Farm Fresh Apple & Honey Gift

Written by chanie on September 11th, 2014

I may be one of the only nerds out there who still uses a Cuttlebug. Call me old-fashioned but there’s something really nice about the art of a homemade gift. Sure you can buy a beautiful glass honey dish at the gift shop, or a delicious honey cake at the bakery, but it doesn’t compare to a basket of hand-picked apples or a thoughtful package that you wrapped yourself.

With summer coming to an end, there’s no better time to hand-pick some apples. The dropping temperatures and falling leaves just beg for some warm apple pie, and there’s shortage of apple recipes you can make, especially around the holidays. With Rosh Hashanah just around the bend, you’ll need plenty to dip into sweet sticky honey, and more to caramelize for my delicious honey cake.

If you’ve never been to a U-Pick farm (Kelder’s is one of my favorites) , it’s a must for the family! There’s nothing quite like teaching your children where their food comes from, and having them pick it with their own two hands. The beauty of nature and it’s bounty is a precious gift!

The end of summer is the perfect time for apple picking, with a variety of apples ripe for choosing. I love to showcase a variety of apples at my Rosh Hashanah meal, passing them around the table with an assortment of honey. It takes apple-dipped-in-honey to a whole ‘nother level, especially when you’ve picked the apples yourselves.

Of course you can also showcase your apples in an apple & honey salad, in an apple and honey tart, in sweet apple turnovers , or even on apple napkins!

Best of all, you can give some of those hand-picked apples away in a thoughtful gift to teachers, neighbors or friends. If you don’t have a cuttlebug machine (why would you?), you can just make the little card by hand – no muss, no fuss!

If you’re not much of a crafter, and you want to go the easy-way-out, just tie a big red ribbon on a bag of apples, stick in a honey bear and you’re all set for a sweet New Year.

P.S. I’m called dibs on my kid’s classes this year – so if you’re kid is in the same class, go buy some honey cake! :)

Related Posts:

apple napkins
easy crochet apple trivet
picture perfect teacher’s gift
DIY teacher’s gift

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Tzimmes Roast

Written by chanie on September 9th, 2014

Somebody pinch me, I can’t believe Rosh Hashanah is around the corner! I mean, where did the summer go? It’s hard to believe my kids have already started school and we’re about to embark on a new journey for the year 5775.

If it weren’t for the smell in the air, I would be keeping my kid’s bathing suits around. Instead, I’m packing them up with their bright summery wardrobes, and filling their closets with warm winter sweaters. What is it about that smell – that special something in the air that tells me that the Hebrew month of Tishrei is just around the bend. Can you smell it too?

It’s that slight fall breeze and the freshness of falling leaves that runs through my veins, bringing up memories of bygone Tishrei’s. Weeks filled with the hustle and bustle of Yom Tov prep that culminate in the awe-inspiring day of Yom Kippur and end with the joyous celebrations of Succot. So many feelings of regret, sadness, gratitude, hope, inspiration all wrapped up in the September breeze…it’s intoxicating.

The power of scent is truly extraordinary. It can evoke the deepest memories and trigger rememberences from childhood and beyond. The smell of tzimmes simmering on the stove brings me back to the Jewish New Year’s of my youth; honey dripping from my chin, counting the pomegranate seeds at the table.

There’s nothing like tzimmes to evoke memories of Rosh Hashanah, so I decided to do a little twist on the classic recipe.  Cooking the sweet carrot hash alongside a roast is a great way to make the best of your Yom Tov meat without having to cook your tzimmes separately. You can serve it all up on a platter and wow your guests with traditional Rosh Hashanah food, redefined.

Here’s to the start of many sweet things – from our food, to our lives. May we all be blessed to create the sweetest of memories this year!

Related Recipes:

Rosh Hashanah Roast
honey roasted za’atar chicken with dried fruit
couscous with honey roasted carrots, parsnips and beets

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Halva & Ricotta Stuffed Figs

Written by chanie on September 4th, 2014

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous kosher foodie potluck, arranged by the talented Kim Kushner, author of The Modern Menu. It was such an honor to meet Kim and taste her delicious food! She blogged about our amazing evening under the stars here.

Kim set up the most beautiful tablescape on a rooftop in Midtown Manhattan (which also happens to be her husband’s office). With the help of Marzan Flowers, and other generous sponsors, the table was set with a rustic vibe and the most amazing swag! We were surrounded by the New York City skyline, the most incredible kosher food, and the who’s who of the kosher blogging world.

Since it was a potluck, each guest was required to bring a kosher dish (or two), all of which were laid out on a round buffet table. I made my malawach cheese pastries with tomato & schug dipping sauce, plus some incredible goat cheese popovers! Some of the other dishes included nachos by The Patchke Princess, creamy hummus, salmon, roasted veggie salad and pavlova by Kim Kushner Cuisine, fava beans by BeautyandsomeBeef, panzanella salad with cashew bread and s’mores caramels by KitchenTested.

We also had some famous kosher Instagrammers like @cookinginheels, @chefchaya and @theghettogourmet who brought drunken fish tacos with pickled onions, cronuts with nutella pastry cream and Asian quinoa lettuce wraps, respectively.

What has all that got to do with these AMAZING, droolworthy stuffed figs?! Well, BeautyandsomeBeef made the simple ricotta stuffed figs that inspired these halva-drenched ones! Check out these pics for a peek!

I’d heard of ricotta stuffed figs with honey before but I’d never tasted them until the potluck. I couldn’t believe how such a simple dish could taste so fantastic! Of course I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could make them even better…and then THESE happened.

And by these I mean the insanely decadent jewels of perfection you see here. Fresh seasonal figs stuffed with ricotta, dipped in silan and sesame, dripping with sweetened tahini sauce and finished with halva crumbs. Shall I get you a napkin?!

If you’ve never heard of silan before – hop on the silan train because it’ll take you to syrup heaven! Silan is a honey syrup made from dates. It’s got an intoxicatingly rich flavor that is so much better than whatever else you’ve been using! When mixed into tahini paste, it creates the most decadent halva sauce that you’ll want to eat by the spoonful! It’s interesting to note that when the Torah speaks of honey it is actually referring to date honey. Israel, the land of halva and “Milk & (Date) Honey” is what inspired this Middle-Eastern twist on a classic recipe!

Do yourself a favor and grab some fresh figs, before the season is over! 

 

Related Recipes:

breakfast quinoa with silan roasted figs
grilled cheese with figs and honey
holiday fig salad

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Spiralized Spud Dogs

Written by chanie on August 28th, 2014

Every since I got my spiralizer, my mind is racing with spiralized recipes. I can’t get enough! From fun curly fries, to healthy zoodle (zucchini noodle) dishes, and creative rice recipes, this compact machine is a powerhouse of possibilities!

What don’t I love about the spiralizer? It’s easy to use, requires little muscle and fits easily into my small kitchen. The blades tuck right into the machine for easy storage.

Sure, I have a julienne peeler, and even the vegemagic gadget, but they don’t come close to creating authentic-looking noodles with as much ease as the Paderno spiralizer. I’ve spiralized russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, beets, carrots, apples, cucumbers, and zucchini’s (my favorite!).

The great thing about spiralized veggies are the endless possiblities. Sure you can make noodles – but you can also pulse them in a food processor to make veggie “rice”. Or you can mix some noodles with spices and eggs and stuff them into ramekins to make “buns” or “latkes”. I weigh down the mixture with a can to form patties and pan-fry or bake until crispy and tender. I do the same to make a “pizza pie” or “rosti” in a frying pan. Such fun ways with veggies, right? It makes dieting SO much easier!

So enough about spiralizing in general…lets get into specifics! Would you look at these ADORABLE spud dogs??? How cute are they?!

Wrapped in spiralized potatoes, these crispy spud dogs are like french-fry-wrapped franks – two favorite BBQ dishes in one! I was SO excited when I came up with the idea – but I was equally lost by what to call them. So, I did what any blogger would do – I made a #NAMETHISRECIPE contest! My Instagram readers really pulled out all the stops on this one, with creative names like “The Tatered Dog”, Dog-Eat-Chips, “Doggie Fries”, SlinkyDog, “Twisty Frank”, FrankNFries, “Piggy In a Slinky”, “The French Dog”, DogNChips and more! But my all time favorite was “Spud Dog”, a name that both Esther Chase and Perry Wolff came up with. They both won a copy of my ebook and the title of an innovative new way to serve up an American favorite.

I think the best part of this recipe is that it’s not a recipe at all. You can make the potatoes thick or thin, or wrap them up in ribbon slices. Spice them up with your favorite french-fry seasoning, or keep them simple! Roast or pan-fry, fill or top them – any way you go, they’re sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

 

Other Labor Day BBQ recipes:

grilled marinated chicken
grilled corn with za’atar garlic butter
grilled chickpea burgers
portobello burgers with sundried tomato aioli
best BBQ potato salad

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Cherry Basil Limonana

Written by chanie on August 26th, 2014

If you’ve never tried limonana, you’re missing out on an amazing drink! The traditional thirst-quencher is made by mixing lemonade with lots of fresh mint and ice – for a refreshing summer treat.

But you know me – I can never just do classic. OK, maybe I can – but I still love putting my own twist on things. That’s how my strawberry limonana happened.

This year, I decided to try using my new herb obsession – basil! I’m putting it in salads, stuffing it into sandwiches, and now, even drinks! Strawberry-basil is a classic combination, but it works amazing with cherries too!

I love the idea of adding fresh fruit to my lemonade, but if you’re not fond of having bits of cherries in your drink – check out my variation for an infused version instead!

 

Other Summer Drinks:

strawberry limonana
watermelon limeade
tropical fruit smoothie

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Bushkill Falls + a Week of Crockpot Dinners

Written by chanie on August 21st, 2014

While many people in my community go upstate for the summer, I usually spend my summers in the city. I relish the quiet streets, Sunday farmer’s markets and the plethora of parking spaces that are suddenly available around the hood. I’ve done the country thing once or twice, and maybe I’ll do it again – but for now, I’m more than happy to spend time enjoying my neighborhood – especially with a mild summer like this.

To break up the summer, we usually take a few trips to some of our favorite places, like Hershey Park, Governor’s Island, and Kelder’s Farm.  This year, we headed up to the Poconos to load up on the sweet smell of grass – something we don’t get to experience much living in Brooklyn.

We stayed at The Villas at Tree Tops, an oasis of beautiful trees and greenery as far as the eye can see. The vacation village is packed with every imaginable activity – from ziplining to tubing and bumper boats, mini (and regular) golfing to horseback riding, as well as several indoor and outdoor pools and an activity center.

Just minutes away from The Villas, is Bushkill Falls, the Niagra of Pennsylvania. We’d never gone hiking with our kids before, so we were excited to take a walk high in the uplands of the Pocono Mountains, surrounded by streams of crystal waters and primeval rock.

We hiked along the “yellow” path, a popular route that takes 45 minutes roundtrip. There were lots of steps, but my kids trudged along like real troopers, basking in the beautiful greenery surrounding them.

The yellow path gave us severeal views of the waterfalls including the Main Falls, as well as Lower Gorge Falls, Laurel Glen and Upper Canyon.

After hiking, we ate lunch along the beautiful lake, and moved on to the playground. We visited the gift shops, checked out the mini golf course, and went paddle boating. We attempted to do the Mining Maze but the kids were spent!

With so many activities, Bushkill Falls can easily be a whole day trip – just be sure to pack along lunch and lots of water. If you don’t keep kosher, there are plenty of food options there, so come hungry!

For those who do keep kosher, Bushkills Falls and it’s neighboring area, do not have any kosher restaurants. The local supermarkets, like PriceChopper, have lots of kosher options, including a gluten free section with some great snacks. However, if you plan on staying for a day or two, you need to plan for breakfast, lunch and dinners.

Although The Villas included a nonkosher kitchen, which I could have koshered, I preferred to bring along my crockpot so I could spend the day outside, not having to worry about making dinner later on. Each evening, we entered our villa to the delicious smell of a hot supper, simmering away in the crockpot. My kids gobbled up their hot meals, and my husband decided it’s time for a slow cooker ebook!

Yes, my crockpot dinners, were THAT good, and I’m including them all here for you to enjoy! There’s just a short time left to relish the joy of summer, so go ahead and put up a slow cooked meal, and spend the day basking in the sunshine!

Other slow cooker recipes:

crockpot mushroom barley stoup
blogoversary BBQ brisket

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Spinach White Bean Minestrone with Zoodles

Written by chanie on August 4th, 2014

If you bother to read my silly little musings on my blog, you probably notice that I mostly talk about food. I don’t get into the nitty gritty of my family life because I figure if you’re here for the food, that’s probably what you want to read about. Of course there are bloggers that spill the beans like an open book, but I view my family life as sacred and it’s something I mostly like to keep to myself. I’m sure you can all appreciate that.


Ah, who am I kidding? The truth is, I like to keep up the facade that my life is all about eating fabulous food and taking cool pictures, when in fact, I’m really balancing my baby on one hip while trying to find my spatula in a sink full of dirty dishes and trying to fit my tripod somewhere between a mountain of toys in the playroom (where my “studio” is).

That’s really what a photoshoot is all about anyway – setting the scene. You’d never imagine this beautiful bowl of soup was sitting on a tray next to a white board held up by a gigantic firetruck, opposite shelves of board games with missing pieces and legos scattered by my feet. THIS my friends, is the real Busy In Brooklyn :)

Now back to our regular programming – the food! This chock-full-of-flavor soup is a lightened up version of my original minestrone, which includes pasta and potatoes. In this white bean version (the original used chickpeas), I used my spiralizer to create “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) to take the place of the pasta, and I omitted the potatoes and celery. I also made things easier with frozen spinach, instead of fresh, for a satisfying meal-in-a-bowl that’s not as heavy as the original. If you’re a fan of my minestrone (and lots of you are!), then go ahead and try this one and let me know how it measures up!


Related Recipes: minestrone soup, tuscan white bean with spinach

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Spinach Falafel Burger

Written by chanie on July 31st, 2014

I’m pretty particular about how I like my falafel. And if you’re a true falafel lover, then I’m sure you are too! My first falafel rule of thumb is: it’s got to be GREEN!

Green falafel means it’s got a lot of herbs mixed in, which make them incredibly moist. If they’re too beige, they almost certainly have flour added, which makes them especially dry. The worst thing about dry falafel is that it gets stuck in your throat and you’re almost choking on the cardboard bits. YUCK.

That’s the other thing about falafel – it’s got to be fried. Baked falafel just isn’t the same! It’s the same thing with donuts. If you’re gonna have a donut, then have a donut. Just don’t bake it and squeeze the life out of the crispy fried donut dream.

And I’m not just saying it. I know because I put this recipe to the test – baked vs. fried. Sure the baked falafel patties were edible. A bit crispy, even. But they didn’t stand a chance near the uber crispy fried ones – with a moist and fluffy center and the crunchiest crust you’ve ever had.

You’re probably wondering where I came up with the idea of making spinach falafel. Well, I’ll tell you. My husband and I are both seriously averse to cilantro. It’s good that we’re on the same page about it, because otherwise we’d be having a fight every time I make Pad Thai. But there’s another issue too. My husband doesn’t like parsley either. And I do. So when it comes to dishes like falafel (especially green falafel), what’s a girl to do? Especially a girl with a cardinal rule of green falafel. She adds spinach (and sneaks in a little parsley!)…just don’t tell the hubby ;)

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Spicy Tuna Melt Twice Baked Potatoes

Written by chanie on July 29th, 2014

I think I subconsciously invented this dish sometime back in grade school. Remember how they always served tuna with french fries and ketchup? It sounds weird, I know, but somehow it just goes! If you think about it, tuna patties are often mixed with mashed potatoes (along with other veggies), so it’s not that far fetched. And anything smothered in ketchup is a child’s dream dish.

I’ve had my fill of ketchup as a kid, but now I’m all about a different kind of bottled red sauce – sriracha! If you’ve never tried amping up your tuna salad with some heat, you don’t know what you’re missing. I am a spicy tuna girl all the way! I’ve added harissa, schug, sriracha and hot sauce to spice up my tuna – and they all do the perfect job in adding flavor and heat to boring-old tuna and mayo.

Now that you’ve got the baked potato and spicy tuna idea down pat – here comes the cheddar! When it comes to the classic tuna melt, you’re either a tuna melt person or you’re not. Some people are grossed out by the idea of mixing fish and cheese – and I get that. If that’s you – go ahead and leave out the cheese and go pareve on this one. Spicy tuna loaded baked potatoes are still delish.

Although if you ARE a tuna melt kind of person, then get ready to be blown away! I love how such humble ingredients create this dish of pure comfort food. Who says you can’t indulge on the cheap – you sure can!

When I do baked potato night for dinner, I try to mix it up for variation around the table. I’ll do broccoli and cheddar (of course), tuna (with ketchup for the kids, sriracha for me!), baked beans, avocado and salsa, and of course plain ole salt and butter. You can never go wrong with that!

If you want to go all out on the cheese sauce, try making my harissa cheddar sauce to top off some steamed broccoli or baked beans. Can you tell I’m a little obsessed with spicy?

OK, I can go on and on about potatoes, and tuna, and cheese - but lets face it – we’re in The Nine Days, so what else are you making for dinner this week? I’ve got you covered with a Nine Days category, Pinterest board and of course updates on my Facebook and Instagram pages!

So far, I’ve made bruschetta tilapia with basil-almond pesto zoodles (those recipes are in my ebook) and Linguini Lasagna for the kiddies. Tonight it’s gonna be vegetarian chili and cornbread pie. Tomorrow, I plan to tackle tofu for the first time with a marinated Asian tofu with stir fried veggies and rice noodles. Any tips for a tofu novice like me?

I’ll be finishing the week with my tuna nicoise patties, green bean salad and roasted potatoes (also in my ebook) and then onto some meat again for Shabbat (thankfully!). What are you making for dinner this week? I’d love to hear! And please share your favorite baked potato fillings too!

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

Stay tuned for more exciting cheesy recipes, coming soon!

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Say Cheese! :-D

This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese.

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Pulled Pesto Chicken Burger
with Fire-Roasted Tomato Jam

Written by chanie on July 24th, 2014

I’m so proud to be part of an amazing group of talented Jewish Bloggers for the 2nd annual “A Very Jewish Summer” week! Dena Siegel, from the blog Chai & Home, began the week-long collaboration last year, bringing leading Jewish bloggers together to celebrate Jewish life and style. Bloggers from Los Angeles, Connecticut, San Diego and Israel have been posting all week, and I’m happy to share their takes on Jewish summer living and lifestyle!

Click on the following links to get in on the Jewish summer fun!

Sunday: Summer Havdalah Candles on Design Megillah 
Monday: Shabbat Picnic Lunch on Chai & Home
Tuesday: Craft Foam Succh Lanterns on Creative Jewish Mom
Wednesday: Freezer Cooking for the Grill on Happily Hectic
Thursday: Pulled Pesto Chicken Burger on Busy In Brooklyn (that’s me!)

Last year, I posted a portobello mushroom burger with sundried tomato aioli for A Very Jewish Summer Week, so I decided to stick with the portobello burger theme since it seems to be going well for me. The recipe won 2nd Place in a mushroom contest and I ended up cooking it on tv for Brooklyn’s News 12!

This year, I’m sharing my mouthwatering recipe for a Paleofied burger from my Paleo eBook! Every since I hopped on the Whole30 bandwagon, I can’t get enough of eating the Paleo way and I couldn’t think of a better recipe to share for A Very Jewish Summer Week! A grilled portobello bun filled with fire-roasted balsamic tomato jam and pulled pesto chicken evokes summer on all fronts – from the chargrilled bun, to the sweet and smoky seasonal tomato jam and the fresh flavors of summer basil smothered chicken. This burger is so full of flavor, you’ll never miss a carb-laden bun again!

Don’t you just want to reach into your screen and grab that burger? Hashtag #getinmytummy all the way! Well this is just a drop in the bucket compared to the 100+ original sugar-free (no sweeteners!), grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, legume-free and alcohol-free recipes inluded in my Paleo ebook! Click here for more info and how to order!