Chicken Udon Soup

soup-udon
This soup is like a meal in a bowl. It’s nutritious and filling and super delicious. For me, it has become a classic and a keeper.

1 (3 1/2-ounce) package fresh shiitake mushrooms

4 cups chicken stock

6 (1/4-inch) slices peeled fresh ginger

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 green onion, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 star anise, optional (I usually skip this)

6 ounces dried udon noodles (thick Japanese wheat noodles)

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup sake or dry white wine

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces)

1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup diagonally cut green onions
Remove stems from mushrooms; reserve stems. Thinly slice mushroom caps; set aside. Combine mushroom stems, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, green onion and star anise in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Strain stock through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids.
Cook udon noodles according to package directions and rinse with cold water;
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add reserved sliced mushroom caps to pan, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add minced ginger and minced garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add sake, and cook for 4 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add stock to pan. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low. Add chicken, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, and salt; simmer for 2 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated. Divide noodles evenly among 4 bowls. Add 1 1/2 cups soup to each bowl. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions.

Classic Potato Leek Soup

soup-potatoleek
Makes this one pareve or dairy. If you make it dairy use butter in place of the margarine and use dairy sour cream. It can be made a few days ahead of time. Keep it chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Serves 8 – 10

4 tablespoons unsalted margarine or butter
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced crosswise
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 cups water
1/2 cup Tofutti sour cream or sour cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Freshly ground pepper

Melt the margarine/butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks, onions and 2 teaspoons of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the brandy and white wine and boil until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the potatoes are very tender, about 35 minutes.

With an immersion blender puree the soup (you can use a blender too) until very smooth. Return the soup to the pan. Add the Tofutti sour cream and bring to just a simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt. Ladle the soup into heatproof glasses or bowls. Garnish with the chives and pepper and serve.

Classic Split Pea Soup

soup-splitpea
This is a recipe by Ina Garten. I added red wine and like to top it with some chopped cooked pastrami. Its great pareve too. Just substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock or pareve chicken stock.
Serve 8 – 10

1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups medium-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
1 cup medium-diced small red potatoes, unpeeled (3 small)
1 pound dried split green peas
8 cups chicken stock or beef stock
¼ cup red wine

In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions and garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, 1/2 pound of split peas, and chicken stock. Add the wine. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking. Add the remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Roasted Salmon Greek Salad

roastedsalmon-greeksalad

Serves 4

This is a seriously healthy dinner or lunch that is also so easy to make. I’ve been serving it on Thursday night when my little kids enjoy their pizza. In our family, the
big kids and the adults prefer a salmon dinner to pizza (okay we are nuts!) or prefer to eat the salmon salad and then some pizza. The yogurt sauce is a great addition.

Roasted Salmon:
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for sprinkling
2/3 pound salmon fillets, skinned (1-inch thick at thickest part, preferably center cut)
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Greek Salad:
1/2 cup mixed olives
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled, sliced into half moons
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta

For the salmon: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a cooking sheet with foil and lightly oil.
Sprinkle the salmon with the 2 teaspoons oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Cook the salmon until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Let the salmon cool slightly, then flake with a fork.

For the yogurt sauce: Whisk the yogurt, 1 tablespoon water, lemon zest, juice, mint, salt and pepper in a bowl until combined.

For the Greek salad: Toss the olives, tomatoes, lettuce, scallion and cucumber in a medium bowl. Whisk the vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small bowl. Gradually add the oil, whisking until emulsified. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Sprinkle the feta on top.

Serve the flaked roasted salmon on top of the Greek salad and drizzle with the yogurt sauce.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Plate-of-cookies

Makes 2 ½ dozen, depending on how much batter you eat

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup pretzels, coarsely broken in pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs, peanut butter and vanilla. Add flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir in chocolate chips and pretzels.
Place about 1-1/2 teaspoonfuls of rounded dough on ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly because they do not flatten much while cooking. Bake for 11- 14 minutes.

Cheddar Cheese Soup with Pretzel Croutons

Serves 6

Some of the deliciousness from this recipe comes from the roasted vegetables. To roast them, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place vegetables in an even layer on a low-sided baking sheet or cookie sheet. Spray them lightly with cooking spray. Roast in the oven until shriveled and somewhat blackened, about 20 – 30 minutes. * To roast the garlic, slice the top of the head of garlic with a knife. Place it on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle the top with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 50 minutes. After it is cool, squeeze the garlic out of the skin.

2 Poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped (or green peppers)
2 red peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, roasted and chopped
2 cloves garlic, roasted, peeled and smashed
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups vegetable stock
1-1/2 cups whole or lowfat milk
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
4 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
3 cups coarsely chopped pretzels, preferably the thick twisted ones

Garnish: extra olive oil to drizzle, cheddar cheese, and chopped green onion
Peel chiles under running water, remove seeds and chop. Chop the cooled onion and smash the roasted garlic. Set aside.
Place butter in a medium saucepan and melt. Add flour and stir for 2 – 3 minutes making a light roux (a thickener). Add the chiles, onion and garlic to the pot and stir. Slowly whisk in the vegetable stock, milk and heavy cream. Bring soup to a low boil, then turn the heat down so that the soup barely simmers for 20 minutes. Begin adding cheddar cheese by a half cup increments stirring after each addition. Add the cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Soup should be thick and flavorful. Ladle soup into bowls and top with pretzel croutons, grated cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions.

Pretzel Crusted Tilapia

Pretzel-Crusted-Fish-4_thumb

Serves 4

4 tilapia fillets, or other similar white fish (about 6 ounces each)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
⅓ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons milk
½ cup flour
3 cups pretzels, crushed
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Pat fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
In shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, mayonnaise, and milk. Place flour in another shallow bowl.
In a separate shallow bowl, combine pretzels, sugar, and garlic powder. Coat fillets in flour, then dip in egg mixture. Coat with pretzel mixture. Place fish on a baking pan and spray fish lightly with cooking spray.
Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Kosher Homemade Pigs in a Blanket

pigsin-a-blanket

Yes, the universal term “pigs in a blanket” can be made kosher. I use kosher sausage, frankfurters, or hotdogs and although there is no pork, people still call them by their common name. Don’t worry, no pork here.

Whether its game night, movie night, or an elegant party, homemade pigs in a blanket will be a super big hit. Everyone loves pigs in a blanket. No matter what type of party I am cooking for, hosts and guests request them every time. My version are quite extraordinary because I brush the puff pastry with barbeque sauce and homemade honey mustard sauce.

Also, I use lots of different kinds of hot dogs, regular beef frankfurters for kids, and flavored sausage or kielbasa for adults. Check your supermarket for great brands and flavors and try them all. Don’t forget to serve these with awesome dipping sauces, like flavored mayonnaise or duck sauce. My favorites are homemade honey mustard (check out the video on how to make it!) and Sweet and Zesty Ketchup (that video and recipe are coming soon!)

Serves 8

2 sheets puff pastry
1 package hot dogs, kielbasa, or Italian sausage (kosher all beef, turkey, or chicken, no pork here)
Honey mustard sauce
Barbeque sauce

Unfold puff pastry and gently roll it out a little. Cut it into 4 pieces.
Spread a small amount about a teaspoon of honey mustard and barbeque sauce on the puff pastry, leaving an edge on all sides without sauce (if you use too much here it gets too soggy). You can use any sauce that you like, smoky mayonnaise, spicy mustard, s’riachi or nothing if you like them plain.

Place a hot dog at the end closest to you. Fold in the sides and gently roll it up. Roll up the others until you have used all the puff pastry. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Take the hot dogs out of the refrigerator. With a sharp knife, slice them in about 1-inch thick pieces. Place them 2-inches apart on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the pastry is puffy, and lightly browned. Serve with honey-mustard dipping sauce and Sweet and Zesty Ketchup.

Chicken and White Bean Chili

chicken-whitebean

This is a great cold weather chili. It has a terrific thick texture and lots of heat. If you like a milder chili, just reduce the amount of adobe chiles in the recipe or use ancho chili powder in its place. Both are available at supermarkets nationwide.

1 ripe avocado, cut in a medium dice
1 large onion, finely diced
Juice of 2 limes, about 6 Tbs.
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoe
1-1/2 chipotles, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce (if you prefer milder chili, use 1 ½ tablespoons of ancho chili powder as a substitute)
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skiness chicken thighs, or 3-1/2 cups shredded store-roasted chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup beer (Lager if you have it)
Pareve Sour cream, for garnish (optional)

Toss the avocado, about one-quarter of the onion, 2-1/2 tablespoons of the lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. In a food processor or with an immersion blender, combine 1 cup of the beans, the tomatoes and their juice, the chipotles,
and adobo sauce (or ancho chile powder) and process until smooth. Set aside.

Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or casserole over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering hot. Add the chicken (they should just fit, evenly spaced) and sear without touching until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until also golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and let rest for 10 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat and set aside. Chop it coarsely. Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the remaining onion to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin and stir for 20 seconds. Add the beer and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate any browned bits, until it almost completely reduces, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining white beans and the puréed bean mixture and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken along with any accumulated juices on the bottom of the plate. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-
low and simmer for 15 minutes so the chicken finishes cooking and the flavors mix and meld. Stir in 1-1/4 cup of the cilantro and the remaining lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into large bowls and serve immediately with a generous spoonful of the avocado mixture, a dollop of sour cream (if using), and a sprinkling of the remaining cilantro.

Chili with Assorted Chili Powder and Meat

chilimeat
Serves 5

2 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon ground ancho chile powder
(alternatively, use regular chili powder if you cannot find it in the market)
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder (use a bit of cayenne pepper as a substitute but start with about ¼ teaspoon)
1-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (14-1/2-ounces) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, cut into medium dice
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Season the meat with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 6-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of the meat and cook until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the meat to a plate. Repeat with another 2 teaspoons oil and the remaining meat. After transferring the second batch of meat to the plate, add the remaining oil to the pot. Add the onion, green pepper and jalapeño and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the cumin, coriander, ancho chile powder, and chipotle chile and cook until fragrant and well blended, 1 to 2 minutes more. Return the beef to the pot, along with any accumulated juice. Add 2-1/2 cups water, the tomatoes and their juice, 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1-1/2 hours. Remove the lid and simmer until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes more. Add the beans, raise the heat to medium high, and stir until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and season to taste with additional salt.
Serve the chili garnished with the avocado, red onion, and cilantro.

Beef and Broccoli with Ramen Noodles

broccoli-beef-noodles-45

Serves 6

This tastes like Chinese takeout but is simple and inexpensive to make at home. It’s a great one pot dinner and comes together in just a few minutes.

Two 3-ounce packages ramen noodles
1 pound boneless skirt steak
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
5 tablespoons plus1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 cups broccoli florets (from 2 to 3 heads)
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger (about one 1/2-inch piece)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
4 green onions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish, optional
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Cover the noodles with hot water in a large bowl and place a small plate on top to keep them submerged; set aside to soak for 5 minutes. Drain the noodles well and set aside. Discard the flavor pouches or reserve for another use.

Cut the beef crosswise into 2- to 3-inch pieces and then rotate a quarter turn and slice thinly lengthwise across the grain, about 1/4-inch thick.

Stir together the chicken broth, teriyaki sauce, cornstarch, sugar and sesame oil in a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a wok or a large nonstick skillet over high heat until lightly smoking. Add half of the beef and cook, stirring once, until brown on the outside and still juicy on the inside, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Repeat with an additional 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and the remaining beef.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the same skillet over high heat. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli just starts to soften, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and push the broccoli to the side. Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup water to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until mostly evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir the chicken broth mixture briefly and add it to the skillet. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 1 minute. Add the beef and stir to coat. Transfer the beef to a large serving platter, leaving room for the noodles.

Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the ramen noodles and green onions and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer to the serving platter and garnish with additional green onions if desired. Garnish the beef with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Crunchy Asian Salad with Ramen Noodles

crunchy asian salad
Serves 8

1 cup canola oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 packet ramen oriental seasoning
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 head Napa cabbage, sliced 1/8-inch thick
1/4 head red cabbage, sliced 1/8-inch thick
1/2 head green cabbage, sliced 1/8-inch thick
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, shredded
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
24 wonton skins, fried or terra stix or crunchy Asian noodles
3 ramen noodle bunches, broken into small pieces
3/4 cup Spanish peanuts, finely chopped

In a large bowl combine oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger, ramen seasoning, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix cabbages, onions, carrots, and cilantro. Whisk the dressing and pour over the cabbage mixture. Toss thoroughly. (Dress the salad no more than 10 minutes prior to serving.)

Place equal portions of salad on wonton skins and top with ramen noodles and chopped peanuts. Serve immediately.

Spinach and Romaine Salad with Strawberries and Ramen Crunch

This salad is a great combination of sweet and crunchy. The strawberries and the dressing add sweetness to the salty and crunchy nuts and ramen mixture. I also like the combination of romaine and spinach lettuce. The colors are vibrant and inviting. Everyone loves this one.
Serves 6 – 8

Salad:
1 package ramen noodles, crushed, flavor packet discarded
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine
1 head romaine lettuce
5 cups baby spinach leaves
1 pint strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms

Dressing:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced

For the ramen crunch topping: In a large skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Add the ramen noodles, almonds, sunflower seeds and cook until toasted and lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Tear the romaine and combine with the spinach, strawberries and mushrooms in a large salad bowl.

For the dressing: In a covered container, mix sugar, both vinegars, oil, paprika, salt and garlic. Put top on and shake vigorously to blend. Mix well and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Just before serving, sprinkle the crunchy topping over the salad greens and toss the salad with enough dressing to coat the greens.

Triple Layer Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Icing

chocolate-cake-1

Serves 12 – 14

This is a great chocolate cake with a super special icing. I love it and am using it on carrot cake and on all flavors of cupcakes. It’s similar to a cooked meringue icing but has an extra creaminess from the marshmallows. You can use this chocolate cake recipe or any other one. Just make sure you make the icing!

2-1/4 cups sugar
4 ounces (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing cake pans
3 cups cake flour, sifted
4-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (pareve)
Marshmallow icing, recipe follows

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the chocolate and the vanilla. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans: spray the bottom and sides of each pan with cooking spray; line the pans with parchment paper; then spray again with cooking spray.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a stand mixer, cream the margarine and the remaining 1 3/4 cups sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Add the sifted flour mixture alternately with the milk, starting with a third of the flour, then adding half the milk, and ending with the flour. Stir only enough after each addition to blend the ingredients. Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans and bake for 35 minutes, or until done. (a tester should come out with moist crumbs).. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto racks. Remove the paper and allow to cool completely before frosting. Spread the Icing between the layers and all over the top and sides of the cake. I do this cake in three layers but you can do it in 2 layers too.

Marshmallow Icing:

3 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch salt
3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons white corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
1/3 cup mini marshmallows (about 30) – you must use the mini, the big ones do not melt well enough
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pour the egg whites and salt into a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment. Beat the egg whites until smooth but not stiff; they should not form stiff peaks.
In a large saucepan, mix the sugar, 3/4 cup water, corn syrup and vinegar. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then heat the mixture until it reaches the hard ball stage (265 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 12 minutes. When done, the syrup will spin a long thread when poured off the edge of a spoon. Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the mini marshmallows. The mixture will be foamy. With the mixer running at high speed, stream the syrup into the egg whites. Beat well, and then beat in the vanilla.

Asian Pasta Salad with Vegetables

oriental-pasta

Recipe from Cooking Inspired Cookbook by Estee Kafra.

When making this for Shabbat or in advance for any occasion, prepare the pasta and vegetables separately and combine before serving. It’s best served lukewarm or at room temperature.

1 pound spaghettini
1 bag (1.5 lb) frozen broccoli florets
1⁄2 cup frozen shelled edamame, defrosted
3 scallions, sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 can (15 oz) baby corn, cut into bite-sized pieces
1⁄3 cup toasted sesame seeds

Dressing:

1-1⁄2 teaspoons garlic, minced

1-1⁄2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1⁄3 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well. Rinse under cold, running water to stop the cooking process.

Dressing: Place the garlic and ginger in a bowl. Stir in the soy sauce, honey and sesame oil, mixing well.
Pour the dressing over the pasta, tossing to coat the pasta evenly. Transfer the noodles to a ZiplocTM bag; marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the frozen broccoli florets and edamame and blanch for 4 to 5 minutes or until the water turns dark green. Strain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Stir in the pasta, tossing well. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Oriental Pasta Salad

oriental-pasta
When making this for shabbos, prepare the pasta and vegetables separately and combine before serving.

Dressing:
1 frozen garlic cube (eden)
1 frozen ginger cube (eden)
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Ingredients:

2 lbs (900 g) Spaghettini pasta
1 bag broccoli florets (1.5 lbs)
3 sliced green onions
2 stalks celery thinly sliced
3 carrots – julienned
1 can baby corns cut into bite size peices
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds

Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
2. Place the frozen garlic and ginger cubes into a bowl and let defrost. Add the soy sauve, honey and sesame oil and mix well.
3. Pour dressing over and toss to evenly coat. Place noodles into a Ziploc bag and marinate in fridge for minimum 3 hours
4. Boil a large pot of salted water. Add frozen broccoli florets and blanch for about 4-5 minutes, until color turns a bright green. Stain and set aside. Place the pasta in a large mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. Toss well and serve at room temperature .

Vanilla Bean Apple Bundt cake

vanilla-apple-bundt
I recently came across a vanilla cane sugar with actual vanilla bean seeds in it. It is so far superior from artificially flavored vanilla sugar that I decided to use it as the main flavoring in this recipe. If you cannot find this sugar, take a vanilla bean, cut a slit in one side, and use a sharp knife to scrape the inside seeds out. Mix those seeds with 1-1/2 cups of sugar, to create your own authentic vanilla studded sugar. Mix the sugar and the seeds to combine well, and place the pod in as well. let site for 24 hours. You cannot compare the taste of this sugar of that of fake vanilla sugar.

6 McIntosh apples peeled, cored and quartered
¼ cup vanilla sugar (see note)
1-½ tablespoons pure lemon juice

Batter
1 cup +2 tablespoons oil
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
5 eggs
3-½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure apple or orange juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10 or 12 cup Bundt pan with baking spray.

Slice the apples very thinly, using the slicing attachment of a food processor. Place them in a bowl. Add the vanilla sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Let sit for 20 minutes.

Cake: Mix together the oil and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.

Place 1 cup of the batter in the bottom of the prepared Bundt cake pan. Layer about 1/2 of the apples mixture on top of the batter. Pour on another thin layer of batter, add another layer of apples. Layer the batter and apples one more time, but make sure there is at least a thin layer of batter covering the top layer of apples.

Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove the cake to a wire rack. Let the cake sit in the pan for about 5 minutes and then turn it upside down onto a plate, removing the Bundt pan. Let cool completely.

Roast Chicken with Shallot and Meyer Lemon Sauce

roast-chicken
Serves 6 – 8

1 (4- to 5-pound) chicken
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 medium Meyer or regular lemons
2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 pound shallots
1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 375°. Zest lemons. Slice 1 lemon; juice half of the other.
Rub zest under as much of the skin as possible and rub any remaining zest inside cavity. Rub chicken all over with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the thyme. Put lemon slices in cavity.
Set a V-shaped rack in a heavy roasting pan large enough to hold shallots. Put chicken in rack, breast side up. Add shallots to pan and drizzle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, turning them to coat the onions in the oil.
Roast chicken, basting every 30 minutes or so, until browned about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours (remove shallots after 1 hour and set aside). Remove from oven to let it rest before carving.
Meanwhile, make sauce: Pour pan drippings into a measuring cup with a pouring lip. Trim tops from shallots and squeeze soft insides into a blender. Pour off all but about 1 tbsp. fat from pan drippings and add drippings to blender. Add 1/2 cup broth and the wine and pulse until smooth.
Pour sauce into roasting pan. Cook, scraping up brown bits and adding more broth if you want a thinner sauce, over medium-high heat until sauce turns a nutty brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon reserved Meyer lemon juice, or more to taste. Carve chicken, serve with sauce.

Baby Lamb Chops with Minted Meyer Lemon Spread

Serves 6
The technique for this recipe seems a bit strange. The results are great so follow the directions closely. Basically you need to dissolve the sugar with the wine and mint to infuse the mint and sweetness into the wine. Then you are adding the best of the lemon, the zest and the fruit without the pith to make a sweet lemon compote to top the lamb chops.

3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
2 Meyer lemons
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
16 baby lamb chops or 8 3/4-inch-thick lamb chops
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine wine, sugar, and mint in heavy small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Strain syrup into medium saucepan; discard mint. Using vegetable peeler, remove peel from lemons in strips. Place strips in mini processor. Cut away all white pith from lemons and discard. Working on plate to catch juice, quarter lemons; remove seeds. Add lemons and juice to mini processor; using on/off turns, chop coarsely. Add lemon mixture to mint syrup. Boil until mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt. Cool.

Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add lamb; cook to desired doneness, about 2 1/2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Repeat with remaining lamb. Serve lamb with lemon compote.

Meyer Lemon and Coconut Shortbread Bars

lemon-bar
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit. I make these with regular lemon juice too, but the Meyer lemons make them worth the calories!
Makes 16 bars

BARS
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 whole graham crackers
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted margarine, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

LEMON CURD
12 large egg yolks
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup finely grated Meyer lemon zest (from about 8 Meyer lemons)
1-1/3 cups fresh Meyer lemon juice
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted margarine, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk or pareve whipping cream

SHORTBREAD CRUST
Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside. Spread out coconut on a small rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring every 2 minutes, until light golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let coconut cool in pan.
Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground (there should be about 1/4 cup). Transfer to a small bowl; stir in coconut and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat margarine and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Add flour, vanilla, and salt. Mix just until dough begins to form. Fold in coconut-crumb mixture (dough will be soft and will hold together when pressed between your fingers).
Press dough evenly onto bottom of prepared dish (smooth surface with an offset spatula, if desired). Using a fork, prick dough all over.
Bake crust until golden brown and just set, 18–22 minutes. Set aside.

LEMON CURD
Cook egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly and beating in as much air as possible (keeping the whisk moving prevents the curd from burning and the eggs from scrambling), until curd has thickened and begins to bubble, about 10 minutes. Remove immediately from heat.
Whisk in margarine and coconut milk until butter is fully incorporated and curd is smooth. Strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve directly onto baked crust. Smooth top.
Bake bars until center of filling is just set, 15–17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill until cold, 2–3 hours. DO AHEAD: Lemon bars can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
Cut into bars. Serve cold.

Pumpkin Bread Sweetened with Bananas

bananabread
Serves 8

Bananas are naturally sweet and serve as a good, non-processed sugar substitute in baking. They are full of fiber (sugar has none) Calorie-wise, you save BIG for this swap: 1 cup mashed banana is 73 kcal, for 1 cup sugar at 775 kcal.
They also contain resistant starch, which has been linked to burning fat. But because they contain more moisture than sugar does, make sure you use less milk or water when baking with bananas (about 3 tablespoons less for each banana).

1 banana, mashed (this is in place of 1 cup sugar)
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or coconut oil!)
1/3 cup water or soymilk
1 (15 ounces) can pumpkin puree
1-3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Beat eggs and mix with banana (or sugar), oil, water, and pumpkin.
In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients until just blended
Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

Chocolate Avocado Brownies

Avocado-Brownies
Serves 10

The substitution of avocado in baked goods helps increase their nutritional value by contributing nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.
Over 75 percent of the fat in avocados is unsaturated (heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), making them a great substitute for foods or ingredients high in saturated fat.

For avocado brownies:
2 avocados, mashed
8 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons coconut oil, or canola oil
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; spray 9-inch square pan with non-stick spray.
In bowl, mix mashed avocado and melted chocolate; mix in sugar, then eggs, vanilla extract, and oil.
Add in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt until combined.
Spread batter in pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked through middle.

Equivalency note:
½ cup mashed avocado is equivalent to ¼ of a large avocado.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

herb roasted turkey breast
I love this recipe by Ina Garten
Serves 8 – 10
1 whole bone-in turkey breast, 6 1/2 to 7 pounds
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices spooned over the turkey