Homemade Zesty Bread and Butter Pickles

5 pickling cucumbers (about 4 inches long)
4 slices fresh horseradish, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
4 sprigs fresh dill weed
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons pickling spice
2 teaspoons turmeric
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Special equipment: 1 (1-quart) mason jar, sterilized by boiling in water
Wash cucumbers, slice into ¼-inch thick rounds, and place in a heated, sterilized mason jar with horseradish and fresh dill weed.
Set a large pot over medium heat and add vinegar, sugar, water, garlic and pickling spices. Bring the brine to a boil then pour over cucumbers and horseradish in still-hot mason jar and seal lid. Allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. You can serve once chilled, but for best flavor serve after the pickles have been left overnight.

Curry Slider Sauce

¾ cup mayonnaise
2¼ teaspoons curry powder
1½ tablespoons plain tofutti sour cream

1½ tablespoons ketchup

1 garlic clove, minced

Mix mayonnaise, curry powder, tofutti sour cream, ketchup, and garlic in small bowl for sauce. Let stand at room temperature while preparing sliders.



Coconut – you either love it or you hate it. I happen to love it (which is why I have a secret stash of Mounds bars hidden in the closet). I like it in cookies, in cakes, mixed with chocolate, mixed with oatmeal. I like the sweetened flaked kind, not the healthier (drier) version. So if you’re like me, read on. Here are some of my favorite recipes. And if you’re not, in the spirit of adventure, try some of these. Or wait for next week’s blog!

Coconut Pound Cake

1 cup margarine, softened
¾ cup shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup nondairy creamer
2 teaspoons coconut extract
½ cup flaked sweetened coconut (the best kind!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream together shortening, margarine and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Combine dry ingredients and add to batter alternatively with the nondairy creamer, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in extract and coconut. Pour into greased 10-inch Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, loosen sides and invert onto wire rack to finish cooling.

Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars

This milchig dessert is the classic use of coconut. These are really good and need to be saved for special occasions – and when no one in the family is watching their weight!

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup butter, melted
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup butterscotch-flavored chips (I usually leave these out)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1-1/3 cups coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together graham cracker crumbs and butter and press into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with remaining ingredients. Bake 25 to 30 minutes – until lightly browned. Cut into bars when cool. Store in the refrigerator and take out a few minutes early to soften before serving.

Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together margarine and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time and mix in vanilla. On a low speed, beat in flour, baking soda and baking powder. Then add oats and coconut. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on sheets for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Nine Days

The Nine Days isn’t a big deal around my home – culinary-wise that is. With a female-dominated household and living in southern California, we don’t have meat that often on weekdays. We are used to fish, pastas, quiches and other dairy dishes. In that respect the nine days are not noticeably different from the rest of the year. Except that human nature is to rebel. If I can’t have it, then I really want it. We promise that these recipes will make you forget your craving for meat. They are so good, however, that they may not reinforce the proper spirit of mourning!

Baked Salmon With Blackberry Ginger Glaze
Tarragon Salmon
Seared Tuna with Mustard and Soy Sauce
Caramelized Onion and Boursin Cheese Pizza
Greek Salad
White Chocolate Pound Cake
Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes

Start with the Baked Salmon with Blackberry Ginger Glaze. It’s the perfect sweet and savory sauce for salmon. I add ¼ cup sugar to the extra glaze and drizzle it over ice cream for dessert. And don’t forget to try all the other fish and dairy recipes in our index as well as the Nine Days Recipes.

July 4th


July 4th is a special time to celebrate. I’m not sure why all American holidays turn into 3-day weekends (well I guess I do understand that!) and barbecues but since I enjoy both, who’s complaining? For those of us who live in the United States, there’s a lot to be grateful for and for those of us who don’t, even with all its problems, the United States is still our good friend. So light up the grill, raise your glasses and let’s have a toast to our grand old flag.

Barbecued Ribs

These ribs don’t actually go on the barbecue but they are so easy (and delicious) and they fit perfectly with the spirit of the day. Serve with some potato salad and coleslaw and this patriotic cake for dessert!

Enough ribs for each person to have two
Sliced onions to Cover
Char-B-Que barbecue sauce to cover
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ribs in a large baking pan (or two depending on the size of your family). Top with sliced onions. Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours. Remove onions and drain fat from pan. Cover for with barbecue sauce and return, uncovered, to the oven. Bake for another hour.

American Flag Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 (8 ounce) container vanilla icing
1 pint blueberries, rinsed and drained
2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced (raspberries can also work; don’t slice)
1. Prepare cake according to package directions and bake in a 9×13 inch pan. Cool completely.
2. Frost cake. Place blueberries in a square in the corner, and arrange sliced strawberries as stripes to make an American flag. Chill until serving.

Salad Bar


Even when the air-conditioning is blasting, the urge to cook is just not as great in the summer as it is on those cold winter nights. And while the desire to eat never leaves me, I’m definitely interested in lighter dinners. I’m really grateful that my kids enjoy eating vegetables (in fact we tried to feed my grandson pizza the other day but he only wanted orange pepper!) and so on particularly warm or slow summer days, we have a salad bar for dinner. You can supplement this with fresh bagels or crusty bread (buy it from the bakery since this is all about avoiding the heat!) and voila – dinner is served. You can certainly roast vegetables to put in your salad but I like to keep things simple and limit myself to cutting them and opening cans. Here are some possible salad fixins – feel free to add your own.

Romaine Lettuce
Butter Lettuce
Red Leaf Lettuce
Iceberg Lettuce
Hearts of Palm
Baby Corn
Garbanzo Beans
Peppers – of all colors!
Kalamata Olives
Green Olive Rings
Dried Cranberries
Toasted Pine Nuts
Toasted Almonds
Toasted Sunflower Seeds
Chinese Noodles
French-Fried Onions
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Grated Mozzarella Cheese
Crumbled Feta Cheese

1 cup olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
Shake well!!


Panini have been around for centuries, and these days they’re being grilled up in practically every kosher lunch restaurant. The popularity of grilling Panini at home reached an all time high when Oprah Winfrey featured a Panini Press among her 2007 “favorite things” (I bought mine after that I admit!). As I mentioned in Great Products they are the ultimate traveling machines for kosher families. Why? Real food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while you travel (get one for summer in our shop). We toast bagels, grill sandwiches, grill fish and so much more. Here are a few gourmet Paninis to try but simple grilled cheese Panini, Pizza Panini, tuna melts and mashed bananas with nutella (family travel favorite) work just as well and are super easy and very family-friendly.

Try these:
Grilled Vegetable Panini with Basil Pesto
Cheese and Olive Tapenade Panini
Mediterranean Tuna Panini

Here are 7 tips that will ensure that the Panini you make at home are as scrumptious as can be.

1. Experiment with a variety of breads and fillings. Just because Panini originated in Italy doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to foccacia, mozzarella and other Italian ingredients. Or even just savory ingredients. If it’s got bread and fillings and is prepared on the grill, it’s a Panini!

2. Go for the crunch. What separates Panini from “regular” sandwiches? It’s the grilling! Grilled bread is the hallmark of Panini – make the most of it by brushing olive oil or melted margarine on top for a crostini-like crunch.

3. Be careful with “wet” ingredients. No one likes a soggy sandwich. Many of the great fillings we enjoy on “regular” non-grilled sandwiches, such as tomatoes and juicy meats, sometimes aren’t ideal candidates for Panini, where crispness is key. Seed tomatoes before using them and brush fish with panko before grilling in the sandwich. Also, add the wet ingredients to the center of the sandwich.

4. Cut with a straight-edged knife. A sharp, straight-edged knife, rather than a serrated one, will ensure a smooth separation for your finished Panini.

5. Greens go last. Greens, like lettuce or spinach get wilted when grilled. Food Network’s George Duran (aka “Ham on the Street”) offers a great solution: add them in last. Grill your sandwich and then insert anything you’d like to keep leafy – lettuce, spinach, arugula, and cilantro to name a few – right before serving.

To purchase a Panini press go to our shop and get ready for delicious food even when there are no kosher restaurants for miles.

Summertime Sangria

The menu doesn’t need to be Mexican to enjoy the refreshing cool wine drink known as Sangria. Choose either the more traditional red wine version or the updated white wine style the next time you need (or just want!) . You can serve it for Shabbos lunch, with a Sunday barbecue or just because…Although oranges and lemons are standard fruits, you can vary the rest if you like and add cherries or strawberries or raspberries as the whim hits. Sit back, relax, enjoy!


Red Sangria
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh is always better)
½ cup orange juice
1 (750-milliliter) bottle red wine, preferably a Merlot or Burgundy but you can use what you have
1 small orange, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Combine sugar, lemon juice and orange juice in a large pitcher, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add remaining ingredients, give a gentle stir and add ice.


White Sangria

1-1/2 cups sugar
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 limes, thinly sliced
1 red apple, thinly sliced
2 (750-milliliter) bottles white wine, preferably Sauvignon Blanc although again you can use what you have (it adds more sparkle but I prefer Moscato d’Asti)
1 (1-liter) bottle lime seltzer
1 (1-liter) bottle lemon seltzer
1 cup frozen green grapes (Freeze more than you need; they’re great for snacking!)

Combine sugar, lemons, limes, apple and wine in a large pitcher. Stir and chill. Before serving, add seltzer and grapes. Gently stir and add ice.

Solash Bakery

Recently GKC got to be on the other side of the kitchen counter and attend a cooking class /birthday party for a friend.

It was a lot of fun…good company, great food, new recipes. Something caught my eye on the table -big, fluffy, fresh-smelling, and very inviting challah rolls, piled in baskets. Normally, GKC doesn’t wash for weekday lunch but those rolls just needed to be tasted. They wafted homemade as they called out my name. They looked so light but, seriously, who makes challah on a Wednesday? Even for a birthday? Were these going to be part of the class?

GKC was smitten and went in for the kill… Wow! Delicious, light, homemade-tasting and gorgeous with the perfect muffin shape and a twist on top, almost like a cream puff.


Okay, GKC needed to know who made them. Was it a neighbor, the cooking instructor, my friend – who was the woman behind this challah??!! … Little did GKC know, the secret chef was…a man named Laizer. And here’s the kicker: these challah rolls as well as large challahs (regular and whole wheat) are made, available and delivered each week by Laizer’s bakery, the Solash Challah Bakery in the Five Towns.

The Who?

Laizer Solash, owner and head chef/baker at Solash Challah Bakery, bakes and delivers challah, challah rolls, sandwich rolls, and specialty sizes to the New York area each week (free delivery to the Five Towns, Rockaways, Ocean Side and Great Neck) – sorry out-of-towners, but maybe if you scream loud enough Laizer will figure out a way to get some to you…

Laizer started the business just a few months ago when a friend suggested that if he pursued his passion, he’d find success.

GKC asked and received some tips on baking beautiful and delicious challahs every time. “One of the keys to great challah making is in the rising. Here’s a tip: they need humidity to rise beautifully every time. If you have a proofing oven, great, but I can’t imagine that every home owner has a proofing oven in their kitchen, so an alternative would be to run the dishwasher for a cycle with no soap. When it’s done, place the challahs in the pan that they will be baked in, and put them in the dishwasher on a tray until they rise above the pan. Take them out and bake as your recipe instructs. Let them cool on a cooling rack, serve and wait for the compliments to follow!”

Try this with your favorite recipe or better yet, take a break and order one for Shabbos, or many for your next event. Call 718-337-6706 or email them at www.solashchallahbakery@gmail.com

Chocolate and Peanut Butter

My husband loves the combination of chocolate and peanut butter (He also likes chocolate and coffee and just plain chocolate – you may detect a theme here!). He likes chocolate and peanut butter brownies, Reese’s peanut butter cups, you name it – almost every variation and every form works. So I was thrilled to discover the products by Peanut Butter & Co. Not only do they have regular smooth and crunchy peanut butter but they have a series of variations including mighty maple and cinnamon swirl. However the one that really caught my eye – and is now sitting in my pantry – is the Dark Chocolate Dreams, peanut butter blended with rich dark chocolate. No need to bake. Just dip in your spoon, I mean, use your knife and spread it on the bread or cracker of your choice.
There is also White Chocolate Wonderful for those whose tastes run in that direction. Check out their website www.ilovepeanutbutter.com and enjoy! Mmmm…

For Babka Lovers!


I love babkas. I love the fluffy yeast dough. I love the crunchy streusel topping. I love them with chocolate. I love them with cinnamon. I love them with apples and I love them with cheese. I’m an equal opportunity babka lover. And this recipe makes a rich and delicious one. Use either the chocolate or cheese filling or make half and half. But don’t do what I just did – this recipe makes 4 good-sized babkas – I tried to make 2 large ones. They looked beautiful but they collapsed in the middle…and my kitchen was full of cheese filling!! So we all took out our spoons…

Babka – Cheese or Chocolate

4 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
10 cups bread flour
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) margarine, softened
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups nondairy creamer, slightly warmed

Cheese Filling:
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
2 (7.5 ounce) packages farmer’s cheese
4 teaspoons vanillin sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1-1/2 cups sugar

Chocolate Filling:
1-1/2 cups cocoa
3 cups sugar
10 teaspoons vanillin sugar

Streusel Topping:
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, cut into pieces
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar

Proof yeast in warm water. Add sugar and nondairy creamer. Mix in a few cups of flour, some of the margarine, some of the eggs and continue like that until flour is totally incorporated. Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 1-1/2 hours.
In the meantime, beat all filling ingredients (either cheese or chocolate) until smooth.
For streusel topping, use food processor to pulse together margarine, flour and sugar until coarse crumbs form. Set aside.

Cut dough into 4 pieces and roll each one out on a lightly flour surface. Place filling along edge and roll up like a jelly roll. Attach ends to form circle and place in tube or other round pan. Cover and let rise another ½ hour. Sprinkle with streusel and bake until golden – 45 – 50 minutes. Take a piece for yourself – you won’t get another chance!

More Great Products to Use on Shavuos

Cooking for kids is easy (really!) if you use the right ingredients and flavors. We know that our GKC readers enjoy hearing about new or existing products in the market (thanks for all those great comments that tell us so) and how we can use them in our everyday and holiday cooking, especially if they help get our kids to eat. Here are a few more products to use in your Yom Tov – just watch; your kids will eat every bite.

Slide 1
Jeff Nathan’s Gourmet Panko: Panko finally became kosher a few years ago and it is a “must have” staple in my pantry. Panko is the name for Japanese-style bread crumbs. They are crispier than regular bread crumbs and create a crunchier texture since they hold up better through the cooking process. They are less greasy too because they absorb less oil. This brand has a variety of flavors that add a little zing to every recipe. Try them in our Panko Crusted Chicken Nuggets or in Salmon Burgers. They can be used in place of breadcrumbs in any recipe to create a crispy topping or a lighter feel in meatballs.

Mehadrin Ice Cream: Everyone looks forward to extra ice cream on Shavuos. Mehadrin’s dairy and pareve ice creams are so smooth, creamy, and sweet that they are delicious on their own or in these decadent ice cream desserts – Tiramisu Bundt Cake or Razzle Dazzle Ice Cream Pie.

Lipton Onion Soup Mix: Finally, Lipton made a kosher onion soup mix! A welcome addition to the every kitchen. Onion soup mix adds great flavor to meat, dips, and of course, soup. Try the traditional recipes on the back of the package, like the onion dip with sour cream (I put that on top of salmon and bake it in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes – amazing, melt-in-your-mouth salmon) or use it in Brick Roast for the easiest and most delicious Shabbos roast.

Let us know how you use these products and we can post your recipes. Submit a recipe here or send us an email with a product you would like to see featured and we can make some recipe suggestions. Happy cooking and good Yom Tov!

Gourmet Shavuot Cooking

There are two mistakes that frequently occur every Shavuos. The first is that we are intimidated by the thought of creating a dairy menu so we just pull out our everyday standbys to use for a Yom Tov meal (They’re not so elegant but they taste good, they’re reliable…). The second is the fear that otherwise very inspired cooks have when they see unfamiliar products with like mascarpone cream cheese, crème fraiche or dulce de leche. This year we will right both of those wrongs.

Welcome to Gourmet Shavuos Cooking and the opportunity to use some new ingredients and try out some new recipes (for those of you who already use these items, add these recipes to your files).

Mascarpone Cheese:

Mascarpone is a triple-crème cheese, made from a generally low-fat (25%) content fresh cream. It’s made from the milk of cows that have been fed special grasses filled with fresh herbs and flowers – a diet that creates a unique taste often described as “fresh and delicious.” It gets its name from a Spanish word that means better than good, although it originated in Italy. Whatever its history, it is a luscious, creamy, almost butter-like cream cheese that tastes like a sweet whipped cream. It tastes naturally sweetened and is amazing in tiramisu, the fig or plum tart, and the mascarpone cheesecake. It is made by BelGioioso and Polenghi and carries the CRC or OKD heksher. It is available in many mainstream supermarkets, Whole Foods markets, Trader Joes, the Cheese Shop in Cedarhurst and Fairway market in NYC.

Dulce De Leche:

Dulce De Leche is a Spanish milk caramel sauce that is creamier and thicker and much better than the American version. It is amazing straight on ice cream or brownies or try it in Dulce De Leche cheesecake or the Dulce De Leche Chocolate Chip Thumbprint Cookies. The kosher markets nationwide carry the one made by La Salamandra that is Cholov Yisroel too!

Crème Fraiche:

Nope, it is not just fresh cream in French. It comes from France and is technically a soured cream. It is thicker and sweeter than sour cream and really heavenly smooth. Alouette, makes one with the OUD heksher, that is available nationwide in regular markets, but it is also available in Fairway market in NYC, Whole Foods stores, and most Trader Joes. Try it on fresh berries, or a baked potato to feel a little French and romantic. Or better yet, try it in the Roasted Mustard Fish or on the Brown Sugar Strawberry Tart. If you cannot find it, you can make it, you can easily make it at home. Crème Fraiche recipe.

Fresh Parmesan Cheese:

This cheese, finally available kosher in this country has changed pasta and Caesar Salad making for me. The sharp, smooth, creamy taste is unlike and so much better than the shredded or grated versions available. It is fresh and wonderful and will upgrade your Caesar salad to new heights. Made by Fanticini, and available in many kosher markets, the Cheese Store in Cedarhurst, and Fairway Market in NYC. Try it in this amazing Frittata or in Fettuccini Alfredo with Mushrooms.

Let us know what you try and how you like it. We love to share your comments and your recipes. Chag Sameach!

Pass the Chocolate – Now!


My husband feels it’s important not to let a day go by without eating chocolate, preferably with a cup of coffee. He is constantly forwarding articles to me that extol its recently discovered health benefits – antioxidants, possible lowered blood pressure, increased endorphins which give a feeling of pleasure (I didn’t need science to tell me that!), serotonin which acts as an anti-depressant (I didn’t need a sophisticated study for that either!) and so on. He is even on the cutting edge; unlike me who thinks the creamier the better, he prefers the dark chocolate which is considered healthier and is certainly trendier. But he’s wasting his time and energy. There’s only one reason to eat chocolate everyday – it tastes good!! Eat it alone (a piece of a bar) or try one of our recipes. The main advantage of the information my husbands sends is that we can now indulge (in small amounts) and actually feel virtuous doing so!

Spring is Here!


I love this food trend!

Spring is here! Finally I can go into a frozen yogurt store and not wonder what’s wrong with me that I’m eating something frozen while there’s snow on the ground (for all you Southern Californians, snow is a white water-based flake that falls from the sky and covers the ground looking beautiful but of no redeeming food value. However, you can knead it into a ball; and throw it at your kids or husband, very therapeutic… But now that spring has sprung this California alum needs no excuse to enjoy her yogurt. And the exciting news is that last year a new food trend took off and I have to say I am extremely grateful. Sweet, tart, plain frozen yogurt has made it to the big leagues! Its been served for years in Bloomingdales in NYC but recently has popped up in specialty yogurt stores around the country as the featured item. And I will forever be grateful to the Pink Berry chain. Yup, I have harkaras hatov to a treif yogurt store because its incredible success has triggered yogurt stores, including kosher yogurt stores to pick up the trend. Locally, in Cedarhurst, we have Berrylicious, and Cravings who both serve it and in LA, I just had it at Toppings in Beverly Hills. For some this tart, creamy yogurt, with only a hint of sweetness is too strange but I say try it with chopped strawberries, berry sauce, granola, or chopped nuts. Now that is the perfect breakfast or lunch (or anytime snack of the decade). My husband is convinced that there’s a defect in my DNA for choosing plain/tart over chocolate (or any other flavor for that matter), but he’s just one of those that can’t understand why God bothered with any flavor other than chocolate … Trust me, find some tart yogurt, add the topping of your choice and apologize to no one. Spring is Here!!

Spring is Here, Time to Celebrate!


Although the harvest traditionally takes place in October there is something about the spring bounty that makes you want to count your blessings. All the beautiful and luscious fruits and vegetables in their vibrant colors dancing in the sunshine just make you want to smile. It’s much easier to eat healthier this time of year when each bite of a ripe peach or bright red strawberry is filled with flavor. I like to go the Farmer’s Market just to look – and appreciate. In the weeks to come, here at GKC we will be providing recipes that take advantage of the bright spring vegetables and the juicy summer fruits. Stay tuned. And if you have some great recipes of your own, send them in. We like pies, ratatouilles, crisps and some vegetables just barely sautéed. We’re working on less time in the kitchen and more time outdoors…

Not To Be Missed Challah

On the Shabbos after Passover there is a widespread custom to bake challah with a key in it. Whoever gets the piece with key will merit a year of financial success. Not that we need any extra incentive to eat homemade challah after a week of matza! Not that we need any extra motivation to eat this delicious challah any time at all! This recipe makes a lot of challah so you can stick the extra (if you have any) in the freezer. (For great challah pans please visit our SHOP).

Not To Be Missed Challah

1/3 cup yeast
5 cups warm water
1-1/2 cups sugar
8 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup oil
2 tablespoons salt
12 – 14 cups bread flour

Proof yeast in water. Add sugar. When yeast is bubbly, whisk in eggs, egg yolks, oil and salt. Slowly stir in flour and knead until smooth and elastic. Drizzle oil in bowl and roll dough in oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rise for 2 hours. Punch down dough; divide into 6 to 8 large pieces. Divide each piece into 3 long ropes. Braid challah and place on greased baking sheets or in greased loaf or challah pans.) Cover again and let rise for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until crust is golden and challah sounds hollow when tapped.