Warm Olive and Artichoke Dip

Remember that onion soup mix, spinach, sour cream dip that people used to serve in a big, scooped out bread? This warm artichoke dip with olives is a newer and more gourmet version. It’s a Shavuot recipe staple in our family.

1 (8-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (or 8 ounces canned)
¾ cup (packed) fresh basil leaves plus more for garnish
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup green or black olive tapenade (you may use store-bought as well)
1 (5.2-ounce) Boursin or Alouette Garlic and Herb cheese
Assorted pita chips, bagel chips, crackers and crusty bread

Preheat oven to 375. Coarsely chop artichokes and ¾ cup basil in the food processor. Transfer mixture to a 4-cup baking dish. Mix in Parmesan, tapenade and Boursin cheese. Bake until hot, about 30 minutes. Garnish with basil. Serve with breads and crackers.

Here’s a great product to serve all your kosher dips.

BBQ Glazed Chilean Sea Bass

1 cup white onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard powder
¾ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons instant coffee

BBQ sauce:
Heat the oil in a medium sized sauté pan. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until soft, five minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer slowly. Add the mustard powder, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon and instant coffee. And simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Chilean Sea Bass:
6 (6 ounce) fillets Chilean sea bass with skin
Kosher salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ cup BBQ sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the sea bass with salt and pepper. In an oven-safe skillet, heat the oil and sear the fish, skin side down. When the skin is crispy, turn the fish and glaze with the BBQ sauce. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the fish is flakey and opaque. Remove from the oven and let the fish rest and serve with extra BBQ sauce.

Mixed Citrus Salad with Escarole and Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

This citrus salad is perfect for Shavuot. It has the zesty citrus fruit, the crunch from the mixed greens, and a creamy blue cheese vinaigrette dressing. Don’t be afraid of trying the blue cheese vinaigrette; it’s milder when mixed in.

1/2 red onion, sliced thin and cut in 1/2
1 grapefruit
1 orange
2 mandarin oranges (1 small can, drained if you prefer)
1 ounce blue cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 cups torn escarole leaves or any green lettuce like romaine or red leaf
1/4 c fresh chervil or Italian parsley

Slice off top and bottom of grapefruit, then stand it upright. Following the contour of the fruit, slice off the peel & white pith in thick strips. Holding the fruit over a bowl, cut along each side of the membranes between the sections, letting each section of fruit and any juices drop into the bowl. Cut each section in 1/2 crosswise. Repeat with oranges and mandarins, then set citrus aside.

Put cheese in bottom of a large salad bowl and add olive oil. With a fork, mash the cheese into the oil till well blended. Stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper. Add escarole or greens and gently mix to coat evenly. Add all the citrus and their juices, red onion, minced chervil or parsley and mix to coat evenly. Serve immediately.

Still hungry? Try another great kosher salad recipe for Shavuot.

White House Cheesecake

They may not know about Shavuot but the White House pastry chef, Bill Yosses, does make a marvelous cheesecake, or so the Obamas say. Supposedly, this cheesecake recipe has been passed down from chef to chef and has been served since the Eisenhowers lived in the White House. The perfect American Shavuot recipe – kosher cheesecake at its patriotic best!

For the crust:
1 stick butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan
6 ounces chocolate wafer cookies
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour

For the filling:
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Sour cream or crème fraiche fro topping (optional)

Crust: Heat oven to 300 degrees. Butter and 8 –inch spring form or plain cake pan, and line bottom with parchment paper. Spread cookies on a baking pan and toast until very dry, about 10 minutes. Remove and leave oven on. Pulse in a food processor to make crumbs. Mix one cup lightly packed crumbs in a bowl with sugar and flour and then mix in melted butter. Pour into prepared pan and pres s in evenly.

Filling: In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, scraping down sides to eliminate lumps. Add sugar and honey, and mix until smooth. Crape down sides and add sour cream and heavy cream, then mix for 2 minutes.

With mixer running, add vanilla and then eggs one at a time and mix until completely smooth. Pour over cookie base.

Place pan in a larger baking pan. Fill that with hot water halfway up the side of the cake pan to make a water bath. Bake 80 to 90 minutes, or until just set. To test for doneness, shake cake pan gently. There should be no liquidity but it should undulate in a mass, like Jell-O. Remove from the oven to a rack and let it cook, then refrigerate it in the pan for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

If using spring form, remove the ring. If using a plain cake pan, warm bottom of pan over a very low flame one minute, moving it constantly to distribute hat. Invert cake onto a plate, then quickly re-invert onto a serving plate.

Frost top of cake with a think layer of sour cream, if using.

Still hungry? Here’s another delicious kosher cheesecake recipe.

Pesto Palmiers

photo: eatingoutloud.com


A great hors d’œuvre Shavuot recipe – small, simple, and delicious.

2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
6 tablespoons pesto
6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unfold each pastry sheet. Spread pesto over dough and sprinkle with cheese. Starting at long sides, toll up the dough from both sides, meeting in the middle. Lightly dampen the center seam of the pastry between the 2 rolls and press together. Cut into thick slices and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Grilled Balsamic Glazed Portobello Mushrooms


6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus 3/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 large Portobello mushrooms, wiped of any dirt, washed and quickly dried

Preheat the grill. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, toss the garlic cloves with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and salt. Wrap the garlic cloves in tinfoil and place on the tray in the center of the oven. Cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 20 to 25 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the balsamic with the 3/4 cup olive oil and mustard.

In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt. Place them, stem side up, on the hottest part of the grill. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, you may see liquid starting to emerge from the stem area. Turn on the other side and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Move to a cooler side of the grill and continue cooking until soft when pierced with a fork. Make sure to move them to an indirect heat part of the grill so that you do not burn the outside of the mushroom but still cook it through. Reseason them lightly with salt.

Remove the garlic from the oven. Squeeze the garlic pulp out from their skins and whisk it vigorously into the dressing. Arrange the mushrooms on a serving platter and top with the dressing. Serve immediately.

Skinny Cheesecake

Especially on Shavuot, I go for full fat desserts, but if you are watching your calories this is a great cheesecake recipe to have your cheesecake and eat it too.
½ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 ½ cups fat free small curd cottage cheese
1 cup Eggbeaters (original)
½ cup sugar
½ package (4 ounces) fat free cream cheese
¼ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom and dies of 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle graham crumbs evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of baking dish. Place cottage cheese and egg beaters in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add sugar, cream cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake 50 minutes, or until center is set and top is lightly browned. Cool and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until chilled. Cut into squares to serve. Garnish with fruit.

Sticky Chocolate Cake with Pina Colada Sauce


By Pastry Chef Ehud Ezra, Basil Restaurant.

This chocolate cake recipe has three components; the cake the sauce and the garnishing. It is a delicious alternative to the typical Shavuot recipe. Your family and guests will appreciate the change. You will love how easy it is to make and how impressive the dessert looks and tastes.

10 servings

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake:
10 – 4 ounce individual foil cups or ramekins
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup hot brewed coffee (instant can be used dissolved in hot water)
1/2 cup of buttermilk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Garnish: Toasted slivered almonds and toasted coconut

Preheat the oven temperature to 350.

In a mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until it is fluffy. Next add the eggs, mix until blended. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt, mix until blended. Then add the buttermilk and vanilla extract; blend it in and scrape the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Gradually add the hot coffee to the batter, until it is blended in. Make sure to scrape the bowl as you add ingredients to make sure everything is getting blended.

Spray the foil cups with non-stick canola spray, scoop the batter and place in the cups, more than 3/4 to the top of the cups.
Place cups on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes.
The cake should not be over baked; it should be cracked on the top and moist in the center.

Ingredients for Pina Colada Sauce:
1/4 cup of Coco Lopez (Cream of coconut)
1/4 cup of Pineapple juice
1/8 cup of white rum

Mix well and pour into individual small cups to serve along side the chocolate cakes.

Ingredients for Garnishing Chocolate Sauce:
2 semi-sweet chocolate bars, such as Schmerling’s
1/2 cup of heavy cream

Break the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl. In a small pot, boil the heavy cream. Add the hot cream to the chocolate, let it sit for a minute; this will melt the chocolate. Mix well with a whisk. Serve immediately or it will set. If you aren’t serving it immediately and it has to be warmed, simmer on low, or put in a bowl of hot water.

Garnish with toasted almond slivers and toasted coconut flakes. Toasting can be done in a dry frying pan or on a baking sheet at 350.

Here’s another great kosher cake recipe for Shavuot.

Halibut in Puttanesca Sauce

One of the best halibut recipes, and very healthy.

Puttanesca Sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 anchovies, roughly chopped or mashed with a fork
1/4 cup capers
3/4 cup pitted Moroccan oil-cured black olives, roughly chopped
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups Pomodoro Sauce (see recipe below)
6 (5-ounce) Halibut fillets, skinned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch basil, stemmed, for garnish

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until just fragrant, 1 minute. Add the anchovies, capers and olives and cook until the anchovies have begun to dissolve in the oil, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and the Pomodoro Sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the fish fillets, making sure they are submerged in the sauce, and gently simmer until the fish is cooked through and the flesh is milky white and slightly flaky, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the sauce and lots of fresh basil.

Fresh Pomodoro Sauce
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for garnish
12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
12 fresh tomatoes, cut in large chunks
3 (28-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
2 -1/2 teaspoons sugar
Kosher salt
¼ cup fresh basil, chifonnade or delicately sliced

In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, both fresh and canned and bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in sugar, and season with salt, to taste. Add fresh basil.

Serve sauce over hot pasta with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of basil, and cheese.

Let extra sauce cool completely and then seal in airtight containers. Refrigerate for up 1 week and freeze for up to 1 month.

Still hungry? Here’s another of our kosher fish recipes for Shavuot.

Mexican Pizza

1 cup cooked (can use canned) black beans
½ cup coarsely chopped roasted red peppers
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon chili powder
Dough for 1 12-inch pizza (can make fresh, buy dough from pizza shop or frozen or even buy the prepared crusts)
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup sliced black olives
1 scallion, minced
Sour cream for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Purée together beans, red peppers, garlic clove and chili powder. Dust a pizza pan with cornmeal and stretch dough across the pan or place prepared crust there. Spread the black bean purée across the dough leaving a small border. Sprinkle with the cheese, tomatoes, olives and scallion. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes – until crust is crisp and cheese is browned and bubbly (our family likes it “well-done” and the cheese very brown but let your family’s taste preferences be your guide). Cut into wedges and serve with dollops of sour cream, if desired.

Mini Lasagna with Sweet Corn and Mascarpone

Kosher lasagna recipe adapted from original mini lasagna recipe by Giada De Laurentis

Butter for ramekins
12 lasagna sheets
3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 cup whipping cream, at room temperature
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (4 ounces) finely grated Parmesan, plus 1/2 cup (2 ounces)
1 large lemon, zested
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Special equipment: 6 (10-ounce) ramekins, each 2 1/2 inches tall and 3 1/2 inches in diamete

Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter 6 (10-ounce) ramekins. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain. Using 2 cooked lasagna noodles in an “x” shape, line each ramekin, pushing the noodles gently into the bottom of the ramekins, allowing any excess pasta to overhang on the sides.

In a food processor, blend the corn, cream and garlic until chunky. Add the mascarpone, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Add the basil and pulse until just combined. Spoon 1/4 cup of the filling into the bottom of each ramekin and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella. Fold 2 overhanging pieces of pasta over the filling, (trim the ends of the pasta with scissors, if necessary). Add another 1/4 cup of filling to each ramekin and top with another 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Fold over the 2 remaining overhanging pieces of pasta.

Spoon any remaining filling on top of the pasta. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil. Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until the tops are golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.

To serve: Run a knife around the edge of the ramekins to loosen the lasagnas. Unmold the lasagnas onto serving plates and serve.

Salmon Wrapped in Puff Pastry with Spinach and Mushrooms

Serves 4 as a main dish, can be doubled
4 (6-ounce) center cut salmon fillets, skin removed (equal size pieces)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 cups washed, dried, and loosely packed fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup sour cream
2 frozen puff pastry sheets, defrosted
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Brush both sides of the salmon with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Warm 2 tablespoons oil in 2 separate skillets over medium-high heat. Add half of the onion and half the garlic to each pan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and thyme into 1 pan and the spinach, lemon zest and remain lemon juice in the other pan. Stir the spinach until it wilts, then transfer it to a bowl and set aside. Sauté the mushrooms until they are reduced and tender, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream. Set aside.

Unroll a pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin lightly seal the seams and lengthen the dough slightly. Cut the pastry sheet into 3 equal strips, using the natural seams as a guide. Roll out the second puff pastry sheet to get 1 more strip. Save remaining puff pastry for another use. Lightly prick the 4 strips with a fork. Put 1 heaping spoonful of mushroom mixture on 1 half of each pastry, top with salmon, and then layer with a heaping spoonful of spinach mixture. Wet the edges of the pastry with water and fold over the other half, pressing lightly and folding to seal the edges. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling. Cut 2 vents on the top of each pastry packet and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake until the pastry is golden and fish is just opaque in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Garnish with chives or parsley and serve with honey mustard sauce if you wish.

Savory Parmesan Biscotti

photo: flickr


2-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (fresh not the powdered)
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
2 teaspoons rosemary
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add butter and using hands or a fork, mix until coarse crumbs for. Add cheese and stir to combine. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary and garlic. Add to the flour mixture and mix well. Divide in half. Shape each piece into an approximately 10-inch log and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten until about 3 inches wide. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and slice. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Berry Baked Brie


1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1/3 cup berry preserves
8 ounces wheel Brie cheese
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
Crackers and slices of fruit

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unfold puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll gently to seal any cracks in pastry. Spoon preserves onto center of pastry. Place cheese on top of preserves. Sprinkle evenly with nuts. Fold pastry up over the cheese to cover. Trim excess pastry and press to seal seams. Reserve pastry scraps.

Whisk egg and water in small bowl. Brush seams with egg mixture. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Cut pastry scraps into decorative shapes and arrange on top, if desired. Brush with egg mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 20 minutes before cutting. Serve with crackers and sliced fruit.

Bourbon Barbecue Sliced Steak Sliders


Adapted from GKC fav, Rachael Ray, who creates food with flavor and fun is really enjoyable to watch. She makes it look like anyone can make it just like her.

For the Bourbon BBQ Sauce:
2 shots of good quality bourbon
1 cup ketchup
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin, scant
Pinch of ground cloves or allspice
Coarse black pepper

For the steaks:
1-1/2 pounds flank steak or skirt steak
Vegetable oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup beef stock
12 soft slider rolls, split

Yields: Makes 12 sloppy sliders

For BBQ sauce, combine all ingredients a medium skillet and bring to a low bubble. Simmer gently and reduce 20 minutes.

While the sauce reduces, drizzle the meat lightly with vegetable oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bring the meat to room temperature.

Heat a cast-iron pan or griddle or grill pan over medium-high to high heat. Cook steaks 4 minutes on each side and let rest. Thinly slice meat on angle against the grain and add to the skillet with the BBQ sauce along with the beef stock to combine meat with sauce.

Serve sliced meat on soft rolls topped with onions, pickles, tomatoes, and classic cole slaw alongside.

A “JEWEL” of a Cheesecake

From the kitchen of: Julie Feinberg

This cheesecake was the winning cheesecake recipe last year at the school cheesecake bake off. It is delicious and smooth and very easy to make. People requested it at the bake sale that followed the contest and we sold 4 of them for about $40 each!

CRUST:
1-1/3 cup graham crackers
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (omit if using cinnamon graham crackers)

Crush graham crackers and mix ingredients together. Press into bottom of 9″ round springform pan.

FILLING:
5 rectangular packages (8 ounces) cream cheese
1-3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoon flour
3/4 teaspoon each lemon and orange rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
5 whole eggs and 2 yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream

Let eggs and cream cheese come to room temperature (about 2 hours). Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Combine next 6 ingredients in separate bowl. Beat into cream cheese. Add eggs one at a time. Fold in heavy cream. Pour into pan.
Bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 225 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in for an additional 10 minutes.
Let it come to room temperature and refrigerate. Serve with fresh berries if you like.

Spinach Salad With Grilled Corn and Onion

A twist on the traditional spinach salad recipe, with a delicious mix of grilled corn and onion.

3 ears of corn, shucked
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt and pepper
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, separated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 cups baby spinach
1 red onion, sliced
½ cup cherry tomatoes

Preheat the grill to high. Brush corn with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill corn, turning often until tender and blackened in places about 6 minutes. Let cool and with a sharp knife slice off the kernels. Set aside.

Toss onion with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add a pinch of kosher salt. Place the onion on the grill or in a vegetable grilling rack and cook until wilted and soft, about 5 minutes.

To make spinach salad dressing: Whisk Dijon mustard with remaining 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and kosher salt and pepper to taste. While whisking, mix in the ¼ cup olive oil to emulsify.

Combine spinach, grilled onion, grilled corn, and cherry tomatoes. Toss with dressing and serve.

Chocolate, Caramel, Cookie Dough Decadent Cheesecake


OMG! This is a Shavuot recipe dream come true: cheesecake, cookie dough and chocolate. Is there anything better?

Crust
2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Chocolate Layer:
6 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cheesecake Layer:
1/2 cup caramel syrup
1 (16 1/2-ounce) package refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream

Chocolate Ganache:
6 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

For the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the melted butter, stirring to combine. Press the crust into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 6 minutes; let cool.

For the chocolate layer: Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter (or microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until the chocolate is melted and smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes total). Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and flour until just combined. Pour into the bottom of the cooled crust and bake for 15 minutes; let cool.

For the cheesecake layer: Spread the caramel topping evenly over the cooled chocolate layer. Cut the cookie dough crosswise into 1-inch slices. Place the slices in an even layer over the caramel, pressing gently together to seal the edges.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and flour until just combined. Stir in the sour cream. Pour the mixture over the cookie dough layer and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and gently run a knife around the edges to release the crust from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely.

For the ganache: Using a double boiler, combine the chocolate and cream and melt (or microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until the chocolate is melted and smooth, about 1 minute total). Spread over the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.

Jamaican Tuna Salad

1 pound tuna steaks, 1-inch thick
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon minced garlic
Dash cloves
1 (16-ounce) package rotelle pasta, cooked and drained
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cucumber, chopped
4 scallions, minced

Whisk together lemon juice, sugar, allspice, cayenne, pepper, salt, garlic and cloves. Brush fish with half the mixture and broil for about 7 minutes. Turn and brush with remaining mixture. Broil for an additional 7 minutes. Cool and flake. Whisk together oil and vinegar and toss together all ingredients. Let side for ½ hour (refrigerate if longer) to allow flavors to blend.

Old Fashioned Pound Cake

Here is the pound cake recipe we would like to share with you complements of Chef Doris Schechter, My Most Favorite Food

Makes 1-10” pound cake

Ingredients:

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
6 extra-large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ pound cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
Optional Garnish: Fresh berries and Schlag (whipped cream)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10” fluted tube pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Into another bowl, break the eggs, then add the lemon juice and vanilla, without stirring.
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the cream cheese and sugar on medium-low speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg mixture, beating until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until all the flour is incorporated and the batter is smooth.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 10 minutes. Unmold the cake onto the rack and let cool completely before cutting into slices. Store the pound cake, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

It is wonderful with fresh berries and Schlag (fresh whipped cream)

Maple Walnut Truffles

Not sure how to make truffles? No worries – this truffles recipe is simple enough, and tastes incredible.

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup butter, cubed
7-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons maple flavoring or extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons shortening

In a small saucepan, combined sweetened condensed milk and butter. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted. Pour powdered sugar into a large bowl. Add melted butter mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in the walnuts, maple flavoring and vanilla. Roll into balls and place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm – about 1 hour. In a microwave, melt the chocolate chips, bittersweet chocolate and shortening. Stir until smooth. Dip balls into chocolate and place on waxed paper. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tzipi’s Mother’s Cheesecake Squares

My friend Tzipi gave me her mom’s cheesecake recipe. It’s creamy, delicious, and super easy to make. Thanks Tzipi!

Filling:
6 ounces cottage cheese
10 ounces farmer cheese
4 eggs
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
8 ounces sour cream

Crust:
½ cup (1 stick) margarine or butter
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar

Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt margarine or butter and mix with graham cracker crumbs, and sugar. Press into bottom of 9×12 lasagna pan.

Filling:
Blend all ingredients with hand mixer until smooth.
Pour cheese mixture on top of crust.
Bake for 1 hour. Let cool and refrigerate. Cut when cold into squares.

Lemon, Ginger, Raspberry Iced Tea with Raspberry Ice Cubes

I am on a personal mission to rid the beautiful Shabbos table of soda and soda bottles. Here is a tea to try that both adults and kids will enjoy.

1 cup raspberries or other berry of choice, rinsed
Water for ice cube trays, plus 8 cups water, divided
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup (2 ounces) coarsely chopped fresh ginger (you can leave the peel on)
6 tea bags, mixture of white tea and raspberry zinger (all raspberry if you prefer)
½ cup lemonade or fresh lemons, juiced
1 bottle seltzer
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Place about 2-4 berries in each compartment of an ice cube tray. Fill with water and freeze.

Place honey, 2 cups water and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let mixture steep for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, then strain out tea bags and ginger.

In a pitcher combine strained liquid with 6 cups seltzer and lemonade. Chill in refrigerator.

Serve in a pitcher with raspberry ice cubes and fresh mint

Lemon and Honey Roast Chicken

Easy

This is my new favorite go-to chicken dish. It’s super easy and really full of flavor. The color is glossy and the roasted lemon is fabulous.
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 chickens, cut in 1/8’s
Kosher salt
5 large rosemary sprigs
9 garlic cloves, quartered
1-2 lemons, cut into 12 wedges

Preheat the oven to 450°. In a small bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice and soy sauce. Set the chickens on a large rimmed baking sheet and season with kosher salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh rosemary. Scatter the garlic and lemon all over the chicken and in between the chicken pieces. Brush two-thirds of the honey glaze over the chickens. Roast in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°. Brush with the remaining glaze. Roast the chickens for about 45 minutes longer, until the juices run clear when the thighs are pierced; turn the pan halfway through roasting. Serve with the roasted garlic and lemons.

Strawberry Bread

A friend made this for a local charity event. It is moist and can be made a few days ahead of time. It is perfect cake to have around for sleepover guests to munch on all day.
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-½ cups canola oil
2 pints strawberries, quartered

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer, blend all ingredients except strawberries. Mix until smooth, about 1 minute. Add strawberries and mix until just incorporated. Spray a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55 minutes.