Roasted Banana, Banana Bread

Roasted-Banana-Bread
Serves 12-16

5 bananas, peeled left on
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup chopped nuts, like walnuts
Streusel topping:
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
4 teaspoons melted margarine or canola oil
¼ cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15 x 10 inch pan with aluminum foil. Arrange bananas, in the peel, on foil. Prick with a fork all over each banana peel. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool bananas.

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ginger. Make a well in the center of flour mixture.

In a medium bowl, stir together eggs, sugar, and oil and set aside. With a small sharp knife, split bananas peels. Measure 1 ½ cups of roasted bananas (packed). Stir into the egg mixture. Add wet mixture to well in the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened (it will be lumpy). Fold in walnuts. Spoon into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, mix streusel ingredients together. Sprinkle streusel over batter.

Bake for 55 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs. Check for brownness after 40 minutes. If top is browning too much, cover loosely with foil and continue baking.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

I can’t think of anything I want more than lots of fresh salad these days. Yom Tov was great, but more food than we usually eat in an 8-day period. It’s time to lighten up and eat more salad. That also means a new dressing. I love the fresh herbs that give this dressing so much flavor! Feel free to use dried herbs (use 1/3rd the amount of fresh) if you prefer.

This dressing is great with romaine lettuce and any mix-ins you like. I made it with cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, hearts of palm, and avocado. It’s also delicious on arugula, with mango and toasted nuts.
Fresh-Herb-Salad-Dressing
Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

Makes 1 ½ cups

1 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil if you prefer)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
¼ cup finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano, thyme or basil or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or ½ teaspoon dry mustard
2 – 3 teaspoons sugar (or agave, maple syrup, brown sugar or honey)
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

In a screw-top jar, combine oil, vinegar, shallots, herbs, mustard, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover tightly and shake well. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Olive oil may solidify in refrigerator so take it out about an hour before using. Shake well.

Soft and Chewy Home-made Marshmallows


Makes 25

Canola oil, for greasing
2 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons honey

Lightly grease an 8-inch square cake pan with canola oil. In a medium heatproof bowl, mix the gelatin with 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cold water; let stand for 15 minutes. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture is smooth.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey and 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook the syrup over moderately high heat until it registers 250° on a candy thermometer. Immediately pour the hot syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. Scrape in the gelatin mixture and beat at high speed until a smooth white foam forms, about 4 minutes.

Spread the marshmallow in the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Press a lightly greased sheet of parchment paper on the surface and let stand until set, 3 hours.
Run a sharp knife around the marshmallow. Very lightly dust a work surface with cornstarch and invert the cake pan onto it, tapping to release the marshmallow. Using a lightly greased sharp knife, cut the marshmallow into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Cinnamon marshmallows:
Add 1/2 teaspoon ground Vietnamese cinnamon during the last minute of beating the marshmallow;
lightly dust the cut marshmallows with a sifted mixture of 2/3 cup cornstarch, 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Sesame Kiddush Cookies

Makes 4 dozen

I keep these in my freezer to serve every Shabbos with fish or dips. They look gourmet and chic and taste both sweet and salty.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond meal or ground almonds (see Note)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large egg, beaten
Black and white sesame seeds, for sprinkling

In a food processor, pulse the flour, almond meal, sugar and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms large clumps.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently until it comes together. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a disk. Roll out each disk between 2 sheets of wax paper to 1/4 inch thick. Slide the wax paper–covered disks onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour, until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time, peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out the cookies as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Lightly brush the cookies with the egg and sprinkle with the black and white sesame seeds.
Bake the sesame cookies for 17 to 20 minutes, until they are lightly browned; shift the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool completely.

Carrot Dip

Makes 9 ½ pint jars

This is a great alternative to traditional tomato or eggplant dip. I serve it with crackers, salmon, or aside grilled chicken. It has great color and flavor and is a great surprise for guests. Its also great on toasted bread.

4 pounds carrots, coarsely shredded (about 18 cups)
6 cups sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice (8 lemons)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Three 3-inch cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
Big pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or heavy pot, combine the carrots, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt; mix well. Wrap the cinnamon sticks and cloves in a double layer of cheesecloth and tie into a bundle. Tuck the bundle into the carrots. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Add the nutmeg and 1/2 cup of water to the carrots and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are shiny and the liquid is syrupy, about 40 minutes. Discard the spice bundle. Let the carrot jam cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

MAKE AHEAD The carrot jam can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Herbed Finishing Salt

Makes 4 servings

This is a terrific salt to sprinkle on roasted vegetables, corn on the cob, potatoes, or on any meat. I like to sprinkle it, before or after on grilled meat or chicken. The fresh herbs are subtle but infuse the salt.

1 cup rosemary leaves (1 1/2 ounces)
1 cup thyme leaves and tender stems (1 1/2 ounces)
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

In a food processor or blender, pulse the herbs and garlic until chopped. Add the salt and pulse until finely chopped. Add the crushed red pepper and pulse to blend. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and let stand, stirring occasionally, until dried, about 2 days. Transfer the mixture to a jar or manual spice grinder.

MAKE AHEAD The herb salt can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 year.

Wine Nut Bar Mix

Makes 6 cups

2 cups pecans
2 cups almonds
2 cups walnuts
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely minced mixed herbs, such as rosemary, sage, savory and thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, toss the nuts with the maple syrup, olive oil, herbs and cayenne. Spread the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Season the nuts with salt and pepper and toss frequently until cooled.
MAKE AHEAD The nuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Creamy Caramel Sauce

Makes 1 ½ cups

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Pinch of salt

In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cook without stirring until a medium-amber caramel forms, 5 minutes. Add the cream, butter and salt and simmer until thickened, 2 minutes; let cool.

Wine Simmered Chicken with Grapes and Mushrooms

wine-simmered-chicken

Serves 6

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thin cut
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried tarragon
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup white wine
½ cup vanilla soymilk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups seedless grapes, halved
1 tablespoon fresh parsley

Cut each chicken breast in half. Blend together salt, basil, tarragon, paprika, pepper, and flour.
Heat oil in a sauté pan. In a re-sealable plastic bag, add the salt, basil, tarragon, paprika, pepper, and flour. Mix together. Add chicken and toss to coat. Shake off excess flour, and brown chicken on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
Add garlic and mushrooms to pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Add flour and cook 2 more minutes. Add chicken broth, white wine, soymilk and lemon juice. Bring mixture to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes until sauce has thickened. Return chicken to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Add grapes and parsley and cook 2-3 more minutes.

Pumpkin Empanadas with Mint Dipping Sauce

pumpkin-empanadas

Makes 20

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 ½ cups pure pumpkin
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup currants or raisins, softened 10 minutes in hot water to cover
Store bought pie dough or homemade pie dough
1 large egg, slightly beaten
Cilantro Mint Dipping Sauce (below) or other chutney

Preheat oven to 375°. Rub a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tbsp. oil. Spread pumpkin on sheet and roast, uncovered, turning once, till tender when pierced,
30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in spices and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer onion to a medium mixing bowl. Drain currants and stir into bowl. Add warm pumpkin and mix well, mashing with back of a spoon to create a slightly chunky mixture. Working with one pie-dough disk at a time, roll dough on a lightly floured surface into a 1/8-in.-thick round. Using a 4-in. ring cutter, cut out 20 circles, rerolling scraps.
Mix 1 tablespoon water into egg and brush onto dough rounds. Spoon 1 tablespoon pumpkin mixture into center of each round, fold over, and seal edges with tines of a fork. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Arrange empanadas on sheets, spaced slightly apart.
Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with chutney.

Make ahead: Follow recipe through step 5. Freeze in an airtight container. Then bake from frozen, 25 to 30 minutes at 375°.

Cilantro Mint Dipping Sauce

1 jalapeno chile, stemmed
2 cups cilantro leaves
12 large fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a food processor, pulse jalapeno, cilantro, and mint until reduced in volume by half. Add 2 tbsp. water, the oil, lemon juice, and salt. Whirl until smooth, adding 1 more tbsp. water if needed.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

¼ cup margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons nondairy creamer
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1-1/3 cups flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda

Filling:
2 (8 ounce) packages tofutti cream cheese
2 sticks (1 cup) margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together margarine and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Then beat in nondairy creamer, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Use ice cream scoop to drop batter onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack to finish cooling. Beat together all ingredients for filling until smooth. Spread on the back of a cooled cookie and top with another one.

Purim 2014

Soups, Salads, Fish and Appetizers:
Red Pepper Soup with Cumin
Tuscan White Bean Soup
Indian Spiced Salmon
Imitation Crab Cakes
Imitation Lobster Rolls with Potato Chips
Green Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette and Pastrami
Mixed Green Salad with Avocado, Mango and Champagne Vinaigrette
Spinach and Romaine Salad with Strawberries and Ramen Crunch
Hot Spiced Drunken Apple Cider
Addictive Asparagus
Rice with Lentils and Caramelized Onions
Pumpkin Empanadas with Mint Dipping Sauce

Chicken and Meat
Chicken with Chili and Lemon
Wine Simmered Chicken with Grapes and Mushrooms
Rum Drunk Chicken
Seared Duck with Wine Braised Fig Sauce
Super Easy Roast Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce
Rib Roast with Whisky Cream Sauce

Desserts:
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Wafer Ice box Cake
Brownie Batter Cookies
Grasshopper Pie
Bourbon Pecan Pie
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Home Made Desserts and Gift Ideas
Pine Nut Brittle
Marshmallows
Toasted Walnut Truffles
Chocolate Almond Bark
Crock Pot Chocolate Candy

Hamentaschen
Hamentaschen with 2 Fillings from Kosher Revolution with Raspberry, Coconut, Chocolate and Hazelnut Fillings
Classic Hamentaschen with Apricot, Poppy Seed, Chocolate and Other Fillings
Filo Hamentaschen
Hamentaschen with Apple Pie or Cappucino Filling
Yellow Cake Mix Hamentaschen
Gluten Free Hamentaschen

Brownie Batter Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

2 sticks margarine, softened
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer, beat the margarine, granulated sugar, brown sugar and chocolate until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until fully combined. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl and add slowly to the batter until mixed. Add the vanilla and fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop by generous spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool

Rib Roast with Whisky Cream Sauce

Original recipe by The Pioneer Woman, adapted by GKC
Serves 10

If you cannot find a boneless rib roast, you can buy a standing rib roast. This is a big splurge but worth it! Cook in the same way.

1 whole boneless rib eye (12 to 15 pounds)
Olive oil
1/4 cup tri-color peppercorns
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup minced garlic

For the whisky cream sauce
4 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup whiskey
1/2 cup beef stock or broth
Dash of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup pareve whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Cut the rib eye in half (roast halves separately for more controlled/even cooking).

Heat some oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sear both rib eye halves until a nice dark golden color, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Place the peppercorns into a bag and crush with a rolling pin. Shred the leaves from the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Mix the salt with the crushed peppercorns, rosemary leaves, thyme leaves and garlic. Pour olive oil over the rib eye and pour on the rub mix. Pat slightly to get it to stick to the meat. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 275 degrees F and roast until a meat thermometer registers 125 for rare/medium-rare, about 20 more minutes (the roast will continue to cook slightly after removing from the oven). Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing. (for a whole roast, this will take much more time, and the same is true for the standing rib roast. Use a thermometer to adjust cooking time)

For the cream sauce:
Cook the onions in the 3 tablespoons margarine in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. When the onions are brown, remove the pan from the heat source (this ensures safe cooking with alcohol, do NOT pour alcohol in the pan near the flame)

Pour in the whiskey. Return to the burner and adjust to medium-high heat and pour in the beef stock. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, then allow the mixture to bubble up and reduce by half.

Whisk in the remaining margarine, then reduce the heat to low. Whisk in 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup cream, according to your taste. Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken for a few minutes.

Hot Spiced Drunken Apple Cider

Serves 8-10

For a cold Purim this is a sensational addition to the meal, as an appetizer or accompanying dessert. It’s an adult drink, but so good that you need to be careful because the kids will like it too.

½ gallon apple cider
4 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 tablespoons honey
¾ bottle Gewurztraminer or Sweet White Wine
1 cup fresh cranberries or cut up apples

Put the cider, all spices, and honey into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes so the flavors blend. Add the wine and just warm it through, do not boil.

Add the cranberries or apples and simmer until the apples are colored a bit. Taste and add more honey if necessary.

Addictive Asparagus

Serves 4

There is something about this dish, just something that makes people wipe their plates clean of it. Maybe the kosher bacon, or pastrami, the sautéed leeks and toasted nuts, who knows? It’s addictive because its good. I often use the same recipe for green beans. It substitutes perfectly.

4 ounces, kosher beef bacon or diced pastrami or imitation bacon bits (optional)
1 tablespoon margarine
1 pound asparagus, ends removed, sliced into 2-inch pieces
1 ¼ cups thinly sliced leeks
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, optional
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, sauté the kosher bacon or pastrami, over medium heat, until crisp. Add the margarine and then the asparagus and leeks and cook until asparagus is tender-crisp, about 4 minutes.

Add garlic, lemon and orange zests, pine nuts and parsley and cook another 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Super Easy Roast Beef with Horseradish Cream Sauce

easy-roast-horseradish-sauce
Serves 10

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
One 7- to 8-pound beef roast, tied
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 cup tofutti sour cream
1/2 cup prepared white horseradish
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried dill (optional)

Set a rack over a baking sheet. Rub 1/2 cup of the salt all over the roast and let stand for 10 minutes. Repeat with another 1/2 cup of the salt. Transfer the roast to the rack and refrigerate uncovered for 2 days. Bring to room temperature 3 hours before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Season the meat with pepper and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 225° and roast for about 1 hour and 30 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast registers 120°. Let the meat rest for 30 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the sour cream, horseradish, mustard, and dill and the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt and pepper. Slice the roast and serve with the horseradish cream.
The roast beef can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve warm or chilled. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette and Diced Pastrami

salad-tomato-pastrami
Serves 8

2 plum tomatoes, halved
2 medium shallots, quartered lengthwise
1/3 cup canola oil, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1-1/2 teaspoons pure chile powder
4 strips kosher beef bacon (made by Jack’s gourmet, called FACON, or ¼ pound, cubed pastrami (or use Baco’s chips and omit cooking)
2 medium heads butter lettuce, quartered through the cores
Thinly sliced onion and diced tomato, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425º. Brush the tomatoes and shallots with canola oil. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet for about 30 minutes, until softened and browned in spots. Transfer to a blender and let cool completely. Add the vinegar and mustard and puree until nearly smooth. With the machine on, gradually add the 1/3 cup of canola oil and 1/3 cup of olive oil until incorporated. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

In a pie plate, toss the pumpkin seeds with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the chile powder and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned; let cool.

In a skillet, cook the kosher “bacon” over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Chop lettuce and place on a platter. Top with the pumpkin seeds, kosher bacon or pastrami, sliced onion and diced tomato. Serve with the tomato vinaigrette.

Toasted Walnut Truffles

toasted-walnut-truffles
Serves 30

2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate morsels
1 cup pareve whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350º. To toast walnuts, spread evenly on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan. Bake, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned and fragrant, 7 to 12 minutes. Set aside.

Place chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside. In a small, heavy saucepan, bring pareve whipping cream to a boil. Pour over chocolate, add vanilla, and let sit for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.

Cool to room temperature, then place in refrigerator for two hours. Remove and with a teaspoon, roll out ball to form truffles. Quickly roll in hands and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in refrigerator overnight.

Roll in chopped walnuts. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Almond Bark

choc-almond-bar
Serves 8

2 1/2 cups almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1-3/4 cups (from 11.55-ounce package) chocolate morsels or chocolate chips

Place nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or well-greased.

Melt the margarine in a medium, heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 280 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes.

Pour the hot mixture over the nuts; let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with morsels. Let stand until morsels melt and become shiny and soft, about 5 minutes. Spread evenly.

Refrigerate for about 20 minutes. Break into bite-size pieces.

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.