Hamantashen Recipe: with Gluten-Free Variation

From GKC friend and fabulous chef Levana Kirschenbaum of Levanacooks.com

The signature triangle-shaped fun Purim cookie, shrouded in legend and folklore (ear-shaped? purse-shaped? Read on!) with three points pinched around a jam filling. It matters not at all if you don’t celebrate Purim—you will love ’em!
Excerpted from my latest cookbook, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen: Glorious Meals Pure and Simple


4 cups flour: all-purpose, whole wheat pastry, or spelt (gluten-free: any GF flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ salt
4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup orange juice
Zest of 1 orange


Make the dough: Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs, sugar and oil in a food processor or with an electric mixer (or even by hand) until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, juice and zest, and the flour mixture, mixing at low speed (in a food processor, use the pulse button and pulse only until combined) or by hand until well combined. Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to one day.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut out a portion of dough and roll out evenly on a very lightly floured board, 1∕8 inch thin. Cut out 3-inch circles with a scalloped cookie cutter. Place a heaping teaspoon of your favorite filling (suggestions below) in the center of each circle. Bring up the sides at 3 equidistant points, pinching firmly and leaving the centers exposed. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling, using the scraps of the previous portion of cut-out dough with the next piece of dough you cut out, taking care to flour the board very lightly so the dough will not get too heavy.
Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, 1 inch apart. Bake about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Store in tins, do not refrigerate. Makes 3 dozen.

Choice of:
- Prune butter (lekvar), poppy seed (mohn) filling, apricot, or strawberry preserves; try your best for all-fruit, available at health foods stores.
- Make the following mixture: ½ cup brown sugar or Sucanat, 1 cup raisins, ½ cup walnuts, 1 tablespoon cinnamon; pulse in a food processor just long enough to get a fine but not mushy grind.

For more recipes from Levana go to www.levanacooks.com


Hamentaschen with Two Fillings from the Kosher Revolution

Last week GKC ran into Geila Hocherman, author of Kosher Revolution, the beautiful cookbook with outstanding recipes for the Modern kosher cook. I love her hamentashen and fillings because they have great flavor and consistency. Some other favorite recipes from the book...Pistachio Crusted Tuna with Wasabi Mayonnaise, Velvet Chestnut Soup, and Dumplings with Orange-Ginger Dipping Sauce. She has great ideas and recipe suggestions for everything. GKC loves the book, get one at Amazon.com and start creating her delicious food in your kitchen.

makes 36

These triangular Purim treats are traditionally made with a poppy seed or prune filling, but nowadays, they’re available with other fillings like apricot and raspberry. My own "hamentasching" has resulted in the new and delicious fillings included here, such as dried cranberries with apricot and Nutella with coconut. Adding breadcrumbs to the fillings ensures that they stay put. These are easily made and are welcome year round.

Geila’s Tips
It’s much easier to work with the dough and fillings when they’re cold. I like to prepare everything the night before and
form and bake the hamentaschen the next day. (It’s necessary to make and freeze the chocolate filling in advance.)

2-1/2 cups flour, plus more for flouring work surface
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon orange juice (optional)

Raspberry Filling
One 12-ounce jar raspberry jam
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Coconut-Chocolate-Hazelnut Filling
One 13-ounce jar Nutella, or other
chocolate-hazelnut spread
1 cup flaked coconut

1. First make the crust. Sift the flour and baking powder onto parchment paper. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the oil, sugar and vanilla, and blend at medium speed. One at a time, add the eggs, incorporating the first before adding the second, and blend. Add the orange juice, if using, and blend. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture gradually to make a dough.

2. Divide the dough into 2 parts and flatten each to make a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap, stack the discs on a plate, and refrigerate until stiff enough to work easily, at least 2 hours.

3. Meanwhile, make the filling(s). For the poppy, raspberry and/or apricot fillings, combine the ingredients in small bowls, stir to blend, and refrigerate for 1 hour. For the chocolate, combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Transfer half the filling to the center of an 18-inch piece of plastic wrap, fold the wrap over the filling to enclose it, and squeeze the mixture to create a log 1-inch in diameter. Repeat with the remaining filling and freeze the logs.

4. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Flour a work surface well and roll 1 of the discs out on it. Using a 3-inch glass or round cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Pipe about 1 tablespoon of the poppy, raspberry, and/or apricot filling(s) in the center of each round, wet the edges with water and bring up the sides of the rounds to make a three-sided triangular shape. Pinch the dough together to seal. Alternatively, drop the filling onto the dough by heaping tablespoons. For the chocolate filling, cut the frozen logs into 1/2 1/2-inch discs. Fill the rounds by placing a disc in the center of each, form, and seal.

5. Transfer the hamentashen to 1 or more cookie sheets and bake, in batches if necessary, until pale gold, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.

Elizabeth and Geila

Click here to purchase Kosher Revolution Cookbook.

Oven Baked Super Easy Basmati Rice with Dried Cranberries and Saffron

Serves 8

From The Persian Food Cookbook by Reyna Simnegar
4 cups basmati rice
6 cups water
½ cup chicken consommé powder
1 stick margarine, cut into pieces
1 cup craisins
½ teaspoon ground saffron
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread rice in the bottom of the pan. Add water, chicken consommé, margarine, craisins, saffron, turmeric, and salt. Stir together and cover with foil.
Bake for 1-½ hours or until rice is tender and water has evaporated.
Fluff rice with a fork and serve on a shallow platter, mounding rice into a pyramid.

Poppy Seed Bread

Makes 2 loaves

2-¼ cups flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
¾ cup poppy seeds
1 tablespoons baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
1-¼ cups soymilk
¾ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, poppy seeds, and baking powder. In a small bowl, beat eggs, soymilk, oil, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until evenly moistened. Do not over mix.

Fill prepared loaf pans 2/3rd’s full of batter. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted in center of each loaf comes out clean.

Cool breads in pans on wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool.

This is best made one day in advance. Wrap loaves in foil.

Indian-Spiced Cashews and Pistachios

photo: bluejeangourmet.com

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Live!

These are the perfect snacks to have on your table.
1-1/2 cups raw cashews
¾ cup raw shelled pistachios
2 tablespoons currants

Spice Mix:
1 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

For the nuts: Spread cashews on prepared pan in an even layer. Toast for 8 minutes, rotating halfway through. Add pistachios and toast an additional 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and mix in currants.

For the spice mix: In a large bowl, stir together sugar, salt, curry powder and cumin; set aside.

For glaze: In a medium saucepan, bring water, brown sugar and margarine to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Stir in nut mix and cook, stirring constantly, until nuts are shiny and most of liquid has evaporated, about 1-1/2 minutes.

Transfer nut mix to bowl with spices and toss well to coat. Spread glazed and spiced nuts back on baking sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.

Lamb in Filo Dough

photo: recipes.co.nz

I cannot recommend this dish highly enough; if you like lamb and you like spices…

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground lamb
5 green chiles, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
¾ teaspoon pepper
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1 (8 ounce) box filo dough, thawed
¾ cup margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

In a large Dutch oven, brown lamb, chiles and onions in oil over medium-high heat, 5 to 8 minutes. Add soy sauce, ginger, garlic, pepper, cinnamon and cloves and mix well. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Mix in cilantro, if using.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a thin layer of melted margarine along bottom of 9 x 13-inch pan. Add 2 sheets of filo dough and brush with margarine. Repeat until half of box is used. Spread lamb mixture over dough. Cover with remaining filo and melted margarine (using same method). Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 45 minutes, or until top of dough is golden brown. Save me the leftovers!

Lemon Scented Almond Milk Custard

photo: whatscookingamerica.net

This recipe was submitted by www.mayihavethatrecipe.com and is the perfect ending to a fleischig Indian meal. We love when our readers send us their favorites!

2 cups UNSWEETENED almond milk
1 stick cinnamon
1 lemon rind
4 egg yolk
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cooking Instructions:
Heat up almond milk, cinnamon stick and lemon rind together in a pot at medium heat until bubbles start to form on the sides.
In the meantime, in medium bowl beat eggs yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Add corn starch and keep beating for another minute or so.
Add vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy.
Remove cinnamon stick and lemon rind from milk. Slowly add about ½ cup of warm milk to the egg yolks, stirring constantly.
Add the rest of the milk and stir until well incorporated.
Return mixture to stove and cook at medium to low heat, until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon (do not let it boil)
Pour into ramekins, let it cool and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.
Before serving, sprinkle each ramekin with sugar and caramelize using a torch or oven broiler.

submitted by:

Tequila Mustard Glazed Chicken Skewers

photo: foodandwine.com

Makes 24 skewers

Marinated Chicken
1/2 cup tequila
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips

Tequila Mustard
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup tequila
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

In a large bowl, combine the tequila, brown sugar, olive oil, garlic, oregano and salt. Add the chicken, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, water, vinegar, honey, tequila, lime juice, dry mustard, coriander, cumin and chile powder. Cook over low heat, whisking, until thickened, 5 minutes; do not boil. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Stir in the lime zest. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

Soak 24 bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Transfer 1/2 cup of the mustard to a small bowl. Thread the chicken onto the top third of the skewers. Add to pan, and cook about 8 minutes. Brush the chicken with the reserved 1/2 cup of mustard and continue cooking until cooked through. Serve the skewers with the remaining mustard.

Rice with Lentils and Caramelized Onions

Adapted From the Persian Food Book by Reyna Simneger

3 cups basmati rice
8 cups water
2 tablespoons salt
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
½ cup canola oil

½ cup brown lentils
1-½ cups water
1 onion
1/8 cup canola oil
dash turmeric

Fill a 6 quart nonstick saucepan with 8 cups water. Add oil, salt and turmeric. Cover and bring to a brisk boil over high heat. When water boils, add rice and continue cooking, uncovered over medium heat, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Drain in a colander.

For the topping:
In a small saucepan, bring the water and lentils to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 7 – 10 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add a dash of turmeric.

To assemble, combine rice, lentils and onions. Season with salt and pepper.

Butterscotch Blondie Bars with Peanut –Pretzel Caramel

photo: epicurious.com

Makes 40

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) margarine
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine
1/2 cup pareve whippingcream
1-1/2 cups 1-1/2"-wide thin twisted pretzels, coarsely crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on long sides of pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Stir margarine in a medium skillet over medium heat until browned bits form at bottom of pan, 7–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add brown sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat until well combined and mixture resembles wet sand, 2–3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy and well combined, about 2 minutes. Add dry ingredients; beat until smooth (batter will be thick). Using an offset or regular spatula, evenly spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake blondie until golden brown, edges pull away from sides of pan, and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20–25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread peanuts over sheet in an even layer. Bake, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, 5–7 minutes. Set aside.

Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring, occassionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until caramel is deep amber, 12–15 minutes. Add honey; return to a boil, stirring often, about 1 minute longer. Add margarine; stir until blended. Add pareve cream (mixture will bubble vigorously); whisk until smooth. Stir in peanuts and pretzels. Pour over cooled blondie. Chill until cool, about 30 minutes.

Run a knife around short sides of pan to release blondie. Using parchment-paper overhang, lift from pan. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into squares.

Iced Irish Coffee

Serves 8

8 cups strong, brewed coffee
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 pint pareve coffee ice cream or pareve chocolate
½ cup Irish whiskey

Combine the coffee and sugar in a pitcher and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Refrigerate until well chilled. Place ¼ cup of ice cream in the bottom of 8 tall glasses. Pour the chilled coffee and whiskey into each glass and serve with long handled spoons.

Substitute Kahlua, sambuca, ouzo or other liquor for the whiskey to make Iced Mexican or Greek coffee.

Sweet Monkey Bread

3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2-1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1-1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 cups flour

1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/ 2 to 3/4 cup caramel bits
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream

Combine milk, butter, yeast, salt, vanilla, sugar, egg and flour by hand or with a mixer. Mix until smooth. Allow dough to rise, lightly covered with a towel, for 1 hour. Dough should rise and get puffy.

Gently deflate the dough and pat to an 8" x 10" rectangle. Cut into 4 equal lengths, then cut each length into 10 pieces.
Taking one piece at a time, create a small well in the dough ball and add a few chocolate chips and caramel pieces. Seal the dough into a ball and place in a well-greased 10 cup bundt pan.
Continue to fill and add dough balls to the pan until all dough is used.

In a small pan, heat butter and vanilla until melted. Pour the melted butter/vanilla mixture over the dough and cover the pan with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes or until puffy.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on the outside.
Turn the hot bread out onto a rimmed serving platter. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Prepare the glaze by whisking butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and cream together until smooth and pourable, adding more cream if needed. Pour over the bread and serve warm.

Lemon Marinated Olives

photo by A. Baranowski

While smashed and somewhat showed through the Machane Shuk in Israel, I still managed to be drawn toward the endless spice and olive stands. We bought many types, Moroccan, herbed, spicy amongst others but the stand out was the Lemon Garlic Green Olives. Alone, on a cracker, or with chicken or fish, this recipe is a must try.

Lemon Garlic Olives
1 pound good quality green olives
(preferably cracked)
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice

4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
¼ teaspoon coriander
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 lemon, cut in ½ inch chunks
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

In a large bowl, mix olives with oil, lemon juice, garlic, coriander, cilantro, mint, lemon and crushed red pepper (if using).

Stir well to combine. Cover olives with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 1 month. Bring the olives to room temperature before serving.

Deconstructed Cookie Jar

photo by bakerella.com

What’s a Deconstructed Cookie Jar, you ask? It’s simple: Layers of dry cookie ingredients are placed in a jar, and the directions for adding wet ingredients and baking the cookies are attached. With a shelf life of several weeks, these are ideal mishloach manot, they look great in a clear jar and are easy to make. Make a cute label with the baking instructions for a great finish.

My go to blondies in a Jar
(I suggest a half of recipe per jar)
Recipe and instructions below are for one full recipe

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 ½ cups walnuts
2 cups chocolate chips
Or 2 cups dried fruit, chips of your choice, marshmallows, or coconut (Get creative, it looks fabulous in the jar)
Glass covered jars, 3 cup capacity

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

In the bottom of the jar, pour in the chocolate chips (or add in of your choice). On top of the chips, pour in the walnuts and on top of that the flour mixture. Cover the jar.

Include a tag with instructions:

**** (If you are making jars with ½ the ingredients make sure to adjust below to 1 stick margarine, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and use an 8 x 8 inch pan)

Blondies in a Jar
(All you need is 2 sticks margarine, 2 eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
Melt margarine and mix with 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and the Blondies in a Jar. Stir until combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
Pour batter in pan.
Bake for 25 minutes or until blondies are just set in the center.

Almond and Olive Biscotti

I like the idea of sending a soup (any kind you like) in a glass jar with some homemade savory biscotti like the almond and olive biscotti below. These are dairy so it would need to accompany a dairy soup but for fleish soup just omit the Parmesan cheese. They are also great served along side a homemade sun-dried tomato pesto.

1 cup whole almonds
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons margarine, room temperature
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs
¾ cup pitted green olives, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread almonds on a large baking sheet and toast them until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool. When cool, coarsely chop them.

Place flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a mixer, beat margarine, and Parmesan on low until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add eggs and mix until the dough comes together. Mix in almonds, olives and sage.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a flattened log about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Place the logs several inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the logs 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from oven and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Transfer logs to a cutting board and cut them into ½ inch thick slices. Lay the slices cut side down on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake cookies until they are crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Mini Meaf Loaves

Meat loaf sometimes gets a bad rap. It’s a great comfort food, especially when served with mashed potatoes. And when made in mini-loaf pans and smothered in mushroom sauce, everyone in the family sits up and takes notice.

Meat Loaves:
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
½ pound ground turkey
2-1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup nondairy creamer
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (fish free)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 eggs

3 tablespoons margarine
1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon beef consommé powder
1/3 cup red wine
1 cup water
1 (4 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together beef, turkey, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nondairy creamer, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and eggs until well combined. Pack into mini loaf pans – each one will be about 2/3 full – and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Let sit briefly before removing to platter.

In a small sauce pan, melt margarine. Sauté onion until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in flour. Stirring constantly, add consommé powder, wine, water and mushrooms. Cook until thickened.

Pour over meat loaves and serve.

Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

1-½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups margarine, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped roasted and salted peanuts

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside

In a mixer, beat margarine and brown sugar until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the peanut butter and then beat in eggs one at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl and add vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating just to blend. Fold in the peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and peanuts.

Cover dough with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm. Remove from fridge.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Using 1 tablespoon of dough, roll into balls and place on about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten the top of each cookie slightly.

Bake for 8 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Italian Herb Meat Loaf

4-5 pounds of chopped meat (preferably beef, and lean)
3/4 can of Italian Herb bread crumbs (if you cant get this, use regular bread crumbs and add extra amounts of the spices listed below
7 whole eggs
3 generous shakes of the following spices:
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Dried parsley
4 pinches of salt so about 1 teaspoon or more
2 shakes of black pepper
2 jars of marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the meat, eggs, and spices together. Add about 1/3 of a jar of marinara sauce, mix well, then add bread crumbs. Shape into a loaf, taking care to seal as many cracks as possible to prevent breaking. Gently pour marinara sauce on the entire outside of the loaf, taking care to cover all surface areas. Bake for approx 1 1/2 hrs or until a knife stuck into the middle comes out completely clean and extremely hot. When it is cut into, the meat should be completely cooked.

Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes

5-7 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and quartered
Margarine to taste

In a 8 quart pot of boiling water, add several shakes of salt. Add quartered potatoes. cooking until you can cut through easily with a knife. Drain well, then add margarine and mash. You may wish to add more salt at this point. (Alternate preparation: after potatoes are drained, add a bit of olive oil. mix well, and bake in the oven at 350degrees for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes get a nice golden crust)

Meat Gravy with Mushrooms

1 large handful chopped meat
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 medium onion
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons dried basil, chopped
Dry Red wine for cooking (I prefer Gefen Burgandy Royale)
2 3-fingered pinches of flour

In a saute pan, add a small amount of red wine, the meat, garlic, onion and mushroom. Cook for several minutes, until the meat is thoroughly cooked, and onions are soft. By this time you should a good amount of juices from the meat. Add a little more wine and the basil, and cook on high for about 3 minutes, or until it reduces noticeably. Add flour, and stir in completely. Gravy is ready when all ingredients are incorporated and thick. Serve with potatoes.

Green Beans with Onions

3-4 lbs fresh green beans
1/2 large onion, chopped fine
Olive oil for frying onion
About ½ cup water
Salt to taste
Margarine to taste

Snap point ends off green beans. In a preheated large soup pot, add a bit of oil. When heated, add onion and cook until they begin to soften. Add green beans, mix well with the onions and oil. The beans should be barely coated with oil. Add at most 1/2 cup of water, cover. Check once or twice to stir. Green beans are done when they are bright green, and upon tasting they are still firm but not crunchy. Add margarine and salt to taste.

Tu B’shvat Salad

This salad is not only perfect for Tu B’shvat but also inspired by my recent trip to Israel. I was amazed at how delicious the food was (I really don’t remember this from my last trip). Each restaurant used ingredients that are common to Israel in unique and beautiful ways. Even the foods that are so familiar and simple like Israeli salad seemed more interesting this time with spicy tahini dressing (I’m still working on recreating that one!).

4 Persian cucumbers, sliced
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup roasted red peppers, sliced
¼ cup chopped dates
¼ cup sliced fennel
6 cups arugula lettuce, or other lettuce of choice
½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
¼ cup chopped pistachios, toasted
¼ cup craisins or dried cherries

1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup canola oil

For the dressing, whisk together the honey, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. While whisking pour the oil in a stream until emulsified. Set aside until ready to use.

For the salad, toss the cucumbers, tomatoes, red peppers, dates, fennel and arugula well. Add dressing and toss to coat. Top with walnuts, pistachios, and craisins.

Cuban Chicken

4 tablespoons olive oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato pate
1/3 cup red wine
1 (14-1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, NOT drained
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup sliced green olives
1 tablespoon capers, drained

In a large skillet with 2-inch sides, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and keep warm. Add onion to the pan and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in cumin, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cayenne and garlic. Add tomato paste and wine and simmer for about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and brown sugar. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in olives and capers and return chicken to sauce. Heat briefly and serve.

Country Bread

kosher country bread recipe

photo: belleepoque.co.uk

3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup nondairy creamer, heated to lukewarm (I use a microwave)
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup semolina flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
3-1/2 - 4 cups bread flour
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons margarine, melted

In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 teaspoons yeast, creamer, sugar, semolina flour, whole wheat flour and ½ cup bread flour. Whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 12 to 24 hours.

Add remaining yeast, water, salt, margarine and 1 cup bread flour. Stir until completely combined. Add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, until dough is formed. Knead until smooth and elastic. Oil bowl and roll dough in oil. Cover bowl and let rise for 2 hours.

Punch dough down and form into round ball. Place on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprinkled with semolina flour. Cover and let rise an additional 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Make a slash in top of loaf. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 400 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 325 degrees. Cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes – until browned.

Beef Curry

kosher beef curry recipe

photo: quickfreerecipes.com

The delicious aroma of this stew will fill your home and make your mouth water.

4 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds boneless stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 onions, chopped
6 whole cloves
1 heaping teaspoon fresh minced garlic
2 cinnamon sticks
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1-1/2 cups coconut milk (you can use nondairy creamer or soy milk if you’re stuck)
3 tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons chutney
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1-1/2 tablespoons curry powder

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add meat and brown on all sides- 6 – 10 minutes. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Stir in cloves, garlic, cinnamon sticks and crushed red pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, chutney, lemon juice, ginger and curry. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Serve over rice.