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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Leftover Thanksgiving Chicky Tacos

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So Thanksgiving is over, but my mini vacation wasn’t. As much as I could, I tried to plan my meals to match up with what the rest of the family. That way I don’t end up salivating over all their great smelling food, instead I can enjoy my own kosher versions :).

Well anyway, motzei Shabbos was Taco night. As my sister fried up some ground beef and prepared all sorts of yummy toppings for my extended family of 19?20? I kind of lost count. I snagged a couple of taco shells (before anyone else could get to the box), an avocado and checked some fresh romaine lettuce. I pulled my crock pot back out and made myself some SUPER AWESOME tacos…Afterwards my only regret was that I hadn’t snagged more taco shells…

Ingredients:

  • Leftover Thanksgiving poultry, shredded or cut up small
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa- I went with a medium heat level
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Taco Shells
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Tomato? Faux sour cream? Guacamole? Non-dairy cheese? Whatever else you like to put on your tacos…

Directions:

  1. Shred your leftover turkey, chicken, cornish game hens, whatever, in to your crock pot. Add the salsa and mix well. Heat on high heat for about 30-40 minutes, until it has warmed up.
  2. Squeeze the juice of one lime on the heated poultry and mix well.
  3. Wash and cut/prepare any taco toppings
  4. Assemble your tacos…

 

Its as easy as that, and let me tell you, this thing was SOOO FLAVORFUL! Good thing I have more left over chicky…I get to have these tacos again tomorrow!

 

Channukah Food Gifts…

On my father’s side of the family we started giving each other food gifts for Channukah. As the oldest cousin, and the only one keeping kosher, I decided to show them that there are actually some really good kosher foods out there… This year I decided to make some easy & delicious desserts paired with a really great food find.

  1. Candied Pecans… This recipe is super easy and tastes great! I just made it for my school pot luck too! The left over sugar stuck to the parchment paper is pretty amazing so this time I saved it and used it in my #2 recipe…unnamed-15.jpg
  2. Toasted coconut bark… First cover your baking sheet with parchment paper, then toast shredded sweetened coconut in a 350*F oven until it begins to brown. Mix  to prevent it from burning. It is done when most of it is golden brown. Move the toasted coconut to another container, then cover the pan with mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is the best one- 3 bags was perfect to cover my cookie sheet). Place in the hot oven for 3-5 minutes until the chocolate chips are melted. Take out of the oven and mix/smooth with a fork or spoon. Sprinkle the leftover sugar crumbs from the candied pecans. Then sprinkle the toasted coconut and a dash of cinnamon and a light dash of salt. Be liberal with the coconut and with another piece of parchment paper, press it in to the chocolate. Leave it out overnight  until it is solid. Then break it up & wrap it up really pretty 🙂
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  3. Since I live in the great state of MD, I was fortunate enough to find these DELICIOUS salted caramels, that are CHOLOV YISROEL, in my local grocery store when they were advertising some new local products. Needless to say, I bought all 4 of the remaining packages…Shays_6ozCaramelPouch_SeaSalt.jpg

Double Wrapped Vegetable Lasagna

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Growing up my father made the VERY BEST vegetable lasagna. It was such a staple in our house that I was genuinely shocked, and already 20 years old, when I found out that traditional lasagna was actually made with meat. My dad still makes the best lasagna and that’s what’s on the menu for Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Since everyone will be enjoying lasagna, I don’t want to miss out so I’m going to be enjoying my own single serving lasagna too. But since I’ve already got a TON to do, I’m going super easy with this lasagna… I’ll assemble it before I leave and then throw it in an oven double wrapped in foil once I get to the cabin.

Ingredients:

  • Oven ready lasagna noodles (mine were spinach flavor hence the green in the picture)
  • Your favorite tomato sauce
  • Zucchini- sliced thinly
  • Big handful of spinach
  • Sweet Potato thinly sliced
  • Feta cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded cheese- I used munster, mozzarella would have been good too

Directions:

  • Soak the lasagna noodles according to the package directions (mine said to soak in warm water for 1 minute)
  • Put a spoonful or two of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan and place one layer of noodles on top – I used a small disposable aluminum pan
  • Chop or rip the spinach and mix with the feta cheese and sour cream ( I mixed it in a ziplock bag… I told you I love this trick!) You could also add some tofu into this mix if you are looking for more protein. Spread the creamy spinach & feta mixture on top of the first layer of lasagna noodles.
  • Add a little sauce on top and add the next layer of lasagna noodles. Put a spoonful or two of sauce and sour cream then add a layer of zucchini with more sauce.
  • Add the last layer of lasagna noodles and some more sauce and shredded cheese. Wrap with foil, and then wrap with a second layer of foil. Then bake in a 350*F pre-heated oven for 45minutes if you like your veg & noodles ‘al dente’ or for 1 hour for softer lasagna.

Alternative… you could thinly slice sweet potatoes for another layer!- Be sure to bake for between 1 and 1 1/2 hours if you do use sweet potatoes to give them a chance to really cook.

I’m not gonna lie, my dad’s lasagna is still better, but at least I have a good enough substitute :)…

*EDIT*

After making it for my pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday night meal, I edited the recipe to include sour cream in the mix… I had some extra after the sour cream cake so I decided it couldn’t hurt. Let me tell you, not only did it not hurt, but it totally took this lasagna from ‘okay enough’ to WOW WOW WOW!!! I’ve still got some sour cream left so you can bet I am going to prepare a few more of these to store in the freezer for another make shift meal 🙂

Salmon with “Honey” Mustard Glaze

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This salmon is easy, can be made whole 30 approved, and can be baked either open or double wrapped. It tastes best fresh, but I’ve been known to make a few days worth in advance…

Ingredients:

  • Fresh salmon (you can use frozen if it’s all you have, but regarding fish, I’m a snob so it’s gotta be fresh!)
  • Your favorite mustard
  • Honey (or date sugar /fresh dates blended into a paste if you are into the whole no processed sugar thing/whole 30)

Directions:

Rinse your salmon and using a knife against the grain, scratch the scales off the skin of the fish and rinse again. Mix equal parts mustard and honey/date sugar/date paste in a ziplock bag and add your salmon. Let the fish marinade for at least an hour, or over night in the fridge. Bake on parchment paper at 400*F for 10-15 minutes (if double wrapping in foil, add an additional 10 minutes and make sure your oven is fully pre-heated)

Enjoy!

Back to School Breakfast #1: Eggs & Swiss Chard

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It’s back to school and I’m a mess, and this is before the kids have even started! All summer I’ve spent time prepping for the upcoming school year, but nothing can prepare you for waking up at 5:45 after spending the glorious weeks of summer sleeping in till 10…

To combat these super early mornings I need something good, fast, and filling. Locally we have a local farm cooperative that delivers fresh produce from a variety of local farms. This morning my produce arrived with some beautiful swiss chard, tomatoes, and local farm fresh eggs. I don’t have much experience with swiss chard, but I played around with this a bit over the summer and found the saute’d  tomato/chard combo worked great with a fried egg… so here goes 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Oil
  • 1 Bunch of swiss chard, cut at the stem
  • 1 Large Heirloom tomato or another tomato with a soft peel
  • Eggs
  • Salt to taste

Tools:

  • Knife & cutting board (you can use a paper plate in a pinch :))
  • Frypan or electric skillet
  • Fork/spatula

Directions:

Wash and check the chard, then remove the stems and chop the leaves until they are salad sized pieces. (I kept the stems, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with them just yet…). Heat your frypan or electric skillet with a couple tablespoons of oil and add the cut swiss chard and a pinch of salt, mix around to coat, then let the greens cook. If the pan starts to get a bit dry, try covering it with some foil. In the meantime chop your tomato. When the swiss chard looks a bit wilted and is starting to lose its bitter taste (about 5 minutes), add the tomatoes and continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Now that your pan is filled with lots of flavor, push the cooked greens and tomatoes to the side of your pan and crack and check an egg. If the pan is dry you could add another drop of oil, then fry the egg to your liking. Enjoy!

One time saving tip is to make a bigger batch of the greens and tomatoes, then set some aside for tomorrow’s breakfast before you add the egg for today … or you know, you could just eat it all now…whatevs

Basic Jar Salad & a Waterfall!

Today my sister and I went for a hike to a waterfall in the beautiful Connecticut town she lives in. For lunch we enjoyed super easy, really tasty garden mason jar salads!

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I tend to think that mason jars come in super handy- particularly when traveling. They are easy to clean, and are really sturdy. These are the quart size…This salad is pretty basic and you could really swap out the dressing or any of the veggies you like in your own favorite basic salad or whatever is in season. Since I’m at my sister’s, anything that I can get that is pre-made makes things much easier so the dressing is just a fresh bottle of store bought lemon garlic bottle my sister originally got for her whole 30 diet.

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite store bought dressing
  • Sturdy vegetables- here’s what I used:
    • Cherry Tomatoes
    • Cucumbers
    • Carrots
  • Romain Lettuce
  • Optional: For some extra protein you could add some feta cheese or tofu… or both 🙂

Directions:

In a clean jar pour some dressing- less than half an inch. Cut your vegetables and put them in the jar. Wash, check, and cut your lettuce and fill the jar. Then seal it up and keep it upright until you are ready to eat it. When you are ready for lunch, flip the jar and shake it up. Then you can either dump your salad onto a plate or, eat it like we did, right from the jar 🙂

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And we had a great view with our salads… Certainly made the hike worth it 🙂

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