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Cauliflower Nachos with Harissa Cheddar Sauce

Monday, January 20th, 2014

I’m not even going to pretend to know anything about football. Sports is not exactly one of my hobbies. I do know, however, that Superbowl parties require party food – and that, my dear friends, is most certainly one of my hobbies. When it comes to finger food, I’m the party queen – and I’ve got lots of yummy ideas up my blogger sleeve!

We’ll start with my spicy roasted edamame or my roasted chickpeas, they’re perfect for nibbling and won’t pile on the pounds. My smoked paprika popcorn cauliflower is another favorite and if you must have your wings, my spicy ginger chicken wings are a sure crowd pleaser!

If you’re craving dip, try my chestnut hummus with baked pita chips, crispy baby artichokes with balsamic aioli, salami chips with dijon dipping sauce or good old pretzels with my raspberry honey mustard pretzel dip,

Now if you’re looking for something a little bit more, well, cheesy, have I got some ideas for you! It’s a good thing I teamed up with Natural & Kosher Cheese, purveyors of artisanal kosher cheese products, because I sure love my dairy!  Here are some hearty game day recipes that’ll keep you going throughout the show!

} Natural & Kosher shredded cheddar adds cheesy goodness to my chili pie in jars,
} Natural & Kosher shredded mozzarella turns my malawach cheese pastries with zaatar, into a pizza-lovers dream.
} Natural & Kosher’s camembert or brie work wonders in my puff pastry brie bites with dried fruit & jam.
} Natural & Kosher’s aged parmesan can’t be missed in my zucchini parmesan chips,
} Natural & Kosher’s goat cheese makes the perfect garnish to my spinach & cheddar pesto crostini.

Of course, if you’re looking for something cheesy that’s still good for you – you’ve come to the right place. Yes, I know I might sound like a walking oxymoron but that’s just what I do. In my kitchen, healthy & nachos are not a contradiction as creamy cheddar sauce drips down a healthy dose of roasted veggies.

My Middle Eastern take on Mexican nachos will please even the purist of nacho fans. The harissa and cheddar make a perfect pair, creating a harmonious symphony of flavor, when drizzled over roasted cauliflower chips, marinated artichoke hearts, olives & roasted peppers. Note to yourselves: you may want to double the recipe!

I’m a huge fan of the cabbage family. And I don’t mean those sweet little dolls that we used to get for birthday gifts. I mean all those crunchy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage and savoy, among others. But it’s cauliflower and broccoli that really make me want to melt…some cheese. There’s just something about sharp creamy cheddar over the tender veggies that makes them so delectable! So, without further ado, I give you my harissa cheddar cheese sauce ! Drizzle it over nachos, use it for fondue or mix it into mac ‘n cheese – you can thank me later!


This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese. Follow them on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, or via their Blog

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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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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


Moscato, Honey & Vanilla Poached Apricots

Monday, June 17th, 2013


When the Kosher Connection team (a group of Kosher Food Bloggers that I belong to) decided on the theme of “cold soups” for this month’s Link-Up challenge, I was thrilled. I had made these poached apricots a few times already, and I knew I just had to share them. Granted, poached apricots in moscato, honey & vanilla bean syrup is a bit of a stretch for a soup, but I think we’re covered. Cold fruit soups are all the rage in the summer, and this elegant take on a fruit soup is the perfect way to celebrate apricots – summer’s sweet and tart bounty.


Fresh apricots are available from mid-June to mid-July and are best tree-ripened (it doesn’t ripen after it’s picked). Try to find them at your nearest farmers’ market for optimum flavor. Apricots should be purchased ripe or slightly under-ripe, yielding slightly to gentle touch.


Poaching is one of the best ways to prepare apricots, but they can also be grilled. The addition of honey helps to balance out the apricot’s tartness. Vanilla bean and Moscato wine add an amazing depth of flavor that complements the apricots perfectly. The syrup is so unique and flavorful, you’ll want to drink a cupful all by itself!

What is your favorite way to prepare apricots? Share your ideas with me in the comments below.

For more great cold soup recipes, check out the Kosher Connection Cold Soup Link-Up Challenge below! You can also view my recipe for cold strawberry rhubarb soup here.

1 year ago: shlishkes
2 years ago: tuna salad with a twist

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Kani Caesar Salad with Nori Croutons

Monday, May 20th, 2013

When the Kosher Connection team decided on “croutons” as the link-up theme for May, I was so excited to finally try out a recipe that I’ve been dreaming of developing for months now. Truth be told, I am not the biggest nori fan. I mean, I wouldn’t eat the stuff if it didn’t hold my sushi together. It’s got that fishy quality about it that’s just kind of, well, stinky. But you know what? when you use it to top off a kani caesar salad, it just sorta, goes.

Talking about dislikes, I used to have a serious aversion to surimi, those orange-colored mock crab sticks. But after I tasted this salad at my cousin’s house a few months back, I was hooked. You see, it’s all a matter of how you serve it. Pulling the kani apart into shreds and coating it in a spicy sriracha dressing takes it from what-is-this-spongy-orange-stuff-in-my-california-roll to what’s-in-this-amazing-salad?! Seriously people, kani salad has changed my outlook on surimi forever.

So that’s sorta how this happened. At first, I came up with the brilliant concept of a nori-flavored crouton. But who would want to eat a nori crouton on a standard lettuce salad? I knew I had to incorporate some kind of seafood to bring the whole sushi concept together, but it also had to have greens to hold up the whole croutons thing. Alas, I figured I would do a take on a salmon-caesar salad with a Japanese-inspired recipe. This Kani Caesar Salad combines the classic Caesar concept with the awesomeness of kani salad, with nori croutons and a sriracha caesar dressing to round it out. If you think this salad looks good, just wait until you taste the dressing. It’s got an amazing depth of flavor from the anchovies that is only made better by the Asian hot sauce, it’s heat  balanced by the addition of sweet rice vinegar.

So, if you’re looking to wow your guests with a nontraditional twist on a classic Caesar salad, give this Kani Caesar Salad with nori croutons a try. And don’t forget to check out the Kosher Connection Link-Up below for more fun & creative twists on croutons!

1 year ago: cream of leek soup
2 years ago: home-made fish sticks

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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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Nut Omelette

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

This is going to sound pretty ridiculous considering all the things I learned to make in culinary school, but the humble omelette is what really got me. It wasn’t so much the technique as much as flipping the thing. A well-made omelette is fluffy and moist, so when you’re ready to flip, it’s a jiggly mess. I can’t tell you how many omelettes I went through (actually I can, it was 5) until I was able to flip one properly on omelette day.

You can’t begin to imagine what the kitchen looked like after Hurricane Omelette came through. Even Chef Wiseman’s shoes were covered in scrambled eggs. The stovetop was a complete disaster, with bits and pieces of sticky eggs stuck to every crevice. And guess which lucky individual was assigned to clean it all? That would be ME. Miss-goofed-up-with-5-omelettes-till-she-got-it-right.
Nisht gut.

I was determined to get that flipping action down, so for the next couple of days, my husband woke up to a fluffy 3-egg omelette for breakfast, and my kids got their choice of quesadillas for dinner. I was flippin’ paper clips, candy, and yes, I was flipping myself…out.

By the time our practical test came at the end of the semester, my omelette was spot on. I flipped it on the first try. Couldn’t be better. I wish you could have seen the smile on my face when I put that fluffy omelette on the plate. Priceless.

But I’ll share a little secret with you all. I’m not above another omelette flipping disaster. When I went to flip the dessert omelette in the photo, the yolk splattered all over me. I was covered in Passover nut omelette batter.
Nisht gut.

So now that I’ve shared my omelette hall of shame, I’d be happy to share some secrets to making the perfect fluffy American omelette (French omelettes are creamier and are not browned or flipped).

#1 Add a splash of milk to your eggs and season with salt and pepper.
#2 Whisk the mixture well to incorporate some air into the batter.
#3 Make sure your nonstick pan is greased and hot so you get a nice brown finish on the egg.
#4 As soon as your batter hits the pan, stir with a spatula from the inside out and quickly scrape down the sides. Repeat several times until the omelette is beginning to set.
#5 Sneak some butter or oil under the edge of the omelette and shake the pan to see if the omelette can slide. If not, add a bit more fat and test again. Once you are sure the omelette can slide on the pan, you’re ready to flip.
#6. Slide the omelette towards the sloped end of the pan and FLIP. Try not to get egg batter all over your face.
#7 This is where you would add your fillings of choice.
#8 Fold the omelette by one third, starting from the right side.
#9 Turn the pan towards you [like how someone might stab themselves (thanks to The Wise Man for that awful metaphor!)] and flip the pan over onto a plate, so that it sits seam-side-down.
#10 Garnish with fresh herbs or your garnish of choice.

The process sounds long, but it shouldn’t take more than 1 1/2-2 minutes total, from start to finish.

Now that I’ve given you some tips on making the perfect omelette, lets talk a little bit about nut omelettes. Huh? Yes, I said nut omelettes. Why would anyone want to eat a sweet omelette? Well, they might be on a strict no-carb diet. Or, it might be Passover, and they might not be fond of eating chocolate cake made out of potato starch for breakfast.

When I was growing up, my mom would scramble up this sweet nut omelette batter for us whenever we felt sick of the heavy Pesach food (which was pretty often). Last year, I even managed to convince my toddler that they were pancakes (she hates eggs!) and she gobbled them down.

So before you make a face at having a sweet omelette for breakfast, just imagine that you’re almost having a crepe – only fluffier. And you get to skip all the crepe-making. Which is a lot harder than it looks BTW. I should know, I went through a LOT of them on breakfast day.
Nisht gut.

For more Passover dessert ideas, check out the Kosher Connection Link-Up below!

1 year ago: tater tot chicken nuggets
2 years ago: orange chicken

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Raspberry Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip

Monday, February 11th, 2013

If you’re still scrambling for shalach manos ideas, you’ve come to the right place! And not just because I’m gonna wow you with this unbelievably amazing pretzel dip that makes the perfect home-made gift. I’ve also got lots of other ideas for you, starting with this old post.

And then there’s this new giveaway post with tons of amazing shalach manos ideas in the comments! (If you haven’t already entered this giveaway, what are you waiting for? Have you seen the bowls I’m giving away?!)

And since I love you all so much, I’ve created a new category where you can find all of my Purim Posts in one place!

And that’s not all.

If after all that you’re STILL stuck in a rut, check out all the amazing home-made gift ideas for Purim in the Kosher Connection Link-Up below!

If my raspberry honey mustard pretzel dip had you at hello and you want to know how to package it up, well here’s what I did:

Print out adorable tags onto cute cardstock and tape them to the top of small canning jars filled with pretzel dip. Wrap some raffia around the lid and secure with a bow. Then, fill a small cellophane bag with an assortment of pretzels and fold over the top. Print a label that says “Purim Pretzels” on one side and “from: family name” on the other. Fold it over the cellophane bag and staple on each side.

Voila. Purim Pretzel Perfection.

If you’re not up to making this pretzel dip for your Purim package, you should still give it a try. The combination of the sweet raspberry jam and spicy brown mustard, topped off with some hot mustard seeds in each bite, make this the perfect condiment for turkey subs, chicken salad or wraps of any kind!


1 year ago: butter rum l’chaim cake
2 years ago: crunchy chocolate dipped pretzel rods

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Dried Fruit Brie Bites

Monday, January 21st, 2013

I was so excited when the Kosher Connection team challenged us to come up with mini foods for the month of January. With the holiday of Tu B’shvat* coming up, I had the perfect thing in mind – these rich and decadent melt-in-your-mouth little brie bites.

Brie en-croute, or puff-pastry wrapped brie is a classic appetizer which includes a wheel of brie topped with jam (onion and fig jam are popular) and wrapped in puff pastry. It’s usually served on a large platter with crackers, fruit and occasionally nuts. I decided to reinvent the classic appetizer in mini, using an assortment of dried fruits in the spirit of Tu B’shvat.

*Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar, is the day that marks the beginning of a “New Year” for trees. We mark the day by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

What’s so great about these puff pastry brie bites is that you can customize them to your liking. Use your favorite combination of dried fruit and jam’s or choose from one of these ideas:

Dried apricots + apricot jam
Medjool dates + silan
Dried figs + fig jam
Dried apples + apple butter
Craisins + cranberry sauce
Dried mango + mango chutney
Sundried tomatoes + tomato jam

You can also try some of my other Tu B’shvat dried fruit recipes:

Tu B’shvat truffles (sugarplums)
Mustard Roasted dried fruits

For more exciting mini food recipes, check out the Kosher Connection link-up below!


Other brie recipes: brie marsala pizza

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Spicy Roasted Edamame

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

I am so excited about this post. And not because of the recipe (even though it is incredibly delicious!). It’s because I finally cracked the code to the mystery of food photography. OK it’s not exactly a mystery, but it was to me. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you  may have noticed how my photography has been slowly evolving. First, I ordered this book. And then this ebook. Then I took a photography class. And then I listened intently to the talented food photographer Noah Fecks at the Kosher Food Blogger Conference. And finally, finally, I pulled out my tripod from the basement. As if 2 books and a class in photography didn’t stress it enough! I was just too lazy to set up a whole mini “studio” to photograph my dishes. But slowly I’ve been pulling out little things here and there (like my son’s old portacrib mattress that serves as my lightboard!) to form my little space in the corner of my kids playroom. Here’s a peak at my “studio”!

So, now for the food! I absolutely love those spicy wasabi roasted peas that they sell with the nuts in all the drug stores. You know what I’m talking about right? Well I wanted to recreate them at home, so I started playing around with some recipes. And here’s what I learned: wasabi loses it’s potency when heated. That’s right. Once you put wasabi-anything in the oven, it loses it’s flavor and it’s like you added nothing! So, to get that spicy kick, I added Asian hot sauce (sriracha) and sprinkled on wasabi powder once the edamame were browned and toasty. The resulting healthy snack is incredibly addicting. I like the medium spice level but you can adjust the sriracha to make it more or less hot. Roasted edamame beans are best eaten fresh, straight out of the oven!

For more Chinese recipes, check out the kosher connection link-up below!

1 year ago: crunchy shriveled green beans
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