Month: July 2018

Everything, Everything!

I remember when Everything Bagels first hit the scene. A New York bagel store employee was sweeping out the oven and instead of tossing the seeds and seasoning crumbs, he through them on top of a plain bagel. He thought he was being cute when he called it the “everything”.  They were amazing! All the bagel flavors you love were now in one bagel. Ahh, bliss! And if you toast them, forget it, HEAVEN! So imagine how excited I was when Trader Joes created Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. I love using this flavor blend and put it on, well, everything.

The blend is made up of sesame seeds, sea salt flakes, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, black sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Some of the great ways I’ve used this blend are: stir it into cream cheese, salad topping, stirred into scrambled eggs, a small shake on top of sour cream in soup or a baked potato.

My two favorite ways to use this blend are to stir about 1/4 cup into latke (potato pancake) batter right before frying them up. We like our latkes extra crispy and this seasoning brings out all the best flavors of the potato.  If you do this adjust your salt down, or even none. This seasoning has plenty of salt. The other great recipe is to use it as a chicken coating.

Chicken is the great blank canvas of food.  I mean it was just made for sauces and anything that adds flavor. The recipe below is simple and quick.  I make a dredge tray of seasoned flour, egg white and Everything but the Bagel seasoning.  You can use your own recipe for the seasoned flour. Remember to use little or no salt.

One other little tip. Some of you struggle on knowing when chicken is done when you bake it. The best way is to use a meat thermometer to 160°. However, 20 minutes per pound at preheated 325° oven is a great rule of thumb. You can cover the chicken foil half way through if it is getting too brown.

 

Everything Seasoned Chicken
Print Recipe
Juicy, baked chicken with all your favorite tastes of an everything bagel.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Everything Seasoned Chicken
Print Recipe
Juicy, baked chicken with all your favorite tastes of an everything bagel.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Combine flour and all spices, except Everything Bagel, together in a zipped plastic bag. Give it a good mix now and right before you use it. You don't want all the flavors to settle to the bottom.
  2. Set up your dredging station (I use shallow soup bowls). You want the first one to be the seasoned flour. The second should be your egg whites and the third is the Everything seasoning.
  3. I get my chicken good and dry with paper towels and then let it sit out about 20 minutes before starting the dredging process. I also keep one hand for dry and one for wet.
  4. Start with dipping chicken in flour. Give it an even coat and shake off excess so you don't have clumps. Then a quick dip in egg whites and let excess drip off, then right into the everything seasoning and into a butter baking dish.
  5. Into the preheated, hot oven and bake for 20 minutes per pound. You are probably at just about a pound with 4 chicken breasts so check at 20 minutes. It's okay to cut into one breast, if you don't have a thermometer. You want the juices to run clear.
  6. Serve with a green vegetable and rice or potato. Enjoy!
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CAKE!!!

CAKE!!!!

I’ve been making it, decorating it, giving it away and eating it. So much so that I almost forgot to write about it.

Seriously, I have this great calendar that tells me what “DAY” it is each day. Apparently, July 20th was Cake Day. As I have mentioned, a lot, I love cake. So why wouldn’t I bake and write about it? The 10thAnniversary of the Hadassah group I belong to and my daughter’s best friend’s birthday also happened to be around that date, so I baked the fabulous chocolate cake written about in April 2017 and I made a wonderful Carrot Cake.

Let me tell you, Carrot Cake comes with a lot of opinions. Do you used nuts? What kind of nuts? Do you do a cream cheese frosting, and do you put butter in yours? In my house you would NEVER put fruit in something baked. In other homes you might add pineapple chunks to your carrot cake. All this to say that even though I happen to love my recipe, make it your own.

Mine is “original” after years of adapting all the family recipes and magazine recipes I’ve tried. I used to buy the pre-shredded carrots, and they work fine. Now I like to make a really fine shred in my own processor. I like the taste of fresh carrot, but I don’t want a big piece to wander into my bite of cake. I do put a stick of butter in my frosting.  I think it adds a richness. If you want to add nuts, I’d go with pecans.  Walnuts are also a good addition, but almonds might be nice too.

See what I’m doing here? My recipe is a great base. If you make it as is, you will love it. But make it your own and start a new tradition. Most of all ENJOY!!!!


Carrot Cake
Print Recipe
Servings
12
Servings
12
Carrot Cake
Print Recipe
Servings
12
Servings
12
Ingredients
Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings:
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 3 9" round pans with butter and flour
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Add eggs and canola oil, use a hand mixer and blend until just combined.
  4. Add carrots. This is where you can add nuts or fruit.
  5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, until tester comes out just clean. Do not over bake.
  6. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Using the paddle attachment of a stand up mixer, blend cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar until combined. be sure to re-mix after scraping down sides.
  2. When cakes are completely cool, frost generously. I made white chocolate curls to decorate, you can also buy them.
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Old Friends (Cookbooks)

I am in a purging mood! We recently did some remodel work on our house. You know how that goes and how much packing and unpacking I was doing, almost, every day. It was a good opportunity to get rid or donate “stuff” we weren’t really using anymore.

A good friend pointed out to me that I have cookbooks, literally, in every room in my house. Some of you might put the old People Magazine in the bathroom, for light reading, I put cookbooks! So, when this same friend suggested I make a library of cookbooks, in my office, I was all in. Of course, that meant hours of deciding which would stay and which would go. It also meant getting reacquainted with some of my older “friends” and saying goodbye to the friends you didn’t really keep in touch with.

My new library!

So, my task began. The first things that went were the cookbooks, put together by my kids elementary or pre-schools. I asked myself were there any recipes in them that I couldn’t just pick up the phone and ask for if I really wanted them. I did go through those books just to make sure. The next group to go were the “souvenir” books. I bought cookbooks at restaurants as I traveled across the country and some were really good. Others, I bought because I loved the meal and really believed I would recreate it at home. Well, not so much. And so, the purging project went.

I finally had whittled it down to one pile of books that I really wanted to go through and spend some time with. I’m so glad I did. There were some great finds. One of the books I saved is “Raising the Salad Bar”, by  Catherine Walthers. I initially bought this book in 2010, after a friend used it more than once, during my week-long visit to her summer home. I admit I was skeptical when I heard it was a salad cookbook, but each salad was more memorable than the last.

Thumbing through this book was like reminiscing with an old friend.  The pictures were beautiful, and the recipes reminded me of a glorious summer on Cape Cod. I love the way Catherine has organized the recipes so that the reader learns to think about salads more openly. Each salad has a dressing attached that brilliantly balances the fat and acid with your fresh greens and grains. Additionally, she has a whole section on dressings.

It has been so hot here in L.A. that I made the Couscous Salad with Lemon-Soaked Grilled Chicken for dinner, last week.  It was perfect! Fresh and lemony with just the right amount of smoky grill flavor. My family loves lemon but with a little sweeter undertone than this recipe originally gave. I added a little brown sugar to the “marinade”. I also added a little bit of chopped mint at the end to add some brightness. And by the way, go for the asiago cheese. It has a similar flavor profile to Parmigiano but with an added smokiness.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and it reminds you to spend some time with old friends and even the new treasures.

Couscous Salad with Lemon-Soaked Grilled Chicken
Print Recipe
Adapted from Catherine Walthers Raising the Salad Bar.
Servings
6 main course
Servings
6 main course
Couscous Salad with Lemon-Soaked Grilled Chicken
Print Recipe
Adapted from Catherine Walthers Raising the Salad Bar.
Servings
6 main course
Servings
6 main course
Ingredients
Chicken
Couscous
Servings: main course
Instructions
Chicken
  1. In a large bowl (I use Ziploc bags) toss chicken with garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, lemon juice and reserved rinds.
  2. Let marinade for at least 2 hours in refrigerator, When ready to use remove from marinade and discard marinade and rinds.
  3. Preheat grill to high heat. Grill chicken for 7 minutes first side. Remember to not move chicken to get a nice caramelized crust. Turn chicken over and cook for 5 more minutes.
Couscous
  1. Cook couscous in chicken broth according to package instructions. Test a little early. You want the couscous to be al dente. Remove from heat and drain. Leave some of the liquid (broth) in the pan and immediately add onions. Cook onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add spinach to pan and toss, lightly, over heat. Add olive oil and toss together. Occasionally toss couscous to cool.
  2. When couscous is cooler, add garlic, parsley, lemon juice and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add salt if needed.
  3. To serve, plate spinach then couscous and top with chicken. Sprinkle asiago cheese over top and a sprinkling of more fresh parsley. Garnish with sliced lemons or lemon zest.
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Red Velvet Redux

Growth comes in so many forms and even when you are not looking. Recently, I overheard women talking about red velvet cake, at the farmer’s market. Okay let’s be honest, I was totally eavesdropping. Anyway, one of them was looking for beets because she wanted to make an authentic, old-fashioned red velvet cake.  I said that my recipe was the best (with food coloring) and we started laughing. She asked for my recipe and I quickly said, “It’s on my blog.”.

I was inspired to make my red velvet cake too. I was in the grocery store and wanted to just confirm that I had all the ingredients. I pulled up my blog, on my phone. Wait, what? All the ingredients are carefully listed and then no directions. Ugh! This was one of my first posts with a new recipe template, and I was learning how to input everything. How many of you came here and couldn’t figure out what the heck I was thinking?

So, in the interest of accuracy, I am reposting the red-velvet cake recipe. I’ve included, in the side notes, for making it with beets, instead of food coloring. In this day and age, it is super important to make the healthy choices that feel good for you and your family.  I hope you enjoy this recipe!


Red Velvet Redux
Print Recipe
Red Velvet Redux
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings:
Instructions
For Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 2 or 3 cake pans with butter, flour and parchment paper.
  2. Beat shortening, until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, then eggs. Stir in food coloring and vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, salt, and cocoa powder in medium bowl. In another bowl combine buttermilk, vinegar and baking soda. Don't be alarmed, it will bubble.
  4. Alternating with buttermilk mixture, add flour mixture to shortening mixture. Beat Well for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  5. Pour into prepared cake [ans and bake for 25 minutes or until tester comes out, almost, clean.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Beat all ingredients together until fluffy. It is easier to spread while still soft. Refrigerate before serving
Recipe Notes

Okay stay with me here this can get a little complicated. Using the ingredient changes noted, on the side, prepare as follows.:

1- Combine beet puree, buttermilk, vinegar, lemon juice and vanilla in food processor, until smooth.

2- Beat together, until fluffy, shortening and butter. Then add eggs, one at a time.

3- Sift dry ingredients together.

4- Alternating with beet mixture, fold flour mixture into butter mixture until all ingredients are well blended.

5- Pour into prepared pans, as above, and bake at 350° for 20 minutes, until tester comes out, almost, clean.

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