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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

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spinach rotini pasta
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Scrambled Hard-Boiled Eggs

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

They say necessity is the mother of invention and I guess that’s how this recipe came to be. I mean, you can’t say you’ve really tried every type of egg dish over Passover until you’ve tried scrambled hard-boiled eggs, right?

My mother has been making these on Passover for as long as I can remember. She learned to make them from my grandmother, who learned to make them from her mother. I’m not sure if this is a traditional Hungarian dish, or if my great-grandmother invented it. I imagine there wasn’t much else to eat back in Europe besides for eggs and potatoes, with a little chicken or meat on the side, if they were lucky. So creativity with eggs and potatoes was a must. How else can you explain adding hard boiled eggs to runny scrambled ones?

Eggs on eggs might sound kind of weird. Ok, it does sound really weird, but trust me when I tell you that these scrambled hard-boiled eggs are incredibly delicous. Adding hard-boiled eggs to the scrambled ones make this dish substantial enough to serve for lunch, with a side of salad or matza and cheese.

Scrambled hard-boiled eggs is just one of the interesting recipes my family whips up with eggs over Pesach. There’s also our sweet nut omelette that we’d whip up for breakfast and the mock chopped liver that begins with some deeply caramelized onions.

Aside from eggs and potatoes, sauteed onions are the other quintessential Passover ingredient. Since we don’t use spices or processed ingredients over the holiday, sauteed onions are a crucial base for adding flavor to every dish. These scrambled hard-boiled eggs are no exception.

 

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how to make perect hard-boiled eggs
Passover sweet nut omelette
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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:

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Summer Tomato Feta Salad

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Believe it or not, I’m not the biggest tomato person. I’ll happily leave them out of my burger, and I never put them in my tuna sandwiches. My husband, on the other hand, is tomato-obsessed. Ask him what he would take to a desert island, and I know without a doubt, that it would be a boat-load of tomatoes. So when it comes to salad-making, you can imagine that we are not always in agreement.

Summer, though, is the exception. There’s just something about summer tomatoes that is so deliciously sweet. Instead of arguing about adding tomatoes to the salad, we end up making tomato-only salads. Using an assortment of tomatoes like red and yellow tomatoes on the vine, or colorful heirloom tomatoes, makes for a beautiful presentation. With summer tomatoes being so juicy and delicious, you really don’t need much to make them sing. A simple drizzle of good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar is enough to dress them up. Feta adds protein, color, and saltiness, to balance out the tomatoes sweet flavor.

Needless to say, my husband is in LOVE with this salad. I hope you will be too.

1 year ago: picture perfect teacher’s gift
2 years ago: Asian bigger bowl soup

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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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Quesadillas Five Ways

Monday, April 29th, 2013

With Cinco de Mayo coming up, I thought it would be fun to celebrate with 5 different quesadilla recipes. I started making quesadilla’s for dinner whenever my kids are being fussy about the food I’ve made. I always keep a package of mini wraps or tortillas in the freezer, so I have a quick and easy dinner to fall back on, just in case. Once in a while, I’ll make myself one for lunch or a light dinner, adding things like pineapple & jalepeno or broccoli and cheddar. Adding fun and flavorful ingredients to a wrap can help turn a plain tortilla into a quick and easy meal that’s not just for kids!

There are 2 basic ways to prepare a quesadilla. You can either fill half the quesadilla and fold the tortilla over, or place the fillings over the whole tortilla and top it with a second one. I prefer to go the half-way route, and make a few flavors instead of one.

What are some of your favorite quesadilla flavors? Share them in the comments below!

1 year ago: pineapple chicken & BBQ jalapeno pizza
2 years ago: BBQ pulled chicken sammies

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Teriyaki Salmon

Monday, February 25th, 2013

I’m not one of those people who has an encyclopedia of recipes in their head. In fact, no matter how many times I seem to make a recipe, I still won’t remember it by heart. I guess that’s why I usually resort to making things up from scratch. I’m just too lazy to pull out my cookbooks and look them up! And between me and you, I always have to look up my own recipes on my blog to remember how to make them.

Every now and then though, a recipe will stick with me. Like those few phone numbers that you never forget. Or your kids birthdays that you almost always remember (don’t you just love when the doctor asks you their birthdate and you mumble and stammer, trying to remember it?!) My Caesar salad dressing is one of those recipes. And then there’s this one. Yup, that’s about it.

This awesome, super easy teriyaki salmon recipe was given to me about 10 years ago by my boss at an antique silver company I worked at. That was way before I had any interest in food, and all I wanted were quick and easy recipes to make for my new husband that wouldn’t set my kitchen on fire. It was easy to remember because it called for equal parts ketchup, OJ, brown sugar and teriyaki sauce. You just make more for more fish, and less for less fish. Pretty easy to remember, even for someone like me!

So if you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner, or a side of salmon for your Shabbat guests, give this recipe a try. I promise you won’t forget it! ;)

1 year ago: pumpkin banana bread
2 years ago: salmon cakes with lemon caper yogurt sauce

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Roasted Eggplant Parmesan with Feta

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

I always wondered about the name for the dish eggplant parmesan. Parmesan isn’t exactly the prominent ingredient, it’s not even called for in some recipes. Most eggplant parmesan recipes consist of breaded slices of eggplant that have been fried, smothered in tomato sauce and covered in melted cheese. Parmesan or not, it’s definitely one of my favorite dairy dishes, but having just finished the Chanukah fry-fest, I decided to come up with a healthier version.

Last year, I posted this recipe for roasted eggplants stuffed with Israeli salad, roasted chickpeas and techina. It’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy eggplants! I eat it pretty often though, so I decided to invent a new roasted eggplant dish. That’s how this Middle Eastern twist on eggplant parmesan came about. I broil the eggplants for delicious smokey flavor and stuff them with marinara, tomatoes, a little breadcrumbs and finish it off with light feta cheese. Although it tastes nothing like the original, it’s a delicious light and healthy lunch that’s a perfect start for the New Year!

Looking for more healthy recipes? Check out the Shine Supper Club. They’re sharing healthy recipes to get your New Year off to a fresh start!

1 year ago: green guacamole
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Tuna Salad with a Twist

Sunday, June 19th, 2011


I’m definitely a tuna person. Cream cheese? not so much. Lox, not a chance! So tuna is bound to show up on my lunch menu quite often. I like my tuna 2 ways: albacore, and in water. I like to mix up my recipes so it doesn’t get too boring.

To prepare tuna, I start with an empty sink and a pair of gloves! I drain the can of water and empty the tuna into a bowl. Then, using my hands (remember, I’m wearing gloves), I break the tuna apart, so that I end up with perfect flakes that are not too ground, nor too chunky.

Classic tuna with mayo always works, but adding additional ingredients turns it into a salad for a complete meal when served with crackers, rice cakes, or cucumber slices. Sometimes I add a bit of harrisa and lemon for a quick and easy spicy tuna. Other times I’ll mix it into some pasta for a heartier dish, or into salad nicoise – an all time favorite. In this recipe, I use a surprise ingredient which really ups the ante from traditional tuna salad, to something out of this world! What is it? Golden raisins! It may sound weird at first, but I urge you to give it a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

To make these fun cucumber rolls, just slice english cucumbers or zucchini lengthwise, very thin (preferably using a mandoline, but it can be done by hand or with a peeler). Put a spoonful of tuna salad about an inch away from either end. Roll the end over the tuna, and continue to roll up. Fasten with a toothpick. NOTE: If you slice the cucumbers paper thin, you won’t need a toothpick, they will stay closed on their own.

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