Apple Cobblers in a Cup

Serves 6

Little apple cobbler cakes in ramekins. So cute and so moist. I love the ginger, brandy and vanilla bean that all add additional flavor to this recipe.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted margarine
4-5 medium apples (such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith; about 2 1/3 pound), peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup brandy
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted margarine, melted
Pareve Vanilla ice cream
Six 5-6-ounces ramekins or custard cups

To make the filling:
Melt margarine in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add apples, brown sugar, and ginger. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve bean for another use). Cook, stirring often, until apples are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add jam, brandy, and lemon juice. Stir until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Divide filling among ramekins.

To make the Topping
Pulse almonds, flour, and powdered sugar in a food processor until almonds are finely ground. Whisk sugar and ginger in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, add egg whites one at a time to sugar mixture, beating to blend between additions. With mixer running, gradually beat in hot melted margarine. Fold in almond mixture (topping will be thin).
Preheat oven to 350°. Pour topping over filling in ramekins, dividing equally. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until topping is puffed and tops of cakes are golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm, topped with a small scoop of pareve ice cream.

Coffee Rubbed Steaks

Serves 4

Super flavorful with pepper, smoked paprika, and coffee grounds which bring out richness in steaks.

Spice Rub
2 tablespoons finely ground coffee beans
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1- 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 (2-inch -2 1/4-inch-thick) bone-in steak(about 2-2 1/2 pounds)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted margarine
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
4 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
kosher salt

To make the Spice Rub
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer to an airtight container.

To prepare the steak
Preheat oven to 400°. Set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Season steak with kosher salt and 2 tablespoons spice rub, pressing onto all sides of meat and adding more spice rub by the teaspoonful if needed to coat entire surface.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over high heat. When oil begins to shimmer, place steak in skillet (be sure to have fan on high; the rub creates some smoke). Sear steak for 1 minute (any longer and the rub will start to burn). Transfer steak to a plate and carefully drain fat from skillet.

Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet and sear other side of steak for 1 minute. Add margarine, garlic, and herbs to skillet; cook until foamy. Carefully tip skillet and, using a large spoon, baste steak repeatedly with liquid for 1 minute. Turn steak and baste other side for 1 minute.

Pile herbs on top of steak, transfer skillet to oven, and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center of meat registers 125° for medium, 15-17 minutes.

Transfer steak to prepared rack; let rest for 20 minutes. Cut steak from bone, slice, and sprinkle with sea salt.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Dip

Serves 8-10

This is a great homemade gift or a tangy appetizer. I love the combination of salty olives and sweet sun-dried tomatoes.

4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed), about 1 1/2 cups
4 ounces pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon drained capers
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 slice of white sandwich bread, torn
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, soak the tomatoes in hot water until softened, about 20 minutes; drain.

In a food processor, combined the softened tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, bread, red pepper, balsamic and red wine vinegars and the oregano and puree to a chunky paste. With the machine on, add the oil and process to a fine paste. Add 1/4 cup of warm water and process until slightly creamy. Scrape into a bowl and serve with the crudités.

Homemade Citrus Salt

I saw this about a year ago in Sunset magazine. What a great idea! Give people homemade seasoned salt to use in everything from cooking to baths. I love it on chicken and fish and it looks stunning.

1 cup flake salt, such as Maldon, or coarse salt
3 tablespoons citrus zest (any kind), lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange

Mix salt and zest in a bowl; work zest into salt with your fingers to release oils and flavor. Spread on a baking tray. Air-dry until dried completely, 8 hours to overnight.

Note: Zest's color will fade over time, but this won't affect taste.
Make ahead: 2 months, kept airtight at room temperature.
Bottle it: 4-oz. jam glass jar, $0.57;; BambooImportsMN 3.5-in. oval bamboo spice/salt spoons, $9.8 8/10;

Soft Apple Caramels

Makes 150 Caramels
You can make these two weeks in advance. These are an adorable homemade gift that taste amazing.

2 quarts apple cider
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 cups sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
Canola oil, for brushing

In a large saucepan, simmer the apple cider over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour. Pour the reduced cider into a bowl.

Line a 9-by-13-inch rimmed pan with foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream and condensed milk and bring to a simmer over moderate heat; keep the mixture warm over low heat.

In another large saucepan, combine the sugar with the reduced apple cider, corn syrup, water and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Carefully whisk in the butter until melted. Gradually whisk in the warm cream mixture until incorporated. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until a golden caramel forms and the temperature reaches 245° on a candy thermometer, about 45 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, allspice and cloves and scrape the caramel into the prepared pan. Let cool completely, then refrigerate the caramel overnight.

Lightly brush a sheet of parchment paper with oil. Invert the caramel onto the parchment and peel off the foil. Using a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut the block crosswise into 1/2-inch rectangles. Wrap each caramel in a square of parchment paper or a candy wrapper and twist the ends to seal. Serve or pack the caramels into boxes.

Storage info: The wrapped caramels can be stored in a cool spot or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. The uncut caramel can be tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks; cut just before serving.

Pecan Pie Brittle

Serves 5
2 cups sugar
2½ cups broken pecans
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, cubed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat sugar in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, swirling pan often, until golden amber and completely liquefied. Add pecans and butter and cook, stirring, until caramel is liquid again and butter is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Combine vanilla extract and baking soda in a bowl and then add to pan along with salt; stir to combine. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with foil or a silicone baking mat and spread into an even layer with a small rubber spatula; let cool completely. Break into bite-size pieces and store in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper.

Lo Mein Noodles with Mushrooms and Snow Peas

Serves 4

My kids love this Chinese food knock off. I throw in leftover chicken or steak to make it full of protein.

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese oyster sauce or hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese chile-garlic sauce, plus more for serving
12 ounces fresh linguine or spaghetti
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
6 ounces snow peas, trimmed
3 scallions, julienned

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth with the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and the 1 teaspoon of chile sauce. Add the linguine to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the linguine briefly.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the linguine and snow peas and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until the snow peas are barely cooked, about 2 minutes. Stir the sauce and add it to the skillet along with the scallions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is absorbed and the noodles are browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Serve right away, passing more chile sauce on the side.

Roasted Sugar Glazed Pears

Serves 6

I love poached pears, roasted pears, baked pears and even pear jelly bellies. These are sweet and soft and delicious.

7 firm pears
3 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons dried currants
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole, blanched almonds, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 2"-piece ginger, peeled and minced (optional)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
4 tablespoon margarine, softened, plus more for greasing
½ cup sugar

Peel, core, and finely chop 1 pear and place it in a 2-qt. saucepan along with rum, currants, raisins, brown sugar, almonds, ¼ tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, ginger, and both zests and juices; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring, until mixture is soft and thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" glass pie dish with margarine; set aside. Combine remaining cinnamon with sugar in a bowl; set aside. Using a channel knife, cut a spiral pattern in the skin of each remaining pear from top to bottom, if you like. Carefully core each pear from the bottom with a melon baller, coring about 1½–2" deep. Divide stuffing among pears; brush outsides with butter and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Stand pears upright in the prepared dish, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar; bake until just tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Zesty Zucchini

Serves 8-10

This is a great side dish because it has some great zucchini flavor and lots of great color.

1 tablespoon margarine
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 green onions, chipped
2 green zucchini, chopped in ½ inch pieces
2 yellow squash, chopped in ½ inch pieces
1 red pepper, chopped in ½ inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric

Melt margarine and olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, squash, red pepper and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper and turmeric. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until zucchini is soft. Don’t overcook. Serve warm or at room-temperature.

Steak Diane

Serves 4
This classic steak dish is traditionally made with filet mignon but GKC tried it with both London Broil and skirt steak. Both worked perfectly, and were lighter on the budget. Its great warm and at room temperature.

1-½ pounds skirt steak or London broil
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
3 tablespoons sherry wine or red wine
2 tablespoons brandy
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (non-fish type)
2 tablespoons chicken broth
4 tablespoons cold margarine cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives or scallions
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
½ teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Season steak with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof heavy-duty skillet heat the oil over high heat. Brown the steak on both sides about 4 minutes total. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted reads 135 degrees, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to plate to keep warm.

Pour off the fat in the skillet. Set the skillet over medium high heat; add the shallot, sherry, brandy and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Reduce the sauce by half, about 2 – 3 minutes. Lower the heat to low, add the chicken broth, margarine, chives and parsley and whisk, swirling the pan occasionally to emulsify the butter. The sauce should look creamy. Remove from the heat, whisk in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt, pepper and more lemon juice.

Slice the steak. Serve with the sauce.

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Honey Dressing

Serves 4

1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 pound small red thin-skinned potatoes, cut in half
1 medium fennel bulb, ends trimmed and cut into 8 wedges
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons honey
5 cups loosely packed mixed salad greens

Preheat oven to 425°. Toss onion, sweet and red potatoes, fennel, and bell pepper in a large bowl with 3 tbsp. oil and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Transfer vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast vegetables until tender and golden, about 40 minutes, turning over halfway through baking time. About 10 minutes before they're done, sprinkle walnuts on baking sheet with vegetables and toast until golden.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp. oil, the vinegar, honey, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper.

Toss greens in a large bowl with one-quarter of dressing; divide among plates. Let vegetables cool about 5 minutes, then transfer to the large bowl. Toss with walnuts and about two-thirds of remaining dressing; spoon over greens. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.

Banana Blueberry Cake

Serves 8

1 cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) margarine
2 eggs
¼ cup coffee rich or soymilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 ¼ - 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Frosting (optional):
2 sticks margarine, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons coffee rich or soy milk, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9 x 13 pan and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and margarine. Add eggs, coffee rich, vinegar and vanilla and blend until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the batter and mix well. Stir in the mashed bananas. Fold in the blueberries. Pour into the pan and bake for about 35 minutes. Cool. Spread frosting on cake, sprinkle with some blueberries and serve.

For the frosting: Cream the margarine and vanilla extract together on medium speed with an electric mixer. Alternate adding powdered sugar and milk, mixing well on low speed after each addition.

Eggs Poached in Olive Oil

Serves 1

This technique creates super flavorful poached eggs. You can easily make more eggs with the same amount of oil. Just use a small pan so that the olive oil can coat the whites of the eggs.

1 fresh egg
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
3 ounces fresh arugula
1 piece of toasted bread, I like ciabatta or challah

Place a teaspoon of olive oil in a small saucepan. Saute garlic in the olive oil, and spread evenly around the saucepan.

Add 1/2 cup of olive to the saucepan and bring to a medium heat. Don't overheat the olive oil.

Add bay leaf to the olive oil.

(The trick to poaching an egg in olive oil is to use a small saucepan so you can bring the level of the olive oil over the whites of the egg, but just below the yolk, without having to use too much olive oil.)

Carefully place a fresh egg cracked gently into the heated olive oil. As the egg cooks, sprinkle kosher salt and pepper over the egg.

Continue cooking the egg until the egg whites are congealed. But don't overcook the egg, you want the yolk to remain soft and liquid.

Place toast on a serving plate and arrange a bed of fresh arugula over the crisp bread. Carefully remove the poached egg from the saucepan and place over the bed of arugula.

Olive Oil Poached Salmon

Serves 4
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, peel removed in wide strips with a veggie peeler
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
1 quart extra-virgin olive oil
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Kosher salt
Lemon juice
Special Equipment: cheesecloth, butcher's twine

Place the garlic, thyme, lemon zest, coriander, and bay leaves-in cheesecloth. Tie into a sachet. Add the oil to a large straight-sided saute pan and toss in the sachet. Bring the pan to a medium heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Let the salmon come to room temperature and season generously with salt. Add the salmon fillets to the pan with the olive oil. Let the fish cook in the oil for 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oil with a spatula to a plate before serving.

Serve with rice and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Joyce’s Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Makes about 16 pancakes.

My mom’s good friend Jeryl Abelman, wrote a cute book called “Quickly’s Magical Pancake Adventure”. It’s a great story about a magic spatula and is fun for kids who love pancakes. GKC is not the only one to think its a great book, it has won some prestigious awards (Winner of the London Book Festival Children's Book Award and also 2nd Place in the Cookbook Category in London. Most recently, a winner at The New York Book Festival).

The book is also filled with some delicious pancake recipes from famous chefs. This recipe is from the book. Joyce's Chocolate Chip Pancakes is from Chef Justin Fields, Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Denver

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup milk
1 ¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
6 ounces chocolate chips
Butter for cooking

In a small saucepan, combine butter and milk. Place over low heat just until warm and the butter is melted. Let it cool
In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs with a fork. Whisk in milk mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until blended.
Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat.
Add 1 teaspoon butter and melt until bubbly.
Ladle 3 tablespoons batter for each pancake onto the hot surface and cook until bubbles begin to form on the edges.
Add chocolate chips to the top of the pancakes.
Cook for ten seconds and then turn and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 30 seconds more. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Cinnamon Mascarpone Pancakes

This is a recipe by Bobby Flay. Everything he makes is good, including these. I omitted the cherry flambé and just put strawberries on top. Super delicious!

2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 plus 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch fine sea salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for griddle
2 cups canned sour cherries, with their juice (optional)
2 tablespoons cherry brandy, such as Kirsch (optional)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Stir the confectioners' sugar into the 1/2 cup mascarpone and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. 

Whisk together the sugar and eggs until pale. Add the buttermilk, 1/3 cup mascarpone, vanilla and orange zest and mix until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Add the butter and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Let the batter sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. 

For the cherry topping (if making)
Put the cherries and their liquid into a saute pan and warm over medium heat. Add the cherry brandy off the heat, and then return to the heat and flambe (cook off the alcohol). Once the flames die down and the alcohol is cooked out, remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Transfer to a bowl. 

Heat a griddle over medium heat and brush with some melted butter. Add about 1/4 cup of the batter to the pan and cook until the bottom is lightly golden brown and bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, about 3 minutes. Flip the pancake over and continue cooking until the bottom is golden brown. Serve 3 pancakes per person, top with cherries, a dollop of the sweetened mascarpone and some chopped hazelnuts.

Homemade Twinkies

This one is made with corn meal so it has a yellow color just like the original.

8 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter (melted) or margarine
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
¼ corn meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk (or 1 cup and 1 tablespoon non-dairy creamer PLUS 3 tablespoons white vinegar for pareve equivalent)

Whisk together butter, sugar, eggs and buttermilk. Fold in dry ingredients. Spoon into prepared moulds and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Once cool, trim the tops and inject filling.

If you made in muffin cups, either in just filling or scoop out some of the center of the muffin and fill with filling.

16 ounces cream cheese or tofutti cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup whipping cream, whipped
1 vanilla bean scraped and pod discarded (optional, but tasty)

In a mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar and mix on low speed so that it does not fly all over the kitchen. Fold in whipping cream and vanilla bean.

Super Easy Cake Mix Twinkie Recipe

Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken with S’riachi

Serves 4

1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled, minced
Kosher salt
4 chicken breasts, bone-line, skin-on
2 lemons, 1 large lemon, thinly sliced the other reserved for juicing
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons S’riachi sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mash together thyme, garlic and a pinch of kosher salt (make it into a paste).
Squeeze some of the lemon over the chicken. Pull the skin away from the breast meat and rub the garlic, thyme mixture on top of the breast meat. Keep the skin intact. Drizzle the skin with oil and brush with a little S’riachi sauce on each breast (it’s spicy so just use a little). Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.

In a large roasting pan, line the bottom with the lemon slices. Place the chicken, skin side up on top of the lemon slices. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees and continue roasting until the skin is crisp and browned.

Serve with the lemon slices.

Super Easy Cake Mix Twinkie Recipe

4 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1 cup water
1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, room temperature
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, or tofutti cream cheese room temperature
5 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 cup (8 ounce) whipping cream or non-dairy whipping cream,
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 10x15 inch jelly roll pans.

Beat the eggs until combined; stir in the melted margarine or butter. Add the water, pudding mix, and yellow cake mix, stirring well to combine. The batter will be very thick. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading it evenly.

Bake until the cakes spring back when pressed lightly with a finger or a tester comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

To make the filling, combine margarine or butter, cream cheese, and confectioners' sugar. Beat until smooth. Stir in the whipped cream and vanilla extract.

When the cakes are cool, spread the filling mixture on top of one cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the first, and place in the freezer for 15 minutes (this will make the filling a little stiffer so they will stay intact while cutting). Take them out and cut into bars. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap and store in the freezer until ready to serve. Thaw for thirty minutes before serving.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Serves 6 -8

This is a great side dish anytime of year not just Thanksgiving.

1⁄2 cup raisins

1⁄3 cup sweet sherry

3 medium sweet potatoes

2⁄3 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted 

1⁄2 cup fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon finely chopped orange zest

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (or 2⁄3 tsp. ground cinnamon, 
 1⁄4 tsp. ground ginger, pinch ground nutmeg, 
 and pinch ground allspice)

1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup drained pineapple cubes, coarsely chopped

1-1⁄2 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375°. Soak raisins in sherry until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain raisins and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place sweet potatoes in a roasting pan and bake until tender, about 40 minutes. Allow potatoes to cool, then peel, purée, and add to raisins. Add brown sugar, margarine/butter, orange juice, orange zest, and pumpkin spice and mix well. Fold in pecans and pineapple and transfer to an 8'' square baking dish.

Bake casserole for 20 minutes, then cover with marshmallows and bake until marshmallows are golden, about 5 minutes more. Serve warm.

Quinoa, Beet and Feta Salad

Serves 4 – 6

If you want to make this pareve just leave out the feta cheese.

1 large beet
¼ walnut oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons honey
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Pinch kosher salt
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons cranberries
¼ pound feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped mint

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beet tightly in foil and place on roasting pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool, peel and dice.

To make dressing: Whisk together walnut oil and canola oil, lemon juice and honey.

In small pot, combine quinoa, water and salt. Bring to boil over high heat. Cover, reduce to gentle simmer and cook until tender, 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl. Fluff with fork. Stir in dressing to coat.

Add beets and remaining ingredients. Mix very gently. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Red Lentil Salad

Serves 6

This room temperature salad is packed with protein and flavor. I serve it for Shabbos lunch and enjoy the leftovers all week long.

1/2 cup whole almonds
1 cup dried red lentils
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon coriander
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated radish
1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
A pinch salt and pepper
8 Boston lettuce leaves

Toast the almonds in a heavy skillet over medium heat until they are golden and very aromatic, 5 to 6 minutes. Roughly chop them and set aside. 

Put the lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over medium-high heat, bring to a boil and cook until they are just barely tender and still quite red, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to halt the cooking process. Shake out all excess water, and then put the lentils into a large bowl. 

Pour the oil into a skillet and, when it is hot, add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the garam masala, cumin, mustard, coriander and cook for 1 minute. Add the lime juice, and then pour over the lentils. Then add the carrots, radishes, red peppers, cilantro and mint. Season with salt and pepper and toss well to combine. 

Line a serving platter with overlapping lettuce leaves. Mound the lentil salad over them. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve.

Salmon with Corn Coconut Curry Sauce

Serves 8

Adapted from Bobby Flay. Full of amazing flavor and super gorgeous presentation.

Corn-Coconut Curry Sauce:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small Spanish onion, finely diced
1/2 small Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
3 heaping tablespoons Curry Powder, recipe follows
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups corn kernels, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large skinless whole side of salmon fillet, preferably center cut (about 2 pounds)
Canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
Handful fresh mint leaves, for serving
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spread corn on one sheet and cherry tomatoes on the other. Spray both with non-stick cooking spray. Roast tomatoes for 10 minutes and remove from oven and set aside. Roast corn for 5 minutes, remove from oven and set aside.

For the sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saute pan over high heat. Add the onions, apples and Curry Powder and cook until the onions and apples soften, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and 2 cups corn kernels. Simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, another 25 to 30 minutes. Strain the finished sauce into a large bowl, add the remaining corn and taste for seasoning.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place salmon on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.

Transfer the cooked fish to a large serving platter. Ladle over some of the corn-coconut curry sauce. Scatter the herbs over the sauce, and then top with some Grilled Cherry Tomatoes and reserved corn.

Curry Powder:
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground fennel
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all the spices in a small bowl.

Pecan Caramel Monkey Bread

Serves 12

I saw this recipe in a magazine and adapted it a bit and it came out ooey and gooey and delicious. It’s definitely fun food. I used pareve caramel sauce (it works but not as good as the real deal!) and pizza dough and it came out great.

1 (12 ounces) bottle caramel sauce, I used the no sugar pareve version and it worked
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter or margarine, melted
3 (7.5 ounces) packages refrigerated biscuit dough or pizza dough

Preheat oven to 350°F. Thoroughly grease a 10-inch tube pan.

Spread 1/3 cup caramel in pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup pecans. In a shallow dish, mix sugar and nutmeg. Pour butter or margarine into another shallow dish.

Unroll one package biscuit dough. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces ( alternatively, break off golf ball size pieces of pizza dough and continue) Roll each piece in melted butter and then in sugar mixture. Drop each into pan, covering bottom. Drizzle with 1/3 cup caramel and sprinkle with 1/3 cup pecans. Repeat, layering remaining dough, caramel and nuts, ending with 1/3 cup caramel.

Bake until top is golden brown and a bit crisp, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately turn out onto a large serving plate. There won’t be a piece left!