New Year, New menu challenges.

The Jewish Holidays are approaching here. Each year I am faced with the challenge of the menu. Of course there are traditional foods that if they weren’t on the menu my friends and family would think I had lost my mind. But as a woman that reads cookbooks like they are novels, I always strive to keep it fresh.

You will always find brisket on my holiday table. It’s a standard and everyone seems to have their own great recipe.It took me quite a while to perfect my brisket and I finally love it.  I also have a chicken dish for those that prefer to not eat red meat. The past few years my chicken dish has been either a citrus honey roasted whole chicken or lemon chicken thighs with a really crispy skin. I love the idea of incorporating traditions into recipes so for Rosh Hashanah I try to work in apples and honey. These recipes always seem to spill over nicely into break fast too.

I came across a recipe for chicken encrusted in horseradish that was really interesting and thought I could make it my own and serve for the New Year. The combination of horseradish, honey and apples is great. Be sure to let the chicken get really dry and to room temperature so that you get that nice crispy skin too.

I also tried a new cake and am passing on my adjusted recipe. Carrot Cake is always a good thing and so is the sweet potato pie my family has been making for years. Since these two ingredients are also traditional fall fare let’s put them together in a new modern Carrot/Sweet Potato Cake. I promise both recipes will be great on your table.

I am actually making these recipes for Rosh Hashanah so no pics yet. I promise to post pics on Sunday. Better yet, send me pictures of your versions.

I wish you and your family a sweet, happy and healthy New Year!

Horseradish Honey Encrusted Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings
4-6 people
Servings
4-6 people
Horseradish Honey Encrusted Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings
4-6 people
Servings
4-6 people
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse chicken and make sure giblets are removed. Dry thoroughly and let it sit at room temperature. The drier it is the crispier the skin. Place on rack in a roasting pan.
  2. Stuff the chicken with lemon, garlic, shallots, dill, parsley, celery and apples. It will be full but shouldn't be tight. You can adjust the amounts evenly to make sure they all fit.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together, the horseradish, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread all over chicken top and bottom. Make sure you get under skin, too.
  4. Tie legs together, to keep everything in. Tuck wings under the body, for more even cooking. Cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Then turn oven up to 450° to crisp skin. Internal temperature should be between 160° and 165° and juices should run clear at the thigh. Remove from oven and tent with foil to rest. The chicken will continue to cook just a little .
  5. Let chicken rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve. Garnish platter with more dill, parsley and lemons.
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Carrot/Sweet Potato Cake
Print Recipe
Servings
16 slices
Servings
16 slices
Carrot/Sweet Potato Cake
Print Recipe
Servings
16 slices
Servings
16 slices
Ingredients
Cake
Glaze
Servings: slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter or oil a large bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand up mixer, cream together, both sugars,, sour cream, oil, orange juice, and vanilla, until fluffy. Mix in sweet potato, then eggs, one at a time. Try to get it as smooth as possible. Fold in carrots.
  4. Gradually add flour until just combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack and cool completely.
  6. While the cake is cooling mix the glaze. Gradually blend confectioners sugar into cream cheese. Add vanilla and then working slowly add milk, until desired consistency.
  7. Pour glaze all over cake and garnish with nuts (if used) or carrot curls.
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

 

Try Something New -Marshmallows!

Ever since I wrote about S’mores, a few weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about marshmallows.

We seem to have them in the house all the time. My younger daughter likes to freeze them and change the texture. I’ve been known to walk by the pantry and pop one in my mouth. And of course, they are standard fare for hot cocoa. We accept any excuse to put them into a recipe. I mean what would Thanksgiving be without sweet potatoes topped with marshmallow.

I was curious where these delicious little puffs come from. They were actually plant-based and used as medicine, by Egyptian royalty, to help with coughs, sore throats and wounds. If children these days knew that, can you imagine the illnesses they could come up with. In the 1800’s they discovered they could use gelatin to get the same fluffy gesture and it would cost less and use less manpower.

There are so many ways we use marshmallows all the time; s’mores, rice crisp treats, fluffernutter sandwiches, toppings for ice cream and yogurt and lots of holiday treats. A couple of years ago I shared with you how to make your own graham crackers and that was a big success. So today I thought we’d make our own marshmallows! I love that you can make a good old-fashioned white (vanilla) marshmallow or with a little creativity you can flavor them with so many fun flavors. I love chocolate or coffee flavoring but you can go to town with whatever your treat calls for or wherever your mind go.

They are actually very easy to make, but because of the setting time, you have to plan ahead. You need at least 8 hours for them to set, and you really need a good candy thermometer. The recipe given is for vanilla marshmallows, and I used two tablespoons of vanilla. If you want a different flavor I would still start with vanilla and add. There is something about the back flavor of vanilla with the gelatin that you need. Instead of 2 tablespoons of vanilla, start with 2 teaspoons and then add your other flavor. I also used honey instead of the tradition al corn syrup.  I love the flavor and feel good about not using corn syrup. You could use maple syrup too, but adjust your flavoring accordingly.

If you want to make these vegetarian or vegan you can sub out the gelatin for agar agar. You can find agar agar powder in the Asian food section of most markets, specialty baking stores or online If you can only find the flakes not the powder that’s okay. Agar agar powder measures exactly the same as gelatin. Agar agar flakes – 1 Tablespoon flakes equals 1 teaspoon powder.

The best part is you can use a kitchen torch and make these toasty just on top or you can skewer them and make traditional scores. Just remember because they are coated in powdered sugar they will caramelize really fat and there is really no way of avoiding the almost burnt marshmallow look.

Homemade Marshmallows
Print Recipe
Servings
20 pieces
Servings
20 pieces
Homemade Marshmallows
Print Recipe
Servings
20 pieces
Servings
20 pieces
Ingredients
Servings: pieces
Instructions
  1. Spray a 9x13 pan, lightly, with nonstick spray. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of that then spray again.
  2. Have all your ingredients measured and ready to go. Pour the 1/4 cup of water in a shallow dish and sprinkle gelatin over stand set aside for 10 minutes. Do not touch it.
  3. Put the sugar, 1/2 cup water and honey in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved and starts to simmer. Using a candy thermometer, cook until 240° F. Keep an eye on it. Meanwhile put the, now dissolved, gelatin in a stand up mixer. Once your sugar mixture reaches temperature, pour it, carefully, over the gelatin in mixer. Beat on low until well combined and not lumpy. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy and tripled in volume (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add the vanilla (and whatever flavoring you are using).Spray a spatula with a little nonstick spray and pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth top with spatula and set aside to set, at least 8 hours. Make sure it is in a cool place, but not refrigerated.
  5. Whisk together confectioners sugar and cornstarch and sift onto a baking sheet of shallow dish. Using a sharp knife cut marshmallows into 1" or 2" cubes. You can also use cookie cutters for different shapes. I would spray a little nonstick spray on them before I start. Lightly dust marshmallows, on all sides, with the confectioners sugar mix.
Recipe Notes

Store marshmallows, divided by parchment paper, in an airtight container. They should keep for about 4 days.

Use a kitchen torch to "toast" marshmallows.

If you want a different flavor I would still start with vanilla and add. There is something about the back flavor of vanilla with the gelatin that you need. Instead of 2 tablespoons of vanilla, start with 2 teaspoons and then add your other flavor. I also used honey instead of the tradition al corn syrup.  I love the flavor and feel good about not using corn syrup. You could use maple syrup too, but adjust your flavoring accordingly.

If you want to make these vegetarian or vegan you can sub out the gelatin for agar agar. You can find agar agar powder in the Asian food section of most markets, specialty baking stores or online If you can only find the flakes not the powder that's okay. Agar agar powder measures exactly the same as gelatin. Agar agar flakes - 1 Tablespoon flakes equals 1 teaspoon powder.

Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

National Waffle Day!

Friday was National Waffle Day. For me waffles always seem to evoke an occasion. Most of us don’t make them at home because you need special equipment. At most restaurants waffles are “dressed up”. They are decorated in layers of whipped cream and strawberries. There are drizzles of caramel or chocolate sauce. My personal favorite is chocolate chips and whipped cream.

My family loves waffles so I did buy a waffle maker and away we went. The batter is slightly different from pancake batter because it has a little more fat in it. Think about those fluffy yet crispy waffles, that’s because of the fat. When we first got it I made waffles often. That waned not too long later because it does take some extra effort to clean. Remember, waffles mean celebration.

When I started writing Cake for Breakfast, I knew I had to honor waffles somehow. Introducing Waffle Cake with Maple Syrup Glaze.  This cake is all the things you love in a waffle and is a stacked cake which means you get more waffle and maple glaze for your fork. My secret flavor is Malted Milk Powder. Its one of those flavors that people can’t pinpoint but makes it tastes sooo good.

I made this cake in my standard waffle maker. It is really better made in a Belgian waffle or larger thicker waffle maker. My layers were a little too thin for a dramatic effect. The flavor and crispy fluffiness is all there, I just think it looks prettier with thick layers and sitting taller. The maple syrup glaze is out of this world! Have you ever had that whipped honey? Well that’s kind of what this is like. I like to make extra and keep the rest to schmear on toast or pound cake.

If you don’t have a large waffle maker, you can make this in cake pans. Use 9″ round pans and be sure line them with parchment and prepare with butter and flour. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek from my book.

Waffle Cake with Maple Syrup Glaze
Print Recipe
Waffle Cake with Maple Syrup Glaze
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Waffles (Cake)
Maple Syrup Glaze
Servings:
Instructions
Waffles
  1. Heat waffle iron. Whisk together flour, milk powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of stand-up mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. On a slow speed add eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla.
  3. Stir together milk and cream. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating with milks. Start and finish with flour.
  4. Scoop batter into waffle maker in batches. Stack cakes as they are done.*
Maple Syrup Glaze
  1. Bring syrup, butter and milk to a boil, over a medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar with a handheld mixer, until smooth (No lumps).
  2. When the glaze has all come together, hand stir in 1-2 Tbs. of additional maple syrup. Pour glaze between layers* of waffles and over top, generously. Drizzle a small amount of maple syrup over top of whole cake.
Recipe Notes

You can make this cake in 2- 9" cake round pans. You will need to line them with parchment paper and then butter and flour them as well.

Make syrup first so that you can drizzle it between layers as you make "waffles".

Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

The Sweet Smell of Success (roses)

I have always wanted to cook with roses. For me, it started with the book “Like Water for Chocolate”, by Lara Esquivel.  Definitely the book, not the movie. The part in the book when the main character is making the Quail in Rose Sauce, in my mind, I could taste every salty tear. I could smell the roses as she plucked the petals. The fragrance getting stronger with each touch of human hands. I imagined the slightly bitter taste that each diner experienced as they bit into their meal.

Ever since, I’ve tried to work with roses. I’ve tried rose-water, rose jelly and even real rose petals. I always seemed to be heavy-handed and believe m, you can have too many roses!

Whenever I have the chance I try rose flavored foods. The flavor, when done right, is so delicate. I love just the hint of floral sweetness. Too much and it can be bitter, or taste like someones perfume. Yuck! Too little and you don’t know it’s there.

I have friends that learned to cook, growing up in Iran. Their ability to balance flavors, seems to be in their DNA. When I studied writing and cooking, in France; I could sense that years of study and apprentice were responsible for their balance.

Recently, while purging my pantry, I came across rose-water and rose jelly. I remembered enthusiastically purchasing them and I was going to use them right then. Ha! The other day I was t my local farmer’s market and overheard a woman buying rose petals to decorate a cake. These all conspired to make me want to try to cook with roses, again. So today I present to you a rose scented Pavlova!

Pavlovas are relatively easy to prepare and I like the wow factor the serving. Because of the color of this recipe it is ideal for Christmas or Valentines Day. It is so good, though, you should serve it today!

Rose Water & Pomegranate Pavlova
Print Recipe
Rose Water & Pomegranate Pavlova
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace a 9" circle on the parchment paper, and turn over so pencil side is down.
  2. In a small bowl mix cornstarch and vinegar until smooth. This helps make the pavlova the perfect blend of crispy and creamy.
  3. Whisk eggs and salt in large CLEAN bowl (You can use a stand up mixer or handheld electric mixer), until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, alternating with vinegar mixture. "Meringue" should be thick, smooth and shiny. Fold in rose water and pomegranate seeds, if using
  4. Mound meringue mixture inside center of circle on parchment. You can do this in layers to get more height. I like to make a well in center and create swirls. This is pretty and will hold the whipped cream and decorations.
  5. Turn oven down to 200° and bake meringue for at least 2 hours. It should be crispy when tapped and have a firm bottom. The bottom should not feel damp or soggy. Turn oven off but leave meringue in, until cool.
  6. While meringue is cooling, make whipped cream. In a cool mixing bowl pour 1 pint heavy whipping cream. Use an electric mixer and start beating, when it starts to bubble and get a little thicker add 2 Tbs. confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  7. To assemble, mound whipped cream in well of meringue. Sprinkle with additional pomegranate seeds and drizzle with pomegranate molasses.
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

 

 

National S’mores Day!

Chewy, creamy, crispy and sweet. Add the word chocolate and I’ve probably given away that I am talking about S’mores. These delectable treats evoke so many great memories. Whether you made s’mores at sleep away camp or even camping with your family, most of us have a story to tell about making s’mores. I’ve always been a traditional girl with Hershey’s, marshmallow and graham crackers. But I’ve heard tell of s’mores made with Reese’s and Rolos!

When my daughters were younger it was such a special treat to make s’mores at home. We even had a special s’mores making burner and dish. As they got older we would make them in the fire place and when it was too hot to have a fire, we’d make a “dip” in a cast iron skillet. I’d layer Hershey bars and marshmallows in my cast iron skillet and let it melt and brown in the oven. Then I’d serve it with graham crackers. Excellent!

So, when I heard that August 10th is S’mores Day, I was all in. The ideas were endless. How about a S’mores pizza with a chewy graham cracker crust, melted chocolate sauce and brûléed marshmallow topping? I thought about making popcorn and dusting it with graham cracker crumbs and tossing in mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. There were even a couple of cookie options, marshmallow stuffed chocolate chip cookies, anyone?

After looking at so many recipes, I decided on Molten S’mores Lava Cakes and Chocolate Kiss Cookies with Graham Flour and Marshmallows. When I was making the cookies, my thought had been to use my kitchen torch to “toast” the marshmallows and melt the Kiss. I ran out of butane, so, had to go to plan B. I turned on the broiler and put the cookies in for minute and a half, for the first batch. They are the nice golden-brown ones pictured. During the second batch, I got on the phone and, we’ll, I got distracted. I got the cookies out before they were totally burnt. But guess what, in, family we always let our marshmallows set on fire anyway. The second batch tasted just like that perfect burnt marshmallow flavor.

The lava cakes were fascinating to me.  When I started my research for recipes, I was surprised to find that it’s not a two-step process, it’s just ingredients. They are also pretty easy to make. There are always lessons to be learned. My ramekins were a little too big; so, the regular size marshmallow I used wasn’t fully covered. I would say to err on the side of too small and just make more. I also think I would use a handful of the mini marshmallows, rather than the regular size. I also cooked them for the full 12 minutes and then cooled for 1 minute. Everyone’s oven is different, but for mine I think I’d bake for 10 minutes then cool for 1 minutes.  You really want a good lava ooze.

Summer is, sadly, winding down. However, you decide to celebrate S’mores day, make a special  summer 2018 memory!

S'mores Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
S'mores Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° Cream together butter and both sugars. Add egg and vanilla until blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Mix dry mixture into butter mixture until a workable dough forms. Scoop 1 inch balls onto a lined cookie sheet and give them a soft pat down.
  3. Bake cookies for 7 minutes until top is golden brown, do not overcook here. Remove from oven and push a marshmallow, sticky side down, into each cookie. Return to oven and bake another minute or two. Remove from oven again and top each marshmallow with a Kiss.
  4. Here is where I would have liked to use my kitchen torch to brown the marshmallow and melt the chocolate. You can do this or put the cookies under the broiler for a moment or two. WATCH THEM, or they will burn.
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Molten S'mores Lava Cakes
Print Recipe
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Molten S'mores Lava Cakes
Print Recipe
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Ingredients
Servings: 6-oz. cakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Butter and lightly flour 4 6-ounce ramekins.
  2. Melt together butter and chocolate. You can do this in a microwave at 15 second intervals, until melted or over a double boiler. Let cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl beat together eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt, until thick and pale yellow.
  4. Temper the egg and chocolate mixtures by first stirring, quickly, a tablespoon or two or egg into chocolate mixture and then a tablespoon or two of chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Then quickly whisk remaining chocolate into egg mixture and add flour until combined.
  5. Place one tbs. of marshmallows in the bottom of each ramekin and then spoon batter, evenly into each dish. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The sides should be firm but the center should still shake a little.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for 1 minute. Carefully, they will be hot, cover each ramekin with a dessert plate and turn over to unfold the cake. Garnish each cake with a rim of graham cracker crumbs. Serve immediately!
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

It’s Watermelon Time!

We are at the peak of watermelon season and I am loving it! My husband buys a large watermelon, almost, every week. Some slices end up in the freezer. They are way better than any sugar filled popsicle (with no yucky food coloring). It’s great because you can walk by and easily grab a few pieces. I also saw online that someone made melon balls and rolled them in red gelatin then froze them. I haven’t tried these but imagine they are similar to frozen grapes. Maybe instead of gelatin you can use a superfine or sanding sugar.

Occasionally, I do run into a too big watermelon and the waste kills me. So this year I have been working on ways to use up watermelon. Some of the great ways I’ve tried include:

Watermelon Bruschetta, I used the slices as my crostini and topped with burrata and whatever fresh herb I had available. The tarragon was a knockout with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and olive oil with a pinch of flaky sea salt.  I made a watermelon gazpacho, inspired by a Tyler Florence recipe, that you an find online. I went with sweeter undertones and used Vidalia onion and White Balsamic Vinegar. I also used tarragon again here instead of dill. I have a lot of tarragon in my garden this summer.

The two standouts for me I share below. One is a Watermelon Sangria and the other is Watermelon Guacamole. The Sangria is SO refreshing and the guacamole is surprising.  I love the texture that watermelon brings. It’s crispy like jicama and adds a sweetness too. The Cotija cheese sprinkles on top add the perfect saltiness, too.

Please let me know how you like, your successes and failures.  Enjoy!

Watermelon Sangria
Print Recipe
Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Watermelon Sangria
Print Recipe
Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Ingredients
Servings: 5 oz. glasses
Instructions
  1. Blend first watermelon until smooth and strain into a large pitcher.
  2. Pour in all alcohol and stir well. Add in all fruit and chill for at least 4 hours so all flavors meld. You can our a splash of sparkling water or wine over the of each glass when serving.
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Watermelon Guacamole
Print Recipe
Watermelon Guacamole
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Before I go to deep into this recipe, let me tell you I often use store bought Pico de Gallo in place of the cilantro & jalapeño and onion. It's up to you because of the tomato, but it works just fine. Then you can just adjust your salt & pepper.
  2. Cut avocado in half and remove seed. Scoop the flesh into medium bowl, Smash with a fork until desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky.
  3. Add the onion, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice and stir well. Fold in watermelon and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper. Garnish with feta. Serve with tortilla chips.
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

 

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!
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

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.
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

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.
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

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.

Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
%d bloggers like this: