/RECIPE/ Matzah Nachos

 

May 12th 2015

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(Sorry all for being absent for a bit, not to fear I’ll catch up asap. Please forgive my lack of consistent post as I’ve been juggling a busy schedule with trying to change over to a new computer (not always so fun or hang-up free) but all is goo and now things should be back to normal. Thank you SO much for your patience.)

 

The recipe for this week is good – I mean really, REALLY good. They pack a cheesy, crispy, delish crunch! A must for pesach meals! Make sure to add it to your collection of recipes for next year!!!

The wetting and then cutting is fun, I found that when I cut a stack of 4-5 the middle ones wanted to stick together so, keep your stacks smaller.

I love how the cheese and matzah get crunchy all together, a beautiful harmony! And then the fresh salsa! YUM! This really is a lovely recipe, it’s been so nice that so far with this little venture that I’ve been able to enjoy each recipe I’ve made….I wonder if I’ll ever not like a recipe?

Even if its not pesach when you happen to read this you may want to raid your pantry and see if you have any leftover matzah and try this recipe out. Its very worth it!

 

All the best!


 

Step-by-Step DIY Shavuot Flower Arrangement

 

May 12th 2015

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Looking for a sophisticated floral centerpiece for Shavuot? We’ve got just the thing. It looks complicated, but we’ve detailed each step for you and made it super-easy. Before we get started, one great tip to remember is when trimming the flowers, try to trim the stem at a 45 degree angle, that way the flowers can absorb more water = longer life!

Flowers Close Up

Materials:

1 square 6 in glass vase

10 white hydrangeas

1 orange lily

3 peach color roses

2 purple limoniums

4 white lupins

Clear scotch tape

Flowers Grid 1

Step 1: Create the grid. The grid will help hold the flowers in place. Start on the right side and leave about 1 cm of space between the glass and the tape.

Step 2: Go to the left side and repeat. Tip: The tape should go over the vase about ½ cm.

Step 3: Place a piece of tape about 2 inches from the top of the vase.

Step 4: Place a piece of tape about 2 inches from the bottom of the vase. The grid is now complete!

Tip: I will refer to the labeled grid below to reference where to place the flowers.

Step 5: Gather all your hydrangeas and trim them to have a 6 inch stem. Place one hydrangea on the bottom left corner of the grid (labeled A). You will fill the grid with hydrangeas in a clockwise fashion.

Step 6: Place a hydrangea on the left middle section of the grid (labeled B).

Step 7: Place a hydrangea on the left top section of the grid (labeled C).

Step 8: Place a hydrangea in the top middle section of the grid (labeled D).

Step 9: Place a hydrangea on the top right corner of the grid (labeled E).

Step 10: Place a hydrangea on the middle right section of the grid (labeled F).

Step 11: We are done filling in the outer portion of the vase with hydrangeas. Let’s start filling the center the vase! Get a hydrangea and place it in the center grid (labeled I). Position it to the left.

Step 12: Get a hydrangea and place it in the center grid (labled I). Position it to the center.

Step 13: Get one hydrangea and place it in the center grid (labeled I). Position it to the right.

Step 14: Gather your 4 lupins and trim them to have a 4 inch stem. Get a lupin and place it in the bottom center of the grid (labeled H). Position it to the left away from the hydrangeas.

Step 15: Get a lupin and place it in the bottom center of the grid (labeled H). Position it to the left and back toward the hydrangeas.

Step 16: Get a lupin and place it in the bottom center of the grid (labeled H). Position it to the right and back toward the hydrangeas.

Step 17: Get a lupin and place it in the bottom center of the grid (labeled H). Position it to the right away from the hydrangeas.

Step 18: Gather your roses and trim to have a 4.5 inch stem. Place the three roses together in front of the lupins (in the area labeled H).

Step 19: Gather the limoniums. Break off all the stems (there should be about 5-8 stems per a bunch). Trim the stems to about 1-2 inches. Bunch up all the limoniums and of place them to the right of the roses (in the area labeled G).

Step 20: You are almost done! Gather a lily and trim it to a 5 inch stem. Place the lily above the three roses (in the area labeled H).

Now you are all done and ready for your celebration!

Happy Shavuot!

Tip: To add some extra touches to the table, try placing some apricots in a vase, scatter a few roses on the table and put some wheat on the table.

Content provided by Flower Explosion.


 

Week {27} Recipes

 

May 12th 2015

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To enter to win a Joy of Kosher Cookbook just subscribe to our new YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChxA1V9pzrzj-_5vTG6wu8Q.   If you already did, you are already counted but help us spread the word – we will give away the cookbook when we hit 500 Subscribers.

California Dog

Beef Sausage and Pepper Rolls

Chocolate-Raisin-Nut Babka

Baked Eggs In Potato Skins

Stuffed French toast

French Toast à la Crème Brûlée

Grilled Chicken Mango Salad

Yael’s Chocolate S’manwiches

Jerk Chicken


 

Week {26} Recipes

 

May 12th 2015

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Here are this week’s recipes

Fudgy Brownies

Chicken Thighs with Eggplant and Olives over Pasta (slow cooker recipe)

Chicken Tacos

Ceviche Tacos with Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Herb Crusted Salmon Cutlets has a video

Saffron Rice

Spring Barley Risotto with Asparagus and Lemon

Cider Glazed Vegetables (green beans with cider and almonds)


 

An Easy Traditional Shavuot Menu

 

May 12th 2015

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We have so many Shavuot menus that we have shared over the years, from Mexican to Italian to Indian to Brunch.   This year I thought we could go back to tradition.  It is tradition to serve dairy on Shavuot, there are several religious reasons we do this, but for me I just prefer dairy and jump at the opportunity to make a gourmet meal that can even be heated and finished just before serving!! Oh, the glories of yuntiff.

If you are a meat lover stay tuned for next week’s menu where I will share a Memorial Day Shavuot Menu, get your grills ready for holiday feast.

Now, back to our dairy traditional Shavuot menu.  To be honest I love to make risotto, this Farro Risotto is my fave and homemade pasta lasagna and surround those hearty mains with salads, but I promised you easy and that is I what I am going to give you.

To keep things traditional, we have to serve blintzes, but to keep them healthy and delicious I am going to change them up and serve these Spinach and Feta blintzes as the appetizer.  Feel free to use store bought crepe wrappers or to make it even easier use egg roll wrappers!!  Serve on their own or with a cold cucumber soup.

poached salmon

For the main course it is nice to serve a fish, I might prefer pan seared, but this quick and easy Poached Salmon will be great for making ahead and for a large crowd.

On the side all you need is this Kale Avocado and Farro Salad.  No need for anything else, but if you can’t help yourself I suggest some Roasted Cauliflower.

ricotta-cheese-cakes-mini

Mini Ricotta Cheesecake

Finally, dessert has to have some cheesecake, keep it small and simple, these Mini Ricotta Cheesecakes are the real deal all you need is a large fruit salad to serve along side.

Let me know what you are serving for one of your Shavuot meals, I hope this menu helped in your planning.


 

Our Favorite Cheese Blintzes Recipes Plus...

 

May 11th 2015

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Continuing with our dairy recipe roundup theme, here are our favorite blintz recipes for Shavuot.  Last week we extolled the virtues of cheesecake as a Shavuot staple and this week we share the need for blintzes, the next best dairy food for Shavuot.

A traditional blintz is a thin crepe like pancake filled with cottage cheese and that is where will begin, but who ever said we have to stick to tradition?

Blintzes are so versatile, once you get the crepe right you can really fill it with anything you can dream up.   Consider different fruits, different types of cheeses you can even try vegetables or fish for a more savory twist.  Then don’t forget the topping!!  Cheese blintzes are wonderful with a fruity sauce, but chocolate works too if you are in the mood.  Check it out below,  mix and match between the recipes or make your own, we are up for anything.

Start with the perfect crepe batter.  You might be able to buy these somewhere, but it is cheaper and tastier to make your own.  Learn to become a Blintz Queen right here with step by step blintz instructions from batter to blintz.

blintz shuffle

Blintz Soufflé couples a classic Jewish food (the blintz) with a classic French dessert (the soufflé). Every cook has a different version of this dish, but they all contain the basics of butter, cream, sugar and eggs. This recipe also includes orange juice and sour cream and is sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

Advice:

If you have a pretty baking dish make sure to use it for this one. It is best served right out of the dish at the table.

creamy cheese fruit blintzes

Creamy Cheese Fruit Blintzes are filled with cream cheese, cottage cheese and the fruit of your choice. After being mixed together in an electric mixer, the cream and cottage cheeses are smooth and tangy and the addition of the sweet fruit is perfectly flavorful.

Advice:

Make sure to let the batter stand for 15 minutes after blending it in the food processor. It will definitely turn out better that way!

More: On How To Make Your Own Cheese Blintz

Chocolate Cheese Blintzes

Chocolate Cheese Blintzes are the perfect addition to your meal or are also delicious as a snack. They don’t have to be warm to enjoy. They will be devoured no matter what temperature they are at:

Hot, Warm, Cold… Always delicious.

Advice:

You can make this recipe easily without the chocolate, but the chocolate spread adds a new flavor dimension that is definitely worth trying.

savory crepes or blintzes joyofkosher

These Savory Crepes or Blintzes are actually 3 recipes in one. It starts with a great crepe recipe and then gives three options for savory fillings:

1. Spinach, feta and oven roasted tomatoes

2. Aloo Gobi

3. Apple Brie and Onion

Advice:

Add curry powder to the batter if you are filling it with Aloo Gobi, use chopped herbs in the batter for the Spinach filling, and use your imagination for more great ideas. The batter is parve so you can even experiment with meat fillings.

Stage Deli Cheese Blintzes

Stage Deli’s Cheese Blintzes are a classic. New York’s Stage Deli opened in 1937 and, unfortunately, closed it’s doors in 2012. Stage Deli was patronized by numerous celebrities and had many Broadway themes dishes and dishes named after celebrities. Although obviously not named for a celebrity, other then the celebrated restaurant itself, these blintzes are  must try!

Advice:

Follow the tip at the bottom of the recipe on how to fill and roll the blintzes. You can either roll them or try folding them like in the picture.

ice cream blintzes

Ice Cream Blintzes are the perfect dessert blintze. You can make this recipe in seconds with store-bought chocolate sauce and crepes but we must admit, it tastes WAY better when you make it yourself (both recipes are given).

Advice:

You can make it dairy or parve depending on the ingredient’s that you use. If you make it parve you can keep this recipe in mind for Shabbat and other holidays.

Lemon Cream Cheese Gluten-Free Crepes with Raspberry Sauce

Last but not least. Drum roll please……

Lemon Cream Cheese Gluten-Free Crepes with Raspberry Sauce is the perfect gluten-free option for Shavuot. You can use just the crepe portion of the recipe and fill it will fillings of your choice, or stick to the full recipe. It will be amazing either way. You really won’t even know that it’s gluten-free.

Advice:

The recipe prep and cook time does not include time for the batter to chill so make sure you take the time to chill the batter for 1 to up to 48 hours.

More: Try Our Gluten Free Cheesecake Recipe For Shavuot and Beyond

For all of our blintz recipes click here.

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Learn to make your own blintzes and get creative

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Israeli Inspired Frozen Yogurt Recipes

 

May 11th 2015

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There’s this place that I visit just a little too often.

And in between visits I dream.

And one day in between dreams (and a 20-minute detour I really couldn’t afford) I thought: I can do this at home and so can you. And that’s how my favorite frozen desserts inspired by Israeli yogurt chain Re-Bar came to life.

There are so many ways to top frozen yogurt. Here are 3 great ideas, plus a recipe for making your own semi-homemade Greek frozen yogurt.

Semi-Homemade Greek Frozen Yogurt

To start off, before you add any toppings, you have to have a delicious and easy frozen yogurt base. This Semi-Homemade Greek Frozen Yogurt is exactly what you are looking for. It takes a few hours to set, but there aren’t many steps and the outcome is creamy and tart… A perfect base for any topping.

More: DIY Make Your Own Greek Yogurt

Halva-Inspired Frozen Yogurt

Halva-Inspired Frozen Yogurt is the perfect Israeli treat to have on a hot day. The mix of silan aka date honey (a dark, sweet, concentrated fruit syrup that can be used much in the same way as honey, molasses or maple syrup) and nuts along with a dollop of tahini makes this frozen yogurt taste like you are biting into homemade halva, without all the work.

Cocoa Banana Nut Frozen Yogurt

Of course banana, chocolate, and peanut butter are not a new combo but what makes this  Cocoa Banana Nut Frozen Yogurt recipe special is the crunchy cocoa roasted almonds.

Last time I was in Philly my mom gave me a bunch of 100-calorie cocoa almond packs to keep in my purse for power snacking while traveling. Look for the OU-certified Cocoa Roast Dark Chocolate Almonds from Emerald on Amazon or at your local grocer, or make your own (recipe included).

Tropical Frozen Yogurt

Tropical Frozen Yogurt With Mango Coulis is probably the best fruit filled frozen yogurt. Not only because if you can make it yourself you can choose which ever fruit you would like, but also because of the delicious mango coulis. The best part about the coulis is that the recipe yields 3/4 cup so feel free to use the leftover coulis on any dish you think would benefit from delicious mango goodness.

More: How To Cut A Mango

Israeli Inspired Frozen Yogurt

 

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

May/June 2014

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How To Serve Your Own Grilled Cheese Bar

 

May 8th 2015

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First off, I want to make one thing very clear: Nothing beats white bread with American cheese and ketchup, slowly panfried in a pan with butter. The bread takes on a golden brown color and the cheese melts together with the sweet acidic ketchup and forms the perfect bite. But…

Unfortunately for me, I can’t really put that sandwich on our tasting menu (our customers expect something a bit more glamorous) so we had to think about grilled cheese a bit out of the box, and came up with the famous ‘Epic Bites Grilled Cheese Bar.’ This is the ultimate grilled cheese experience and popular party menu.

There are hundreds of variations you can choose from when making grilled cheese, but unlimited varieties can get confusing so we like to offer a choice of 6.

Here are our favorite 6 to help you create the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Bar:

Classic Grilled Cheese

1. The Classic Grilled Cheese is probably my favorite (if it wasn’t clear from my first sentence, I like the simple flavors of bread and gooey cheese) and is made with our homemade cheese slice on Sourdough Pullman. A Pullman looks  like an ordinary loaf of white bread, but since it’s made with sourdough it has an elevated flavor.

Wild Mushroom Grilled Cheese

2. Wild Mushroom Grilled Cheese (AKA Expensive) is the most popular sandwich at our events. This sandwich starts with our Mushroom Conserva which is a blend of local wild mushrooms (maitake, chantrelles, hedgehogs) and more conventional types (crimini, white button) that are slowly cooked in oil with loads of fresh herbs and garlic, then acidulated with vinegar and allowed to cool. This condiment is great on everything and is a staple in our kitchen.

More: 2 Grilled Cheese Recipes Including Classic and Light

Fig Jam and Goat Cheese Grilled Sandwich

3. Fig Jam and Goat Cheese Grilled Sandwich is the perfect “no-cow” sandwich (as we call it here at Epic Bites Catering). You may never have thought to make your own fig jam, but this recipe is very easy and tastes amazing. The smooth goat cheese and crusty bread (of your choice of course) pair perfectly with the homemade jam. You may want to double or even triple the jam recipe. Yes, it’s really that good!

4. Smoked Ricotta and Red Pepper Mostarda With Fresh Mozzarella Grilled Cheese is the specialty sandwich I try to get as many people as possible to try. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, salty, smoky, and savory. We cold-smoke ricotta (or you can cheat and add some smoked salt to it, REAL SMOKED SALT) then layer it on Ciabatta (or focaccia) with fresh mozzarella and a healthy dose of Red Pepper Mostarda.

5. Our Avocado and Sweet Thai Chilli Grilled Cheese is a surprising combination of avocado, cheddar and sweet Thai chilli sauce. The sweet Thai chilli sauce is smeared on the bread and adds a sweet tangy taste to the sandwich. When the cheese melts and the avocado heats up the delicious combination of flavors truly blooms in your mouth.

More: Grilled Cheese Gadgets

 

Grilled Vegetable with Pesto Sandwich

6. The final grilled sandwich is our Grilled Vegetables With Pesto Sandwich, which is our vegan specialty. You can use any vegetables that you like to grill. Be creative! We usually use zucchini and eggplant, but branch out to asparagus, peppers or even carrots.

A few more tips:

1. Types of Bread – We used a combination of baguettes (best for pesto grilled vegetables), basic white (avocado/cheddar/chili), and rye bread (most versatile) for our grilled cheese.

2. The secret weapon – The secret to a crispy grilled cheese is to forgo the butter and oil and use mayo instead. Mayo is an emulsified fat so it tends to give you a nice crust without getting greasy. Apply generously to the bread.

3. The equipment – Don’t have a $500 Panini grill? Use a sauté pan over medium heat or an affordable grilled cheese press.

This article was written by Chef Isaac Bernstein.

 

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

May/June 2014

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Cooking With Joy: Dairy Sticky Buns and Orange...

 

May 7th 2015

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Last Shavuos I went all out Joy of Kosher style.  I made two types of cinnamon buns and a cheesecake! Shavuos is only 2 day!! What was I thinking?!? After looking at everything that I had baked, I realized it was WAY too much for our family to eat alone and so I decided to have an impromptu Kiddush. Everything tastes better when enjoyed with friends!

Dairy Sticky Buns

Gooey Pecan Sticky Buns p.344

The recipe for the Dairy Sticky Buns calls for pecans, although I left them out since Hubs and the kids wouldn’t have eaten them had I put them in. I realize now, after the fact, that the saltiness of the nuts is essential for the recipe, because the pecans are needed to cut the sweetness of the “Sticky Goo”. I’ll remember to include them next time.

Hubs and I each had one and enjoyed them very much! One was enough to get all the sticky sweet yumminess. Our friends however felt differently. One of the guests ate four all by himself! I guess he liked them.

Orange Scented Cheesecake p.305
DRESS IT UP Candied Orange Cheesecake

The Orange Scented Cheesecake did not go over as well though. I was really disappointed, because I really LOVE cheesecake. Everyone at the table had the same comments: “great consistency, the crust was to die for, but the cake itself needed more flavor”. My friends and I agreed that it needed vanilla and a little more sugar. Like all the recipes that came before it, making the cheesecake was a learning experience and I am still glad I made it.

I can’t wait to figure out what I’ll be making this Shavuos!!

Note: This blog series, Cooking With Joy, is meant to be a companion to the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller cookbook.  Most of the full recipes are only available in the cookbook.


 

A Cheesecake Roundup For Shavuot

 

May 6th 2015

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It feels like Passover just ended, but we celebrate 33 days tonight with Lag Baomer and that means Shavuot is only a few weeks away!!

That means it’s about time to start thinking about what you are going to cook.

The tradition is to eat dairy on Shavuot and we have almost 2,000 dairy recipes for you to browse that it is difficult to choose, but no Shavuot is complete without:

Cheesecake.  Cheesecake comes in all shapes and sizes and flavors.  Here are 6 favorites to help you narrow things down. Feel free to test them out before the holiday and don’t forget to let us know how they turned out in the comments below.

Pareve Snickers Cheesecake

Parve Snickers Cheesecake

What?!

You’re starting with a parve cheesecake?  Heaven forbid!!

This Parve Snickers Cheesecake is so delicious whether you keep it parve or make it dairy it deserved first placement.  It comes out amazing every time and also keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days. When you take it out, just drizzle on the caramel and chocolate and top with peanuts and voila!!

Mini Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecakes

Mini Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecakes

These Mini Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecakes look pretty and they taste even better. The raspberry preserve adds a tart, yet sweet twist to the delicious cheesecake and the fresh raspberry on top is the perfect touch. They are also perfect for a big group, because who doesn’t like their own personal cheesecake!

More: A Step by Step Guide To Make The Perfect Cheesecake

strawberry parfait

Strawberry ‘Cheesecake’ Parfait

Although not a traditional cheesecake, our Strawberry ‘Cheesecake’ Parfait is another personal dessert that people love. It is no bake and the strawberries, cream cheese and whip cream are the perfect combination. It looks beautiful in any glass, but mix it up and try different shapes and sizes.

Low-Fat Lemon Cheesecake

Low-Fat Lemon Cheesecake

Not many people think low-fat when it comes to Shavuot, but this Low-Fat Lemon Cheesecake will change your mind. With 10 servings per recipe and only 196 calories per serving this cheesecake has the delicious taste of tart lemon and a great creamy texture.

Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Milk Chocolate Ganache

Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Milk Chocolate Ganache

Although this Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Milk Chocolate Ganache recipe takes a bit more work it is definitely worth a try. It has three layers, brownie crust, cookie dough and cheesecake, and a milk chocolate ganache layer on top. Every bite is better than the next!!

More: No Bake Desserts

Basic Cheesecake

Basic Cheesecake

A cheesecake roundup wouldn’t be complete without a basic cheesecake recipe. This recipe isn’t too difficult and you can can add any flavor to the cream cheese or even spices to the graham cracker crust if you would like to make it your own.

There you go:

6 delicious and diverse cheesecake recipes perfect for Shavuot!! For more cheesecake recipes browse over 50.


 

Mother’s Day Brunch White Bread Recipes

 

May 6th 2015

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You know what gets really under appreciated? White bread.

I’m talking about the classic wonder bread-like white bread that used to house our peanut butter and jelly and melty cheeses at school.

What happened to being the greatest thing since sliced bread?

The greatest thing since French baguette doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Now that everything has gotten all fancy and grown up, white sandwich bread in the supermarket aisle gets an upturned nose for having preservatives and all sorts of other bad stuff that taste good. All the multigrain and I-only-last-a-day-before-you-can-turn-me-to-breadcrumbs breads are getting all the love.

But in reality, white bread has held our hands all throughout our childhood. It supported our growth and was always there when we were feeling sad no matter what we threw on it. It was soft and cuddly and made you feel nice. Kind of like your mom who is always there for you no matter what and is always super underappreciated? That’s why I implore you to use this mothers day as an opportunity to say to your mom, Mom I love you like I love white bread.

There will always be a very large place in my heart for you. And just to make sure she understands how much that really means, here’s a couple of recipes upside of awesome to make for your mom on Mothers Day proving just that! It will make giving your mom the best Mother’s Day the yeast of your worries. (Hang on, its about to get punny in here.)

Nothing says I Loaf You like:

Crème Brule French Toast Roll Ups with Nutella

You’re the best thing since Sliced Bread Crème Brule French-Toast Roll Ups with Hazelnut Filling

It’s like French toast, crème brulee and nutella all rolled into one gorgeous little package. If this isn’t the way to your mother’s heart I don’t know what is.

nest eggs in a hole

Hole in my Hearts Egg-in-Toast

This recipe comes from way back in my childhood when my dad used to make us breakfasts on weekends. It was always a special treat and the best part was dipping the toasty corners and extra little middle toast into the runny yolk.

over stuffed bread pudding

“You’ve Always Made Sure I Was” Over Stuffed Bread Pudding

This recipe has everything in it, like an indecisive 7 year old’s ice cream sundae. It’s a great way of showing your mom that no matter how old she gets she still looks young. “Like really young Ma, you could be my sister.” Use your extra bread odds and ends for making this recipe! The fillings I used are just suggestions. Don’t be afraid to go a little crazy with your own ideas for stuffing and toppings!

Mother's Day Smothie with Strawberries

I Knead You Thick Fruit Smoothie

Using dry bread to thicken soups is an age-old trick; why not apply the same thing to  a smoothie? This is a great smoothie for those of you who love a thick smoothie mustache but hate bananas. Feel free to get a little fancy-dancy and spike the smoothie with some white wine or sparkly champagne.

I know what you’re thinking… you’re so sick of bread jokes one more and your toast… wah wah….


 

Celebrate Mother’s Day With A Cook-off

 

May 5th 2015

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We haven’t gone out to a restaurant on Mother’s Day in years. I can’t handle the crowds, the rushed service, the same old tired food. And frankly, now that we have 5 grandchildren, we also don’t want to make them wait and – perhaps – become restless and cranky, which only makes it more stressful for us (and everyone else in the restaurant).

It’s just easier at home.

I don’t mind cooking. It’s more relaxing than the restaurant scene. My daughters and sons-in-law also like to cook. My husband likes to pour the wine and make the drinks. So we have Mother’s Day at my house with a cook-off every year. We choose a theme: one year it was chocolate chip cookies, one year burgers, another year pasta with red sauce. Like that.

Each participant (it could be one of them or a couple together) tells me in advance what ingredients he or she needs (the actual recipes remain a secret) and I do the shopping. We get busy early afternoon and a few hours later (and a few glasses of something alcoholic) we are all happy and ready to eat.

All the recipes are different, so everyone is bound to find a dish they like, even the picky eaters. And everyone is a winner. First prize for most creative. First prize for most visually appealing. First prize for most comforting. Like that.

This year I’m thinking – maybe we’ll have a chicken wings cook-off.  Or maybe grilled cheese (I’m also thinking that my grandson Zev, now age 14, may want to take part in the festivities and do some cooking and he doesn’t eat chicken). We have to have a family vote. Whichever we do, I’ll provide the side dishes and salad, plus dessert. Ed will be in charge of the beverages.

My kitchen is always a mess at the end of one of these cook-offs (then again, after the kids and grandkids visit it’s always a mess). But honestly, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Mother’s Day.

If we decide on chicken wings or grilled cheese, these are the recipes I’ll cook.

Hot and Spicy Wings

My Hot and Spicy Wings are always a hit. The Sriracha sauce gives the wings a perfect spicy kick.

Grilled Cheese

There are never leftovers of my crispy and gooey Grilled Goat Cheese Panini with Charmoula Dressing. The recipe is easy and designed for one serving but you can make as many as you would like.


 

A Loving Mother’s Day Brunch Menu

 

May 5th 2015

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When I think of a description for Mom’s around the world, I think of “loving” and when I think of what kind of food and what kind of menu to create “loving” is there again.  Isn’t there an old saying that the reason Mom’s food tastes better is because she made it with love?  Even if your mother doesn’t show her affection with tons of hugs and kisses and traditional signs of love, I know there is love behind all her actions.  In honor of all the loving Mother’s and everyone planning a Brunch to celebrate Mom, this menu is for you.

Double Espresso Hot Chocolate

Instead of the regular morning coffee, try something a bit more decadent, with a shot of Double Espresso Liqueur for an extra dose of love.  This Hot Chocolate will surely start the Brunch on the right track or you can save it for dessert and start with a Mango Bellini.

Kale Potato Hash with Fried Egg

For the main coarse consider going with this Kale and Potato Hash with Fried Egg, easy to make, includes some greens and tastes delicious.  If you are more of a frittata or quick person try this Asparagus and Cheese Frittata and serve with roast potatoes or go lighter with roast cauliflower.

White-Chocolate-Cranberry-Scones-Tamar-Genger

Send her off to get a massage with my favorite Cranberry White Chocolate Scones, but you can fill them with her favorites, dark chocolate and pecan is my second fave.  They can really be made quick and easy, but if you are more comfortable with muffins, try Chocolate Banana Muffins.

Finally, the most important part about making Brunch for Mom is keeping the kitchen clean!!!  Even if you have your mom coming to you, the husbands and kids are in charge of cooking and cleaning on Mother’s Day.

Main Image is a Potato and Cheddar Frittata


 

4 Sizzling Hot Dog Topping Ideas

 

April 30th 2015

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Lag B’Omer is almost here, and it’s time to get into that BBQ mindset. As a child, I’ve always put the 3 classic condiments on my hotdog: ketchup, mustard and relish. This year I decided to go off the well traveled dog path and transform the simple hot dog in a bun to ‘The Ultimate Dog’. I couldn’t decide on just one recipe so I’ve created FOUR fun and fresh recipes to tempt each and every one of you.

Hot Dog with Mushroom and Onion Topping

Hot Dog with Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions

You can do no harm when adding mushrooms and onions to a hot dog. This recipe is quick, easy and extremely flavorful. The aroma of the sautéed onions will leave your mouth watering and keep you going back for seconds. Top your hot dog off with some yellow mustard to give your meal some extra color and taste.

California Dog - Alfalfa Topped Hot Dog

California Dog

Born and raised in Los Angeles, I felt inspired to create a hot dog that was symbolic of my hometown. I decided to create a recipe using fresh and healthy ingredients ranging from guacamole to alfalfa sprouts. For some extra kick and a half, add Sriracha to taste. This is the perfect recipe for anyone that wants to make this an extra HOT Lag B’Omer even without a fire!

Sausage wrapped with Turkey bacon and topped with avocado and crispy onions

Hot Dog or Sausage Topped with Turkey Bacon, Avocado and Crispy Onions

Meat on meat…that’s right. As a carnivore lover, this hot dog is everything I can dream of that fits in a bun. Hot dogs are great, but what’s even better IMO is sausage. My thought process was the following: If I’m already replacing the hot dog for sausage then I might as well add some turkey bacon. Okay, fine. Maybe the two thoughts don’t click, but one bite into this sausage dog and you’ll understand exactly what I mean. The savory sausage, with the salty bacon dipped in chipotle mustard will have your taste buds thanking you.

Hot Dog topped with Asian Slaw

Hot Dog topped with Asian Slaw

My Slaw Dog.  Usually I like coleslaw accompanying my hot dog, but this time I decided to take a risk and mix the two together. The scallions will add a sharp flavor to your dog, while the ramen noodles will give you that extra crunch you’ve been waiting for. Adding an Asian sesame dressing will give your hot dog some sweetness and tang.

Hot Dog Topper Sampler - check out all 4 recipes for amazing ideas for your next BBQ bash