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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Easy Pesach Coconut Macaroons

I love cooking and baking. Could you tell? At the same time, there are some things that I just don't make. There are actually lots of things that I don't prepare.  I used to want to cook and bake everything but learned that with a family, a job and a life besides cooking, that some things are not worth the time, especially if you can buy them or have a friend or family member who can make it instead. Examples? Kreplach: after spending a ton of time in the kitchen only to have a 12 little sad things floating in my soup when I can just buy a package that tastes better and takes no time. Gnocci-same! Sushi, I cheat and make Sushi Salad and have children that make it sometimes but no matter what it tastes better from the Sushi place.  

Until this very moment in time, macaroons fell into that category. I remember, every year my mom buying the canned macaroons that were small, over-moist and sickly sweet and I never did care for them much. Then one year, I had a palate-opening experience. Gitel's a kosher bakery in Chicago in the 1980's, opened it's new premisis just before Pesach and they were selling these large, fluffy, delectable macaroons. I then discovered that I like macaroons. After that year, those airy and tasty macaroons disappeared into thin air, never to be seen again until I came to Israel in 1986, you couldn't find the sticky canned stuff any where but every bakery and supermarket was filled with these puffy, fluffy, delicious coconut delights.  

So, again...why should I make them? Even with the inflated and crazy prices, there is so much other work for Pesach, so who needs to make something that can be bought. The truth, I would have never thought of making them but ironically, now, in the middle of using up all my Hametz food, I found myself stuck with an opened bag of coconut to use up and decided to experiment.

Well, they came out delicious! Not as pretty as the store bought ones but light and not too sweet. I'm still not sure if I'll make them for Pesach but I will definitely consider it if time permits.





Ingredients

3 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

Directions

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F)
Whip up egg whites until peaks form.
 Gradually add sugar vanilla and salt and whip some more until well-blended
Mix coconut into egg white mixture
Form into balls and bake until lightly browned for 15-20 minutes

Makes 20-24 cookies


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Baked Tuna-Potato Patties for Pesach and All Year Round

Hi All. I'm on a roll here with three posts in a little over a week. I can hear the applause and feel that back patting! I am now in my mode of operation that I call creative procrastination. It basically means that I do lots of productive things but not necessarily those on the top of my priority list. This translates to cooking and blogging instead of Pesach cleaning.

 Next Monday night we are throwing a Sheva Brachot  with four other families and one of the dishes I need to prepare is

Tuna Patties. This recipe is based on a recipe that I got from my neighbor Judy but I have adapted it slightly.  I hadn't made these in ages as maybe two family members would eat them and because as the original recipe called for frying which I try to avoid. Well, lately I have been baking more and more "frying" recipes with amazing results including this one. So without any further ado (Drum Roll) the recipe!



Ingredients

2 cans of tuna, drained
2 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 medium onion, chopped and sauteed in canola or olive oil
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
Additional oil or cooking spray

Directions

Mix all of the ingredients together until well blended.
Grease or spray baking sheet or pan
Form into small patties and place on pan
Bake on 225 C (450 F) for 15-20 minutes.
If necessary, flip and bake approximately 5-10 mins more.

Betavon! Enjoy!


Monday, March 31, 2014

Quinoa-Walnut Patties for Pesach (Passover)

I start this post with a disclaimer. I am not a Rabbi nor a Halachic (Jewish Law) Authority of any sorts. I know there has been debate about whether quinoa is kitniyot (a legume) and whether Ashkenazi Jews can eat quinoa on Pesach. We do eat quinoa on Pesach which is very helpful in feeding my two vegetarians. This recipe is great all year round and is gluten free so I recommend that you continue reading no matter what your background.

I served these patties at lunch on Shabbat (Saturday) and they were enjoyed by the vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Directions

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups boiling water
1 medium onion finely diced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
6 oz (approx 180 g) ground walnuts
salt
freshly ground pepper
2-4 eggs

non-stick spray or oil for greasing baking pan


Cook quinoa and cool. 
Heat oil and saute onions until carmelized, add the garlic for the last minute or two of cooking.
Mix all quinoa, onion-garlic sautee and the rest of the ingredients until well mixed. 
Form into approximately 12 patties and place on greased baking pan.
Bake at 225 C(450 F) or broil/grill in oven for approximately 15 mins and then flip and cook for approximately 5-10 mins on the second side.

Serve as is or with the sauce of your choice.

Can be frozen and can be reheated.



B'Teavon-Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spinach-Artichoke Kugel: a Pesach Friendly Recipe

I'm Back!

Hi all, sorry its been so long. No excuses really. I just got out of the blogging routine. I'm going to try to be "good" for now on, with anywhere from weekly to monthly (bare minimum) posts.  It is now that period that many Jews love hate go through this time of year where we try to use up the food in our house and at the same time are looking for ideas regarding what we should cook for Pesach. My next recipe kills those two birds with one stone and still remains vegetarian :).  I have been going through my freezer and  remembered that a couple of months ago that frozen artichoke bottoms were on sale. I also had some frozen spinach. I thought that I would make frozen artichoke bottoms stuffed with a spinach filling.  In the end I changed my mind and made this delicious kugel and the best thing is that it is gluten free and Kosher for Pesach.

Spinach-Artichoke Kugel

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
500g (approx. 1 lb) chopped frozen spinach
400 g (approx 14 oz.) frozen artichoke bottoms
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup ground walnuts/and/or ground sunflower seeds (sunflower seeds are considered legumes for Ashkenazim on Pesach)

Directions

Sautee onions in oil until soft and golden.
In the meantime, defrost spinach and drain well.  
Defrost artichoke bottoms.
Mix sauteed onions with the rest of the ingredients.
Bake in a greased rectangular pan at 180 C (350 F) for 45-50 mins or until solid and slightly browned.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Low-fat Vegetable Split Pea Soup: the ultimate comfort food

I hate to be repeating myself, but the need need to open this blog with a big thank you to the Kosher Connection monthly link up. For the past few months, I have been blogging once a month only for this link-up.  I hope to start getting back to at least once every two weeks and ideally to once or twice weekly but in the mean time THANK YOU Kosher Connection!  Briefly, for those who don't remember, not familiar, or new to this blog, Kosher Connection is a bunch of Kosher bloggers from around the world who once a month "link up" and post a recipe based on that month's theme.  This month the theme is comfort food.

Here in Israel we are now in the aftermath of the country's biggest snow and rain storm in 20 years.  13,000 homes are still without electricity.  Public transportation is just starting to go back to normal in Jerusalem (I hope!), schools in Jerusalem and other places are still closed. So what is the best comfort food in this situation? Obviously,soup! If we were dealing with the area of comfort drinks, then this column might be on Hot Cocoa but I'm also not 100 % sure how I would overcome the low fat, low sugar issue with that one...

Back to the soup.  Years ago, in the mid 1990's when not everybody had computers (yes, there was such a time), and all we had was a laptop and a dial-up connection, I joined an email group called the Jewish-Food mailing list which also gave birth to a site containing all the recipes collected from the group.  My soup recipe for you today is loosely based on a recipe posted by a woman named Linda Shapiro who submitted a recipe for vegetable split-pea soup from The Low-Fat Good Food Cookbook.



Here is the recipe:

Low-Fat Vegetable Split Pea Soup

Ingredients

1 pound (500g) dried split peas
2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) water
1-1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped or sliced carrots
1 large or two small sweet potatoes (or 3 med. regular potatoes) chopped into large chunks
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Rinse the peas and combine with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Add two more cups of water, the vegetables, salt and pepper and other seasonings if desired.
Return to a boil and then reduce heat again and simmer another time, stirring every 15 minutes.
The soup is done when the peas are creamy, the vegetables are soft but hold their shape and the soup is thick but not stiff ( I find that this soup comes out thinner than most pea soups).

B'Teavon! Enjoy!

 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thanksgivikkuh and Butternut Squash Donut Muffins: a Kosher Connection Linkup Post

All I can say is thank G-d for the Kosher Connection monthly link up! Lately, I've been so lazy about blogging but thanks to the link up, you can be sure that I will blog at least once a month.

The Kosher Connection link up is a bunch of Kosher bloggers from around the world who once a month rise to a recipe challenge based on a theme. This month's theme is recipes for the holiday of the century or as rumor has it, the holiday that we will have again in 70,000 years, a combo of Thanksgiving and Chanuka, otherwise known as Thanksgivikkuh!

To my children's chagrin, I am planning on celebrating this holiday with my family albeit on Friday night and not on the Thursday night of Thanksgiving.  My children, US passport holders, but born and raised in Israel and partially in South Africa, do not strongly embrace their American roots and tend to balk at many US customs and traditions.  On the other hand, they started a "custom" two years ago of decorating one of our potted trees from the balcony and calling it our Chanukka bush...which for me feels horrifically wrong but to them it is just good, clean fun.

But stubborn as I am, and always one for a "themed" meal,  we are going to "do" Thanksgivikkuh. It's next week and I'm still not sure what's on the menu but we will be having turkey legs and turkey breast for our main course and these pumpkin donut muffins as part of our dessert spread.

Butternut Squash Donut Muffins

Let me tell you the truth, these muffins have no resemblance to a donut. They are however delicious.  I have a feeling that Martha Stewart's recipe of this same name that is made with butter probably has a more donutty consistency but these are pure cakey muffins.  However, as I am trying to avoid fried foods to prevent high "bad" cholesterol, the name will stick.  At least, then I can say I had a Chanuka donut (muffin)! I will confess that I plan on buying a couple of the gourmet ones sold here in Israel from Roladin or one of the other Cafe chains...but to make them myself would be sacrilege, not to mention, TOO MUCH WORK!

This recipe is based on several that I saw on the internet but adjusted to be pareve (non-dairy) and more healthy.


 Ingredients for Muffins

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup demerara or golden pure cane sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. baking power
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
pinch or two or salt
1 tsp vanilla 
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cups white flour
1 cup soy milk
1/3 cup butternut squash or pumpkin puree from roasted or boiled squash/pumpkin

Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2-3 TBSP soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C
Line muffin pan with paper cupcake liners
In a large mixing bowl beat oil and sugars
Add vanila and eggs one at at time
Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
In a small bowl mix butternut puree and soy milk.
Add flour and puree mixture to oil sugar mixture a little at a time alternating until all of the ingredients are mixed well.  
Spoon into muffin pan.
Bake muffins for 1517 mins or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
Cool muffins slightly
Mix glaze ingredients together and drizzle on to muffins and spreading evenly on to the muffin tops. The glaze will quickly harden.
Taste a muffin to "make sure it came out ok" and then forbid everybody else from eating the muffins until Thankgivikkuh!



Monday, October 21, 2013

Baby Green Salad with Roasted Pears, Corn and Pecorino (Plus October Kosher Connection Linkup)

Hi, remember me.  I know, it's been a while. I have some excuses but none too good.  It all started with the Jewish holidays that took up around three weeks in September.  Ironically, I was cooking more than ever but had no time to write about it much. After that lull, my get up and go, got up and went.  So I needed something to motivate me again. Then this Kosher Connection linkup came about.

 This month you could choose two of the three ingredients.  Fresh pears, canned corn and Mike and Ikes.  I kid you not!  Guess which one I left out, even though I must admit I have a weakness for jelly beans and all of their friends and relatives.

 I immediately thought that pear and corn would go great together in a salad, and the question was what should I add.  I did some internet research and then based on a gazillion ideas, I made up my own hybrid which came out delicious (if I may say so myself).

So here we go:

Baby Green Salad with Roasted Pears, Corn and Pecorino

Salad Ingredients

150 g Baby Greens (half of a big bag)
4 pears
Juice from half a lemon
2 teaspoons demerara sugar
2-3 Tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
1 can of corn

Dressing

6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Juice from half a lemon
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon Silan (date honey)

Instructions

Set oven to 450 F(225 C) and roast pears in lemon juice and sugar. 
Assemble all the salad ingredients in a bowl, putting first greens, then mixing in corn and pears and top with cheese.
Mix dressing ingredients and pour on salad and toss until all ingredients are evenly coated. 
Eat immediately!

Slicing the pears before roasting

Squeezing the lemon juice and mixing it with demerara sugar



What a delicious looking and delicious tasting salad!