Shitake, Beef, and Barley Soup

This recipe is from the new Bais Yaakov Cookbook. The photos are gorgeous and the recipes are easy to follow. Stay tuned for our full review and giveaway, coming soon! Have any questions for the author? Submit them and we will include the answers in the full post.

1-pound boneless flanken
Black pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces fresh shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1-½ cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 ½ cups peeled, chopped parsnips
1 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
7 cups hot water
1 (14 ½) ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
½ cup pearl barley, uncooked
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into ½ – inch pieces

Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, cook 4 minutes per side. Transfer into a slow cooker.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil to the same skillet. Add mushrooms, leeks, parsnips, celery, and garlic, sauté 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to the slow cooker. Stir in hot water, tomatoes with juice, barley, salt and pepper. Cover, cook on high until meat falls off bone and barley is tender, about 4 ½ hours.

Remove meat from the slow cooker and cool slightly. Discard bones and fat. Shred meat, return to slow cooker. Add green beans. Cover and cook until beans are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Have any questions for the author? Submit them

Slow Cooked Beef Stew

photo by Leigh Beisch

This is a new weekday favorite recipe in our family. It is so easy to prepare and is placed in the oven for most of the day. Sometimes I put it in late at night and I wake up in the morning and the whole house smells delicious. I serve it over rice.

2-½ pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
12 ounces baby carrots
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 turnips, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
4 small onions, quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2-½ cups seasoned tomato juice like V-8 juice (but that type is not kosher)
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3-½ tablespoons tapioca

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine beef with carrots, potatoes, turnips, and onions. Add garlic, celery seeds, thyme, salt and pepper and mix well.
In a small bowl, whisk together the V-8 juice, wine, mustard, brown sugar and tapioca, making sure to dissolve the sugar and tapioca. Add this mixture to the meat and vegetables. Stir well to blend.
Transfer stew to a Dutch oven. Cover and cook 5 hours without peeking. This can be done in a slow cooker too.

Grandma Tillie’s Kasha Varnishkes

photo by Evan Sung

Recipe with a story, historic recipe, oldie but goody, this one is all of the above. Months ago I posted Grandma Tillie’s Brisket recipe (my kids still say it’s the best brisket) and it caused quite a stir in my family. I got the recipe from cousin Esther who got it from her mother, my great Aunt Thelma. But cousin Amy said it’s all wrong and promised to send the original (Amy, we are all waiting for the actual recipe). In the process of hearing from my numerous distant cousins, this recipe started to be passed around. And since one of my sisters asked, “What is kasha varnishkes” and Ratner’s in NY is no longer in business, I had to share it with everyone. My Uncle Bobby swears it’s the best he has ever had.

1 12 ounce box of medium coarse Kasha
1 egg
¾ box bow tie pasta
4 tablespoons margarine
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 onions, sliced
2 cups plus some more boiling water
1 cup chicken broth
Dash kosher salt and pepper

In a large bowl, beat egg and add the Kasha and mix well.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spread the kasha on a large cookie pan and dry the kasha in oven for an hour or more. Mix well every 20 minutes. This is the secret step known only to the true masters of Kasha Varnishkes, according to my grandmother.

Make the bow ties as per packages instructions.

Heat margarine in a large sauté pan. Add mushrooms and onions and cook until soft.

In a large pot (you can use the same one that you cooked the pasta in, unwashed) put in the kasha. Then, put in a speck of water to heat the pot. Add one cup of water and bring to a boil and stir. Add another cup of boiling water and keep stirring. (All the stirring is good exercise. That’s what Tillie used to say.)

Add one cup of chicken broth and let cook on a low temperature for 20 minutes. KEEP STIRRING. Add a dash of Kosher salt and pepper. Add the sautéed onions and mushrooms and add the bow ties to the mixture last. Do not overcook the pasta as the noodles will become mushy.

Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Oranges

photo by Annabelle Breakley

1-1/4 cups quinoa
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
Zest of 1 lime
2 teaspoons plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 pound boned, skinned chicken pieces (white or dark), or left over roasted chicken, cut in strips
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 large oranges, peeled and segmented
2 ripe avocados, peeled and cubed

Cook quinoa according to package directions and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

Preheat broiler with a rack set 4 to 6 in. from heat. In a large bowl, stir together chili powder, 2 teaspoons garlic, lime zest, 2 teaspoons oil, and 1/2 teaspoon. salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat. Put chicken on a baking sheet and broil, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 12 minutes total. Let cool slightly, then slice and add to reserved quinoa.

Add remaining ingredients to quinoa and chicken; toss to coat.

Jam-Filled Crumb Cake

photo by:

For the crumb topping:
3-1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Coarse salt
2-1/2 sticks unsalted margarine, melted

For the cake:
1-1/2 sticks unsalted margarine, room temperature
2-1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Coarse salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup low-fat soy milk
¾ tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup store-bought jam (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Make the crumb topping: Mix together flour, sugars, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Pour warm melted margarine over mixture, and mix using your hands until medium to large clumps form.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Make the cake: Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.

Beat margarine and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Mix soy milk with vinegar in a small bowl. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with soy milk, beginning and ending with flour. Continue to beat until well combined.

Spoon batter into pan, and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Spread with jam. Sprinkle crumb-topping mixture evenly over top.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Let cake cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Super Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce

I use this sauce on top of everything from pasta, pizza, fish, and even on top of leftover chicken. It is best made one day ahead of time. It doubles well and is delicious with Boursin cheese added to the pasta.

About 2 pounds vine-ripe tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 to 2 garlic cloves minced

1 to teaspoons kosher salt

¼ cup red wine
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)

Handful of basil leaves, julienned

Skin (if you like, by blanching in hot water) and stem tomatoes; if really juicy, squeeze out some juice into sink. Crush tomatoes with your hands into a bowl, breaking up tomatoes into small chunks.

Pour oil into a large frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic, tomatoes, and a big pinch of salt. Add wine and cook 15 minutes.

Turn down to simmer sauce 10 more minutes. Add vinegar and a bit more salt, and chile flakes, cook 5 more minutes. Add basil into sauce.

Be creative and add olives, parmesan cheese, or Boursin cheese.



One of my family’s favorite weeknight dinners is tacos – the milchig way. It is so simple and so good; we can’t get enough of it. And we’ve decided to share it with you.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 (12-ounce) package soy ground round
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 tablespoon chili powder
12 tacos

Garnish: Spanish rice (or use the Near East brand), grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole

In a medium-sized Dutch oven, heat oil over medium flame. Add onion, garlic and ground round. Cook until browned, breaking up soy meat as you go, about 10 minutes. Add corn, tomatoes, black beans and chili powder. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, allowing flavors to blend, about ½ hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tacos on ungreased cookie sheet and cook for 10 minutes. Fill with chili, rice and toppings. Try not to over eat!

Recipes of the Week

Thinking about Hanukah yet? GKC is, each week we will add a few more deLIGHTful recipes to enjoy
Vegetable Soup

Thai Potato Coconut Soup

Chicken Mushroom Stew

Endive and Fennel Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Classic Chocolate Cake

Spicy Ribs with Ginger and Soy
Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
Garlic Fries
Pecan Balls

Veal Spare Ribs
Cranberry and Pear Sauce
Easy Potato Latkes
Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
Peppermint Petits Fours

Smooky Sweet-Potato Soup
Mesclun Salad with Cider Dijon Dressing
Breast of Veal Stuffed with Spinach and Wild Mushrooms
Lemon Challah Souffle
Roasted Salmon with Tarragon and Citrus
Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

Vegetable Soup


Serves 8

Nice and hearty for the whole family. Serve some latkes on the side!

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 bulbs fennel, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 turnips, peeled and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken or pareve chicken broth
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons lemon juice (preferably fresh)

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, sprinkle with salt and cook over low heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add fennel, carrots, turnip and potatoes, cook for about 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add sweet potato, zucchini and pepper. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, until all vegetables are soft. Stir in lemon juice and serve.

Thai Potato-Coconut Soup

Serves 8

2 quarts (8 cups) chicken or pareve chicken broth
6 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic chile paste
2 (14-1/2 ounce) cans coconut milk

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil (don’t worry if the coconut milk curdles slightly). Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool slightly and purée with hand immersion blender. Reheat over low flame before serving.

Chicken Mushroom Stew


Serves 8

4 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 onions, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 (8-ounce) packages sliced mushrooms
4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1-1/2 quarts (6 cups) chicken broth
¾ cup nondairy creamer
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon black pepper

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, carrots and celery. Cook 2 minutes longer. Whisk together broth, creamer and flour. Gradually stir into mixture in pot. Season with pepper and cook an addition 5 to 10 minutes to allow sauce to thicken and flavors to blend. Serve over egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.

Endive and Fennel Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette


Great flavor and a great look, this is another winner from my friend, Laura Weinman.

6 heads endive, chopped
4 bulbs fennel, sliced
¼ cup crystallized ginger, chopped
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup Italian dressing
½ cup raspberry syrup

In a large salad bowl, mix together endive, fennel, ginger, walnuts and cranberries. Whisk together vinegar, dressing and syrup. Pour over salad, toss and serve. For another colorful salad, try this cranberry, apple and pecan one.

Classic Chocolate Cake


Nothing beats a good old-fashioned chocolate cake when it comes to special desserts.

½ cup shortening
1 cup nondairy creamer
½ cup cold coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup (1 stick) margarine, softened
½ cup corn syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup warm water
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans.

Beat the shortening until fluffy. Add nondairy creamer, coffee and vanilla and mix well. Beat in eggs, one at a time. On low speed, add flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda. Mix until completely combined. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, remove to wire racks to finish cooling.

When completely cool, prepare frosting. Beat together cocoa, margarine, corn syrup and vanilla. Slowly add the warm water and then the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth.

To assemble, place one cake top side down on a large flat cake plate. Spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer, top side up. Frost top and sides.

Apple-Potato Latkes With Cinnamon Sour Cream

photo: Andrew Scivani

Last week the White House made their annual Hanukah party and this time they kashered the whole kitchen, blow torch and all. After the 12 hour overnight process, they served a kosher meal for over 200 guests, including the Maccabeats. GKC has friends in the White House too and they sent us this recipe that was served at the party. The chef says he found the original recipe in the NY Times Cookbook and guests have loved it for years. We loved it too and had to share it with our readers.

Apple-Potato Latkes With Cinnamon Sour Cream

Makes about 1 ½ dozen latkes

6 tablespoons sour cream or greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored
1 large russet potato, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Olive oil, for frying.

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream or yogurt, cinnamon and syrup. Cover and chill until ready to use.
2. Coarsely grate the apples, potato and onion. Put the mixture in a clean dish towel and squeeze to wring out as much liquid as possible. For the crispiest pancakes, you want the least moisture.
3. Working quickly, put the mixture in a large bowl, add the flour, eggs, salt, baking powder and pepper, and mix until the flour is absorbed.
4. In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, pour in about 1/4 inch of oil. Once the oil is hot (a drop of batter placed in the pan should sizzle), drop heaping tablespoons of batter into the pan, cooking 3 to 4 latkes at a time. Use a spatula to flatten the scoops into disks. When the edges of the latkes are brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes, flip them. Cook until the second side is deeply browned, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the latkes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with dollops of the cinnamon sour cream on top.

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

3-1/2 teaspoons white grape juice
2-1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
8 large butter lettuce leaves
3 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, thinly sliced
3 large Ruby Red grapefruits, all peel and white pith cut away, segments cut from between membranes

Whisk grape juice, vinegar, lemon juice and shallots in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in both oils. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange lettuce on platter. Top with avocado and grapefruit, then dressing.

Spicy Short Ribs with Ginger and Soy

Serves 6
2 tablespoons canola oil
5 pounds beef short ribs
1 cup finely chopped shallots
2 jalapenos, chopped and seeded
9 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3-2/3 cups beef stock
2-½ cups canned crushed tomatoes with added puree
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Working in batches, add ribs and cook until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer ribs to large bowl. Add shallots, 3 tablespoons chopped chilies, garlic and 2 tablespoons chopped ginger to same pot. Sauté 2 minutes. Return 2 ribs and any juices to pot. Add stock, crushed tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until ribs are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high. Whisk soy sauce with cornstarch in small bowl; add to pot and stir until mixture thickens and boils, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon chopped chilies and 1 tablespoon ginger. Mix in cilantro. Season to taste and salt and pepper.

Latkes on the Lighter Side

Frying in olive oil results in a lighter, healthier latke.

3 pounds russet potatoes
1 medium onion
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons bread crumbs or matzo meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
About 3 cups olive oil for frying

Peel potatoes, rinse, and coarsely shred on a box grater, transferring to a bowl of water as you go. Shred onion into a fine-mesh colander, discarding any uneven chunks. Pour potato mixture on top and drain. Rinse and dry bowl.

Squeeze handfuls of potatoes and onion to remove liquid, drain as much liquid with towels. Wrap and wring well. Whisk eggs, flour, breadcrumbs, salt and the pepper in dry bowl. Add potato mixture and toss with hands until evenly coated. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Filling a 1/4-cup measure three-quarters full, scoop potato mixture onto baking sheets. Pour 3/4 inch oil into a large frying pan with sides at least 2 inches high. Insert a deep-fry thermometer and heat oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.

Put a portion of potatoes on a wide metal spatula, press into a 3-inch cake, and push into hot oil with another metal spatula. Shape 3 more latkes, sliding into oil; cook, turning once, until browned at edges but still soft in center, 2 minutes. Adjust heat to keep oil between 300 and 350 degrees.

Transfer latkes to paper towels, then to a wire rack over a rimmed baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and keep warm in oven. Repeat to make remaining latkes; use a second pan when the first is full.

Pecan Balls

Makes 28 cookies

GKC follows lots of food websites and magazines in hopes of trying some of the best new recipes each week. We also like to peek in on the contests and see who wins. This recipe, although the runner-up recipe, was one of my favorites from a recent contest. The low oven temperature is the secret to developing the melt-in-the mouth texture.

1 cup unsalted margarine, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon butter extract, optional
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Beat margarine, ½ cup sugar, and both extracts in a large bowl with a mixer until smooth. Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add to margarine mixture and beat on low speed until well blended. Stir in pecans.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and set on greased baking sheets. Bake until cookies are pale golden brown, 25 minutes. Let cookies stand on sheets until cool enough to handle.

Put remaining 1-½ cups sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll warm cookies in sugar to coat then cool completely.

Jam filled Doughnuts

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2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
2-3/4 to 3 cups flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 to 5 cups vegetable oil for frying
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup other favorite jam

Combine yeast, 1/2 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Put 2-3/4 cups flour in bowl of a stand mixer or mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add eggs, yeast mixture, 1/4 cup sugar, the margarine, nutmeg, and salt. Mix with dough hook on medium speed, scraping inside of bowl occasionally, until dough is smooth and stretchy, 8 to 10 minutes. If needed, add about 1/4 cup more flour and mix until dough pulls free from bowl and is no longer sticky. (To mix by hand, stir with a spoon, then knead on a board until smooth and stretchy, 8 to 10 minutes, adding flour to keep dough from sticking.)

Rub dough with a bit of oil, turn over in bowl, and cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 hour. In a bowl, mix remaining sugar and the cinnamon.

Push dough down to release air and shape into a smooth ball. Roll on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 in. thick. Using a 2-3/4-in. round cutter or drinking glass, cut rounds and place on 2 lightly oiled baking sheets; gather scraps and re-roll as needed. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until puffy, 20 minutes.

Pour 1 inch oil into a 5- to 6-qt. pan, insert a deep-fry thermometer, and warm oil over medium-high heat to 325 to 350 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, slip 4 rounds into oil, one by one. Fry until deep golden, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes total; adjust heat as needed to keep oil between 275 and 350 degrees.

Lift out doughnuts with slotted spoon, letting drain slightly, and put in bowl of cinnamon sugar. Turn in sugar while warm, using a fork, then set on a platter. Repeat with remaining rounds.

Poke each doughnut to center with a teaspoon handle. Fit a pastry bag with a 1/3-in.-wide round tip (or snip a corner off a resealable plastic freezer bag), then fill with jam. Pipe or squeeze about 2 teaspoons jam into each doughnut (you may need to squeeze doughnuts to hold them open).

Garlic Fries

I tried this recipe that was originally from an old Cooking Light magazine. I made a few GKC adaptations and loved them.

3 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons margarine
8 garlic cloves, minced (about 5 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional but really good)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine first potatoes, oil and salt in a large zip-top plastic bag, tossing to coat.

Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning after 20 minutes.

Place margarine and garlic in a large nonstick skillet; cook over low heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add potatoes, parsley, and cheese to pan; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Won Ton Soup

photo: photo by

Serves 8

We order this at Chinese restaurants so often that I thought I would give it a shot at home. I merged numerous recipes to come up with this one that was a big hit and much easier than expected. The uncooked wontons can be frozen for up to 1 month. Do not thaw the frozen wontons before cooking; add them directly to the boiling soup and cook until tender, 6 to 9 minutes.

6 ounces ground beef
½ large egg white, lightly beaten
2 medium scallions, minced
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
25 wonton wrappers

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 ounces ground beef
1 onion, chipped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, sliced thin and smashed
8 cups chicken broth
1 carrot, peeled and grated
3 scallions, sliced

To prepare wontons:
Combine all ingredients (except wrappers) in medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and freeze until chilled, about 10 minutes. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay 3 wrappers on dry work surface. Place 1 slightly rounded teaspoon filling in center of wrapper, brush edges lightly with water, and fold wrapper into wonton.

Place wonton on baking sheet and repeat with remaining filling and wrappers. Loosely cover wontons with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 4 hours.

For the soup:
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground beef, onion, garlic and ginger and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover partially and cook 25 minutes. Strain if you wish.

Return strained broth to clean saucepan and bring to boil. Carefully add wontons, carrot and scallions and simmer until wontons are tender, about 5 minutes. Serve.

Veal Spare Ribs


Serves 8

16 – 20 veal ribs
2 onions, chopped
2 heaping teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons chili sauce
¼ cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan. Spread ribs out in pan (they can overlap). In a medium saucepan, bring onions, garlic, chili sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, honey and mustard to a boil. Pour over ribs. Cover tightly and bake for 2 hours. Raise heat to 375 degrees. Uncover, baste, and bake an additional ½ hour. Serve over rice.

Cranberry and Pear Sauce


4 Bosc pears, chopped
2 cups fresh cranberries
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium Dutch oven, mix together pears, cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, water and vanilla. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cranberries have popped and pears are soft, stirring occasionally – about 20 minutes to ½ hour. Serve warm, room temperature or cool. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Easy Potato Latkes


2 (16-ounce) bags shredded hash brown potatoes
6 eggs
½ cup flour
3 onions, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Canola oil

In a food processor, pulse potatoes until chopped (you will not be able to do a whole bag at once). In large bowl, mix chopped potatoes with eggs, flour, onions, salt and pepper. Fill a large skillet with oil to 1-inch depth. Heat oil over medium-high heat until bubbling. Drop mixture, ¼ cup at a time into skillet; brown well on each side – about 2-3 minutes each. Drain on paper towels.

Peppermint Petits-Fours

This is an elegant and easy dessert treat – you’ll impress your family and friends.

1 loaf pound cake (store-bought or homemade – try this one without the nutella or chocolate swirl)
¾ cup white chocolate chips
1 (16-ounce) can vanilla frosting
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
Garnish: crushed striped peppermint candies or candy canes

Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Cut pound cake in half lengthwise. Cut each half into eight pieces. In a small sauce pan, over low heat, melt white chocolate, stirring constantly. Add frosting and continue cooking until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in extract. Dip each piece of cake in white chocolate-icing mixture to cover. Place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet to set. Top with crushed candies.