Salmon With Orange Pistachio Sauce and Apricot Glaze

Serves 6

6 (5 – 6 ounces) salmon fillets
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup shelled toasted and salted pistachios
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon plus 1 cups fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 cinnamon stick
9 small fresh apricots, halved and pitted or 18 canned apricot halves
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, optional for serving

Sprinkle the salmon with the parsley, 1 tablespoon of the thyme and 1 tablespoon of the orange zest. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperate before grilling.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a food processor, pulse the nuts, 1/4 cup of the oil and the garlic until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the oil, 1 tablespoon of the orange juice, the remaining 1 teaspoon orange zest and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Season with salt.

In a medium saucepan, cook the remaining 1 cup orange juice and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the sugar, honey and cinnamon over medium heat, stirring often, until syrupy, 15 minutes (reduce until slightly thicker, about 2 minutes more, if using canned apricots). Discard the cinnamon.

In a large ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Cook the apricots, cut side down, until beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat; drizzle with the syrup. Transfer to the oven; bake until the apricots are tender and glazed, 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the fish with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until opaque in the center, about 12-15 minutes.

Top with the salmon, apricots and syrup, yogurt and pistachio sauce.

Shavuos Cooking

Tons of recipes perfect for Shavuos! Shavuos index here
Cheesecakes – SOOOO many to choose from.

Salmon With Orange Pistachio Sauce and Apricot Glaze
Salmon with Pistachio Pesto
Tuna and Fruit Ceviche
Salmon Baked in the Oven
Poached Salmon
Green Goddess Dressing
Tzatziki Sauce

I’m booking events for summer and fall. Email me to book a cooking demo, a Chopped Party, personal chef time, or private cooking lessons.

Tuna and Fruit Ceviche

⅔ cup finely diced watermelon
⅔ cup finely diced pear or apple
⅔ cup finely diced cherry tomatoes
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
1 large shallot, finely diced
¼ lb. sushi grade tuna or salmon (or imitation crab), diced into small pieces
Edible flowers, optional

1 lemon, juiced, about 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon canola oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Spicy mayo to garnish, optional

In a medium sized bowl, gently toss the ceviche ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over ceviche and toss gently.

Serve ceviche with dressing in small dishes. If desired top with a drizzle of spicy mayo and an edible flower.

Serve in decorative small dishes or atop a gazpacho or chilled soup.

Salmon with Pistachio Pesto

Serves 4, can be doubled

Salmon can also be broiled, roasted, grilled or poached in this recipe.

1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
5 – 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ –1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter or oil
4 (7 ounce) pieces salmon fillet

In a food processor, pulse the parsley, cheese, pistachios, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper until finely chopped. With the machine running, stream in the olive oil and process until a finely ground pesto forms.

Season the fish with a little salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter/oil until hot. Add the fish and cook until browned on both sides and almost opaque but still a bit pink at the center, about 6 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Serve salmon with pesto.

Getting Ready for Shavuos

Getting ready for Shavuos, some make-ahead salmon basics with sauces. I like both poached or baked salmon with flavorful sauces because they are easy to prepare and can and should be made ahead of time. They are great cold or at room temperature or even re-warmed properly (slowly and not for long).

Want to get a little more formal with what you serve? Try these Shavuos recipes or any of these fish specialties. And have course these Cheesecakes.

Salmon Baked in the Oven
Poached Salmon
Green Goddess Dressing
Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki Sauce

Makes 1 ½ cups

1 cup Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber, seeded, finely grated and drained
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Sprinkle with Z’aatar, optional

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice dill, mint, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and Z’aatar spice, if using. Chill. Make hours or a day or two ahead of time for flavors to blend. Store in the refrigerator.

Serve with poached salmon or baked salmon.

Green Goddess Dressing

Makes 2 cups

1 cup good mayonnaise
1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (6 to 7 scallions)
1 cup chopped basil leaves (18 to 20 leaves)
½ cup Italian parsley
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 1 teaspoon Worcestshire sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt (if using Worcestshire sauce, use 1 teaspoon salt)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream
2 stalks celery, cut into sticks

For the dressing, place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste or Worcestshire sauce, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and process just until blended. Serve as a sauce for poached or cooked fish or as a dip. Best made a day or two ahead of time. Store in refrigerator.

Salmon Baked in the Oven

1 to 3 pounds skin-on salmon fillets (8 ounces per person)
Olive oil
Lemon wedges, to serve

Preheat oven to 425°F: Place a rack in the middle of oven. Line a roasting pan or baking sheet with foil.

Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. Drizzle some oil over the top of each salmon — just enough to coat the salmon — and rub it over the salmon with your fingers. Sprinkle the salmon generously with salt and pepper.

Place the salmon in the roasting pan, skin-side down.

Roast for 4 to 6 minutes per half-inch thickness of salmon: Roasting time depends on the thickness of your salmon, as determined by the thickest part of the salmon fillet. For every half-inch of salmon, roast 4 to 6 minutes — 4 minutes will give you salmon that is still a touch rare, 6 – 8 minutes will thoroughly cook it.

Salmon is done when easily flaked.
Serve immediately with sauce or keep refrigerated for about 5 days, and can be gently reheated in the microwave or used cold.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to the Best Mom’s in the World! I love my mom readers. You are terrific in every way. You not only work at being the best moms, wives, friends, sisters, daughters, aunts….but you also work so hard to prepare healthy, wholesome and delicious meals for everyone you love. Thank you for making my work meaningful.

A few of my favorite Mother’s Day posts. Enjoy!
Mom’s Day recipes from friends and bloggers
My Mom’s Rugelach – YUM! Great for Shavuos
My Mom’s Pancakes – Serious kids favorite any day
Salt and Herb Crusted Standing Rib Roast – Lots of moms voted its their favorite
Fruit Filled Ice

BBQ Season

My BBQ is finally open, two propane tanks are ready to go and I’m testing new recipes every night to get ready for an exciting summer teaching season. This week I’m mastering chicken cutlets with wonderful marinades, sides and sauces. I had to share these two winner recipes! (and of course more to come, like Kale Pesto BBQ’d Chicken, Roasted Garlic Marinade Grilled Chicken and more)

Traditional Mexican and California flavors come together in Mexi-Cali Grilled Chicken and Mexican Cabbage Slaw. Both are perfect bright and delicious spring dishes that are packed with flavor. Buy lots of in season avocados, tomatoes, and corn (if available in your area this early in the season) to serve alongside this terrific flavor profile. BBQ season is officially open 🙂

Mexican Cabbage Slaw
Mexi-Cali Grilled Chicken

Mexi-Cali Grilled Chicken

Serves 8
Open your BBQ with this terrific grilled chicken.
I call this Mexi-Cali chicken because it has both fresh California flavors and some traditional Mexican flavors. Don’t be afraid though, it is just a juicy, flavorful chicken, that is complex and simple all at the same time. I serve it with Mexican Cabbage Slaw, grilled corn, red rice (from CELEBRATE), or with roasted butternut squash and salsa and guacamole.

2 tablespoons honey or 1/4 cup or light agave
2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
3 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 sprigs fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder, divided
One 12-ounce bottle Mexican beer
1 lime, quartered
2 cups ice cubes
8 – 12 pieces boneless chicken cutlets, white or dark meat, as desired
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for greasing
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan set over high heat, add 1 cup water, honey/agave, 2 tablespoons salt, 1 ½ teaspoons cumin, black pepper, garlic, oregano, 1 tablespoon chili powder, beer and limes. Cook, stirring, until the salt dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the ice, and stir until cool. Pour the marinade into a large, resealable plastic bag and add the chicken cutlets. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
Preheat the grill to high heat and grease the grill grates.

In a small bowl, add the remaining 1 tablespoon chile powder, remaining 1 ½ teaspoons cumin, granulated garlic, brown sugar, smoked paprika, the remaining 1/2 tablespoon salt, the mustard and ground black pepper. Mix to combine, and set aside.
Remove the chicken from marinade, then pat dry and brush with the canola oil. Coat evenly all over with the spice rub. Grill the chicken for 3 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until just cooked through, about an additional 4 minutes, depending on thickness.

Serve the chicken with guacamole, salsa and Mexican Cabbage Slaw.

Mexican Cabbage Slaw

Serves 6

I love this slaw as a BBQ side dish, atop fish tacos, or alongside a terrific grilled chicken dish. I often serve it with roasted corn (that would be excellent in the slaw too), roasted butternut squash, black beans, and any smoky BBQ chicken or meat dish. Buy or make some guacamole, salsa, and tomatillo dip to add to the top of it all.

2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons honey or 1 teaspoon light agave
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
Juice and zest of 1 lime
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bag shredded purple cabbage
1 ½ cups shredded green cabbage
1 ½ cups shredded carrots
¼ cup finely diced red onion
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and julienned

In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, the salt, honey, cumin, chili powder, lime juice, zest and pepper.
In a medium bowl, toss the purple cabbage, green cabbage, carrots, red onion and bell pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix to combine. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Happy Spring

Time to lighten it up with spring recipes. From weeknights to Shabbos, I’m using seasonal ingredients, like wild mushrooms and fresh tomatoes, to make my meals flavorful and a little lighter. This spring salad is both healthy and fresh tasting and easy for Shavuos and this weeknight chicken is fast and easy and sure to be well-liked. Happy Spring!

Spring Mixed Greens with Lemon Vinaigrette (Dairy Option for Shavuos)
Chicken with Wine, Mushrooms, and Capers

Chicken with Wine, Mushrooms, and Capers

Serves 4

This simple ingredient chicken is light and flavorful and very easy to make. I actually like it best a day or two after it is prepared. The capers, wine and garlic have some time to settle together and it becomes extra flavorful.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
6 ounces cremini, button or wild mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon unsalted margarine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh parsley

Season the chicken with some salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Lightly brown the chicken on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Using the same skillet, add the garlic and shallot and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 6 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes, then lower the heat. Return the chicken to the skillet, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, an additional 10 minutes. Add the capers, margarine, balsamic vinegar and lemon zest, and continue cooking, uncovered, for 1 minute. Sprinkle with parsley and serve over rice or couscous.

Spring Mixed Greens with Lemon Vinaigrette (Dairy Option for Shavuos)

Serves 4

Fresh greens are great for the spring, I use a mixture of lettuce varieties in this salad, or sometimes buy the wonderful “Cruciferous” blend from Trader Joe’s. Add seasonal tomatoes, crunchy Kirby cucumbers, protein packed garbanzo beans, and some creamy feta cheese and you have a wonderful spring salad.

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 shallot, chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 cups mixed greens (about 10 ounces)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 kirby cucumbers, sliced into half-moons
1/2 cup crumbled plain or herbed feta, crumbled

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, shallot, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking.

In a large bowl, gently toss together the greens, tomatoes, chickpeas,

Oven Baked Ribs with Tequila BBQ Sauce

Serves 6

Guy Fieri inspired oven baked ribs. Guy uses pork ribs, I tried with both beef and short ribs. I like the long beef spare ribs best for this recipe. The Tequila BBQ sauce is extra fun for Purim and is bursting with sweet, savory, spicy and tangy flavors. Use some sauce to brush on the ribs while cooking and the rest to pass for dipping. The meat is fall off the bone soft and next time I definitely need to double the recipe!

Two (4-pound) racks beef ribs
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder or chili powder
Tequila BBQ sauce, for serving, recipe follows

Tequila BBQ Sauce:
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white or gold tequila (I prefer white)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons chipolte in adobe sauce OR 1 generous teaspoon Sriracha sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Make the rub by combining the cumin, garlic, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper and ancho chile powder together in a mixing bowl.
Set a few large sheets of foil out (one set for each rack). Place 1 rack on each sheet and divide the dry rub in half. Rub the mixture into the ribs on both sides, and then fold the foil over to form a sealed pouch around each rack. At this stage make sure the racks are meat-side down. Place each pouch on a roasting tray and bake in the oven for 2 hours.

Make the Tequila BBQ Sauce: In a medium saucepan, add the tomato paste, light brown sugar, tequila, lime juice, garlic and molasses. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer. Add in the chipolte in adobe or sriracha sauce, season with salt and pepper and simmer until the flavors meld together, 2 to 3 minutes. Process with a blender until smooth.

After 2 hours, open up the foil and peel back so the ribs are exposed. Carefully turn the meat over so the meat side is on top, brush with a little bbq sauce and then cook for 1 1/2 more hours with the open foil. When done, the ribs will be tender and the meat will have shrunk back from the bones. Finish under the broiler to add more color, 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve the ribs with remaining Tequila BBQ Sauce.

Real Butter”SCOTCH” Blondies

Makes 12 bars

These are authentic butterscotch blondies, soft, chewy blondies. Use a blended, medium to lower quality scotch for these and save the single malt to sip while you enjoy this sweet treat.

6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted margarine/butter; more softened for the pan
11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Scotch whiskey
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups mini chocolate chips

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan, line the bottom with parchment, and then grease the parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the margarine/butter over medium-low heat. Let cool briefly. Add the brown sugar and stir until combined. Add the Scotch, eggs, and vanilla and stir until combined.
Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and tap the pan on the counter once or twice to break any air bubbles. Bake until the top is golden brown and just starting to pull away from the edges of the pan, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the blondies, invert onto a cutting board, remove the pan and parchment, and flip right side up. Cut into 16 pieces and serve.
Make Ahead Tips
You can store the blondies, covered, at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Peanut Butter Crunch Candy – Friends Favorite!

Makes 3 dozen

Think the center of butterfinger candy. Yes, all that delicious peanut butter flavor, slightly crispy, flakey texture and a melt-in-your-mouth experience! I’m giving these out on Purim. Come on over!

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon unsalted margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups peanut butter, I used a natural brand
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Line a 9-inch-square pan with foil. In a medium saucepan, stir the sugar with the corn syrup and water. Add the margarine/butter and bring
to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Attach a candy thermometer to the
pan and cook over moderately high heat until the caramel reaches 285°, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large heatproof, microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter with the peanuts and salt. Heat the peanut butter mixture in the microwave at high power for about 1 1/2 minutes, until melted and hot. Stir well.

In a small bowl, whisk the vanilla with the baking soda. As soon as the caramel reaches 285°, carefully stir in the baking soda mixture; the caramel will foam and bubble up.

Immediately pour the caramel into the
melted peanut butter mixture and, using a heatproof spatula, fold together as quickly as
possible. You want the mixtures to be combined but not homogenized; the candy will come together very fast.

Immediately scrape the hot candy into the prepared pan and press into a flat, even layer. Let cool completely. Peel off the foil and cut the candy into squares.

Cut or uncut, the candy can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.