled with chopped strawberries and mint on top.

Raspberry or Strawberry Lemonade

lemonade
Makes 8-10 glasses

This is so refreshing in the summer! The fresh lemon juice give it so much more flavor than the prepared store-bought variety. Be sure to serve it in cute glasses with lots of ice and straws to make it look as good as it tastes.

4 cups fresh lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1 bag frozen raspberries or strawberries
Ice cubes, for serving

Squeeze the lemons and pour the juice into a pitcher.

In a pot, heated over low heat, stir together sugar with 3 cups water until sugar dissolves to make a syrup. Cool, than add sugar syrup to the lemon juice and top it up with 8 cups water. Taste to make sure it’s sweet enough for you, and then add the raspberries or strawberries. Mix the lemonade together and let chill in the fridge. (Keep in mind that the raspberries are tart, so be sure to sweeten enough!)

Fill mason jars with ice cubes and top them off with the lemonade.

Carrot Soup with Cucumber Pistachio Relish

carrot-soup-cucumber
Serves 5

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large (about 2 cups) onion, diced
4 cups (about 10) chopped carrots
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup diced seedless cucumber
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger or fresh ginger, diced
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped mint

Make the soup: Heat oil over medium-high heat, add the onions, carrots, and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, curry, and cayenne and cook for 1 more minute. Add 5 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until carrots are tender — about 15 minutes. Puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and vinegar and set aside.

Make the relish: Combine the cucumber, pistachios, ginger, cilantro, mint, and remaining salt in a small bowl. Ladle the soup into

Cold Cucumber Dill Soup

cucumber
Serves 6

1-1/2 tablespoons margarine
1 cup chopped onions
4 cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 5 cups)
1 (8-ounce) russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3-1/2 cups low-salt pareve chicken broth or vegetable broth
3 large fresh dill sprigs plus 6 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon (or more) salt
½ cup Tofutti sour cream

Melt margarine in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add cucumbers and potato; stir 1 minute. Add broth, dill sprigs, and 1 teaspoon salt. Increase heat and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cucumbers and potato are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. With an immersion blender, puree soup in until smooth. Return to pot. Cool 15 minutes. Whisk in tofutti sour cream and 4 tablespoons minced dill. Cover and chill until cold, about 4 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.) Taste soup, adding more salt if desired. Garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons minced dill.

Fresh Tomato and Avocado Soup

tomato-avocado-soup-deServes 4

1 pound,(about 4 tomatoes) tomatoes, chopped with their juices
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup seedless cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 avocados, diced (about 2 cups)

Combine all ingredients except avocado in a large bowl. Mash lightly with a potato masher, stir in 1 cup water, cover, and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 6. Stir in the avocado and serve immediately.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cookies

Chocolate Espresso Cookie

Makes 3 dozen

3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder
1 box Dark Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix
1 egg
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1⁄2 cups dark chocolate pieces, semi sweet chocolate pieces
and/or white chocolate pieces (combined into the 1 1⁄2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl combine water and espresso powder, stir until dissolved; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine brownie mix, egg, oil, cinnamon, and the espresso mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, scraping sides. Stir in chocolate pieces by hand, using a spatula or wooden spoon. Drop dough by rounded tsp. onto prepared cookie sheet.
Bake about 6-8 minutes or until edges are just set. (Centers may appear doughy). Do not overbake. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. If desired place a chocolate candy kiss or a caramel chocolate candy kiss into center of cookie immediately after removing from oven as a garnish.