Sunday, September 22, 2013

Simchat Torah Menu

Simchat Torah is my favorite part of Sukkot. Though we don't sit in the Sukkah, the energy, the dancing, the glee of all the children who are high on shul candy and the sense of renewal as we begin the Torah anew is infectious. Some of my best childhood memories are from Simchat Torah in the small shteibel I grew up in, dancing with my grandfather and father, devouring endless bars of chocolate, and eating stuffed cabbage. That's why even though Sukkot is one of my busiest catering times, I insist on having company for Simchat Torah. Stuffed Cabbage is one of those foods that is traditional on Simchat Torah as the cylindrical rolls are reminiscent of the shape of the Torah, but for those of you for whom stuffed cabbage is too much work try this stuffed cabbage soup as a great alternative. Enjoy!

Cranberry Challah
Homemade Apple Butter

Starter: Stuffed Cabbage

Mains: Honey Ginger Garlic Minute Steak Roast
Toungue Polonaise
Coconut Chicken Strips with  Mango -Curry Dipping Sauce

Sides: Butternut Squash Souffle
Wild Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms
Green Bean and Mango Salad
Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw

Desserts: Stuffed Baked Apples
Hot Brownies with Mint Chip Ice Cream

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bourbon Glazed Corned Beef

Sukkot is around the corner and I'm not sure why but corned beef seems to be a traditional food to eat, that is to say, I often see it on Sukkot menus right there with the requisite stuffed cabbage. I have to say, corned beef is one of my favorite ways to eat beef and after shelling out way too much money for sub par corned beef we started to play with recipes to perfect our own brine to pickle the beef ourselves. Let me tell you, it makes a huge difference. Now, if you are a corned beef purist as my husband is then this recipe is not for you. He likes to eat his corned beef sliced thin on bread with just a smidgen of mustard to highlight the taste and that is ok, but some prefer their corned beef smothered in sweet and tangy sauce and that is where this recipe comes in. As for me, I am happy with corned beef in all forms and I especially like this one with the tangy bourbon sauce. I used Honey Bourbon but feel free to use any bourbon that you have. My brisket has been curing for a few days now in a delicious bath of brine but I can't wait to dress it up with this silky glaze to devour on Sukkot. Enjoy!

1 3-4 lb Corned Beef
1/2 cup orange juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbl Ketchup
1/4 cup Honey Bourbon
1 Tbl Cornstarch

Cook your corned beef according to the package instructions, usually 2-3 hours depending on the type of meat it is and its thickness. In a sauce pan combine the orange juice, brown sugar, mustard, ketchup and bourbon and whisk in the cornstarch until the glaze thickens. Bring to a boil and whisk the glaze until it has thickened. Preheat the oven to 350.Once the corned beef is finished cooking place in a baking pan and slather it with the glaze. Bake for 25 minutes. Wait till the beef cools and slice the corned beef and serve it with the remaining sauce from the pan.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blueberry Banana Bread

I know that in most people's minds summer is over,but since Labor day (other wise known in Israel as just a regular Monday) has not passed I wanted to sneak in one more summery post. I make banana bread all the time, mostly because no matter how we try to eat our bananas I always have at least 2-3 that turn on me before we can get to them. Once they start to turn that unappealing brown color is the perfect time for banana bread and there is a very fine line between "brown banana good for banana bread" and "brown banana good for garbage." So when I see the tell tale signs I drop everything and get another batch of banana bread in the oven. Can't let some perfectly good banana bread opportunity pass me by, right? Well, this need to use up those bananas is actually usually very annoying. I never see the brown bananas when I have nothing to do and all day to bake. Most of the time I am unpacking a million bags of groceries while making dinner and working on a catering job in utter exhaustion when I see the tell tale signs. I then have to make a monumental, herculean, super human effort to bake that bread but most of the time I do because banana bread is just that good. But every once in a while I try to change up the regular old recipe and so one summer day with lots of blueberries around I made this. Yum. Super moist. Bursting with blueberry flavor. Devoured within a day. Must make again soon. With that series of fragment sentences I give you this delicious recipe. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Mash the 3 bananas well and set aside. In a bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl mix together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Mix in the bananas and blueberries until fully incorporated. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center yields moist crumbs about an hour.