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Tuscan White Beans with Spinach

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I love to eat out. Which is why I’ll probably never leave Brooklyn. Aside from Israel, New York has got to be the mecca of the kosher culinary world. You’ll find all sorts of restaurants scattered throughout the five boroughs, including Indian, Italian, French and Chinese eateries. Being a foodie-turned-chef, I take inspiration for my recipes from everything around me – especially quality restaurant dishes. When I eat a good dish at a restaurant, I’m bound to whip up my own version in my kitchen (like I did here). This is one such recipe.

 

1 year ago: spicy garlic chicken
2 years ago: cornbread scones

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Teriyaki Mushrooms

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

I’m a big mushroom fan. I love all types of the fungus, well, except for the poisonous variety that’s growing in my backyard. The funny thing is, my husband never really got to appreciate them growing up because his mother is severely allergic. I found this out soon after my marriage, when we gathered for sheva brachot dinner. They were serving some kind of mushroom knish, which may or may not have been disguised as meat. My mother in law took one bite and her throat swelled up like a balloon. I don’t remember much after that, but I DO remember that every time I tried to make dinner with any kind of ‘shroom, my new husband gave me this are-you-really-going-to-serve-me-fungus-for-dinner look. But instead of putting one of my favorite veggies on the back burner, I taught him to love them. This is one of the ways.

Making these delicious teriyaki portobello mushrooms, is such a joke, you won’t believe your eyes, or your taste buds, when you eat them. Such a simple preparation and they taste fabulous. I always turn to this “recipe” when I need a quick side dish for Shabbat dinner. The platter always gets polished off to the last drop.

Other Mushroom Recipes:

crockpot mushroom barley stoup
spinach stuffed mushrooms
portobello burgers with sundried tomato aioli
portobello pizza

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Zucchini Parmesan Chips

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

A couple of months ago, a bunch of kosher bloggers and I went out to celebrate the anniversary of The Kosher Connection (a group that we formed that presents monthly challenges to kosher food bloggers). We all met at Siena’s, a dairy Brooklyn restaurant on Kings Highway to have some fun and enjoy good food. And that we did. One of the first things they served us were crispy tempura-fried zucchini chips with marinara sauce for dipping. Those chips were completely addictive and being pregnant at the time, I repeatedly craved them throughout my pregnancy!

Fast forward a couple of months later and I’m craving those chips again. With Chanukah in mind, I decided to try a breaded version, with some parmesan mixed in. Eating fried foods on Chanukah is a well known custom (to commemorate the miracle of the oil), but eating dairy is as well. We do so 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.

So not only do we gorge ourselves on fried doughnuts and chocolate gelt – we also add dairy to the mix to really tip the scales! Thanks to the zucchini in this recipe, you get to deguiltify the whole deep-fried thing altogether! Which reminds me…

I made these zucchini chips on a Wednesday morning. I remember because right after they came out of the fryer, I went out to pick up the New York Times. You see, I’m not much of a newspaper-reading gal, but on Wednesdays, the paper includes a fantastic Dining supplement and I just have to have it. To my amusement, the front page of the Dining Section was dedicated to the art of deep frying. It read, “Deep Fried and Good for You.” Talk about deguiltifying.

In the article, Mark Bittman reasons that deep frying is not all that bad for you, since fat is actually good for you. He concedes that not all fats are created equal and continues on to reject the notion that olive oil is inappropriate for frying. Since most deep-frying is done at around 350 degrees, and olive oil smokes at 375, it’s a fine option, he says.

I turned the page to continue the article and found that Mark had included a recipe for fried zucchini sticks, similar to the chips I had just made. “Mark says they’re good for you,” I told myself as I continued to eat the whole pan (did I mention I was pregnant?!).

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Starters & Sides Made Easy Review & Giveaway

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek know a thing or two about food. Leah is the author of Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking and co-founder of CookKosher.com, and Victoria is the managing editor of Whisk Magazine. The pair are always surrounded by good food, so they decided to join forces and write a cookbook together. Passover Made Easy was their first collection of favorite triple-tested recipes, and now, the two have done it again. They have moved on to create a series of “Made Easy” cookbooks including Starters & Sides as well as Kids Cooking (review coming soon).

There’s something nice about a cookbook series. It’s familiar and you know what you’re gonna get. In the case of the “Made Easy” series, that’s great graphics, building block recipes, plating ideas and great kitchen tips. I especially love the friendly “conversations” that Leah & Victoria have throughout the book. They are set out in speech bubbles, making you feel as if you’re standing in the kitchen with two friends.

Starters & Sides Made Easy starts out with an elaborate spice guide to help guide you through the different herbs, spices and blends. It continues with building block recipes and chapters on vegetables, grains, meat & chicken, fish, dairy and sweet. The book finishes with ideas on how to convert some of the dishes from starters to mains. Each recipe is accompanied by a beautifully composed photo of the dish.

Some of the recipes I look forward to trying, include broccoli stuffed artichokes, sticky red potatoes, Yemenite yellow orzo rice, crispy beef, falafel cigars,  silan chicken salad, tangy tilapia nuggets, parmesan sticks, and whiskey sweet potatoes.

My only issue with this book is the size. I know it sounds weird but it sticks out of my cookbook shelf because it’s wider than most cookbooks.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Busy In Brooklyn is giving a copy of Starters & Sides Made Easy! To enter the giveaway, you must:

1. Share you favorite Chanukah dish in the comments below.
2. Follow Busy In Brooklyn on Facebook, Twitter. Pinterest, and/or Instagram (one entry per media channel you follow – please specify which ones you follow in the comments).

Winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, December 4th, 8:00 PM.

BONUS RECIPES FROM STARTERS & SIDES MADE EASY:

RELATED POSTS: Passover Made Easy Cookbook Review

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Confetti Latkes with Harissa Sour Cream

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013


True story. I’m somewhere late into my 9th month of pregnancy and a little something called Braxton Hicks comes to pay me a visit. If you’re not familiar, Braxton Hicks are false labor pains that feel almost like the real thing. They play with your head, make your think you’re going into labor, and sometimes even have you rushing to the hospital. Which is exactly what happened.


It’s amazing how no matter how many kids you have, you completely forget how it all goes down at the end. I suppose that memory lapse is natures way of protecting procreation. I mean, what woman in their right mind would want to go through labor ever again?


So there I was, pulling up to Mount Sinai Hospital when I caught site of a farmer’s market at the corner. Now let me explain what it’s like for a farm-fresh-veggie-loving-foodie like me to stumble upon a farmer’s market. It’s enough to stop me dead in my tracks and have me all but forget about my contractions. “I think they’re going away,” I muster to my husband as I eye the rainbow carrots in the corner crate. “Oh no you’re not!” he counters. “I promise I’ll take you to every farmer’s market in town once you have this baby!”


A couple of hours and plenty of false labor pains later, I’m back at the same corner picking farm-fresh produce.I score the most amazing purple kohlrabi, beets, carrots, baby turnips, breakfast radishes and little sugar pumpkins. The Braxton Hicks are behind me and I’m dreaming up all types of recipes as I head home on the FDR.


With farm fresh bounty in hand, this recipe practically wrote itself. I combined the kohlrabi (which is white inside, by the way), carrots and beets with some fresh beet greens to create beautiful jewel-toned latkes, that are even tastier than they are colorful. In fact, my husband brought a pan of the crispy-fried latkes to a business meeting and they were gone in seconds. He came home with rave reviews and a generous offer to take me back to the farmers market!


Other latke recipes:

pumpkin ricotta cheese latkes with cranberry maple syrup
gluten free butternut squash latkes
cheese latkes with raspberry sauce
gefilte fish latkes
snacker-crusted salmon cakes

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Butternut Squash Fries

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

I think you’ll agree that the very best recipes are the ones that you just came up with on the spot. They’re usually not recipes at all. Just a little of this and a little of that. Am I right?

These addictive healthy baked butternut squash fries are a great example. I whipped them up in no time, and they were gone in minutes! They’re the perfect side for a healthy burger or light dinner of grilled chicken.

What are some of your favorite last minute “no-recipe” dishes? Share them with me in the comments below!

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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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