Monthly Archives: September 2012

Confessions of My 2 Sukkot Cooking Screw-Ups

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Parve Squash Pie with fresh butternut squash

Please accept my apologies for the lack of blog posts recently. I have to admit that the high holidays have been a whirlwind of chaos at my house. Lots of cooking and guests and such combined with all the work required for my “real” job and taking care of my house. Thank goodness the holidays only come once per year. And yes, I’m purposely ignoring Pesach right now because I’m so darn tired.

I started cooking for Sukkot a few days ago and had planned to take pictures and blog about the dishes I made. However, in the process of cooking I learned a couple of valuable tips (aka, made a couple of major mistakes) that most of you probably already know but they were new to me so I thought I’d share my experiences. First let me say that I started cooking around 8pm after a very long day at work and even after a cup of coffee, I was still not at my best. Excuses, excuses : )

I started with a recipe for carrot muffins thinking this was something that kids would enjoy and happily eat … not realizing they were also getting some nutritional value. I mixed up the recipe and realized after I’d dumped possibly a tablespoon of baking soda into the batter that the recipe called for a teaspoon. Hmm, did I put in a tablespoon or a teaspoon? I’m so tired who really knows but how much difference can it make. I’m sure it will be fine. It was not fine!

I poured the batter into these adorable mini-bundt cake molds and was so excited when the timer sounded to tell me the muffins were ready. I took them out of the oven and offered a bite to my husband. He started chewing the muffin and made the bitter beer face. “Ugh, there is some kind of weird metal after taste,” he said. So I tried the muffin and he wasn’t just whistling Dixie. It was disgusting. And it made me want to cry to have to throw out the whole batch. Then my husband made me totally paranoid by saying that he didn’t think baking soda could be used for food … only cleaning and laundry, which sent me straight to Google to do a search. Fortunately, I learned that baking soda is eatable but I just used too much. Rookie mistake #1 for the evening.

After the fact, I decided I should have taken a picture of the muffins in the trash can to show you the full affect but you’ll just have to use your imagination. The photo I included is a parve squash pie I made for Rosh Hashana using fresh butternut squash. There is never a single bite of that pie left. I’ll post the recipe as soon as I get a chance.

Next, I had plans to make a vegetable soup and an oven fried chicken. I purchased all of the ingredients but failed to read the recipes when I was copying down the list of necessary items. When I was ready to get started, I read the first sentence for the soup recipe, which told me I needed cheese cloth for the items that would “spice” the soup. I of course had no cheese cloth. I decided to move on to the chicken and discovered that a roasting pan with a meat rack or cookie cooling rack was “vital” to make this chicken crisp all the way around. Also something I didn’t have. Rookie mistake #2 of the night  – read the entire recipe when you are making your shopping list.

So I had to postone both the soup and the chicken recipes until I had time to go to the store. Ugh. So much for all of my planning.

I’m cooking again tonight so here’s hoping this round goes better than the last. Tomorrow I’ll share a recipe for a parve peanut butter pie that is totally awesome and even easier to make.

What are you cooking for Sukkot?

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

I’m Serving Parve Baked Alaska Cake Tonight for Rosh Hashanah

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Kosher Parve Baked Alaska Cake – Yummy!

Years ago, I attended a Pampered Chef party and came home with their Fall/Winter 2004 Season’s Best Recipe Collection booklet. The cover features a picture of a beautiful Baked Alaska Cake that I swore I was going to make someday. Well that day was today! I decided that making 10 other dishes for Rosh Hashanah wasn’t enough, and I added this lovely cake … and my challenge of making it parve … to my list. As you can see, my version of the Baked Alaska Cake didn’t turn out to look quite as lovely as the one featured in the booklet, but the flavor didn’t suffer a bit. Read on for the recipe I found posted online thanks to Heidi Hunt on Tastebook.com

Baked Alaska Cake by Pampered Chef

Ingredients

1 package devil’s food cake mix (plus ingredients to make cake) (I used the Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Parve cake mix.)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels — divided (I used Liebers Real Chocolate Chips parve.)
1 package cream cheese — (8 ounces) softened (Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese is a Kosher’s girl’s best friend. It’s parve and yummy.)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 container frozen whipped topping — (16 ounces) thawed, divided (I used Kineret Whipped Topping parve.)

Directions

Who knew you could actually bake in the Pampered Chef Classic Batter Bowl? I’m loving it!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease (I used parve margarine) and flour Pampered Chef Classic Batter Bowl (I was surprised to find that i actually own this dish. I probably purchased it at that same party where I got the recipe booklet. I had no idea I could bake in it. Totally awesome). Prepare cake mix according to package directions; pour into batter bowl. Bake 1 hour, 10 minutes to 1 hour, 15 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven to stackable cooling rack; cool 15 minutes. Run large spreader around outside of cake and gently turn out onto cooling rack, large end down. Cool 3 hours. (I don’t own the stackable cooling rack so I just let the cake cool in the batter bowl for 15 minutes and then turned it upside down on a cutting board. The cake slid out easily.)

Using serrated bread knife, trim large end of cake to level. Place cake, large end down, onto Simple Additions Medium Square. To slice cake into four equal layers, slice cake horizontally in half. Slice each half into two equal layers.

Chop 1/4 cup of the chocolate morsels using food chopper; set aside. Place remaining chocolate morsels in small Micro-Cooker; microwave, uncovered, on high 20-60 seconds or until melted and smooth, stirring after each 20-second interval. In clean Classic Batter Bowl, whisk cream cheese (Yeah for Tofutti parve Better than Cream Cheese. It’s one of my new best friends : ) until smooth using stainless steel whisk. Add powdered sugar; whisk until smooth. Stir in melted chocolate; mix well. Fold 2 cups of the whipped topping and chopped chocolate into cream cheese mixture using classic scraper. Using small spreader, spread bottom layer of cake with about half of the filling, forming a 3/4-inch layer. Repeat with remaining layers and filling, ending with the top layer of cake.

Spread any remaining filling over outside of cake to create a smooth surface. Frost cake with remaining whipped topping.

My cake layers were not standing up very well, In fact, they were leaning and sliding to the right so I ended up inserting a wooden stick like you’d use for shish kabobs into the center to hold everything together. I cut off the pointed part and added a strawberry for decoration.

To form decorative peaks, press spreader into topping and pull away. Repeat over entire surface of cake. For easier slicing, refrigerate cake at least 30 minutes.

To easily cut cake into servings, cut cake into eight wedges from top to bottom using utility knife. Carefully insert Slice ’n Serve horizontally into each wedge, dividing into two equal portions.

As I said, my cake did not turn out to look anything like the one pictured in the Pampered Chef booklet but it still tastes delicious and no one will believe it’s parve!

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking and Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Tri-Color Gefilte Fish Loaf Recipe is a colorful & fun dish for Rosh Hashanah

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Layers 1, 2 & 3 of the 3-color gelfite fish load (Left to Right)

I had such good intentions to start my Rosh Hashanah shopping and cooking early but it just did not happen. I did manage to bake my Challah this past Sunday but didn’t get started on the food until last night. I started with this beautiful Three-Color Gefilte Fish Loaf recipe that I found online last year at GourMania.com, along with a Horseradish Sauce from AllRecipes.com. The gelfite recipe is attributed to Norene’s Healthy Kitchen by Norene Gilletz. I don’t have this cookbook but after making this recipe for last year’s Rosh Hashanah meal, I’m thinking it might be a good a good investment. There was not a bite of this loaf left after the meal last year and folks who normally won’t touch gefilte fish raved about how delicious it was. Here are the instructions from the GourMania site:

Looks complicated—cooks easily! This layered loaf looks elegant and tastes terrific. You won’t have to fish for compliments when you serve this to your guests. They’ll fall for it—hook, line, and sinker!

Fish Mixture:

2 loaves frozen gefilte fish loaf, thawed (22 oz/623 g each) 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/2 tsp garlic powder (There was a big shortage of gefilte fish in Dallas this past week and I had to drive to 4 different stores before I finally found 3 loaves left at one store. I was doing a happy dance in the aisle!)

First Layer:

1/3 of the Fish Mixture
1/2 cup seeded and diced red pepper
2 green onions, diced
2 Tbsp minced fresh dillweed (I used dried dill an instead of fresh and it still turned out great).

Second Layer:

1/3 of the Fish Mixture
1 pkg (10 oz/300 g) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil or parsley (I used Dill again here)

Third Layer: 

1/3 of the Fish Mixture
1 medium sweet potato, cooked and mashed (or 1 cup cooked mashed carrots)
1 Tbsp minced fresh dillweed or parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two 9- × 5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. (I used three – 8″ x 4″ Hefty EZ Foil Loaf Pans purchased at Wal-Mart. The loaves will pop right out after cooking for easy slicing)

2. Fish Mixture: In a large bowl, combine the gefilte fish mixture, eggs, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well. Divide the mixture in thirds and place in three separate bowls.

3. First Layer: Combine the fish mixture, red pepper, green onions, and dillweed; mix well. Divide in half and spread evenly in each prepared pan to make a first layer.

4. Second Layer: Combine the fish mixture, spinach, and basil; mix well. Divide in half and spread evenly in each pan to make a second layer.

5. Third Layer: Combine the fish mixture, sweet potato, and dillweed; mix well. Divide in half and spread evenly in each pan to make a third layer.

6. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour. When done, the top layer should be firm to the touch and the edges should pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 2 loaves, 16 to 20 servings. (I made 3 slighly smaller loaves so I’d have one for each email I’m hosting).

Horseradish Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream (I use ToFutti sour supreme Kosher Parve)

Directions
In a small bowl whisk together horseradish, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, ground red pepper and sour cream.

Sweet Coconut Chicken Strips for Rosh Hashanah

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Welcome to the first ever Jewish Holiday Blog Party, hosted by Jessie of Taste and Miriam of Overtime Cook, and sponsored by Kitchen Aid! As you may know, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year is coming up, and Jewish bloggers from all over the world are celebrating with all kinds of twists on traditional Rosh Hashanah foods.

To kick off the celebration, Levana Kirschenbaum is giving away a copy of her fabulous new book, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen to three lucky winners. To enter, leave a comment on this post. Limit one entry per reader per blog so click over to the other participating blogs below for your chance at additional entries! Giveaway ends 5 am eastern time on September 11th, 2012.

Prize is sponsored by Levana and available to readers from all blogs participating in the Rosh Hashanah Blog Party. Prize can only be shipped within the US.

When I was thinking of a dish to prepare and write about for the blogger party, my first thought was the Pineapple Challah Kugel recipe that is a staple at our High Holiday’s table. The recipe is in Susie Fishbein’s Kosher By Design Entertains cookbook on page 228.

But while the recipe says “it’s pretty,” mine never turns out all that pretty. In fact, it’s somewhat unattractive. But once people take that first bite, they are hooked. I’ve even given this cookbook as a gift to a bride because her husband loved this dish so much. So, if you are looking for a sweet, filling side dish … or it can even be served as a dessert … the Pineapple Challah Kugle can’t be beat.

But I thought I’d try something new this year so I spent several hours looking through my stacks of cookbooks and decided upon a new recipe to try … and no one in my household was disappointed. My inlaws even happened to stop by the night of the test, which was also my birthday, so we made a little dinner party out of it. Everyone was in love with this yummy dish that reminds me of a Pina Colada.

The Coconut Chicken strips with Two Dipping Sauces (apricot and mango) recipe is in the same Kosher By Design Entertains cookbook on page 34 and it is out-of-this-world. I was thrilled to find the recipe online at Jamie Geller’s Joy of Kosher web site as well.

So without further ado, here is the recipe for one of the dishes I will definitely be serving at my Rosh Hashanah table. And I’ll warn you that it’s way too filling to simply be an appetizer, unless the meal that follows is very light, but it’s a fun way to welcome in a sweet New Year:

Ingredients

  • Chicken Strips
  • 6  boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4  cup flour
  • 1/4  teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2  eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2  cup panko or corn flake crumbs (I did not have either panko or corn flakes so I crushed up Kellogg’s Rice Krispies in a zip-lock bag instead. It was a yummy substitute)
  • 1  cup sweetened, flaked coconut
  •   honey

Mango Sauce

  • 1  fresh mango
  • 1/4  cup soy milk (I used 365 Organic SoyMilk)
  • 2  tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2  teaspoons honey mustard
  • 3  tablespoons chopped hazelnuts (I didn’t have hazelnuts and couldn’t find them at the store so I left-out this ingredient)

Apricot Sauce

  • 6  ounces apricot preserves
  • 2  teaspoons yellow mustard (not Dijon)
  • 2  tablespoons teriyaki sauce

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350˚ F.

2. Remove the tenders from the chicken. Cut each breast into long 1⁄2-inch thin strips, trimming the ends to make rectangle shapes. Trim the tenders as well. Season the strips with salt and pepper.

3. Place the flour into a shallow dish. Add some salt and pepper to the flour. Add the garlic powder and cayenne. Toss to combine. Place the beaten egg into a second shallow dish. Mix the panko or corn flake (or Rice Krispies) crumbs and coconut in a third dish.

4. Lightly coat the chicken strips with flour, shaking off excess. Dip each strip into the egg, shaking off excess. Roll into coconut mixture, pressing the coconut into the chicken to evenly coat.

5. Place the coated strips on a baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with honey. Bake 20 minutes, turning the strips halfway through.

I added an extra step here. At the end of the oven time, my chicken strips still looked a bit “tan” so I broiled them on high for about 2-3 minutes. It browned the coconut nicely and my Father-in-law thought I had fried them.

6. Meanwhile prepare the sauces. Place the mango into a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Purée. Add the soy milk, wine, and mustard. Pulse 2-3 times. Set aside.

7. Combine apricot preserves, yellow mustard, and teriyaki sauce. Stir to combine.

8. To serve place 3-4 chicken strips on each plate with two small bowls, one with the mango sauce and the other with the apricot sauce. (I actually placed each chicken strip on a wooden skewer to make it easier to eat but everyone ended up taking them off the skewers anyway so while it’s pretty, it’s probably not very practical.)

Just a few “tester” notes, the folks at my dinner party, LOVED the apricot sauce but were not so thrilled with the Mango sauce. It wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t as sweet as the apricot sauce.

I also made 1/2 of the batch “plain” without the coconut since my hubbie doesn’t like coconut. Even the plain batch was awesome so keep that in mind if you have folks attending your Rosh Hashana party who are not fans of the pina colada flavor.

This is the first of hopefully many exciting Holiday Blog Parties, so if you would like to join in the fun, please email holidayblogparties@gmail.com.

Stop by and check out some of these amazing Rosh Hashanah themed recipes on the following blogs:

Challah and Bread:

Marlene of The Jewish Hostess made Apple Challah
Amanda of The Challah Blog made Pomegranate Challah
Shelly of The Kosher Home made Apple, Honey and Pomegranate Challah!

Sides, Salads and Starters: 

Sarah of Food, Words, Photos made Tzimmes (Rosh Hashanah Carrots)
Tali of More Quiche, Please made Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash
Roberta and Lois of Kosher Eye made Simanim Salad
Chanie of Busy In Brooklyn made Pomegranate Coleslaw
Rivki of Life in the Married Lane made Super Salad
Hannah of Cooking Manager made Beets Marinated with Ginger and Garlic
Sina of The Kosher Spoon made Pomegranate, Almond and Raisin Couscous
Hindy of Confident Cook-Hesitant Baker made Warm Roasted Beets with Farro
Sarah of Kosher Street made Sweet Potato Apple Tzimmes

Main Dishes:

Jessie of Taste made Smoked Salmon
Samantha of The Little Ferraro Kitchen made Chicken with Dates
Michele of Kosher Treif Cooking made Coconut Chicken Strips with two dipping sauces
Melinda of Kitchen Tested made Key Lime Glazed Duck
Stephanie and Jessica of The Kosher Foodies made Chicken Braised in Pomegranate
Liz of The Lemon Bowl made Beef Brisket
Estee of Anyone Interested? made Easy Breazy 5 Minute Brisket

Desserts and Drinks:

Miriam of Overtime Cook made Mini Apples and Honey Tarts
Laura of Pragmatic Attic made Fresh Ginger Honey Cake
Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen made Honey Caramel Apple Galette
Amy of What Jew Wanna Eat made an Apple and Honey Cocktail
Nick of The Baking Process made Apple and Date Honey Squares
Lisa of The Monday Morning Cooking Club made Honey Chiffon Cake and Traditional Honey Cake
Leah of Cook Kosher made Pomegranate Ice Cream
Nossi of The Kosher Gastronome made Non-dairy Key Lime Cheesecake Bar with Key Lime Caramel