Quinoa is not one of my go-to foods. In fact it’s one of my least favorite foods right up there with frisee lettuce and tomato sauce baked fish. Generally I find quinoa pretty tasteless, boring and far too healthy to actually enjoy.
That is until I dined recently at an Israeli restaurant in Montclair New Jersey called Mish Mish. That evening they had a special: red quinoa tabbouleh with grilled fish and labne that I could not stop shoveling into my face. Almost everything else I ate there was equally delicious: perfectly creamy hummus, spicy shakshhuka and braised lamb. But I couldn’t stop raving about the quinoa salad, and so I needed to go home and try to recreate it.
One trip to Whole Foods later to procure some red quinoa, and we were in business. This salad is surprisingly hearty and makes a great lunch. But if you grill or poach some salmon (or an other fish of choice) and serve it right on top with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, you have yourself a dinner that is healthy and delicious. Ugh, I can’t believe I just wrote that, but really it’s true.
The humor in this dessert is that macarons are considered a very light and low fat dessert. Cheesecake on the other hand is full fat, and honestly one of the more rich and sinful desserts. Once sandwiched, these desserts paired absolutely beautifully together.
Junior’s classic cheesecake recipe is my favorite, and so that’s the recipe I used to make this, although I did cut the recipe in half. If you make the entire recipe you will have batter leftover, which you can turn into a personal-sized cheesecake if you are so inclined. The recipe I use for the macarons is by Johnny Iuzzini.
- Place them straight into the freezer. They are very perishable so freezing is a must. Once the cheesecake bites were baked, they joined the macs in the freezer. This gave an ice cream like texture to the cheesecake that was scrumptious.
- Grind your almond flour with your sugar for 1-2 minutes to ensure the smoothest texture. Then sift to get all lumps out.
- Do not over mix or under mix your batter. This will impact the final result of the macarons.
- Watch YouTube videos of “how to make macarons” they are extremely helpful!
- Once piped onto baking sheets, tap on a hard surface to get air bubbles out and ensure an even macaron.
- If it is raining or humid, save the macaron baking for another day. The humidity will cause the batter to become very sticky and hard to work with.
- Do not preheat oven any earlier than the recipe states. If the oven is too hot, the macarons will puff up too much. I found that placing an empty sheet pan in the bottom rack of my oven to “trap the direct heat” helped.
- Silpat baking mats are recommended, but not necessary. You can use a mini muffin pan or silicon mold.
I basically made myself speechless with this recipe…and anyone that knows me KNOWS how much I love to talk! I mean, it’s chocolate rugelach and it’s cheesecake and it’s bread pudding and it’s absolutely heavenly.
If you are wondering, no this isn’t just rugelach with cheesecake batter, which really wouldn’t be so bad, would it?!? The batter for this cake has been thinned out with milk to soak into every crevice of the rugelach. Dairy, dairy and even more dairy! If you want to make this completely homemade, go ahead and bake your own rugelach but store bought will do the trick.
If you have any cracks after the cheesecake bakes, just cover them with more rugelach. Seriously, make this cheesecake for Shavuot! I dare you!
Shavuot is just over a week away and we have had cheesecake on the brain for weeks now. But cheesecake is not the only dairy treat to enjoy during the holiday. Blintzes are also a beloved and traditional Ashkenazi dish to enjoy this time of year.
Sure, you can buy a box of frozen cheese or blueberry blintzes and call it a day (they are delicious and easy). But why not get a little creative and crazy with your combinations? We’ve put together 16 different sweet and savory blintz recipes sure to liven up your holiday table. Blintzes aren’t just for Shavuot either – they make a delicious and comforting brunch treat all year.
Shavuot is a time for many things. It’s an all night study-a-thon, reading of the Book of Ruth, a serious look at the Jews’ covenant and the Torah, but to me, it’s all about the midnight buffet. The Kabbalist movement’s effects on Judaism cannot be overstated.
Since the 16th century, the all-nighter has been on the menu at most synagogues and often, hopefully, they serve a wonderful dinner around midnight. Yes, it’s filled with dairy and sweet treats aplenty. But I don’t serve only sweet things. I love serving savory surprises. Yes, studying all night is both enervating and energizing, and the study itself should keep you revived. But honestly, a meal with a cup of something with way too much caffeine and a plate full of fresh food is a respite for body and brain.
Eating, noshing, dining—whatever you call it—paired with studying and learning and, of course, elevated by camaraderie, laughing and talking—it’s a scholarly night worthy of some great food.
These blintzes are a nice change of pace from the fruit or sweet-cheese-filled versions. The filling is Balkan influenced and a bit spunky. These are best served with a fat dollop of cold sour cream or tart yogurt and sprinkling of fresh dill.
This batter needs to rest for 30 minutes before you can fry it. As written, the recipe offers a way to use the resting time by roasting the veggies that will go in the filling. However, you can also prepare the blintzes ahead of time and keep them, unfilled, in the fridge for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. If you freeze them, you can roast the veggies just before you assemble the blintzes.
Kirmizi pepper is a mixture of sweet and hot peppers that have been crushed, salted, dried, ground to flakes and then coated with olive oil and roasted. The mixture originated in Turkey. The flavor is a combination of fiery heat, salt, and sweetness.
I’m sure you read that title and blinked twice. I did. Because decadence has a name and it is most certainly cheesecake dipped in chocolate, covered in candy and nuts and served on a stick. This recipe is so delicious and creative that I would love to take credit for it. But in truth I was inspired to create this recipe from a post I saw on @batteranddough’s Instagram account last year.
Close your eyes and think of a thick, creamy, silky-smooth cheesecake. We’re talking doorstop dense, with a buttery shortbread crust. Then, slowly dip in into a pool of warm, milk chocolate and sprinkle it with your favorite topping. (Stop it! I cant! It’s too good!) And for the final flare, put it all on a stick so the only thing that gets messy here is your mouth. It may take a lot of patience and time to make these but think of it this way: your house will smell divine and your friend won’t stop raving about these decadent treats.
I recommend baking the cheesecake a day ahead to allow the cheesecake to completely chill, and then dipping it in chocolate the next day. Just make sure your are alone when you eat the final product, otherwise you know your going to have to share.
My mom grew up in New York and went on the hunt for the perfect babka she remembered from the Jewish delis and bakeries that used to be all over the city. Now there are barely any great bakeries left, so, other than perfecting her golf game, she enjoys retirement by experimenting in the kitchen. If you don’t know, babka is a beloved cake with Eastern European roots, made famous by a Seinfeld episode at Zabar’s Market in New York. This babka is the one that consistently generates rave reviews from all of our family for its irresistible combination of rich chocolate and other indulgent flavors, and I love that we can honor my mom this Mother’s Day by sharing her original recipe with you.
A few notes: this recipe makes approximately 3 babkas in 9” loaf pans. Bake one or all three at once or store extra dough in the freezer, defrosted, and then baked off individually. This recipe has 3 components: the dough, the filling, and the topping. I recommend making the dough first and, while that rises, making the other components. I use a stand mixer, but you can also use a large bowl with a hand mixer plus some hand kneading.
This recipe is written by Caren Libit, Bryan’s mom.
I’m a busy mom with three little girls and I love to cook. When I found out that two of my daughters had severe food allergies, I had to rethink all of my recipes, but that didn’t stop me from making beautiful, yet delicious and simple dishes. In fact, it gave me the creative push I needed to come up with a whole new repertoire of dishes that use healthy ingredients and simple techniques to produce spectacular results.
Eventually, I realized that I wanted to share my culinary journey with moms and cooks around the world. But how? Where could I begin? I knew I wanted to produce a book — something tangible that could be passed down from mother to daughter, through the generations, just like the cookbooks that my mother passed down to me, but I had no idea where to start or how to go about it. So I turned to the cook who had inspired me since childhood: kosher culinary guru Norene Gilletz. My mom has been preparing Norene’s recipes since I was a just a kid, and the idea of working with her was an absolute dream! I was nervous and scared to call someone of her stature, but my determination to share my story and recipes won out, and I gave Norene a call.
We instantly clicked. Norene later told me that I reminded her of herself at my age: a young mother, full of energy and ideas, and involved in the community. It’s been two years since we started to work together, and Norene has become my mentor, co-author, and friend. We just launched our joint cookbook, The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular. Our book showcases the best that each generation has to offer. There are fresh, modern ideas and recipes from me, as well as a complete wealth of cooking knowledge and advice from Norene, in the form of tips that she provided for each recipe.
In honor of Mother’s Day, thank your mom with a batch of one of my favorite cookies: chocolate chunk cranberry cookies, a sweet recipe from my new book that are non-dairy, can be made gluten-free and most importantly, are absolutely delicious.
If you asked me what I would be cooking 2 years ago, I would have proclaimed, “Well, the classics, of course,” and never in a million years would have thought I would be combining cultures and cuisines. However, over the last few years, I have come to the realization that food, culture and experiences are fluid. They mesh together, are shared and passed on with friends and generations and who am I to keep them away from each other?
Growing up as a Brooklyn Jewish girl, moving to Hawaii, and now living in Southern Cali, you can imagine the culture shock I experienced more than once. No more bagel shops or bialys (the horror!) and what is this odd seeded fruit called “lilikoi” (passion fruit in Hawaiian)? And finally as I settle down in Southern California, I am surrounded by Latin cuisine, full of chiles and freshly made tortillas at my doorstep. And you know what, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I adore all these flavors.
Now as I embrace my wiser, older years (hey, I can say I’m officially out of my 20s) I welcome the fusion of flavors and embrace all the diverse culinary influences of my past and present. Isn’t that what experience is all about? To express my new found love for fusion and to get into the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, I welcome these baked brisket empanadas served with a gorgeously bright passion fruit chimichurri sauce! This is a dish that truly blends together traditional Latin, Jewish and even Pacific flavors.
The best part about this recipe is that I used leftover slow-cooker brisket and brightened it up a bit by adding a touch of Latin spice, chopped potatoes and cilantro. Though my favorite part of this recipe is the passion fruit chimichurri sauce that goes along with it! And because passion fruit is not easily found on the mainland, many Latin and ethnic markets carry “passion fruit puree” which is what I used and works perfectly! You can certainly make your own as well or substitute with your favorite bright fruit.
Move over cupcake, there’s a new trendy dessert in town and her name is the donut. Don’t get me wrong – I like a good cupcake just like the next sweets-loving gal. But I have been particularly excited to watch as the cupcake has been de-throned while the donut has taken over as the next ‘it’ dessert.
Trendy delicious donuts have been cropping up all over the country for the last few years. There are several ultimate lists of where to get the best donuts including this recent round-up from The Huffington Post. Be warned: you will drool and start craving donuts after perusing the list.
But you don’t need to venture out of your own kitchen to make awesome donuts. I’ve tried my hand at several varieties over the past few years including cranberry relish filled donuts in celebration of the epic Thanksgivukkah of 2013 and peanut butter and jelly donuts this past Hanukkah. Both versions were sweet, fried deliciousness.
Recently I got it into my head that I wanted to combine chocolate and halva into a donut creation. I wanted to fry the donut, but my friend Danielle (a trained pastry chef) convinced me to consider a baked version. I was skeptical. I scowled. But she was right and I am embarrassed to admit how many of these donuts I managed to eat in one day.
Baked not fried, but every bit as decadent and delicious as their greasier fried cousin, these donuts were actually much easier to throw together than making a yeast dough and waiting to let them rise. I think I threw together the dough, baked them and glazed them all within 45 minutes. A very doable task even on busy days.
I used this Wilton donut pan to bake them. The extra crumbled halva on top really put the donut over the edge, so if you can get your hands on a bar it is worth it. Halva can be purchased at most major supermarkets. I also used Soom Foods tahini, one of my favorite products which is certified kosher and available on Amazon but you can use whatever tahini you like and have available.