Simple Za’atar Salmon

Serves 6
Can be cooked in the oven or over a hot grill on a cedar plant, as pictured.

2-½ – 3 pounds salmon (I like the tail end), skin removed
Juice of two lemons
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Za’atar spice (available at most grocery stores and Persian markets)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 lemon sliced very thin

Rinse salmon and pat dry. Place salmon skin down on a low-sided pan, lined with foil. Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the salmon. Sprinkle Za’atar spice, salt and pepper over the salmon. Lay the lemon slices on top of the salmon. Bake for 20 minutes.

Salmon Schwarma with Peppers, Onions, and a Tahini Sauce

Serves 6

1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons grill seasoning, recommended brand Montreal OR sumac
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 lbs. salmon, cut into pieces of your choice or a whole side
1 large onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Juice from ½ lemon
1/4 cup tahini
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
Parsley or dill, optional
olive oil, kosher salt and pepper
Toasted pita, optional

In a bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, chili powder, paprika and grill seasoning. And the lemon juice, the garlic and 4 tablespoons oil and stir until it is paste-like. Place salmon on a large baking sheet. Slather the mixture all over the salmon until it is well-coated. Set aside for 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake for 20 minutes.

In a large skillet heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers. Cook for 5 minutes until soft and slightly browned. Add lemon zest, cumin and season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Make the sauce: In a bowl, combine the juice of the remaining half lemon, the tahini, yogurt, some salt and pepper and a small drizzle of olive oil. Add parsley, if using. Mix to combine.

To assemble, atop a toasted pita, place some of the salmon. Top with some of the pepper and onion mixture, and a good dollop of the yogurt-tahini sauce

Roasted Carrot Hummos

Serves 8

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish
1 lemon, juiced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
On a baking sheet, toss the carrots and garlic cloves with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the cumin, salt and pepper. Roast until the carrots are tender and lightly caramelized, stirring halfway through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool until warm. Peel the garlic cloves.
In a food processor, combine the roasted carrots and garlic with the tahini, cilantro, lemon juice and 5 tablespoons water. Pulse until smooth. With the processor running, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer to a serving bowl. Make a small well in the center of the hummus and fill with olive oil. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon cilantro over the top. Serve with crudites and pita chips.

Tomato Dip

Makes 1 ½ cups

7 vine-ripe or plum tomatoes, about 2 lbs (quartered, stems removed)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons sugar

In a food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Edamame Dip

Serves 10

4 large cloves garlic, un-peeled
16 ounces shelled edamame beans (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch salt and pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
Zest of ½ lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Pita chips, for dipping

In a medium skillet over medium heat, roast the garlic, turning frequently, until light brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool, and then slip off the skins. Set aside.

Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and drop in the beans. Bring back to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water before draining. Drain the beans and cool.

Transfer the garlic into a food processor and chop coarsely. Add the beans, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, pepper and process in the food processor. Add the olive oil, lime juice, lemon zest and cilantro and pulse to combine. Add the reserved water a little at a time while processing until smooth (you may not need to add all of the water). Use pita chips for dipping.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Any Type of Fruit Upside Down Cake

Serves 12

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons margarine butter, melted
2 peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick, fresh or frozen (or other fruit, like pineapple, apples, pears, plums
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, at room temperature
4 ounces Tofutti Cream Cheese or dairy cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup soymilk or milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Grease the sides of a 9-by-3-inch round cake or bundt pan or upside-down cake pan – pan with removable bottom.
Sprinkle the brown sugar in the pan and pour in the melted margarine or butter. Top with the peaches and blueberries and set aside.

In a mixer, beat the sugar with the room temperature margarine/butter on medium speed until fluffy, then increase to high speed for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the mixer, add the Tofutti cream cheese ,and then mix on medium speed.
In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Turn the mixer off and add the eggs, then mix on low speed to beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture slowly, then add the soymilk and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Spread the batter over the fruit and transfer to the oven.

Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake and invert onto a plate. Let cool and serve.

Rainbow Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze

Serves 8

2 red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2 medium carrots, cut into 1 1/2 -inch pieces
2 medium parsnips. cut into 1 1/12-inch pieces
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into 2-inch florets (fresh or frozen, very dried)
2 cups cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets (fresh or frozen, very dried)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme, or fresh
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Balsamic Glaze

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
Arrange the peppers, carrots, parsnips, broccoli and cauliflower in rows to create a rainbow of colors on a large baking sheet. Scatter onion powder, garlic powder, and thyme over the vegetables and drizzle with the oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until the vegetables are tender and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Drizzle the Balsamic Glaze over the vegetables and serve.

Balsamic Glaze:
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Yield: 1/4 cup

Great Go – To Ice Box Cinnamon Pecan Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies

3 sticks unsalted margarine or butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Egg Wash
1 egg
1 teaspoon water
½ cup pecan halves

In a mixer, cream margarine and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Gradually add vanilla and egg white, scraping down bowl to fully incorporate.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda together. Add to creamed margarine mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Add chopped pecans and mix.

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each into a log about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in parchment paper and plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, cut the logs into ¼-inch thick slices. Transfer the cookies to baking sheets about 1 ½ inches apart. Brush lightly with egg wash and top with a pecan, gently pressing to adhere.

Bake until edges are lightly browned, 12-14 minutes. Cool.

Rich Brownie Drop Cookie

Makes 2 ½ dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted margarine or butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer, beat the margarine/butter, sugar, brown sugar and chocolate until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until fully combined. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl and add slowly to the batter until mixed. Add the vanilla and fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop by generous spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Cheater Cake Dessert

Photo: Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman/Working Calves at Timâs, Food Network,

Super fast and easy, cake mix dessert when you are too busy to fuss over dessert too.

Serves 10-14

Fruit Options:
6 apples, peeled and sliced
6 pears, peeled and sliced
3 cups blueberries
Frozen cubed fruit
One 21-ounce can cherry pie filling
One 15-ounce can crushed pineapple
1 box white cake mix (18 ounces)
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) margarine
Whipped cream, dairy or non-dairy for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix any variety of fresh or canned fruit into a 9 x 13 baking dish. I like the combination of apples and pears, or the combination of apples and cherry pie filling, or fresh pears with canned crushed pineapple (semi-drained). But use whatever you like, fresh, frozen or canned (canned pie fillings have a lot of sugar so mix them with some fresh fruit)
Sprinkle the cake mix over the top of the fruit. Slice the margarine into tablespoons and distribute evenly over the surface of the cake mix.

Bake until the tops are brown and bubbly, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with whipped cream

Dairy or Meat Potato Casserole with Sauteed Onions

Ree Drummond
Pioneer Woman/Working Calves at Tim’s
Food Network

Either dairy or meat, this is a crowd pleaser! It’s old fashioned comfort food that is a great alternative to latkes.

Serves 12

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 onions, chopped
½ pound pastrami cubes or sliced imitation bacon (use either meat or dairy variety – dairy type is soy based)
8 russet potatoes
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 sticks (1 pound) margarine
1 cup Tofutti (non-dairy) sour cream or dairy sour cream
1 cup grated Cheddar or Jack (or a mix of both), plus more for topping (omit for meat option)
1 cup soy milk or milk
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3 green onions, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bread crumbs, optional

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until caramelized and browned, about 16 minutes. Remove onions. Add a bit more oil if needed, and heat to medium-high. Add pastrami, imitation bacon (meat or dairy) and cook until lightly browned about 4 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Scrub the potatoes, then place them on baking sheets. Rub the potatoes with the canola oil and bake until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the potatoes and lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Slice the margarine into pats and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the pastrami, onions and sour cream (dairy or non-dairy variety). With a sharp knife, cut each potato in half lengthwise and scrape out the insides into the mixing bowl. Tear up 3 of the skins and throw them in. Smash the potatoes with a potato masher. Add the cheese (if making dairy version), milk (dairy or non-dairy variety), seasoned salt, green onions and some salt and pepper and mix together well.
Grease an oven-safe baking dish, and then spoon the mixture into the dish, top with more grated cheese (for dairy version) or with bread crumbs and bake until warmed through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Sauteed Pastrami Bites

A great seasonal side dish alternative.

Serves 8

6 ounces pastrami, cut into ½-inch dice
4 tablespoons capers, drained
2 (12 – 16) ounce bags brussel sprouts, 2 pints Brussels sprouts, halved (frozen are fine, defrost before using)
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium pan over medium heat, cook the pastrami and capers, until pastrami is slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan, reserving a little of the fat in the pan. Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and cook over medium heat to begin to brown. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, a little salt (pastrami is salty and capers too so just a pinch) and pepper. Place into the oven and roast, tossing a couple of times, until nicely caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven.. Add the pastrami, the capers, pine nuts, currants and raisins. Toss and check for seasoning. Serve.