Friday, December 30, 2011

Green Goddess Dressing

This home-made salad dressing DOES NOT taste a bit like anything you can buy in a shop.  It is fantastic on a mixed green salad but if you are also having fish, it makes a good sauce for this as well.  For some reason, I find it goes really well with fish. Try a dollup of this on top of fresh grilled or pan-fried salmon.  You will be surprised.

I use a magic bullet.  You can also use a food processor or blender or even mix it in a bowl.  Let it stand in the refrigerator for a few hours at least.


1 3/4 cup Mayonnaise - I use Best Foods or Hellmans as it is a kosher brand.  Any non-sweet mayo will do
1/4    cup sour cream (or non-dairy sour cream substitute)
3-6    Anchovy fillets, mashed or put through a garlic press (this is how I do it)
1-2    cloves garlic, put through a garlic press or minced and mashed
3       Tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves (or 1-1/2 dried tarragon soaked in a bit of vinegar)
2       Tablespoons minced fresh chives or spring onions (scallions)
1       Tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1/8    cup vinegar (red wine)


Combine all ingredients in a jar (or magic bullet, food processor or blender) and mix thoroughly.  Should stay fresh for and delicious for several days if covered well and stored in the refrigerator.

Makes 2 Cups - this recipe can be halved. 

k (D) or Pareve if you can find a suitable non-dairy sour cream substitute

Chocolate Mousse Pie

Most chocolate mousse recipes contain raw egg.  This recipe contains no egg at all.  It is easy, fail-proof if you follow the easy directions, and will feed many as it is very rich.  Enjoy!


    21 chocolate cookies such as chocolate graham cracker-type cookies
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, (or margarine) cut into pieces, room temperature


    12 ounces dark chili chocolate or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract or use half tsp. vanilla extract and half tsp. almond extract
    Pinch of salt
    3 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream – Divided.
    1/4 cup sugar

    Chocolate shavings (optional) but really, very pretty!
    Mint leaves, washed and dried
    Assorted berries


For Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with baking paper (parchment paper) and then butter or oil lightly. Finely grind cookies in processor or put them in a plastic bag and beat them to small crumbs with a rolling pin or wine bottle. Add butter and process until mixture is evenly moistened. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared pan to form thin crust. Bake crust 5 minutes. Transfer crust to rack and cool completely.

For Mousse:
Combine chocolate, vanilla/almond extract and salt in processor or blender.

Bring 1 cup cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. With processor running,  gradually pour hot cream through feed tube and process until chocolate is melted and smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Beat 2 cups cream and sugar in large bowl to stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture. Pour mousse into prepared crust. Chill until set, about 6 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)

Beat remaining 3/4 cup cream in medium bowl to firm peaks. Transfer to pastry bag fitted with medium star tip. Pipe rosettes of cream around edge of cake. Garnish with chocolate shavings, mint leaves and optional fruit.

Remove pie from refrigerator and using a thin knife, run this around the edges of the spring form pan and crust.  Gently unlock the hinged side and removed the spring form pan.  Using a cake knife, dipped in hot water, cut the chocolate mousse pie and remove using a cake server - decorate plated pieces with remaining whipped cream and optional garnish. (Don't forget you have parchment paper under the bottom crust!)
K (D)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chopped Liver - better than Paté!

Most people I speak to have a preference in how they like chopped liver.  Many like it chunky.  I prefer it smooth.  Some must have it on rye bread.  Others preer to spread it on crackers or matzah.  It looks fancy if put into a mold after grinding but is just as delicious (and easy) to use any bowl you have that will be attractive.  Enjoy!


    2 pounds chicken livers –  see below for kashering instructions*
    1 cup rendered chicken fat  (schmaltz)
    2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 onions)
    1/3 cup Madeira wine
    4 extra-large eggs, hard-cooked, peeled, and chunked (so you can 'check' them)
    1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
    2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Pinch cayenne pepper
    2 tablespoons chopped capers, optional (but yummy!)

Drain the livers and saute them in 2 batches in 2 tablespoons of the chicken fat over medium-high heat, turning once, for about 5 minutes, or until just barely pink inside.
Don't overcook the livers or they will be dry. Transfer them to a large bowl.
In the same pan, saute the onions in 3 tablespoons of the chicken fat over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until browned. Add the Madeira and deglaze the pan, scraping the sides, for about 15 seconds. Pour into the bowl with the livers.

Add the eggs, parsley, thyme, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and the remaining chicken fat to the bowl. Toss quickly to combine. Transfer half the mixture to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade until coarsely chopped - which is traditional, or if you are like me, I grind the mixture until it has a smooth texture – more like a paté. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Season to taste and serve well-chilled sprinkled with chopped capers and a sprig of herbs to decorate.

K (F)

*Important - liver MUST be kashered before use.  Chicken livers or livers of other species of fowl can be broiled whole without cutting the surface. Follow the instructions of your Rabbi or see the following link for instructionsKashering Chicken Livers

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Spinach Salad in Parmesean Frico Cups

This is a both a pretty and a delicious salad - refreshing and very easy to serve.  Kids especially love it as they enjoy the parmesean cups being part of the salad as well as the little salad bowl.  The salad dressing can be made early in the morning and taken out about 10 minutes before serving as the olive oil will partially solidify in the refrigerator.

You can make the parmesean frico cups the day before if you have a cool, dry place in which to keep them so they do not pick up moisture.

The toasted nuts add a wonderful dimension to the salad.  If you are not a nut eater, then fried chinese-style noodles can be used and are quite good as well.  Tiny homemade croutons can be added if you have some leftover bread.  Be sure and make them small so the size will be in proportion to the little salads.

For the Parmesan Frico Cups:
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan 

For the Citrus Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  One small clove of garlic,crushed (optional - but wonderful!)
For the Spinach Salad:
  • 6 ounces baby English spinach leaves (about 6 cups)
  • 1 orange, cut into segments (I use fresh mandarins)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted ( I use toasted pecans - walnuts are nice too)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (the flatter-shaped red onion 'seem' milder and I use these)
  • Special equipment: a silpat mat, a muffin tin, and a small drinking glass
  • (I hear that some less-expensive silicone baking mats work well - I have not tried this)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the Parmesan Frico Cups:
Place a silpat mat on a baking sheet. Place 6 (1/4-cup) mounds of Parmesan cheese on the mat and gently tap down until each mound is flat and 4 1/2 to 5 inches in diameter.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Watch carefully as they can go from perfect to a bit too brown quickly.

Working quickly, use a thin spatula to transfer the Parmesan Frico to a muffin tin. Gently place a small drinking glass on top of the Parmesan Frico to mold it into the shape 1 of the muffin cups. Let cool until firm, about 5 minutes. Continue with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

For the Citrus Vinaigrette:
Combine all the ingredients in a jar or a tight-sealing plastic container. Shake to blend. Taste.  If you think it needs a bit more honey or salt or even a few drops of balsamic vinegar, now is the time to adjust the dressing to your taste.  Refrigerate until 10 minutes before ready to use.

For the Spinach Salad:
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to combine. Divide the salad among the Parmesan Frico Cups and serve immediately.

Kosher for Pesach if ingredients are chosen with care. (omit croutons, fried noodles, etc)

K (D)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Honey Whole Wheat Bread
3 cups warm water
1/4 cup molasses or brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 ounce yeast (1 packet)

1/2 cup oil, margarine or butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt   
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups all-purpose flour   
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

In a large mixing bowl add warm water, honey, molasses or  brown sugar and stir.  Add yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes until you see it begin to look a bit frothy.  This means the yeast is working.

Add 1/2 cup oil (or margarine or butter) and stir.  Add salt, pepper (this makes it really nice) and add the white flour.  Using a spoon, a hand mixer or the dough hook on your large mixer, incorporate the ingredients together - mixing for about 3 minutes.  Only use a spoon or heavy duty mixer equipped with a bread hook from this point on. 
Now add 4-1/2  cups of whole wheat flour.  If it gets too stiff to handle with a bread hook (on a larger machine) then turn out onto a floured surface and continue kneading, by hand, for 10 minutes.  If the dough feels 'very' sticky, add a bit more flour.  It should be a medium-heavy dough.  Continue mixing with a dough hook or kneading by hand for 10 minutes total.

Oil a large bowl and turn bread dough into it.  Flip dough over, making sure all sides are oiled.  Cover with a clean tea towel or cling wrap.  Allow to rise until doubled - about 45-60 minutes.

Flatten the dough and cut into 2 or 3 pieces - depending upon how big your loaf pans are.  Mine are large so I make two extra-large loaves.

Prepare loaf pans as follows:  *If you have baking or parchment paper, cut a piece twice as large as each pan.  Crumple it a bit (or get it slightly damp) so it fits into the pan.  Using a pastry brush, brush a bit of oil on the inside of the parchment paper.  (If you are not using parchment paper, then simply oil your baking pans well.)

Flatten each piece of dough and shape into a loaf, making sure any seams are well-pressed together. 

Prepare loaf pans as follows:  *If you have baking or parchment paper, cut a piece twice as large as each pan.  Crumple it a bit (or get it slightly damp) so it fits into the pan.  Using a pastry brush, brush a bit of oil on the inside of the parchment paper.  (If you are not using parchment paper, then simply oil your baking pans well.)

Add dough to the loaf pans, cover lightly and allow to rise until double.  Depending upon the temperature of your kitchen, this should take between 45 minutes and 1-1/2 hours. 

Heat oven to 180C or 350F.  Place pans on racks so they do not touch each other directly.  Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until a hollow sound is heard when you tap the top of one of the loaves.  I have baked so much that I can usually smell when it is done.

Remove pans to a cooling rack.  If you have used parchment/baking paper, you can now lift the loaves out of the pans to cool on the rack.  If you have used oiled pans, wait about 5-10 minutes and invert onto cooling rack to encourage bread to come out.

*It is best, especially when baking with honey, to use parchment/baking paper as food will come out of the pans effortlessly.

Makes three loaves or two HUGE loaves
K (P) or dairy if you use butter

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spinach Feta Tomato Quiche

Spinach Feta Tomato Quiche

I use Feta cheese in this recipe.  It truly makes it special.  If you choose not to use the Feta cheese, you may need to add a bit more salt to the egg/spinach mixture.


Use frozen shortcrust pastry or make the following to fit a 9" pie plate or removable bottomed quiche pan:

1       cup all-purpose flour
1/2     teaspoon salt
1/3    cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or butter
2       to 3 tablespoons (60-90ml) cold water

Mix flour with salt.  Cut shortening into flour mixture until the shortening is about the size of small peas.  Do not over-work this important part - you want flaky crust.Add cold water and stir with a fork.  If the dough is too dry and does not stick together, then add a few more drops of water.  Wrap in plastic and chill while making quiche mixture


2 tsp olive oil
1/8 cup brown shallot peeled and minced (or use regular onion)
1 clove of garlic, crushed or pressed
2 cups fresh spinach, washed and chopped or 1 cup frozen, chopped spinach
Important - if using frozen, chopped spinach, thaw, drain and squeeze out any excess water!

3 large eggs, beaten
1-1/4 cup evaporated (NOT condensed) milk (1/2-1/2 may be used if you have that on hand)
1/2 cup mozarella cheese, grated
A bit of parmesean if you have some - maybe 1/8 cup or so

1/3 cup feta cheese, cut in small cubes
1 ripe tomato, sliced or some cherry tomatoes, halved

Pre-heat oven to 350F/200C  Roll out pastry and lay in it the pan.  Decoratively crimp edges.
Prick a few holes in it with a fork and pre-bake for about 5 minutes.  Cool on a rack.

In a sauté pan over medium high heat, add olive oil, shallots and then garlic and sauté for a minute or two.  Add spinach all at once.  Sauté until fresh spinach is wilted and cooked.  Toss with a bit of salt and cracked pepper.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with whisk or fork until well combined.  Add evaporated milk and whisk together.  Add mozarella cheese, parmesean cheese and then mix in the sautéed spinach.  Stir together gently with a spoon.Pour this mixture into half-baked crust.  Top with cubes of feta. 
Decoratively arrange tomato slices (or cherry tomato halves, cut side up) onto top of quiche.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.  Let cool on a rack for a few minutes before cutting into wedges.  

Along with a salad, this will serve 4 people.  Delicious when leftover, especially when eaten cold.

K (D)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Beverly's Famous Apple Pie - For Zack


2       cups all-purpose flour
1       teaspoon salt
2/3    cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
4       to 6 tablespoons (60-90ml) cold water


1/4     cup cornstarch or all-purpose flour
1/2     teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2     teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8     teaspoon salt
8        cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (8 medium)  Granny Smith or Jonathan are perfect.
1/3     cup (75ml) honey
1/2     lemon, freshly squeezed
2        tablespoons margarine


For pastry:

In medium bowl, mix 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or two forks) until particles are size of small peas.  Do not overwork these ingredients or your pastry will not be flaky.  Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing gently with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).  Divide in half, wrap in plastic and chill while making filling.

For filling:

In large bowl, 1/4 cup (60ml) cornstarch or flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in apples until well mixed.  Drizzle honey over apple/spice mixture and give it a good stir.  Taste an apple slice.     Squeeze half a lemon over the mixture. Taste and if not sweet enough (depending upon the apples chosen) add a bit more honey.  Set filling mixture aside.


Heat oven to 425°F/220°C. With floured rolling pin, roll one pastry round into round 2 inches (5cm) larger than upside-down 9-inch (23cm) glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths - It will look a bit like a triangle; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and up the side.

Pile filling mixture into pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter or margarine.  It will look rather full but the apples will cook down.

Roll other round of pastry into 10-inch (25cm) round. Fold into fourths as with the first piece of pastry above. Unfold top pastry over filling; trim overhanging edge 1 inch (2.5cm) from rim of plate. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal; flute as desired - I pinch it together using my thumb and forefinger.   Cut slashes in top of crust as this will allow steam to escape.  Make this part pretty!

Cut 2- to 3-inch (5-7cm) wide strips of foil to prevent excessive browning - you may need this halfway through baking.

Bake @425°F/220°C for 40 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust.  Check the pie halfway through and cover edges with foil if it is browning too quickly.

K (P)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I have tried numerous recipes for cinnamon-raisin bread and I am never truly satisfied.  I get frustrated if the bread is too dense or doughy.  Sometimes, the bread would come out lovely, but when sliced, the 'swirls' would tear apart, making it impossible to toast.  I finally came up with an idea.

My Challah recipe comes out perfectly Every Time!  Therefore, I figured I would simply adjust my Challah to make a sweet, rich dough and flavour it with cinnamon, then sprinkle it with sugar and sultanas (raisins) and roll it up - It was worth a try!

It worked!!!!!  I now can say that this is the best cinnamon-raisin bread I have ever tasted.  It is easy, quick and foolproof - even if the kitchen is a bit chilled.  Enjoy.

Place all ingredients, in the order listed below into a mixer equipped with a bread hook or in a large bowl (if you are making by hand)

First, combine the three following ingredients and let sit 5 minutes:
220ml (~8 oz) warm water (44C or 110F)
1 pgk active dry yeast or 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar

When the 5-minutes is up for the yeast/sugar mixture, add the ingredients below and mix or stir together:
In a bowl or cup, check each egg separately and then combine:
3 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 cup oil

To the liquid mixture above, add the following ingredients:
1-2 tsp cinnamon
4-1/2 cups bread flour *

Beat together with bread hook or knead by hand for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and satiny.  It will be a soft dough.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise for about an hour.  When doubled in size, punch down and press out all of the gas bubbles until you have a flattened piece of dough.  Line your counter with baking paper and a bit of oil and press dough into a rectangular shape as shown in photo.

On top of dough rectangle, sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar, 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2-3/4 cup sultanas (raisins) and press a bit into the dough.

Begin rolling the dough into a log form.  Don't be as you roll and if the sides become uneven, just smash them back where they should be.  Pinch the end seam and place in a well oiled, large bread pan, seam side down.  Press dough into the pan, once again ensuring that the layers will not split when slicing.  Cover very lightly with oiled cling wrap.  Allow to rise until double in size.  This will take 45 minutes to 1 hour in a warm house.  If your house is cold, then it may take longer.

Preheat oven to 170C or 350F.  Put loaf pan in centre of oven and bake until the loaf is brown, the house smells wonderful and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with your finger (will update timing after I bake)

Let sit in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.   Once this loaf is completely cool, you may slice it.  This loaf will stay fresh and delicious for three days.  If you happen to have any left over, it also makes a fantastic base for bread and butter pudding.

K (p)

Enjoy and please feel free to add comments or hints or questions.

Rectangular dough with cinnamon, sugar and sultanas

Keep shoving the sides in - they will be even once you put it in the baking pan

Dough, waiting to rise and be baked

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cream of Mushroom Soup


Olive oil
1/2 cup finely sliced leek (milder than onion)
1 lb (500 g) mushrooms, sliced or quartered

1/2 cup dried assorted mushrooms, rehydrated for 1/2 with hot water (Optional but Oh So Good!) *
1 litre (4-cups) vegetable stock or pareve chicken stock or pareve stock cubes dissolved in 1 litre water
1 thinly sliced carrot (or cut into tiny cubes) - optional but it is very pretty!
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Cayenne pepper
Freshly cracked pepper and salt, to taste

1/3 cup olive oil or butter or margarine plus 1/3 cup flour  (to make a roux)
1 litre milk (4 cups) (or non-flavoured milk substitute)

*When using re-hydrated dried mushrooms, it is essential that you rinse them a few times after soaking as they may have a bit of grit left in them.  Dicard the soaking water.

In a large pot, add about 4 Tbsp Olive oil (half can be butter or margarine) and place over medium heat.  Sautee the sliced leeks until transluscent - about 5 minutes.  Add fresh mushrooms and sautee until they are just tender - about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add stock to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Add the well-rehydrated and rinsed dried mushrooms, if desired. Add the thinly sliced carrot.  Add thyme, nutmeg, bay leaf, cayenne and cracked pepper.  If you used broth cubes for the stock, be careful when adding salt.  Add mushroom and leek mixture and allow this all to simmer, partially covered, over medium to medium-low heat.  The liquid will probably reduce by half.  That's a good thing :)In a medium, heavy bottomed pan, pour in 1/3 cup oil, butter or margarine (or a mix of these) into a pan and allow to melt over medium heat.  Add the same amount of flour to the pan and stir(I use a fork)  until smooth and bubbly.  Slowly pour in milk, or milk substitute, stirring continually as the milk is added and soon it will thicken.  Allow to boil, on medium heat, for one minute.  This standard sauce takes about 6 minutes of attention.  You will end up with a perfect Béchamel that will help thicken the soup.

*Note - this is the first sauce I was ever taught to make on my own as a young child.  It is easy and so versatile as nearly anything can be added to make different dishes.  I would suggest keeping this recipe.  If I remember correctly, I memorised it from the 1954 Edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook!

Slowly stir this Béchamel into the broth and vegetable mixture.  Allow to simmer and combine, stirring gently, for about five minutes.  During this time, adjust seasoning.

Pour into warmed soup bowls and garnish the tops with a bit of paprika and fresh parsley or whatever you have on hand that is pretty.  As you can see in the steamy photo, I only had some assorted greens on hand.  No matter.  A glass of wine later and I didn't even care!

K (D) unless you use a milk substitute

Serve with a nice salad and good quality bread

Butternut Pumpkin (winter squash) Soup


1 whole butternut pumpkin, cut into big chunks, skin on - other winter squash may be used
Drizzle of olive oil

Olive oil
1/4 cup (50g)  finely chopped leek - it is more mellow than onion, although that will work too
1 clove garlic, pressed 1 tsp finely minced ginger
1 litre stock or water + pareve chicken stock cubes (1 litre = 4 cups)
cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cream for the finish (canned milk, unflavoured milk substitute, etc.)


Place pumpkin, skin side up, in a heatproof baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt.  This makes peeling easier after baking.
Bake pumpkin in a 170C/350F oven until tender - a knife or fork will go through a thick piece.
Set aside to cool.

In a heavy bottomed pot, add about 2-3 Tbsp olive oil (margarine or butter can be used)  Set over medium heat.  When the oil is heated, add the minced leek and cook for about 5 minutes - stirring often - until translucent.  Add the pressed garlic, and the ginger.  Cook for about one more minute and then pour the stock into the pot.  Keep on medium heat.

Next, take a spoon and scoop pumpkin from the skin and add this to the pot.  Be careful not to get any skin in the soup.

Cook for a bit and then using a potato masher or stick mixer, blend the pumpkin into the soup until it is well incorporated.

Add about 1/2 - 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 (more or less) cayenne pepper and some freshly ground black pepper.  Cook until it gets thick enough - This will not take very long.

Taste and adjust seasoning!  If you need to add more seasoning, cook a few minutes longer, adding a bit of water if it gets too thick.

When serving, drizzle a bit of cream, yoghurt, or a milk substitute on the top of each bowl of soup.  Garnish with a bit of chopped parsley, coriander or even a bit of finely shredded carrot!Serve with salad and good bread.  Yum!

K (P) unless you use a Dairy topping

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Beef Bourguignon

Ingredients (serves 6-8 ish...)

  • 2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 kg (~3 lbs) beef (tri tip/brisket/chuck), trimmed, cut into 5cm pieces - (My butcher does this for me) or see link below for additional cuts of meat that are kosher. *
  • 1 large brown onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 cups red wine (500 mls)
  • 2 cups brown beef stock (500mls)  I usually use half and add more if necessary toward the end.
  • Herbs of choice - I used 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped and a bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 16 small pickling onions, peeled (see tip)
  • sliced carrots or better yet, baby carrots if you can get them
  • 400g (~ 3/4 lb) small button mushrooms - Sautéed lightly in olive oil
  • Green beans and garlic mashed potatoes (or pasta) to serve

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy-based casserole dish over medium-high heat. Dry the beef cubes or they will not brown well.  Cook beef, in batches, for 5 to 6 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a bowl.  If you cook too many of the beef cubes at once, they will not brown nicely.  Take your time with this!
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining oil in dish. Add minced onion. Cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until onion has softened. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute.  Garlic burns easily so watch it carefully.
  3. Return beef and juices to pan. Add wine. Bring to the boil. Add stock until the meat is covered and then stir in tomato paste. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add pickling onions, sliced carrots and lightly Sautéed mushrooms. Check to see that there is enough liquid left.  If necessary, add the rest of the stock.  Cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until meat and onions are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

 Kosher Beef Cuts  <---Link to Kosher cuts of beef

Tip: Leave a little root attached to each pickling onion to prevent them falling apart during cooking.

If you wish for a thicker gravy, then you can combine 1-2 Tbsp cornstarch/cornflour to 1/4 cup cold water and add this and cook until the sauce becomes clear again. Omit this step during Passover.

Serve with green beans and mashed potatoes - I make garlic mash to go with this dish. 
I also make a good basic french bread/baguette to help with sopping up the gravy.

This makes a great hamin/cholent, too!  Just make the meat ahead of time and add the veggies and put it on a blech just before candle lighting.  Yum!

K (F)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lemon Bundt Cake

Lemon Bundt Cake

Makes 12 slices (the shop I sell to cuts it into 16 and the customers are happy)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest and 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger (optional but YUM!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting cake

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 12-cup bundt pan with butter and dust with flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, lemon zest, ginger, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time; mix in lemon juice.

Set mixer on low and alternatively add flour mixture in 3 parts and sour cream in 2 parts.  Mix just until flour and sour cream are incorporated, making sure not to over mix.

Spoon batter into bundt pan and smooth top with spatula.  Firmly tap pan on counter to level the batter.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centre of cake comes out clean.  If cake browns too quickly, cover pan loosely with aluminium foil.
Let cake cool for 30 minutes in bundt pan.  Then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Store for up to 3 days, wrapped tightly in plastic and keep at room temperature.

K (D)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Old Fashioned Homemade Chocolate Pudding

When you absolutely, positive, NEED chocolate NOW!
This is a cornstarch (cornflour) based chocolate pudding.

Serves:  um....4?

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 1  tablespoon margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (sometimes I use half almond extract and half vanilla extract)

  1. In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in margarine and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.

 K (D)
Notes -  This is a quick and easy dessert and a favourite of children.  You may use a non-flavoured milk substitute.  Always use the best cocoa you can buy!  Use non-wheaten cornstarch/cornflour  Enjoy!  Can also omit the cocoa and make this plain vanilla - but I have no idea why anyone would want to do that :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Salmon Wrapped in Phyllo with Spinach and Mushrooms

Salmon Wrapped in Phyllo with Spinach and Mushrooms

Serves 4 as a main dish, can be doubled or serves 8 as an appetizer.


4 (6-ounce) centre cut salmon fillets, skin removed (equal size pieces)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 cups washed, dried, and loosely packed fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup sour cream
2 frozen puff pastry sheets, defrosted
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Brush both sides of the salmon with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Warm 2 tablespoons oil in 2 separate skillets over medium-high heat. Add half of the onion and half the garlic to each pan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and thyme into 1 pan and the spinach, lemon zest and remain lemon juice in the other pan. Stir the spinach until it wilts, then transfer it to a bowl and set aside. Sauté the mushrooms until they are reduced and tender, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream. Set aside.

Unroll a pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin lightly seal the seams and lengthen the dough slightly. Cut the pastry sheet into 3 equal strips, using the natural seams as a guide. Roll out the second puff pastry sheet to get 1 more strip. Save remaining puff pastry for another use. Lightly prick the 4 strips with a fork. Put 1 heaping spoonful of mushroom mixture on 1 half of each pastry, top with salmon, and then layer with a heaping spoonful of spinach mixture. Wet the edges of the pastry with water and fold over the other half, pressing lightly and folding to seal the edges. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling. Cut 2 vents on the top of each pastry packet and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake until the pastry is golden and fish is just opaque in the centre, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Garnish with chives or parsley and serve with the sauce below, if desired:

  This is a simple lemon-butter sauce made with
3 Tbsp dry white wine or Vermouth
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup butter, cut in small cubes  (Use margarine for a Pareve sauce)
 a pinch of salt -
In a saucepan put the wine, lemon juice - cook, watching carefully, and reduce until it is about 2 Tbsp.  Add pinch of salt.  Slowly, over low heat, add the little chunks of butter until you have a fabulous sauce.
I usually double this sauce - it is sooo good!

Delicious with this dish or asparagus or Artichokes or broccoli or...well, anything!

K (D) unless you use margarine and Tofutti better than sour creme - then it is K (P)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pistachio Dukkah - yum!!!

1/4 cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds (optional but delicious!)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 cups pistachios, roasted in your oven.  (other nuts, such as hazelnuts, can be substituted but this is traditional for me)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
* I add crushed red pepper flakes as I like a bit of spice in my food
Paprika - for a bit of colour and of course, extra flavour!

Taste with a bit of bread and olive oil to check for seasoning.  

Rustic bread cubes  - I use stale toasted challah, stale toasted sourdough bread or homemade, warm, soft pita               
High-quality extra virgin olive oil

Place sesame seeds in a small skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and repeat with coriander, fennel, and cumin seeds. Let cool, then place in a blender or food processor with pistachios and crushed red pepper flakes, if used; process until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add paprika if you want a bit more colour.

Transfer to a decorative bowl and serve with bread cubes and olive oil. Dip bread cubes into oil, then into dukkah. May be stored for up to one month in a tightly covered container.

Salad Dressing
To use this in a yoghurt-based salad dressing - use 1 cup plain, good quality yoghurt.  Add finely chopped mint, a bit of lemon juice and add some of the dukkah above.  Especially delicious if the salad has cucumber and tomatoes in it!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cornbread - Easy and Delicious!

1 cup Yellow Corn Meal - I use polenta here in AU as There Is NO Cornmeal!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. salt

1 cup milk or milk substitute (unflavoured soy, rice or oat milk) + 1 tsp vinegar
1 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Grease 8-inch-square or round baking pan.  I prefer a cast iron skillet.

COMBINE corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt in medium bowl.
COMBINE milk + vinegar OR buttermilk (or milk substitute), oil and egg in small bowl; mix well.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until blended.

Pour into prepared pan. BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into centre comes out clean.

K (D) or (P) if using milk substitute

Friday, May 20, 2011

Apple Crisp - Quick, Delicious, Easy!

This is a quick and easy dessert - Sure to become a family favourite.  This recipe can be doubled and baked in a rectangular baking pan (13x9x2")

Dairy if you use butter/Pareve if you use margarine.

Pre-heat oven to 190C or 375F

Apple Mixture:

6-8 medium, tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
1/4 cup sugar (at most) or honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine above ingredients and place in a large pie pan.


3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened (or slightly melted)

Combine all dry topping ingredients in a bowl.  Mix well with a fork.  Add butter or margarine and stir well to combine. (I usually double this part as I like it best!)

Press well onto apple slices, covering them.

Bake in pre-heated oven 190C or 375F for about 30 minutes or until you see apple juices coming through the topping and the apples seem fairly tender when poked with a sharp knife.

Cool and eat!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Baklawa (or Baklava)

This baklawa can be made either dairy or pareve.  If you do not have a dairy oven, simply substitute good-quality kosher margarine for the butter.  Any suggestions or comments on my posted recipes are genuinely appreciated!


Pastry layers:
1 pkg (325 gm or about 12 oz) Filo pastry.  You will find this in the freezer or cold section of your kosher market or in many good supermarkets.  (It is pareve)
2 cups ground walnuts or a mixture of 1-1/2 cups walnuts and 1/2 cup pistachios
250 gm (1/2 cup) butter (or margarine) melted in a small pan.  Have a brush handy.
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom.  Many use cinnamon but the Mizrahi recipe my Nana made had cardamom.

1-1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
5 cardamom pods (just break them a bit and toss them in)
1 cinnamon stick if you have one
1 Tbsp lemon juice (I use 1 tsp. lemon essence/extract)


Thaw out pastry while still in package.  This won't take too long.
Grind whole walnuts/pistachios with sugar and cardamom.  Set aside.
Slowly unroll pasty and place on a slightly damp tea towel and then cover the top with another slightly damp tea towel.  This is important as the pastry is as thin as parchment and will dry out and tear.  If a few sheets tear, don't worry.  Just glue them down with butter/margarine whilst layering.

Melt butter/margarine as directed above.

Pre-heat oven to 180C or 350F degrees.

Lightly grease a rectangular, high sided baking sheet or
use a 13x9x2" (rectangular) baking pan - I use a pyrex pan of this dimension as I like to see that the bottom of the pastry is browning nicely.

Place a layer of pastry in the pan.  Use the butter/margarine to sort of 'glue' it to the sides of the pan. Don't worry if it hangs over the sides a bit - you trim it at the end of this part.
Brush butter on this layer.  It is important to brush the butter/margarine on well, but use a light hand so you don't pack the pastry down.

Take two to three sheets of pastry and lay this on top of the first layer and brush with butter/margarine.  Repeat this process until about half of your pastry is used.  Brush this last layer of pastry with a bit of butter and sprinkle 2/3 of the nut/spice/sugar mixture on top.  Then begin again layering the pastry for a few more layers.  Sprinkle most of the nut/spice/sugar mixture on this layer (keep a tiny bit for sprinkling on top at the end) and then repeat with the pastry remaining pastry layers, buttering every few until you are out of pastry.

Use a pizza cutter or a very sharp knife and cut through on the diagonal ALL THE WAY to the bottom of the pan making triangles (well, I got a B in geometry but mine still look pretty nice!)  Make sure that the pizza cutter gets all the way to the bottom or it is more difficult to divide up neatly when the baklawa is done.

If you have any butter/margarine left, brush it on as the pastry will absorb it quickly.  Sprinkle any remaining nut/spice/sugar mixture on top.

Now, to keep it looking neat, using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut off all pastry that is sticking way above the pan.  Then roll the pastry that is slightly above to make it look pretty.  Use a bit of butter/margarine as 'glue' if necessary.

Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour or if your oven has a force fan, until it looks brown and crispy.  It will appear just a bit puffed up.

Cool completely.  This is where most bakers get rushed and if you put the hot syrup on when the pastry is still hot it WILL get soggy.  If you have ever eaten Baklava from a coffee shop you will know if they have rushed through this point as the Baklava will taste a bit 'raw'


In a heavy bottomed sauce pan combine
1-1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
5 cardamom pods (just break them a bit and toss them in)
1 cinnamon stick if you have one

Save the lemon for last as it will lose its flavour when you boil the syrup.

Bring to a boil and then cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.  Stir from time to time, watching that it does not get too thick. 

Once the pastry is completely cooled, add the lemon juice or lemon essence/extract to the hot syrup, give it a quick stir and pour through a strainer into a glass measuring cup with pouring lip.  This gets the spices out.

Now pour the syrup over the cooled pastry as evenly as you can.

Let this set all day or overnight and the pastry will soak up the syrup.

Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea.

Using a thin spatula, remove a corner piece of the baklawa.  This will give you access to the rest and then you can arrange them nicely on a plate or serving dish.  Eat the piece you took out first with your coffee or tea.  Pat yourself on the back as you have just made something that is especially delicious and not as difficult as it seems to be.

Any leftovers can be frozen - freeze them in separate pieces and then pack in a container or zip-lock bag so you can take out a few pieces as you need them.

K (D) or K (P) if margarine is used.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Portuguese-Style Piri-Piri Chicken

The flavours of this recipe are so delicious it will become a family favourite. Serve the chicken hot on rice or couscous, or cold with salad in pita bread, wraps or on sliced challah. If you don't have a slow cooker, or if you want to serve it for the evening meal, you can marinate the chicken in a casserole for a few hours, then cook (covered) in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C (350 F) for 40 minutes or until done.

20 ml olive oil (1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp.)
juice of one lemon
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano or one tsp of fresh oregano, chopped
3 teaspoons Nando's peri-peri sauce (kosher in AU!) or 1 teaspoon chili powder or use
the homemade peri-peri sauce below
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
30 ml tomato paste (2 Tbsp.)
160 ml fruit chutney (heaping 2/3 cup) (I use mango chutney)
8 chicken thighs and legs, skin and fat removed

Preparation method:
1. Quickly brown the chicken pieces in a bit of olive oil - do not cook too long if using slow cooker
2.  Use some of the olive oil to grease the slow cooker (or casserole)
3.  Place the rest of the oil and all other ingredients except the chicken in the slow cooker or casserole and stir to mix.
4.  Remove any excess fat from the chicken pieces and place in the slow cooker or casserole dish.
5.  Stir to coat well with the marinade.
6.  Cover and cook on LOW overnight or place casserole on your blech over low heat.
7.  Serve hot on Basmati rice, with salad and bread.

This delicious recipe can easily be doubled.  You can also cook it more quickly for the evening meal by cooking in a conventional oven as directed at top of recipe.
This does make a great winter Hamin or Cholent, though.

Homemade Piri-Piri Sauce:

10 – 12 birdseye chillies, chopped finely (medium size, medium heat)
Pinch salt
Juice of ½ lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp garlic powder or 2 fresh garlic cloves, pressed)
1/4 tsp corriander powder or 1 tsp chopped fresh corriander/cilantro

Place above ingredients into a blender or magic bullet and puree it all together.  Be careful to wash your hands or wear gloves when handling the chilis!

Delicious served warm or cold!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Grilled Fish Tacos with Rubio's Sauce - Yum!!!

Rubios, THE place for fish tacos in California, both breads and deep-fries the fish for their tacos.  I prefer this grilled version as it is lighter and the flavour of the delicious fresh fish is more prominent.

1 1/2 - 2 pounds (1 kilo) of firm fleshed white fish (mahi mahi, striped bass, hoki, halibut, tilapia)

Fish Marinade:
1 cup seeded and chopped tomatoes (I have used 400gm tinned tomatoes in a pinch)
3 scallions/shallots, thinly sliced
2 fresh or pickled jalapeño chilies seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh corriander/cilantro, chopped

Rubios Sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

15-20 small corn tortillas

1 1/2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced - I use napa cabbage
2 avocados, sliced or 1 cup of your favorite guacamole
1 cup of fresh tomatoes, chopped or your favorite salsa
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese or extra tasty cheese
1/2 cup corriander/cilantro, chopped
Extra limes to squeeze on the tacos

In a bowl combine the ingredients for the marinade. Add the fish. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

Make the Rubios sauce by whisking the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Can be made two days ahead.

Wrap groups of 5 corn tortillas in aluminum foil.

Place an oiled hinged fish grate onto a large plate. Transfer the fish from the marinade and place into the grate. (The plate underneath prevents the marinade from dripping). Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill the fish until the center is just opaque, about 5 minutes per side. While fish is cooking, place the foil-wrapped tortillas on the grill to warm.

Set up a buffet with all of the fixings, the tortillas and the fish.  I also serve these fish tacos with homemade rice and beans.  Yum!

K (D)

 Kosher Fish List

Serve with homemade mexican rice and refried or black beans.