Salmon with Green Herbs and Lemon

Serves 6

This is an adapted recipe from Ina Garten. The herbs add flavor and the lemon gives it freshness. I added Dijon mustard and lemon zest to her original recipe. I also added the roasted lemons and squeeze the juice over the cooked salmon. Roasted sweet lemon is delicious.

1 (2- to 2 1/2-pound) salmon fillet, skin removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup good olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (4 scallions)
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 lemon, cut in half
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the salmon fillet in an oven-proof dish and season it generously with salt and pepper. Whisk together the Dijon mustard, olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle the mixture evenly over the salmon. Let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the scallions, dill, and parsley. Scatter the herb mixture over the salmon fillet. Sprinkle the lemon zest all over the herbs. Pour the wine around the fish fillet. Dip the cut lemon (each half) in the sugar. Place in the pan next to the fish.

Roast the salmon for 10 to 12 minutes, until almost cooked in the center at the thickest part. The center will be firm with just a line of uncooked salmon in the very center. (I peek by inserting the tip of a small knife.) Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut the salmon crosswise into serving pieces and serve hot with squeezed sugared lemon on top.

Lemon Basil Sorbet

Makes 2 cups

 cups water
cups granulated sugar
 lemons, rind peeled into long strips
 cup packed fresh basil leaves
 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar and lemon rind. Bring to a boil over high, stirring with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; add basil leaves. Set aside until cool, about 30 minutes. Strain lemon-basil syrup; discard solids. Stir in lemon juice. Pour syrup into an ice cream maker; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions

Chocolate Rosemary Truffles


Makes 12 servings

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/4 cup almond butter (creamy roasted)
1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey)
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (minced)

In a large bowl, combine cocoa powder, coconut oil, margarine, almond butter, and agave nectar.
Stir ingredients until well combined
Place bowl in freezer for 10-15 minutes until chocolate reaches cold, firm consistency
Remove from freezer and roll into 1 inch balls
Place walnuts and rosemary in a bowl and roll each truffle in mixture to coat
Be sure to store in refrigerator.

Stone Fruit Slaw

Serves 6
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
2 teaspoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (to taste, or optional)
1-½ pounds assorted firm stone fruit (about 5, such as plums, nectarines, peaches, all julienned)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt

Whisk the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add fruit and scallions, toss gently to coast. Season to taste with salt

Fish Fillets with Peppers, Onions, and Mexican Spices

Serves 4

1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
1 medium red onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 can diced and fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles ( from trader Joe’s or other brand, if not available use 1 can fire roasted tomatoes and 2 tablespoons canned green chilis)
1 teaspoon cumin
½ cup pitted green olives
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
4 (5 ounce) fillets of fish of choice, salmon, halibut, sole, or flounder

Slice onion and peppers into strips . Heat sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, cook peppers, and onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add can of tomatoes and chilis, then salt and a bit of water to loosen up the sauce. Add cumin and allow to cook for about 10 minutes on a low flame. Add olives and fish fillets. Cook for about 15 – 20 minutes until fish is cooked through. Keep spooning sauce over the fish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.

Mini Cheese Crepes with Cinnamon Pecan Cream Sauce

Serves 10

6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
dash baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups milk
pinch salt
Canola oil
1 pound farmer cheese
½ cup whipped cream cheese (4-ounces)
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
Cinnamon Pecan Topping:
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup toasted pecans

For Crepes:
In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients until smooth.
In a 6 inch sauté pan, heat ½ teaspoon oil. When oil is hot, add about 2 tablespoons batter and swirl around pan. Cook until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes, flip and cook on the other side. Remove from pan, and continue making individual crepes, using all of the batter. Cover to keep cooked crepes warm.

For Filling: In a medium sized bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth. Set aside. Spoon about 1 tablespoon filling into crepe. Spread a bit, leaving a ½-inch border. Roll gently and set aside.

For Topping: In small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cream, brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens lightly, about 3-4 minutes.

To serve: Lay warm, filled crepes in a decorative 9 x 13 pan. Warm sauce and pour over crepes. Top with toasted pecans.

Chick Pea, Corn and Dill Salad

Serves 6

My friend Devora told me about this salad. The combination of chick peas, peas, dill and corn is super refreshing and the colors are bright and beautiful. I love that it comes together in a second and it’s a great side dish for Shavuot or any time.

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
One package fresh peas, steamed
1 (15 ounce) can of corn kernals, drained
2 sour pickles, chopped
1 cup fresh dill, chopped
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise or regular
1 tablespoon olive oil

Stir all ingredients to combine. Can be made a day ahead of time. Serve as a side dish, alongside some salmon or rice or at a BBQ.

Asian Bok Choy Salad

Serves 8

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 stalk bok choy, washed and chopped
8 scallions, chopped
2 packages ramen noodles (flavor package discarded)
½ cup toasted almonds
¼ cup sesame seeds
½ cup craisins
1 head romaine lettuce, sliced
½ cup olive oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon garlic powder

Mix dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Divide dressing in half.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, cook bok choy and scallions until soft, about 4 minutes. Add ramen noodles (uncooked). Add half of dressing and heat until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mix cooked bok choy/noodle mixture with almonds, sesame seeds, craisins, and romaine. Add remaining dressing, a little at a time, until fully coated. Serve immediately.

Sesame Soy Semi-Homemade Salmon

Serves 8

8 (6 ounce) salmon fillts, skin on
½ cup Mikee sesame teriyaki sauce or other brand of same variety
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar

Place salmon in a 9 x 13 glass or non-reactive dish.
In a small bowl, mix teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Pour mixture over salmon and marinade for a few hours, covered in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to broil. Broil salmon for 14 – 20 minutes, watching carefully so as not to burn. The top should be nicely browned and the interior soft but cooked through.

Make It Yours Cheesecake

Serves 10 – 12
This is a wonderful basic cheesecake that I love to spruce up with wonderful stir-ins, mix-ins, and sauces. Use any combination that you like.

1 ¾ cups crushed graham cracker, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, or chocolate sandwich cookies
¼ cup finely chopped almonds, walnuts or macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground allspice, cinnamon, ginger or apple pie spice (optional) – choose one or two
½ cup butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, peppermint extract, almond extract, lemon zest or orange zest (choose one or two)
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Optional Stir-Ins, Swirl-Ins, and Sauces:
Stir-ins: 1 cup semi-sweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate pieces
3 ounces white chocolate, chopped or 1 cup berries, chopped

Swirl-ins: 4 ounces chocolate, chopped and melted and 2 tablespoons whipping cream, or 1 cup fresh berries, pureed and pressed through a sieve

Sauce: Caramel sauce, berry sauce, chocolate sauce

Preheat oven to 350.
For crust: In a bowl, combine crushed crackers, nuts, 1 tablespoon sugar, and if using, the spices. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture onto bottom and 1 ½ inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling, in a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream and 1 cup sugar, flour and vanilla (or other extract). Beat with mixer on low, until combined. Stir in eggs and if desired a stir-in.

Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place pan in a shallow baking pan, if using a swirl-in, drop by small spoonfuls onto filling. Use a narrow metal spatula to gently swirl the addition into a marbled appearance (don’t cut into the crust, just swirl it around filling). Bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until it appears set but slightly jiggly.

Cool in springform wan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife, loosen crust from sides of pan. Cool for 30 more minutes. Gently, remove sides of pan, cool an additional 2 hours. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Olive Oil Poached Cod with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Serves 4

Poaching hearty fish in olive oil creates a creamy, soft and delicious fish dish.

2 tomatoes (3/4 pound)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 zucchini—quartered lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Four 6-ounce skinless cod fillets

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Score an “X” in the bottom of each tomato and blanch them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and cool the tomatoes under cold running water. Peel, seed and cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch dice; transfer to a medium bowl.
In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the zucchini and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the zucchini to the tomatoes. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and sherry vinegar and season with salt. Mix gently and keep warm.
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the remaining 2 cups of olive oil over moderate heat to 180°. Season cod with salt and poach in the olive oil until just white throughout, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the fish with a slotted spatula and drain briefly on paper towels. Season with salt. Spoon the zucchini mixture into shallow bowls, set the fish on top and serve.

Chocolate Coconut Bars

Makes 18 bars
I cannot find a pareve substitute for sweetened condensed milk that I like so for Shavuos I always like to include a few recipes with this rich and sweet ingredient. These bars are so good, really what could be bad…chocolate, coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and butter?!?

1 cup fine almond flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
One 7-ounce bag unsweetened large coconut flakes (4 cups)
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk the flours with the salt. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients along with the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder. Press the dough evenly into the pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, until set.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the coconut flakes and condensed milk. Spoon the topping over the dough and bake for 15 minutes, until the flakes are golden. Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cookie. Carefully turn out the cookie and peel off the paper. Turn it coconut-side up on the rack. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.
NOTES The bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Lemony Butter Cookies

Makes 3 dozen

Most of my cookie recipes can be made pareve. This one is an exception. It must be made dairy and I love it on Shavuos. The butter, lemon, and confectioners’ sugar melt in your mouth. This recipe is from

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
Finely grated lemon zest, for garnish

1. MAKE THE COOKIES Preheat the oven to 350° and position racks in the upper and lower thirds. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest and juice, then beat in the flour and salt until just incorporated; scrape down the side of the bowl as necessary.
2. Roll half of the dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange the balls 1 inch apart on 2 baking sheets and, using your fingers, gently flatten each cookie. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom and just firm; shift the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Let the baking sheets cool slightly, then repeat with the remaining dough.
3. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE GLAZE In a bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the lemon juice and butter until smooth.
4. Spread the lemon glaze on the cooled cookies and garnish with finely grated lemon zest. Let stand until the glaze is set, about 15 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Flounder with Lemon Garlic Sauce

Serve 4
This can be made with sole or tilapia too. It’s a simple and classic fish dish.

4 (6-ounce) flounder fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup pareve chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge both sides of fish in flour. reserve excess flour. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add fish to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove from pan; keep warm.
Add reserved flour and garlic to pan; cook 90 seconds or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add wine and stock, stirring with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, parsley, and lemon juice. Serve fish with sauce.

Chopped Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Figs

Serves 8 – 10

This salad is a kosher copy of a treif version with prosciutto and gorgonzola cheese by Giada De Laurentiis. I love the kosher version with crispy kale and sweet cheese and figs. Perfect for Shavuos!

1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon walnut oil
10 ounces Tuscan kale, stems discarded and leaves thinly sliced
3 Belgian endives, halved, cored and thinly sliced
One 6-ounce head of radicchio, halved, cored and thinly sliced
8 fresh or dried figs, cut into wedges
4-ounce goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and bake for 8 minutes, until golden. Let cool.
In a very large bowl, whisk the mascarpone, vinegar and both oils; season with salt and pepper. Add the toasted walnuts, kale, endives, radicchio,and figs toss well. Season the salad with salt and pepper. Crumble goat cheese over the salad.
Make Ahead The mascarpone vinaigrette can be refrigerated overnight.

Lemon Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

Serves 8

So many favorite flavors come together in these delicious potatoes. Melted parmesan, fresh citrus and creamy potatoes. So yum.

1 1/2 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved
1 1/2 pounds baby red-skinned potatoes, halved
Kosher salt
4 cups cubed day-old sourdough bread (crusts removed)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus wedges for serving
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch; season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat until just tender, about 7 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, pulse the bread in a food processor to make coarse crumbs; combine with the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and toss.

Arrange the potatoes cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley and parmesan; continue roasting until golden brown, about 5 more minutes. Transfer to a serving dish, season with salt and serve with lemon wedges.

Asparagus Potato Chowder

Serves 6 -8

This is a creamy and delicious version of potato chowder and the asparagus adds so much to the soup, both in flavor and in nutrition. I love the sweet creaminess from the mascarpone.

1-1/2 pounds medium-thick asparagus
2 large sweet onions, 1 quartered and 1 finely chopped
Kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, preferably grainy country-style
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch dice (about 3 cups)
6 ounces (3/4 cup) mascarpone, at room temperature
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus fronds for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper

Trim the woody ends from the asparagus and put them in a 4-quart saucepan. Add the quartered onion, 1 tsp. salt, and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until the broth is reduced to 5 cups, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, separate the asparagus tips from the stalks. Halve each tip lengthwise and cut the stalks crosswise 1/2 inch thick; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the cream and cornstarch.
Strain the broth into a bowl. Wipe out the saucepan.
Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium-high heat, add the chopped onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and mustard and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the broth, potatoes, and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 6 to 9 minutes. Using a potato masher or fork, gently mash about half of the potatoes against the sides and bottom of the saucepan.
Whisk the mascarpone into the chowder and bring to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue to gently simmer, whisking, until the chowder is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus tips and stalks, and cook until bright green and just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped dill, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, and serve garnished with the dill fronds.

Grapefruit Arugula Salad

Serves 4

Spring freshness combined with a creamy yogurt dressing make it perfect for Shavuos or a late summer dairy shalosh seudas.

1 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pink grapefruits
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 heads Belgian endive, cut into large pieces
5 cups baby arugula
1 small bunch chives, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the walnuts, melted butter, brown sugar, cumin, paprika, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; toss, then spread the nuts on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the nuts are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir, then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: Whisk the yogurt, lemon juice, honey, rice vinegar and a pinch each of salt and black pepper in a small bowl; set aside.

Trim the tops and bottoms of the grapefruits, then use a paring knife to remove the peel and white pith. Cut between the membranes to release the segments into a large bowl.

Add the spiced walnuts, celery, endive, arugula and chives to the bowl with the grapefruit. Add the yogurt dressing, season with salt and pepper and toss.

Steak Salad with Grilled Onions

Serves 4, can be doubled

The weather is finally warming up so my grill is out. I’m back at it and am so excited to create great grilling recipes and the inside cooking alternative for you. This salad has a salty sweet dressing and delicious soft onions. The meat gives it a satiating feel. I like it both as a mid-week light dinner or a Shabbos first course.

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup plus 3 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound skirt steak, trimmed and cut in half
4 teaspoons red vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
½ Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium red onion, sliced crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick rounds
6 cups packed mixed baby greens
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare a medium-high (400°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.
In a baking dish just large enough to hold the steak, combine the Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add the steak and turn to coat both sides.

Combine the vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the 1/4 cup olive oil.
Brush the onion slices with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, and grill until tender, about 4 minutes per side (alternatively, roast onions in 400 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until softened and a bit blackened). Season the steak with salt and pepper and grill alongside the onion, flipping once, 3 to 5 minutes total for medium rare, (alternatively, rub 1 teaspoon oil on steak and broil for 3 minutes each side).

Transfer the steak to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.
Toss the greens and tomatoes with just enough of the vinaigrette to coat lightly and divide among serving plates. Slice the steak across the grain, and arrange both over the greens. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

Serves 16

Prepare banana bread as directed in this banana bread recipe, except stir in ½ cup dark chocolate pieces into batter with the walnuts. After batter is gently mixed, with a tip of a knife swirl in ¼ cup raspberry preserves.

After bread has cooled. . Melt 2 tablespoons raspberry preserves in a microwave. Drizzle over banana bread.
In a small saucepan heat ½ cup chocolate chips with ½ teaspoon canola oil. With a fork drizzle chocolate glaze over banana bread

Roasted Banana, Banana Bread

Serves 12-16

5 bananas, peeled left on
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup chopped nuts, like walnuts
Streusel topping:
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
4 teaspoons melted margarine or canola oil
¼ cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15 x 10 inch pan with aluminum foil. Arrange bananas, in the peel, on foil. Prick with a fork all over each banana peel. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool bananas.

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ginger. Make a well in the center of flour mixture.

In a medium bowl, stir together eggs, sugar, and oil and set aside. With a small sharp knife, split bananas peels. Measure 1 ½ cups of roasted bananas (packed). Stir into the egg mixture. Add wet mixture to well in the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened (it will be lumpy). Fold in walnuts. Spoon into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, mix streusel ingredients together. Sprinkle streusel over batter.

Bake for 55 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs. Check for brownness after 40 minutes. If top is browning too much, cover loosely with foil and continue baking.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

I can’t think of anything I want more than lots of fresh salad these days. Yom Tov was great, but more food than we usually eat in an 8-day period. It’s time to lighten up and eat more salad. That also means a new dressing. I love the fresh herbs that give this dressing so much flavor! Feel free to use dried herbs (use 1/3rd the amount of fresh) if you prefer.

This dressing is great with romaine lettuce and any mix-ins you like. I made it with cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, hearts of palm, and avocado. It’s also delicious on arugula, with mango and toasted nuts.
Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

Makes 1 ½ cups

1 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil if you prefer)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
¼ cup finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano, thyme or basil or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or ½ teaspoon dry mustard
2 – 3 teaspoons sugar (or agave, maple syrup, brown sugar or honey)
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

In a screw-top jar, combine oil, vinegar, shallots, herbs, mustard, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover tightly and shake well. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Olive oil may solidify in refrigerator so take it out about an hour before using. Shake well.

Soft and Chewy Home-made Marshmallows

Makes 25

Canola oil, for greasing
2 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons honey

Lightly grease an 8-inch square cake pan with canola oil. In a medium heatproof bowl, mix the gelatin with 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cold water; let stand for 15 minutes. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture is smooth.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey and 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook the syrup over moderately high heat until it registers 250° on a candy thermometer. Immediately pour the hot syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. Scrape in the gelatin mixture and beat at high speed until a smooth white foam forms, about 4 minutes.

Spread the marshmallow in the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Press a lightly greased sheet of parchment paper on the surface and let stand until set, 3 hours.
Run a sharp knife around the marshmallow. Very lightly dust a work surface with cornstarch and invert the cake pan onto it, tapping to release the marshmallow. Using a lightly greased sharp knife, cut the marshmallow into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Cinnamon marshmallows:
Add 1/2 teaspoon ground Vietnamese cinnamon during the last minute of beating the marshmallow;
lightly dust the cut marshmallows with a sifted mixture of 2/3 cup cornstarch, 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Sesame Kiddush Cookies

Makes 4 dozen

I keep these in my freezer to serve every Shabbos with fish or dips. They look gourmet and chic and taste both sweet and salty.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond meal or ground almonds (see Note)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large egg, beaten
Black and white sesame seeds, for sprinkling

In a food processor, pulse the flour, almond meal, sugar and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms large clumps.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead gently until it comes together. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a disk. Roll out each disk between 2 sheets of wax paper to 1/4 inch thick. Slide the wax paper–covered disks onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour, until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time, peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out the cookies as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Lightly brush the cookies with the egg and sprinkle with the black and white sesame seeds.
Bake the sesame cookies for 17 to 20 minutes, until they are lightly browned; shift the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool completely.