Mexican Hot Chocolate Pecan Pie

Written by chanie on November 25th, 2015

It’s amazing how I’m becoming less and less into sweets. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love a good dessert. But sometimes I find the sugar so overly cloying. Like in pecan pie.

But with pecan pie being so traditional and all, I didn’t want to just cut it out of my life without at least trying. So try I did. And succeed, oh yes, I did!

Enter Mexican Hot Chocolate – the sweet and spicy rich chocolate drink with just the right amount of kick. I love how the bittersweet chocolate and chili balances out the sweetness in this pie. It totally works.

I’ve done this before with brownies, and it has become one of my most favorite recipes. My guests always ooh and ahh over my Duncan Hines fix, thinking I spent hours perfecting the best brownie recipe.

With pecan pie, it’s just the same. The filling is really fairly simple, and if you use a frozen pie crust like I did (insert-surprised-emoji-face-here), it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

This beauty is being gifted to Melinda of kitchen-tested for her pie bar tomorrow, which I will be lucky enough to be sampling from, after her crazy Thanksgiving feast! Sorry that I had to slice it open Mel!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for a play by play of Melinda’s incredible meal! Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh, and happy pie eating too :)

Related Recipes:

Mexican hot chocolate brownies
pecan pie lace cookies

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The Silver Platter Review & Giveaway

Written by chanie on November 19th, 2015

My first impression of The Silver Platter cookbook was how big and beautiful it is, almost a coffee table book. Having formerly trained in graphic design, I always look at the layout first. And the pictures. Both are stellar. Beautiful, bright and colorful photos accompany each meticulously-written recipe. And the food doesn’t just look good, it looks inviting, and not intimidating in the least. I love the partnership of Daniella and Norene in this book. Daniella is a young mom looking to feed her kids easy and healthy dinners, while Norene brings her culinary expertise, offering sage advice for each recipe.

I think my favorite part about The Silver Platter is that all of the recipes can be made with basic pantry ingredients. Daniella managed to bring a variety of dishes that are packed with flavor using basic ingredients and no added junk. Her recipes are healthy, wholesome and family-friendly without being boring. Many are gluten free and allergy-friendly too. A nutritional index for each recipe is even included in the appendix.

The Silver Platter features recipes that are both basic enough for every day and innovative enough for the holidays. From appetizers, soups and salads, to fish, poultry, meat and dairy, as well as grain side dishes, vegetable side dishes, cookies, treats and cakes, they’ve got everything covered! I can’t wait to try the baby eggplant fans (genius!), crunchy corned beef strips, berry plum soup, snap pea salad with basil-mint dressing, broiled lemon fish, three-seeded schnitzel, basil chicken with sundried tomatoes, raspberry london broil, cheesy quinoa bites, panko-topped bok choy and edamame, fudgy pretzel brownies, white chocolate popcorn clusters, blueberry flan and heavenly halva cheesecake!

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m sharing some festive recipes for apple cranberry couscous and sweet potato squash soup below, AND, I’m also giving away a copy of The Silver Platter! To enter, simply leave a comment below about your favorite Thanksgiving dish. 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.


Giveaway is open to U.S. residents (for international entries, prize can only be shipped in the U.S.). Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Tuesday, November 24th, 2015.

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Unstuffed Mushrooms

Written by chanie on November 12th, 2015

Thanksgiving is coming up and all I can think about is stuffing. Particularly cornbread stuffing. It’s my absolute favorite! Make that chorizo cornbread stuffing and Ill take two portions please :)

Believe it or not, I did not grow up celebrating Thanksgiving. My mom used to make us turkey sandwiches, just for kicks. And sometimes she’d make some Thanksgiving dishes for Shabbat the week of Thanksgiving. I always wanted to experience the whole turkey-gravy-stuffing-pumpkin pie-cranberry sauce-green bean casserole smorgasbord, but I’m kind of too lazy to make it all! Lucky for me, my friend Melinda from kitchen-tested is doing the whole shebang, and I kind of invited myself over! Melinda is an amazing cook and I cannot wait to see what she has up her chef”s sleeve. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, because I will definitely be posting pics from that sure-to-be-epic meal!

Speaking of lazy, this unstuffed mushroom recipe can also be called lazy stuffed mushrooms, because that is, in fact, what it is. I was digging through my fridge for a side dish the other week, and I found all the ingredients I would need to make stuffed mushrooms. Except I was too lazy to make stuffed mushrooms, so I made unstuffed ones! I added some roasted chestnuts and Chardonnay for a truly festive dish, perfect for your Thanksgiving meal!

This post is sponsored by All opinions are my own. 

Related Recipes:

teriyaki mushrooms
spinach stuffed mushrooms
spaghetti squash with spinach, mushrooms and white wine
Tuscan white beans with spinach and white wine

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Za’atar Roasted Kabocha Squash with Silan

Written by chanie on November 4th, 2015

{Funny Story} So, when I was growing up, my mom always used to make roasted kabocha squash for Shabbat, except she always called it kaboochie squash. She would send me to the store with a list, and whenever I would ask the guy in the produce department for kaboochie squash, he had no idea what I was talking about! And neither did anyone else in the store. Go figure.

Well this right here ^^^ is what “kaboochie” squash looks like. And once I made my mom show it to me the knobby weird shaped pumpkin, I never had to ask it for again. {Phew.}

Fast forward a number of years (I don’t want to date myself or anything), I was newly married and cooking for Shabbat. I wanted to make the delicious squash my mom had always made growing up, so I googled it, and found that it was actually called kabocha squash. Sorry mom.

It turns out that kabocha squash is actually a Japanese pumpkin, and the stuff is goooood. It’s literally my most favorite squash of all the knobby little things out there. Lucky for me, it’s also the hardest to cut.

Its’ so hard to cut, in fact, that Levana Kirschenbaum, Wholefoods chef par excellence, actually has a picture of herself cutting one open with a hammer in her cookbook! I don’t use a hammer in my kitchen, but here is what I do: First I remove the stem at the top and then I cut it in half vertically. I scoop out the seeds and place it flesh-side-down on my cutting board. Then, following the curve of the squash, I cut it into wedges. Voila!

Now my mom used to cook the kabocha up with a drizzle of oil and lots of brown sugar, and it was deeelish. But I wanted to bring out the savoriness of this squash, so I roasted it up with my favorite spice – za’atar. I coated it all with some sweet sticky silan, for a hint of sweetness, and finished it with an extra sprinkling of sesame seeds. You can garnish it as I did with pomegranate seeds and parsley, or just serve it up as-is for a sweet and savory bite!

Once you familiarize yourself with this awesome squash, feel free to use it in roasted pumpkin soup, my kale and kabocha salad with pears and pecans, or in recipes that call for boring old butternut squash. The flavor and texture of kabocha is by far superior, you’ll never turn back!

Related Recipes:

wilted kale & kabocha squash salad
savory butternut squash fries
za’atar roasted chickpeas
silan roasted figs

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Cowboy Cookie Dough Bites

Written by chanie on October 29th, 2015

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging here at BUSYINBROOKLYN for the last five years. Yes, for almost five years (my blogoversary is in January) I have been consistently posting recipes and sharing my love and passion for food. It truly blows my mind.

If you’ve been following me since the early days (and I know some of you loyal readers have), you might remember a popular cookie that was one of my very first posts, these cowboy cookies. Why these kitchen-sink-style cookies are called cowboy cookies is anyones guess, but they are popularly made with oats, pecans, coconut and chocolate chips. The chunky cookies are so fantastic, I decided to create a healthy, vegan version using medjool dates, one of my favorite things. The result? They look like cookie dough, the taste like cookie dough, and they’re all natural. You gotta love that!

Now when you’re making a raw truffle, you have to go for good quality ingredients because nothing is getting cooked. That’s why I use my favorite brand of chocolate chips, California Gourmet. There’s a reason their popular blue and red bags are now available in over 300 stores, most recently available in Illinois. The rich and chocolaty pieces really take these truffles up a notch!

Ever since my family has been introduced to a slew of food allergies, I’ve been trying to find ways for all my kids to be able to enjoy treats like cookies, without using any eggs. My eldest daughter loves cookie dough (she always picks out that flavor in the Ice Cream store) and my youngest is positively obsessed with chocolate chips. A cookie dough truffle was definitely the way to go, but I never imagined that something so wholesome would taste SO GOOD, and so much like cookie dough. My next challenge? Making an egg-free birthday cake. Anyone have any suggestions?

With the big FIVE YEAR blogoversary coming up, I’m also taking suggestions on what improvements you’d like to see on the BIB blog, and new recipes and ideas that you’d like me to post in the coming months. Share your ideas, comments and suggestions with me below!

I want to offer a huge congratulations to California Gourmet for winning the NEW PRODUCT award (in the baking category) from Kosherfest this year! You truly deserve the honor!

This post is sponsored by California Gourmet Chocolate Chips. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   View the list of over 300 stores that carry the brand here).

Related Recipes:

cowboy cookies
grape nut coconut crunch cookies
oatmeal breakfast cookies (oil-based!)
gingerbread date truffles

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Zoodle Shakshuka

Written by chanie on October 22nd, 2015

If a food could be my bestie, it would be shakshuka. I can’t get enough of the stuff. Why do I love it so much? Lets count the ways…

    1. it’s sweet.
    2. it’s spicy.
    3. it’s saucy.
    4. it’s got runny eggs.
    5. it’s got runny eggs. (I love runny eggs OKKKK?)
    6. it’s easy to make.
    7. you can dip fresh pita in it.
    8. you can make so many varieties.
    9. you can eat it for breakfast, brunch (my favorite), lunch or dinner.
    10. it’s Israeli and Israel is my <3

Speaking of #10, I’m sharing this recipe with you all in honor of the #LOVEISRAELFOOD which is the brainchild of my fellow Brooklyn foodie and Instagrammer Aliza Salem (follower her @theghettogourmet!). Aliza put together a fun foodie campaign in support of Israel, where we all share our favorite Israeli dishes on Instagram! Go out and buy some Israeli products and post a photo of your dish with some of these hashtags:
#buyisraelicookisraelibakeisraeli, #loveisraelfood, #changeforisrael and #onenationoneheart! I can’t wait to break the internet with all our droolworthy dishes!

I’m getting in the spirit of things with this zoodle shakshuka, because I had to bring together two of my favorite things: zoodles and shakshuka! I spiralized both zucchini and yellow squash, to give this a 2-tone effect, and it came together in no time. Who doesn’t love that!

Zoodles are all the rage these days, so if you haven’t hopped on the zucchini noodle train, it’s time. I wrote all about the different tools that you can use to prepare zoodles a little while ago, so give it a read!

If you’re not much of a reader, I’ll sum it up for you in one sentence. For quick and easy zoodles, use this and for a fun tool that you can use with lots of different produce, use this. It’s that easy my zoodle novice friends.

And if you’re looking for some inspiration for the #loveisraelfood campaign, you know you’ve come to the right place. You can try stuffing some roasted eggplant like this, or grilling up some halloumi like this. You can go a little crazy with halva flavors like this and this or work in some za’atar like this and this. Of course you can go more classic like falafel and shawarma or go a little crazy with rosewater or harissa. Whatever you do, it’s sure to be delicious. B’taavon!

For the zoodle shakshuka recipe, head on over to the Arutz Sheva blog!

Other Shakshuka Recipes:

baked portobello shakshuka
garbanzo bean shakshuka
spaghetti squash shakshuka 

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3-Layer Rainbow Cookie Cake

Written by chanie on October 13th, 2015

I came to the realization today that I’ve been posting quite a number of cakes for someone who calls themselves a non-baker. Am I right? As much as I don’t like to bake, it seems YOU all like when I do. Remember when my funfetti bundt cake went viral? And judging by the amount of  parsnip honey cake pictures that flooded my inbox, I’d say it was a huge hit!

With Parshas Noach this week, I thought it was just the right time to finally post THIS cake. I made it last November for my husband’s birthday, and I never quite found the right time to post it. I was thinking about what kind of rainbow recipe I could do in honor of the Torah portion in which a rainbow appeared as a symbol of G-d’s promise never to destroy the world again with a flood. I started looking through some old photos and I remembered this amazing 3-layer marzipan birthday cake, and it was just the thing!

3-layer rainbow cookies are my husband’s all time favorite, so I set out to make a birthday cake version for his surprise party. I’m not one for layered cakes, and each time I make them, I’m reminded just why I hate making them so much. But the end result is always worth it! Especially in this case.

If you’ve ever tried 3-layer rainbow cookies, you know what they taste like – marzipan. They’re cakey and chocolatey with a bit of jam in between the layers. But one thing they are not is FRESH. Once you make this stuff from scratch you can really taste the difference. Preservative-free cake is the way to go, and making it in a stacked layer cake is just SO. MUCH. FUN.

My husband is the founder and CEO the boutique marketing firm AjaxUnion.  I call him Yossi, but in the workforce, he’s just “Joe”. In fact, is his GrowTime YouTube series, he teaches entrepreneurs “How to go from average Joe, to CEO”! Can you tell I’m just a wee bit proud of my hubby?

So back to the cake, I thought it would be fun to put a little Joe banner up in the same rainbow colors as the cake, and I just love how cutesy and Etsy-esque it is! What do y’all think?

My husband was gaga over the cake, but so were my kids. They’re big fans of 3-layer rainbow cookies, so it was a no-brainer. They keep asking me to make it again, so I’m thinking of going the old fashioned route and doing it sheet-style. It should be easier. Or maybe harder. Uh oh. I hate caking. I mean baking.

There’s only one reason for my venturing into cake territory and it’s all Molly Yeh’s fault. She just inspires me so much with her whimsical creations and I want to be her. Her rainbow mini cakes were the inspiration for this rainbow cookie birthday cake, and her funfetti cake was what got me to make this viral recipe. She also loves tahini everything, I even sent her halva from the shuk for her wedding present! So Yeh (pun intended), thanks Molly for making me fat.

Next up on my baking list? I’m thinking a pecan pie for Thanksgiving featuring one of my favorite spice blends. Stay tuned. It’s gonna be epic!

Happy Rainbowing!

Other Rainbow Recipes:

rainbow slaw with poppyseed dressing
rainbow cobb salad
rainbow pommes anna
rainbow cupcakes

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Bourbon Apricot BBQ Chicken

Written by chanie on October 1st, 2015

Sukkot is one of my favorite holidays. I have such amazing memories of my family Sukkah, always filled to the brim with guests, amazing homemade food and bottles and bottles of mashkeh (Yiddish for alcoholic beverages) to go around. The men would drink L’chaim and sing Hassidic melodies, banging on the table in their drunken stupor. It was beautiful.

Simchat Torah, the holiday where we conclude and begin a new annual Torah reading cycle, is just a few days away. It’s a time of great rejoicing, when we take to the synagogue, kick up our feet and dance with the Torah. Of course the drinks are free-flowing, and so is the food. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Chag than with this bourbon-spiked BBQ chicken. The chicken is braised in a luscious sauce that is so good, you’ll want to eat it straight with a spoon (or drink it out of a L’chaim glass)! Make it for Simchat Torah dinner, and it will become a staple on your holiday table.


Related Recipes:

drunken hasselback salami
beer battered salami chips with beer mustard
turkey meatballs with red wine cranberry marinara
honey roasted za’atar chicken in wine
whiskey cider

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Sous-Vide Stuffed Eggplant
with Pistachio Dukkah & Tamarind Tahini

Written by chanie on September 24th, 2015

So I’m sitting on board a Jetblue flight en route to Florida, noshing on my Terra Blues, drinking a diet coke, and working on my blog post via (free!) Fly-Fi. We were lucky enough to score an empty seat, so my very active 23-month old (who’s on the last free flight of his life) is all buckled in and on his way to a white-noise nap. You gotta love Jetblue!

I really wanted to get in this last post before Sukkot because I started a trend a couple of years back where I post a STUFFED recipe in honor of Sukkot and the harvest festival. Traditionally, holipches/holishkes (stuffed cabbage) is served up on Sukkot because we want to celebrate the abundance of the harvest season. Fall is when farmers harvest their wheat in Israel, and stuffing vegetables with filling symbolizes their desire for a year of overflowing harvest. Any stuffed recipe is well suited to honor this custom, including my “ratatouille” mechshie, savory eggplant mechshie, globe zucchini mechshie and of course, stuffed cabbage!

This year, I really wanted to take it up a notch, and since stuffing eggplant is one of my favorite things, I decided to give stuffed sous vide eggplant a try. I recently met a talented chef who was touting the benefits of sous-vide vegetables, and when he told me that sous-vide eggplant is literally soft as butter, I just had to give it a try! I had just got my new Sous Vide Supreme and what better way to use it than to test this technique!

Truth be told, my first try at sous-vide eggplant was an #epicfail. The eggplant was tough and not altogether cooked and after some research, I learned that since veggies tend to float in the water bath, you need to weigh them down to ensure proper cooking. My second try was successful and the results were soft-as-butter-delicious!

Now if you’re going to sous-vide eggplant, you have to have a sophisticated stuffing to match the modernist cooking technique. Roasted eggplants stuffed with Israeli salad is a regular in my house, as well as my
roasted eggplant parmesan, but as delicious as those recipes are, they are still homey comfort foods that wouldn’t do justice to my sous vide eggplant. I really wanted the eggplant to be the star, so I wanted to accessorize it, but not fully outfit it, to borrow some fashion terms :)

If we’re talking food fashion, there’s nothing more fashionable than nut and seed blends right now, so pistachio dukkah was just the thing! I recently did a #myspicerack spice roundup on my Instagram feed, and when I posted about the pistachio dukkah that my sister sends me all the way from Aussie, I got lots of recipe requests! I decided to make my own version from scratch with fresh cumin and coriander seeds from Holon, my favorite Middle Eastern market in Brooklyn. The results were incomparable to the blend my sister had been sending me. It was just so amazingly fresh, crunchy and and nutty, I don’t know why it took me so long to make my own! And you don’t even need a fancy spice grinder, a simple food processor works just fine!

Now that my pistachio dukkah was done, I needed a creamy sauce to bring it all together, but just plain old tahini wouldn’t do the trick. After visiting the amazing tahini store in Shuk Machneh Yehudah in Jersualem, I knew that you could mix so many things into tahini – both savory and sweet, so I decided to go with tamarind. Tamarind paste is both sweet and sour, so it’s a great balance to the salty dukkah spice and sweet pomegranate seeds. Top it off with some chopped parsley and you’ve got it all – color, texture, and balance, just the way food should be. Happy Stuffing!

This post was sponsored by Sous Vide Supreme. All opinions are my own. 

Other Eggplant Recipes:

Roasted eggplants stuffed with Israeli salad
roasted eggplant parmesan
roasted eggplant parmesan with feta
za’atar eggplant chips with harissa whipped feta
miso-glazed eggplant

Other Stuffed Recipes:

“ratatouille” mechshie
savory eggplant mechshie
globe zucchini mechshie
stuffed cabbage!

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Bourbon Honey Cake Balls

Written by chanie on September 20th, 2015

OK so truth be told, I may be one of those people that has big eyes. When I’m in a restaurant, I always order way more than I can possibly eat. And no matter how much food I have planned on my menu, I’ll walk past that extra special ingredient in the store and I just have to have it. It’s foodie FOMO and I’m guilty. as. charged.

So when honey cake season rolls around, I always make my amazing honey cake recipe, but then I pass by the honey muffins and all the assorted honey cake flavors in the bakery, and I’m all, “Oh, the kids would just love this!”. Which is precisely what happened when I saw the chocolate honey cake two weeks ago. I bought it, the kids loved it, and the next week, I bought it again. Except by then, we were all honey-caked-out, and the cake just sat on my counter for days.

I hate throwing things away, so I thought about re-purposing it in a trifle, or even an apple and honey cake bread pudding, but it just seemed too typical. I thought of all the foods you would make using leftover cake, and it hit me – rum balls! Rum balls are made using leftover brownie or chocolate cake, with added rum for a spiked chocolate truffle. I had to put my own twist on it, and since honey and bourbon marry well together, I decided to go with that.

To take my bourbon honey cake balls to the next level, I dipped them in melted chocolate and finished them with pink Hawaiian salt, because I love some salt with my sweet. The results were fudgy and reminiscent of a rumball – exactly as I had imagined.

The thing to keep in mind with this recipe is that it’s not quite a recipe at all – more like an idea. Since every honey cake is different (some are more moist and some are more dry), and everyone has a different amount of leftover cake, use your own judgement to put these together. If you’re honey cake is not so sweet, you might want to add additional honey, and if it’s especially dry, maybe even a bit of melted butter might help. Whatever you do, have fun, and don’t get too drunk on that bourbon!

Wishing you an easy fast and a Chag Sameach!

Related Recipes:

Parsnip Honey Cake
honey cake with caramelized apples
gingerbread truffles
Tu B’Shvat truffles

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