Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rosh Hashanah Menu 2011

I always enjoy reading other people's menus for chag and love to get inspiration from what other people are making. To that end I thought to myself- why not post my menu for one of  what seems like hundreds of meals for this Rosh Hashanah. Call me crazy, but I actually love putting together menus and sometimes spend way too much time (I'm too embaressed to tell you my record) coming up with them. This menu was extra fun to make because I worked hard to try to incorporate at least one of the traditional simanim in each dish. Though by now most people will have their menus planned (and maybe even their shopping done!) maybe this menu can inspire the late bloomers.

Rosh Hashanah 2011
Round Raisin Challah served with Homemade Apple Butter

Starter: Sweet and Spicy Carrot and Apple Soup

Appetizer: Spinach Salad with Avocado, Mango, Pomegranate seeds with Strips of Grilled Salmon served in a crisp wonton bowl

Mains: Chicken Breast with Caramelized Leeks and Mushrooms
           Apple Cider Brisket

Sides:  Spinach and Leek Noodle Kugel
           Cranberry Apple Challah Kugel
           Couscous with Dates, Apricots and Pistachios
           Assorted Salads (cherry tomato, marinated vegetable, cabbage)

Dessert: Traditional Honey Cake, Cinnamon Babka (as shown below) and Seasonal Fruit

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grilled Garlic Citrus Chicken

I have a theory that any recipe that appears on the back of a product is an amazing recipe. I mean, the company wants you to try the recipe to show how great their product is so it will of course be a quadruple tested awesome recipe. I've been right about 99% of the time and with a statistic like that I will continue making product sponsored recipes. This recipe came from the back of the Gulden's mustard container and I could tell by the ingredients that this would be a winner. Heck, I liked the marinade so much I think I'm going to reinvent it as a salad dressing. The chicken tastes great charcoal grilled and we are going to grill every week until summer is truly gone and until the fog here in this glorious yishuv does not allow us to see our own fingers (true story!)- but it would also taste great broiled or cooked on a stove top grill pan. Enjoy!

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup deli mustard (it's only fair to use Gulden's)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbl lemon juice
2 Tbl lime juice
2 Tbl orange juice
1 1/2 tsp salt
8 chicken breasts or one whole chicken, cut up

Whisk all ingredients together in large bowl. Marinate chicken in the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 12. Grill over medium heat and cook about 10-15 minutes, turning frequently until the inside is no longer pink.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chickpea Salad with Tehina and Garlic Dressing

This salad is as hearty and delicious as it is colorful. I don't know about you but I always have canned chickpeas in my pantry and as I peruse the shelves I always stare at them longingly for a while and then move on because I can't think of what to do with them. This salad is a great way to get them on your table in a delicious, nutritious and eye catching way. You could really throw anything into this salad like olives, or roasted vegetables, or corn but this is what I had lying around. I also happened to have tehina in my fridge and since this salad sort of reminds me of Israeli salad in a way I thought a dressing made from tehina would be great and it was. Another good thing about this salad is that it stays well in the fridge for a while and I threw in some grilled chicken and had it as a meal a different day. So, bottom line, sharpen that knife and get ready to dice a little (ok, alot) and then dig in.

2 (15oz) cans chick peas, drained
2 cucumbers, diced
2 stalks celery, diced (optional)
1/2 cup scallions, diced
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced or the equivalent of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup yellow pepper, diced
1/2 cup orange pepper, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup Tehina
4 Tbl lemon juice
2 Tbl water
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bourbon Baked Beans

Say that three times fast. And then dig in because this is dayummmmm good! I've been wanting to make home-made baked beans for forevahhh-no offense to Bush's (which are actually quite good) but there is something so appealing about beans that have been slow cooked for hours with fresh ingredients. And let me tell you something, you need to make these. Yesterday. The flavor of these beans are UNBELIEVABLE! I knew they would be good but I was shocked by just how good they were. Now, you may get intimidated by the length of the cooking time but OH LORDY it is worth it! Now, I am going to give you the instructions as you should do it but when I made it I tried to take the lazy route and cook them on top of the stove thinking it would cook quicker. Bad idea. Terrible. I put them up at 3pm. By 11 pm they were still happily sitting in their sauce smirking at me as they stayed raw. Baked beans are meant to be baked and I apparently broke the cardinal rule. By the time we got to eat them  let's just say it was time for morning prayers. So, lesson learned, next time I will be baking them like a good girl and enjoying them for dinner instead of breakfast.

1 lb white beans (I used Navy)
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup Ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup Honey Bourbon (or regular Bourbon)
1 Tbl granulated garlic
2 Tbl vinegar
6 cups water (plus more if necessary)
2 heaping Tbl Dijon Mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pastrami fat back, cubed (optional)

Soak the beans with water to cover overnight and then drain. Preheat the oven to 350. In a heavy duty oven safe pot (Le Crueset is my  fave) brown the pieces of pastrami until the fat renders out. Remove the pastrami and drain all but 3 Tbl of the fat.  Alternatively, if you are not using the pastrami, heat 3 Tbl olive oil. Saute the onion in the fat or oil until translucent and add the bourbon. Let the bourbon cook for 2 minutes to release the alcohol  and add the beans. Add the brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, garlic, vinegar and water to the pot and mix well. Bring to a boil and transfer to the oven. Bake covered for about 3-4 hours checking every 45 minutes if more water is needed until the beans are tender. Leave the lid open for the last half an hour to allow some liquid to evaporate.

Yes, it looks like Chulent but Chulent only wishes it could taste this good!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

French Onion Soup Quiche

This is another one of the quiches I developed for Joy of kosher and the one that I liked the best. This quiche literally tastes like French onion soup or as close as it can taste with a totally different texture. Of all three quiches I made this one flew off the table the quickest and I plan on making it very often including soon as part of my break-fast menu for Yom Kippur. Only problem is that I took the picture for this quiche outside on a very cloudy, rainy day and the picture just does not do it justice. Traditional French onion soup uses Gruyere cheese on its cheesy crouton topping and while I was in America I actually found a company called "It's a good life" cheese that started selling kosher Gruyere which is readily available at Israeli cheese counters. Finally, I know quiches have a bad rap as "girly" food and men tend to stay away, but bake this quiche and let the aroma fill your house and watch as the men flock to the kitchen (and then photograph the frenzy for future bribing purposes).

French Onion Soup Quiche
2 large onions, diced
2 Tbl butter
1 Tbl olive oil
1 bay leaf
½ tsp dried thyme
3 eggs
1 cup half and half
½ cup sour cream
1 ½ Tbl onion soup mix
1 cup shredded Gruyere (available in Israel by the cheese counter or just use Mozzarella)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 9 inch Pie shell 

Saute the onions with the bay leaf and thyme in the butter and oil. Season with salt and pepper and let them cook about 20 minutes until they are caramelized and golden. Remove the bay leaf and cool the onions. In a bowl whisk the eggs, half and half, sour cream and onion soup mix until well combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pile the onions on the bottom of the pie crust and top with egg mixture. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for about 40-45 minutes in a 350 degree oven until the center is set and it is golden brown.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blueberry Crumb Cake

This was the last blueberry creation I made before I came back home. I'm happy to say that I successfully got my fill of blueberries (and hopefully antioxidants) this summer that should keep me from craving blueberries till next year. We were having company for Shabbat and I wanted to make something that would go well with  coffee and I thought this would be perfect considering it is practically a coffee cake with some blueberries in it. The recipe is adapted from one of Ina Garten's (who I became very well reacquainted with this summer) and it was a huge hit as are all her recipes usually. The cake was moist with just the perfect amount of crumb, delicious crunchy streusel and let's not forget the star of the show, deliciously plump and sweet blueberries. So if you have blueberries near you then I highly recommend this delicious cake. And for those of you who don't and for those of you who have yelled at me for even posting recipes that have ingredients not found in Israel, you'll just have to enjoy the picture :).  

For the Topping:

1/2cup granulated sugar

  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks margarine (or one Israeli bar), melted
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

  • Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in the melted margarine and then the flour. Mix well and set aside. It should be thick and easy to break apart.

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 sticks of margarine
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup tofutti sour cream or regular sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cup fresh or frozen and defrosted blueberries
Preheat the oven the oven to 350 and spray a  9x13 pan well. Cream the margarine and sugar with a mixer until well combined- about 5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries. Pour batter into the pan and make sure the top is even. Crumble the topping evenly over the cake. Bake about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Citrus Salad

I served this salad at my daughter's birthday party. While of course I know that three year olds would never touch this, it turned out that most of the guests were going to be the adult kind, most of whom were going to drive a couple of hours to join the festivities and I couldn't just give them pizza and ice cream. So, in addition to the children's table I set up a buffet including quiches (recipes to come), bagels and spreads, my tortellini salad and a bunch of other stuff including this yummy salad. No one can argue about the visual appeal of this one. It was a stunner and delicious as well! Honestly, I am not the biggest fan of goat cheese but I keep using it to try to force myself to like it. For some reason in this salad the goat cheese's "goaty-ness" wasn't so bad when paired with the sweetness of the almonds and the citrus. Enjoy!

8 cups Mesclun mix
2 grapefruits, segmented
1 can mandarin oranges, or 2 oranges segmented
1/2 cup candied almonds
1 red onion sliced
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup light Olive oil
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Arrange the salad ingredients artfully in a pretty bowl. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and drizzle over the salad right before serving.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tomato Basil and Goat Cheese Quiche

I was asked by Joy of Kosher (Jamie Geller a.k.a "The bride who knew nothing") if I would want to develop some recipes for their website/magazine. Of course I was super excited and started thinking about all the delicious meats I would roast with wine sauces and intricate little appetizers I would make. Well, the next phone call just dashed all those dreams because they needed recipes for quiche. Now, I love quiche as much as the next person but it certainly is hard to stretch your creative culinary muscles with quiche and most people would never call it gourmet. In the end, I came up with some quiches that were take-offs on three of my favorite soups. I love soup, but I hate to eat it in the summer- why sweat more than you have to?- so I developed three quiches that delivered the flavors of the soups without the need for a cold shower. This first one is based on a tomato basil soup that I make that I garnish with a Goat cheese "crouton"- it is delicious and screams of summer and I love it. I used Heirloom tomatoes here, red and yellow, and the flavor was divine but feel free to use whatever tomatoes you have as long as they are delicious and ripe. Check out the final feature article at

Tomato-Basil and Goat Cheese Quiche
 1 9 inch pie crust
1 Tbl butter
3 Tbl seasoned bread crumbs
2 ripe red tomatoes
2 ripe yellow tomatoes
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
3 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup whole milk
3 Tbl fresh basil, chopped ( save some leaves for garnish)
½ Tbl granulated garlic
1 cup shredded Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Rub the butter over the crust and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. This will help prevent the crust from getting soggy from the tomatoes. Layer the red tomatoes over the crumbs and sprinkle the goat cheese on top. In a bowl mix together the eggs, sour cream, milk, basil and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the tomatoes and goat cheese. Lay the yellow tomatoes gently on top so that they sink in but you can still see them. Scatter some fresh basil leaves on top and top with the Parmesan. Bake for about 45 minutes until the center is set and the quiche is golden brown.

(picture taken during a thunderstorm, hence the awful lighting)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

I have been without my computer for a week hence the lack of blogging and I have so many summer recipes still to share. Here is one that was a HUGE hit. I even tricked my veggie-phobic father into eating it and only after he declared it delicious did I tell him the secret ingredient. Zucchini and chocolate are certainly not typically paired together but zucchini is mild enough that it can be added to almost any cake and adds unbelievable moistness and you get to feel good about eating it too. This is another attempt to use up the zucchini but I have to tell you that I'm barely making a dent. I'm going to have to start finding other uses for these pesky veggies- Anyone in the market for some  3-D zucchini wall art?

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/2- 3/4 cup canola oil (1/2 will do you fine but the extra 1/4 really makes it super moist)
4 cups grated zucchini
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add the eggs and oil and mix well. Mix in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Bake in a 350 oven for about 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.