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Summer Scenes + Pack-and-Go Recipes

Thursday, August 6th, 2015


One of the perks of being a food blogger, is getting to really know my camera, and over the years my photography has steadily improved. Once you understand the basic principles of photography, you can take pictures anywhere, and of anything. I only shoot in manual mode and my favorite thing to shoot is MY KIDS. Every time the season changes, it’s like a whole new backdrop to take beautiful family photos. Here are some summer scenes for 2015.






This post may be dedicated to family but we still gotta eat, even at the beach! So, here’s a little roundup of the best BIB pack-and-go recipes, great for family trips to the beach, the park or anywhere on-the-go!

hummus with pita chips
yogurt parfaits with homemade granola
chili pie in jars
quinoa burgers
pesto chicken salad (add tomatoes and avocado to the chicken recipe)
curried chicken salad
sushi salad
tuna pasta salad
salmon pasta salad
roasted chickpeas
roasted edamame

What are you favorite on-the-go recipes and ideas? Share them with me in the comments below!

Other Summer Attractions:

Bushkill Falls
Governor’s Island
Kelder’s Farm 
Hershey, PA

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Spiralized Spud Dogs

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Every since I got my spiralizer, my mind is racing with spiralized recipes. I can’t get enough! From fun curly fries, to healthy zoodle (zucchini noodle) dishes, and creative rice recipes, this compact machine is a powerhouse of possibilities!

What don’t I love about the spiralizer? It’s easy to use, requires little muscle and fits easily into my small kitchen. The blades tuck right into the machine for easy storage.

Sure, I have a julienne peeler, and even the vegemagic gadget, but they don’t come close to creating authentic-looking noodles with as much ease as the Paderno spiralizer. I’ve spiralized russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, beets, carrots, apples, cucumbers, and zucchini’s (my favorite!).

The great thing about spiralized veggies are the endless possiblities. Sure you can make noodles – but you can also pulse them in a food processor to make veggie “rice”. Or you can mix some noodles with spices and eggs and stuff them into ramekins to make “buns” or “latkes”. I weigh down the mixture with a can to form patties and pan-fry or bake until crispy and tender. I do the same to make a “pizza pie” or “rosti” in a frying pan. Such fun ways with veggies, right? It makes dieting SO much easier!

So enough about spiralizing in general…lets get into specifics! Would you look at these ADORABLE spud dogs??? How cute are they?!

Wrapped in spiralized potatoes, these crispy spud dogs are like french-fry-wrapped franks – two favorite BBQ dishes in one! I was SO excited when I came up with the idea – but I was equally lost by what to call them. So, I did what any blogger would do – I made a #NAMETHISRECIPE contest! My Instagram readers really pulled out all the stops on this one, with creative names like “The Tatered Dog”, Dog-Eat-Chips, “Doggie Fries”, SlinkyDog, “Twisty Frank”, FrankNFries, “Piggy In a Slinky”, “The French Dog”, DogNChips and more! But my all time favorite was “Spud Dog”, a name that both Esther Chase and Perry Wolff came up with. They both won a copy of my ebook and the title of an innovative new way to serve up an American favorite.

I think the best part of this recipe is that it’s not a recipe at all. You can make the potatoes thick or thin, or wrap them up in ribbon slices. Spice them up with your favorite french-fry seasoning, or keep them simple! Roast or pan-fry, fill or top them – any way you go, they’re sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

 

Other Labor Day BBQ recipes:

grilled marinated chicken
grilled corn with za’atar garlic butter
grilled chickpea burgers
portobello burgers with sundried tomato aioli
best BBQ potato salad

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Cherry Basil Limonana

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

If you’ve never tried limonana, you’re missing out on an amazing drink! The traditional thirst-quencher is made by mixing lemonade with lots of fresh mint and ice – for a refreshing summer treat.

But you know me – I can never just do classic. OK, maybe I can – but I still love putting my own twist on things. That’s how my strawberry limonana happened.

This year, I decided to try using my new herb obsession – basil! I’m putting it in salads, stuffing it into sandwiches, and now, even drinks! Strawberry-basil is a classic combination, but it works amazing with cherries too!

I love the idea of adding fresh fruit to my lemonade, but if you’re not fond of having bits of cherries in your drink – check out my variation for an infused version instead!

 

Other Summer Drinks:

strawberry limonana
watermelon limeade
tropical fruit smoothie

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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!


4th of July Chocolate-Dipped Kettle Chips

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

I’m sure you’ve all heard the age-old adage, “Man plans and G-d laughs.” Well, I got the last laugh (or cry, I should say) last night.

I’ve got only one sister, and lucky for me, she lives way across the world in Australia. She might as well live on mars, because who in their right mind wants to make that trip, right? Wrong. Silly me decided to put my Miss Independent hat on, and I boarded a plane with my 8 month old strapped to me in the newest Ergo 360. My husband said I looked like a suicide bomber but I didn’t care. I was determined to make it across the world in one piece.

All went well on my trip to Los Angeles, where I switched to another aircraft for a direct flight to Melbourne. Lots of wonderful strangers helped me along the way (shout out to Chana Adelist!), and I graciously accepted their offers to shlep my hand luggage. I could do this. Until…I couldn’t.

So here I am, a day later, still in Los Angeles. I’ve got time to kill in my hotel room while my baby sleeps. Poor kid is wiped out from our adventure last night, which you might have read about on the news. I set out to be Miss Independent and I ended up under an indoor rainshower on my airplane. The trusty bassinet that kept my son happy was soaked with water, and I was tired, overwhelmed and just a tad bit weepy (ok, that’s an understatement). The jokes on me.

A week or two ago, I put these cute little 4th of July stars together for an Independence day post, but as luck would have it, I had no time to actually post it before I jetsetted off to the other end of the world. But now…now I’ve got plenty of time to kill before my next flight takes off later tonight. Lets hope I stay dry this time!

Related Posts: 4th of July Tartufo

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Goat Cheese Ice Cream

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

We all have bucket lists – things we hope to accomplish one day, dreams we hope to bring to reality. I’d love to visit Italy, tour the South of France, and live on a farm. I’d also love to go grape stomping, write a cookbook, and sell baby hats on Etsy (I’m weird, I know).

My foodie bucket list is a whole ‘nother story of things I want to accomplish in the kitchen. It used to be really long, but I’ve slowly been making my way through. In the past year, I’ve made pasta from scratch, filleted and cooked a whole fish, butchered a duck (and made confit), mastered omelettes and egg poaching, made falafel from scratch (with raw garbanzo beans!), made all kinds of nut butters, cooked a killer risotto, and learned to make a spicy Pad Thai.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do, was make my own ice cream. Last year, my cousin gave me a gift certificate to chefscatalog.com for my birthday (I know, she’s amazing, right?) and I decided to buy myself an ice cream machine. As soon as the box arrived in the mail, I froze the ice cream bowl and went straight to work making some of the recipes that were included with the machine. I made classic vanilla, strawberry and coffee ice cream – each of which was delicious. But I wanted more.

So I started experimenting with my own ingredients to come up with unique flavors like guava and persimmon. Making ice cream from scratch was fun and exciting, but like many hobbies, my passion dwindled and my ice cream maker got lost somewhere way-up-high in the pantry. As the weather began to warm up, I decided to dust off my machine once again and up the ante on my ice cream making skills. Instead of making a ice cream with a base of heavy cream, I decided to challenge myself to making creme anglaise – a custard made of milk, sugar and eggs that is often used to make ice cream. One more thing to check off my bucket list.

No one said that mastering cooking techniques was easy. I must have gone through 2 dozen eggs and 4 quarts of milk until I managed to make a custard base that didn’t curdle. But practice makes perfect, and this creamy, yet mildly tangy cheesecake ice cream is living proof.

So what’s left on my bucket list? Well, I want to make my own kimchi, learn to can my own jam, make marshmallows from scratch, make authentic French macaroons, learn to use a smoker, eat more Indian food (make naan!), make my own sausage, play around with doughs (from galletes, to gourmet challah and homemade pita), cook a whole turkey for Thanksgiving (can you believe I’ve never done that?!), expand my knowledge of cheese & wine, eat more polenta, cook with (kosher) bacon, and experiment with plantains.

I’m sure I’m leaving out at least 100 other things, but lets see how far I get this year! In the meantime, I’m relishing the fruits of my labor with this unbelievably creamy and decadent dessert made from Natural & Kosher chevre goat cheese. I couldn’t think of a better way to end a dairy meal on the holiay of Shavuot. Chag Sameach!


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

Other Shavuot Desserts:

blueberry apple crisp
sachlav rose water pudding
cinnamon buns with speculoos cream cheese frosting
classic cheesecake
sour cream chocolate chip cake

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Moscato Strawberries Two Ways

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Ah strawberry season…you are finally here! There is nothing I love more than to walk into a supermarket and be greeted by the sweet scent of strawberries. (OK, to be honest, I’d prefer to walk past the farm stand and smell the sweet scent of freshly picked strawberries).

I wait all year for sweet berry season, when the strawberries are so naturally sweet, they’re like nature’s summer candy. I never understand those people that dip their strawberries in sugar, I mean, aren’t they sweet enough?

While I may not agree with dipping my strawberries in sugar, I do love me some macerated strawberries. Macerated strawberries are strawberries that are sprinkled with sugar to draw out the liquids and create a sweet, syrupy sauce, without cooking. I like to add a hint of balsamic vinegar to balance out the sweetness, for a truly luscious summer dessert.

Besides for balsamic macerated strawberries, I also love to macerate strawberries in some light and sweet Moscato wine. The wine infuses the strawberries with it’s peachy goodness, while the strawberries infuse the wine with their juicy sweetness. Win-win, wouldn’t you say?

This stuff is delicious straight out of a glass, but you can also serve it over ice cream, pound cake or even yogurt.

Now if you’re a strawberry purist and think raw strawberries should only be eaten straight out of the carton (or dipped in sour cream), I totally get you. Macerated strawberries are not for everyone! Buttttt I want to shift your attention to another preparation – that of cooked strawberries, ala strawberry sauce! Of course you can simmer up some strawberries with lots of sweet sugar for a thick strawberry syrup that’s achingly sweet. Or…or you can do something a little more glam and little less cloying, and simmer your strawberries in some honey and moscato until you get a lovely sauce that’s just perfect over angel food cake or lovely on some goat cheese ice cream.

Speaking of goat cheese ice cream, I just may have the creamiest, most delicious, sweet yet mildy tangy cheesecake ice cream coming your way. Oh yes. You’re welcome.

Related Recipes:

Moscato, honey & vanilla bean poached apricots
cherries in red wine syrup
strawberry limonana
strawberry rhubarb soup

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Orange Creamsicle Pops

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

Some of the favorite memories of my youth involve the summers spent in Himmel’s bungalow colony in upstate New York. The caretakers lived directly across the road, in what I remember to be a shack equally as dilapidated as our bungalow. Not that I cared much. When I happened upon their space, I was there for only one thing – the small ice cream freezer in the corner. I had my eye on a particular prize – the orange creamsicles. The creamy ice pops were a summer treat, fresh with the taste of orange and sweet with milky goodness.

I have wanted to replicate those pops in forever, and with my new-found obsession with creamy coconut milk, I was pretty sure I could make a decent nondairy version. Considering how my daughter devoured them, I think I did a good job. They’re a bit icier than the original, but the taste brings back such great memories!

What are some of your favorite summer food memories? Share them with me in the comments below!

1 year ago: strawberry limonana
2 years ago: quick & easy fish

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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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Fourth of July Tartufo

Monday, July 1st, 2013

If you’re looking at the screen quizzically wondering what tartufo is, don’t worry. I didn’t know what it was until recently either! A few weeks ago, a few kosher bloggers and I went out to celebrate the anniversary of the Kosher Connection group. It’s a team of kosher food bloggers that joined together to help each other navigate the blogging world. If you follow my blog, you may have noticed our monthly link-up challenges.

We met at Siena’s restaurant in Brooklyn, to celebrate the partnerships and friends we have made over the past year. Siena served us a variety of dishes, sampling their Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Some of the highlight dishes included their fried zucchini chips with homemade marinara, a medley of fresh salads, ravioli cooked to perfection and a standout tuna steak over white beans and spinach.

For dessert, we were served a tasting of their finest sweets including cheesecake, tiramisu and tartufo. I had to ask the waiter to repeat himself, as I’d never heard of it before. It was a layered ice cream dessert with marachino cherries and vanilla ice cream at the base and pistachio ice cream on top. It was served as a rectangular slice and drizzled with chocolate. The ice cream was delicious, but I couldn’t get over the pretty presentation. After a few hours milling over the tartufo concept (and browsing the internet for every tartufo recipe I could find) – I had a stroke of genius. Why not find blue maraschino cherries, and layer red and white frozen desserts in celebration of Independence day?

I was so excited about my idea that I went straight for the grocery in search of blue maraschino cherries. Little did I know that kosher ones are not that easy to find. So, I did what any idea-obsessed blogger would do…research. I found a kosher company that makes maraschino cherries in a variety of colors and I called them up. I asked where I might find the blue ones in Brooklyn, and they gave me two different locations. I was on it. The next day, I drove out to a shady little store on Coney Island and picked up my loot. I drove straight home, my ice cream already thawing on the counter.

When I uncovered my tartufo the next day, I never imagined it would turn out so pretty. Sure, it wasn’t perfect. The ice cream layers had sunken into each other, and the maraschino cherries peeked out a tad too little. But still. My experiment had worked. Wonderfully. Happy 4th of July!

1 year ago: snap pea, corn & red currant salad
2 years ago: grilled chickpea burgers

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