Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Walking around farmer’s markets you will see an abundance of tomatoes, all types, and fresh basil. This combination is easy to grow in most summer climates and the most commonly home grown combination. Both my mint and basil and growing wild in my amongst the roses and black-eyed susans. What to do with farm fresh tomatoes and basil? These great recipes below with both tomatoes and garlic, are great for mid-week or for Shabbos.

Tomato Peach Salad
Poached Salmon with Fresh Basil Mayonnaise
Spaghetti with No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti with No-Cook Tomato Sauce


Serves 6

½ cup blanched almonds
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
12 ounces spaghetti or linguine
1 beefsteak tomato, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup basil leaves, divided
2 small zucchini (about 8 ounces), coarsely grated
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Place cherry tomatoes in a large bowl; season with salt.

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, purée beefsteak tomato, garlic, red pepper flakes, ½ cup basil, 3 tablespoons chopped almonds, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until smooth; add to bowl with salted cherry tomatoes. Add zucchini, spaghetti, pasta cooking liquid, ¼ cup oil, and remaining ½ cup basil leaves and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.

Divide pasta among bowls, drizzle with more oil, and remaining almonds.

Poached Salmon with Fresh Basil Mayonnaise

Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa makes this mayonnaise. I love it and make it both with and without the cheese. I serve it alongside grilled or poached fish or as a sandwich condiment.

Serves 8

Poached Salmon
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise:
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese,optional
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil, at room temperature
1/2 cup good olive oil, at room temperature

Make salmon as per recipe link above.
For the mayonnaise: Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, Parmesan, mustard, basil, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for 20 seconds, until smooth. Combine the vegetable oil and olive oil in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, slowly pour the oil mixture through the feed tube to make a thick emulsion. Taste for seasonings -- the mayonnaise is a sauce so it should be highly seasoned. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep for up to a week.

Serve salmon drizzled with basil mayonnaise and topped with chopped tomatoes.

Tomato and Peach Salad

Serves 4

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Generous pinch flaky sea salt
Generous pinch freshly ground black pepper
4 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 lb.), cored and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 cups peaches, sliced
4 medium fresh mint leaves, torn
4 basil leaves, torn

In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, sugar, rosemary, olive oil balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Arrange the tomato slices on 4 plates or a platter, top with the peaches, and drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the top. Season lightly with salt and pepper and garnish with the mint and basil.

Summer Time Salad Time

The requests for new salads come fast and frequent all summer long. Whether for weeknights, Shalosh Seudos, or for Shabbos day, people are hungrier for salads during the summer and definitely craving new recipes. This week I have two versatile summer vinaigrettes (and salad suggestions to go with the vinaigrettes) that will brighten your palate and your table. These are both fresh, light and easy.
Lemon Vinaigrette
Blueberry Vinaigrette

Blueberry Vinaigrette

Makes ½ cup, can be doubled

¼ cup blueberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce) or Sriracha sauce
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Sprinkle black pepper

In a small saucepan, mash blueberries with sugar and lemon juice and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Cook until thickened about 8 minutes. Cool.

Whisk in oil, vinegar and adobo sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve on mixed greens with blueberries, toasted nuts, and avocado. Or add some goat cheese for a dairy side dish.

Serve on baby spinach lettuce with radishes, blueberries, red onion, and toasted sweet nuts.

Double the dressing, and pour over mixed cabbage, purple and green, with blueberries, red onion, parsley, and cilantro.

Lemon Vinaigrette

Makes ½ cup, can be doubled

2 tablespoons minced shallots
½ teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix shallots, zest, juice, vinegar, and thyme. Whisk in olive oil until fully blended. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve on mixed greens or kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives. Or atop boiled potatoes with grilled vegetables and fresh basil for a great potato salad.

Mason Jar S’mores

5 whole graham crackers
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

3 cups whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

50 miniature marshmallows
2 graham crackers, broken into large pieces

Special equipment: Six 5-ounce jars and a kitchen torch or broiler

For the graham cracker crust: Pulse graham crackers and butter in a food processor until crushed into crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs to each of six 5-ounce jars. Press the crumbs down to the bottoms with the back of a spoon. Reserve the remaining graham cracker crumbs.

For the pudding: Heat the milk until hot but not boiling in a saucepan on the stove or in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave (1 minute on high). Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl and add the hot milk, slowly at first, stirring constantly so the eggs do not scramble. Continue until all the milk is incorporated.
Add the sugar, cornstarch and salt to a medium saucepan. Whisk until there are no lumps. Slowly whisk in the hot milk mixture in a steady stream so lumps do not form. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble and has thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Distribute the pudding among the jars and refrigerate until fully set, 2 to 3 hours.
For the toppings:
Remove the jars from the refrigerator 2 hours before serving to come to room temperature. Just before serving, top the pudding with another layer of the reserved graham cracker crumbs. Add the miniature marshmallows to cover. Use a kitchen torch to brown the marshmallows (or carefully place under the broiler for 15-30 seconds). Top each S'mores in a Jar with a large piece of graham cracker.

Watermelon Gazpacho

Serves 6

1 ½ cups mint, chopped
4 large English cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2 1/3 cups seeded and diced watermelon
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or Tofutti sour cream
1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup pepitas, toasted

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mint. Place the remaining mint in a large bowl along with the cucumbers, 2 cups watermelon, yogurt, onion, cilantro, lemon juice, ginger, cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoon salt. In small batches, puree in a food processor until smooth. Place in a pitcher or large bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Taste the gazpacho before serving and season with additional salt if needed. Divide the soup among 6 chilled bowls and top with the feta, toasted pepitas, remaining watermelon, and reserved mint.

Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies


Need a summer or beach snack? Want to liven up regular chocolate chip cookies? How about make an incredible ice cream sandwich with crispy, soft, and flat chocolate chip cookies? These cookies are a great spin on regular chocolate chip cookies and have become a late afternoon treat for the kids playing in the yard. Malted milk powder is the secret ingredient and it adds a smoky, sweet, flavor to these cookies. They spread on the baking sheet so don’t cook too many at the same time, and this makes them awesome in homemade ice cream sandwiches too.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

2 sticks unsalted margarine/butter, softened
3/4 cup golden brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup malted milk powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
One 12-ounce bag milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream the butter, then add both sugars and cream until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat slightly, then add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add the malted milk powder and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture, beating gently until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir in gently.

Drop by teaspoonfuls (or use a cookie scoop) on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between the cookies (they spread out quite a bit). Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. The cookies will be very flat and very chewy. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan with a spatula.

Optional: Allow to cool completely, then use 2 cookies to make an ice cream sandwich. Add sprinkles to the sides of the ice cream, then wrap individually in plastic wrap.

Sweet Corn Soup with Imitation Crab or Smoked Salmon

Serves 4
Refreshing and sweet and perfect as a first course for Shabbos! Use any type of fish, imitation crab, smoked salmon, sushi-grade salmon or tuna, or omit and serve with microgreens as a garnish.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
5 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 6 ears)
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups water
1/3 cup non-dairy creamer, pareve whipping cream or soymilk
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 pound imitation crab, or other fish, chopped

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add corn, salt, and pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 6 minutes. Place corn mixture and non-dairy milk/whipping cream in a blender. Be careful blending hot mixture, allow some steam to escape. Blend until smooth.
Place peas in a small bowl; mash slightly with a fork. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil, basil, and imitation crab; serve over soup.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Celebrate Dads and Grads with these adorable and delicious cupcakes. They scream bright, fresh, adorable and happy! Perfect for BBQ time too. The frosting is so decadent and these have a showstopper presentation.


Makes 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup pareve creamer (non-dairy milk), soymilk, or whole milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the meringue:
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze:
2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
1 tablespoon limoncello or other lemon-flavored liqueur (optional)
6 to 7 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners (or bake one batch and repeat with same pan). Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl until combined. Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, pareve milk, vegetable oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla in a large bowl until combined. Whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling them ¾ of the way to the top (not more or they will bake too high). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 24 to 28 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Make the meringue: Beat the egg whites and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to high and gradually beat in 2 tablespoons granulated sugar; beat until stiff shiny peaks form, about 3 minutes.

Combine the remaining 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, the corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture registers 245 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 6 minutes; remove from the heat. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites; increase the speed to high and beat until the meringue is fluffy and cool, about 6 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe onto the cupcakes; set aside at room temperature to firm up, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, limoncello and food coloring in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth. Microwave 1 minute, then whisk again until the sugar dissolves; let cool about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Dip the meringue-covered tops of the cupcakes into the glaze, letting the excess drip off. If the glaze gets too thick, microwave 20 seconds.

Mocha Ice Cream Pops – Pareve or Dairy

I saw these delicious and fun summer treats in Food and Wine magazine. I made them for a BBQ and they were a big hit and definitely scream, “Summer is here!” I made them pareve but they are certainly creamy and good in the dairy version too.

Serves 10

2-1/2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup ground medium-roast coffee (3 ounces)
1 cup heavy cream or pareve whipping cream
Chopped toasted hazelnuts, toasted nuts, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips

Line a sieve with cheesecloth. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the coffee and 
1 3/4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 4 minutes, stirring. Strain the coffee over the chocolate; whisk until melted. Let cool, then refrigerate for at least 
2 hours or overnight. In a medium bowl, using 
a hand mixer, beat the cream with the remaining sugar at medium speed until soft peaks form. Whisk the chilled mocha mixture until smooth, then fold in the whipped cream. Pour the mocha mixture into the ice pop molds and freeze for at least 4 hours. If using hazelnuts, press the frozen 
ice pops into the chopped nuts and return to the freezer 
for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Classic Cucumber Salad

Serves 8 -10

2 English cucumbers, sliced thin
1 Vidalia onion, sliced thin
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill

In a large bowl, mix cucumbers (don’t peel them, the color is nice). Add water, sugar, vinegar, salt and dill. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve. Best prepared a few hours or a day ahead of time, so that the flavors have time to meld together.

BBQ Desserts

BBQ season has officially begun. This means not only great meats, marinades, condiments, and side dishes but also special desserts that pair so well with BBQ. For me, that is either poundcake, strawberry shortcake, fruit crisps, or brownies and blondies. These are all big hits on GKC. What are your BBQ dessert favorites? I’d love to share your BBQ recipes, please SHARE your recipe with us! Or take a pic of it and send it to us.

Super Terrific Poundcake
BBQ Strawberry Shortcake
Cherry Berry Crisp
Crunchy Chocolate and Pareve Nutella Brownies

Cherry Berry Crisp


Serves 8

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks cold margarine
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Three 12-ounce bags frozen tart cherries
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
To Serve:
2 cups pareve whipping cream
Pareve Vanilla ice cream, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare the crumb mixture: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.

Cut the cold margarine into pieces. Add to flour mixture and with a fork or pastry blender, cut it into the flour mixture. The mixture should resemble a moist, coarse meal. Add the slivered almonds and combine thoroughly.

Place the still-frozen cherries in a bowl, add blueberries, the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch and almond extract and gently stir the cherries to combine.

Pour fruit into an oven-safe baking dish or divide fruit between 8 ramekins (about 1/2 cup each). Top with the crumb mixture, pressing it slightly onto the fruit.

Bake until the topping is crisp and golden brown, about 45 minutes. If the topping appears underdone, continue baking in 10 minute increments until it's done.

To serve: Whip the pareve whipped cream in a standing mixer. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serve the individual crisps warm or at room temperature with a dollop of freshly whipped cream or pareve vanilla ice cream.

BBQ Strawberry Shortcake

Serves 10

1 Super Terrific Poundcake
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup pareve whipping cream or heavy cream, whipped until soft peaks form

In a small bowl, mix strawberries with sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Slice poundcake in 1 ½ inch thick slices and place on a dessert plate. Spoon berries and juices over slice. Top with whipping cream.

Alternatively, slice cake horizontally. Spread whipped cream over center of cake, top with berries and juices. Place other half of cake on top of fruit and whipped cream. Chill. Top cake with any additional fruit, berries and whipped cream. Slice and serve.

Super Terrific Poundcake

Serves 10

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup pareve whipping cream or heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Do not preheat the oven. Grease and flour the bottom, sides and tube of a 9-inch tube cake pan.

Cream the margarine/butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, but do not overbeat. Set the mixer on slow speed and stir in the flour and cream alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the vanilla and stir well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and put the cake in a cold oven. Set the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Begin timing now and bake the cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake. The toothpick should be clean when it is removed. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to continue cooling.

2 Weekday Dishes, So Easy Peasy

We just finished a beautiful Yom Tov, lots and lots of cooking and serving and great meals shared with special people. I’m a bit tired though and in need of some quick and light dinners to get through the next few, very busy, weeks before summer. Luckily, a guest bought me an interesting and useful new cookbook, titled, Sheet Pan Suppers, by Molly Gilbert. She brings a whole new perspective to the art of weeknight cooking. Everything cooks right on a rimmed baking sheet, quickly and with little cleanup. Try these two from her book.

Broiled Salmon and Asparagus with Crème Fraiche
Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs with Zucchini and Summer Squash

Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs with Zucchini and Summer Squash

Serves 4

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for cooling rack
6 medium yellow squash or zucchini, or both (about 1 1/2 lbs. total), sliced into 1/2-in. rounds
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1-1/2 pounds boned, skinned chicken thighs (5 to 8 pieces)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat broiler with oven rack 3 to 4 in. from heat. Set a metal cooling rack in a 12- by 17-in. rimmed baking sheet and coat lightly with oil.
Remove cooling rack and put squash on baking sheet. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper; toss to coat. Spread squash in a single layer and set cooling rack on top, nudging squash aside as needed so rack lies even.
In a large bowl, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt with the curry powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne. Set aside 1-1/2 teaspoon spice mix.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the chicken thighs to large bowl and toss chicken to coat. Place spiced chicken smooth (skinned) side up on cooling rack over zucchini.
Broil chicken and squash, turning chicken once, until starting to char at edges, about 16 minutes total.
Meanwhile, make glaze: Whisk together reserved spice mix, honey, mustard, and vinegar in a small bowl.
Remove chicken and zucchini from oven. Generously brush chicken with glaze. Return to oven and broil, smooth side up, until nicely charred and an instant-read thermometer registers 165° when inserted in thickest part, about 4 minutes. Remove rack of chicken from baking sheet and set aside.
Return squash to oven and broil until most pieces are charred, 2 to 3 minutes more. Lift squash from juices and serve with chicken.

Broiled Salmon and Asparagus with Crème Fraiche

Serves 4

2 bunches asparagus (about 2 lbs. total)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 skinned salmon fillets (5 to 6 oz. each)
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or scallions

Preheat broiler with oven rack about 4 in. from heat.
Snap off bottom of an asparagus spear to see where it breaks easily. Line up remaining spears and slice off bottoms at the same spot. Put trimmed asparagus on a 12- by 17-in. rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on baking sheet.
Season salmon with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then set on top of asparagus in a single layer.
Broil salmon and asparagus until salmon is no longer translucent but still moist in center and asparagus is browned in spots, 8 to 12 minutes. If asparagus isn't done, lift salmon to a platter and return asparagus to oven for a few more minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together crème fraîche, mustard, chives, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
Serve salmon and asparagus with crème fraîche sauce.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

By Melissa Clark, from the New York Times

Lush, creamy, crunchy and full of lemon.

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

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

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

Sweet and Sour Strawberry Semifreddo


Serves 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serve semifreddo topped with toasted sesame seeds.

Penne Alla Vodka

Serves 4

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

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

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


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

Mustard Pickled Herring
Curried Pickled Herring