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Corned Beef Arancini

Monday, September 30th, 2013

I love the challenge of turning leftovers into something new. Especially after a long holiday, when the last thing you want to do is eat the same food you’ve been eating for a week. I open my fridge, take out all the leftovers and spread them out on the counter. Then, like a Chopped-Champion-Wannabe, I play around with my ingredients to make something new, fresh and exciting.

In the past, I whipped up a lightened up turkey pot pie with my leftover turkey roast. When I was challenged to come up with a dish for my leftover corned beef and some delicious risotto that was too good to throw away, I knew just what to make. Arancini made the perfect light dinner, with a side of leftover vegetable soup.

If you’re not familiar with arancini, it’s a traditional Italian dish of fried rice balls made with leftover risotto. While risotto is usually made with parmesan, salty corned beef makes the perfect substitute in this meat version. If you don’t keep kosher (as I do), feel free to add a bite of gooey mozzarella in the center.

If you’ve got other leftovers from the holiday and your family is turning their noses at the idea of eating it – think outside the box. Turn your leftover chicken into chicken pot pie or your leftover mashed potatoes and brisket into shepherd’s pie. Your extra matbucha can become some breakfast shakshuka or your leftover salmon can turn into the perfect pasta dish. If you need inspiration – I’m up for the challenge! Just message me on Facebook and I’ll give you some ideas!

Other leftover ideas:

leftover cake: quick & easy individual trifles
leftover rice: pineapple fried rice
leftover challah: perfect pareve french toast
leftover chicken: curry chicken salad or Asian chicken salad or pulled chicken sammies
leftover salmon: salmon cakes or salmon pasta salad

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Honey Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

This is one of those recipes where you whack yourself over the head and wonder, “why haven’t I thought of this sooner?”

Potatoes are my thing. I just can’t get enough. I’ll eat them any way, pretty much. But sweet? who would have thunk it? I mean sweet potatoes are usually reserved for “sweet potatoes”. But these little starchy red pillows need to be savory. Some thyme or rosemary and fresh garlic – now that’s a good roasted potato, right? Wrong.

Don’t mistake these for over-the-top sweet. They’ve got just enough honey to caramelize the edges without being cloying. Plus, the garlic, onion and mustard give it that savory quality that makes for the perfect balance.

CASE IN POINT: I’ve got two daughters. One loves honey to the point that she was dipping her finger in the jar during every Rosh Hashanah meal. The other one things it tastes like raisins. And she doesn’t like raisins. When I made these potatoes, my honey-loving daughter couldn’t get enough. She kept telling her sister how amazing they tasted. But my honey-hating daughter wouldn’t hear of it. She likes her potatoes prepared as simply as possible. Preferably just potato – cooked. Now somehow, some way, we got her to try one. And her eyes lit up. And then she grabbed her fork.

So there. Honey mustard roasted potatoes. For those that love sweet. And those that love savory.

Happy Holidays!

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Duchesse Sweet Potato Apples

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

I was less than a week into culinary school (at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts), when we dedicated an entire day to potatoes. An entire day. Let’s just say that if I was stranded on a dessert island, potatoes is all I would need.

One of the things we learned to make is duchesse potatoes. In culinary arts, duchesse refers to a classic French recipe for puréed potatoes that includes butter, egg yolks, nutmeg, salt and pepper. We piped the filling into scooped-out potato halves, formed some of it into crispy fried potato croquettes and experimented with the extra filling to make fried pear shapes. When I saw my culinary instructor stick a bay leaf and clove into the crispy breaded mound of potatoes, a light switch went off in my head and I knew I’d be making THESE for Rosh Hashanah.

And by these I mean the adorable duchesse sweet potato “apples” that you see here. Duchesse sweet potatoes are not as popular as their russet cousins, but they are just as delicious. One of the tricks I learned is to add instant mashed potato flakes to the filling to help it firm up and hold it’s shape. To stay true to the classic duchess recipe, I added a pinch of nutmeg, and subbed coconut oil for the butter, complementing the sweet potato flavor (and keeping it pareve). The addition of honey and sliced apple makes these the perfect dish to serve at your Rosh Hashanah meal.

Now since The Kosher Connection (a group of kosher food bloggers that I belong to) is so generous, they decided to do a link-up of APPLE recipes in honor of Rosh Hashanah. Below, you’ll find links to countless sweet apple recipes that are perfect to start off the New Year.

You can also check out these other BIB recipes that are perfect for Rosh Hashanah:

Cinnamon Infused Honey
Apple & Honey Tart
Pomegranate Coleslaw
Hassleback Sweet Potatoes with Apples
Honey Challah with Sweet Toppings
Rosh Hashanah Roast
Honey Cake with Caramelized Apples

Sending you all best wishes for a happy and healthy sweet New Year!

 

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Summer Rolls with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

I couldn’t imagine  going through summer without posting the ultimate light and healthy dish – summer rolls. To be honest, I have no idea why they are called “summer” rolls. I think it’s because they are lighter than their wonton cousins, but I could be wrong.

Unlike classic eggrolls, which are usually fried and heavy, summer rolls are made with rice paper rounds and don’t require any cooking. If you’ve never worked with rice paper before. don’t be intimidated, it’s really super easy.

The great thing about summer rolls is that they can be filled with anything – fruit, veggies, or your protein of choice. Fish and tofu work wonderfully in these rice paper roll-ups, but grilled chicken and veggies are my faves. I once watched Giada de Laurentiis make a fruity version on the Food Network. She filled the rounds with pad Thai noodles, strawberries, mango and almonds and prepared a honey-mint dipping sauce to go on the side. She served them after a yoga lesson as the perfect post-workout treat.

For me, making a dish like this doesn’t really require a recipe. I look into my fridge and put together whatever scraps I can find. In this case, I had leftover marinated chicken breasts, so I threw them on my grill pan for a quick sear. I found some nappa cabbage, shredded carrots, scallions and edamame, and put them all together for a fabulous combo. Feel free to do the same (grab whatever you can find in your fridge) or follow my recipe below.

Oh, and the dipping sauce? Let me just say this — it’s awesome.

1 year ago: roasted beet salsa
2 years ago: gefilte fish patties in tomato sauce

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Grilled Corn with Za’atar Garlic Butter

Sunday, July 21st, 2013


If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I am part of a group of kosher food bloggers called the Kosher Connection. Each month, we are challenged to put our own twist on a link-up theme. Over the past year, we’ve had:

KOSHERCONNECTION July 2012: frozen desserts
August 2012: grilling
September 2012: honey
October 2012: root vegetables
November 2012: stuffing
December 2012: Chinese food
January 2013: miniatures
February 2013: home-made gifts
March 2013: Passover desserts
April 2013: The Best Thing I Ever Ate
May 2013: croutons
June 2013: cold soups

This month, we celebrate our one year anniversary as a group with a fun link-up – The Great Blog Swap. Each member of the Kosher Connection was issued a fellow KC member’s blog and challenged to create a recipe inspired by one on their site. My secret target blog is This American Bite.

This American Bite is a personal blog dedicated to whole food cooking with a passion for vegetarian and BBQ. Living in the Midwest with his wife an two children, Yosef Silver began This American Bite to share his passion for healthy kosher food. As a resident of Kansas City, Yosef brings his fresh approach to BBQ and has previously been a judge at the Annual Kosher BBQ Festival. This year, he plans to compete with his team, The Epicurean Bite. We wish him the best of luck!

Many of Yosef’s recipes are inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, and za’atar is a spice you will find in a lot of his recipes. One such recipe is garlic, za’atar and olive oil stovetop popcorn.As an ode to Yosef’s Kansas City living, I decided to do a twist on his recipe by grilling fresh corn and smothering it in garlic & za’atar compound butter. I never imagined that the corn would come out so incredibly delicious. I have to say that it was literally one of the best things I have ever eaten! Garlic & za’atar compound butter is my new favorite combination, thanks to This American Bite!

First up, we’ve got the grilled corn. I couldn’t imagine doing a This American Bite blog swap without paying homage to his passion for barbecuing. I’m not exactly a BBQ aficionado, and on the day of my photo shoot, the weather here in Brooklyn topped off at 102 degrees. I wasn’t, shall we say, enthusiastic, about sweating over a hot grill. My reluctance turned to exuberance as soon as I took a bite out of the moist, barbecued corn. Grilling the corn in their husks keeps it deliciously moist while still imparting a smokey flavor.

As I wrote in a recent post, I’m not that big on butter. Compound butter, is another story though. Who can resist a creamy flavored spread on top of warm crusty bread? Compound butter is simply butter mixed with other ingredients to create a flavorful spread. It can be sweet (strawberry butter is popularly served over pancakes) or savory (maitre D’hotel butter mixed with fresh parsley and lemon is a culinary favorite). I’ve tried quite a few flavors of compound butter in the past, and this za’atar and garlic version is by far, the best one I’ve ever had.

If you’re not familiar with za’atar, it’s a mixed herb and spice blend popular in the Middle East. Za’atar is primarily made up of sumac, thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and salt. The spice blend is widely available in supermarkets, but you can also find it on amazon.

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Now that I’ve shared my “This American Bite” inspired recipe, lets get back to where we started – The Kosher Connection Anniversary. Aside from the great roundup of recipes in the link-up below, we’re also celebrating with a spectacular giveaway! The KC is giving away 2 Emile Henry products – a Bread Cloche valued at $130 and a 4.2 qt Dutch Oven valued at $170! Use the Rafflecopter below to win- you can enter up to 23 ways! Two winners will be chosen at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest winners will be contacted via email. They will have 48 hours to respond before other winners are chosen. This contest is open to United States residents over the age of 18


Miso-Glazed Eggplant

Thursday, May 30th, 2013


If you’re anything like me, you might go home from a restaurant and dream about a dish you’ve had that was simply, stunning. (Forgive my adjective but having just watched a double episode of MasterChef, I must have heard Gordon Ramsay use it to describe food at least 5 times). Recently, I dined at the uber chic Prime Ko with my mom to celebrate Mother’s Day. This is not something we do yearly, but my mom broached the idea, and since I love eating out (especially at upscale Japanese restaurants), I was more than happy to oblige. The food was so good, I’m thinking we  should make it our thing.

My mom frequents restaurants pretty often, so she was quite familiar with Prime Ko’s menu. She highly recommended their eggplant dengaku, a roasted eggplant dish with a yuzu-sesame miso glaze. Her recommendation was spot on. The eggplant was so good, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The next day, I promptly googled “Dengaku sauce” and began my research for a copycat recipe. 4 eggplants and 2 bags of miso later, I hit the jackpot.

This was my first time working with Japanese ingredients like miso and sake. Miso is a fermented soybean paste mixed with rice or barley. The longer the miso is aged, the deeper the flavor. Young miso is white, light and sweet, while older miso is thick, dark and rich. Kosher miso is available through Eden Organics, ranging from Shiro and  Genmai (light) to Mugi and hacho (dark). Miso lends an amazing depth of flavor to dishes, giving food an umami flavor that keeps you coming back for more.

Sake is an alcoholic beverage of Japanese origin that is made from fermented rice. It is also referred to as rice wine. While sake is used in Japanese cooking, it is also served as a chilled beverage from ceramic flasks called tokkuri. You may have seen it served in small cups (called choko) in some Asian restaurants.


1 year ago: spaghetti squash with sauteed spinach & mushrooms
2 years ago: turkey & pastrami wrapped asparagus

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Crispy Baby Artichokes with Balsamic Aioli

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013


I’ve had a lot of foodie firsts in the past couple of months. Trying new foods like Pad Thai and Dhal, and cooking things I’ve always dreamed of making from scratch like duck confit and handmade pasta. Having the opportunity to explore and expand my culinary horizons has made me throw all my inhibitions out the kitchen window. Now, instead of walking away from ingredients I’m not familiar with, I embrace them. Which is exactly how THIS amazing recipe happened.

Believe it or not, I’d never even heard of an artichoke before I married my husband. My mother in law is sephardic, so she prepares lots of stuffed vegetable dishes like mehshie, and stuffed artichokes. I decided I didn’t like them before I even tried, and that was it. Me and Mr. Artichoke were estranged. Until now. 

It was a Wednesday. April 10th to be exact, and I picked up the New York Times so I could read the Dining section over coffee. And right there in front of me was an article about “Making Big Plans for Small Artichokes”. I’d never even known there was such as a thing as baby artichokes. So I figured, If the big ones scare me away, why not tackle the little guys. Turns out, the little ones are not that little after all, but I was warming up. The recipes looked deliciously inviting, and so, I couldn’t help but pick up a package of baby artichokes when I saw them in the produce aisle. I also love cooking seasonally, so I was up for the challenge.

Anything breaded and crispy with a dipping sauce is right up my alley, so I decided to go that route. It was also my daughters birthday, and I figured these little guys would make for a perfect appetizer at our small little family party. It was great to serve them up to some criticism (“They’re a little tender, cook them longer next time” or “The bread crumbs are a little too dark, toast ‘em less next time” and “What’s in this dipping sauce, it’s amazing!”) so I could learn to perfect them for you guys.

I hope my step by step tutorial helps you all embrace this humble vegetable, as I have. There’s a little prep work involved, but trust me, it’s worth the effort!

1 year ago: spinach, walnut & cheddar pesto
2 years ago: banana, dates, milk & honey smoothie

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Braised Collard Greens Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

When I used to think of greens, I would imagine spinach, kale, and maybe some swiss chard, but collard greens were never really on my radar. I had never cooked with them, and all I knew about the large leafy vegetable was that Southern cooks like Paula Deen and The Neely’s like to eat them.

After recently graduating from the professional culinary training program at the CKCA, I made a promise to myself to be more open and willing to try new things and cook with ingredients I’ve never used before. So when I saw some bright green bunches of fresh collard greens at ShopRite the other week, I couldn’t help but take up the challenge.

I had absolutely nothing in mind – all I knew was this: Southern cooks like to stew the greens with smoky ham hocks or bacon. I wanted to keep the dish light, healthy and vegan, so I decided to do a play on the smoky factor and add some cumin and smoked paprika. Chickpeas and diced tomatoes help round out the dish, and stuffing it into roasted sweet potatoes just takes it over the top!

Since collard greens are a sturdy, tougher leaf, they benefit from cooking for long periods of time. You can prepare this dish in your crockpot for a set-it-and-forget-it weeknight meal, or serve it up as hamin, instead of a heavy cholent, on Shabbat.

I’m really proud of my first attempt at cooking with collard greens. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Side note: I apologize for the lack of step-by-step photos. This recipe just sort of happened as I went along and I wasn’t planning on blogging about it. It was just so good that I knew I had to share!


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Malawach Cheese Pastries with Dipping Sauce

Sunday, April 14th, 2013


When the Kosher Connection (a group of kosher food bloggers that I belong to) decided on an April Linkup with the theme “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, I think we were all excited, but equally spellbound. We can all think of at least a hundred foods that make us say “Wow! that was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted!” How could we possible pick only one?!

You’ve probably realized this by now, but I’m a total foodie. There are so many dishes that I could call my favorites! Like my mom’s cheesy lasagna, my Bubby’s stuffed cabbage, or Pardes’s fries with red wine ketchup. There’s also NoiDue’s mac ‘n cheese balls, Jezebels risotto with truffle “butter” and Chef Avram Wiseman’s wild mushroom & duck confit ravioli in demi-glace sauce. To pick just ONE thing and say that that was the best thing I ever ate is practically impossible.

I started thinking about some of my favorite food memories and I realized something. The best thing I ever ate is about more than just the food I put into my mouth at a given time. It has to do with who I was with, and the memories associated with that experience. It has something to do with comfort. Food that didn’t just taste good, but evokes a feeling of nostalgia and sentiment, even years later.

Some of my best food memories were ones I experienced at Bissaleh, an Israeli-style cafe that was located on Coney Island Avenue & Avenue P in Brooklyn. It’s been closed for years now, but it was once a hub of late-night socializing for people of all ages. Back in my teens, my friend Dina and I would go there in the wee hours of the morning, talking and nibbling like there was no tomorrow. We’d usually order stuffed Bissaleh (Israeli-style spiral boreka), classic malawach, or ftut. We’d also get their amazing steak fries on the side, and of course one of their delicious smoothies like banana, date, milk and honey.

While Bissale allowed it’s patrons to experience an array of Middle Eastern delicacies way into the night, it’s practices were especially shady. The fact that they only accepted cash should have given them away, but there was a lot more to be skeptical about. In the back of the restaurant, down a long corridor, there was a secret hookah bar (way before hookah bars were trendy). From the looks of it though, there may have been a lot more than hookah going on there. Up front, Bissale hailed it’s owned psychic, who would tell you your fortune if you agreed to pay for her meal. We actually did it once, and let me tell you, as crazy as that woman was, she told me some things that were right. on. target.

Bissaleh wasn’t the only happening place on the block. In fact, right next door, there was either a sports bar or a gentlemen’s club, I couldn’t quite figure it out. What I did notice though, is that Bissaleh had a picture frame on the wall that they shared with the bar. The picture would slide open, and they’d periodically send over plates of food or drink to the bar next door. Super shady. It should come as no surprise then, when one night, Bissaleh suddenly closed it’s doors for good, right out of the blue.

A few years later, another Bissaleh location popped up in Miami Beach, FL. They have since closed their doors as well, but I was able to find their simliar menu online, which I’ve included here, for your drooling pleasure.

I’ll never forget those late night outings at Bissaleh. Sure it had a lot to do with the amazing food, but it had more to do with the meals spent with an amazing friend, who’s friendship I have cherished for over 20 years. Dina and I shared a lot more than food there. We joked, we laughed, and sometimes, even cried, over malawach dough.

In light of the April Kosher Connection linkup, I invited Dina over for some deconstructed ftut. I told her about my plans to relive our Bissaleh memories on my blog, and to pay homage to our experiences by choosing ftut as “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. The only problem with my idea was that ftut is not exactly appealing on a plate. It’s chopped up mallawach dough (a buttery, fried yemenite dough that is similar to puff pastry) that’s baked along with cheese, zaatar and sesame. While it’s superbly delicious, ftut still looks like mush on a plate. So I did what any self-respecting blogger would do – I deconstructed it. These melt-in-your-mouth savory rugelach (rolled pastry) are not only prettier, they’re also more fun to eat. One bite and you’ll be wishing that Bissaleh was still around so you could try the real thing.

Ftut was always served alongside a hardboiled egg, pureed tomato sauce, and spicy schug. The schug was spooned into the center of the pureed tomatoes, so that you could dip your ftut in, picking up as much spice as you desired. The dip really rounded out the dish, taking it from good to over the top. You can use store-bought schug, or make your own, using my recipe below.

Give these deconstructed ftut bites a try, and you’ll understand just why I’ve included them in the “Best Thing I Ever Ate” Linkup. For more “Best Thing I Ever Ate” recipes, see the Kosher Connection Linkup below!



1 year ago: crocheted pacifier clip
2 years ago: BBQ pulled chicken sammies

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Rainbow Pommes Anna

Thursday, March 28th, 2013


The more I’ve been reading through Passover recipe books and surfing through recipes online, I realize just how strict my family’s customs are. On Pesach, we are truly down to the bare basics, using only vegetables that can be peeled and seasoning them simply with oil and salt. We don’t use herbs, spices or any processed ingredients like Kosher for Passover ketchup, brown sugar or sauces. My mom even makes simple syrup to use in place of sugar to sweeten dishes. Matza meal, of course, is out of the question, as we do no eat Gebroks (matza that has absorbed liquid).

Due to our stringent dietary restrictions on Pesach, we tend to make simpler, wholesome dishes that don’t require a lot of ingredients. Basics like mock chopped liver, chremslach, beet salad and orange chicken are staples in our home. When I thought about classic dishes I could reinvent for Passover, I took inspiration from Pommes Anna (also called Anna potatoes), a French dish of sliced, layered potatoes that are minimally seasoned with salt and pepper and brushed liberally with butter. Using traditional Passover ingredients of beets, sweet potatoes and russet potatoes creates a stunning rainbow effect and lends a touch of sweetness to the potato cake.

1 year ago: sweet pepper burgers
2 years ago: quick & easy shakshuka

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