Homemade Pie Crust

Crust:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold margarine, cut into ¼-inch pieces
½ cup cold shortening, cut into ¼-inch pieces
¼ teaspoon imitation butter extract, optional
¼ cup chilled vodka
¼ cup cold water

To prepare the crust: Combine 1 ½ cups of the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor; blend. Add margarine, shortening, and butter extract. Pulse a few times, until dough starts to pull together in clumps. Scrape sides of bowl and redistribute dough around blade. Add remaining 1 cup flour; pulse 4 to 6 times, until evenly distributed.
Transfer dough to a medium bowl. Gently mix in vodka and water. Do not over mix. Divide dough into 2 balls; flatten each into a 4-inch disc. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Use half of the dough for this pie and store the rest for future use.

Cinnamon Bun Apple Pie

Cinnamon-Bun-Apple-Pie
Serves 10

1 (14 .5-ounce) box store-bought pie dough or homemade pie crust
2 tablespoons margarine, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons cinnamon
5 assorted baking apples (about 2 pounds)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons soymilk, plus more if needed

Place a baking sheet in oven and preheat to 400.
Line a 9-inch pie plate with 1 piece of dough; refrigerate until ready to assemble.

For cinnamon-roll crust: Lay remaining piece of dough on lightly floured surface and spread margarine evenly on top. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over margarine, and press gently to help mixture adhere. Roll pie dough into a tight log. Trim about 1 1/2 inches from both ends; cut remaining log crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Arrange pieces cut-side down in a snug circle on a piece of floured parchment paper. Dust with more flour. Gently roll it into a 10-inch round. Refrigerate until ready to assemble pie.

Peel and slice apples. Toss with lemon juice, vanilla and remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl. Pour apples into the dough-lined pie plate. Invert cinnamon-roll crust on top and peel off the parchment (it’s OK if the individual rounds separate a bit in the process). Pinch crusts together; Brush with beaten egg.

Set pie on hot baking sheet in oven; bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes. (Tent loosely with foil if top browns too quickly.) Transfer to a rack to cool slightly.

Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and soymilk in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the pie.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

roasted-pepper-tomato
Serves 6

Super creamy, great color, and a nice Yom Tov alternative to butternut squash soup.

3 pounds red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
6 large fresh basil leaves, torn
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoons cayenne, or more, optional
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
9 tablespoons olive oil
3 – 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup pareve milk, pareve whipping cream or soymilk
1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.
In a large roasting pan, toss the peppers, tomatoes, carrots, onions, basil, and thyme with the paprika, cayenne, 1 tsp. of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and 6 Tbs. of the oil. Roast the vegetables, turning them every 15 minutes or so, until tender and browned in spots, about 45 minutes.

Put one-third of the vegetables in a blender with 1 cup of the broth. Purée until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain through a fine- or medium-mesh sieve set over a 4-quart saucepan, using a silicone spatula to press all of the liquid through; discard any solids. Repeat with the remaining vegetables (including any liquid from the pan) and broth in two more batches.

Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in the vinegar and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. Remove from the heat and let cool to warm or room temperature.

When ready to serve, heat the remaining 3 Tbs. oil in an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the capers and cook, stirring, until they begin to open like little flowers and become crispy and brown, about 30 seconds. Drain the capers in a small fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Transfer the capers to a paper-towel-lined plate; reserve the oil.

Serve the soup drizzled with the reserved caper oil and garnished with the fried capers.

Spinach Salad with Dates

spinach-salad-with-datesServes 4, can be doubled

I love this salad for Yom Tov. I add pomegranate seeds for Rosh Hashannah for extra color and crunch.

2 dates, pitted, plus ¾ cup chopped dates
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
¼ cup lime juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups baby spinach
½ cup pomegranate seeds, optional
½ cup French’s crispy fried onions

Blend whole dates, lime zest, lime juice, and ⅓ cup oil in a blender until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Toss spinach, chopped dates, and pomegranate seeds with dressing. Top with fried onions.

Curried Maple Mustard Chicken

curriedmaplemustardchicken
Serves 4, can be doubled

Here is a new twist on sweet and savory maple mustard chicken (which is great too). I love the addition of warm and flavorful curry to this dish. This can be made with chicken pieces of any type.

4 tablespoons margarine, cut into small pieces or canola oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mild or hot curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, optional
Kosher salt
Pepper
1 chicken, cut in 1/8’s, bone-in, skin-on

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish, combine the margarine with the maple syrup, mustard, curry powder and cayenne. Bake for about 5 minutes, until the margarine is melted. Whisk in a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and let cool slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the baking dish and turn to coat with the sauce. Carefully spoon some 
of the sauce under the chicken skin. Turn the chicken skin-side up and bake for about 1 hour, basting occasionally, until the chicken is glazed and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°.
Whisk the pan sauce and spoon over the chicken. Serve, passing additional sauce at the table.

Wild Rice with Roasted Grapes, Pecans and Sage

wild-rice-recipe
Serves 6 – 8

Nice hearty side dish with both crunch and a hint of sweetness to offset the earthy flavors of wild rice. It’s both sweet and savory and a great accompaniment to roasted chicken dishes and turkey.

1 cup wild rice
Kosher salt
2 cups seedless grapes, preferably a mix of colors
1 tablespoon balsamic glaze or vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or ½ teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Add the rice and 1 tsp. salt, turn the heat down to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the grains are tender but not split open, 45 to 55 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

In an 8×8-inch baking dish, toss the grapes with the balsamic glaze/vinegar and spread in a single layer. Roast until they’re soft but still hold their shape, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Heat oil in the saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pecans and syrup and cook until the syrup is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the sage. Add the rice, grapes, lemon juice, and pepper; stir gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and serve garnish with remaining sage.

Crispy Salt and Vinegar Baby Potatoes

crispy-salt-and-vinegar-potatoes
Serves 4 – 6

Like salt and vinegar potato chips? If so, this cooked potato recipe is for you. I love the spin on roasted potatoes and the salty, vinegar bite.

2 pounds baby Yukon Gold or red potatoes, halved, quartered if large
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
2 tablespoons unsalted margarine or canola oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Kosher salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon

Combine potatoes, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 tablespoon kosher salt in a medium saucepan; add water to cover by 1”. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 20–25 minutes; drain and pat dry.

Heat margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes; season with kosher salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar. Serve topped with chives and sea salt

Coffee Cake with Apple Cocoa Swirl and Streusel Topping

chestnut-coffee-cake-940x600
Yummy for dessert, as a breakfast treat or a great way to welcome a Yom Tov guest.

streusel
⅓ cup sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup (½ stick) chilled unsalted margarine, cut into ½” pieces , or canola

Apple filling
½ cup coarsely chopped apples (peeled)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup chopped toasted nuts, optional

cake
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted margarine, room temperature, plus more
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup Tofutti sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

special equipment:
A 9” springform pan

streusel
Combine sugar, all-purpose flour, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Work in butter with your fingers until mixture holds together when pinched but is still crumbly; cover and chill.

Filling
Cook apples, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons water in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until pan is almost dry and apples are coated in syrup, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Toss in cocoa and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Add nuts, If using.

Cake
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease pan and line bottom with a round of parchment paper; grease parchment. Whisk baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 2 cups flour in a medium bowl.


Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat sugar and ½ cup margarine until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in Tofutti sour cream and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients. Scrape half of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle apple filling over; top with remaining batter, then streusel.


Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake cake until top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool before unmolding.


Tip: This cake is best made a day or two ahead of time. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Another Homemade Basic Granola

homemade-quinoa
Makes 4 cups
Homemade granola is not only less expensive than the store bought variety but also more delicious. I love to customize it with my favorite ingredients and play with new combinations. One friend gave it out as a homemade mishloach manot and it was a huge hit! Granola is not just for breakfast, we love it crumbled into salad for added crunch, atop a noodle kugel or as an on-the-go snack.

3 cups old fashioned cooking oats
6 tablespoons canola oil or melted coconut oil (studies link this oil to helping with memory retention and better overall general health)
6 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or agave
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup nuts, any type, chopped
1 ½ teaspoon spices, mix 1 teaspoon cinnamon with ¼ – ½ teaspoon of any of these , nutmeg, mace, cocoa powder, curry, cardoman, or whatever you like
½ 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. Store in airtight container until ready to use.

Cherry-Almond Energy Bars

cherryalmond-bar
Serves 16

1 cup uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup tart dried cherries or craisins, coarsely chopped (or other dried fruit)
1/2 cup salted, dry-roasted almonds, chopped
1/3 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, optional
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted creamy almond butter
6 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°.
Spread oats and quinoa on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Place oat mixture in a large bowl, and stir in cherries, almonds, coconut, flaxseed meal, and chocolate.
Combine almond butter, honey, oil, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour almond butter mixture over oat mixture; toss well to coat. Press mixture into a greased 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Bake for 13 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in dish. Cut evenly into (1 x 4-inch) bars.

Edamame Dip

edamamedip
Makes 10 servings
Serve with vegetable crudite, crackers, alongside tuna, or on top of grilled salmon.

2 cups frozen shelled edamame
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons tofutti sour cream or mayonnaise
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine edamame and garlic in a small saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above edamame. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until edamame is tender. Remove from heat; drain well.
Combine edamame, garlic, basil, pine nuts, and Tofutti sour cream in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarsely ground. Add 1/4 cup water and remaining ingredients; process until almost smooth.

Umami Ice Cream Bars

umami-icecreambar
I’m still enjoying the sunshine and warm Shabbos afternoons. This pareve or dairy ice cream dessert has been very popular at my cooking classes. Umami, or pleasing to all senses, is one of my favorite food trends. I love recipes that include ingredients that are sweet, savory, crunchy, salty, creamy, and of course gorgeous to look at. This one has a delicious rich crust that is sweet and salty, an ice cream layer and a wonderful ganache and sprinkle of salt on top. You can make them days ahead of time and whip them out right before serving, except they may not last that long, if anyone knows they are there waiting for the taking.

Umami Ice Cream Bars
Makes 16 bars

11 chocolate tea biscuits, broken
1/2 cup walnuts (2 ounces), toasted
2-1/2 ounces salted pretzels (about 7 rods)
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons margarine, cut into tablespoons
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 pints pareve vanilla or mint chocolate chip ice cream, slightly softened
5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons pareve whipping cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt or finishing salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang all around.

In a food processor, pulse the tea biscuits until fine crumbs form. Add walnuts and pretzels and pulse to coarsely chop. Be careful, you want to leave the pretzels and nuts in chopped form, not in a crumb. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the margarine over very low heat. Add brown sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Slowly drizzle the egg and vanilla into the saucepan, whisking, until thickened, 2 minutes. Mix in the walnut mixture. Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish in an even layer and refrigerate the cookie base for 30 minutes. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool.

Spread 1-1/2 pints of the pareve ice cream over the cookie base and freeze for 2 hours. Reserve the remaining ice cream for another use.

For the ganache topping: In a small saucpan, combine chocolate, pareve whipping cream, corn syrup and the remaining 2 tablespoons margarine over very low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Pour the ganache over the ice cream and spread it evenly. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt or finishing salt. Freeze for 2 hours, until set.

Quinoa Granola

QuinoaGranola

Makes 6 cups

2 cups old fashioned oats
3⁄4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
1⁄2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup maple syrup
1⁄2 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix oats, quinoa, pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, cinnamon, and salt. Pour in maple syrup, coconut oil, and
vanilla and stir until well-combined.
Spread on baking sheet in a single layer and bake until golden brown, 30 – 35 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Remove from oven and press down on granola to help form clumps.
Cool and break into chunks. Store in airtight container until ready to use.

Yael’s Granola

yael-granola

One of my daughter’s friends, made this homemade granola and put it in small jelly jars and gave it out as a Purim mishloach manot. This unique and homemade gift was delicious and definitely our favorite Purim idea.

2-1/2 cups old fashioned cooking oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup olive oil or melted coconut oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 heaping tablespoon honey
1/3 cup pecan pieces or other nut
1/2 cup slivered almonds or other nut
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix ingredients together and spread on a wide baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for approximately 20 – 30 minutes, watching so that it does not burn.

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.