Lotus Butter or Peanut Butter Saltine Toffee

Makes 2 dozen pieces

We’ve seen this recipe with caramel and melted chocolate. Here is my updated, fun version with the addition of either Lotus butter (HELLO delicious) or traditional peanut butter. Both ways, scrumptious, easy, and a big hit.

24 saltine crackers
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup Lotus butter, cookie butter or smooth peanut butter
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup chopped, salted nuts, toasted coconut, or other topping
Preheat oven to 375℉. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking sheet with foil, leaving a bit of overhang. Grease the foil. Line the pan with crackers, placing them side by side and breaking them to fit tightly.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the margarine and sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the espresso. Pour the mixture over the crackers and spread to cover.
Bake until the top bubbles, about 10 minutes. Dollop the Lotus butter in a few drops all over the top, then bake until it softens, about 1 minute. Remove from oven and with an off-set spatula spread the Lotus butter evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the chocolate and nuts or coconut. Cool completely, at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate uncovered until set, about 2 hours.
Cut into squares and serve.

Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey

You asked for it so you’ve got it! More winter soups, more slow-cooker options, more healthy options that kids will like. Here’s a winter soup that fits each of these criteria. Admittedly, I love it when I start dinner early in the day, and am able to free up some time for other things, and then returning to a house filled with the incredible aroma of a home-cooked meal.

Serves 6

1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced about ¼ inch thick
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 small smoked turkey leg
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 lb. dried green split peas, rinsed
6 cups chicken stock
Chopped chives

Combine all ingredients except chives in a 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until peas are tender but still retain their shape, about 8 hours.
Remove turkey leg and discard bay leaf. Stir soup to break apart peas and thicken the soup. When turkey is cool, shred meat into pieces, discarding skin, bone and gristle. Serve soup with chives.

Dessert Sauces

Summertime should be warm and relaxing. Most readers take it a bit easier with lighter and easier cooking, lots of grilling (stay tuned for more on that!), and refreshing desserts. In our home, we make a lot of homemade sorbets of all flavors and yummy dessert sauces to serve over pareve ice cream. These sauces keep for weeks in the refrigerator and months in the freezer. I rewarm them before Shabbos and serve them over cold pareve ice cream for a quick, easy and super delicious and refreshing dessert. Jazz each one up for company with toppings like bananas and shaved chocolate, crumbled toffee, mixed berries and whipped cream, cinnamon baked apples and poundcake, or a decorative homemade cookie.
Strawberry Balsamic Sauce
Best Hot Fudge
Honey Caramel Sauce

Need more ice cream dessert ideas?
Mocha Ice Cream Pops (Pareve or Dairy)
Ice Cream Bon Bons
Affogato Sundae with Almond Biscotti

Best Hot Fudge


Makes 2 cups
Adapted from Bon Appetit

1¼ cups heavy cream or pareve whipping cream
⅔ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
⅓ cup dark agave nectar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon kosher salt

Cook cream, brown sugar, agave, butter, and ¼ cup water in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Fit saucepan with thermometer and cook, swirling pan occasionally (do not stir), until thermometer registers 220°, 6–8 minutes.

Remove from heat and remove thermometer from saucepan. Add chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring and scraping down sides and bottom of saucepan with a heatproof rubber spatula to prevent scorching, until thickened and bubbling rapidly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt until smooth.

Strain sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl—it will look oily and separated at this point, but don’t worry! Vigorously whisk 2 Tbsp. water into sauce to emulsify it; whisk until smooth and glossy. Whisk in more water a tablespoonful at a time until sauce is pourable but still thick.

Do Ahead: Hot fudge can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover and chill. Before serving, gently warm in microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, adding water to thin if needed.

Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Makes 2 cups

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups ripe strawberries, stemmed, hulled, and roughly diced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon lemon zest

Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vinegar has thickened and reduced to 1/4 of its original volume, 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in strawberries, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until strawberries have released their juices and softened, about 5 minutes.

With an immersion blender, puree slightly, or until smooth with a few pieces. Continue to simmer until sauce has thickened and is syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes more. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, then use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to a week.

Honey Caramel Sauce

Makes 1 ½ cups, serves 6

¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon honey
¾ cup pareve whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt

In a 2 quart saucepan, heat sugar, honey and ¼ cup water. Melt sugar, stirring and bring to a boil. When sugar is melted, over medium heat, bring to a boil without stirring until golden and a candy thermometer reads 350F, about 10 minutes. Swirl the pan while cooking but do not stir.

When caramel is amber-colored, lower heat to simmer, add the cream, while whisking. Caramel will bubble and may harden, continue whisking until smooth. Simmer 3 minutes. Add vanilla and salt and remove from heat.

Sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 months.

Detox Smoothie

Serves 4

Green and so good!

1 cup filtered or mineral water
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 handful chopped romaine
1 handful baby spinach
1 handful kale
1 mini cucumber or 1/2 large cucumber, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 green apple, halved
1 banana, halved
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Great additions and substitutions: Mint, agave, lime, ginger,watercress, ground flax seeds, avocado, jalapeno and pineapple
Special equipment: a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix
Combine the water, parsley, romaine, spinach,kale, cucumber, apple, banana and lemon juice in a high-powered blender and process until smooth. Drink immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 24 hours.

Skinny Green Salad with Blast of Fresh Herbs

Serves 8

Instead of infusing the dressing with lots of fresh herbs, I chop them up and toss them in as lettuce. The result is super fresh herb flavor in every bite. It tastes refreshing and is very healthy.

6 cups mixed baby greens
1 handful halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
5 thinly sliced radishes
1 avocado, cubed
1 carrot, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Wash and dry the greens. Toss them in a large mixing bowl with the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, pine nuts, chives, dill, mint, parsley, radishes, avocado, carrot, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt.

Thank you Queens

Thank you Queens, especially Batsheva Haber and the JWRP for inviting me to Queens. We made some terrific dishes for Passover and had a great time. Thank you Ruchi for opening your beautiful home for the event!





Passover Planning

Passover planning is in full swing. That’s it Purim over, candy is sorted, containers recycled, and pantry ingredients beginning to be used up (don’t worry lots of those ideas are forthcoming).

A few important notes from GKC…
The main site is always open and free of charge. Look on the top bar on the upper left, it says Main GKC site, and that link remains open for anyone who needs the main site throughout the Passover season
Did you know? CELEBRATE, food, family, Shabbos, includes 100 RECIPES FOR PASSOVER in the book. Each recipe has a side bar, not indicating if the recipe is perfect for Passover as-is or if it needs some minor adjustment or substitution. AND P. 344 gives a complete list of all the Passover recipes in the book. It’s a must-have book and gift this holiday season. Get it from Emunah.org or at Amazon.com
There is a nominal charge for GKC for Passover of $4.99 (that’s less than a latte in NY) and the site includes over 2000 recipes, menus, products, and great info for the holiday. I spend months testing and creating new recipes for this site and hope you enjoy the fruits of the labor ☺