Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dairy Sukkot Dinner

Though I usually keep my dairy holiday meals to Shavuot, since I am doing my larger entertaining motzei shabbat, I figured after two large meat meals, my guests might prefer a more relaxed, dairy meal. Likely we won't sit down to eat until around 8:30 or 9, to give me time to reheat and do last minute prep after shabbat. Dairy meal planning is a challenge to me, now add the complication of motzei shabbat, and the the need for warm dishes for sukkot... WHEW! This is what I came up with..

Lentil soup - served with a dollop of herbed sour cream on top

Eggplant Parmesan (made with baked eggplant, not fried)
Cheese & "Pizza" Bourekas
Corn Kugel - made dairy for once - will probably be incredible made with butter!
Challah Souffle
Roasted Asparagus
Greek Salad

Fudge Covered Brownie Cheesecake
Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

The challah souffle can be prepped, then popped into the oven immediately after shabbat. For the apple crisp, I can pre-slice the apples, rinse them in lemon water, and keep in a bag in the refrigerator. The topping can be made ahead of time too. Then it's just got to be thrown in a buttered pan (ahhhh butter!) and put in the oven when we start making kiddush - by the time we're ready for dessert it will be bubbly on the bottom and crisp on top - just perfect with the vanilla ice cream melting on top.

Chag Sameach to all!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Recipes by Request - Frozen Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

A reader, Gaby, has requested frozen dessert recipes - this one is absolutely delicious!

Frozen Peanut Butter Mousse Cake


2 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs or chocolate wafer crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp margarine, melted


1 3/4 cups pareve whipping cream

2 cups creamy peanut butter

2 (8 oz) tubs tofutti cream cheese, softened

2 cups confectioner's sugar

2 tbsp vanilla


½ cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl combine cookie crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and melted margarine. Press into 10 inch spring form pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool and set aside.

Beat whipping cream with mixer until stiff. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, beat together peanut butter and tofutti cream cheese until smooth. Stir in confectioner's sugar and vanilla, mixing well. Gently fold in beaten whipping cream, a quarter at a time. Pour into baked crust. Freeze until set.

Melt chocolate chips and put in small zipper bag. Cut off corner and drizzle melted chocolate over frozen cake. Quickly sprinkle with chopped peanuts

Remove it from freezer about 30 minutes prior to serving.


For smaller, easier to serve portions, double the crust recipe and make in 13 x 9 x 2 pan.

For easy melting of chocolate chips, put unmelted chips in zipper bag, press out air and seal well. Place in bowl in sink and run hot water over, squeezing chips around until melted and no hard bits of chocolate remain.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Recipes by Request - Meringues

Certain recipes are so basic, and yet, each baker takes the same two or three ingredients and produces different results. One of the most basic cookie is a meringue. Consisting of just four ingredients, they can be light as air, hard as a rock, or, like I make them = crisp outside with marshmallowy sweetness inside - The tricks are to have patience when adding the sugar, and to only bake the meringues for about 20 minutes. The disadvantage to this method though is that they have limited shelf life - a day or two in warmer, more humid weather, a bit longer in the winter - but once you get the knack, you'll find they're so easy to make (and fat free!) that it's worth making a fresh batch when you want - the added bonus is that it's likely you always have the ingredients and they cost nearly nothing to make.

Deb's Meringues

2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (or lemon juice)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 335 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Put egg whites and cream of tartar in mixing bowl with whip attachment. Start beating on slow speed. When egg whites are frothy, increase speed to high and begin adding the sugar about 2 tablespoons at a time, allowing a minute between addditions. When sugar is all incorporated and mixture is very thick and stiff beat in vanilla. Pipe into 1 to 2 inch mounds (or drop with spoon) onto prepared sheets. Bake 20 - 25 minutes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shana Tova to All

I extend wishes of health, happiness, joy and peace to all in the coming year.

May the coming year bring each of us what we need. Differentiate your "needs" and "wants" then if your needs are taken care of, any "wants" you get are icing on the cake!

Shana Tovah U'metukah


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Apple Walnut Cake

The good news - this is a phenomenal recipe - easy, quick and delicious.

The bad news - even though it's a new recipe for Rosh Hashanah, we aready know how delicious it is because I didn't grease the pan well enough the first time I made it, and ended up distributing chunks of broken cake to friends and family.

Oh well! As my grandmother would have said "let that be the worst thing that happened to you today"

Apple Walnut Cake

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 cups chopped walnuts
4 small or 3 large apples

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour WELL a bundt pan.

Put sugar and oil in the mixer bowl and beat well. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy - about 3 minutes.

Stir together the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet.

Peel and coarsely dice the apples. Add diced apples and walnuts to batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 75 to 85 minutes - until a toothpick tests clean. Allow to cool about 10 minutes, then invert onto rack to complete cooling.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Rosh Hashanah Menus - 2009/5770

Friday Night Dinner (18 People)

Challah - Apples with Honey

Chicken Soup with Kreplach and/or Matzoh Balls

Brisket - Tangy Citrus Chicken Cranberry Kugel - Roasted Potatoes String Beans with Almonds Carrot Kugel - Spinach Loaf - Spinach Pear Salad with Honey Vinaigrette

Honey Cake - Autumn Apple Cake - Teiglach - Lemon Bars- Chocolate Dipped Honey Cookies Chocolate Coconut Chip Cookies - Candies and Dried Fruit - Coffee & Tea

Shabbat Lunch (4 people)

Challah with Honey

Cedar Planked Brisket - Leftover side dishes

Chocolate Cherry Cake

Recipes - if not already posted - available on request -

To all of my readers - Shanah Tovah Oo'metukah !


Finally ! Organized for Rosh Hashana

Weather-wise, this has been a moderate summer in the northeast. With the exception of about 10 days of humidity with relatively warm weather in late august, I never experience the complete malaise summer usually sets on me. And the last two week's weather has seemed more like early autumn than summer and, as you could see from my posts, reinvigorated my inner cook. This made for happy tummies, but it also means I've started none of the holiday cooking, and will now have some late night cooking sessions to catch up - which works for me - though I generally recommend a more organized approach (too cooking and everything!).

Anyway, I've now finalized my Rosh Hashanah menus for dinner and lunch the first day - The second night will be quiet and peaceful (and we'll probably be too full to do more than kiddush, motzi and sleep). We're invited to lunch out the second day - all in all an excellent combination!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Chocolate Cherry Crazy Cake

All cooks have recipes that they can rely on for quick, easy, always-have-the-ingredients, recipes for every part of a meal - ways they can turn leftovers into YUMMMMMM (without the guests being the wiser), and three ingredients in the pantry into more please. Crazy Chocolate Cake - also known to many as Vegan Chocolate Cake, or Volcano Cake is such a recipe. Anyone who bakes even sometimes likely has the ingredients on hand, and from the first "Hmmmm, maybe I'd like a piece of chocolate cake after dinner" to the wonderful smells of chocolate cake baking takes under 10 minutes - and only dirties one spoon and one bowl - If you're really lazy, it can even be prepared right in the baking pan - though that's best left if the cake is for you, and not to be served to company.

I made a batch of Death By Chocolate Cookies for dessert this shabbat - a new recipe (I'll post another time), and was feeling kind of iffy about them . It was two hours before shabbat - everything else was ready (except the amazing brisket on the grill) - why, even the floor had been mopped - so I pulled out my Crazy Chocolate Cake recipe - but got creative - found a can of sweet black cherries - and used the cherry juice from the can for part of the water and cut up the cherries right in the can with a paring knife before stirring them into the batter. The topping was the real fun part though. I usually sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips on the cake as soon as it tests done and leave it in the oven one extra minute to melt the chips, which are then spread right on the cake - ta da - frosting. When I went to the pantry to pull out the chips, I noticed a bag of marshmallows - which got tossed on along with the chocolate chips - amazing topping.

So next time you've got 10 minutes - with our without the cherries and marshmallows!

Crazy Chocolate Cherry Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 15 ounce can sweet black cherries, drained and cut up
  • 2 cups liquid total - Juice from canned cherries plus water
  • about 1 cup marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13 x 9 baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing for overhang to lift cake from pan when cool and spray with PAM.

Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Pour in vanilla, vinegar, oil, cherry juice/water and stir until just mixed. Stir in cherries.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven.

Sprinkle marshmallows and chocolate chips on top. Leave in oven one more minute. Remove from oven and let sit for two minutes. Swirl melted marshmallows and chocolate chips. Allow to cool. Cake can be lifted out of pan with aluminum foil, put on tray and aluminum foil from sides of cake peeled away.

Success - Amazing Barbecued Brisket

This attempt was a huge success. Whole Foods had cedar planks. While the planks were soaking, I coated the brisket with a rub of brown sugar, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. The first picture is immediately after I put the planks and the brisket on the grill, the picture on the second is after about 2 hours and the picture on the bottom is the brisket all done - with one taste slice taken!

I flipped the brisket about every 45 minutes - It's tender and delicious - When I do it again, I'd use a sauce to finish it - but for a first attempt, I'm thrilled!

Shabbat Shalom

The brisket was on the planks on the grill for about 4 hours - and it taste amazing!!!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

From Summer to Fall - Barbecue Brisket

I usually think of brisket as a fall or winter food. Between pesach and rosh hashanah, I never think to serve brisket - the idea of the oven being on that long for one dish! I don't think so..... But I recently picked up a small piece of first cut brisket, about 3 pounds - and for this shabbat I'm going to try to put it on the barbecue, indirect heat, a few chunks of hardwood if I can find some , and let it go for four or five hours ("Texas" style)- I'm hopeful - and if it's any good, I'll post the method and some pictures of the results - I'll do a dry rub marinade Friday morning before I go to work, then when I get home at 12:30, the brisket will go on the grill - wish me luck!

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