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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

If you’ve ever read any of my Shabbat menus on Facebook, you know I’m all about the roast-roast-roast. And I don’t mean a couple of pounds of meat. I’m talking about drizzling stuff with olive oil, salt and pepper and sending it for some browning action in a steaming hot oven.

The thing about roasting is – it concentrates flavors in the most delicious way possible, caramelizing veggies into nature’s candy. I know you can taste the difference because every time I serve up my roasted butternut squash pie, people don’t stop asking me what I do different that makes it tastes so good. I’m telling you people. You gotta try it for yourself. Roast. Roast. Roast.

To get the most flavor out of this soup, I roast the squash along with shallots, for amazing natural sweetness. Give it a try and and you’ll never go back to boiling your veggies again!

Other Butternut Squash Recipes:

butternut squash fries
butternut squash latkes
stuffed roasted butternut squash

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Pumpkin Pot Pie

Monday, November 25th, 2013

I was lying in bed one night thinking about how I could take advantage of the adorable little pumpkins that are so bountiful this season (yes, these are the sort of things food bloggers think about when they go to bed at night). I knew I could make my own pumpkin puree, or carve out a spooky design (although I don’t celebrate Halloween), but I wanted MORE. Something fresh, and exciting, and oh yes – warm (have you seen the weather forecast lately?!).

I thought about real comfort food – you know, something I’d want to eat around a fireplace (if I had one) on a cold November night. And it came down to – you guessed it! – chicken pot pie. At first I thought about reinventing the chicken pot pie and making a vegetarian version with pumpkin and autumn spices. That got me thinking about all the winter pumpkins soups that are cleverly served inside the pumpkin – when I realized – I could have my pumpkin and chicken pot pie and eat it too!

This recipe combines the flavor of fresh-roasted pumpkin with creamy parsnips, carrots and mushrooms. It’s seasoned with fresh thyme and sage and topped off with flaky puff pastry for the perfect fall comfort food!

And would you look at the festive autumn design on these beauties? These pretty pumpkin packages (say that three times in a row!) are as good to look at as they are to eat. They’d make the perfect appetizer for your Thanksgiving meal!

Related Recipes:

veal shepherd’s pie with celery root mashed potatoes
leftover turkey pot pie
chicken pot pie Passover croquettes

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

With pumpkin season in full swing, my foodie feeds are overflowing with sweet pumpkin recipes. And I can’t get enough. I bookmark one recipe after another, promising myself to try every one. But truth be told, I’ve been too busy developing pumpkin recipes of my own. I’ve got pumpkin ricotta pancakes with cranberry maple syrup in the works. And then there’s a mouthwatering pumpkin pot pie that’s coming up.

All my pumpkin playing left me with some extra canned pumpkin that I refused to throw away, so I decided to whip it up into a delicious pumpkin pie smoothie. It came out even better than expected – with the taste of a milkshake, but the calories of a healthy smoothie. For all the pumpkin lovers out there – it doesn’t get better, quicker, or easier than this!

 

Other BIB pumpkin recipes:

pumpkin whoopie pies 
pumpkin cake
pumpkin crisp
pumpkin banana bread
baked pumpkin oatmeal

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Mini Zucchini Muffins + Rivka’s Pumpkin Cake

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

We don’t have an eiruv in my community, which means that once you have a baby, you are stuck at home for Shabbos until your baby can walk! So getting invited out for Shabbos (to sleep over) is a real treat! A few weeks ago, my good friend Rivka, a shlucha in Long Island City, invited us, and we were more than happy to accept. Rivka’s mother is Moroccan and her family is in the restaurant business, so it is no surprise that she knows how to cook! She make some traditional Moroccan foods, but her table is a kaleidoscope of different cuisines.

Rivka is not only a good cook, but a very practical one. Instead of three courses on a late Friday night, she serves one. She made mini pumpkin muffins which she served at breakfast, for snack, and in a cupcake tree along with the Shabbos meal. Pumpkin cake is moist and dense, so it lends itself well to be served as a kugel. I myself have served it that way many times.

My kids were head over heels for the mini cupcakes (kids love anything mini, don’t they? maybe because it’s more their size!) so last week, I purchased a mini muffin pan, and went to work on some muffins for the kids. I’ve mentioned before how I’m not the biggest baker, and it has a lot to do with the fact that cake is just so unhealthy. When I see myself throwing white flour, sugar and oil into a bowl, I think to myself, “Am I really going to put THAT into my mouth?” Not that it tastes bad, cake is delicious. And I do buy it on occasion. It’s easier when I don’t see how it’s made (even though I know it’s full of junk). So, I justify this recipe by reminding myself that it’s filled with zucchini, a vegetable :)

Feel free to make this cake in a bundt pan, it is absolutely delicious any way you bake it. You can make a zucchini bread in loaf pans, or larger cupcakes which you are free to frost with a maple cream cheese frosting!

NOTE: When I make these, I like to shred double the amount of zucchini and freeze half for the next time. Just thaw the zucchini in a strainer and press down with a paper towel to squeeze out excess water.

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Savory Hamantaschen Trio

Monday, March 14th, 2011

I am SO excited to post these delicious and festive savory Hamantaschen for Purim! Honestly I was more excited about making these into triangles, then about how they would taste. But once I gave them a try, I couldn’t even pick a favorite – they were all THAT good. I’m not gonna lie, making these Hamantaschen is time-consuming. But in my humble opinion, they are well worth the effort. You can make them for your Purim Seudah or give them out for Shalach Manos. You can probably even make them in advance and freeze them. Go ahead and get creative with the fillings. You can do a deli roll one – just cut up some turkey and pastrami into strips, mix it up with some bbq sauce or honey-mustard. Or try a brocolli, cauliflower or carrot filling. Really, anything goes. If you have more of a bagels ‘n lox kind of meal, you can make very large triangles with the puff pastry, bake them (empty), and fill them with eggsalad, tuna, or any other dips (think serving bowls). Or make individual salad bowls for each place setting. The skies the limit, really! So go ahead, get out your rolling pin, and in the spirit of “Venehapoch Hu”, whisk up a batch of these “not your typical” hamantaschen!

Prepare the dough:

What you’ll need:
1-2 boxes of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
rolling pin
flour
wide-rimmed cup or round cookie cutter

Leave puff pastry in the fridge overnight to thaw. Remove from fridge. Flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out the pastry until it is thin. With a cup or cookie cutter, cut out circles in the pastry and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Take your leftover dough and roll it out to the same thickness. Cut more circles, until you have used up all your pastry dough. Refrigerate your circles as they will be difficult to use if they are left out.

For the Cabbage Filling:

What you’ll need:
1 bag coleslaw
1 large spanish onion
1 tsp sugar
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
oil for sauteing

Slice your onion and saute in oil until golden. Add coleslaw, salt, pepper, and sugar and continue to saute until coleslaw shrinks and softens. Stir occasionally, and add more oil if needed.

For the Spinach-Mushroom Filling:

What you’ll need:
1 bag baby spinach
1 container mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
oil for sauteeing

Saute 3 cloves of garlic in oil, until fragrant, but not browned, about 2 minutes. Clean and slic mushrooms and add to the pan. Saute for 2 more minutes. Add baby spinach, salt and pepper, and continue to saute until spinach is completely wilted.

For the Pumpkin Filling:

What you’ll need:

1 can Libby’s pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
3 tbsp flour

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until incorporated.

Assembling the Hamantaschen:

What you’ll need:
prepared puff pastry circles
prepared cabbage filling
prepared spinach filling
prepared pumpkin filling
2 eggs, whisked
cookie sheets

Preheat your oven to 350. Lightly grease your cookie sheets and set aside. Remove your pastry from the fridge and let thaw for a few minutes.  Brush the circles with egg, and fill with a spoonful of filling. Pinch the corners together to form triangles. Brush again with egg. Lay on a cookie sheet.

Bake & Serve!

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until golden.

HAPPY PURIM!

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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet, but I’m not that big into baking. I do it every once in a while, but not all the time. Why? Well, first of all, I don’t particularly enjoy it. It’s too technical. I like the creative freedom that I have with food. Baking on the other hand, it’s very scientific. You need to follow the recipe to the tee, otherwise, it won’t come out right. Also, it makes a huge mess. Not that cooking doesn’t. But baking, I just feel like there are the measuring cups, spoons, bowls, the mixer, the gazillion ingredients. And lastly, most importantly, it’s just so fattening! I’d rather eat food! With that said, I did make some really yummy pumpkin whoopie pies yesterday. I halved the recipe, because who needs all that temptation lurking.

Based on my experience, I’d like to make a suggestion. If you decide to halve a recipe, do yourself a favor, and rewrite it, because chances are, if you work off the original, and you think you’re gonna make the calculations in your head, halfway down the line you suddenly forget and you screw up the entire recipe and have to start from scratch all over again!

Now being as I have a daughter who’s severly allergic to milk, I decided to make these parve, using toffuti cream cheese. I also substituted smart beat light margarine for the butter. This resulted in a runnier filling (see pics). I would suggest going with the original dairy recipe, or, see my other alternative below.

To make the pies, I used organic pumpkin puree that I found at Pomegranate around Thanksgiving time. I think it adds that extra richness of flavor to the pumpkin. (Trust me, I’m no organic addict, I just find that when I do buy organic, the flavors are more full-bodied) The pies come out so incredibly moist, with that kick of spice you get from nutmeg and ginger, and the warmth of the cinnamon. Really yummy on a cold winter day. B’teavon!

ALTERNATIVE TO CREAM CHEESE FILLING (PARVE):

Now, as an alternative to the cream cheese filling, I must tell you about this DELICIOUS maple butter I bought recently (available at Benzs Gourmet). It was sitting in my pantry, waiting to be paired with the perfect match. And I have to say, pumpkin whoopie pies is it! The butter is like thick creamy maple syrup, sticky and sweet! I couldn’t resist spreading it on a few sandwiches. The result was extremely rich-tasting, too much for more than a couple of bites.

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