Thursday, February 24, 2011

Roasted Asparagus

We try to keep an assortment of vegetables coming to the table.  Obviously, we want to get the best flavor from our food.  I find that often with vegetables, they are best with as little playing with as possible.  I often season my vegetables with little more then salt and pepper and the proper amount of cook time to get it the perfect texture.  With asparagus I like to cook it till its melt in your mouth, soft.   My husband prefers it peeled, which is tedious work, but truthfully it ends up with a much creamier texture.

Roasted Asparagus
  • asparagus
  • salt
  • pepper
  • crushed garlic
  • olive oil
Preheat oven to 350F. We prefer the asparagus when it's peeled, but it is very time consuming and it taste delicious even with the peels on.  Place the asparagus on a cookie sheet or in a glass baking pan.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle liberally with crushed garlic. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake in oven until the flesh pokes easily with a fork  Take out and ENJOY!

Till next time,

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chocolate Kahlua Cake

My family are addicted to the Amaretto cake I often make for shabbos posted on this site:  Moist And Delicious Amaretto Cake.  I decided to play around with the recipe to create something of similar texture but a whole new cake.  Thus was born my chocolate Kahlua cake.  The cake was moist and chocolaty as expected and had a subtle taste on the Kahlua that imparted a distinct taste.  Although all Kahlua is produced in Mexico and is kosher, the Kahlua bottled in the US is not kosher due to the bottling facility that bottles non-kosher items as well on the same machines.  Kosher Kahlua can be purchased on a trip to Mexico, but that is out of reach for most of us.  Some kosher liquor stores have been selling Kahlua imported from Mexico, but if you cant get your hands on that, you can substitute it with another coffee liquor such as the one packaged by Ebers.

Chocolate Kahlua Cake
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua (or other coffee flavored liquor)
  • 1/4 cup vodka
Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour bundt pan.  Mix all ingredients in large bowl till smooth.  Pour into pan.  Bake for 1 hour till toothpick test comes out clean.
Remove from pan when completely cool to prevent cake from falling apart.
Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Purim Theme Ideas - Talmi D. Torah

Through out a child's life, they seem to always find a character which they admire and want to emulate.  I miss the days that Torah Tots were the ultimate superhero. Cant figure out why my 8 year old sees no interest in that series.  One of my kids asked  me the other day, why I allow them to watch Agent Emes since there is violence in it (ie. Agent Emes is pushed down the stairs and wakes up later in a pool of blood)  That was a very valid question, maybe it should be erased from the allowed list.
Well, as a 1 1/2 year old, my oldest son was infatuated by Talmi D. Torah.  He was a very verbal 1 1/2 year old, and could tell you the whole video from beginning to end with less mistakes then even Reuven A Stone(the producer of the series)  Oh course, that year I HAD TO make him a Talmi D. Torah costume.
This costume was made before I even owned a sewing machine (and years before I learnt to use one)
This costume was made entirely from felt.  Even the alef bais on the luchos were individually cut out from felt.  The costume was put together in a similar fashion to the Kedem grape juice costume, but for this one I used a lot of had over stitch and more fabric glue then the later year. The crown was made by covering poster board with felt.  I cut out 3 strips of the covered board, 2 the same thickness (about 2-3 inches) and the third, a little thicker.  Take the 2 equal strips and form an "X".  Staple at the center.  Take the thicker piece and measure it around the child's head, staple together (cover staple with tape, so the sharp edges don't hurt your child).  Connect the 4 edges of the X to the crown top using staples.  For the crown jewels, I cut out a darker felt and glued them in place.
Fell free to post your costume and/or your Meshloach Mones themes and ideas in the comment section.
Mishenichnas Adar, Marbim Besimcha,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Purim Theme Ideas - Shabbos Is Coming

I originally planned to carry my Purim theme topic for only a week, but since I missed a day (due to computer trouble)  I will continue with the topic.
Purim is a day where we like to take it easy in our home.  We go to a mid-morning Megilla reading, and then visit friends and invite others into our house for the whole afternoon.  And only after we are all tired out (and over sugared) do we finally settle down for a meal just before sunset.  But then there are those years that Purim coincides with Erev Shabbos.  On those years, Purim is rushed, and our meal has to be served as a lunch so that we have enough time to clean up before shobbos.  On the one hand, You almost feel like you lose out on the Purim, but at the same time, Shabbos ends up being a very festive day as it almost is a continuation of the days celebration.
A few years ago was just this type of year, and in honor of the occasion, we decided on a Shabbos theme.  Although this year Purim is not on Friday, I'm sure you can carry this theme off anyways successfully, especially since Shabbos end right into Purim.
What says Shabbos more then Kiddush wine and Challah?  For costumes I made a bottle of Kedem grape juice for one child and a challah cover for costume for the baby.
 To make the grape juice bottle, I bought a piece of purple felt large enough to wrap around my son comfortably.  For the shoulder piece, I cut out a large oval from felt that slightly over hung his shoulders. Sew or iron on a piece of stiff interfacing to the underside of the felt.cut a circle in the center, large enough to fit the child's head.   With both the large piece of felt and the shoulder board on the reverse side, sew the 2 together around the edges of the shoulder board.  Turn to the correct side (the seams are now on the inside of the garment) Try on your child to see where to cut arm wholes.  After cutting out wholes for the arms, turn the costume inside out again and sew up the back seem.  (Be certain that its not to fitted that it cannot easily be put on. I actually measured the size with a coat on so my child could possibly wear it over his coat)
For the front label, I took a piece of white felt and purple and gold fabric puff paint.  Cut out the white felt to your preferred size and round the edges.  Draw in with puff paint, coping the label to the best of your ability.
The label can be glued on with fabric glue or sewn in place.
For the hat, I used a stiff interfacing covered with purple felt.  I sewd in together to fit my sons head like a crown.  For the white cover, I used the same method as used for the body of the costume, but sized the top to the crown vs to the shoulders.  I then used fabric glue to hold it in place on top of the purple crown.
For my younger son who was only a few months old at the time and I wanted him to be in a costume that wouldn't be in anyway uncomfortable to a baby.  I bought a navy stretch valor and cut out a whole to fit his head (think tzitzis)  I then sewed a little bit under each arm so the garment should remain snug and not move around on the baby.  I sewed on gold tassel trim similar to that that we find often on challah covers.  The rest is drawn with gold and burgundy puff paint.
Mesloach Monas
I bought this really cool baking pan that the cakes come out looking like challah. I gave out amaretto cake baked to look like the challah, and placed it in a basket with a grape juice (I'm sure I put other stuff, but must have not been related to the theme, since I cannot remember what it is 6 years later) Oh boy, how I wish I took pictures of my baskets back then.  Originally I wanted to give the "challah" on a mini challah board, but I didn't get my act together quick enough (typical me)
The picture below is not the ones I used, which is more like a mini loaf pan, but I cannot find it online,   This one from Kaiser will get get you a similar look.
Kaiser Bakeware 15-Inch Classic Braided Loaf Pan
Adar Sameach,

Friday, February 18, 2011

Purim Theme Ideas - Chef

Getting into the Purim frenzy.  Orders started coming in for cookies and cookie bouquets and that alone is going to keep me busy.  But of course my own family cant be neglected, so I got to actually sit down and come up with our Purim theme.  Trying to come up with something that all 3 of my boys will agree to (however NOT Buzz Lightyear) isn't an easy feat.
This theme goes back to the time when I was totally clueless about sewing (not that I'm much better now, but at least I know more how to fake it).  The sewing of the costume was done with so many short cuts, but no one has to know that (Oh my, did I just reveal that to the entire world wide web?)
My boys are my biggest fans.  They go around advertising my cooking and baking to everyone.  They love helping out and then being able to say that they 'made' the food.  The chef costume was a big hit with them (although from the picture it looks like one of my boys really didn't like it... just don't try taking pictures of an over tired, over sugared boy) 
For the shirt, I took an old shirt, and used it as a pattern, but cut out the 2 front pieces a few inches longer than the original one so that they over lap.  The collar is left up, so that it resembles the collar of a chefs shirt.  I did not know how to do button wholes, so the buttons are sewn onto the upper lap of the shirt, and I sewed in zelcro to close the shirt. On the pocket of the shirt, I used puff fabric paint to personalize it 'Chef Yossi'. 
For the pants and the kerchief, I bought a fabric with small black and white checkered pattern.  The pants are the simplest possible to make with, I bought a pattern from McCall for a beginner.  It's literally 4 pieces cut out and sewn together with an elastic waist band.
The kerchief is made by cutting the fabric into a triangle big enough to tie around the neck.  I hemmed the edges for a more finished look.
The hat was also really simple one you figured it out.  I measured around my boys head and cut out a 2 ply strip a little wider then I wanted the band on the hat. Cut a piece f interfacing the size you will be making the band. Lay 2 stripes facing each other and interfacing on top.  Sew 3 of the sides together.  Use the 4th side to turn the band over to the correct side.  For the top of the hat, cut out a large circle and sew it to the band making pleats as you sew.  After you sew all the way around, sew velcro to the part of the band that remains unconnected for easy putting on and taking off of the hat.

Meshlaoch Monas
I wish I was more into picture taking back then.  I think it'll be a much bigger help if I could actually give you  visual of what I gave out, but unfortunately, those pictures don't exist, so a written explanation will have to suffice.
I bought small wooden cutting boards at the dollar store.  On each cutting board I placed alternating slices of different cold cuts, a small baguette (Costco's here  in Canada sells frozen ones with a hechsher), and a small Perrier.  I bought small plastic containers and gave one each of a coleslaw and a potato salad.  Used mini plastic containers for ketchup and mustard.  Covered the whole thing neatly in shrink wrap (you can also use Saran Wrap)

Please post your in the comment section, I'm sure they will be appreciated by other viewers who are still looking for ideas.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Purim Theme Ideas - Toy Soldier

The weather fluctuation has been so unpredictable these days.  First Sunday, it was really cold, then Monday we warmed up to plus temperatures, only to be frozen on Tuesday with a windshield of -28C (-18F).  Now, today, in the forecast is 3C (which is 38C - pretty warm for us here in Montreal, this season), and Friday we are expecting 10C! (That's 50F).  Although I love the warm weather, I have a sneaky suspicion that we are going to have a lot of colds this weekend as the kids think they don't have to bundle up as much as they go out.

Back to Purim, the time machine is going to 2007.  My kids dressed up as toy soldiers that year.  The costumes were sewn, and time consuming, but you can make a very similar effect by using a blue turtle neck and white pants.
I bought thin silver ribbon, which I sewed on the front.  2 long strips going down, and 4 smaller strips connecting the 2 longer ones.  I sewed on silver buttons at each place were the 2 strips meet (8 buttons in all).  For the pants I used thicker blue ribbon, which I sewed down the length of the pants on the outer leg.
As I mentioned before, these costumes were sewn from scratch, both the shirt and the pants, but you can adapt them to clothes you might already have in the house.
The hats were made out of cardboard, and as you can see in the picture, didn't really hold up so well as it got to the end of the day.
My Meshloach Mones that year was unrelated to my kids costume. (can you believe it?)  I gave out  homemade babka cake made in those really neat paper bundt pans from Novacart.  Their products really spruce up any cake you want to give out as a gift and they come in many different shapes abs sizes.  They are so easy to use, because you give the cake in the same container it was served.  I bought mine in Houseware Plus on Park Ave in Montreal, but I know they are available in most nice kitchen supplies stores, for example Peppermill in Boro Park.  In each I placed a coffee mug in the center (the bottom of the mug fit perfectly in the hole).  I filled the mug with coffee candies, and torino chocolates.  The whole basket was wrapped in cellophane paper and tied with a brown ribbon.
The babka recipe I use, is delicious.  I got the recipe from my neighbor, and I will post it one day very soon.
Please feel free to post your Purim ideas in the comments below.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Purim Theme Ideas - Crayon Theme

I know I promised to post a different Purim theme each day this week, but sometimes we don't have control of the situation.  Monday evening, my wireless router blew. And I didn't even know that that was possible, but somehow there is no power coming out of it.  I guess I'll have to replace that. Yesterday, I tried to get online with my computer that's actually connected to the phone line, but my husband was in middle of doing a major upload and the computer was way to slow to use.
So here I am, a day late, but I will deliver another theme, as promised.
I'm now going to go 3 years back.  My kids dressed as crayons.  Each of my boys picked a color.  I bought felt from a fabric store, as well as a thin stuffing.  This costume is super easy to make.  I sewed, but its not necessary, fabric glue will work as well. Below I wrote how I would go it if I was to use glue, but will be neater if you sewed it.

Cut the felt large enough to wrap double ply around your child loosely. Cut the stuffing to the same size (one ply) Glue the stuffing in between the 2 layers of felt.  Wrap it around your child to figure out where to make the arm wholes.  Cut out the circles for the arms. Seal the edges where you cut our with glue.  Seal the back leaving 1/2' on top for easy dressing and undressing.  Sew a button or eye and hook at the top to close the costume.  The Black on top and bottom and the oval that says crayola in it are cut out from black felt.
Use a puff fabric paint in a matching color to finish up the costume with the crayola name.
For the hat, take stiff interfacing and  cut to make a cone shape large enough to fir on you child's head.  Cover in matching felt and staple the cone to hold the shape.
For the Meshloach Mones, I bough brightly striped, colorful desktop supply holders.  I filled it with crayon decorated cookies and  other foods not related to the theme, but looked presentable.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Purim Theme Ideas - Oriental Purim (Homemade Fortune Cookies)

Two years ago, we had an oriental theme Purim.  That is the only year that I did not sew my own costume.  My sister-in-law spent the year working for a shliach in Shanghai, China, and sent my children these lovely costumes, which they were excited to wear. I did go down to Chinatown to find a dress for myself, and so I know similar costumes are readily available and inexpensive, if you just take an afternoon to travel to your local Chinatown and bargain a little.

For Meshloach Manos, I bought red Chinese takeout containers from uline.  Inside I put homemade fortune cookies with a Purim message, homemade sesame candies, and rice crispy treats.  I bought Chinese wine covers and used them to cover a bottle of iced tea.   I also made edible cookie cards (they are written in actual Chinese transliteration, 'Happy Purim') and Finished it up with a set of chop sticks.

The boys gave out the regular Purim nosh, but in a Chinese takeout container.
One of the mitzvah of Purim, is to have a feast.  And so, the  I prepared the meal in the theme as well.  I covered the table with a red table cloth and laid a black runner, and set the table with gold plates the ceremonial colors in China.  I placed by each plate a set of chop sticks, in case anyone was skilled enough to use them to eat.
For the first course, I served Teriyaki Salmon from the Kosher By Design cookbook along with Chinese cabbage salad.  (I must have served other salads, but over the past 2 years, I cannot remember exactly what was on the menu)
Next, I served won ton soup, which is basically a clear chicken soup with kreplach filling in wonton wrappers (This also covered the minhag to eat kreplach on Purim)
For my main course, I served  Chicken Negemaki with Red Pepper Chutney from the Kosher By Design cookbook, rice and roasted vegetables.  I also served shnitzel to make sure the children didn't go hungry.
My dessert was an assortment of homemade pastries and a fruit platter.  I also served mini Chinese good luck cupcakes and fortune cookies with hot tea.  To write the Chinese symbols on the cupcakes I made use of google.  These are the symbols for harmony, wealth, lucky, hope and happiness.  I used a cookie cutter to cut out white fondant in circles and write the words with red frosting.
Fortune Cookies
Fortune cookies are actually fairly easy to make.  They are a thin cookie, which once firm, you must fold them before they harden.  Therefore, you should start with making only 2 at a time, and only increase the amount as you see you can do the process quick enough that they don't harden.
This recipe should make apx 12 cookies.
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (which I added, since I felt it made it more authentic tasting)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Before you begin, write your fortune a small piece of paper, about 4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.  You can write fun messages, or simply, 'Happy Purim from the ______ family' (fill in the blank with your family name)
Preheat oven to 400.  Grease cookie sheet. Mix the egg white until it's foamy (not stiff). Add extract and mix. Combine flour, salt, and sugar and blend into the egg white mixture. Mix until should only take a short time. The dough will be thin. If it is too thick, try adding water a teaspoon at a time (you don't want it to get too thin).
Place teaspoonfuls of the batter at least 4 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Use the back of a spoon to get the batter into round shapes about 3 inches in diameter. Be careful to make batter as round and even as possible. Do not make too many, because the cookie have to be really hot to form them and once they cool it is too late. Start with 2 or 3 to a sheet and see how many you can do.
Bake for 5 minutes or until cookie is golden color 1/2 inch wide around the outer edge of the circle. The center will remain pale. While one sheet is baking, prepare the other.
Remove from oven and quickly move cookie with a wide spatula and place upside down. Quickly put the fortune on the cookie, close to the middle and fold the cookie in half. Place the folded edge across the rim of a cup and pull the pointed edges down, one on the inside of the cup and one on the outside. Place folded cookies into the cups of a cupcake pan to hold their shape until firm.

A freilechen Adar,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Purim Theme Ideas - Pirate Theme

Just finished a cake for a customer.  He wanted a cake that wasn't occasion specific, as the party is for 3 different celebrations, 2 birthdays and a Chanukas Habais (housewarming).  This was a specialty cake, as the customers daughter has an egg allergy.

Being that this coming Friday is Purim Katan, this weeks posts will be holiday specific.  I love being creative, and Purim is the perfect time to make your originality flow.  I like to go all out in my themes.  Last year, I sewed pirate costumes.  I'm not a expert at the sewing machine, in fact I'm not even close.
A few years ago (right about the time my 6 year old was born), my husband bought me a sewing machine.  I had no clue how to turn the thing on, much less use it for anything.  I remember the first day I took it out and sat  for an hour trying to thread the machine.  I could not understand the manual at all.  Finally, out of frustration, I called a friend of mine, who had literally just given birth, and asked her to explain to me what to do with the thread.  After that, I spent some time fooling around with the machine, but still haven't figured out how to make anything correctly.  If you've been following my blog, I'm sure you noticed how I can not follow a recipe, I always have to do things my way.  Well, I found the same thing true when it came to following a pattern.
For the shirt of the costume, I made a pullover shirt, but with a non-stretch cotton.  I then made a cut down the center front and sewed it back to make a slight "V".   I bought the eyes from a store then sells all sort of trim, and found it easiest to make a small whole with something sharp and push it through, then turn it over and band down the metal teeth with a hammer or a heavy object.  I then threaded it in a criss cross matter with a thick cord also purchased at a trim store. 
For the belt, I cut out a long sash from yellow fabric.  The pants I sewed as easy pattern, but used elastic on top, around the waist and on the bottom around the ankles. The kerchief hat is red fabric cut into a triangle.  For the eye patch, I took a piece of thick black vinyl, which I cut into the correct shape to which I sewed on elastic to hold in in place on their faces.  The swords (which they insisted on) are a dollar store find.  To keep with the theme, my Meshloach Mones, was a pirate ship in a bottle.  I baked and decorated pirate ship and treasure map cookies and placed them and a small bottle of rum in a glass jar with a big opening along with brown sugar sand, mint chocolate rocks and gold chocolate coins.

My boys gave out "loot bags".  In the bags there were some of the regular nosh, and some gold coins, along with a pirate cookie.

Join me tomorrow for another fantastic Purim idea.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pineapple Chicken Nuggets

Something about the combination of sweet and sour has great culinary delight.  Last night's dinner might not have been to healthy, but it was delicious. I came up with this recipe by combining a few ideas from recipes I've done in the past.  The crispy tempera covered chicken nuggets in the tangy pineapple sauce was a perfect match.

Pineapple Chicken Nuggets

Tempera Covered Chicken
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts - 1" cubes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water

Mix all tempera ingredients in a bowl till its a thick paste.  Add chicken cubes and coat completely.  Deep fry in 1" of oil until golden and crispy.  Place on paper towel to absorb the extra oil.

Pineapple Sauce
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • dash salt
  • Pineapple chunks from one can
  • scallion
Place 3/4 cup of the pineapple juice, sugar and vinegar in a small pot and bring to simmer.  In small bowl, combine remaining juice with cornstarch and salt till cornstarch dissolves. Add to hot liquid continue cooking, stirring constantly till sauce thickens.  Sprinkle with fresh scallion.

In a large pot place pineapple chunks and place over medium heat till completely heated.  Add chicken nuggets and sauce.  Stir to completely coat and heat thoroughly.
Serve over a plate of rice.


Bon appetit,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kids In The Kitchen #3 - Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

Now what is a better food combo then chocolate and nuts.  Think of Dellinut, chocolate covered peanuts, Reese's cereal, and of course chocolate peanut butter cups.  Today, my kids and I fiddled in the kitchen to make our own peanut butter treats.  We created a delicious melt in your mouth treat.  These confections have a bit of a crunch, thanks to the rice crispies added to the peanut mixture.

Because the trans-fat free margarine doesn't tend to harden up as much as regular margarine, it's best to serve these straight from the fridge.

This is a recipe easy enough for the children to do on their own.  Turn on the flame for them and take this chance to teach them about safety near the stove. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites
Prepare a 9"x13" pan by placing parchment or wax paper on bottom.
First Layer
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup J&J trans-fat margarine
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup rice crispies
Second Layer
  • 1/4 cup trans-fat margarine
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar

Melt peanut butter and margarine on top of double boiler.  Add icing sugar and mix till fully combined.  Stir in Rice Crispies.  Pour into prepared pan and allow to firm (can place in fridge to speed up the process)
Melt margarine and peanut butter on top of double boiler.  Remove from flame and immediately stir in chocolate chips till completely melted.  Add icing sugar, and mix.  Pour over layer 1 and place in fridge till firm.
Use cookie cutters to cut shapes or a knife for bars.  Store in fridge.

Have fun,


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"To infinity ... and beyond!" - Toy Story Cake

There is an amazing organization here in Montreal run by Rabbi Hoffman.  Don't know if there is an equivalent in other communities to Ezras Cholim.  Everyone has a Bikar Cholim, that helps with food and transportation and such for the sick, but Ezras Cholim goes way beyond that.  R. Hoffman works as a liaison between patients and doctors.  He helps refer people to the proper doctors in a timely matter.  Many people I know talk about how lost they were, and how worried, and Rabbi Hoffman pulled them through.  Its hard to go through all the stories I've heard from people I know who were personally helped by him. 
Well this week the organization had their annual Chinese auction.  It was a beautiful event were they served the most delicious milchig dessert buffet (The chassidish community really puts my baking to shame)  The brought it a singer Glick, not my style, but beautiful none the less.  The also had a mother daughter ballet act.  Very slow classical entertainment.
The best part of the evening is that I came away with a gift certificate for $1400 toward a new Shevy Wig (as I told my husband, I won half a wig, so it'll force him to buy me the other half)  Usually, you have to wait in anticipation if you will win anything, but thanks to some curious girls who were sitting near the computer, I found out I was going to be the winner way earlier.  :-)
Yesterday, I spent the day making a Toy Story cake, for a 5 year old Toy Story fan's birthday.  I think the cake came out cute.  My boys were disappointed that it was picked up before they got home, but they admired the pictures, and started making requests for their birthdays (the next birthday in our house is 5 months away... so I'm sure it will change)

Today's cake has a whole story behind it, basically the recipient is finally allowed in to the US after 5 years, so her Canadian passport is stamped 'Dept. of US Homeland Security - Admitted'.

Now off to make a simple supper.

Have a great day,

Monday, February 7, 2011

Quattro Gusti Pizza - Multi Toppings Pizza

I came across Jamie Olivers, quattro gusti pizza on YouTube, and decided to make my own kosher version. Nothing like his, but an interesting pizza in it's own right.
In our house, Thursday is pizza night.  Since I'm already preparing fresh homemade challah for Shabbos, I use the same dough for my children's favorite meal.
My children are fans of the Margarita pizza (probably because there are no visible vegetables) but my husband likes testing new flavors.
I often allow my kids to make individual size pizzas for themselves.  This is a fun activity even if I'm unable to convince them to add anything healthy to it.
A quattro pizza is basically a pizza, divided in 4, and a different topping in each part.

Due to the fact that I don't currently have a milchig oven, and have to make this in my toaster oven, I had to change the quattro to a Duo Pizza.  To get four flavors, I made two duo pizzas.

Quattro Pizza
  • 1 recipe pizza dough (or challah dough)
Preheat oven to 400. Roll out dough very thin. Cut a thin line from the shorter end and place piece down center of piece. (if making a quattro, do the same thing with the long side, cutting a piece and placing it down middle)  Roll up all 4 edges slightly to create a damn.    Place on lightly greased pan.  Fill each section with a different topping.
Bake in preheated oven from 10-12 minutes.  (if making Sunny Side-Up topping, place pizza in oven for 5 minutes, add egg and then continue baking for remainder minutes till egg is set and the rest of the pizzas look ready.

Topping 1 -  Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 onion sliced in circles
  • pizza cheese (when making these pizzas I used mozzarella/cheddar blend)
  • olive oil
  • oregano
Preheat oven to 400. Cut off 1/4 inch from top of garlic. Place on baking sheet.  Cut pepper in half, remove seeds. Place cut side down on baking sheet. Add sliced onions.  drizzle with olive oil.  Roast will form inserts into garlic easily.
Smash garlic with fork, add a few drops of olive oil to form thick paste.  Brush paste on one section on pizza.  Scatter thinly sliced red pepper and onions over garlic.  Cover with shredded cheese. Drizzle with a little olive oil and oregano.

Topping 2 - Hot Pepper
  • jarred hot banana pepper circles.
  • pizza sauce - homemade or store bought
  • pizza cheese (when making these pizzas I used mozzarella/cheddar blend)
  • olive oil
  • oregano
Spread pizza sauce on one section of the pizza.  Scatter hot peppers over it.  Cover with shredded cheese.  Drizzle with olive oil and oregano.

Topping 3 - Onion and Heart of Palm
  • 1 slices onion
  • 1 heart of palm - sliced in 1/4" slices (from a can, save rest of can for another use)
  • pizza sauce - homemade or store bought
  • pizza cheese (when making these pizzas I used mozzarella/cheddar blend)
  • olive oil
  • oregano
Preheat oven to 400.  Place onions on baking pan, drizzle with olive oil.  Bake till soft. 
Spread pizza sauce on one section of pizza.  Scatter onion slices and heart of palm over pizza. Cover with shredded cheese.  Drizzle with olive oil and oregano.

Topping 4 - Sunny Side Up
  • 1-2 plum tomato - thinly sliced in rounds
  • 1 egg
  • black pepper
  • pizza cheese (when making these pizzas I used mozzarella/cheddar blend)
Preheat oven to 400. Place slices of tomato on one section of the pizza.  Cover with shredded cheese. Bake for 5 minutes.  Crack egg, place on top, careful not to break yoke (as you can see in the photo, I broke it :( ) Season with black pepper.

Margarita Pizza
  • pizza sauce - homemade or store bought
  • pizza cheese (when making these pizzas I used mozzarella/cheddar blend)
  • olive oil
  • oregano

Spread pizza sauce on one section of the pizza.  Cover with shredded cheese.  Drizzle with olive oil and oregano.

Bon appetit,

Friday, February 4, 2011

Easy and Tasty, Half and Half Challah

What would Shabbos be like with out the delicious smell of fresh homemade challah.  I often think of the Challah Lady, who got all her exercise from kneading her dough on Thursday night.  (for those who don't get what I'm talking about, I'm referring to a childhood song of an overweight woman who used to kneed her challah dough to solve all her problems "all she kneads in challah dough, the only thing she needs is challah dough")  I'm very grateful for my Electrolux, cuz I cannot see myself be so dedicated to that task as she was.  I have a feeling that without my machine, the bakery might be seeing me more then once every couple of years.
That being said, I was on the lookout for a delicious half and half challah that was easy to make.  My husband didn't want too sweet, but I didn't want too dry...  I ended up combining a few recipes to come up with this keeper.

Easy and Tasty, Half and Half Challah
  • 3 Tablespoons dry yeast
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 6 cups white flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 6-61/2 cups whole wheat flour.
  • egg
  • sesame seeds

In stand mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add sugar, salt and white flour, mix well.  Add eggs and oil, mix well.  Add 6 cups flour and knead with dough hook.  Add another 1/2 cup of flour if dough seems too sticky.  (I've used a few different mixers, I hate the Kitchenaid for challah, as it seems to be working hard when you make a large batch of yeast dough.  My favorite is the Elextrolux aka MagicMill, which effortlessly kneads my dough to the perfect texture in 8 minutes on its built in timer - I even leave the room as it mixes) 
Oil dough and place in large covered bowl in ward place to rise for 1 hour.  Punch down 3 times during rising.  When doubled in size, make the bracha Lehafresh Challah (a special mitzvah for woman to reserve a piece of the bread for Hashem), shape challah, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Allow to rest for 30 minutes to continue rising.  Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until golden.


After kneading

Dough double in size after rising.

Electrolux White Assistent Stand Mixer 8 Qt.
Electrolux mixer - my favorite!

Have a good Shabbos,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Yellow Chicken

A friend of mine, MB, gave me this chicken recipe.  If you ask a cook for a recipe, you are likely to get a list of ingredients and its up to your figure out how to make it.  Well, MB, is an amazing cook, and that is exactly how she gives out recipes.  And being that that is the way I cook anyways, I usually just pour in the spices in the order she said it.   To get this recipe up here, I made the chicken in slow motion this week, measuring as I poured.  The original recipe calls for chicken drums, but I make it with both drums and thighs (1/8th)  The result of the 2 hour slow cooking, is a soft melt in your mouth chicken with tons of flavor.  This chicken has become a staple in my house, as everyone loves it.
The name is such because on the spice, turmeric, which many Moroccans call  'Jaune',  and there by translate into English as 'yellow'.

Yellow Chicken
  • 4 medium onions - thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 12 chicken drums and thighs
  • 2 teaspoons Osem chicken soup mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry parsley (or 1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley)
  • small amount of water - maybe 3 Tablespoons, enough to wet bottom of pot
In large pan, saute onions in oil till soft and just starting to brown.  Add chicken pieces and continue to saute for 3 minutes.  Add spices and a little water, just to cover bottom.  Bring to slow simmer and cook for 2 hours.  The sauce is delicious served over a bed of rice.

Bon Appetit,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chocolate Overload - Triple Chocolate Cookies

My youngest comes home from school an hour and a half before his brothers each day.  That is just about the hardest hour of the day (okay, that and bedtime)  From the moment I get to Shmuli's classroom, he starts complaining how bored he is and he needs to go to someones house (we haven't even gotten our boots on, and he's already bored).  Sometimes we do have play dates, but not everyday.  Yet I want to keep the peace, so I often have to entice him home with a fun activity.  Today, I promised him that we would bake cookies together.  It worked!  He rushed home with a smile.
At first I was going to make the regular chocolate chip cookies that I know my family likes, but when I went to look for the chocolate chips, I realised I don't have enough for a full batch.  Jotted it down on my weekly Wednesday night shopping list and decided to fill in the remainder amount I needed with white chocolate chips.  Next as I started to take out the ingredients, I decided that I wanted to make the recipe more healthy, so there went the margarine, and then switch out some of the flour for whole wheat. And while making all the changes, I realized my recipe had no similarities to the original recipe.  Oh well, might as well change it some more and make it a chocolate cookie....
The results:  a perfect soft chocolate chocolate chip cookie.

Chocolate Overload - Triple Chocolate Cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  •  mixture of  white and chocolate chips equaling to 3/4 cup total
Preheat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Mix eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed till thick (3 minutes).  Add rest of ingredients except chocolate chips and mix.  The dough will be very thick. Add in chocolate chip, you may have to knead with your hands at this point, because the dough takes on a almost yeast like texture.  Form walnut sized balls.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes to allow it to firm up before removing to cooling rack to finish cooling process



Around The Dinner Table Got Nominated For The Stylish Blog Award!

So, we were told that we in Montreal are on the tail end of the storm that has been disrupting everyone all over the Midwest and the northeast coast of US and so we were to have around 5 centimeters today (around 2 inches). Right!  It's like a blizzard out there.  I had to bring my car into Toyota for servicing today.  I called my husband and told him whats being said on traffic report about pile ups all over, telling him that maybe I should go another day.  He said the weather isn't that bad, and I will do just fine, I should just be careful.
He was so confident, but he wasn't the one driving.  The average speed out was 20 km or 10mph... and even at that speed, the roads were slick.  I made it there in one piece, but smelled tar burning when I spun trying to get up the hill to the Toyota garage.
Well, I'm home safe now, thank G-D.  Well even in this weather I can get some warmth by finding out that I've been nominated for a Stylish Blog Reward. And on my birthday too!
Thank you, to the talented Chanie from, for nominating me. Chanie's blog is always filled with amazing recipes and crafts, with gorgeous photography of her creations.

Stylish blogger award
 By accepting this award, I agreed to the four "rules" that follow:

1.Thank and link back the person that awarded it to you
2.Share 7 things about yourself
3.Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great Bloggers
4.Contact those Bloggers and tell them about their blog award
So here I go:

Thank you again, Chanie -
You should really check out her blog, if she didn't nominate me, I would have definitely nominate her.

  • I'm a procrastinator.
  • I hate house work.
  • I don't love cooking, yet you'll never catch me serving something not homemade.
  • I love wowing people with presentation of the food (this is what started me on cake decorating).
  • I like being creative.
  • I can sometimes be a perfectionist (often to me disadvantage).
  • I never considered myself artistic, I lean more to the logical side, but somehow find myself selling my work now (in cake form).
There are many blogs I read and follow.  Here are a list of blogs I recently started reading and enjoying.   You should really check them out, they are really worth looking at. The list is not in order of what I like, they are all amazing, so I listed them in alphabetical order.
I guess, I now got to go contact my nominees to let them know what I think of them.

Be well,