The ultimate in Kosher Treif snacking

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Kosher Baby Back ribs ChipsOK tell me the above picture isn’t funny? I think my husband might have found the ultimate in Kosher Treif snacking today during his Sunday trip to Wal-Mart. To quote him, “I got everything on your shopping list and one extra item that I thought was too funny to pass up.”

Hello Herr’s Baby Back Rib flavor chips, which are … wait for it … OU Kosher.

According to a review on Herr’s web site, they “top them with the authentic flavor of your favorite Baby Back Ribs.”

As a girl who used to eat treif of all sorts, I can’t say that the chips actually taste like the baby back ribs I remember from my trips to the Rendezvous in Memphis, but then again, I’m not sure anything Kosher could replace that amazing experience.

But as a funny Kosher snack that allows me to make-believe I’m eating something from my good ole treif days, Herr’s baby back ribs chips are not too shabby.

And by the way, the hubby also brought home this snack – Herr’s Kansas City Prime Steak Flavor chips – OU Dairy. Not quite as funny a Kosher baby back ribs but definitely a close second. I haven’t tried them yet but will let you know the verdict.

Kosher Prime Steak ChipsWhat about you? Have you tried either of these snacks? If so, what did you think?

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

 

 

The Passover Cooking Frenzy

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I spent the day in a cooking frenzy and thanks to me, my hubbie spent the day in an errand-running frenzy. I kept coming across ingredients I’d forgotten to buy and also thinking of things we needed that weren’t included in my original Passover plan.

At the end of the day, I’d completed 6 of the 9 items, plus 1 bonus cake so I’m counting that as a win since I’ve still got tomorrow to finish up numbers 7, 8 and 9.

Here’s the line-up so far and all but one are from Susie Fishbein’s Passover by Design Cookbook because, quite frankly, I’m lazy when it comes to Passover cooking. I love that I can find a bunch of great recipes in one cookbook – it’s my one-stop-recipe-shop to help make my life easier during a very labor intensive holiday:

Tri Color Gefilte Fish

Tri Color Gefilte Fish from Rosh Hashanah 2012 is always a big hit. It’s a bit time-consuming to make and you need to read the entire recipe before starting or else you’ll end up like me today … somehow skipping over the eggs, salt and pepper that needed to be added to the gefilte fish base and then having to figure out how to get them in after the fact. Keeping my fingers crossed that this dish turns out OK this year : ) I also usually make some kind of a horseradish-based sauce to go with this fish.

Meat LogKosher Meat and Potato Roll or as it’s known in my house, the Meat Log. It’s like your Mom’s old-fashioned meatloaf with a hidden surprise inside of mashed potatoes.

We joke about this dish often, but it’s always a hit and it’s always gone at the end of the Seder.

Delicious and somewhat easy to make.

 

Sweet and Sour Meatballs from Susie Fishbein’s Passover by Design cookbook, page 35. I originally found this meatball recipe in Susie’s cookbook for kids, where there are 2 different kinds of meatballs. My family loves both so the Sweet and Sour version is an easy, quick crowd-pleaser for Passover.

Passover Crumb Cake

A hidden Passover Dessert Gem – the Crumb Cake from Susie Fishbein’s Passover Cookbook page 248. This cake looks like dry sand but taste like moist yummy apples, even though there’s not a single apple in it. I couldn’t believe how delicious it turned out last Passover so it’s making a repeat appearance this year. A small amount of effort and ingredients produces an amazing dessert.

Teriyaki Chicken, also from Susie Fishbein’s Passover by Design cookbook, page 124. I have a bit of a love, hate relationship with this recipe. The photo in the cookbook makes the sauce look very dark brown and quite beautiful. My sauce never seems to get that dark. It’s more of a tan color and never as sticky as described in the book. I’m sure it’s user error on my part, and the chicken is still quite tasty, which is why I keep making it but I do wish I knew the secret to the dark brown, sticky consistency.

Slow Roasted Chicken, page 115 of the same cookbook. This recipe is a new one for us. My husband usually makes a slow-roasted chicken using the rotisserie tool on our grill, but since we can’t use it for Passover, I decided to give this oven version a try. I’ll let you know how it tastes after our first Seder. Has anyone made this chicken before?

Purple Cabbage Salad, page 82 of the same cookbook. I make this salad for almost every holiday and when we’re having company for Shabbat. It’s definitely loved and it holds up well over a few days if there are left-overs.

What are you cooking for Passover? Do you have favorite dishes you make every year?

Happy Passover and Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

Fruits of the Vine Mishloach Manot

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Fruits of the Vine Mishloach Manot

I’m about to start a Passover cooking frenzy and realized I never got around to blogging about our Mishloach Manot project, which was both fun and exhausting. My 7 year-old-daughter announced early on that she wanted our gift baskets to include chocolate covered strawberries and the complete package came together from there.

I came up with the idea to use flower pots as our “basket” and my sister-in-law Rosie, suggested we put the strawberries on sticks so they looked like actual flowers. I loved the plan so I went to work several weeks in advance (thank goodness) gathering supplies.

I borrowed the Chocolate Dipped Strawberries recipe from The Shiksa in the Kitchen with one small addition. I added about a tablespoon of Crisco to the chocolate to aid in the melting process. I also broke down and bought an inexpensive double-boiler from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Yes, I know it’s nuts that I didn’t own one, but I’ve never had to melt gallons of chocolate before so a new pan was definitely needed.

Plastic flower pots from Dollar Store

Next, I found cute, colorful, plastic flower pots at the Dollar Store, along with Easter grass, green napkins, and the green blocks of styrofoam used for flower arrangements.

I cut the styrofoam blocks into pieces small enough to fit into the bottom of each flower pot and used a hot glue gun to “attach” the sytrofoam to the bottom of the pot. Next, I used hot glue to “attach” the green napkin to the center of the Styrofoam block so that the edges of the napkin “flowered” out to cover and hide the Styrofoam.

I added a bit of the Easter grass and filled each basked with:

A few pieces of Candy
Fun fruit and vegetable shaped erasers ordered from Raymond Geddes
Individual packets of Crystal Light, fruit flavored
Fruit seed packet (watermelon, etc.) purchased at Walmart for .29 cents (sadly, I couldn’t find strawberry seeds anywhere!)

Chocolate Dipped StrawberriesThe night before Purim, I washed 100 strawberries and added them to skewer sticks (purchased in the grilling/outdoor cooking section at Walmart). I melted a lot of chocolate using my double-broiler, dipped each strawberry into the chocolate and laid on a piece of parchment paper to dry.

I also dipped a few of the strawberries into chopped pecans while the chocolate was still soft.

Chocolate Dipped StrawberriesAfter the chocolate had hardened, I melted white chocolate and added to a Wilton cake decorating bag with a small round tip to add the swirl design.

Next, all strawberries went into my refrigerator to chill and stay fresh overnight.

The next morning, I started the assembly process of:

Adding 3 strawberries to each flower pot by pushing the sticks through the napkin and into the styrofoam.
Covering the 3 strawberries with clear plastic bags purchased at Walmart (in the party section, used for party favor bags).
Tying the bag around each set of strawberries with ribbon and the cute tag my hubbie made.

My plan was for the Mishloach to be a “Fruits of the Vine” theme but in the end, everyone was too tired to come up with a cute poem so we ended up with a simple “Happy Purim” with a picture of a chocolate dipped strawberry. Maybe next year we should start with the design of the tag first!

I’ll admit that delivery was no piece of cake. Fortunately, it was a cool day in Texas so nothing melted but a few of the skewers did poke through the top of some strawberries so I had to make some adjustments before deliver. And we had enough strawberries left over to serve at a Purim dinner that evening.

 

All in all, it was a fun process and no treif was involved!

Mishloach ManotHow about you? What was in your Mishloach Manot basket?

Here’s a quick supply list for the approve project:

  • Plastic flower pots (dollar stores)
  • Styrofoam block for flower arrangements (dollar stores)
  • Green paper napkins
  • Hot glue gun and extra glue sticks
  • Easter grass (dollar store or Walmart)
  • Candy
  • Fun erasers or any other fruit-related toy
  • Crystal Light individual drink powder packets
  • Seed packets (Walmart)
  • Wooden Skewers (Grilling section of Walmart or Lowes, etc.)
  • Strawberries
  • Ingredients for Shiksa in the Kitchen Chocolate Dipped Strawberries recipe plus Crisco and chopped nuts if desired
  • Wilton decorating bags plus small round tip (can also try using a zip lock bag with tiny hole cut in edge. This didn’t work for me, but I was also tired and a bit stressed by this point!)
  • Clear plastic party favor bags (Walmart)
  • Ribbon
  • Gift tags

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

What’s your favorite cooking gadget?

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Favorite Kitchen GadgetsCongrats to Julie for winning my “What’s your favorite and quick go-to dinner?” She recommended pizza made on an English muffin or a pita and also fine egg noodles mixed with butter and shaker cheese. Both sound like delicious and easy options that most kids would happily eat.

Julie’s prize was one fun cooking gadget, but I got kind of carried away when I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to find the gadget. So Julie ended up with 3 gadgets instead:

A Stainless Steel Wavy Knife from MSC International for fancy fries, fabulous fruit and vivid veggies.

Rocker Garlic Crusher by Joseph Ltd, London – crush garlic by pushing and rocking back and forth over clovers.

Silicone Basting brush.

I also got myself a ProFreshionals Herb Mincer, which I haven’t tried yet but it was too cool to pass up.

Congrats to Julie! Please let us know how you use your new kitchen gadgets.

What about you? What is your favorite kitchen gadget?

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

Share your quick go-to-dinner for kids for a chance to win

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006We’ve all been there. The 6:00 pm witching hour arrives. Dog is barking. Kids are screaming, “what can I eat?” The Head chef (aka, you) has no idea what she is going to make for dinner. There’s no time to go to the store. You have to work with what you’ve got. Which in my case usually isn’t much.

For me, the go-to-dinner for my daughter is usually Wacky Mac. Zoe loves it. It has a lot of protein, and she will eat at least 2 bowls full, along with a few fruits and vegetables. I’ll sometimes add fresh cheese to the Wacky Mac, as well as a small jar of baby food carrots to beef-up the nutritional value.

It’s no easy task finding Kosher mac and cheese, other than Wacky Mac. I’ve tried making homemade mac and cheese, but Zoe NEVER likes it. We always go back to Wacky Mac.

I recently read an article in Food Business News titled School Nutrition Innovation on Display talking about how various food manufacturers are coming up with more nutritional food options for school lunchrooms. One in particular interested me – Land O’Lakes is planning to offer two new mac ‘n cheese products that approach the new U.S.D.A. standards in different ways -  one features reduced sodium while the other replaces semolina pasta with whole grain.

I assume these products are for school lunchroom use only, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Land O’ Lakes will eventually sell these mac and cheese products in stores AND that they will be Kosher. I reached out to Land O’ Lakes to inquire about the Kosher piece. Will let you know what I find out. It would definitely be nice to have a few more packaged (and Kosher) mac and cheese options.

Last but not least, let’s get to the giveaway part. I’d love to hear your go-to-dinner ideas for quick, easy-to-make meals for kids.

Add your suggestions to this post via the comments section for a chance to win a cool kitchen gadget … to be determined when I go shopping this week but I promise it will be fun : )

Deadline for suggestions is Sunday, January 26, 2014.

I’ll draw a name from all of the suggestions on Monday, January 27, and post the name of the winner and their kid dinner suggestion at that time, along with info on how the winner can contact me with their shipping information.

Good Luck and Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

Kosher Food Fun in Barcelona, Spain

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Kosher Spicy Meatballs

I recently traveled to Barcelona, Spain, for a conference and took my husband along as my translator. I speak zero Spanish and he speaks at least enough to get us by … don’t even get me started on the number of times he got us to where we needed to go or saved us from eating some treif we shouldn’t be eating thanks to his “just enough” knowledge of the Spanish language : )

We weren’t always fortunate enough to eat at Kosher restaurants while we were in Barcelona so the few nights we did make it to a Kosher place, I was thrilled to kick the plain salad to the curb and enjoy a hearty, meat dish like the one pictured above.  Those are spicy meatballs with Mejadara (rice with lentils and spices) from Delicias Kosher. We also enjoyed hummus with pitas and some potato tapas that were too spicy for me to eat but everyone else loved them. And oh the wine in Spain was so amazing … and cheap! I honestly could have just lived on wine while I was there … but thanks to a few great Kosher restaurants, I didn’t have to.

Kosher Shawarma

Our last night in Barcelona, we made our way to Shalom Kosher Restaurant for several delicious dishes. For the main course, I had shawarma (pictured above) and Neil had a beef kabob (pictured below). Both were awesome … Neil’s was the best so I’d probably get that one if/when I go back … but my favorite thing was an appetizer they put on the table before dinner was served.

At first, I thought it was a bowl of French Fries but when I bit into the yummy morsel, I discovered it was fried pita – a Southern Treif-loving girl’s dream – proving that anything tastes good when it’s fried. We asked our waiter about it, and he explained that they sliced up pita into strips and deep fried it to get the crunchy French-fry like quality. They gave us small bowls of Tahini and some other very spicy dipping sauces and we were set. Oh, and of course we also had some yummy Spanish wine.

The funniest part of the evening came when Neil asked our waiter if they took American Express (but he called it Expresso because he was trying to sound all Spanish and stuff) and the waiter thought we wanted an espresso, Americano Style.

Kosher Beef Kabob

Last but definitely not least, we rushed to the Mercat de La Boqueria one afternoon to a vegan falafel place that Neil had discovered during his daily adventures. The food stand closed at around 4 and I didn’t want to miss out on these falafels. The Falafel Vegan was worth the 2 metro trains and long walk/run we had to take to get there from our hotel. I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of this yummy falafel (see picture below of me waiting for my Falafel to be prepared), but you’ll have to take my word for it … and visit the place the next time you’re in Barcelona. Once you are done eating, you can walk through the many vendors’ stands in the Boqueria and marvel at the interesting foods for sale. Lots of treif to admire in this market!

Vegan Falafel

Have you been to Barcelona? What were your experiences with food, Kosher or otherwise?

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking, Travels and New Year!

Mike and Ike Corn Cake Muffins with Creamy Pear Frosting

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Mike and Ike Corn Cake Muffins with Pear Frosting

This month’s “Chopped Challenge Kosher” Linkup was anything but boring. The challenge: make a food item that includes corn, pears and Mike and Ike candy. I love corn and I love pears; not so much with the Mike and Ike but my 7 year old daughter is a big fan so she happily helped me with the prep and baking last night.

We decided to liven up a plain old corn muffin and make it into a dessert type food that’s OK to eat with your dinner – say hello to the Mike and Ike Corn Cake Muffins with creamy pear frosting. Here’s how it went down:

I started with a Corn bread Muffins recipe from AllRecipes.com:

Corn Bread Muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed (I used can corn kernels instead)
Mike and Ike Original Fruits, chopped into small pieces (I used a handful – see photo below)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease or line 12 muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, honey, eggs and salt. Mix in flour, cornmeal and baking powder; blend thoroughly. Stir in milk and corn. Mix in the chopped up Mike and Ike candy. Add a bit more milk if needed. Mike and Ike Corn Muffin BatterMy batter was thick but not so much so that I couldn’t spoon it into the muffin cups.
  3. Pour or spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Next, I borrowed a frosting recipe from the Cupcake ProjectRiesling Cupcakes with Pear Mascarpone Frosting (Gluten-Free Cupcakes) but I only used the frosting piece of the recipe:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature (I found Kosher Mascarpone at Wholefoods)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ripe pear
Finely chopped walnuts, to taste (I didn’t use the walnuts but they might add another fun element to the Mike and Ike corn cake muffins)
Cream Cheese – I ended up adding some cream cheese to make the frosting thicker so have some on-hand just in case.

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix butter on high speed with an electric mixer for two minutes.
  2. Add mascarpone and mix until just combined.
  3. Add powdered sugar a little bit at a time until just combined.
  4. Peel and slice the pear.
  5. Puree the pear slices in a food processor.
  6. Use a sieve to remove any excess liquid from the pear puree. (I did not do a good job with this part so my frosting was too thin)
  7. Mix two tablespoons of pear puree into the frosting.
  8. Spread frosting over cooled cupcakes.
  9. Top with walnuts.  (I skipped the walnuts)

Mike and Ike Corn Cake MuffinsI must not have drained enough of the liquid from the pear because my frosting was way too thin. I ended up adding more powdered sugar and some cream cheese to make it thicker. Then I used a frosting bag and star tip to pipe the frosting onto the muffins. I topped each with one piece of Mike and Ike candy.

Both my daughter and hubbie were a fan of this weird little dessert/bread treat. It combines salty and sweet flavor in a nice way and the Mike and Ike candy and the corn give it a fun and unexpected crunch. Plus the frosting is creamy and delicious with just a hint of pear. It was a fun experiment and will be a nice surprise in my daughter’s lunch box today!

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

KosherConnectionThe Kosher Connection, an informal group of creative kosher food bloggers from all around the world, proudly present our monthly kosher recipe challenge.  Each month we will present you with recipes on a different theme from all the kosher food bloggers.

This month we tried something new and different, a Chopped Style Challenge.  Each participant had to use at least two of the following items: canned corn, pears and Mike and Ike candies !  Follow our recipes on Twitter with #KosherRecipes.


Since this month is a chopped style challenge, go ahead and vote for your favorite.  Let’s see who is the winner of our Chopped Challenge!!