Crock Pot Chocolate Candy

crockpot-choc-candy
Makes about 35 pieces

This is a rustic and delicious chocolate candy to serve. I have it out all the time and its gobbled up by guests, visitors and the kids. It smells amazing while it melts in the crock pot.

2 pounds salted dry-roasted peanuts
4 ounces German’s sweetened baking chocolate (about 4 squares), cut into big chunks
One 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
2 1/2 pounds white almond bark chocolate (this can be done with pareve white chocolate too but watch the cooking time because it melts thicker and quicker)

Put the peanuts in the bottom of a 4-quart crock pot. Layer the chocolate over the peanuts, beginning with the sweetened baking chocolate, followed by the chocolate chips and then the almond bark. Set the temperature on low and cook for 3 hours. Do not stir the mixture.

After 3 hours, stir the mixture (it should look white and chocolate swirled) with a wooden spoon until smooth. Drop the candy into cupcake pan liners using about 2 tablespoons per liner. Allow the candy to cool completely before removing the cupcake liners.

Pine Nut Brittle

Pine-nut-brittle

Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups pine nuts
2 cups sugar
Salt
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water

Lightly brush 1 tablespoon butter/margarine on a baking tray and set aside. 

Put baking soda, vanilla, and remaining butter into a small bowl. 

Put the pine nuts, sugar, salt, corn syrup, and water in a tall-sided pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. 
Allow the sugar crystals to dissolve. Using a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature, cook the sugar until the temperature reaches 296 degrees F. Do not disturb it while cooking.

Remove from heat, quickly and carefully, stir in the baking soda, vanilla extract, and butter mixture. The brittle will puff up. Stir the ingredients for about 30 seconds to incorporate. Immediately, pour the pine nut brittle onto the greased baking tray. 



Allow the pine nut brittle to cool completely then break into jagged pieces.

Seared Duck Breast with Wine Braised Fig Sauce

seared-duck-wine-braised
Serves 4

This can be done with chicken if you do not like duck. Follow the same recipe, just adjust the chicken cooking time.

DUCK:
Four 6-ounce boneless duck breasts, skin scored in crosshatches, at room temperature
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

FIG SAUCE:
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup dry red wine
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup fig jam
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons margarine, chilled
Fresh chives, chopped, for garnish

For the duck breasts: Sprinkle each duck breast liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the duck skin-side down and reduce the heat to low, cooking as the fat slowly renders and the skin becomes crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. 

Once the skin is crispy and golden brown, flip and continue cooking until a thermometer reads 128 to 130 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast (for medium-rare doneness), 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate or cutting board and allow to rest about 5 minutes. It will carryover cook to about 135 degrees F. Don’t tent with foil in order to ensure the duck skin will stay crispy. 



For the fig sauce: Pour off all but 1 or 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet, reserving the excess for another use. Over medium heat, add the shallots and cook until softened. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the chicken broth, fig jam and balsamic vinegar, and continue simmering until the sauce has thickened and is syrupy, another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and whisk in the margarine.

Garnish with chopped chives. 

Serve the sauce alongside thinly sliced duck breast.

Rum Drunk Chicken

rum-drunk-chicken

Serves 4

2/3 cup dark rum
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, trimmed of excess fat
1 orange, thinly sliced into rounds, for garnish

Whisk the rum, orange juice, orange zest, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, brown sugar, garlic, and cilantro together in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. 

Preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. 

Remove the chicken from the marinade and place the chicken on the grill and cook until browned on both sides and the juices run clear, about 10 minutes per side, basting with leftover marinade a few times throughout. Serve sprinkled with cilantro and garnish with the orange slices.

Indian Spiced Salmon

indian-spiced-salmon
Serves 4
I like to serve different types of food on Purim because people seem more eager to taste different flavors and try new things. Maybe it’s the alcohol or just an attitude about having fun but whatever it is, try some Indian dishes or new flavor combinations. I bet some of them will make it to your regular repertoire.

MARINADE:
1 cup tofutti sour cream, plain yogurt, or mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or less if you do not like spiciness
2 cloves garlic, minced
A pinch of salt and pepper

SKEWERS:
One 1-pound piece of salmon, skin removed and cut into 20 chunks, about 1-inch each (you can make this in appetizer size too, just use smaller skewers)
1 small orange pepper, cut into 16 equal pieces
1 small red pepper, cut into 16 equal pieces
Vegetable oil, for the grill
A pinch of salt
Lemon wedges, for serving

Special equipment: You will need 4 long metal or wooden skewers or smaller skewers for appetizer size. If using wood, soak them overnight before using.

For the marinade: Whisk the tofutti sour cream/yogurt, cilantro, tomato paste, ginger, lemon juice, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, chili powder, garlic and salt and pepper together until well blended. 


For the skewers: Thread the pieces of salmon and peppers onto the skewers, using 5 pieces of salmon for each skewer and 4 each of the peppers, alternating them so the peppers are between the pieces of salmon (use 3 pieces of salmon and 2 vegetables for appetizer size or fewer). Place them in a dish that will accommodate them in a single layer and pour over the marinade. Turn the skewers a few times, making sure they are well coated, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat a grill pan or a barbeque to medium-high heat. Grease the grill, remove the skewers from the marinade and sprinkle them with salt. Place on the grill and cook about 5 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Skewers are done when the fish is firm and slightly charred. 



Chicken with Chili and Lemon

chicken-chili-lemon
Serves 4

This chicken is all about fresh and strong flavors. Lemon and chili pair beautifully together and it gives this tons of zestiness. Sometimes I substitute the lemon for lime in this recipe.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 pounds yellow onions, halved and sliced
3 tablespoons diced green chiles
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 5 to 6 lemons

Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan, add the chicken and sear on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and add the onions and garlic and cook at medium-low heat until the onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chilies and return the chicken to the pan. Spoon some of the onions over the chicken, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until chile sauce has completely infused the mixture and the chicken is cooked through. Add the lemon juice and cook another 10 minutes, to allow flavors to meld.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Wafer Ice Box Cake

peanut-butter-choc-wafer
Serves 10

Fun for kids to make. Yummy for kids and adults to eat!

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2-1/2 cups cold pareve whipping cream, divided
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 bananas, sliced, plus additional for garnish
2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies

In a large bowl of a mixer, whisk together the peanut butter and 1/2 cup pareve cream (as a liquid) until light and fluffy and set aside.

With a clean whipping attachments, in a mixer beat the remaining 2 cups cream with the sugar and vanilla until slightly stiff peaks form. Gently fold some of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to lighten it up. Then add the peanut butter mixture back into the whipped cream in 3 parts, gently folding until combined, trying to keep it light and fluffy, and then set aside. 



In a 9-inch springform pan, arrange a layer of cookies (about 16) overlapping in a circle, covering the entire surface. Spread a layer of whipped cream over the cookies, making sure all the cookies are covered, and top with banana slices. Repeat with the remaining cookies, whipped cream and banana slices, making 5 layers total and finishing with a layer of whipped cream on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. 


Red Pepper Soup with Cumin

red-pepper-soup-cumin
Serves 6

The color is vibrant and the interesting flavor combination makes this a great soup to make on Purim.

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons grated fresh garlic
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
3 red peppers, seeds removed and peppers sliced
1/2 cup vegetable broth or chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cumin seeds

Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft, about 4 minutes and then add the garam masala, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard, cumin, and Spanish paprika and cook for 10 seconds. Add the red peppers and cook for about 2 minutes and then pour in the vegetable broth and wine. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and then simmer until the peppers are soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. 



Use an immersion blender to puree the soup or place in a blender and carefully puree in batches until very smooth.
Toast the cumin seeds in a cast iron pan until they begin to lightly smoke and smell good and fragrant. Pour the puree into a clean saucepan and reheat and serve in a bowl with the toasted cumin seeds. 


Chocolate and Halva Babka

Babka-94
This week from Orly Ziv, author of Cook In Israel, shares a terrific a recipe for a twist on chocolate babka, Chocolate and Halva Babka. I love the surprise of halva crumbs throughout the babka and the texture and flavor it brings to an already delicious dish. This is the creativity of Orly Ziv. See the more details about Cook In Israel in the blog and get other sneak peak recipes.

Chocolate and Halva Babka

This braided yeast cake with chocolate and halva is a favorite in the Jewish repertoire. I add halva crumbs, a popular Middle Eastern sweet, to give it a little added texture and flavor.

Dough
560 gram (18 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dry yeast
100 gram (3-1/3 oz) sugar
100 gram (3-1/3 oz) butter, softened
2 eggs
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling
Chocolate spread
Halva crumbs

Coating
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Put all the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead by hand or in a stand mixer until a smooth and flexible dough forms. Make sure the salt doesn’t touch the yeast directly.
2. Cover loosely with a dish towel and allow to rise until doubled in volume.
3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle about ½-inch thick.
4. Cover the dough with the chocolate spread and sprinkle generously with halva crumbs.
5. Roll up lengthwise into a tight log and press down slightly to seal. Cut the log in half.
6. Slice one of the log halves in half lengthwise down the middle and loosely twist together to form a braid. Repeat with the remaining dough log.
7. Transfer each braid to a parchment-lined loaf pan and brush with egg. Set aside and allow to rise for another 15 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F.
9. Bake the babka for about 20-25 minutes until golden. Allow to cool slightly before slicing.

TIPs:
1. Leave the dough in the refrigerator overnight to rise.
2. For a richer flavor, make a syrup of ¾ cup sugar, 3/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Pour over the babka and serve.

Makes 2 loaves

Eggplant Baladi

1Eggplant-Baladi
I learned this recipe in a cooking class and it turned out to be a very successful dish with a surprising flavor combination. It is a wonderful use for date honey (called silan in Hebrew), which is very popular in the Israeli kitchen.

2 medium eggplants
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
Sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
3 tablespoons tahini
3 teaspoons silan
Chopped parsley leaves
Pine nuts, toasted
Pomegranate seeds (in season)

1. Grill the eggplants over a flame, turning with tongs until soft and evenly charred. Alternately, roast the eggplants under a broiler.
2. Cut a slit at the bottom of the eggplants and place in a sieve. Leave to drain.
3. Remove peel, stem and dark seeds from eggplants and place on a plate or small serving platter.
4. Sprinkle the chopped garlic and sea salt over the eggplants then drizzle with lemon juice, tahini and silan.
5. Garnish with parsley, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and serve.

TIP: Remove the sprout in the center of each clove of garlic (called the “germ”) to make it easier to digest.

Serves 4 to 6

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Silan

Cauliflower-Tahini-Silan

I’ve made a similar recipe with eggplant for a long time, but someone at one of my cooking classes didn’t like eggplant . So I came up with this variation instead to highlight the flavor combination and show people unexpected ways to use silan (date honey).

1 cauliflower, cut into florets
¼ cup olive oil
Sea salt
Lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons tahini
2-3 teaspoons silan (date honey)
Chopped parsley
Pomegranate seeds (in season) or dried cranberries
Toasted pine nuts

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.

2. Put the cauliflower florets in a baking dish (preferably one that you can serve with). Don’t worry if the cauliflower is piled high or the dish looks too small since the cauliflower shrinks a lot as it cooks. Toss with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

3. Roast until the cauliflower is tender (when your fingernail can easily enter) and the edges have browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

4. Arrange the cauliflower on a serving plate. Drizzle with lemon juice, tahini and silan, in that order.

5. Garnish with chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds or cranberries and pine nuts and serve.

Serves 4 to 6

Italian Veal Stew with Bread Crumb Gremolata

veal
Serves 6

2 pounds cubed veal
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 celery rib, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons chopped thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups jarred tomato sauce or marinara sauce
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup panko
1 cup lightly packed parsley, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste, it adds spice)
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

Season the veal with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven, heat the oil until shimmering. Add veal and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned all over, 12 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate.

Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the dish. Add the onion, carrot, celery and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half, 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Return the meat to the pot, cover and simmer for 1 hour and half hours, until the meat is very tender. Let stand covered for 10 minutes.

For the bread crumb gremolata: In a small pan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add panko and mix until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley, red pepper, and lemon zest. Add kosher salt to taste.

Transfer the veal stew to a platter. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and spoon it over the veal. Sprinkle some gremolata over the veal.

Homemade Bread Crumbs

Homemade-Breadcrumbs1

6 pieces stale bread, remove the crust (or not if you don’t mind a little more crunch): use different types of bread if you like, whole wheat, challah, spelt, or mix them together
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
(add some flavors you like too, like oregano, Parmesan cheese, or crushed red pepper)

Place the bread in a food processor. Pulse until the bread is chopped into crumbs.

In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs and garlic (turn down the heat to medium) and cook until garlic is soft and bread is toasty. Add lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper and parsley and cook an additional minute so that all the juice is absorbed and the flavors are incorporated.

Store in airtight container for 2 weeks in the pantry or for extended periods of time in the freezer.

Baked Fish a’la Dudu by Dudu Fischer

dudu-bakedfish
Recipe from One Egg Is A Fortune Cookbook by Judy Kempler and Pnina Jacobson.

Serves 4-6
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
1kg freshwater fish fillets, such as carp, barramundi or perch
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 large red or yellow capsicums, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup bottled Napoletana pasta sauce
3/4 cup red wine
chives, finely chopped, for garnish
caperberries, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Heat olive oil in a non-stick fry pan and saute onions until golden. Place onions in an oiled baking dish and top with fish fillets. Season with salt and pepper. Cover fish with capsicums and tomatoes.
Combine pasta sauce and red wine and pour over fish. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40minutes until fish and capsicums are cooked.
Serve, garnished with chives and caperberries

Note: This recipe also works well in a covered BBQ

Fish Quenelles with Two Sauces

fish-quenelles
Recipe from One Egg Is A Fortune Cookbook by Judy Kempler and Pnina Jacobson

Quenelle mixture
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
3 white onions, finely sliced
2kg white fish fillets, minced (fishmonger will do this for you)
4 tablespoons fine matzo meal or breadcrumbs
3 eggs
3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup iced water

Poaching broth
3 white onions
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
12 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Dill sauce
3 cups whole egg mayonnaise
3 cups fresh dill, very finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
white pepper and salt, to taste

Red pepper sauce
3 cups whole egg mayonnaise
10 strips pickled red peppers/capsicums
1 teaspoon prepared white horseradish

Make quenelles:
Heat oil and margarine and fry onions until just soft. Gently combine remaining fish quenelle ingredients in a large bowl, mixing thoroughly. Add more iced wter if the mixture is too stiff. Using slightly moistened hands, shape into 3-4cm round or oval-shaped quenelles and refrigerate until firm.

Make poaching broth:
Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Bring poaching broth back to boil, drop in the quenelles and reduce heat. Simmer covered for 1 hour, gently stirring occassionally to ensure quenelles do not stick to the bottom. Remove pot from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature. Remove quenelles with a slotted spoon and place them in a dish. Strain the broth through a fine sleeve, pour over the quenelles and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make dill sauce:
Blend all ingredients.

Make red pepper sauce:
Blend all ingredients.

Place two quenelles onto individual serving plates. Pour dill sauce over one and red pepper sauce over the other, so that they are both well coated.

Serves 12

Scrumptious Garlic Bread

Garlic-Bread-1
Serves 4

This is a classic recipe that must be a part of your repertoire. It smells divine and has the perfect combination of moist, crunch, garlic, and spice. Dunk it in any of the winter soups or along side some spaghetti.

1 large baguette (about 12 oz.), sliced lengthwise
6 tablespoons unsalted margarine or butter, softened
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes (this is a bit spicy so use less if you do not like a lot of heat)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, smashed into a paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
⅓ cup grated parmesan (OMIT if making it pareve)
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Heat oven broiler. Place baguette cut side up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Stir margarine/butter, oil, chile flakes, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl; spread evenly over cut sides of baguette and sprinkle with parmesan (if using). Bake until golden and slightly crisp, 2–3 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and parsley; cut into 2″ pieces.

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.