Author: chanie

Stuffed Dates with Chestnut Cream

Well hello there! It’s been a while. I caught my breath from the holidays, and behold yet another one is upon us: Thanksgiving.

Giving thanks – it’s something we speak about a lot I think, but not something we put into practice that much. I’ve been working on it a lot lately actually – really getting in the moment with my children, being thankful for the craziness and the messes instead of feeling overwhelmed by them.

It happened gradually really, after making a commitment to feeling more gratitude, I noticed how I started to see the good in things more naturally. My kids became cuter, the mess less overwhelming, and I became more productive because life just felt easier. It’s as simple as that.


Or maybe not quite so simple because life gets hectic, and hard, and sometimes it’s just hard to see the good in things – but it’s almost like a muscle, exercising that part of the brain makes it come more naturally. At least that’s been my experience.


So yes, this Thanksgiving I am actually practicing gratitude and I really have so much to be thankful for! When I picked up my camera to do this shoot, it felt so good to be behind the camera and I took the moment to really appreciate having a job that I absolutely LOVE, one that allows me to express myself creatively, and do the things I love.


While I don’t host a Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve been celebrating at my friend Melinda’s house for the past few years and I always bring a dish with me. This year, I really wasn’t feeling pie, even though that’s what I usually bring.

In the past, I’ve brought Mexican hot chocolate pecan pie, cookie butter pumpkin pie, and baklava pumpkin pie. One year I brought the chicken liver hummus from my cookbook, Millennial Kosher, because Mel is a big liver fan! But this year I wanted something easy yet festive and I knew I wanted to do something with chestnuts.

I’ve been dreaming of making my own chestnut cream every since I had chestnut crepes in Paris a few months ago, so I started there. A cake seemed too overwhelming, so what else to do with it? Well…. I love stuffing dates with all sorts of nut butter and tahini, so why not chestnut puree right? Especially when I cook it down with orange, cinnamon and cardamom – the perfect pairing!

Of course I finished it off with a dip in my favorite chocolate – California Gourmet, to really take it over the top. CHECKOUT THEIR SPECIAL PROMOTION HERE, use code 15BUSYBIB for an additional 15% off your order!

Finished with nutty sesame and some crunchy Maldon and you’ve got a dessert to be thankful for! Happy Turkey Day!

This post is sponsored by California Gourmet Chocolate Chips.

Related Recipes:

chestnut hummus with herbed pita chips
how to roast chestnuts
ferraro rawcher date bites
marzipan date truffles

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Asian Kani Bites

Ahhhh!!! I’m so so excited for this recipe, sponsored by one of my favorite brands, Kikkoman®! And that Yom Kippur is over, and we can all take a collective sigh of relief that the serious holidays are behind us, we’ve all been inscribed for a healthy, happy year, and on to the celebrations…Sukkot!

Sukkot has always been one of my favorite holidays! The weather is cool but not cold. There’s this wonderful spirit in the air, and we get to hang out with family and friends just eating, singing and rejoicing. I mean, does it get any better than that?


Sukkot is so special that I *almost* don’t mind getting back into the kitchen, again, because I get to make my Bubby’s cabbage soup, all sorts of mechshie (Syrian stuffed vegetables), my kofta stuffed dates (from Millennial Kosher) and of course, Torah cannoli for Simchat Torah!

I’ve talked a lot about the tradition of eating stuffed foods in honor of Sukkot. The tradition is symbolic of an abundant harvest season. Since the wheat is harvested in Israel during the fall, we stuff foods to symbolize our desire for an overflowing harvest. This is popularly done with stuffed cabbage, or holipches, which some say are also made to resemble the scrolls of a Torah.

I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but this year, I decided to do something new, and instead of stuffing a vegetable, I’m stuffing wonton cups with pulled kani aka surimi, or mock crab! Pulled beef has been in the spotlight for a while, and lets just say I’m bored of it. It’s been on every recipe menu, at every party and holiday meal, and it’s just so heavy! I wanted to lighten things up and kani is JUST THE THING.

I love that surimi is a fish that you don’t have to buy fresh, and I always have it in my freezer for Kani or sushi salad! My kids love my kani fried rice from my cookbook, and it’s an easy appetizer you can pull together when you have last minute guests. Which happens a lot on Sukkot by the way!

The great thing about this recipe is that it makes a lot, which is a must for holiday dishes, you can prep all the components ahead of time and just assemble before serving. If the wonton cups last that long ‘cuz they’re pretty addictive!

This recipe is also totally customizable – add whatever toppings you like, or stir the kani into linguini or fried rice instead of wonton cups. There are so many directions to go with this, and the Asian sauce works really well for stir fries too!

I love that Kikkoman has such a large selection of kosher ingredients, you can even buy a prepared sauce instead of making your own! A great trick for drizzling on sriracha or spicy mayo is to unscrew the Kikkoman cap and replace it with the cover of a squeeze bottle (see photo above!), it works wonders!

If you’re feeling extra fancy, try the pickled radishes,  you can even use onions, daikon or carrot instead!

Wishing you and yours a very happy Sukkot!

This post is sponsored by Kikkoman®.

Related Recipes:

kani salad
kani caesar salad with nori croutons
sushi salad
sushi salad II
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Apple Honey Mustard Salmon

This recipe came to me last week when I was preparing my salmon and I’m so glad it did because it’s JUST. SO. PRETTY!! I definitely have a thing with decorating a side of salmon, and I love how the apples resemble fish scales!

I think a memory a lot of us have of Rosh Hashanah from our childhood is that moment when the fish head was brought to the table and WE. HAD. TO. EAT. IT.!! It always smelled awful and that fish eye just stared at us, as if to say, you killed me and now you’re going to have to eat me!!! I still have nightmares from those fish heads. Nightmares!!!

When people ask for recipes for the fish head, I usually just tell them that no recipe is going to make anyone want to eat it so just throw tons of lemon on it and stick it in the oven! Most of the fish stores have been storing the fish heads all year, so they’re definitely not fresh, and you can smell it a mile away. I don’t know what’s worse, the eyeball staring back at me or the smell coming out of it!

That’s the thing about fish that people don’t realize – it really should never smell like fish! It should smell like the ocean. If your fish smells fishy, it’s probably not fresh and it will probably taste fishy after you cook it. Moral of the story – BUY FRESH FISH. And don’t try and get fancy with your fish head ‘cuz nobody wants to eat it anyway.

But this here? This is the fish that you WANT to serve. It’s the dish that everyone is going to OOH and AHH over. And you’re going to be feel like a gourmet goddess for pulling it off. At least, until, we pass the fish head around!

May we all be blessed to be like the head, and not the tail this year!

 

 

Related Recipes:

honey fish roasted salmon
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Golden Milk Carrot & Apple Soup

I wait all summer to put on a granny sweater and whip up a warm mug of golden milk! The healthy drink, sometimes called Turmeric Tea, stems from India, where they add fresh turmeric to warm milk for it’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Golden milk is the Westernized version of the Ayurvedic drink, popularized by bloggers worldwide. The immune boosting drink usually includes:

coconut milk
black pepper
cinnamon
turmeric
ginger
raw honey

To get the most health benefits out of the tea, fresh and whole spices are used and the honey is added at the end, without heating. With curcumin from the turmeric, piperine from the black pepper, and MCT’s from the coconut milk, golden milk is said to improve memory, relieve joint pain, improve blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol and prevent cancer!

With Rosh Hashanah around the corner, I decided to incorporate my favorite winter drink into a Simanim-filled soup and the results were absolutely delicious! I think adding apples + apple cider to my soups is my new thing – a burst of apple in every bite!

Now I think the only thing better than the health benefits of Golden Milk is adding carrots – our parents always told us it was good for our eyesight, right? And don’t they say that an “Apple a day keeps the Dr. away?” Golden Milk just got an upgrade.

The New Year is looking extra sweet.

Related Recipes:

curried carrot and sweet potato soup
roasted butternut squash, shallot and apple soup
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Sausage Galette with Apple Cider Onion Jam

It’s that time of year when my inbox gets flooded with Kosherfest invites and it really got me thinking about how far the kosher industry has come. I’m so thankful because having so many amazing kosher products on the market helps me do my job and get creative in the kitchen.

When my mom was growing up, there were the basics: kosher meat, kosher milk, pasta, tomato sauce, ketchup, mayo, canned fruits and veggies… the staples. There was candy and baked goods but nothing like what we have today! We are so fortunate to have so much at our disposal, and kosher cooking is easier and tastier than ever.

I’m especially thankful for kosher imports from around the world that make specialty products accessible. Do you remember when bloggers were making their own cookie butter, and finding a package of Lotus cookies was like striking gold? They’re now readily available in most kosher supermarkets, with kosher certification from Israel.

The newest Israeli import that I’m crushing over are the rolled pie doughs that come frozen, in both sweet and savory varieties. They make galettes and tarts a breeze, and I couldn’t be happier. When Abeles & Heymann released their newest sausage flavors of Bourbon Apple, Teriyaki Ginger and Andouille, I knew just what I was going to make, and LOOK. HOW. PRETTY!!!!

I love that Abeles & Heymann is constantly upping their game and their new sausage flavors are so exciting! I’m so honored to be a brand ambassador for them, because I truly love the quality and care that they put into their products. My family cannot tolerate any other hot dog and because they are so conscious of putting out healthier products, I don’t have to feel bad about feeding them to my family, because many are free of nitrates and other additives.

So lets talk tart — In honor of the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah, I whipped up an easy apple mustard using prepared apple butter and cooked down the most lip-smacking apple cider onion jam that is about to be added to EVERYTHING! Make it and you’ll see!

If you’ve got any apple cider onion jam left, feel free to add it to grilled cheese with some sliced apples (if you make it pareve), mixed some into your holiday roast, smother it over chicken, squash or mix into rice. Or, just eat it by the spoonful cuz it’s THAT good.

As for the sausages, if you’re not up for a galette, you can slice them on the diagonal, sear them off and add to a charcuterie board. Wrap ’em in puff pastry for classic franks in blanks. Roast them with potatoes or peppers and onions for an easy sheet pan meal. Or just go classic in a hot dog bun, ‘cuz you can never go wrong with that!

Wishing you an easily prep for the holidays ahead, and a super sweet and delicious year!

This post is sponsored by Abeles & Heymann.

Related Recipes:

sausage stuffed butternut squash with apples
salami tarte tatin
apple and honey galette

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