Waste Not Want Not

There is a movement happening in the food world and beyond. We are all looking at waste and how to prevent it. James Beard House has put out a book called, Waste Not. Websites such as The Feed Feed and Food 52 have posted articles and recipes and magazines like Cooking Light and Food & Wine have also featured articles on food waste prevention. Kitchens for Good is even hosting an event directed at using “waste and scraps”.

Many years ago my sister was at my house and I mentioned that I had nothing in the house to eat. She replied that she could live in my house a month with what I had in my house! A self-challenge was born. At least once a week I try to do a “clean out” of my refrigerator and pantry. I like to challenge myself to make meals using just those ingredients. A few weeks ago I made a great “Pantry Pasta”. I had two half full boxes of pasta and a half a jar of sun-dried tomatoes, in oil, and some hard salami, my husband got in a gift basket. I always have fresh vegetables (and frozen) and I have fresh herbs in my garden. I keep good butter, olive oil and parmesan cheese in the house too. Voila, great pasta! I am fortunate that I have a great garden and have a bounty of lettuce and cucumbers so a salad is an easy addition.

This past week was July 4th and so I had a lot of leftovers in the house. The challenge was easier in the respect that I had a lot to work with; but harder because I wanted to use specific recipes, with said leftovers. Our meal was eclectic but delicious. My husband had picked up the Street Taco package at Costco. It was great and the chicken had a little smoky flavor, like it was fresh from the street grill. I recommend trying it the next time you are there. It’s also great to buy and keep in the house for unexpected guest or a last minute appetizer or dinner.

In addition to the tacos, I had been to the farmers market and kept my carrot tops on, so I made a delicious carrot top pesto, based on a recipe from Chalkboard Magazine, served over more half boxes of pasta. I am testing a salad recipe, which I can’t share yet, so we had that. We had a ton of fruit so I made a version of a Deb Perelman’s Strawberry Summer Sheet Cake.

What I love about all these recipes is that you can really change them up to fit what you have in your home.  Add more fruit, use different fruit. If you don’t have carrot tops use whatever herbs you have or even a green like arugula. If you don’t have pasta serve the pesto over chicken or steak. You can even make it thick and serve on crostini. Get creative with what you have in your home already.

You know I love to hear from you. Let me know what you are “not wasting”!

Carrot Top Pesto
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Carrot Top Pesto
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients down to olive oil, in a food processor or Vitaminmix™. Turn on processor and blend until chopped fine and coming together as a paste. Use a spatula to scrape down sides, occasionally.
  2. Once you have desired consistency, from chunky to smooth, turn processor back on and slowly drizzle in olive oil until you have thickness you desire. More liquid for a sauce, more paste if for crostini. Add salt & pepper to taste. Blend slightly. Adjust for taste and maybe add more lemon juice, If needed.
  3. Toss with hot pasta. Spread over toasted crostini also topped with ricotta, Serve as a dip for veggies and crackers.
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Summer Fruit Sheet Cake
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Servings
24 2 inch pieces
Servings
24 2 inch pieces
Summer Fruit Sheet Cake
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Servings
24 2 inch pieces
Servings
24 2 inch pieces
Ingredients
Servings: 2 inch pieces
Instructions
  1. Wash fruit. Hull and halve strawberries. Make sure stems are off of blueberries. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 9x13 pan with non-stick spray and then line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand up mixer, fitted with paddle, cream together butter, salt and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg, additional yolk and vanilla and continue beating until well combined. Add milk and continue mixing. Sprinkle baking powder evenly over the top of batter and mix in thoroughly. Scrape down sides of bowl and slowly add flour, until just combined.
  3. Spread batter evenly in pan. Arrange strawberry halves, cut side down on top of batter. Fit as many as you can ad press into batter. Toss blueberries with extra flour and sprinkle on top of batter. Press into areas left open between strawberries. Sprinkle with extra 3 Tbs. of sugar, use it all.
  4. Bake until golden brown and cake tester inserted comes out with just crumbs. About 45 - 50 minutes. Let cool in pan. Cut into even squares and serve. You can serve it with whipped cream or ice cream.
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Brownie Bark!

Brownie Bark!
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Brownie Bark!
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 325°. Generously butter an 18x13 rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Melt the butter in microwave or on stovetop.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, cocoa, vanilla and salt. Pour the melted butter over the mixture and stir until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously until batter is thick, shiny and smooth. I like to use a heavy wooden spoon. Stir in the flour until well blended then beat vigorously, another 30-40 strokes
  4. Spread batter evenly onto baking sheet in thin, even layer. Push it all the way to the corners. It will seem too thin but the batter will rise. Add your toppings, pressing in firmly. I used about 1/2 cup peanut butter and swirled it through the batter and then pressing lightly with wet hands. I also used mini marshmallows and walnuts for a rocky road as well as dried cherries and almonds. You can get as creative as you want. This is a great activity for a kids or teens party.
  5. Bake until firm to the touch and tester comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely then cut into pieces and serve. I did one batch and divided it into thirds to try different toppings. Have fun!
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Ahhh… Fresh Bay Leaves.

I recently came across a small blurb about buying fresh bay leaves from a French purveyor. It caught my eye because the photo made it appear that you could tie some kitchen twine around the stems and hang this aromatic in your kitchen. I wanted to learn more about this ubiquitous herb, that I use but don’t much about. Here’s what I learned.

Apparently there is “good” bay laurel from Turkey and Central America and then there is the bay laurel from California. The California version is more minty, a little oilier and can be bitter. If you are allergic to bay leaves, or have had allergic like symptoms, it is the California version. Bay Leaves are native to the Mediterranean and have a natural oil that has a similar nose to eucalyptus or clove but a lot more mellow. When you do start to cook with either the fresh or dried versions, remember you don’t need much to reap all the benefits.

Typically, bay leaves are used in vegetarian stocks, brines, and longer cooking dishes like soups and stews. I was intrigued with the idea of adding them to your coals for barbecue like you mesquite wood chips. You can also light a couple on fire and toss them into a covered dish, right before serving, to impart a smoky, aromatic flavor. Bay leaves pair well with anise, lemon, onion, oregano and white pepper. As a matter of fact you can grind dried bay leaves with any of these and make your own spice blend. Stay tuned. When I try this I will let you know.

Fresh bay leaves are usually available in the produce section of your local market or can be found at your farmer’s market. I even found a link to buy them from Amazon, of course. When buying fresh make sure they are Laurel.

Here’s a couple of fun facts about bay leaves. They are a good source of magnesium, potassium, calcium, Vitamin A, C and iron. They are great for digestion and are a natural anti-inflammatory. Food with benefits.  I love it!

Here are a few recipes that use bay leaves in a more forward way.

Bay Leaf Roasted Chicken
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Bay Leaf Roasted Chicken
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375° Remove giblets and such from cavity of bird and discard. Rinse inside cavity and let dry completely.
  2. Loosen skin on breasts and legs with fingers. Rub salt and pepper all over the chicken and under skin on breasts and legs. Arrange 3 bay leaves under the skin on one breasts, in a decorative design. Repeat on other side and under the skin of legs. Place remaining leaves in cavity of chicken.
  3. Tie legs with twine and tuck wings under chicken. Arrange celery, carrots and onions in roasting pan in a single layer so that chicken can roast on them.
  4. Place chicken breasts side down on vegetables and bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Turn chicken breasts side up. Increase heat to 450° and cook for 25 minutes longer. Watch that chicken doesn't burn. Check internal temperature to 170°.
  5. Remove chicken to cutting board and let stand for 15 minutes before carving. You can serve chicken with the carrots and onions or discard all vegetables. I think this chicken will be juicy and flavorful without a gravy. However, if you want a gravy; bring pan drippings to a simmer in a saucepan. Make a slurry of 2Tbs. flour and 3 Tbs. water. Stir slurry into simmering drippings until clear and thickened.
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Braised Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Bay Leaves
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A fresh way to prepare potatoes. Adapted from a Food & Wine recipe.
Braised Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Bay Leaves
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A fresh way to prepare potatoes. Adapted from a Food & Wine recipe.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In an enameled cast iron pot or large saucepan, arrange potatoes in a single layer and pour chicken broth over. place bay leaves, garlic and olive oil also in pot. Before covering, give a good sprinkle of salt.
  2. Cover and cook over a low heat until potatoes are tender. This really depends on size of potato, but think 30-40 minutes. Check occasionally on broth. You can add more if needed.
  3. When cooked tender place in a serving bowl and give another sprinkle of salt. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

One great thing about this really flavorful potato dish is leftovers. I made a potato salad the next day by simply adding some dijon mustard and a little celery for some crunch.  Wow! it was great.

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You can serve these together. I think the bay leaf flavors show up very differently. But you can also dip your toe in slowly with one or the other. As always please let me know what you think of these recipes or how you are using bay leaves other than in soups and stews.

Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake

I had never had it, Blum’s Crunch Coffee Cake, but it appeared in my feed in December 2017 and then appeared in Sunset Magazine in December 2018. What is this cake that everyone seems to craving?

Blum’s was a pastry shop located in the Bay Area. Most notably its flagship was situated in Union Square, in the days when a shopping trip was special. It usually meant getting dressed up and was finished with a treat in the form of a special luncheon place.

Blum’s started as candy shop and was passed down through a couple of generations until Jack Levy was at the helm. He realized that they were selling “the same old candy” they had for decades. He challenged his candy makers to make a new candy every day to find “the next great thing.”. One day a candy maker over boiled what was to be a soft coffee candy, like a taffy, and it was too hard. Rather than throw it away, the baker crushed the “useless” candy and used it to decorate a chiffon cake. An icon was born!

Since then people have been clamoring to get the recipe; the flavor and textures evoke memories for so many. Martha Stewart published a well respected version on her website and Valerie Gordon, of Valerie’s Confections, has a very popular  version on her menus in Los Angeles.

As I said above, I have never had the cake. Here is my adapted version of a recipe that was published on Tasting Table in December 2017.

I made a few adjustments, with all respect, to the recipe.

1- I didn’t have Cream of Tartar, so I added 1 Tbs. vinegar instead.

2-While I did use light corn syrup, in this recipe. I prefer not to. An easy substitution is dissolve 1 1/2 cups sugar in 1/4 cup hot water. and then measure out what you need accordingly. Please remember this is now almost 4 cups of sugar in just the candy. You can also use Lyle’s Golden Syrup (Treacle). I found it on Amazon very easily.

3- When preparing your pan, I suggest make an elevated rim with parchment paper. The cake batter rises quite nicely and this will help keep that height.

4- Once you pour the batter into your prepared pan, gently run a sharp knife through it to remove any large air pockets.

5- When making the candy, if you have them wear oven mitts. The mixture gets quite hot. Remember the temperatures in the recipe matter.

I hope it brings back great memories for you. Please share your comments below when you make it!

Coffee Crunch Cake (adapted from Blum's)
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Servings
10 servings
Servings
10 servings
Coffee Crunch Cake (adapted from Blum's)
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Servings
10 servings
Servings
10 servings
Ingredients
Chiffon Cake
Coffee Crunch
Coffee Whipped Cream
Servings: servings
Instructions
Chiffon Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and position rack in middle of oven. Prepare a 9" springform pan with nonstick baking spray. Cut a 3" wide strip, long enough to go around pan. Tape it on the side away from cake.
  2. Sift together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand up mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the yolks and 1/4 cup sugar until thick and pale yellow. Add in the water, oil and vanilla and mix well. If you don't have an extra bowl and whisk for mixer, transfer the yolk mixture to another bowl and clean well the bowl and whisk.
  3. Back in the stand up mixer, clean bowl, start beating egg whites. When just frothy , add vinegar to enhance volume and beat until soft peaks. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff shiny peaks form. Add lemon zest and lemon juice and beat briefly until just combined.
  4. Use a rubber spatula and stir about a 1/4 cup of egg whites in to yolk mixture. Then fold yolk mixture into remaining egg whites. Gradually fold dry ingredients into egg mixture, in thirds, until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan rimmed with parchment paper. Draw a knife, gently, through the batter to release air bubbles. Bake for 55 minutes to an hour until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool completely on cooling rack, at least 45 minutes. Do not skip this step or the cake may tear or deflate. Run a knife between the sides of the cake and pan, then release springform pan. Run a knife between cake and bottom and wrap cake in plastic wrap, until ready to to assemble.
Coffee Crunch
  1. Heavily coat a 13x18 rimmed cookie sheet with non-stick spray and set aside. Measure the baking soda into small dish and set by stove with a whisk.
  2. Using an accurate candy thermometer, add sugar, coffee and corn syrup to a heavy 6 quart pot and cook over a medium heat, (I recommend wearing oven mitts. It will get very hot.) stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula until the thermometer reaches 270°. The temperatures are important for the candy to have the correct texture. This can take up to 10 minutes.
  3. When the candy thermometer reaches 270°, increase to high heat and stir constantly until the temperature reaches 305°. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the baking soda. The candy will start to expand and get airy very fast. Watch closely, when it starts to fill light and the color lightens up, pour it , as evenly as possible, onto baking sheet. Allow the candy to cool completely for 30 minutes. Do not to touch it.
  4. I used a rolling pin to chop up the candy into quarter sized pieces. You can also put it on a cutting board and use a heavy knife to cut it. The candy can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time and stored in an airtight jar. It would never last that long in my house.
Coffee Whipped Cream
  1. In a large mixing bowl whip to a medium peak the cold heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and coffee. Hold in refrigerator until ready to use.
To Assemble Cake
  1. Place the cake on a turn table or cake stand and cut in half horizontally in half. Cover the bottom half with 1/3 of the whipped cream and sprinkle about 1 cup of the candy crunch on top. Place the other half of cake on top and slather remaining whipped cream all over top and sides of cake. Gently press crunch candy all over the top and sides of cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. You can make the cake a day or two ahead of time. If this is the case don't add candy to top and sides until just ready to serve, or it will start to melt and not be as crunchy.
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Babka, the Trendy “New” Dessert

I could barely write that title without laughing. You see Babka has been around at least as long as I can remember and really even longer. Jewish housewives started making it, in the 1800’s, with extra challah dough. It wasn’t the chocolate cinnamon version we know today. It was usually filled with jam or fruit and topped with some kind of streusel. Chocolate Babka hit the scene in the 1800’s and mostly here in America, not so much the “old country”.

When I was growing up, it was one those desserts that was always out on Friday night, Saturday lunch and Sunday dinners. It was easy to bring to somebody’s house and I’m sure my mom ate her share with a cup of coffee while playing bridge and gossiping. As a kid it was a take it or leave it dessert. If there was nothing else on the table then I would take a slice or not.

When babka was first made in Russia and Eastern Europe, it was usually a Pareve, or neutral, dish. This was for the kosher home and meant it could be served with milk or meat dishes because it was made mostly with water and oil. This made for a little bit of a drier cake. Once in America, bakeries started adding butter for a moister, richer cake with a brioche like density.

I knew Babka was having its moment in 2016 when Trader Joes started selling it. It seems only natural that I would share a recipe now. This is one of those that are not super hard to make but will make great impression. You may even bring back some memories and tears for your older friends and family.

As are all my recipes, this Babka recipe is a compilation of lots of recipes. However, I want to give specific credit for technique to Paula Shoyer, http://thekosherbaker.com . in addition to twisting the babka, she opens it before twisting which really allows the flavors to meld together beautifully. Each bite has a little bit of all the flavors.

Double Chocolate Brown Sugar Babka
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Servings
2 loaves
Servings
2 loaves
Double Chocolate Brown Sugar Babka
Print Recipe
Servings
2 loaves
Servings
2 loaves
Ingredients
Dough
Filling
Streusel Topping
Servings: loaves
Instructions
  1. Pour yeast into warmed (110°) milk, let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Meanwhile cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg yolks, until well blended. Whisk together flour and salt.
  2. Give the yeast mixture a quick stir and pour into egg mixture. Slowly start adding flour/salt mixture into yeast/egg mixture until dough starts to form. I reserve about 1/4 cup of the flour mix. You want the dough to be soft.
  3. Use some of the reserved flour and turn soft dough out onto floured board. Knead slightly and add flour if necessary. Place kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for at least an hour until doubled in size.
Filling
  1. While dough is rising you can make your fillings and streusel. Melt together dark chocolate and oil. Set aside. I like to make the milk chocolate filling in a food processor. Make sure your butter is very cold. Pulse milk chocolate and butter in processor until small pea-sized pieces. Put back in refrigerator until ready to use.
Streusel
  1. Using the same processor, pulse together brown sugar, flour, and cold butter. It should be very crumbly. Put in refrigerator until ready to use.
Putting it All Together
  1. Cut a piece of parchment to a little bigger than 14"x18". Place it on cutting board and lightly flour it. Roll out your dough almost to the edges, in a rectangle.
  2. Using a pastry brush, spread the melted dark chocolate all over the dough, edge to edge. Then sprinkle the milk chocolate all over the dough. Try to get edge to edge here too.
  3. Using the parchment paper as a guide, start rolling the dough on the long side. Press as you go to keep the roll tight. pinch the ends closed and wrap in parchment. Place in refrigerator for 5 minutes to firm up. While dough is refrigerator line bottom of 2 loaf pans (9X5) with parchment paper, then spray whole pan with non-stick spray.
  4. Take roll out of refrigerator and remove from paper. Cut in half. Take each half and, making sure the seam side is down, cut the rolls in half length wise, leaving one end in tact. Essentially you are "opening" them.
  5. With cut sides up, start twisting pieces over each other, keep the open side up. Tuck other end under and place in loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise another hour. You should have 2 twisted loaves.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together reserved egg white and 2 Tbs. milk. Once dough has risen, brush tops with egg wash and gently press streusel topping into dough.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Here's the trick, if it looks just slightly golden brown but not quite done, it's ok. It will continue to cook in pan and you DON'T want to overcook it or It will be dry.
  8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack. You can serve it warm or it is certainly good at room temperature.
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Double Chocolate Brown Sugar Babka

Double Chocolate Brown Sugar Babka

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Servings
2 loaves

Servings
2 loaves

Double Chocolate Brown Sugar Babka

Print Recipe

Servings
2 loaves

Servings
2 loaves

Ingredients
Dough

Filling

Streusel Topping


Servings: loaves

Instructions
  1. Pour yeast into warmed (110°) milk, let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
    Meanwhile cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg yolks, until well blended.
    Whisk together flour and salt.

  2. Give the yeast mixture a quick stir and pour into egg mixture. Slowly start adding flour/salt mixture into yeast/egg mixture until dough starts to form. I reserve about 1/4 cup of the flour mix.
    You want the dough to be soft.

  3. Use some of the reserved flour and turn soft dough out onto floured board. Knead slightly and add flour if necessary. Place kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for at least an hour until doubled in size.

Filling
  1. While dough is rising you can make your fillings and streusel.
    Melt together dark chocolate and oil. Set aside.
    I like to make the milk chocolate filling in a food processor. Make sure your butter is very cold. Pulse milk chocolate and butter in processor until small pea-sized pieces. Put back in refrigerator until ready to use.

Streusel
  1. Using the same processor, pulse together brown sugar, flour, and cold butter. It should be very crumbly. Put in refrigerator until ready to use.

Putting it All Together
  1. Cut a piece of parchment to a little bigger than 14"x18". Place it on cutting board and lightly flour it. Roll out your dough almost to the edges, in a rectangle.

  2. Using a pastry brush, spread the melted dark chocolate all over the dough, edge to edge.
    Then sprinkle the milk chocolate all over the dough. Try to get edge to edge here too.

  3. Using the parchment paper as a guide, start rolling the dough on the long side. Press as you go to keep the roll tight.
    pinch the ends closed and wrap in parchment. Place in refrigerator for 5 minutes to firm up.
    While dough is refrigerator line bottom of 2 loaf pans (9X5) with parchment paper, then spray whole pan with non-stick spray.

  4. Take roll out of refrigerator and remove from paper. Cut in half.
    Take each half and, making sure the seam side is down, cut the rolls in half length wise, leaving one end in tact. Essentially you are "opening" them.

  5. With cut sides up, start twisting pieces over each other, keep the open side up. Tuck other end under and place in loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise another hour. You should have 2 twisted loaves.

  6. Preheat oven to 350°.
    Whisk together reserved egg white and 2 Tbs. milk.
    Once dough has risen, brush tops with egg wash and gently press streusel topping into dough.

  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Here's the trick, if it looks just slightly golden brown but not quite done, it's ok. It will continue to cook in pan and you DON'T want to overcook it or It will be dry.

  8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack. You can serve it warm or it is certainly good at room temperature.

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Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot

There is nothing better on a cold night than good old-fashioned Chicken in a Pot. That is unless it’s Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot. I made this last weekend and it was delicious. It comes from her Everyday Dorie, the Way I cook, cookbook. Like any recipe I made a few adjustments as I was shopping and cooking. For the most part, though, I stayed true to the original.

This is not a “Lemon” chicken and the fennel does not taste like licorice. All the flavors meld together to make the perfect balance of sweet, tart and savory. Dorie does recommend and I concur to have good crusty bread for sopping up all the good juices. This recipe is going into my regular rotation and I hope you enjoy it too.

Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot
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I adapted this from Dorie Greenspan. Just as she says in her book, Everyday Dorie, this recipe comes together quickly and is delicious!
Servings
4
Servings
4
Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot
Print Recipe
I adapted this from Dorie Greenspan. Just as she says in her book, Everyday Dorie, this recipe comes together quickly and is delicious!
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Take chicken out of refrigerator and let sit out while preheating oven to 450° and preparing the other ingredients.
  2. Trim the stalks and fronds and cut off the bottom of the fennel bulb. Remove the outer layer leaves. They can be tough. Cut the remaining into 6 - 8 wedges. Toss into a Dutch oven.
  3. Cut one lemon in half and the other into 8 wedges. Reserve one half and toss the wedges and other half in the pot. Peel and trim the shallots and then cut in to wedges. Toss into pot. Put the garlic halves in the pot.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, honey, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and toss until everything is well coated.. Make a well in the center of the vegetables.
  5. Make sure the chicken is really dry with paper towels. Season the inside and outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice from the reserved half lemon all over the the outside of the chicken then put in the cavity. Put the reserved fronds and stalks and 2 of the thyme sprigs in the cavity, also. Rub the 2 Tbs. olive oil all over the outside of the chicken.
  6. Nestle the chicken down in the well of the vegetables. Pour the chicken broth over the chicken and vegetables and give a quick stir to get the broth all around the vegetables. Toss in the 2 other thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  7. Cover the pot and cook for 90 minutes. Do not peek. At 90 minutes you can take the lid off and place under broiler for maybe another 5 minutes to brown the top.
  8. You can serve this straight from the pot, but I like putting in a shallow bowl/platter. That way its cut and easy to grab and the vegetables and broth are right there for the dipping. Make sure you have good crusty bread. Either way, serve immediately, very hot.
  9. I wish I had a picture of the final product. Thats what happens when its that good. We all dove in and it was gone. Maybe next time. LOL
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Pimento Cheese Crackers

Pimento Cheese Crackers

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Servings
10 dozen

Servings
10 dozen

Pimento Cheese Crackers

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Servings
10 dozen

Servings
10 dozen

Ingredients


Servings: dozen

Instructions
  1. Place the cheese, flour, salt and cayenne in a food processor, and pulse, just enough to combine.

  2. Add the pimentos and pulse until mixture is orange. It is important to not over pulse. With processor on low, slowly add chilled butter pieces. Quickly turn processor off and just pulse until dough is pea sized. Add in iced water and pulse just until dough starts to come together, when squeezed in your hand.

  3. Transfer dough to a work surface that has been lightly floured and lightly flour your hands. Form into a tightly packed 2" diameter log. At this point you can sprinkle sesame seeds on surface and roll the log in them or you can press the seeds into the log. I found that a combination of both worked well.

  4. Wrap the log (or logs, I had extra dough) in wax paper or parchment and chill for at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days, before slicing.

  5. Preheat oven to 350° and place rack in middle of oven. Using a sharp knife, slice dough into thin rounds, I tried to get 1/8" -1/4".
    Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and place cracker dough about an inch part. Prick each cracker a few times so they don't puff up.
    Bake for 20-25 minutes (adjust for your oven). I rotate my pans about halfway through.

  6. You probably will have to do multiple pans.
    Let crackers cool on pan and use a fresh sheet of parchment paper and repeat.
    Remember the crackers will crisp up while cooling.

Recipe Notes

Thank you readers for letting me know that I didn't put the pimentos in the ingredient list.  Here is the updated recipe.

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Ready for 2019!

Happy New Year! I’ve been absent for awhile and let me just say “The last half 2018 is not a time I will look back on fondly.” But onward and upward!

2019 will be very exciting . I truly believe that my book, CAKE FOR BREAKFAST will be sold. I am also hoping to be making more personal appearances and teaching more classes. I promise to be more consistent here, on this blog, so please invite your friends to subscribe. I also encourage you to interact with me. Please send me your comments and suggestions. What do you want to see or learn here?

So here we go…

I always preach to read your recipe all the way through before you start cooking.That way you will have all your equipment and ingredients out and ready to go. I always do this. That doesn’t mean that the most seasoned of cooks/chefs can make a mistake. I recently made Pimento Cheese Crackers, from Bon Appetit magazine, and the recipe said “line baking sheet with parchment paper.”. I’m so clever that I decided to use my silpats. Because of the amount of fat in the recipe, the silpats did not allow the crackers to crisp up. Lesson learned!

Let me tell you a little about pimento cheese, or as some call it “southern peanut butter”, “pate of the south”. Well the south has definitely claimed pimento cheese as it’s own, but it actually started in New York! Pimento Cheese is actually the result of food culture starting to extend beyond state and international borders. This gave us the opportunity to have pimiento from Spain and Cream Cheese from Philly by way of New York.

The South was smart and claimed Pimento Cheese as its own and mainstreamed the recipe. I’ve seen a lot of recipes for Pimento Cheese but the most common reads something like:

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated, a 4 ounce jar of pimentos, chopped, a couple of garlic cloves, minced, plenty of fresh ground pepper, a dash of salt and enough mayo (3Tbs) to form a stiff, chunky paste.

The Pimento Cheese  could be stored in a jar in the refrigerator of rolled in a tube shape and wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge.  You could almost just use this mixture and a little flour to make the crackers. I haven’t tried that yet, so I don’t recommend it.  This incarnation is best served on some good white bread as a sandwich.

You’ve probably heard of cheese straws and these pimento cheese crackers are similar. They are more cracker than shortbread though. You can add more cayenne if you want a little more heat. My other piece of advice is to know your oven well, before you bake. My oven takes along time to reach proper heat and I keep an oven thermometer in it to check temp. The cookies continue to cook and crisp up after they are out of the oven, so do not overcook.

Well happy New Year and I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Pimento Cheese Crackers
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Servings
10 dozen
Servings
10 dozen
Pimento Cheese Crackers
Print Recipe
Servings
10 dozen
Servings
10 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. Place the cheese, flour, salt and cayenne in a food processor, and pulse, just enough to combine.
  2. Add the pimentos and pulse until mixture is orange. It is important to not over pulse. With processor on low, slowly add chilled butter pieces. Quickly turn processor off and just pulse until dough is pea sized. Add in iced water and pulse just until dough starts to come together, when squeezed in your hand.
  3. Transfer dough to a work surface that has been lightly floured and lightly flour your hands. Form into a tightly packed 2" diameter log. At this point you can sprinkle sesame seeds on surface and roll the log in them or you can press the seeds into the log. I found that a combination of both worked well.
  4. Wrap the log (or logs, I had extra dough) in wax paper or parchment and chill for at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days, before slicing.
  5. Preheat oven to 350° and place rack in middle of oven. Using a sharp knife, slice dough into thin rounds, I tried to get 1/8" -1/4". Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and place cracker dough about an inch part. Prick each cracker a few times so they don't puff up. Bake for 20-25 minutes (adjust for your oven). I rotate my pans about halfway through.
  6. You probably will have to do multiple pans. Let crackers cool on pan and use a fresh sheet of parchment paper and repeat. Remember the crackers will crisp up while cooling.
Recipe Notes

Thank you readers for letting me know that I didn't put the pimentos in the ingredient list.  Here is the updated recipe.

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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
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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.
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Carrot/Sweet Potato Cake
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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.
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