DIY – Make Your Own Flavored Seaweed Snacks

 

January 31st 2014

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We make sushi at least twice a month in my house and it’s always a big hit.  In addition to the fish, rice and veggies, my kids can’t get enough of the Nori seaweed.  They ask for whole pieces just to snack on while we’re rolling.  I used to think they were crazy, until I started to see toasted seaweed snacks at every market. My kids were onto something.  The only difference between our kitchen table snacks and the latest supermarket fad is that the new products added assorted flavors.

I haven’t been able to find any toasted seaweed snacks with kosher certification so I decided to make my own.  It is really easy and fun to make your own flavored seaweed.  The kids can make it themselves, because I can’t seem to make them fast enough!

The best part? Seaweed is really, really good for you! According to Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., PhD from the Dr. Oz show, “Seaweed and marine algae have more concentrated nutrition than vegetables grown on land and they have long been considered to possess powers to prolong life, prevent disease, and impart beauty and health.”

Nori is filled with essential minerals, vitamins and protein and is extremely low in calories. According to my package of Nori, each piece only has 10 calories, but it has 1 g of protein, 6% Vitamin A, 4% vitamin C, 2% calcium and 2 % iron.  Talk about nutrient dense!  All types of seaweed have nutritional benefits, but Nori is the easiest to find kosher and easiest to eat, especially now that I learned to make these flavorful snacks.

Basically all you have to do is brush the Nori sheets with your favorite flavors and bake them at 250 for 15 minutes.  They are best with a little oil, sesame or olive oil work particularly well and then sprinkle some sea salt or other seasoning, my son came up with a really fun recipe that didn’t even use oil!  We brushed on some of the juice from the pickled ginger jar and it was a huge hit!

I want to share the basic recipe with a few of our ideas for flavors, but go ahead and invent your own and share your favorite ideas in the comments.  Here is my recipe for Flavored Seaweed Snacks.


 

Shabbat In India

 

January 30th 2014

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When you travel to India, you know you’re gonna be in for an adventure — which is exactly why you go.

“Expect the unexpected”, you’re told. Nothing highlights this idea more than the three Shabbosim I spent in India.

Week One: Cholent in a Tent in Dharamsala

After a 14 hour plane ride immediately followed by a 12 hour bus ride into the night, my friend and I finally arrived in Dharmsala, home of the Dalai Lama, located in the north of India. (No, he did not invite us in for Kiddush, but that would be a good story.) My friend and I, along with about 50 other jews — mostly Israeli citizens recouping from their time in the army — davened Kabalat Shabbat together in a makeshift house/tent followed by a Kiddush and an Israeli/Indian dinner.

Everyone enjoyed the curried cholent!

Week 2 : Muslim Shabbat on a Houseboat in Kashmir

“I’m Jewish. Is that gonna be a problem?” I asked when my new Kashmiri friend suggested we spend the weekend on his brother’s houseboat on Dal Lake in Kashmir.

“‘No ma’am!” he responded. “My sister in law is Jewish!”

My friend, and I, along with two other Jewish travelers, (including an Israeli soldier,) spent a relaxing Shabbat with our Muslim hosts. They even baked us Challah!  I’m still waiting for my Nobel Peace Prize.

Week 3: Chabad in Pushkar, Rajasthan, with Bamba Snacks. 

My friend and I arrived in Pushkar, a small village in the Rajasthan region of India. Because of all of the Israeli travelers, many of the Indian store owners can speak Hebrew. Among the typical hustle and bustle you find thousands of colorful saris, cows walking down the street, camels, vendors selling their wares and more. You also see many cafés featuring falafel and shakshuka on their menus and Hebrew writing all over. The popular Indian name, Shimesh, is changed to “Shemesh” to accommodate the Israelis as well.

We spent a lively shabbat with the Chabad rabbi and his 13 children and about 150 fellow travelers. The Rabbi would ask questions during the meal offering Israeli Bamba snacks to reward the right answers.

Every one of those experiences were unique and special in their own right. Traveling always has it’s challenges but if you can live to tell the story- it’s worth it!
Now you can travel to India in your home with a few of my favorite Indian recipes:
Have you been to India? Do you like Indian food? let me know in the comments below.

 

Why Are There Two Months of Adar and What is Purim...

 

January 30th 2014

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The Hebrew calendar allows us to track the Jewish year. Without that, we would not be able to celebrate the Jewish holidays at their correct time.

Unlike the other calendars in existence today, the Jewish calendar goes according to the moon. Once a month at Rosh Chodesh as the new moon appears, we restart counting the days in the month. The decision when to begin the new month used to be based upon the testimony of witnesses verifying they had seen the new moon in the sky. The Beis Din would light fires on mountains informing the people of the new moon. After a while the Sadducees began to light fake fires on mountains to confuse people and stop the information flowing from city to city. That is when they created a fixed calendar that we still use today.

An inherent challenge appears when following a lunar calendar, that the months fall out of sync with the solar cycle. Since there is roughly an eleven day difference between the eleven lunar months and the solar year, the lunar months will travel through the year and appear at different seasons every year. The Torah tells us to observe Pesach in “chodesh ha’aviv” the springtime, which is the season the Jewish people left Egypt. In order to keep Pesach in that season, every two to three years an extra month is added to the calendar, adar. By doing this, the months align themselves perfectly into the correct seasons, and thereby all the Jewish holidays too.

The only question left to answer is which month to put Purim in, the first adar or the second one? Well since we know Purim must fall thirty days before Pesach, it is celebrated during the second adar month. During the first adar we have whats called Purim Katan, (little Purim), and that falls on the same date Purim would have fallen on had it not been a leap year. We do not celebrate Purim Katan like we celebrate Purim proper, however the Shulchan Aruch recommends a feeling of festivity on that day and quotes Proverbs (15:15): “One who is of good heart is festive always”.

Tonight, the 30th of January begins Rosh Chodesh Adar 1 so you have 15 days to prepare for Purim Katan and extra time to prepare for the full Purim celebration on March 16th, check here for 40 kinds of hamantashen, tons of Mishloach Manot ideas, and lots of Purim Seudah Menus.


 

10 Healthy(ier) Snow Day Treats

 

January 29th 2014

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Being a New Englander I should not have been so surprised to see snow this winter, but it hasn’t been quite so cold and snowy around here for a few years.  When I was at home in Cambridge, MA for the first snow storm of the season I saw the local news covering the blizzard non-stop during the news broadcast.  That was when I realized that we are in for a long, cold winter which calls for warm, hearty meals and treats. For those of us who don’t spend our snow days shoveling snow or sledding (I wish!) for hours on end, here are 10 healthy(ier) snow day meals and treats.

 

Breakfast.  After checking the local news for delays and closings, treat yourself to a few more hours shut-eye under those warm winter duvets.  When you’re ready for breakfast, enjoy these normally-reserved-for-the-weekend breakfasts.

 

Simple Spelt Pancakes

1.  Pancakes.  Specifically Spelt Pancakes.  I’ve found that using spelt, instead of white flour, does not drastically change the taste of the pancakes, if anything, they taste heartier.  You can also subsitute with white spelt flour or make Whole Wheat Pancakes.  Since these pancakes are healthier than their white flour counterparts, why not indulge with a fillings bar!  After you make the batter, transfer it onto a hot griddle or pan to cook then drop in a few of you favorite pancake stuffings such as chocolate chips or blueberries.

 

 

Smoked Salmon Benedict

2.  Smoked Salmon Benedict.  My brother is a huge fan of eggs benedict, but personally I have trouble eating such a heavy meal in the morning…except for this recipe.  The brightness of the salmon plays well with the poached egg and rich benedict dressing.  While english muffins are light in calories, it can be difficult to find kosher english muffins outside of New York.  I would recommend a multi-grain bread as a good substitute.

 

Lunch.  I have soup + sandwiches on the mind!

Grilled Herbed Veggie Sandwich

3.  Grilled Herbed Veggie Sandwich.  The beautiful colors of the vegetables and the fragrant aroma from this sandwich makes it one of my favorites.  This sandwich plays well with the Mushroom Barley Soup and Winter Vegetable Soup.  You can also add grilled chicken to make this sandwich or if you’re in the mood for a more meat centered meal try the Curry Turkey Burger.

 

Make your own Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches

4.  Make Your Own Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches.  Keeping with the soup and sandwich theme, frying or baking eggplant allows for more portion control and maximizes sandwich stacking freedom. Serve with the Vegetarian Lentil Soup or  Three Bean Minestrone Soup.  If you prefer traditional eggplant parmesan, try the Eggplant Parmesan Lite.

 

Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

5.  Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese + Dream of Tomato Soup.  Who can resist grilled cheese with tomato soup?!  You can substitute the guyere with mozzerella cheese, if you prefer.  Also, control calories by limiting the amount of cheese in each sandwich and/or cutting the sandwiches in fourths effectively making them mini-pesto grilled cheeses.  To serve the tomato soup with this grilled cheese either omit the chicken consomme from the recipe or substitute it with the pareve consomme of your choosing.

 

Treats.  If you’ve been outside shoveling or just want a sweet snow day treat, try these perfectly-snow-day-appropriate desserts.

Chocolate Swirl Bread

6.  Chocolate Swirl Bread.  Pair it with a warm cup of Triple Hot Chocolate, Soy Cinnamon Hot Cocoa, or Hot Spiced Apple Cider.

 

Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Muffin Top Cookies

7.  Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Muffin Top Cookies.  The only thing these cookies are missing is peanut butter (my waistline is thankful), but that won’t stop me from spooning a small teaspoon of PB onto these cookies  or serving them with Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate.  Alternatively you could combine your cookie and hot chocolate craving into one recipe with these Spicy Hot Chocolate Brownie Cookies.

Yael's Chocolate S'manwiches

8.  Yael’s Chocolate S’manwiches.  I may have fallen (a bit) off the waistline-friendly derech with all of these delicious desserts, but these chocolate s’manwiches are worth it and will satisfy your sweet tooth in one, or two, servings.

 

Dinner.  When the snow beckons the last thing you want to do is cut your snow day short in order to cook dinner.  This is the perfect opportunity for slow-cooked dinners, just place the ingredients in a crockpot and forget about them until supper time.

 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Root Vegetables

9.  Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Root Vegetables.  The combined heartiness of the beef and root vegetables is beyond compare.  Also consider trying the Moroccan Beef and Sweet Potato Stew or Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew.

 

Chicken Thighs with Eggplant and Olives over Pasta

10.  Chicken Thighs with Eggplant and Olives over Pasta.  This recipe is both hearty and healthy.  The eggplant and olives pair well with the chicken, while the pasta soaks up the delicious juices produced by the chicken, eggplant and olives after 6 hours in the slow cooker.

Stay warm!

 

 


 

Using Greek Yogurt In Pesto Sauce

 

January 29th 2014

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Let’s face it. Most ingredients that promise to taste better than its non-healthy counterpart are usually and sadly not as good. Greek yogurt is one of the sole exceptions. It is an ingredient rich in protein, potassium, vitamin B, and probiotics. While boasting so many nutritious qualities, it is also quite a spectacular ingredient to cook with. Beyond yogurt and granola, there is so much you can do with Greek yogurt.

As the first chalav yisrael Greek yogurt, Norman’s Greek yogurt has revolutionized the kosher market with a high quality, good-for-you product.  Norman’s Greek  yogurt is rich, tangy and can be substituted for cream in many recipes, from sweet to savory.  Pesto in cream sauce is a favorite pasta dish of mine. It is creamy and herbaceous and hits all the right notes. I have been making this dish for years every Shavuot and for family dinners. I experimented with substituting heavy cream for Norman’s plain Greek yogurt and this dish was born. I am always ecstatic when I can say that using a healthier ingredient not only achieves the desired results but actually tastes even better.

This dish does it. The Greek yogurt adds a refreshing tanginess to the sauce while also maintaining the creamy element heavy cream provides.  It is also simpler to make:  mix the pesto into the ready yogurt and add it to hot pasta, serve with toasted pine nuts and some grated parmesan.  What can be better?

Nutritious tips:

  1. You can use any version of spaghetti, fettuccine or linguini ranging from gluten-free to whole wheat or grain.
  2. When making your own pesto, you can add ½ cup of baby greens such as baby arugula or baby spinach in place of some of the herbs to add extra nutrition value to pesto.

Try our Greek Yogurt Pesto Sauce on everything from pasta to fish to veggies.

 

Disclosure: This article was sponsored by Norman’s Dairy, all opinions are my own.


 

Late Winter 2014

 

January 29th 2014

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Surprise!! We have tons of fun stuff in store with you in our latest issue.  Purim recipes that go beyond the usual and free Purim gift tags for Mishloach Manot.  Don’t miss our vegan guide, our interview with Mayim Biyalik, money saving tips and learn all about the pressure cooker.  Check out our sneak peek and find more in the articles and guides below to keep you warm this Winter and prepared for Purim.

 

 

 


 

Best of Kosher 2013 Winners

 

January 28th 2014

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Thank you to all who nominated and voted in our third annual Best of Kosher awards and to thank you all for your time we have three prizes to giveaway to the voters.  Congratulations to Sarahintx, winner of the Emile Henry Tagine, Gertrude, winner of the Emile Henry Fondu Pot and BusyInBoca, Winner of the Emile Henry Stewpot.

Now here are the final Best of Kosher 2013 Winners:

Best New Kosher Cookbook

The Modern Menu is all about simplicity.  “To my mind, less is more, simple is always best, and food should look as good as it tastes”, says Kim.  She offers vibrant, every day recipes that should be used as a guide with tips and tricks to make them your own. There are no hard and fast rules with Kim, so mix and match and create your own menus.

Best Kosher Food Blog

Kosherology is an up and coming new kosher food blogger from Atlanta, GA.  Alex will be sharing delicious recipes (like this Bourbon Mousse and Gingersnap Cookie) as well as restaurant reviews, kosher nostalgia and cool kosher products.  Stay tuned for more from Alex on Joy of Kosher as he shares with us all he is learning about Culinary Sustainability.

Best Kosher Restaurant

Milt’s BBQ For The Perplexed is located in Chicago, Illinois and is known for high quality smoked meats.  If you didn’t have reason to go to Chicago before you sure do now.  Milt’s has great food and also gives all their profits to charity!!  We are proud to have Milt’s as our Best of Kosher 2013 restaurant and hope to make it there for a visit.

Best New Kosher Product

There has been much excitement over the launch of the first chalav yisroel Greek yogurt.  Norman’s came to the rescue and proved themselves to be a high quality product to rival other Greek yogurts.  These yogurts will even be Kosher for Passover, yogurt fans everywhere rejoice.

Best Kosher Wine

Bartenura Moscato comes in the iconic blue bottle from Italy.  A sweet dessert wine that many love to use for kiddish.  It is crisp and refreshing and ever popular.

Best Kosher Catering Company

Your Bite of Heaven is a full service Glatt Kosher catering company that takes pride in hosting memorable life-cycle celebrations with exquisite menus and impeccable service.   They do everything from informal businesses lunches, to a Chef’s Sushi Table, to a lavish affair.  Located in New Jersey.

Best Kosher Passover Product

Matzolah won over the stomachs of many granola fans when they debuted and they just keep getting better.  Now available in a variety of flavors including gluten free choices.  Enjoy for year round and Passover use, for breakfast or a snack.

Best Kosher Chef

Chef Claudio is the chef from Fumio Grill & Sushi.  He is called the best grill-man in the kosher scene. He tenderly handles each piece of meat as though he was preparing it for his own loved ones.


 

Ask Us Anything *Giveaway*

 

January 28th 2014

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The other day, I was out with my sister-in-law Devorah (at that show I told you we went to see with our girls), when she wondered out loud if people are constantly asking me cooking questions.  I realized then that I actually don’t get too many cooking questions when I meet people in person.  I do get lots of questions though.  Most popular over the last year is “How did you leave that kitchen?” (Easy.)  “Where can I buy the chulent bowls I saw in your video?” (Target.)  “What’s your favorite restaurant in Israel?” (Gabriel in Jerusalem and Bodega Sushi & Plancha in Efrat.)

But you know, we have a few culinary stars on staff here that can answer your most pressing cooking Qs.

Shifra Klein, Editor-in-Chief of JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller Magazine, is expert in gourmet made easy with a focus on modern twists of traditional favorites as well as the newest cooking techniques.

Tamar Genger, Executive Editor of JOYofKOSHER.com  is a Registered Dietitian, Professor of Nutrition, avid traveler and menu planner – she covers drinks, trends, and chocolate all with a health minded focus.

And then of course we have our incredible family of chefs, columnists and bloggers who are standing by, ready to help you.  So ask away in the comments below.  No question too big or too small.  And we will start answering you in a new series of posts.  We are here for you always, you know that.  So…. ask us anything.

***Giveaway***

Win a 1 year subscription to our magazine, Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller!!

There are two ways to enter:

1. Go to Amazon and review the new Joy of Kosher Cookbook, submit the link to your comment in rafflecopter below.

2. Leave your Ask Us question in the comments below and enter with rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Host A Joy of Kosher Cook Book Club In Israel Get...

 

January 28th 2014

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Following the amazing JOY of KOSHER Israel Launch Party at the Cinematheque in Jerusalem in December we decided that we all enjoy getting together with friends over good food too much to let too much time go by before getting together again.

 

 

So! We’re starting something new in Israel that we hope you’ll want to join. It’s a way to connect with friends, new and old, in REAL LIFE. Fancy that!

We are looking for 12 volunteers across Israel to HOST our community cookbook club dinner parties:

If you volunteer and are selected to host you will receive a FREE copy of our first selection… (listen for that drum roll)… my brand new cookbook JOY of KOSHER Fast, Fresh, Family Recipes by Jamie Geller (me!).  The book retails for $30 US and 125 NIS but as a host you will receive your copy for FREE! (I know we said that already but just wanted to clarify for all y’all).  You will then have the perfect excuse to host a fabulous Joy of Kosher dinner party with your favorite foodie friends.

joy of kosher cookbook

Q What Does a Host Do?

A:

  • Have a wonderful time! Schedule your party any time between February 21 and March 9.
  • Invite at least 5 friends. (More would be better. That way there will be more food to taste.)
  • Cook from the book. Each guest will cook a recipe from the book to bring to the party.
  • Take pictures of the party, including the food and your friends and email the photos to us and tell us about your party, no later than March 17th, for inclusion in a future article on JoyofKosher.com.

A few more suggestions to help you host your cookbook club:

Q: Who makes what?

A: Usually the host makes the main course and assigns each guest a dish to make and bring to the party. But this is not a hard and fast rule. (There aren’t so many hard and fast rules in my kitchen.) So, as the host you have the option to plan the menu and assign each dish, but it’s also fun not knowing what everyone will make. So you can just assign each guest a category – soups, starters, sides, salads, mains or desserts. (Someone can even bake a bread or challah from the challah chapter!)

Q: Can I share the book with my club?

A:  Sure. You can either pass around your cookbook, or each person can buy his or her own copy (pretty please!) – they are available in Israel at all good Jewish bookshops, or if you can’t find one email us and we’ll track one down for you.

Q: What do we do at the party?

A:  Eat and discuss amongst yourselves. And eat some more. Seriously, we want you to talk about the food and about the book.  You can rate the recipes you each made, discuss what you liked or how you would tweak each dish.  Hopefully everyone will have had a chance to read through the stories in the book too, so along with the food discussion, you can talk about your own experiences with some of the issues I write about – epic kitchen disasters, for instance, or the “what’s for dinner” debate, your favorite family heirloom recipes, and there’s lots more. (Like sleep deprivation, mother of the year award, play date lunches, brisket a love story, dessert before the meal, the power of a smile etc….) As host, you can lead the discussion with a story of your own, if you like; then go round the table to share the thoughts and experiences of others. We’re especially interested in hearing the best (and best value) food subs you make in Israel for American products.

Q: How can I volunteer to be a host?

A: Put your name and town/city in the comments below.  Around February 6th we will select 12 people at random from across Israel to be our hosts and mail you the book so you can start planning.

We did this in the US and everyone had a great time, check out this cookbook club recap article to see what they did.

 

Update on 2/13 – So excited to see so many areas of the country included!! I wish I could give you all books and I hope you all consider hosting book club parties anyway. We spread it out and picked randomly and here are the winners – look for an email today:

1. Beth Saar, Ra’anana
2. Mina Yocheved, Eilat
3. Yael Maoz Rehovot
4 Sonia Esther Soltani Tel Aviv
5. Bracha Goldman Beersheva
6. Sara Mor – Bet Shemesh Nofei Aviv
7. Sue Epstein Efrat
8. Hadassah Levy Eli
9. Daniella Tannenwald Modiin
10.Tziona – Hispin (Golan)
11. Dave and Miri Bender – Tzfat
12. Marissa – Netanya


 

Spice Up Your Super Bowl

 

January 27th 2014

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This year we want to spice things up.  I just love the little bit of heat and flavor that comes from adding just a bit of horseradish to almost any dish.  The most popular foods to serve for the Super Bowl are wings, chili, pizza and guacamole.  The main idea is to serve food that is easy to eat in front of the television.  And easy to snack and enjoy as the game goes on.

 Veal-Sliders-with-Red-Slaw.

Veal Sliders with Red Slaw

Instead of going with full size burgers, I went with sliders.  Sliders are not only cute, but they are easier to eat.  For this slider I topped it with a special Red Slaw, a common burger or dog topping from Lexington, North Carolina.  They prefer their slaw to be dressed with ketchup instead of mayo and they like it a little spicy.  For my version, instead of using plain ketchup, I used Gold’s Ketchup with Horseradish and it gave the slaw just the right kick that was a perfect topping for my burger.

horseradish-guacamole

Horseradish Guacamole

For my guacamole, all I did was add a bit of Gold’s White Horseradish and wow, did that make a huge difference.  I can’t believe I never thought of it before, just a little horseradish in your guacamole is absolutely genius.

BBQ-Chicken-Bites.

BBQ Chicken Bites

These chicken bites are a fun easy to make little snack you can add to any menu.  Easy to serve and eat with toothpicks.  All the flavor here comes from Gold’s Steak Sauce, which is basically a BBQ sauce with horseradish mixed in.  It adds tremendous flavor.

Here are some more spiced up Super Bowl recipes you might like to try:

Crunchy Baked Gefilte Fish Fingers with Horseradish Sauce
Warm Potato Salad with Horseradish Sauce
Strawberry Jalapeno Baked Chicken Wing
Red Horseradish Deviled Eggs
Wasabi Wings

Hope you have a great Super Bowl!!

This post was sponsored by Gold’s, all opinions are my own.


 

The Best Meat Chili

 

January 26th 2014

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Jamie Geller shows you how to make Chili in this Quick & Kosher video. Find the recipe here.


 

The Best Ways To Serve Chips and Dips

 

January 24th 2014

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Whether you are having people over to watch the big game or just for snacks, we all love serving chips or veggies and dips.  Sure you can use any old plate and bowl, but let’s make life a little easier and serving a lot more fun.

This chip and dip set keeps your dip bowl away from the chips so that you won’t crush any chips.  The curvy bowl adds a little bit of style to your party and the depth can fit a whole lot of chips.  If you like to serve more than one dip try this Chip and Dip Set from Prodyne that comes with two attachable dip bowls.   Both bowls are great for salads too, you can keep the dressing or other salad toppings in the dip bowls.

If you prefer a more elegant glass look try this Luigi Bornioli 2 piece set that is dishwasher safe.  This shape also makes it easier to offer different veggies or a two different kinds of chips around the dip bowl.

For a greener/more natural look go with Core Bamboo, this version has 4 separate sections so you can really offer variety.

If you want to go with something more unique and hand made try something from Enrico.  This divided tray can work for a small gathering and would look absolutely gorgeous.


 

How To Make The Best Stuffed French Toast

 

January 24th 2014

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I used to think French toast was made on the stove. Soak the bread, stick it in a skillet, and you’re done, right? Wrong. The thing is that when French toast only gets a few minutes of stove-top cooking, the insides don’t have a chance to properly bake. For truly perfect, cakey insides, you also need the oven. Try it this way and you’ll have a hard time going back!

To take French toast up yet another notch, you can get a stuffed effect by French toasting sandwiches instead of plain slices of bread. Here, I used a combo of  homemade cream cheese and date spread (you can also use store bought) in some and peanut butter and date spread in others. You can do this with basically any sandwich filling, savory included (but if you go that route, replace the sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon with a pinch of salt and pepper and some herbs).

Stuffed French toast makes a great breakfast or brunch, but it’s so filling that it also works as a cozy “breakfast for dinner” dish. A mug of hot chocolate on the side is optional but totally recommended.

Here is the full recipe for the Best Stuffed French Toast.


 

Two New Winter Cupcake Recipes

 

January 23rd 2014

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I love cupcakes and once you get in a cupcake groove, it’s hard to get out.  They’re just so cute, so versatile, and so easy to whip together!  The only way to deal with this addiction is to feed it.  Usually bad advice to offer to addicts, except in the case of cupcakes.
I love trying out new flavor combinations and recently started “Cupcake of the month”.  It gives me the opportunity to use different themes and ingredients to bring out the true feeling of that month.
January right away makes me think of winter.  I live in California, where winter is mostly sunny and warm but I know somewhere out there, it must be cold and snowy.  When I think of winter, the first thing that comes to mind is the crisp fresh air.
chocolate peppermint cupcake
For my first cupcake, I chose a Chocolate Cupcake topped with a Peppermint Buttercream, drizzled with melted chocolate and pieces of peppermint candy.  The cupcakes have a dark chocolate flavor and are super moist.  Piled high on top is the peppermint buttercream.  You can add crushed peppermint to any of your favorite vanilla buttercream recipes.  By using actual crushed peppermint instead of a peppermint extract, you get that slight crunch in the cream that screams that cool & crisp wintery fresh taste. You might want to use a round tip to frost the cupcakes; otherwise, the pieces of candy will get stuck inside a typical swirl tip.  The optional melted chocolate drizzled on top helps bring together the flavors of chocolate and mint together.  For an extra crunch and a pretty finish, sprinkle on the remaining pieces of candy.
chai latte cupcake

For the second cupcake I made Vanilla Chai Latte Cupcakes.  When it is cold outside I will most likely not leave the house without a hot drink in my hand.  I’m not much of a tea drinker, but I absolutely love chai lattes.  They are so comforting; the aroma itself warms you up.  Every sip gives you a beautiful blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cardamon that, when combined all together, make one incredible drink.

The vanilla cupcakes came out light with a fluffy texture and not overly sweet, which is perfect because it will be covered with just a simple yet rich buttercream. The buttercream is made with the chai spice mix that you make before hand using cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and cardamon.  Once iced, the cupcakes were lightly sprinkled with white sugar sprinkles and small white snowflakes giving off that snowy look as well. When you bite into this cupcake, the full flavor of a vanilla chai latte stirs all of your senses.
Enjoy my cupcake recipes!

 

15 Best Game Day Ideas

 

January 22nd 2014

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The key to a great Super Bowl party is variety.  Whether you prefer classic superbowl party favorites or like to add a twist to your game day recipes, these 15 game day ideas are guaranteed crowd-pleasers!

Empire Kosher Wild Wings

1.  Empire Kosher Wild Wings

Chicken wings are the ultimate Super Bowl party food!  Small in size, but they pack a punch in taste.  You can broil or fry a large batch of chicken wings and prepare them with an array of sauces to please all party guests.

Sweet and Tangy Chicken Wings

2.  Sweet and Tangy Wings

These Sweet and Tangy Wings hit the right balance of sweet and savory.

French's Classic Sliders

French's Classic Sliders

3.  French’s Classic Sliders

Personally, I could survive Super Bowl Sunday with Buffalo Wings and ”Football” Acordion Potatoes.  But I might have to step away from the wings, because these sliders are delicious and fun for both adults and kids at a Super Bowl party.  They may not be mess-free, but they are delicious to eat!  Add a toppings bar with that includes Special Sauce to make the sliders extra special.

Short Rib Sliders

Short Rib Sliders

4.  Short Rib Sliders

An alternative to the Classic Slider is the Short Rib Slider, it packs amazing flavor and will look great on your Super Bowl party table.

Potato Kugel Cups

5.  Potato Kugel Cups

These Potato Kugel Cups will be flying off the table.  They are super delicious and a perfect finger food, plus they add an elegant touch.

Avocado Egg Rolls with Spicy Dipping Sauce

6.  Avocado Egg Rolls with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Another great pareve recipe are the Avocado Egg Rolls. The crunch of the fried egg roll plays well with the smooth, rich texture of the avocado.

Derby Deviled Eggs

7. Derby Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs are a great Super Bowl party recipe.  The eggs can be boiled in advanced, leaving minimal prep-time on game day.

Twice Baked Potato Skins

8.Twice Baked Potato Skins

However you make them, be it dairy-free or vegetarian, potato skins are a versatile option. With these Twice Baked Potato Skins recipe there is plenty of room to customize your super bowl potato skins with whatever toppings you prefer.

Idaho® Potato Spinach Balls

Idaho® Potato Spinach Balls

9.  Idaho® Potato Spinach Balls

Another great potato recipe are these Idaho Potato Spinach Balls.  Similar to the Potato Kugel Cups, they add an elegant touch.  They can easily be made dairy-free by substituting the cheese with vegan pepper jack cheese.

Chili Nacho Cups

10.  Chili Nacho Cups

A Super Bowl party is a great excuse for breaking out all of your favorite finger food recipes.  The Chili Nacho Cups pack all the fun of nachos, but without the mess!

 

Guacamole and Chips

11.  Guacamole and Chips

Place the Guacamole and Chips and Fresh Tomato Salsa next to the Chili Nacho Cups for a great south of the border flavor profile.

Fresh Tomato Salsa

12.  Fresh Tomato Salsa

Portobello Tacos

Portobello Tacos

13.  Super Bowl No Meat Tacos

Approximately 8 million pounds of guacamole is served on game day, so why not pair it with these scrumptious (meatless) tacos.

Chocolate Pudding

Dirt and Worms Chocolate Pudding

14.  Dirt and Worms Pudding Pie

When it comes to dessert on game day have just fun with it!  Serve an all-time kids’ favorite the Dirt and Worms Pudding Pie in individual tins or clear plastic cups as a fun treat.  There will squeals of delight coming from the children (and possibly the adults) when they find the gummy worms baked inside.

 

Peanut Butter Football

15.  Peanut Butter Football Dip

For guests not watching football on T.V., give them a football to look at on the table!  Shoshanna from Couldn’t be Pareve created this recipe for the latest Kosher Connection Recipe Round Up.  For any of you rib lovers you can even enjoy them this time of year without freezing to death, try these Beef Ribs made in the oven.  Check more Super Bowl ideas here.