Thursday, May 31, 2012

Classic Cheese Blintzes

Purple Cookbook Challenge: Week 4, Day 5 (but first post o the week :-( )
Shavuot is gone, and all that remains is the slice of cheesecake in the fridge.  I had a wonderful Yom Tov, thanks to my amazing guest from New York.  My kids had a lot of fun playing all day with their cousins in our backyard, enjoying the gorgeous weather.
Although the food is gone, I did manage to get a picture of these blintzes before they were polished off.
I made the Classic Cheese Blintzes (Spice and Spirit, Page 84), and they were easy to make and perfect!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cranberry Pot Roast

Purple Cookbook Challenge: Week 3, Day 5.
Although Shavuot is a milchig holiday, sadly most of the meals are meat.  I know quiet a few people who prefer the meat meals, but I wish I could get away with serving them all dairy.  One year I made both day meals dairy, and lets just say, the response from the male guest was not so good.  I even had a couple of them rummage through my fridge for some leftover roast.
After that occurrence, I vowed to make only the first lunch dairy, but make sure to have enough cheesecakes and other goodies that I can eat and serve to guest, in the morning.
And so, I come to you defeated, with a roast recipe.  The Cranberry Pot Roast (Spice and Spirit, page 198) is  a delicious sweet and sour recipe.  I mistakenly defrosted a shoulder roast instead of a top of rib, but it still came out wonderful.
Tip:  Always chill your roast before slicing, to get even thin slices that don't fall apart as your cutting it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

I usually do only one post a day, but being almost Shavuot, I'll post another dairy recipe that I prepared yesterday.  As I mentioned a few times already on this blog, my husband is not a big fan of dairy.  One of the few things that he will eat, is eggplant parmesan.
One recipe that I always have success with is the recipe from the purple cookbook, Eggplant Parmesan (Spice and Spirit, page 89)  I wish I could post a picture of it all cooked, but I made it for Shavuot, so it'll will be baked closer to eating time, when I can no longer use a camera.  This picture is the assembled prebaked eggplant parmasan, that is now in my freezer waiting to go on my Yom Tov table.

Cream Cheese Horn of Plenty

Purple cookbook challenge: Week 3, Day 4
I love Shavuot for so many reasons.  Even though its long since I've left my school years behind, I still feel the magic in the air of the school year coming to an end.  For some reason, Shavuot, with its gorgeous weather, always meant for me the beginning of that end. 
Another reason for loving this holiday, is it gives me an opportunity to make all those dairy foods that I so long, but feel bad making during the year.  I cant make too much during the rest of the year because I know that for the most part, I'd be eating it all (really not a good thing) since beyond a little cheesecake, he doesn't eat too much dairy.  But Shavuot is the time that I can justify the 6 lb. of cheesecake I bought this week. 
Last night, I made the first of the many milchig desserts I plan to make. I started with a rugelach type of pastry.  I made the Cream Cheese Horn of Plenty (Spice and Spirit, page 114)  The dough was easy to work with, however, I did find it not sweet enough.  That was rectified with a good powdering with confectioners sugar.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No-Egg Cookies

Purple Cookbook Project: Week 3, Day 3.
Yesterday, I made egg kichlach, today it's eggfree.  No, I'm not turning vegan.  I was flipping through the cookie section and came across this recipe.  Funny how I've turned these pages so many times, yet I never noticed this particular one.  It's a simple cookie, with only 4 ingredients (yup you read right, only 4).  This was perfect timing, since I'm having a little guest for Shavuot who has an egg allergy.  Now I'll have a delicious baked snack, of No-Egg Cookies (Spice and Spirit, page 405), for this precious boy.
These cookies are actually very good with that drier texture like bakery cookies.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Egg Kichlach

Purple Cookbook Project: Week 3, Day 2.
As a child, I used to love going to shul with my father.  We kids would run around , having fun and making noise (much like my kids do today).  Thinking of going to shul back then brings back all sorts of memories.  When my father would go to 770 for mincha, when he was able to, I'd often go along.  When the Rebbe passed through on his way to his place, he would hand out dimes to us kids, making me feel so special to be singled out in the crowd of men.  Being in the crowd of men also brings back not so find memories.  Like my long hair constantly getting caught on peoples jackets as I would try to catch up with my father.
Shabbos, we went to one of the smaller shuls in the community, Shain Shul, where we kids ran around in the alleyway or basement.  After shul there would often be a kiddush, where the men would sit around and talk while we kids looked for good things to eat from the table.  One kiddush food I always liked were the kichlach.  Lightweight, airy yet crispy, covered in a course sugar, YUM!  It's been years since I've eaten one of them (don't see it at the shul I attend these days, in Montreal :-(  ). 
Today, while flipping through the Purple Cookbook, I happened on the Egg Kichlach  (Spice and Spirit, page 401) and knew that the time has come for me to try to make them myself.  Unlike the one in my memory, these ones are coated in a Cinnamon sugar not a course sugar, but my guess would be that it would come out fabulous with the sugar as well.  Taste, as expected... LIKE!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Perfect Knaidlach

Week 3 of the Purple Cookbook Challenge.
To those of you who are unaware of what this challenge is: I'm going through the all time basic kosher cookbook, the one that has so many go to recipes, the Spice and Spirit of Kosher cooking aka The Purple Cookbook aka The Kitchen Bible, and correcting the only thing wrong with it.  Ever since the kosher world has been publishing those cookbooks with the gorgeous mouth watering pictures, this awesome cookbook has been pushed aside to those other ones.  Well, I decided, enough with second class status, I will bring this cookbook back to where it deserves to be.  Hense, my Purple Cookbook Challenge was born.  I'm now about to start my 3rd week of cooking and picture taking.  My goal now, is to have at least 100 pictures of foods from this cookbook.
I know Fridays are long these days, but somehow, I always feel that Friday is never long enough.   Regardless of that, I still took an order for 7 cookie bouquet centerpieces, for a Shabbos kiddush.  Well I got back in the kitchen, to start Shabbos, at 1 PM.  Food has to be ready by 5:30, so that my boys can eat, and the house could be cleaned, but I cannot control how much attention will be demanded from my baby and my other 3 boys.  Instead of going through the Purple Cookbook, as I planned  I was stuck doing my regular foods as no extra thought had to be put into it.
Years ago, I made from scratch matza balls, and they feel were not fluffy and good.  Since my husband doesn't like Matza balls, I never attempted them again, (2 of my boys and I love them) and have just been using the mix, which comes out perfect looking all the time (anyone who knows me, would know that I never use mixes, but somehow that became how I do my matza balls)
This past Friday, I decided that was a simple enough recipe to make from the cookbook.  And so I made my first perfect, fluffy matza balls.  They were easy to make and tasted very similar to the mix I came to love.  I don't think I'll even being using the mix again.  Perfect Knaidlach (Spice and Spirit, page 140)

This is what I spent my Thursday evening and Friday morning decorating and packaging:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Szechuan Chicken

Purple cookbook challenge. Week 2, Day 5!
My husband has always been a fan of Chinese stir-fry.  Last night I decided to make Szechuan Chicken sans bean sprouts (because there weren't any at the store) (Spice and Spirit, page 245).  Although I made a lot of it, it was all finished up.  I think that that is a good sign.  The stir-fry had a nice blend of vegetables, and a tasty and spicy sauce (you can use less crushed red pepper, if you prefer less spicy)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Calculator Cake

A small break from my Purple Cookbook Challenge.  Yesterday, I spent my day
After a nine month break, Sweet Temptations has once again opened for business.  My hobby/small business was temporarily put on hold as my time was divided between renovating my home and having a baby.  But since we're settled in (kind of) and my son is now 5 months old, I decided the time has come to make use of my new, more spacious kitchen.
My first order, was from a woman who wanted a calculator cake for her husband.  He just graduated with a degree in accounting.
You can see my other cakes on my Facebook group.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cream Cheese Pie

Week 2, day 3 of my Purple Cookbook Challenge.
My husbands grew up with very little dairy.  Milchigs was not a dinner or a dessert.  A bowl of cereal in the morning was the extent of the dairy (and not even that for some family members.)  Shavuot meant that after shul they ate a bowl of cereal and some 'milk cake' (the Israeli Shavuot cake made from biscuits and a pudding like filling) and then on to fleish.
Shavuot was always my favorite holiday.  I loved the blintzes and cheesecakes that were made in abundance.  I could not fathom the idea that anyone could really not feel like they were missing out on the lasagnas.  So in my first year of marriage, when I informer my husband of my plans to host his family for a yom tov meal, my style, he was skeptical and told me to make very little dairy and the rest of the meal parve.  
Well, as I entered the kitchen, I couldn't stop at one thing.  I made eggplant parmesan, lasagna, cheese blinzes and more.   I did make some potato blintzes, salmon and a lettuce salad, just in case.  For dessert, I made milchig ice cream and an assortment of cheesecakes and dairy pastries.  My husband was amused and told me that I'll have tons of leftovers.  Not only was that not the case, but the following week  my mother-in-law went out and bought some milchig dishes.  Not everyone caught on to the dairy craze, but I can attest to the fact that from that day forward my husband has been eating cheesecake, eggplant parmesan and lasagna (but without the farmers cheese).  In fact, my husband often asks me to make cheesecake.
Well, cream cheese is on sale this week, so I decided to make a cheesecake for my husband to enjoy.  I made the Cream Cheese Pie (Spice and Spirit, page 109). I prefer the look of cheesecakes baked in a spring-form pan, so I upper the recipe by 33%, and baked it in an 8" pan.  Results: delish!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Basic Baked Chicken - Honey Soy Sauce

This past Friday was one of those days...  Although Fridays are long now, it still only till noon, when the first of my boys get home.  I try to get as much done as possible before then, but these days, with a 5 month old, it's often out of my control.  And then there are those Fridays like this past week.  I usually do my main shopping on Wednesday, but this past week, I had a busy schedule then we went out to a barbeque at night.  Thursday was Lag B'omer, so the day was spent with the kids.  I wasn't that concerned, because I figured that I'd send my husband after work to the store for me.  There was a work related event that night, but my husband didn't plan on going.  Of course, in the end my husband had to go.  And so after finishing my Shabbos shopping at 12 on Friday, I was finally home to cook.  Only problem was that the baby had napped in the car and was now fully awake and wanting my attention.
Shabbos would have to be made with quick and easy recipes. For the chicken, I decided to make the easy and tasty Basic Baked Chicken with the Honey Soy Sauce (Spice and Spirit, page 234).  Between the hustle and bustle of making salmon (simple yet delicious, with salt, pepper, paprika, lemon and oil), salads (we have a minimum of 3 dips and 3 salads), chicken soup and accompaniment, and chicken and side dished (never mind the dessert I made) I simply forgot to put up the cholent.

I only realized 30 minutes after I lit candles.  I had my brother in law and his wife coming over for Shabbos meal, and nothing to serve. 
Friday night chicken, usually ends up being Sunday nights dinner, as no one really has room to eat after the first 2 courses.  Now Friday nights dinner would have to become Shabbos day lunch.  Chicken salad it would be.  I diced the cold chicken and mixed it with fresh greens and tomatoes. I poured on a honey mustard dressing and a delicious, light lunch was made.

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 Tbs. dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Mix all dressing ingredients in bowl.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Honey and Whole Wheat Challah

Happy Mothers Day!  I hear a lot people saying 'we don't celebrate mothers day' or 'mothers day is everyday by us'.  I hear people saying that the day is for 'those people', they don't honor their mothers the rest of the year, so they take one day to be nice to them.  That is such ignorance.  There are many people, believe it or not, who love their mothers dearly, call them daily, and still take this day to do something special for their mother to show how much they appreciate all have done and continue to do.  I'd like to take this opportunity to public say to my mother; ' Mommy, I love you! And it's not just today.  Thank you for always being there for us.'
My eldest, the one who first gave me mother status, 9 years ago, likes to spend time in the kitchen with me. He helps chose menus, and often updates the spices in the cooking. This past Thursday night, he joined me in the kitchen as I was about to start baking challah. Since I'm on my Purple Cookbook Project, I asked him to pick a new recipe, that we haven't tried before.  He chose the Honey Whole Wheat Challah  (Spice and Spirit, page 55)  The challah came out okay, but not as sweet as I would have imagined from the 1 cup and 1 Tbsp of honey.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Classic Cocosh Cake with Fillings

So how did u spend your Lag B'Omer?  As I mentioned yesterday, we had a parade here, which I got to be by only for a short time, as I have to work around the baby's sleep schedule.  Rain was in the forecast, but thank G-d, it held off till late in the evening.  All in all the kids had a fabulous time, and that is what matters in the end.
As I said in my previous post, I was invited to a Barbeque on Wednesday night and asked to bring along a potato salad.  Anyone who knows me, would know, that time permitting, it is not my style to just bring a salad, so of course I started baking.  Looking into the purple cookbook once more, I decided to try the Classic Cocosh Yeast Cake (Spice and Spirit, page 381).  I made half the batch as cakes and the other half as rugelach.  I made both the Rich Cocosh Filling and the Jam Filling.
I found the pastry to be on the drier side, but it got fabulous reviews from everyone who tasted.  My boys said that it should definitely be made again.  (I noticed some bring doggy bagged to take home to have with coffee the next morning)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lag B'Omer/Classic Potato Salad

Happy Lag B'Omer to all my readers.  Hope you all have plans to celebrate.  Here in Montreal, a parade was organized, followed by a Chaim Fogelman concert, jugglers and jumping castles in the park.
Celebrating Jewish holidays comes with many benefits. One of them is, starting the barbeque season a few weeks earlier.  For most, Memorial day, which isn't till May 28th this year, is when they bring out the barbeque and celebrate summer.  But not for us.
Last night, my family and I were graciously invited to a barbeque by my dear sister-in-law.  When I asked what I can contribute, she asked me to bring a potato salad.
Of course, I went straight to the Purple Cookbook, to figure out which one to take along. I decided to make the Classic Potato Salad (Spice ans Spirit, page 284)
I love the color combination in this salad, and the crunch imparted by the diced peppers.  The flavor was exactly what would be expected of a classic potato salad.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Flounder: 2 Ways

Dinner last night was flounder. I decided to try a recipe that I never had before. I turned to the Flounder in Spicy Tomato Sauce (page161, Spice and Spirit), but I also knew that realistically, I would not be able to get my 2 younger ones to taste it. So I realized that a second option had to be made. I went for the Basic Fried Flounder (page 160) or as my kids call it 'schnitzel fish'.
The spicy sauce wasn't too much of a hit. My oldest (the only one of my boys would try it) said it was too fishy. My husband didn't find it very flavorful or spicy enough. I didn't find it too bad, but not really great either. I guess that wont recipe won't become a regular one around here.
Everyone ate the fried flounder happily. (some with lemon juice, others ate it plain)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Italian Meatballs and Spaghetti

Day 2 of my adventure, but not such an adventure it is. Monday night is always beef night (except when I don't serve beef ;-). ) Last night I made one of our regulars. I made Italian Meatballs Spaghetti (page 215, Spice and Spirit) This has always been the go to recipe in our home. It's something that all the boys and my husband can agree to. It's a simple recipe with no offending ingredients (let me rephrase that... Nothing offensive except for the mushrooms, which I am forced to omit)
Maybe this would be the right time to put a disclaimer: some recipes might have to be slightly changed in order to get this hungry group of boys to eat.

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Julia Child Project... aka Purple Cookbook Project

I remember when I first watched Julie & Julia. It must have been in '09 or '10, I was on a flight, I think I might have been going to Israel, but maybe it was Florida.  The story weaves the life of Julia Child  and her early culinary career in France and that of a woman named Julie, a New Yorker who wrote a blog about trying to make all the recipes in Julia`s book in just 365 days.
I was very inspired by the movie at the time. I remember thinking how I had to get my hands on Child's 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking'.  When I did get a look in the book, I realized that I would not be able to try all her recipes, as she is a firm believer of using real butter. Lots of it.  Being that I keep kosher, that just wouldn't work.
Recently, I was looking through 'The Spice and Spirit', aka 'Purple Cookbook' aka 'The Bible of the Kitchen'.  I thought about how this used to be my go to cookbook for everything and has many great recipes.  Over the past few years, this cookbook took back stage, not because of its lack of quality, but because so many great cookbooks came out, that have beautiful pictures.  The pictures help wet your appetite and makes it so much more exciting to try the recipes.
I decided to use the inspiration from Julie Powell, and go through all the recipes in the 'Purple Cookbook'.  I'm going to document them all with pictures, and bring this cookbook back to the glory it deserves.  But unlike Julie, I don't plan to neglect my family, quite the contrary.
To please the family, I decided to start by baking a cake.  Who doesn't appreciate a fresh baked cake.  The black devil's food cake on page 356.  Although it's not as moist as I would have liked it, it was still a really decent cake, as I can see by the almost finished pan.