No, I am not going gluten free. I remain the self proclaimed queen of challah and all delicious carbs. But my sister was recently diagnosed with a gluten and dairy allergy, and so researching and coming up with creative meal and snack ideas for her has been my latest project.
It suddenly seems that everyone has a gluten allergy and that gluten free baking and eating and packaged foods are everywhere, no? I am not sure I buy into it. But it’s not my stomach, I love my sister and so I will do whatever I can to be supportive.
Last week week we made a version of these Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Peanut Butter Bites. Ours didn’t turn out quite as beautiful as these, but we will be working on round two this weekend and I remain hopeful. We also decided to sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt on top of each one. You know I love anything sweet and salty! And regardless of how pretty they were (or were not) they were delicious!
In my recipe searching I also came across a recipe for these Gluten Free Vegan Banana Peanut Butter Chip Cookies which look simple and yummy.
Friends and foodies have been sending me ideas for recipes for my sister including Spaghetti Squash Bolognese and this Vegan Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili, both sound hearty and healthful, And while I keep suggesting different combinationsof entree salads, my sister insists salad can get boring after awhile, and so I am now on the lookout for non-salad lunch and dinner options. (got any good ones? send them my way!)
I fully recognize my shortcomings in the area of a restrictred diet such as this, but I did find a great list of bloggers who ARE the experts. Check out this list of 10 Inspiring Blogs for Gluten Free Food & Cooking from The Kitchn.
Got a good gluten free, dairy free recipe for us? Please comment below and let us know! We are on the lookout and can’t wait to get some more creative ideas to stay satisfied and healthy.
I like to say that baking is chemistry, and gluten-free baking is a science.
The secret to baking gluten-free goodies that are very close to the real thing lies in producing the “stretch factor” without gluten and using the right mix of gluten-free flours.
Creating the Illusion of Gluten
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt that creates the “stretch factor” in batters and dough. Adding xanthan gum, guar gum, or psyllium husk to the mix helps create the same stretchy properties, and results in a chewy rather than crumbly baked good.
The Right Mix
In general, a mix of gluten-free flours will always be better than a single gluten-free flour. This is because no gluten-free flour can closely mirror glutinous all-purpose flour.
The gluten-free flours I use most frequently are sorghum, millet, brown rice, and tapioca. To add richness, I also sometimes add almond or hazelnut meal into the mix. A lot of my recipes have been developed through trial-and-error, but there are also many resources online for gluten-free baking.
I buy my own flours separately and combine them in different ratios depending on the recipe, but there are also some great gluten-free flour mixes out there: My favorite brand for all of my gluten-free flours is Bob’s Red Mill and Namaste is a close second. You can find gluten-free flours at most mainstream grocery stores these days, although it is usually cheaper to order them online.
Gluten-free baking is a bit more complex than glutinous baking, but I promise the results are so much better than store-bought gluten-free baked goods.
These yogurt mini-muffins are the perfect grab-and-go breakfast or snack, packed with whole grains and protein. I offer two mix-in options below (coconut-chocolate chip and cranberry-pistachio), but feel free to add other nuts, dried fruit, or sweet morsels of your choosing. This is recipe is adapted from the Kitchn.
1 cup sorghum
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup tapioca
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
For coconut-chocolate chip:
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pistachios
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a mini-muffin tin (if you have convection, use it!).
In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, yogurt, and vanilla until smooth.
Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in chosen mix-ins.
Divide batter evenly into muffin tin (I use my medium cookie scoop) and bake for 15-18 minutes until tops are golden brown and firm. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container on the counter for 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
I always advise people never to try new things when you are bringing something or hosting a meal. And what did I decide to do? Try a new cake recipe to bring to someone’s house who I had never met. This past Thursday night, I opened my trusty copy of Kosher By Design Entertains and decided to make a simple vanilla and chocolate swirl cake recipe for Shabbat dessert. Easy enough, right? Wrong!
The recipe itself was great – the cake batter was awesome! I mean, obviously I licked the spoon. And then disaster struck: I let the cake cool 15 minutes and removed the cake. And it broke. Broken Bundt. #fail. So now what!?
Well, at 11:00 pm I decided to make another dessert. This time I would make my tried-and-true, always-a-hit salty doubly chocolate chip cookies. Except that somehow I under-baked them too much, and they were more like slightly baked cookie dough rather than perfectly chewy cookies. Yet another fail!
What was going on with me!?
Whenever I am whipping something up in the kitchen, I always post the photos to Instagram (are you following me yet? well why the heck not! Follow me here!). And on Thursday night I posted the photo of my poor, poor broken bundt. And lo and behold, a fellow pareve baker suggested I turn the cake into a trifle. Genius!
And that’s just what I did.
Now, the cake recipe is really the least important part. So to make this trifle you can use the same recipe from Kosher By Design Entertains, or you can use a store bought angel food cake or you can even use brownies if you want to be really indulgent.
For you dieters out there….you can actually leave out the cake entirely and simply layer different kinds of fruit together with chocolate mousse and some slivered almonds for crunch. Like a dessert parfait, but with chocolate mousse. Ok, ok, not exactly diet food. But slightly less carb-heavy.
For the trifle I made I used this recipe for the chocolate mousse. But truth be told, usually I live and die by this recipe for Olive oil and chocolate mousse from The New York Times. You can use any mousse recipe that suits you.
Don’t have a trifle dish? You can use just a big glass bowl! I bought mine from Target! But you can also order one from Amazon like this one.
Well, happy broken bundt baking everyone!
1 cake, such as chocolate cake or angel food cake.
1 batch chocolate mousse
2 cups fresh berries
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
fresh berries for garnish
In a medium saucepan, add berries, water and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until you have a syrup-like consistency. Mash berries or put through food processor for a smoother consistency. Allow to cool slightly.
In a large glass bowl or trifle dish, break up around 2 cups of cake or brownie into bottom of bowl. Add layer of chocolate mousse and a drizzle of berry syrup.
Repeat until you have 3 layers and have used up most of the cake and mousse.
Garnish with fresh berries.
Chorosh Sabsi, or Persian Herb Stew with Dehydrated Limes, is pure goodness! I was very excited to share this recipe when Shannon Sarna told with me that it is her favorite Persian dish.
The meat of choice should be lean. Bison is a very lean meat, but unfortunately it is hard to find. Veal is a fine choice as well. All those greens will do wonders for your body! Make sure to get your portions right. Your protein (in this case meat) should be about the size of a deck of cards while your complex carbs (the vegetables) should be two handfuls. You get plenty of that in this stew. The beans, if you chose to use them, will also be an additional source of protein. In fact, if you are a vegetarian, you can either replace the meat for seitan or you can exclude it all together and double the kidney beans. Sour grapes are really hard to find, so don’t worry if you can’t add them…the lime is the one that does the magic!
Tricks of the trade
Keep in mind that Shirazis do not add red kidney beans, while Tehranis do. I personally add them for a splash of color! Also, the dehydrated limes give it a great taste and authentic look, but you can get away with not adding them too. If all you have available are ground dehydrated limes, use 1 tablespoon instead. You can order dehydrated limes online from sadaf.com under lemon omani.
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 pounds stew meat
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 bunches fresh parsley
2 bunches fresh cilantro
1 leek, chopped
½ bunch fresh mint
½ cup spinach (optional)
2 stalks celery, finely diced
½ cup lime or lemon juice or the juice of 3 limes/lemons
3 cups water
5 whole dehydrated limes (lemon omani), pierced
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
¼ cup gureh (sour grapes) (optional)
In a 6-quart saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion starts to become translucent (about 1 minute). Add the meat; cover and cook until meat no longer looks red, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper.
Grind fresh herbs in a food processor.
Add to the saucepan ground fresh herbs, celery, lime juice, water, dehydrated limes, kidney beans, and gureh, if using.
Bring to a boil; then simmer, covered, for 1½ hours or until meat is tender. Serve hot in a casserole dish over Basmati rice.
After our daughter was born, the number of people who told us “it goes by soooo fast” was too many to count. And they were right. A year has passed, and I can’t believe our daughter is a walking, babbling one year old little lady.
When I started thinking about my daughter’s first birthday party, which was quite literally 6 months ago, I knew that I didn’t want to be too stressed about an event that would be far more about us and our family than about our daughter. After all, how much will she possibly remember!? And I have seen many friends stay up all night obsessively decorating cakes and cupcakes for their child’s first birthday party, and I knew I did not want to be doing that!
Being a baker and food blogger I have a lot of friends who share my passion for baking and, well, food. And so instead of stressing myself out I asked my talented friends to make their “specialties” for the birthday party.
I was blown away by what they produced! Chocolate covered strawberries in several varieties made by my dear friend Laura; chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting and pink sparkly sprinkles from Sara Bakes Cakes; Strawberry Sugar Cookies by Brittany the Baker; Mini Panna Cottas with Macerated Strawberries and Tuiles from my dear friend and trained pastry chef Danielle Feinberg; and the most stunning strawberry and lady bug themed cake by my dear friend Kim Stoll. Not only was the cake beautiful to look at, but it was also delicious: fluffy white cake with a delicious strawberry buttercream made just for Ella, since strawberries are her absolute favorite.
And while I tried to sit back and truly not make anything, I had to whip up just one thing for my little lady’s birthday. I decided to go simple and classic with a homemade funfetti cupcake topped with my favorite new sprinkles: confetti sprinkles! I think the sprinkles add a fun, modern twist on the classic birthday cake. And you can order your own confetti sprinkles in several varieties on Amazon! (Yes they are kosher!) And for you fellow bakers out there I used an 8B tip, also from Wilton, to make those cool swirls with the icing.
In typical Jewish mom fashion I was worried for weeks whether there would be enough to eat…and now I will be eating birthday cake for the next week. But hey, I am not complaining. I mean, who doesn’t want to eat a delectable slice of birthday cake before bedtime!?
We’ll probably scale back on the party, and the number of desserts, for next year. But this was a super fun way to celebrate our lady turning one with our friends and family. I was so proud of the beautiful things my friends created and so honored that instead of me staying up till 2:00 am decorating, they were willing to do it for me! Those are some good friends!
Persian Jewish food seems like the latest cuisine to tackle for adventurous cooks: exotic, a bit challenging and trendy. But what is it about Persian food that has inspired home cooks to take on the traditional fare? Perhaps it is the popularity of The Shahs of Sunset? Perhaps it’s the fact that traditional Ashkenazi Jewish fare has been taking center stage as the North American food scene focuses on comfort foods? Or perhaps it’s just something new that requires a slightly different perspective on cooking?
Reyna Simnegar was not born Persian, but is proud of her “adopted Persian heritage.” So much so that she blogs about her food and wrote a cookbook this year called Persian Food From The Non-Persian Bride. It is a beautiful cookbook with mouth-watering photos, and a perfect assistant for those trying master the art of Persian cooking.
Reyna puts a lot of herself into the book – not only her beloved recipes, but also photos and stories about (very large!) family. Her style is casual and warm – you really feel like you are sharing a glass of tea in her kitchen while she explains her recipes. She also includes some non-traditional Persian recipes that she has come up with over the years, things like “Persian Mussaka” and her favorite roast recipe that she assures are crowd-pleasers.
Her cookbook has a few unique features that makes the Persian recipes less daunting including a guide to herbs, ingredients and special tools commonly used in Persian cooking. Very helpful for those not as familiar with the array of new ingredients.
Reyna and her husband became Orthodox together as adults, and so to be honest, the cookbook at times has a bit of a religious undertone. But if you can get past this subtext, the recipes are accessible and interesting. And I do really enjoy Reyna’s candor and sense of humor.
I love Persian food, especially some of the traditional stews and crispy rice I have tasted with my Persian friends over the years. I also love the Persian culture, especially some of their over-the-top ways, which Reyna talks a bit about in her cookbook. We’ll be featuring one of Reyna’s traditional recipes later this week, but in the meantime, here was a quote from the cookbook that I enjoyed and thought got at the heart of what it means not only to enjoy this style of food, but also this incredibly special culture.
“Disclaimer: Throughout this book I relate many funny episodes and nuances I have experienced during the many years I have had the honor to be exposed to Persian Jews. Many of these episodes exemplify stereotypes, and throughout the book, I may seem to be mocking various behaviors and expressions. Often, I am making fun of myself and the people I love. Please take my words and memories as what they are: simply funny in the context they were expressed. I treasure my Venezuelan heritage, and I treasure my adopted Persian heritage with all my heart. Let us all laugh together at life!”
Indeed, Reyna, let us all laugh together at life and enjoy cooking some delicious comfort food, no matter the variety.
Last week I was looking for a last minute marinade and came up with a brilliant new “everything” marinade for my chicken. I subscribe to the school of ziploc bag marinating which is easy and is my fool-proof method to ensure flavorful, moist roast chicken. And as I was trying to figure out what to marinate my chicken with, I just decided to throw all my favorite ingredients into the ziploc bag for my chicken.
Well lo and behold – it was so good that I knew I needed to recreate it! Here’s my recipe that marinates 2 whole chickens: 1 can of beer, 1/4 cup dijon or whole grain mustard, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp horseradish, 2 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk all ingredients together and pour half over each chicken. Place chicken and marinade in plastic ziploc bag and allow to marinate overnight.
I also came across this recipe for creamy Hearts of Palm and Avocado salad, a perfect Summery side dish.
Want to make an all-in-one perfect chicken and veggies? Check out this gorgeous recipe from our friend Amy at What Jew Wanna Eat for Shabbat Chicken with Spring Vegetables.
I am a bit obsessed with the combination of lemon and za’atar on potatoes, so for yet another week I will be making my Za’atar Roasted Potatoes with an extra squeeze of lemon on top.
We are hosting a dessert party this Sunday in honor of my daughter’s first birthday (hold tight – pictures coming next week!) so I actually decided to forgo dessert this evening in favor of some fruit. I know, this is very unlike me, but after all, summer is upon us, and therefore less clothing…eek! I can skip dessert every once in awhile. As I am writing this I am questioning this decision, but hopefully I can stick with it.
But if you are looking for a perfect pareve summer dessert, look no further than this Strawberry Lemon Granita recipe, which doesn’t require any special equipment like an ice cream maker. So refreshing, sweet and simple to make!
And how could we have Shabbat without some challah!? Shabbat Shalom everyone and happy cooking!
I spend, what some may consider, an unhealthy amount of time thinking about food, and how to make kosher versions of unkosher favorites. As Summertime approaches, I have been thinking a lot of about: hamburgers! Or perhaps more accurately, how absolutely mouth-watering delicious a cheeseburger looks. Alas, kashrut.
There is no way to recreate a kosher cheeseburger, and I simply don’t count soy cheese on top of a beef burger as a viable option. But I did want to explore a more creative way to make an amazing kosher burger.
Last week I wrote about making burgers for Shabbat and topping them with The Pioneer Woman’s Onion Strings. But as I was prepping my ingredients, I decided to shift strategy. I called my husband, who graciously stopped by our favorite butcher to grab a bag of chicken skin for me to whip up a batch of gribenes!
I know, gribenes is not healthy. It is far from heart-friendly, or waist-friendly. And I don’t advocate for making it more than once or twice a year max. But it is delicious. A Jewish version of pork rinds I always like to say.
How to make gribenes? Cut chicken skin into medium size strips. I don’t like cutting them too small, I like a larger piece of skin to crunch on. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add a scant tsp of oil or chicken fat (schmaltz) into the pan. Add chicken skin and saute 20-25 minutes, scraping frequently with spatula or wooden spoon to avoid the skin sticking or burning.
When skin is a deep brown and appears crispy, remove with slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.
So what did I decide should go on the ultimate kosher burger? Iceberg lettuce for a refreshing crunch, avocado for richness, spicy mayo, grilled pastrami and gribenes. And the combination of creamy, salty, crispy and spicy was the perfect way to enjoy a cheese-less burger. My husband gobbled his up so fast I barely noticed he ate it!
I am usually my own harshest critic, but even I had to admit: I had created a masterpiece, kosher or not.
Hope you enjoy as much as we did!
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 avocado, sliced
2 cups shredded lettuce
8 slices thinly sliced pastrami
3/4 cup gribenes
For spicy mayo:
1/2 cup mayonaise
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp sriracha or hot sauce
1 Tbsp horseradish
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
Divide beef into four equal parts. Use food scale if you want to be exact. Form meat into four patties and lay out on a platter.
In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Sprinkle liberally on one side of burgers.
Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place burgers seasoning side down. Cook 5 minutes on first side. While burgers are cooking, sprinkle the other side with seasoned salt.
Flip burgers and cook another 3-4 minutes for medium burgers. Another 5-6 minutes for more well-done burgers. While cooking burgers, grill slices of pastrami for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until crispy. Remove from heat and place on paper towel to remove and excess grease.
To make the spicy mayo, whisk together mayo, ketchup, hot sauce, horseradish and mustard,
To assemble burgers, spread around 1-2 tsp of spicy mayo on each side of bun. Place shredded iceberg on bottom bun. Place burger on top of iceberg.
Top burger with grilled pastrami, avocado and gribenes. Place bun on top.
When the summer months arrive there is nothing more that I love than baking with fresh berries. There is a constant debate in my house of berry pie vs. berry crumble. See I love berry crumbles – the lightness of the berries with the crunchy sweet toppings while my husband tends to prefer the classic berry pie.
I finally decided I had to merge the two if I was going to be happy and keep my husband happy at the same. The result was nothing short of amazing. I mean, what is not to love about pie crust on the bottom filled with fresh berries, and topped with melt-in-your-mouth crumble? When served at a dairy meal or a late night snack, top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This recipe makes two pies – and trust me, it is so good you will want to bring one to work, share with friends, or keep it for yourself. This pie also freezes well, so you can put one away for a rainy day.
I know it seems like a lot of steps, but they are all simple and do not take very long. Reuse the bowls along the way for fewer dishes to be washed at the end.
For the Crust:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
For the Filling:
4 cups mixed berries
2 cups peeled apples cut into small pieces or peaches
zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the Crumble Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter or margarine, at room temperature
For the pie crust mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Cut in the shortening. In a second bowl, mix together the water, vinegar and egg. Mix wet ingredients into flour mixture. Divide into two equal pieces. Roll out pie crust in (two) pie tins.
For the filling, mix all together in a bowl split between two pies crusts.
For the crumble topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oats, and butter in a bowl.
Combine until the mixture resembles large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
Bake pies for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.
Doesn’t it seem like Memorial Day has arrived a bit early this year!? We are barely past Shavuot and now a wonderful three day weekend looms before us.
I love a meal with a summery barbecue or picnic theme, and so what better cuisine to serve for a Shabbat meal over Memorial Day? In fact I am going to use Shabbat dinner this week to try out a new recipe: ultimate burgers with spicy mayo, avocado and onion straws, which I have never tried before. I am planning to use none other than The Pioneer Woman’s Onion Strings recipe but I will be replacing the buttermilk with coconut milk and adding a Tbsp of white vinegar. I mean, look at these gorgeous fried onions – who wouldn’t want to top a juicy burger with these:
My other suggestions for a BBQ themed shabbat dinner?
How about one of these refreshing Watermelon Martinis to kick off dinner and the long weekend.
One of my new favorite recipes to make is this Horseradish Coleslaw, which no matter how much I make, my husband keeps asking for more. It’s a tangy, slightly spicy take on classic coleslaw.
A simple salad like this Cucumber Tomato Salad, from The Blond Cook, can go a long way if you are serving a slightly heavier entree. Have leftovers? Serve it the next day for lunch with some crumbled feta on top. Another great side dish to serve with a heavier meal that can do double duty for lunch the next day is this bright and colorful Mediterranean Pasta Salad from Leah Cooks Kosher.
Nothing says BBQ like some ribs, right? How about these Barbecue Beef Ribs with Bourbon BBQ Sauce from The Overtime Cook. Looking to save time but still want a great main dish to serve? Try these Ribs in a Crock Pot from Little B Cooks.
Last but not least: dessert! Go simple and beautiful with these Fruit Skewars with Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.
Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom, wonderful holiday weekend and happy cooking!