Gelt Hot Chocolate

Written by chanie on December 16th, 2014

I’m super excited for this Chanukah blog post because WE’RE HAVIN’ A PARTY! Albeit a virtual one, but we can still have fun, right?! And all parties have to have prizes, so there’s a great GIVEAWAY too!

I got together with a few other bloggers to create a virtual menu and I was assigned the drinks. Now when I think of Chanukah, I imagine sitting by the lights of the Menorah, snuggled up under a warm blanket, sipping hot chocolate and singing Chanukah songs. The kids are around me playing draidel (ok, fighting over draidel), and my husband is frying latkes in the kitchen. Yes, Chanukah is just about the only time I let him take over and make a mess! He learned to make perfect crispy fried latkes when he was in Yeshiva in Israel and I don’t mind getting a little break from cooking so the kitchen’s all his (for at least a night..or two).

While hubby hosts a fryfest, I like to mix up a warm drink – some mulled wine, spiced apple cider, or gelt hot chocolate, obviously. I came up with this fun Chanukah version of hot chocolate based on a drink that my friends and I used to order at a place called Cafe K, back in the old days. Cafe K is still around, and they might still serve it! It was called “Torino Hot Chocolate”, after the chocolate bar that was used to make it. They’d take a whole bar of this chocolate and pour hot milk over it, and that was it! It was a dreamy confection and we’d save up our calories to splurge on it in the winter. It would warm us up from the inside out and we’d relish each and every sip!

I thought it would be fun to do the same with some chocolate Chanukah gelt! It makes a great party drink – just put out a vase filled with chocolate gelt, an urn of hot milk, and an endless selection of toppings and you’ve got yourself an amazing hot chocolate bar that will be the talk of  your Chanukah party!

And now for the rest of our virtual party menu, check out the mouthwatering dishes from these talented bloggers:

Appetizer:  Turkish Lentil Soup by Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen
MainRoasted Jalapeno and Cheddar Strata by Melinda from Kitchen Tested
Side: Mac and Cheese Latkes by Miriam from OvertimeCook
Dessert: Deep Fried Rugelach by Amy from What Jew Wanna Eat

And now for the exciting part – the prizes! We’re giving away 2 separate packages – a cookbook package sponsored by Artscroll and a Gourmet Kosher Foodie Package sponsored by Nomoo cookies and California Gourmet. Enter to win below. Happy Chanukah!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Festive Hot Drinks: Mulled Wine
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Beer Battered Pumpkin Rings

Written by chanie on December 11th, 2014

I seem to create trends for myself when it comes to the holidays. Of course every Chanukah there’s a latke, and every Purim, a hamantasch. But it’s more than that. Every Succot, I post a different type of mechshie (a Syrian stuffed vegetable dish), every Purim, I do something else with salami. And it seems, every Chanukah, I post something with gourds (different varieties of pumpkin).

It wasn’t really on purpose, and I didn’t even realize it until I made these! First there was my amazing zucchini parmesan chips, then my Thanksgivukkah pumpkin ricotta cheese latkes with cranberry syrup (you MUST make these for Chanukah morning, they’re insanely good!), and finally my gluten free butternut squash latkes with ginger applesauce and curried sour cream.

This year, I’m continuing the trend using delicata squash – a small mild-flavored squash with an edible peel (you gotta love the no-peeling!). To make the most of my fried pumpkin idea, I decided to coat the squash in pumpkin beer batter. If you’ve never tried a pumpkin ale, it’s got a hint of pumpkin flavor from vine ripened pumpkin and harvest spices. It’s definitely up there with one of my favorite drinks, as well as one of my favorite batter ingredients!

What beer does for tempura batter is truly amazing. You can google it, of course, but  basically the foam, alcohol and carbon dioxide in the beer cause a chemical reaction when it hits the hot oil. It results in an incredibly crisp and light batter. And who doesn’t love a light and crispy coating?

It’s Chanukah after all, so exploring the best type of batter for deep frying is exactly the sort of research we should be doing! Fried latkes and donuts are all good, but there’s nothing like a deep fried oreo, some tempura-fried veggies or sweet and delicious apple fritter rings.

Traditionally, beer batter is used more in savory dishes, but I love to shake things up, so I added a little sugar and some more pumpkin spices, to really bring out the pumpkin flavor. What you get is an ultra-crunchy light coating that pair perfectly with what’s inside….delicata squash.

The only thing better than the pumpkin beer batter is what I put on top! Some cinnamon-scented powdered sugar! And to really take it to the next level, I created a maple GREEK yogurt dipping sauce – as an ode to the Chanukah miracle!

Now when you look at these beer battered pumpkin rings – what do you see? Come on, you all know you’re thinking of it…DONUTS! I love that these look just like the traditional fried Chanukah dessert, yet they’re something else entirely! How fun is that?!

And when you top ‘em off with the thick Greek yogurt sauce, it looks just like frosting. And believe me when I tell you – this sauce is probably the best frosting you’ll ever taste! It’s even good for you – so how’s that for deguiltifying the whole beer-battered deep fried rings thing. They’ve even got squash inside, so you’re technically just eating veggies with greek yogurt, right? ;)

To get the recipe for my Beer Battered Pumpkin Rings with Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce, head on over to my guest post on THE NOSHER!

Other Fried Chanukah Recipes:

zucchini parmesan chips
confetti latkes with harissa sour cream
gluten free butternut squash latkes
corned beef arancini
french fried chicken nuggets
spinach falafel burgers

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Poutine Latkes

Written by chanie on December 2nd, 2014

I could NOT be more excited about today’s recipe because it’s all about one of my favorite things….POUTINE! If you’ve never heard of it, it’s because it’s a Canadian specialty, and you probably have never had a chance to try it in the U.S. When I visited Montreal recently with my family, I tried poutine again for the first time in years, and I just wanted to keep going back for more!

Traditional Poutine is made with french fries and cheese curds which are smothered in gravy. Of course kosher poutine is a bit of a challenge, because A. kosher cheese curds are not available in the U.S. and B. it’s hard to create a rich gravy without using stock and drippings. Alas, I have mastered the art of KOSHER POUTINE and I couldn’t be more ecstatic!!


First, the cheese curds. Cheese curds are the solid parts of soured milk, and are sometimes referred to as squeaky cheese. I had the brilliant idea to pull apart shreds of fresh mozzarella, and they did the perfect job of resembling the curds, both in look and texture. I think they work wonderfully as a sub for the traditional.


Now onto the gravy! How do you get a truly rich gravy without much work, and without drippings? You turn to UMAMI flavors like soy sauce and parmesan. They give the gravy that depth of flavor that you can’t get in a vegan recipe. Of course this makes the gravy dairy, but your poutine is smothered in fresh mozzarella cheese curds anyway, so the more the merrier!


Actually, the dairy part of this is what really got me thinking about turning it into a Chanukah recipe. Dairy is customarily eaten on Chanukah to remember the bravery of Yehudit, a young widower who lived in Bethulia in the land of Judea. To save Jerusalem from a paralyzing siege and approaching enemy troops, Yehudit seduced a Greek general into a drunken slumber by feeding him salty cheese and quenching his thirst with strong wine. As the general slept, she beheaded him with a sword. After finding that their general had been killed, the Greek army fled in disarray.


There’s no doubt that smothering potato latkes (mini or otherwise) in cheese curds and gravy might put us all in drunken slumber, but trust me when I tell you, it’s worth it. Even if you need to take a nap afterwards!

 

Look for the Natural & Kosher logo wherever fine kosher cheeses are sold.

Stay tuned for more exciting cheesy recipes, coming soon!

For other recipes & ideas using Natural & Kosher Cheese products, you can follow them via:

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Say Cheese! :-D

This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese.

Other Chanukah Recipes:

confetti latkes with harissa sour cream 
gluten free butternut squash latkes
cheese latkes with raspberry sauce
fried zucchini parmesan chips

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Thanksgiving Bibimbap

Written by chanie on November 25th, 2014

I’ve wanted to make a bibimbap for the longest time, just so I can say the word bibimbap. It sounds like a hip hop dance, but it’s actually a Korean dish of warm rice topped with sauteed veggies, thinly sliced meat or tofu, a fried (or raw) egg and a spicy chili sauce. I decided to get creative with the bibimbap concept, and turn it into a a fun opportunity to use up Thanksgiving leftovers.

My Thanksgiving bibimbap includes some leftover sliced turkey, green beans, sauteed shredded pumpkin, roasted brussel sprouts, chestnuts and a fried egg. It’s finished off with a drizzle of sriracha cranberry sauce, the same one I used in this recipe. You’re welcome to adapt this dish based on your Thanksgiving leftovers, just be sure to keep things simple and not mix too many flavors.

What are some of the fun ways that you repurpose your Thanksgiving leftovers? I’d love to hear! Share them with me in the comments below!

Happy Bi Bim Bopping!

Other Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas:

leftover turkey pot pie
pot pie croquettes (use turkey instead of chicken, flour instead of potato starch, and panko instead of ground nuts)

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Pumpkin Banana Souffle

Written by chanie on November 19th, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my Paleo journey and I think it’s about time! I first wrote about my diet struggles back in June, and I’ve since completed two (and a half) Whole30’s. The 30-day cleanse is based on the Paleo diet, with some more stringencies to help the body reset it’s natural rhythm. I love what the Whole30 did for me! It completely eliminated my sugar cravings, and got me back on track to a healthier lifestyle. Hundreds of you have jumped on the Whole30 bandwagon and purchased my Paleo 30-day meal plan filled with over 100 Whole30-compliant recipes!

Now while I fully support the Whole30 concept, I think it works best as a 30-day cleanse, which is exactly what it is. It’s too hard to live a Whole30 lifestyle all the time, especially being a foodie and recipe developer. Which is why I’ve transitioned to a mostly Paleo diet – rich in healthy proteins and fats, and limited to natural sweeteners and no-grain alternatives like almond flour.

I find that the Paleo lifestyle is pretty easy to stick to. I eat lots of eggs, chicken, meat, veggies and healthy carbs like sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Of course my spiralizer keeps things exciting with lots of zoodles (zuccchini noodles), veggie fries and cauliflower rice! I try to always think outside the box, preparing burgers with portobello mushrooms “buns”, making eggrolls with an omelette, or sushi with cucumber ribbons. These original recipes can all be found in my ebook, which you can read about in more detail here.

Although I’ve adopted a mostly Paleo lifestyle, I’m still a huge foodie who enjoys eating out, and developing fun and unique recipes for my blog. In those cases, I believe strongly in the principal “everything in moderation,” so I try and give myself a break to enjoy every now and then. I still have lots of weight to lose, and I think it’s time to head to the gym to get that ball rolling (literally!)

My blog is a reflection of my lifestyle, so I thought it was time to bring back some tried and true Paleo/Whole30 compliant recipes for all of my loyal Paleo followers to enjoy. This incredible pumpkin banana souffle is so ridiculously easy to make, you won’t believe how good it tastes! The banana adds all the sweetness you need, so you can eat this without any guilt. I love that I can eat it warm or cold, for breakfast, dinner, or even dessert! It’s nice enough to serve for company, and it’s so versatile too! Top it with some bacon or sausage crumbles, eat it with some roast turkey, or spoon on some coconut whipped cream for a truly decadent treat!

Other recipes that use pumpkin puree:

pumpkin ricotta pancakes
pumpkin pie smoothie
baked pumpkin oatmeal
pumpkin crisp
pumpkin whoopie pies

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Cranberry Sriracha Green Beans

Written by chanie on November 13th, 2014

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I don’t know if it’s all the beautiful leaves on the ground, or the fact that I can cover up in a  cute jacket, without having to bundle up in a stuffy down winter coat. It probably has a lot to do with all the amazing pumpkin recipes, the sweet apple cider, and of course,…Thanksgiving! I’m on to Thanksgiving food weeks before the holiday (and not just because I’m a food blogger)! Case in point: my dinner last night was turkey burgers with cranberry pear relish, fried sage and Paleo pumpkin biscuits. I just can’t get enough of classic Thanksgiving dishes and flavors – I can eat them all year round.

Now speaking of classic Thanksgiving dishes, y’all know how traditional green beans are – especially green bean casserole. I’m not one for casseroles, but sriracha? yes please! Whether you are going Asian or not with any of your dishes – this sweet and spicy recipe makes the perfect Thanksgiving side dish! The sweet cranberries add the perfect festive touch, making this a great addition to your holiday meal. Gobble Gobble!


Related Recipes:

crunchy shriveled green beans
spicy roasted edamame
teriyaki mushrooms

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Winter Caprese Salad

Written by chanie on November 6th, 2014

Growing up, my mom always taught me that you don’t wear white after labor day. But as I grew older, I learned that there are certain types of white that are acceptable in the winter – Winter Whites. Now I can’t say I ever really pulled off the trend, since I tend towards the slimming black clothes (especially in the winter!). But one thing I could do, is bring the trend into my kitchen.

When Natural & Kosher Cheese came out with their prepackaged sliced fresh mozzarella, I was so excited to work with it! It takes all the work out of dishes like caprese salad, gourmet pizza and paninis. And while it’s fresh and healthy, it doesn’t have to be just for light summer dishes. Winter Whites belong in the kitchen too!

Now if you’re winterizing a caprese salad, you have to do it right! You can’t just use out-of-season tomatoes and basil. You’ve got to find the right in-season produce to complement the cheese.

I was walking through the produce section this week thinking about what to use when I spotted my favorite winter fruit – persimmon! I’ve talked about my love of persimmon a lot on my blog. I’m just doing my part to get the word out about this often-overlooked fruit. They are just too delicious to pass up! Persimmon almost make the brutal New York winter worth it. Almost.

So when I spotted the fuyu persimmon (there are 2 types of persimmon, you can read about them here), it struck me just how much it resembles a tomato. They’re crispy, with a sweet canteloupe and sugarcane flavor. Fruits work so wonderfully with cheese – so I decided to incorporate them into  my kitchen version of Winter Whites! I rounded out the dish with some delicous sweet roasted beets and added another seasonal fruit, pomegranates, for some crunch. Bitter arugula helps to balance out all the sweetness, and thick pomegranate molasses (inspired by Caprese’s classic reduced balsamic vinegar) just seemed like the perfect finish.

And there you have it – a stylish salad that makes a statement. That my friends – is MY VERSION of winter whites ;)

Look for the Natural & Kosher logo wherever fine kosher cheeses are sold.

Stay tuned for more exciting cheesy recipes, coming soon!

For other recipes & ideas using Natural & Kosher Cheese products, you can follow them via:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram
YouTube
Google+

Say Cheese! :-D

This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese.

Related Recipes:

passion for persimmon; salad and sorbet
persimmon coconut ice cream
persimmon guacamole
roasted beet salsa
summer tomato feta salad

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Food, Family and Tradition Review & Giveaway

Written by chanie on October 30th, 2014

I have to confess that while I love to collect cookbooks, I don’t really read them. I prefer to browse through the pictures, take a mental note of the good-looking recipes, and return them to the bookshelf amid my growing collection. Rarely do I come upon a cookbook that I want to read front to back. Where the food photography doesn’t matter, and the story is what grabs me.

I read Food, Family and Tradition cover to cover. The new book by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro celebrates the resilience and courage of holocaust survivors through food and stories. As the daughter of holocaust survivors, Lynn sought to bring to light the beauty and richness of traditional Jewish life in Czechoslovakia and Hungary before the Holocaust. In the preface to the recipe portion of the cookbook, she paints a vivid picture of her parents’ family life in Eastern Europe. With period photographs, biographies, a family tree and original vignettes, Lynn draws you in to her family history and story of survival. She details their emigration from Europe to the U.S. and how they went on to weave new family traditions while founding Hungarian Kosher Foods, the first all-kosher supermarket in the midwest.

In the second part of the cookbook, Lynn shares 150 family recipes, many of which were prepared for sale in the family’s supermarket. Many of the dishes are highlighted by family stories and remembrances.

There’s nothing fresh and modern about the recipes in Food, Family and Tradition. On the contrary, the book seeks to keep century-old traditions alive through sharing family recipes that celebrate the spirit of Eastern European culture. Some of the heimishe recipes you’ll find include chopped herring, mandel bread, rakott krumpli (potato-egg casserole), blintzes, gefilte fish, brisket, schnitzel, Hungarian goulash, tzimmes, honey cake and so much more.

Growing up in an ashkenazi family with Eastern European roots, so many of the Hungarian dishes in Food, Family and Tradition hit close to home. My bubby would prepare many of the above-mentioned recipes as well as borscht, cheese kugel, chop suey, chicken paprikas, stuffed peppers, sweet and sour tongue, cabbage and noodles and others. Since my bubby is not the measuring type, it’s nice to be able to see these recipes written out in a clear and concise manner. Some of the recipes are accompanied by photos, but most of them are not. I usually find that bothersome, but in this book, it seems to make no difference. Maybe it’s because it’s the story that matters, or because I recognize so many of the dishes from my upbringing, that I don’t need to see them to know what they look like.

All in all, Food, Family and Tradition is about more than just family recipes. It’s about continuing the legacy of Jewish life before the holocaust through food and culture.

I’m giving away a free copy of the Food, Family and Tradition cookbook! To enter, simply leave a comment below about a traditional family dish that means a lot to you. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest 

Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, November 10th, 2014.

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Harissa Roasted Chicken

Written by chanie on October 22nd, 2014

For the longest time, spicy foods didn’t interest me. I grew up eating so much of the sweet stuff, I thought chicken was best loaded with sugary sauce. My bubby always doused her dishes in sugar, the more the better, and my mother did the same. Fish, chicken, salad, pasta, potatoes – everything was prepared sweet.

When I first got married, I followed suit, prepping my dishes with the holy trinity of spices: salt, pepper, and sugar! Lots of sweet BBQ sauces, sticky duck sauce and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. Sometimes I paired them with mustard for a little kick, but hot peppers never made it into my kitchen, and spicy was off the map.

My husband grew up similarly, even though he has sephardic roots. My South American mother in law loaded her keftes (meatballs) with sugar, and her Syrian mechshie was almost always sweet too. Sweet beet and carrot salads were often on the menu as well, always with added sugar.

But then I became a foodie. It evolved slowly – starting with simple family recipes on my blog, my interest in food evolved into passion and curiosity for different flavors and International cuisine. Slowly but surely, I broadened my culinary horizons by exploring the many flavors and textures of different foods. My husband was not as quick to embrace my food journey, but he eventually came around and started to appreciate flavors that he didn’t grow up eating.

I’ve grown (quite literally) to love spicy foods like Pad Thai, curries and salsas, and ingredients like harissa, sriracha and chili peppers are mainstays in my kitchen. I now save the sweets for the desserts, and do my best to keep my dishes savory, or at least to add an element of spice, to keep the flavors balanced.

One of the best parts about eating spicy and savory foods like this harissa roasted chicken, is that it’s lighter on the waistline but doesn’t compromise on flavor. Zoodles (zucchini noodles) make this dish Paleo and Whole30 compliant, so if you’ve joined the popular diet trend (which I wrote an ebook on!), this makes for a delicious and filling dinner, and you can save leftovers for lunch the next day. You gotta love that!

Other spicy recipes:

spicy tuna melt twice baked potatoes
quinoa pad thai
spicy roasted edamame
kani salad
cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce

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Passion Fruit Cream Cornucopias + a Coolada

Written by chanie on October 12th, 2014

Being a food blogger has awarded me such amazing possibilities! Getting a chance to work with some amazing kosher products is one of them!

When I was approached about working with Morad’s amazing Danue line of fruit flavored wines, I was all over it! We’re talking sweet fruity flavors like pomegranate, lychee and passion fruit – oh my! Have I ever told you how much I adore passion fruit?

Passion fruit is not exactly readily attainable in New York. Case in point: I actually forked out a whopping $3.99 for ONE little round one to make the blessing of a new fruit (Shehechiyanu) on the Jewish New Year. I think that puts me at about $1.00 per seed. Still, I wanted to splurge on my favorite exotic fruit for the holiday – so I went all out. I’m thinking it’s time for another trip to Aussie, where they sell passion fruits like apples, to hoard up on the sweet and tangy delicate fruit.

When I heard that Morad had a passion fruit flavored wine in their collection – I was beyond excited to work with it! I wasn’t surprised to learn that it’s Morad’s best seller – who wouldn’t want alcohol that’s infused with the fruity goodness of passion fruits, hello?!

I set out to make the most of my passion fruit wine with both a cocktail and a dessert that would celebrate it’s exotic appeal. First…the dessert. To highlight the holiday of Succot – a time when we celebrate the overflowing harvest – I decided to go with a twist on the classic cream horn. The cream horn resembles a cornucopia; horn of plenty, that is a symbol of abundance. You’ll find cornucopia’s pouring forth with produce – especially around Thanksgiving time, making this dessert all the more appropriate.

Now I doubt you’ve ever seen a cornucopia filled with passion fruit cream – that is thanks to Morad’s amazing wine that I reduced down into a syrup which I used to spike the pastry cream. And not just any pastry cream. To keep it dairy free, I made the classic french custard with coconut milk, to highlight the tropical feel. My husband is a huge fan of custard-based desserts, so I couldn’t wait for him to be my taste tester when he got home from work. The man sure knows his pastry cream! Well let me tell you guys…one lick of the stuff and he said it was the best custard he’d ever had! I used the leftovers to make him a classic napoleon and he licked his fingers down to the last crumb. I’d call that a success! :)

As for the cornucopia’s themselves? Don’t be overwhelmed by their cuteness – these babies are such a breeze to make! All you need are some cream horn molds and frozen puff pastry and they’re done in under 15 minutes. Let me tell you – I’m not one for these involved pastry type of things, but they were truly super easy! Just MAKE SURE you lightly grease you molds before applying the puff pastry. Ask me how I know.

And don’t worry, if you can’t get your hands on the pastry molds in time for Succot, you can always wrap some sugar cones in foil and use those instead. They’ll be larger than traditional horns – but that just means more passion fruit cream for you!

To get the recipe for these passion fruit cream cornucopias, head on over to Joy of Kosher!

Now that we have our dessert all set, we’re onto the cocktail! I mean, you gotta have a cocktail right? Especially on Succot! To highlight the exotic passion fruit in this spiked smoothie, I decided to do a riff on the classic Pina Colada by using Morad Passion Fruit wine instead of rum. You can add the ice for a delicious slushy, or keep things light with a cocktail, sans ice. Either way, this fruity, creamy and lets face it – dreamy – cocktail is a winner!

To get the recipe for the Passion Fruit Colada, head on over to Joy of Kosher

Thanks to Morad Wineries for the opportunity to work with their delicious fruity wine, and for sponsoring this post! I’m off to finish the bottle!

Other Fruity Cocktails:

The Hamantini
Whiskey Cider
Sangria

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