Category Archives: Food

New Passover Recipes I Tried & Loved

Instead of running myself ragged and cooking/baking a bunch of food that nobody would eat—or even requested—I tried something different this Passover and went super simple. Only 3 desserts were on the table: fruit salad, cookies, and a cake. No chocolate matzo, no Boston fruit slices, no macaroons, no meringues  no dipped strawberries, no apricot candy, etc. (Been there, done that, learned my lesson!)

The Chocolate Espresso Cookies from My Jewish Learning were so good. It does require using three mixing bowls, but isn’t complicated otherwise. The secret ingredient is substituting cake meal for flour and it makes a big difference. They’re light and chewy, not dense and dry.

 

The Paleo Orange Cake from Elena’s Pantry only requires 6 ingredients. It suggests washing, boiling and blending fresh oranges, but if you’re rushed, I think it would still be good with straight orange juice. 

As for the fruit salad, I just tossed bananas, blueberries, kiwis and flaked coconut together, then drizzled with honey. So quick, so tasty.

Elaborate feasts can be fun, provided we have the time, money and energy needed to create an epic event. Sometimes, however, a simple spread is actually better. The trick is planning a menu, using wholesome, fresh foods and not taking on more than we can comfortably do. I’ve enjoyed Passover Seders with 15 different desserts and I also liked this little version. Variety!

 

How was your Passover? What did you serve?

Cinnabon Copycat Recipe

Soft dough, fluffy frosting and an insane amount of sugar—what’s not to love about a Cinnabon? Seriously, these rolls are the best sweet ever and I never fail to buy one whenever I shop at the mall.

After several failed attempts to duplicate them at home, I think I’ve finally found a recipe that’s a keeper. By using a bread machine instead of mixing by hand, they came out much lighter and tastier.

To make a copycat Cinnabon, you’ll need:

Dough

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened

Frosting

  • 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place dough ingredients in bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle and Start.

After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

Shape dough into a 16×20 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture (don’t fill to edge, leave small space).

Roll up, then cut into 12 pieces. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake rolls in preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown (about 15 minutes) While rolls are baking, beat together frosting ingredients. Take rolls out of pan and flip them over onto serving plate, then spread with frosting while still warm. 

If you really want to be decadent, add caramel sauce and pecans. (I prefer the original, but PecanBon’s are good too, if you can handle the richness.)

My rolls may not look as pretty as the store made, however, they tasted every bit as delicious. They’re also cheaper, although not any lower in calories. Still, it’s worth a splurge!

Don’t have a bread machine? Check out Village Bakery. They have great information, tips and reviews.

16 “Classic” Jewish Recipes that Aren’t Really Jewish

If you’re craving classic Jewish food, don’t turn to Yahoo for advice. In an article entitled “16 Old-School Recipes Your Jewish Grandma Used to Make” many of the recipes aren’t even Jewish! (Perhaps they’re aware because they do admit that, “We may not make them exactly like Bubbe did, but we think we’re pretty close.” I’ll disagree and you’ll see why.)

To state the obvious, I had a Jewish Grandmother who happened to be an amazing cook. She was born in 1916 and made most everything from scratch, the way she was taught by her mother, who immigrated from the Ukraine. Some of the foods mentioned she would’ve indeed recognized and enjoyed; others would never make the cut.

Let’s look at the list first:

    • French Onion Brisket
    • Potato Latkes
    • Matzo Ball Soup with Chicken Meatballs
    • Honey Challah
    • Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken
    • Gluten-Free Rugelach with Cranberry Jam and Chocolate
    • Red Shakshuka with Tomato Sauce
    • Smoked Salmon Dip with Everything Bagel Chips
    • Nutella Babka
    • Falafel Patties
    • Mushroom Barley Soup
    • Whole Roasted Carrots
    • Buckwheat Cheese Blintzes
    • Reuben Sandwich
    • Coconut Macaroons
    • Old-Fashioned Egg Cream 

Their recipes for roast chicken, brisket, latkes, macaroons, barley soup, challah, egg creams and roasted carrots would be considered normal Jewish fare. I’d label them as good, just slightly tweaked.

Iffy recipes include:

Babka – The cake is standard, but Nutella? That’s unusual. 

Falafel – I’ve had fried chickpeas, but never green ones. Adding mint and cilantro doesn’t sound too good.

Rugelach – Made from rice flour, millet and oats? Uh, no, never. Certainly it could be, but that’s not classic.

Salmon dip –  Chives, capers, and bagel chips? Doesn’t sound traditional to me.

Blintzes – Another gluten free goodie, made with buckwheat instead of wheat flour.

Matzo Ball Soup with Chicken Meatballs is an odd one. I don’t know anyone who uses ground chicken, nor would I add noodles. It’s interesting that the creator of this particular one starts off by saying “I’m not Jewish.” (Hmmm.)

Shakshuka is popular in Israel and was created in Northern Africa, so unless you’re Sephardic, it’s unlikely your Grandmother made it at home. Most Ashkenazi food is heavy on salt, not spice. 

Least on the list and the most ridiculous by far is the Reuben sandwich. Described by its creator as “crunchy and gooey,” it’s a mess of corned beef, swiss cheese, butter, mayo, pickles and sauerkraut, which is obviously not Kosher. I can assure you most Jewish ladies, especially a few generations back, never cooked anything like it.

While it’s fine to experiment in the kitchen and update a classic, it should be properly labeled. Someone who is truly familiar with Jewish food knows the difference. 

Multiple Food Recalls – Check Your Kitchen

Listeria contaminated fruit? Metal-tainted meats? It’s not a scary story, it’s a real life recall and you may have some of these items in your own home. Please check your kitchen and make sure, especially if you have children, elderly, or ill family members. Some of these items could be deadly. 

Tyson is recalling 69,093 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat chicken strip products. Check the website for exact product codes and locations. 25 states are included on the list.

Henry Avocado is recalling avocados in 6 states, that can be identified by stickers reading “Bravocado,” or “Organic” or “California.”

I personally bought a dozen avocados to make guacamole the day before the recall was issued and it was only by the grace of God that we didn’t eat every one of them! If you bought any of the above, toss it into the trash immediately, secured from kids and pets, or return for a full refund. 

Recalls seems to come frequently these days. Two weeks ago, I had to toss unopened Pillsbury flour that had Salmonella. The FDA regularly updates their danger list and I’m going to start following it more closely and check every label.