2016 Nine Days Meals and Ideas

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The Nine Days are a difficult time for so many reasons. It seems so unimportant to fret over the lack of meat and chicken in our daily meals, but we all still worry about how to feed our families in a wholesome and delicious way when our easy go-to items are not options. Fret no further, help is here. Here’s what I’m thinking….

Fish Tacos
Grilled Tuna Skewers with Asian Sauce
Cedar Planked Salmon with Dill Sauce
Vegetarian Chili
Tuna Tartare

Of course…
Caramelized Onion and Boursin Cheese Pizza
Curstless Spinach and Mushroom Quiche
Pasta with Eggplant and Red Pepper
Add tuna or salmon to Greek Salad
Roasted Vegetables and Lentils with Aromatic Spices

Need more inspiration?

From fish, to pasta, to quiche, make this a week of new recipes, flavors, and adventure in the kitchen. Here are a few ideas and older posts that might help.
- Want to make pasta just right? Not sure what type or sauce works well together…try these pasta recipes and cooking tips
- Like Salmon? Try these salmon burgers, Poached Salmon, Teriyaki Salmon, or Dozens of other Salmon Recipes
- Tired of just salmon? Try Flounder with Lemon Caper Sauce, or Pretzel Crusted Fish,, Halibut in Puttanesca, Olive oil Poached Cod with Zucchini and Tomatoes or how about endless other fish recipes too
- A few personal favorites…Pan Seared Cod with Cilantro Vinaigrette and Creamed Corn, Sea Bass with Balsamic Reduction, Salmon with Apple Corn Curry Sauce
- Quiche?Try these quiches, or my preference, Mushroom and Spinach Frittata
- I don’t wait for the nine days to make the Caramelized Onion Boursin Cheese Pizza, and these pizza recipes are great ideas too.
- Nine Days wrap up from years past, recipes, tips, menus, and more

CORN Season!

A basket of sweet corn, three ears partially husked
Fresh local corn is super tasty, not starchy, subtly sweet, and in prime season. What’s great is that it’s available in almost every market and in every state.

Buy it
Buy it and eat it fresh, don’t store for more than two days if possible.
Leave it in the husks, resist pulling back the husk to check the kernals. Feel it and makes sure it feels firm all the way to the tip.
Store it in the refrigerator.
Choose ears that are heavy for their size and have pale golden silks.

Cook it – 3 options…
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Grill it: Heat a bbq to about 375°F. Remove silks, but keep husks in tact. Pull husks around corn. Place over medium to low heat for a nice smoky flavor. Cooking time will depend on the size of the ears. You can also grill it shucked over direct heat for great smoky char. It takes about 8 minutes total cooking time.

Cook it in a pot: Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the husked corn, cover and remove the pot from the heat. Let stand until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

In the microwave: Microwave shucked corn, no more than 4 at a time, on high, for 2 minutes each ear. You can microwave them in the husks and silks, by the way, and after they are through cooking, the silks literally slide right off the corn, it just requires a little more cooking time.

Flavor it
Schmear corn with lots of fix-ins, pre or post cooking. Like herbs and butter mixtures, lime zest and juice and chili powder, mayonnaise and spices, shredded cheese, or even wrap it in pastrami.

Quick Tip Cutting
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Easiest and cleanest way to cut kernels off the cob.

Eat it Plain and Simple
Or use it in these delicious recipes:
Summer Corn and Tomato Salad
Chickpea, Corn and Dill Salad
Romaine Salad and Corn Salad with Avocado Dressing
Sweet Corn Salsa
Pastrami Corn and Red Pepper Saute
Fennel Red Pepper and Corn Salad
Pan Seared Cod with Cilantro Vinaigrette and Creamed Corn
Corn Soup with Imitation Crab or Smoked Salmon

POPS!!

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Best dessert for hot summer days? POPSICLES! Ice pops are super refreshing and so easy! Think frozen smoothies, juices, milkshakes, teas, or sodas. To make them, you first prepare your liquid mixture. I like to blend my favorite fruits with water, orange juice or milk or soda, and iced teas, or try a spiked version! Pour your mixture (or liquid beverage) into ice pop molds (read below). Finally, FREEZE them, and voile, done!

My favorite and the hands down best, ice pop mold is the Zoku Classic Pop Molds from William Sonoma, for $15. Classic or available in kid friendly shapes and colors, but all of these molds allow the pops to slip out of the silicone mold so easily, and without a hassle.

Try these popsicle recipes,

Clean That Grill

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Two Grill Cleaning Tips

1. Place your grate over the heat for a few minutes, then brush it briskly with a wire brush. Anything that was stuck on from the last cookout will now scrape right off. Magic! I’m a big fan of the Grill Daddy, the steam from the water in the brush, combined with the heat of the grill cleans the grates and sanitizes them.

2. Using the longest pair of tongs you have, lightly dip a kitchen towel in vegetable oil and carefully coat the grates. The oil will smoke for about 30 seconds as it burns off, but afterwards you’ll have a practically nonstick grill.

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

Check Out the Shavuot Index

Here’s a new salmon fave of mine just in time for Shavuos.
Salmon with Scallions and Sesame

And more new Shavuos recipes:
Red Snapper with Tahini Sauce and Nut Gremolata
Grilled Asparagus and Onions with Lemon Dressing
Scrumptious Basic Blondies

Check out the Shavuot index! Over 30 different cheesecake varieties, 50 other dairy dessert ideas, dairy main course suggestions, soups, salads, and meat choices too!

Looking for salmon recipes? We have you covered! Great salmon recipes here.

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!

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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…
First:
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
Second:
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
Lastly:
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 ☺

Thank you Detroit

Thank you Detroit! Two great events hosted by Aish Hatorah in Detroit. Thank you Estie, Marci, Amy, and Rachel for the terrific planning and prepping and being so welcoming! I might have to bring you all home with me 🙂

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Corndog Hamantaschen

corn-shortbread

From busyinbrooklyn.com

1 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
4 Abeles & Heymann beef hot dogs
mustard, for dipping, optional

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and almond milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a fork until the dough is the texture of wet sand. Using your hands, knead the dough together until soft. Flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough until about 1/4″ thick. Cut circles out of a dough using a round cookie cutter (see note). Cut the hot dogs into 1/4″ thick slices and put a slice in the center of each circle of dough. Fold corners in to create a triangle shape and pinch to close. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 10-12 minutes, until crispy and just starting to lightly brown underneath.

NOTE: I used a 2.5″ cookie cutter, but this fits the hot dogs just/just and makes small hamantaschen. For more traditional size hamantaschen that have more room for folding, use a 3″ cutter.

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS: serve alongside sauerkraut, pickle relish and other hot dog toppings of your choice.

SERVING: these are best served fresh, however, they may be frozen after baking and rewarmed in a 350 degree oven until the hot dogs are warm and the cookie crisps up, about 5 minutes.

YIELD: 30-40 hamantaschen, depending on size.

Purim 2016 is Almost Here, Are You Ready?

Our calendar keeps us on our toes, that’s for sure! Purim is around the corner and for me, that does not just mean costumes, it means lots of cooking classes with Purim themes (see special events below), menus that are themed or different from my regular Shabbos menus, and lots and lots of homemade treats.

I’ve put together lots of ideas to help make it easy and delicious. Send me your menus too or homemade Shaloch Manot ideas to share.

New Recipes
Creamy Parsnip Soup with Pear and Walnuts
Moroccan Spiced Turkey
Lamb and Apricot Tagine with Almond Couscous
Thai Lemonade (coming next week)
Sticky Drunk Pears
Tiramisu Parfaits (coming next week)
Nutty Chocolate Toffee Bark
Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

Trip to Israel

Israel, so much fun, and recipes and back stage with Chef Moshe Basson

Recipes
Eggplant Dip in raw tahini and pomegranate syrup
Chicken Ma’aluba
Stuffed Figs

I’m back from an amazing week of inspiration, food and fun in Israel with Emunah. It’s hard to select the highlights because it was all so wonderful. From visiting the incredible people and places that Emunah works with (the list is beyond comprehension, children’s homes, crisis centers in Sderot, day care centers, High School for the arts, summer camps and more more more), to meeting with the highest ranking female in the IDF, to a street art tour in Tel Aviv, to COOKING with Chef Moshe Basson from Eucalyptus restaurant, and cooking with the girls at the Emunah children’s home, Achuzat Sarah. We sang and danced in the kitchen just like I do at home.

Cooking for and with special people is always so joyful for me. I loved the teens at Achuzat Sarah (see pics below). Their enthusiasm and positive energy was contagious and uplifting for our group. It’s hard to imagine that these girls come from such unfortunate circumstances. Their smiles and warmth tell the story of how happy they are at Achuzat Sarah.

A major highlight of the trip was our cooking demo with Chef Moshe Basson of Eucalyptus restaurant in Jerusalem, just outside the walls of the old city. Chef Moshe came to Israel in 1951 as an Iraqi refugee. He lived in a refugee camp for over 8 months with his family, and while others, understandably, complained of the mud, and awful conditions, Chef Moshe’s family, used their small spot to live to build a garden and house a chicken or two. From there, Chef Moshe came to Israel and worked the land, grew everything from herbs, vegetables, grapes, and anything he could possibly create seeds with and he had small farm with animals, like goats, chickens, and hens. Chef Moshe was way before his time, farm to table was and is his life. He teaches with love and passion about food and Torah. He tells where and how the ingredients are mentioned in the Torah and how they meaningful in our lives. It was an honor and privilege to teach with him and we thoroughly enjoyed working together. I highly recommend bringing a group to learn with him or visit the restaurant. Chef Moshe taught us Iraqi and Israeli delicacies from smoked eggplant, to lamb, chicken ma’aluba, stuffed figs, to tahini dessert. He loved my Americanized versions of everything too. We made a great team and had a great meal!

Thank you Achuzat Sarah

Thank you Achuzat Sarah (an Emunah children's home in Bnei Brak)for cooking a fantastic meal with me. The teens were energetic, fun, friendly and amazing to work with. And what an incredible staff they have. I can't wait to go back and cook and visit again soon.

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Thank you to the incredible Chef Moshe Basson, Israel

Thank you to the incredible Chef Moshe Basson of Eucalyptus Restaurant and his incredible staff for an exciting and delicious event in Jerusalem. We cooked up an incredible feast using Ingredients from Israel like tamarind, hyssop, silan, pomegranates, tahini, eggplant and more. I'm still dreaming of the meal and the fun time we had. You must visit next time you are in Israel.

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What is Tamarind anyway?

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Chef Ottolenghi, famous for vegetarian dishes and one of many chefs making Israeli style food, so en-vogue today uses it in almost everything but still, what the heck is it? Chef Moshe Basson, from Eucalyptus loves it too. Says to add about 1 – 2 tablespoons to chutneys, meat marinades, curry dishes, and even cholent.

1. Tamarind is a type of tree, originally grown in Africa but today does well in tropical areas like South Asia and Mexico.
2. It’s a fruit with a closed pod. Upon opening it, there are a few seeds and a tart pulp inside.
3. It’s most commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking.
4. Delicious in soups, stews, chutneys and marinades. Sweet but tart, and sometimes very sour, tamarind is potent. Tamarind imparts zingy undertones, and it makes for lively accompaniments -- sweet or savory -- to main courses. It’s also used in sweet desserts and dessert syrups.
5. It can tenderize meats. Tamarind's natural acidity makes it a great marinade for meat, because the acid can break down and tenderize tougher cuts. Fine Cooking recommends using a tamarind marinate as a great trick for less expensive cuts: "Marinated overnight in a tamarind-tinged liquid, beef becomes succulent and tender.”
6. Tamarind extract is one of the secret ingredients of Worcestershire sauce
7. Tamarind paste is usually in the International aisle, it has a hecksher on jars from Sefon and Sadaf, along with other companies.
8. Want to make your own? Here’s a step-by-step guide from Indianhealthyrecipes.com

Thank you – Kim’s “Chopped” party

Happy Birthday Kim! Kim's "Chopped" party was a blast. Thank you to Riki and Fran for inviting me to host the event and thank you to all of Kim's friends for making it so incredible. The ladies had a basket full of 4 secret ingredients, their challenge, prepare a delicious and nutritious salad with those ingredients and anything from the pantry. Ready, set, cook! They were creative and fun even with the trivia and sabotages I threw at them while they cooked.

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A Day of Love

Celebrate the ones you love each and everyday by cooking and caring for them!

WHY WE COOK. . .

A home cooked meal says I want to take care of you.
A home cooked meal says I want to nourish you.
A home cooked meal says I care and I want you to be healthy.
A home cooked meal says I love you.
A home cooked meal is remembered forever.

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As seen in CELEBRATE, page 2 (BTW, CELEBRATE makes a great Valentine’s Day Gift, especially if you want to eat well!)

Valentine’s Day or any day, CELEBRATE the ones you love by preparing delicious dishes they love.

Breakfast in bed for your sweetheart? These pancakes are our favorite! Add a little more milk or buttermilk and it’s a great crepe recipe too. Fill them with strawberries and cream, nutella, or any other delicious filling. And serve it with a Nespresso latte (A Nespresso machine is a good gift too). My dad always buys me a Starbucks card so that I can have a virtual coffee with him everyday for a few weeks after Valentine’s Day ☺ I love this!

Feel like making something decadent and special? Try the Fall off the Bone, 4-Hour Lamb or Lamb Shanks with Shallots and Cherries.

Or a cozy, rustic and hearty Fall Beef Stew

Or something dairy and lighter, Angel Hair Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese and a classic Caesar Salad.

Dessert…I love dessert especially when I share it with someone I love.
Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake or Molten Chocolate Cakes

Chocolate truffles, cookie dough truffles, or tons and tons of other truffles

Chili Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Stunning Red Velvet Treats of all kinds or from CELEBRATE, the red velvet pareve cheesecake brownies, extra yum.