Cherry Berry Crisp

cherry-berry-crisp

Serves 8

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks cold margarine
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Three 12-ounce bags frozen tart cherries
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
To Serve:
2 cups pareve whipping cream
Pareve Vanilla ice cream, optional
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare the crumb mixture: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.

Cut the cold margarine into pieces. Add to flour mixture and with a fork or pastry blender, cut it into the flour mixture. The mixture should resemble a moist, coarse meal. Add the slivered almonds and combine thoroughly.

Place the still-frozen cherries in a bowl, add blueberries, the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch and almond extract and gently stir the cherries to combine.

Pour fruit into an oven-safe baking dish or divide fruit between 8 ramekins (about 1/2 cup each). Top with the crumb mixture, pressing it slightly onto the fruit.

Bake until the topping is crisp and golden brown, about 45 minutes. If the topping appears underdone, continue baking in 10 minute increments until it's done.

To serve: Whip the pareve whipped cream in a standing mixer. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serve the individual crisps warm or at room temperature with a dollop of freshly whipped cream or pareve vanilla ice cream.

BBQ Strawberry Shortcake

strawberry-shortcake
Serves 10

1 Super Terrific Poundcake
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup pareve whipping cream or heavy cream, whipped until soft peaks form

In a small bowl, mix strawberries with sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Slice poundcake in 1 ½ inch thick slices and place on a dessert plate. Spoon berries and juices over slice. Top with whipping cream.

Alternatively, slice cake horizontally. Spread whipped cream over center of cake, top with berries and juices. Place other half of cake on top of fruit and whipped cream. Chill. Top cake with any additional fruit, berries and whipped cream. Slice and serve.

Super Terrific Poundcake

poundcake
Serves 10

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup pareve whipping cream or heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Do not preheat the oven. Grease and flour the bottom, sides and tube of a 9-inch tube cake pan.

Cream the margarine/butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, but do not overbeat. Set the mixer on slow speed and stir in the flour and cream alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the vanilla and stir well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and put the cake in a cold oven. Set the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Begin timing now and bake the cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake. The toothpick should be clean when it is removed. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to continue cooling.

2 Weekday Dishes, So Easy Peasy

We just finished a beautiful Yom Tov, lots and lots of cooking and serving and great meals shared with special people. I’m a bit tired though and in need of some quick and light dinners to get through the next few, very busy, weeks before summer. Luckily, a guest bought me an interesting and useful new cookbook, titled, Sheet Pan Suppers, by Molly Gilbert. She brings a whole new perspective to the art of weeknight cooking. Everything cooks right on a rimmed baking sheet, quickly and with little cleanup. Try these two from her book.

Broiled Salmon and Asparagus with Crème Fraiche
Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs with Zucchini and Summer Squash

Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs with Zucchini and Summer Squash

spicy-chicken-thighs-summer
Serves 4

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for cooling rack
6 medium yellow squash or zucchini, or both (about 1 1/2 lbs. total), sliced into 1/2-in. rounds
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1-1/2 pounds boned, skinned chicken thighs (5 to 8 pieces)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat broiler with oven rack 3 to 4 in. from heat. Set a metal cooling rack in a 12- by 17-in. rimmed baking sheet and coat lightly with oil.
Remove cooling rack and put squash on baking sheet. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper; toss to coat. Spread squash in a single layer and set cooling rack on top, nudging squash aside as needed so rack lies even.
In a large bowl, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt with the curry powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne. Set aside 1-1/2 teaspoon spice mix.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the chicken thighs to large bowl and toss chicken to coat. Place spiced chicken smooth (skinned) side up on cooling rack over zucchini.
Broil chicken and squash, turning chicken once, until starting to char at edges, about 16 minutes total.
Meanwhile, make glaze: Whisk together reserved spice mix, honey, mustard, and vinegar in a small bowl.
Remove chicken and zucchini from oven. Generously brush chicken with glaze. Return to oven and broil, smooth side up, until nicely charred and an instant-read thermometer registers 165° when inserted in thickest part, about 4 minutes. Remove rack of chicken from baking sheet and set aside.
Return squash to oven and broil until most pieces are charred, 2 to 3 minutes more. Lift squash from juices and serve with chicken.

Broiled Salmon and Asparagus with Crème Fraiche

broiled-salmon-asparagus
Serves 4

2 bunches asparagus (about 2 lbs. total)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 skinned salmon fillets (5 to 6 oz. each)
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or scallions

Preheat broiler with oven rack about 4 in. from heat.
Snap off bottom of an asparagus spear to see where it breaks easily. Line up remaining spears and slice off bottoms at the same spot. Put trimmed asparagus on a 12- by 17-in. rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on baking sheet.
Season salmon with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then set on top of asparagus in a single layer.
Broil salmon and asparagus until salmon is no longer translucent but still moist in center and asparagus is browned in spots, 8 to 12 minutes. If asparagus isn't done, lift salmon to a platter and return asparagus to oven for a few more minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together crème fraîche, mustard, chives, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
Serve salmon and asparagus with crème fraîche sauce.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

italian-ricotta-cookies
By Melissa Clark, from the New York Times

Lush, creamy, crunchy and full of lemon.

2 sticks (1 cup) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
425 grams sugar (about 2 cups)
1 ¾ cups ricotta cheese (15 ounces)
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
480 grams all-purpose flour (about 4 cups)
10 grams baking soda (2 teaspoons)
4 grams fine sea salt (about 3/4 teaspoon)
450 grams confectioners’ sugar (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup to 1/2 cup milk, as needed

Using an electric mixer, cream 2 sticks butter with sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add ricotta, lemon zest and 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and beat well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula, then beat in flour, baking soda and salt. Cover dough and chill for at least 2 hours and up to a week.

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake until pale golden on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks
Melt remaining tablespoon butter. Whisk confectioners’ sugar to break up any large lumps, then whisk in melted butter, lemon juice, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and enough milk to make a spreadable icing. Spread icing on cooled cookies, then let set for at least 20 minutes before serving

Sweet and Sour Strawberry Semifreddo

sweet-and-sour-strawberry-semifreddo

Serves 8

I tried this recipe from Bon Appetit and it’s not only gorgeous and chic but creamy, sweet and delicious. Omit the black sesame seeds if they are too strange for you or serve with extra chopped strawberries.

1 pound strawberries, hulled, quartered
⅓ cup sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of kosher salt
⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

Cook strawberries and sugar in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until strawberries have broken down into a thick, chunky jam (they should not be syrupy), 10–15 minutes. Stir in vinegar; let cool.

Meanwhile, toast black sesame seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Whip cream and salt until cream holds a medium-stiff peak. Gently whisk in sweetened condensed milk and yogurt until completely blended. Gently fold in half of strawberry jam, just enough to create streaks, then gently fold in remaining jam (mixture should look marbled with pockets of jam).

Transfer to a medium bowl or loaf pan and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

Serve semifreddo topped with toasted sesame seeds.

Penne Alla Vodka

pennealavodka
Serves 4

Here it is….a great classic penne alla vodka. Everyone loves it, admit, even food snobs like me. This one is creamy, and also super flavorful, others can be cloying and overly rich. This is definitely a Shavuos treat!

Kosher salt
12 ounces penne
1 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 large cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta for 1 minute less than package directions for al dente.
Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and use your hands to break them up.
Heat the oil and garlic in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Discard the garlic.
Add the tomatoes (and their juice) and the red pepper flakes to the garlic oil; raise the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 8 minutes.
Add the vodka and cook for about 2 minutes to mellow the alcohol. Stir in the heavy cream and 1-1/2 tsp. salt.
Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Toss over medium heat until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce, about 3 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the cheese and parsley.

Herring

My mom enjoys herring and my grandmother did as well. I didn’t get the Jewish fish gene, and cannot tolerate herring or even smoked salmon. So despite my personal interest in herring, I think it’s great to have some homemade special versions to serve to mom or at a Shabbos Kiddush. Anyone can buy it, but these versions have delicious taste and texture and are truly unique. Summer is a great time to entertain, these herring recipes are a perfect way to start a meal or to serve at Shalosh Seudas. They can be made days in advance and stored, covered in the refrigerator.

Mustard Pickled Herring
Curried Pickled Herring

Mustard Pickled Herring

staple-herring
Serves 10 – 12

1 cup Tofutti sour cream
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onions
1 tablespoon pareve whipping cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
Dash of white pepper
2 apples, peeled and finely diced (about 1 pound)
10 ounces pickled herring, drained and spices removed

Mix together the sour cream, onions, cream, mustard, sugar, white pepper and apples in a medium bowl. Gently toss the pickled herring with the mustard mixture until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for 2 hours prior to serving.

Curried Pickled Herring

Serves 10-12

1/2 cup seedless green grapes, halved, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely diced red onions
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 apples, finely diced (about 1 pound)
10 ounces pickled herring, drained and spices removed

Mix together the grapes, mayonnaise, onions, curry powder and apples in a medium bowl. Gently toss the pickled herring with the curried mayonnaise mixture until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving.

My Mom’s Dairy Rugelach

rugelach-14
Makes 2 dozen
My favorite combination is cherry jam with walnuts, but use whatever you have or whatever combination you like.

Dough
2 cups flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature, cut into small pieces
1 cup cottage cheese
Pinch of salt

Filling
1/2 cup cherry jam, strawberry, or any flavor jam
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts, divided
1/2 chopped dried cherries, craisins apricots, optional, divided
1/2 cup coconut, optional, divided
Topping
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar

In a food processor, use pulse to gently blend dough ingredients together until a smooth dough forms. Divide into 4 equal pieces, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Dough can also be frozen for up to three months.

Preheat oven to 375.

On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 8-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick.
Spread each circle with 2 tablespoons jam, Then sprinkle 2 tablespoons nuts, 2 tablespoons dried fruit and 2 tablespoons coconut on top of jam. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the circle, like a pizza, into 8 wedges. Starting at outside edge, roll each wedge to enclose filling.

Grease two cookie sheets. Place rugelach seam side down on prepared cookie sheets about 2-inches apart. In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle each cookie with cinnamon sugar topping.

Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Let rugelach rest 10 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.

Coconut Cookies

3 eggs
2 cups flour
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

In an electric mixer, beat eggs, flour, butter/margarine, sugar, baking powder and vanilla extract until smooth. Separate into 4 equal parts. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While dough is chilling, make filling: In a small bowl, mix coconut, pecans, sugar and lemon juice.

Sprinkle flour on work surface. Roll each of the four sections into a rectangle, about 12-inches long and 8-inches wide. Dough should be about ¼-inch thick. Sprinkle ¼ of the filling on top of dough, spreading evenly but leave about ½ inch on each side. Roll dough lengthwise into a log. Wrap in plastic or parchment paper and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes. Repeat with other 3 pieces of dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Slice dough about ½-inch thick. Place on baking sheets, two inches apart, and about 12 on each sheet. Bake for 18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Rocky Road Fudge

Betty Snider’s Rocky Road Fudge, made with love whenever we visited.
Makes 5 dozen 1-inch fudge squares

2/3 cup (1 small can) evaporated milk
1 2/3 cup sugar
½ cup chopped nuts
1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
1 ½ cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine evaporated milk and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stir well. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan. Refrigerate. When cool, cut into 1-inch squares.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

895_Page_231web
Makes 24
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted margarine or butter
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia d'Oro
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole walnuts in large chunks
1 cup whole pecan in large chunks
2/3 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a double boiler or over very low heat, in a medium saucepan, melt butter, 6 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate, stirring occasionally, until just melted. Remove from the heat and cool for 15 minutes.

In an electric mixer, beat the eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla until combined. Add the sugar, raise the speed to medium-high, and beat for 2 minutes, until the batter is thicker.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Combine the 1/3 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and fold it into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. In another bowl, combine the walnuts, pecans, peanut butter chips, the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips, and the tablespoon of flour and fold it into the chocolate mixture. Drop by rounded mounds, about 2 tablespoons each of batter, 1 inch apart onto the prepared sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes exactly. Cool on the baking sheets.

Carrot-Walnut Loaf Cake

carrot-walnut-loaf-cake
Recipe by Bread Bakery, NY
If you only have an 8½x4½" pan, there’s no need to go out and get a new one. Simply hold back about 1¾ cups batter for later—it makes a mean waffle!

SERVINGS: MAKES ONE 9X5" LOAF

1 cup vegetable oil, plus more
1¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour; plus more
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces carrots, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
2 teaspoons light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil and flour a 9x5" loaf pan. Whisk baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and 1 ¼ cups flour in a small bowl. Toss raisins, walnuts, and remaining 1 Tbsp. flour in another bowl.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs and granulated sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. With mixer running, gradually drizzle in 1 cup oil, then add vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients, raisin mixture, and carrots; scrape batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 65–75 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Strawberry-Almond Cornmeal Cake

strawberry-almond-cornmeal-cake
Equal parts fruit crumble and coffee cake, this not-too-sweet dessert starts out bright pink but bakes to a toasty golden brown. As seen in Bon Appetit magazine.

SERVINGS: 12
Strawberry Crumble
½ cup raw skin-on almonds
2 ounces freeze-dried strawberries
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter or margarine, cut into pieces

Cake And Assembly
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup cornmeal
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces almond paste
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 pound strawberries, hulled, half halved, half quartered
Powdered sugar (for serving)

Special Equipment
A 9" springform pan

Strawberry Crumble
Pulse almonds in a food processor until about the size of grains of rice. Add strawberries and pulse to a coarse powder. Add flour, sugar, and salt and pulse just to blend. Add butter/margarine and process until no dry spots remain.

Cake And Assembly
Preheat oven to 350°. Coat pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, break up almond paste in a large bowl until crumbly. Add sugar and butter/margarine and mix until blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well to incorporate after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and mix in dry ingredients.

Scrape batter into pan; scatter strawberries over top, followed by clumps of crumble. Bake cake until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 80–90 minutes. Let cool in pan before unmolding. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Do Ahead: Cake can be baked 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

How I love it: With a hot cup of coffee and any extra crumble from the pan.

Grilled Chicken and Romaine Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

grilledchickensalad
Adapted from Sunset.com
Serves 4
1-1/4 pounds boned, skinned chicken breast, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2 small firm, crisp apples, cored and chopped
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (1/4 cup)

Heat a grill or a grill pan to medium-high (about 450°). Brush chicken with 1 tablespoon oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Grill chicken, turning once, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
Whisk remaining 1/4 cup oil in a small bowl with tahini, lemon zest and juice, honey, garlic, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces, and place into a large salad bowl. Add apples, almonds, and dates. Add dressing and toss and serve.

Oven Baked Short Ribs with Beer Boosted BBQ Sauce

ovenbakedribs

I’m a fan of Amy Thielen, chef and host of Food Network’s Heattland Table. I actually owned her book, The New Midwestern Table, before she had a cooking show. She recently moved back to Minnesota and is growing her own vegetables, cooking over open fire in her yard, and really living the Midwestern life. Although, most of the working the land, growing her own food (almost all of it!) is not familiar to me or relatable ☺ , her cooking style is fantastic and I love her recipes. She uses fresh ingredients, great flavor combinations and easy techniques to create scrumptious meals that families would enjoy. This one is slightly adapted by me, to make it simpler and I’ve also included a crock-pot version for those of you who like that easy cooking option. These are seriously flavorful ribs that fall off the bone. Make them mid-week as a treat or on a Shabbos night.

Oven Baked Short Ribs with Beer Boosted BBQ Sauce
Serves 6 - 8
Ribs:
6 pounds beef short ribs, on the bone
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon crusted red pepper
1 -inch knob fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into 4 pieces, then slightly smashed
Beer BBQ Sauce:
1 fresh jalapeno pepper (depending on desired heat), stem discarded – for a little heat just chop and include seeds, for little to no heat, remove seeds and membrane)
1/2 medium sweet onion, cubed
4 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons margarine
1 bottle dark beer
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or parsley
Zest and juice of 1 lime (2 teaspoons zest, 2 tablespoons juice)

For the ribs: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Rub each piece of rib with salt, and sprinkle with the pepper, thyme and crushed red pepper. Arrange the ribs in a large roasting pan, add 1/4 cup water, and the ginger, cover tightly and bake until tender when poked with a fork, about 3 hours.

For the beer bbq sauce: In a food processor, combine the jalapeno, onions, ginger and salt, and process until smooth.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the margarine. Add the onion mixture to the pan and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the beer, molasses, brown sugar and maple syrup, and cook at a simmer until the mixture thickens but is still saucy, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cilantro, lime zest and juice and a bit of the pan juices.

To glaze the ribs, raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. (You may also glaze these ribs over a medium-hot grill.)

Brush the mop on both sides of the ribs and roast, stopping to reapply the mop, until you've used it all and the ribs are coated with shiny black glaze, about 10 minutes.

Crock Pot Version

Rub each piece of rib with salt, and sprinkle with the pepper, thyme and crushed red pepper. Arrange the ribs in crock pot, add 1/4 cup water, and the ginger, cover tightly and cook on high until tender when poked with a fork, about 3 - 5 hours.

For the beer bbq sauce: In a food processor, combine the jalapeno, onions, ginger and salt, and process until smooth.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the margarine. Add the onion mixture to the pan and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the beer, molasses, brown sugar and maple syrup, and cook at a simmer until the mixture thickens but is still saucy, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cilantro, lime zest and juice and a bit of the pan juices.

Add sauce to ribs and toss to coat. Cook an additional 1 -2 hours or until ribs are tender.

Alternatively, place ribs, spices, water and cooked prepared bbq sauce in crock pot and toss to coat. Cook on high 5 – 7 hours until ribs are tender and cooked through.

Mixed Green Salad with Coffee Vinaigrette

grilled-green-salad
Serves 8

1 red onion, sliced thin
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
⅔ cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (recommended brand Megdalia D’Oro)
Vegetable oil (for grill)
3 cups mixed greens, romaine, frisee, red leaf or lettuce of choice
1 cup arugula
½ English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, thinly sliced

Combine onions, tomatoes, garlic, and ⅓ cup olive oil in a large resealable plastic bag; season with salt and pepper. Seal bag, pressing out air, and toss to coat. Let sit at least 1 hour.
Whisk vinegar, honey, and espresso in a medium bowl until honey and espresso are dissolved. Gradually add remaining ⅓ cup olive oil, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Prepare grill for medium-high heat; lightly oil grates. (Or, heat a grill pan over medium-high.) Remove onions and tomatoes from marinade; grill, turning occasionally, until tender and charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Let cool. ALTERNATIVELY, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place onions and tomatoes on a low-sided pan in a single layer. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes or until softened and slightly browned. .
Arrange greens on a platter. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with half of vinaigrette. Top with cucumber, and grilled vegetables; drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.
Do Ahead: Vinaigrette can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Asian Kale Salad

asian-kale-salad
Serves 4 - 6

1 bunch kale (about 8 oz.), chopped *If you have extra time and enjoy your kale a little softer and less bitter, try massaging a teaspoon of olive oil into the leaves before adding the rest of ingredients
1 bunch cilantro (about 4 oz.), chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 carrots, shredded (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup roughly chopped roasted almonds
1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Toss all ingredients together in a large salad bowl. Let sit, tossing often, until slightly wilted, 15 to 30 minutes.

3 Spring Salads To Enjoy

asian-kale-salad
Winter comfort food no more! Spring is finally here! The minute warmer weather arrives in NY, I’m motivated to create light and fresh recipes. I also enjoy the outdoors so I like spring recipes that are quick and easy and allow for more time to enjoy the sunshine. However, just like the lazy winter blues shouldn’t compromise your meals neither should spring fever. Try these simple, light, and super tasty salad recipes. Welcome Spring welcome ☺

Grilled Chicken and Romaine Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing
Asian Kale Salad
Mixed Green Salad with Coffee Vinaigrette

Good luck! Share your favorite spring salad recipes or any spring salad ideas in the comments below!

Asian Meatballs

asian-meatball
Makes 1 ½ cups

1/2 cup sake or dry white wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mirin
25-count bag Basic Meatballs

In a saucepan, combine the sake, soy sauce, sugar and 1/4 cup of the mirin; boil until reduced to 1-1/2 cups, 3 minutes. Let cool.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet-and-Sour-Meatballs
Makes 2 cups sauce and serves 6 – 8

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 1/4 cups pineapple juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
25-count bag Basic Meatballs (still frozen is fine)
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
1 cup drained small pineapple chunks
Steamed long-grain rice, for serving
2 tablespoons sliced green onions, for garnish

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and 2 cups of the pineapple juice. Bring to a boil.

Mix the cornstarch into the remaining 1/4 cup pineapple juice, whisking to get out all the lumps. Whisk into the skillet and add the Basic Meatballs. Bring to a simmer and add the sriracha. Cover and cook until the sauce is thickened and the meatballs are heated through, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the pineapple chunks.

Serve over steamed rice, garnished with green onions.