Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spinach Cheese Matzo Lasagna

Published again! Click to find the article which includes Deb's Spinach Cheese Matzo Lasagna Recipe. I will make this ahead of time, and pop in the oven to warm before I leave for shul on Wednesday - yummmmm

Hope everyone's pesach planning, shopping and cleaning is going well!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Getting Organized for Pesach

By planning the basics for all of your pesach meals ahead of time, you can get the shopping for all the staples in one trip.

This meal organizer will help you. It's what I used to create a framework for myself, making sure I wasn't duplicating too many dishes (other than matzah pizza), and from that framework, I can make shopping lists.

Spending a little time organizing before you go shopping will pay off!

Ban the Box!

Last night I drove out to Monsey, dealt with horrible traffic on Route 59, and got a majority of my pesach shopping done.

You'll have to decide if it's fortunate or unfortunate, but I found no new "faux" products this year, along the lines of last year's "soy" sauce. Personally, I'm thrilled. While products like "soy" sauce, "noodles" and "pizza" mix certainly follow the letter of the law, they seem to detract from the spirit of pesach, which should be different than the rest of the year. Pesach can be an opportunity to detox your family from packaged goods and ridiculously expensive convenience foods that don't really save time, and add too much preservatives and junk to your diet.

This year, I bought only basic ingredients - matzoh meal, cake meal, potato starch, sugar, cocoa and bars of chocolate. OK, I'm not perfect, I bought two bags of potato chips too. I'm not suggesting that sweets have to be avoided, but is it really necessary to have 4 ounces of candy for $10!!!!

But with those basic ingredients and fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts, you can have nutritious, palate pleasing foods that will cost less and be better for you that mixes.

It's 8 days! Embrace the differences and let those differences remind you why we were commanded to do this.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recipes by Request - Passover Mandelbrodt

Different in texture and flavor than my regular mandelbrodt, but absolutely delicious!

Deb's Passover Mandelbrodt

1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups cake meal
6 tablespoons potato starch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup mix-ins: any combination of raisins, chopped nuts, diced dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients other than mix ins in large bowl of mixer. Beat until well combined. Mix in mix-ins. Spoon in long logs onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 45 minutes. While still hot, slice into 1/2 inch slices. Place cut side down on cookie sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake an additional ten minutes.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Forget Lady Gaga - I'm Looking for my Passover Face!

When pesach falls early (more about that later), I have a hard time gearing up for pesach, my favorite holiday. I need the seasonal visual cues to get excited about spring and passover approaching. We've had a tough snowy winter, and up until yesterday, I've found it impossible to find my "Pesach Face". Then - behold - the sun came out with a brightness that finally engaged my brain, and enough snow melted so that I could see the daffodil shoots sticking out of the ground - hallelujah!

After many years of making two seders, and more recently making only one seder, I've pretty much got the system down. The timing of the seders this year, and the fact that I'm hosting the second further simplifies things for me.

The first seder is Monday night. Most people will kasher their kitchens after shabbat, or on Sunday morning, but because I love to do a lot of baking for pesach, I always need a bit more time, so I will start kashering Wednesday night, finish Thursday night and by Friday after my half day of work, I will start cooking for pesach - I can do this because a wonderful friend (who won't kasher until Sunday) is having us for dinner Friday night, and we'll either go to the shul for the Shabbat HaGadol lunch, or have motzi on the porch, and eat a basic meal for shabbat lunch that is kosher l'pesach - after all, roast chicken and potatoes always work!

I will spend some time today finalizing my menus and starting lists -

As always - if you have any questions or need help, please comment or email.

Ladies & Gentlemen - start your engines!

Recipes By Request - Mandelbrodt

Whether you call them biscotti, mandelbrodt, rusks or something else, they are delicious and satisfying treats. The "mix-ins" can be varied based on your mood or the contents of your pantry - and since mandelbrodt are dried out to begin with, they have a very long shelf life (assuming you can keep them on your shelf). I've been making the same recipe for mandelbrodt for many years. The mandelbrodt are light and crisp - not too dense, nor too crumbly - and have a coterie of devoted fans.

Deb's Mandelbrodt

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mix ins - any combination of nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruits, raisins, craisins....

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat sugar and eggs until very light. Beat in oil, lemon juice and vanilla. Blend flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into egg mixture until well combined. Mix in "mix-ins".

Line two cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using half of dough on each cookie sheet, spoon dough into long strips. Bake 45 minutes. Immediately slice strips into 1/2 inch cookies. Place cookies cut side up back onto baking sheets, and put back into oven for 10 minutes to crisp up.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Recipes by Request - Broccoli Shiitake Kugel

This is one of my favorite kugels... It's fresh tasting, good any temperature, light and can be made for pesach too!

Deb's Broccoli Shiitake Kugel

2 head broccoli
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
4 eggs
1/3 cup fine dry breadcrumbs (or matzoh meal)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut florets from broccoli. Peel stems and cut into small chunks. Boil broccoli florets and stems in salted water about 8 minutes, until just tender. Do not overcook. Drain well, and coarsely chop.

Heat the oil and saute the onions over medium heat until soft, but not browned. Add the mushrooms and cook and additional three minutes. Add mushroom mixture to broccoli. Add dill.

Lightly beat eggs and stir into vegetable mixture. Add breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Spray either two 8 inch or one 9 x 13 pans with cooking spray, or lightly coat with oil. Fill with mixture. Bake about 40 minutes, until the kugel is firm when pressed in the center.

Chocolate Fudge Tart

Deb's Chocolate Fudge Tart

1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, cut into small chunks
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon ice water

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or substitute almond or orange)

Put flour and sugar in food processor and pulse once or twice to blend. Put margarine into food processor and pulse until the the mixture looks like course crumbs. Add egg yolk and ice water and pulse until dough forms moist clumps. Gather dough into ball, flatten into disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Press dough into 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Freeze 15 minutes. Prick dough all over with fork and bake 25 minutes.

While crust is baking, melt chocolate and margarine over double boiler. When melted, remove from heat and whisk in sugar and flour, then whisk in eggs one at a time and vanilla.

When crust comes out of oven, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, pour filling into crust, and bake 20 minutes. Filling will still be soft in the center.

Barterers Unite!

After extensive negotiations via a posting on facebook, this shabbat I will be bartering a deli roll for a dessert. We all love deli roll, but I never seem to get around to making it. One of my son's friend's mothers makes a phenomenal deli roll - and she loves my desserts, so it seems a natural! So rather than deciding on the desserts I will make for shabbat as an afterthought, I started my menu at the bottom of the page, by deciding what dessert I will be swapping for that deli roll. I wanted to give her a beautiful, delicious dessert, that was sufficiently easy to transport, but was more exciting than a batch of cookies - and I thought of the wonderful, rich chocolate fudge tart I make - so hopefully, the two fudge tarts I make this week will be enjoyed in two homes!

This shabbat we will have:

Chicken Soup with Kreplach and Noodles

Honey Mustard Chicken
Potato/Sweet Potato Torte
Saffron Rice
Broccoli Shiitake Kugel
Some kind of salad (I'll play it by ear, see what veggies look nice at the market)

Meringues (one of the guests favorites)

Shabbat Lunch

Deli Roll
Israel Salad
Leftovers (of course!)

Pesach Posting to start next week!

Shabbat Shalom

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