Fancy Latkes

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I am all about the fancy Latkes… and just because I’m doing whole30 doesn’t mean I’m skipping out… It just means I’ve got to be a bit more careful with what I’m using. If the potatoes are not starchy enough, then the latkes will need flour that I can’t use, but if I keep it boring and just stick with potatoes, what makes them fancy?

Well these latkes definitely meet the challenge… they can be a bit tricky to get to hold together, but IYH the end result will be worth it!

First of all, I used my favorite immersion blender to make these guys, if you are in the market for one, I highly recommend this one because it has 3 attachments, an egg beater, a food processor, AND and immersion blender! For more info visit here

So these latkes have potatoes,  Jerusalem Artichokes (tis’ the season?), and kale. The Kale doesn’t add much flavor but it makes me feel a little healthier!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Potato- Red Russet are my favorite especially since you can leave the skin on!
  • 1 medium Jerusalem Artichoke
  • 1/2 of a small onion
  • 1-2 kale leaves
  • 1 Egg
  • Pinch of salt & Pepper
  • Olive oil to fry

Directions:

  1. Using the food processor, process the potatoes, Jerusalem Artichoke, onion & Kale. (You may need to do this in batches)
  2. Squeeze out the excess liquid from the mixture and put in a bowl
  3. Add an egg, a pinch of salt and some pepper and mix well
  4. In a preferably non-stick fry pan, cover the bottom completely with olive oil and heat it over medium. The oil is hot enough when you can *CAREFULLY* splash a *SMALL* drop of water in the pan and the oil sizzles.
  5. Carefully with a spoon add the latke mixture to the hot oil. Once you’ve filled your pan with as many latkes as the pan can take, gently move the pan back and forth to make sure the latkes are not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  6. When the latke edges start to turn brown they are ready to flip- DON’T try to flip them too early, or you’ll just end up with lots of super fried latke bits all over your pan… although some people think thats the best part anyway…
  7. When both sides have browned, place the latkes on a plate lined with paper towel

 

Trouble Shooting:

  • If the latkes are not sticking together, try adding some potato starch or flour.
  • If they are burning & also not cooking well enough in the middle, consider making them smaller.
  • If they are sticking to the pan, use your clean spatula ( make sure to wipe off any latke bits that are already stuck to it), to get under each latke to help them float- also consider adding more oil to your pan.
  • If the oil is starting to bubble up – try adding more oil, but also know that you may need to change the oil out all together shortly.

Other Latke Varieties to Try…

  • Zucchini Latkes- squeeze out the extra water and use flour & egg to hold these guys together- be sure that the oil is hot enough when you start frying!
  • Apple Latkes- grate the apples and squeeze out the juice & use egg & flour to hold together. After frying, dip in cinnamon & sugar or mix some in to the batter!
  • Sweet Potato Latkes
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Great Snack ala Trader Joe’s!

The first thing my sister and I did was a quick trip to Trader Joe’s. I’ve spoken about how much kosher stuff they have at TJ’s before, but especially when traveling it’s nice to be able to go to one store and stock up.

We were hungry so as soon as we got to my sister’s apartment we enjoyed a great twist on the classic after school snack of Apples and Peanut butter…

I present you with: Apples, Almond Butter & Coconut!

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Ingredients:

  • Apples (we used Braeburn…)
  • Raw Almond Butter (ours had no salt)
  • Unsweetened Flake Coconut

Directions:

Cut your apple and if you do it like me… use your knife as a spoon. (Hey sometimes you’re hungry and finding the plastic silverware takes too long!). Sprinkle on some coconut and enjoy!

 

The oven is currently being kashered… stay tuned for tonight’s dinner of chicken with carrots and parsnips… I should mention that my sister is doing the Whole 30 diet this month…

Apple Kale Salad

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This creamy, sweety, tangy, and filling salad is one of my favorites. Once you’ve made the dressing, it’s easy to assemble and makes a great lunch, appetizer, snack… whatever! The recipe is adapted from one I found at: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1013732-kale-salad-with-apples-and-cheddar

Since I was short on kosher sensitive ingredients like parmesan I had to make some changes, and while I have not tasted this salad as the NY Times intended, I do think mine is pretty tasty! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Lemons
  • 3 Cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1-2 TBSP Blanched almonds
  • Dash of Nutritional Yeast (the great cheese substitute)
  • Pinch of salt to taste
  • Splash of Water if needed
  • Baby Kale
  • Apple
  • Shredded Cheese ( I prefer munster, but cheddar, or chef’s blend will work well)

Tools:

  • Blender/food processor/nutri-bullet

Directions:

For the dressing, Squeeze the two lemons in to the food processor along with he garlic and oil. Process until smooth. Add 1-2 TBSP of the blanched almonds, nutritional yeast, and salt then process again. The mixture should become a creamy white color and be slightly thicker, but still thin enough to pour over a salad. If it is too thick, and looks more like mayo thin it with a splash of water. This dressing will keep in a sealed container the fridge for about a week (if you don’t eat it all before then)! I highly recommend investing in some mason jars as they are durable, easy to clean and cheap. They are also super in style with all the hipsters right now and you know you always wanted to be a hipster, right?

When you are ready to enjoy your salad, slice up some apple with some baby kale (Trader Joe’s sells a bagged baby kale that is pretty great), sprinkle with a handful of shredded cheese on top then drizzle with the dressing!*

*Sometimes my dressing turns out more white, while other times its more oily/yellow. Either is fine and tastes great,  it generally depends on the type of food processor I am using. Either way, the dressing does tend to separate a bit so be sure to shake well before using 🙂

Apple Slices with Fresh Marscapone and Rose Sugar

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About 9 years ago I stumbled in to a fancy cheese shop in DC and was offered a sample- fresh marscapone cheese with Rose petal sugar on an apple slice. This thing was so good that I became a frequent marscapone cheese purchaser and also bought a good amount of the Rose sugar too.

Well about a year later I started keeping kosher and sadly said goodbye for now to my light, delicious, and flavorful snack. While marscapone cheese is often found kosher, I have yet to find it cholov yisroel and there is no substitute for it’s creamy lightness. And for years, that’s been all there is to it.

Well just before pesach I went to Israel and found dried whole rose tea in the shuk. The smell alone reminded me so much of my former favorite snack that I bought it and became determined to find a way to re-create it.

Well today it finally happened. I made my own fresh marscapone cheese… With slightly too much lemon, but all in all, it’s pretty darn good… I then blended those roses with some sugar, sliced myself and apple and here I am, in foodie cloud 9.

And here is the recipe so you can join me 🙂
Ingredients:
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 3/8 Cup Sugar
  • 1/8 Cup Dried Food-Grade Rose buds/rose petals- purchase here https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/rose-buds-whole/profile
  • Apple

Special Tools:

  • Sauce pot
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Cheesecloth with colander
  • Blender/food processor

Directions:

Start out by making the marscapone cheese. Put 2 cups of heavy cream in the pot and heat until just before boiling then add the lemon juice and stir constantly for about 5 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer it should be around 190, but if you don’t have one, just keep it just before the boiling point. After 5 minutes it should have thickened slightly (mine was just barely noticeable). Let it cool to room-temperature then pour into the colander lined with cheesecloth and put it in the fridge to cool and strain for about 8 hours. When I made it, the mixture thickened to the perfect consistency in the fridge, but barely any whey (liquid) drained out. Transfer the finished marscapone to an airtight container and use within the week.

Mix the dried food-grade rose buds/petals with the sugar in a blender. When you are ready for an other-worldly treat, thinly slice an apple and plate it with a heaping spoon of marscapone and some rose sugar. Enjoy!

 

 

 

One Pan Egg Rolls!

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Egg Rolls are definitely one of those things you might think are hard to make and time consuming too… truth is, I threw some frozen Egg Rolls in the oven and started making these from scratch at the same time and these were done first, tasted better, and were much easier than I thought 🙂 Here’s the recipe- best part is, all you need is a flame and a single pan!

Ingredients:

  • Shredded Cabbage- many bags of cole slaw have a hechshire
  • 1 package of mushrooms
  • 1 package of tofu
  • 1 package of egg roll wraps- Nasoya is kosher
  • Soy Sauce or Tamari between 1/4 and 1/3 of a cup
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Oil- for pan frying

Directions:

Clean and chop the mushrooms and start to sautee them in a non-stick frypan over medium heat. Meanwhile squeeze the water out of the tofu and break it up with your hands and add to the frypan. Add the package of shredded cabbage and a decent amount of soy or tamari sauce and pepper. Stir every few minutes until the cabbage is soft. When the mixture is cooked turn off the heat and use a cutting board as a clean space to wrap the egg rolls.

Open the package of egg roll wrappers and follow the package directions to fill and roll them. Make sure to squeeze out any extra liquid from the cabbage mixture when filling the wrappers. Since my family’s counter tops are not kosher, I keep them clean and always put a cutting board or plate down to use as a work surface. Once you have used up all the filling clean and dry your frypan to get ready to fry. Add oil to cover the bottom of the pan and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot add one egg roll – if the oil is hot enough you will see it start to bubble slightly and you can add the other egg rolls. After a couple minutes when the bottom is brown, turn each egg roll to brown all sides. When done put on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the oil.

That’s it! The whole process should take less than 45 minutes and it makes a great dinner or appetizer for your whole family.

 

Wine & Cheese Foodie Food Find!

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Growing up, good food was valued in my family. Everyone loves to show off their latest food finds and recipes, but I think my family takes it to another level. Now that I keep kosher, big family gatherings feel different. While my family has been incredibly accepting of the choices I have made, I do feel left out when they can all enjoy some amazing food that I can’t. That’s why I always try to add my own dishes and food finds to our family gatherings. That way I have something to eat, and my family and I have one more thing to gather around together. Becoming frum can make people feel isolated from those they care the most about, finding easy ways to reconnect and share common values can help you hold on tightly to the ones you love.

While I love to cook, when we have these big family gatherings I get busy just planning my own food let alone finding things to bring to share with my family. That was why I was so excited to see this cheese set sold by Natural & Kosher. I found it at my local kosher grocery store, and while I can pick out my own fancy cheese to share with family, the nice thing about this cheese set, is that it provides wine recommendations. It was great because in one store I was able to get the cheese set and pick out at least one wine for each cheese based on the label recommendations. When I met up with my family, I sliced and plated the cheese with some tart green apple slices. We opened the wine and had lots of fun trying to decide which wines went best with which of the three cheeses ( I kept it a surprise). It was a really fun afternoon & a great time with family!