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Caramelized Peach & Gouda Quesadillas

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

When I told you guys that I hate cooking in the summer, I meant it. I don’t know if it’s the heat or the long days, but I just can’t stand to be in the kitchen. Or, at the very least, turn on the oven.

Case in point: this was our menu this week:

Sunday: 4th of July BBQ at friends
Monday: pulled chicken sammies with leftover chicken
Tuesday: burgers and grilled veggies on the BBQ
Wednesday: grilled cheese sandwiches
Thursday (tonight):  I’m thinkin’ pesto zoodles with tomato feta salad

So – quick and easy stove-top dinners or no-mess outdoor grilling is where it’s at. And the oven? I’ll save that for holiday cooking in a couple of months!

Stove-top cooking can get repetitive. I mean I love grilled cheese and all, but how much of it can I eat? (I plead the fifth)! I definitely try to think outside the box for some satisfying seasonal dishes that make the most of summer bounty. There’s only one thing better than juicy summer peaches and that’s caramelizing them in butter and brown sugar. And when you add the spicy, crunchy jalapenos + the bitter arugula and cheesy gouda, it’s like a quesadilla made in heaven!

Gouda is actually one of my favorite cheeses. It’s so gooey (is that why they call it goo-da? ;) jk!) with great meltability (yeah, that’s now a word). I love it with fruit so it works wonders in this cheesy quesadilla.

Gouda is also great cut into chunks so if you’re going for no-carb meals this summer, try my salad variation! And if carbs are your thing year-round (why you looking at me?!), try this as a pizza, flatbread or grilled cheese with artisan bread!

OK this post has me seriously craving this combo, so I’m off to the store to pick up some more peaches and gouda! Have a “goud” day!!



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

Related Recipes:

quesadillas 5 ways
spinach peach salad

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Spinach Pappardelle with Feta
& a Fried Poached Egg

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

I’m pretty proud of myself. You see, usually when I make lists, it’s just to get stuff off my head and onto a piece of paper. But every since I made my 2016 Foodie Resolution List, I’ve actually been making my through it!

Case in point: fried poached eggs. Well lookie here! Amazingly crisp and perfectly runny eggs dripping their way down some silky pappardelle pasta with bright green spinach. Perfection on a plate.

I’ve also mastered soft pretzels, fresh pita, caramel and I’ve got kataifi waiting in my freezer. That’s almost 5 out of a 9 and it’s only February! This is going to be one productive year in the BIB kitchen. Are you excited?

Now a foodie confession. It’s hard to admit but I was never one for feta cheese. Just something about the texture was off to me, so Greek salad was never on the menu.

But then Natural & Kosher cheese sent me their new brined feta and lo and behold, I loved the stuff! I also realized that if you grate it, the texture is so light and appealing, and when you add it to hot pasta, it’s salty goodness melts into the sauce. So there! I kinda like feta now!

It’s hard not like to cheese when it’s coated in egg yolk, crispy breadcrumbs and delicious sauteed spinach. This recipe really brings together all of my favorite things. Papardelle pasta being one of them.

I’m really not one for heavy pasta dishes like spaghetti bolognese or even baked ziti. Give me some linguini with olive oil and a poached egg and I’m set. With pasta being so heavy, it really keeps things light, instead of the thick tomato sauces that are commonly used. And can you imagine this with zoodles? OMG delish. I’m definitely going to give it a try.

Speaking of zoodles, my dieting hasn’t been going too well these days. I think it’s the winter blues. With all the freezing weather and snow, I’ve been craving comfort food. Like pasta. And carbs. Lots and lots of carbs.

The funny thing is I met someone in the store yesterday who looked at me with her mouth hanging open, saying I had lost so much weight. I wondered when was the last time she saw me because I’ve more or less been the same weight for a while now (which is very far from skinny). I guess it was the awesome coat I was wearing, that always seems to make me look skinnier than I am. Don’t you just love those wardrobe pieces? I took the compliment happily and then went on to the bakery aisle where I snatched up a crusty baguette. Oh carbs how I love thee.

But now, NOW that I sorta like feta, I’ve got to order me some Greek salad. Summer is just a couple of months away. And no matter how skinny said coat makes me look, it’s going to be making it’s way the back of my closet come June. I think it’s time to chuck the pappardelle and bring out my spiralizer.

But wait, first Purim. Some hamantaschen. And then. OK??


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

Related Recipes:

spinach rotini pasta
pasta-free spinach manicotti
spaghetti squash with sauteed spinach and mushrooms
roasted eggplant parmesan with feta
summer tomato feta salad

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Veal Marsala Bolognese with Turnip Noodles

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

It’s almost New Year’s and stigmas aside, I really want to get back into healthy eating. The December donutfest threw me off the wagon, and I’ve been having a hard time getting back on! I’m back to the “I’ll start tomorrow”,  or just after the weekend, or my favorite, “Monday is a new day”. Except Monday comes and goes and it’s already time for the ball to drop.

So here I am, heading into New Year’s Eve and I’m renewing my commitment to pull out my spiralizer and eat more veggies and less carbs. Who’s in for the ride?

We’ll start with these turnip noodles and this amazingly rich bolognese made with veal (my favorite protein), mushrooms and marsala wine, a twist on the classic chicken marsala.

I’m a big fan of marsala (it’s got wine and mushrooms, hello?!), but bolognese? Not so much. Classic bolognese is made with ground beef (not my fave) and dry red wine, and the good stuff is usually simmered for hours. Truth be told, I usually just make my split-second bolognese by browning my beef and adding store-bought marinara, which is probably why I don’t like it very much. My kids, on the other hand, love it over spaghetti with a side of zoodles. It’s by go-to whenever I need a quick and easy dinner, and eating it over zoodles makes it guilt-free too.

But I’m marinara’d out. I use it for my 2-ingredient lazy meatballs, my quick and easy shakshuka, my cheesy zoodle marinara and so much more. I wanted something different so I decided to create a bolognese that’s marinara-free. Something not so heavy, but rich and tasty, and oh so delicious. I hit the nail on the head.

Not only is this veal bolognese amazingly rich and satisfying, it’s virtually guilt-free when served with spiralized turnip noodles, a nice change from the overdone zoodles. Looks like January 2016 is going to be healthy and delicious indeed. Happy New Year!

Related Recipes:

spaghetti squash bolognese
melt-in-your-mouth veal meatballs
veal shepherds pie with celery root mashed potatoes
caraway roasted turnips

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Spinach White Bean Minestrone with Zoodles

Monday, 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
spinach matzo ball minestrone soup

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Pulled Pesto Chicken Burger
with Fire-Roasted Tomato Jam

Thursday, 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!


Spinach Meat Lasagna Roll-Ups

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

It’s funny how you never quite know which of your recipes is gonna go viral. Sometimes, I get so excited about my crazy mash-up ideas, that I think the whole world will too. But I’m not always right. Like here and here. No biggie.

It’s when I least expect it that people go gaga over my food. Like here and here.  You can be minding your own blogger business when before you know it, the recipe’s been repinned hundreds, or even thousands, of times. My spinach lasagna roll-ups is one such recipe, and when I noticed all the love it was getting, I decided I had to share my meat version.

You see, being kosher, I do not eat milk and meat together, so bechamel-smothered-meat-lasgana is out of the question. We kosher-keepers eat our lasagna either meat, or dairy, not both. Of course you can always make dairy lasagna with soy crumbles, or meat lasagna with vegan cheese, but I’m just not one for the fake stuff. It’s either got real meat, or real cheese, no soy for me!

So, without further adieu, I give you the meat version of my dairy lasagna roll-ups. Let me know which ones you like better!

Related Recipes:

dairy spinach lasagna roll-ups

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Chicken Shawarma

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

I was never much of a shawarma person. In fact, in my entire year of living in Israel, I don’t think I even ordered it once. I’m more of a falafel girl. Fully loaded in a freshly baked laffa – pure heaven.

But something interesting happens when you have kids. Picky kids. Kids who don’t like the BBQ marks on their grilled chicken, or the crumbs on their shnitzel. Kids who won’t eat fish. Or most types of meat. When you have such kids, you start to make foods that you never imagined you’d be cooking – like shawarma.

When said kid tasted a bite of my husbands shawarma and liked it (how he got her to do that is beyond me), I knew I had to learn to make my own. And that’s exactly what I did. The first couple of times, said kid was licking her plate. Now she has decided she no longer likes it. And I have decided, I do. How’s that for irony?

Other Israel-Inspired Recipes:

roasted eggplants with Israeli salad
malawach cheese pastries with zaatar
chestnut hummus with pita chips
sachlav rose water pudding
banana, date, milk & honey smoothie

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Mushroom Barley & Short Rib Ravioli

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

If you frequent my blog, you’ve probably noticed that while I love gourmet food, I tend to lean towards quick and easy recipes that I can disguise as fancy. I’m all about the 1-2-3 – as long as it tastes good. But sometimes, just sometimes, I want to take the time to make something from scratch that rivals any dish at a 5-star restaurant. If you have your technique down, and you put love into your food, the results can be beyond extraordinary.

The story of this recipe goes back about a year, when I learned to make pasta from scratch at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts. I could not believe how incredibly easy it was. We made the pasta dough before I could even blink, and rolling it through the pasta machine was so much fun. Filling our homemade ravioli with duck confit and bathing it in demiglace sauce made me realize just how luxurious pasta can be. I went home that night dreaming up all sorts of amazing pasta creations, none of which actually happened. Until now.


If you don’t know this about me already, I’ve got a thing for mashup recipes. I just love to deconstruct traditional recipes and break them down into playful ideas. So when I learned to make pasta from scratch, it was only natural for me to take it the next level and dream up something crazy. I had this idea to deconstruct mushroom barley soup into a ravioli. I’d make barley ravioli, fill it with flanken and smother it in a velvetty wild mushroom sauce.


It was all a dream, until one day, a couple of weeks ago, my friend Melinda and I decided to plan a day of cooking together in my kitchen. Melinda is an adventurous cook who’s not afraid to try anything. She blogs about her kitchen experiments on kitchen-tested where she shares many of her fabulous recipes.


We were brainstorming about cooking ideas and I came back to the deconstructed mushroom barley ravioli that I had wanted to make for so long. Since Melinda is a big dessert person, we decided to do ravioli 2 ways. I would tackle the savory part of the meal while Melinda would do a dessert ravioli. Melinda is obsessed with s’mores so I wasn’t surprised when she came up with the idea to make a fried graham-cracker-crusted chocolate ravioli stuffed with chocolate and marshmallows.

Being the dedicated foodies/bloggers that we are, we decided that it would be fun to blog about our cooking experience and share the recipes while linking to each other’s posts. And so here we are.

One of the best parts of making this dish was getting to use my Le Creuset dutch oven for the first time! I had wanted the pricey pot since forever, I just couldn’t bring myself to splurge on it. Luckily, I won a $500 gift card to Williams Sonoma after winning 2nd place in The Mushroom Channel’s Swap It or Top It Contest for my portobello mushroom burger with sundried tomato aioli. As soon as my gift card came in the mail, I knew just what I would spend my winnings on! A dutch oven was #1 on my list, followed by a good quality electric knife sharpener.

The night before Melinda was to come, I sharpened up my knives with my new machine and went to work braising short ribs in my new dutch oven. I prepared the pasta dough in my food processor, following a recipe from Lidia Bastianich, the queen of Italian cooking. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make the pasta dough! It came together in no time – exactly as Lidia had said.

Cooking day was finally here and we were beside ourselves with excitement. Melinda settled in to my kitchen and checked out my photography “studio” (aka the corner in my kid’s playroom). We started off our day with some s’mores coffee (an Archer Farms limited edition that I was saving for my s’mores-loving friend!) and got right down to ravioli-making. With my dough and meat already prepped, we rolled out the pasta dough and filled it with short ribs. While Melinda helped with the pasta, I got to work on the incredible wild mushroom sauce. It was so rich and flavorful, we could barely hold out while we photographed it. After sharing some shots with our fans on Instagram, we finally sat down to savor the fruits of our labor. The fresh barley pasta, paired with the shredded beef and velvetty mushroom sauce was truly reminiscent of mushroom barley soup. All in all: success!


Now that you’ve “sampled” my barley ravioli with wild mushroom sauce, it’s time for some dessert! Head on over to kitchen-tested for a step-by-step guide to making Melinda’s fried smore’s chocolate ravioli!


Here are some outtakes from our lunch together! I hope you had fun reading about our ravioli adventure!

Related recipes:

crockpot mushroom barley stoup
blended wild mushroom barley soup

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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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2-Ingredient Lazy Meatballs

Monday, December 9th, 2013

We all have those days. You know, when you’re up all night with a sick child (or spouse) and you walk around in a daze barely able to cope. Or when you’re just too tired or sick to even think of making supper. Cereal and milk or grilled cheese will do every now and then, but it’s great to have a quick and easy meal that’s also healthy and hearty – to fall back on.

Would you believe it if I told you that you could make meatballs with just 2 ingredients? That’s right – just TWO ingredients! It’s why I call ’em lazy meatballs. But you know what? You’d never know it. I serve these up in front of my kiddies and they are as thankful as ever. You’d think I slaved over them for hours. They’re tasty, moist and perfect over some rice or spaghetti.

Actually, speaking of spaghetti, I’ll tell you something else. I usually prepare a big batch of these babies. The first night, I serve em up over rice. Then, the next night, I take whatever’s left and mash ’em up with a potato masher. The meatballs fall apart into the marinara for a split-second “bolognese”. I spoon the meat sauce right over some spaghetti and I’m the best momma ever.

The secret to these meatballs is NOT to use lean ground beef. The extra fat keeps the meatballs moist, so you don’t need to add anything else to them. The minimal handling of the meat as well as the small size of the meatballs also contribute to their tenderness.

 

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