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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Not Weird Butternut Squash Soup

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So I was just visiting my dear friend Chai and her family. Since I’m back on the whole 30 bit she was a little nervous about what in the world I would eat while there so she just bought out all the veggies at the store and we had a bit of fun in the kitchen 🙂

For dinner she thought we could make a butternut squash soup so I said, what if we add ground beef to it. She in no uncertain terms told me I was crazy, but it didn’t matter to me… I was sure this was going to be good… and so it was. So here you go… Enjoy this super delicious, super filling NOT WEIRD Butternut Squash Soup with Ground beef and Jerusalem Artichokes… come on, basic was definitely not going to cut it if I wanted to impress my friend… but fancy doesn’t have to mean complicated either 🙂 and this soup is really easy to make!

Ingredients :

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 onion- diced
  • Butternut Squash
  • Soup stock
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Optional: Maple Syrup to add sweetness

“Optional” Garnish that makes this soup awesome…

Directions:

  1. Lightly caramelize the diced onion with a bit of salt in olive oil in a deep pan or soup pot.
  2. Prepare the butternut squash… Now there are 2 ways to do this…
    1. You can either cut the squash in half, take out the seeds brush with a little oil and bake it face down on a lined pan at 350F until its soft – approximately 45min-1hour. This could also be done in a double wrapped pan if your oven is not kosher.
    2. You can *peel and cut your squash* and add it to the sauteed onions and let it cook in the broth.
  3. Add the squash to the onions along with enough soup stock to cover the squash. Bring to a simmer and let cook until the butternut squash is thoroughly cooked through or for 30 minutes if you pre-cooked the squash in the oven.
  4. With an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth and give it a taste. Add any cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper etc needed to bring out the flavor. **Just remember it is supposed to be a sweeter soup** – you can even add a dash of maple syrup!
  5. If you like your soup thicker you can cook it down a bit longer, if you like it thinner you can add a bit of water. This is a VERY flexible soup!

    Optional, but not really optional:

  6. Just before you are ready to serve, take the Jerusalem artichokes and process them in a food processor until it is in very small pieces. Put a little olive oil in the pan and add the processed Jerusalem Artichokes. Cook over a medium flame and when you start to see the oil sizzle a bit put the ground beef on top.
  7. Brown the meat with the artichokes and use to garnish the soup.

If you’ve got picky eaters, start with the meat on the side, but if your friends or kids are anything like mine, they’ll end up adding the meat to the soup and won’t look back! The mix of sweet and savory is just too good!

*Peeling and cutting squash is NOT my favorite thing to do, if you are going to do it, I’d suggest wearing gloves as the squash can often dry out the skin on your hands… Alternatively, you can see if one of your local stores caries a peeled and cut squash with a good hechsher, if you have a Harris Teeter nearby you may be in luck 🙂

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!

 

The Little Chicky That Could

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In the past, I’ve made myself all sorts of different foods for Thanksgiving. I’ve done Turkey meatballs, St. Tropez Chicken… basically any kind of poultry I was in the mood for. Since Turkey was never really my favorite, I was never so into preparing something to match up so neatly with what everyone else was eating. This year was different. From the first day in November I was CRAVING a nice roasted piece of turkey… or rather poultry.

I decided then and there, this year would be a basic ‘roasted’ little chiky (as my sister and I call it)… AKA Cornish Game Hen. For me, Cornish Game Hens are one of the few types of poultry sold at my local kosher grocery under the hashgacha I eat. This made getting ahold of the bird… or should I say birds… (they are pretty small so I buy them in 2 packs) pretty easy. If you don’t have Cornish Game Hens, this recipe would go great with a whole regular sized chicken too. This recipe was so easy I was was able to set up my little crock pot and basically forget about it until dinner time.  In the meantime I went on a hike with my extended family, played card games, even learned how to play “Settler’s of Catan…”

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cornish Game Hens- Frozen or Defrosted… either way
  • 1/2 bottle of beer- I used Blue Moon
  • Poultry seasoning (I made my own with a bit of salt, paprika, oregano, and rosemary…no real measurements- as my dad would call it, I used the “shitalach method” meaning a bit of this and a bit of that… no idea if we are saying that right…)
  • Prepared roasted vegetables of your choice… I did sweet potato, green beans, and brussel sprouts.

Directions:

  1. Set up your crock pot an place your 2 cornish game hens inside. Add half a beer and try to coat the chickys with the beer.
  2. Rub the chickys with the seasoning mix. *Careful on the salt here… since kosher meat is soaked and salted, it already has salt flavor and doesn’t need much more*
  3. Turn your crock pot on high for about 4-6 hours until the cornish game hens are cooked through. At this point you can turn off your crock pot if its still too early for your meal. Just be sure to turn it back on a good 1-2 hours before you want to eat so everything will be nice and hot.
  4. About 1-2 hours before you are going to eat, add your prepared roasted vegetables. I roasted them in my oven at home and brought them in a ziplock that I could add to the chicken. I did it this way because I really wanted each of the vegetables to maintain their individual tastes and textures. By cooking them before and only adding them toward the end, my crock pot meal didn’t become another form of cholent… not that there is anything wrong with cholent… 🙂

 

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Now if you end up with leftovers… let me tell you, my Leftover Thanksgiving Chicky Tacos were OUTSTANDING in my very humble opinion.

 

 

 

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

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

When I am with family, especially for a food centered gathering like Thanksgiving, I always try to bring a few foods that I can share with everyone else. This cake is one of my FAVORITES. Also… just so you know, Coffee cake is a cake eaten with coffee, NOT necessarily a cake made with coffee…

Ingredients:

  • 8 TBSP butter (or earth balance)- room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8th tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP butter (or earth balance)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • Cream the butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon until well combined.
  • Pour half the cake batter in a baking pan then sprinkle with half the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  • Spoon the remaining cake batter on top of the cinnamon sugar layer then finish it off by sprinkling more of the cinnamon sugar layer on top.
  • Bake at 350*F for 35-40 minutes until cooked through.

This one is on my to do list for tomorrow night so I’ll post the picture then 🙂

Aunt Jill’s Cinnamon Rolls in the CROCK POT!!!

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My aunt Jill has a knack for finding great easy recipes. This cinnamon roll recipe totally won our hearts a few years back and I’ve been super obsessed with them ever since. This year, when researching recipes for Thanksgiving, I came across a cookbook of all sorts of crazy things you can make in a crock pot. It turns out, you can make cinnamon rolls in a crock pot! Who knew! And let me tell you, these things are awesome! They are also going to be the perfect home cooked breakfast over my mini Thanksgiving vacation 🙂

So you can use your favorite cinnamon roll recipe and throw it in your crock pot (lined with parchment paper), or you can join my family and try out my Aunt Jill’s cinnamon rolls 🙂

This recipe includes 2 tips & tricks… 1) I’m making the dry mix before I go and packing it in a ziplock bag, that way when I’m ready to make them, all I have to do is add the wet ingredients and roll them out, which brings me to … 2) Don’t have a rolling pin? Use some parchment paper & a wine bottle to roll it out just as thin as you like!

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And now for the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 4 TBSP earth balance
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (to add at the end if you like your cinnamon rolls gooey)
  • Powdered sugar
  • Drop of almond milk

Directions:

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt & baking soda. Add the oil and almond milk and mix until a dough forms.
  • Roll out the dough to make it as long and thin as possible without ripping (about 1/4-1/2 inch).
  • Spread the earth balance evenly across the dough
  • Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle all over the the dough.
  • Roll the dough up long ways so you end up with a long snake, then slice in 1 1/2 inch slices.
  • Line your crock pot with parchment paper and place the cinnamon rolls on top. Cook on the high setting for about an hour and a half. You will likely see steam cover the inner lid of your crock pot. This happens more as the cinnamon buns are almost done. Just use a paper towel to wipe the lid periodically.
  • When the cinnamon rolls are done, you can either mix powdered sugar with a drop of almond milk to make a frosting to drizzle on top, or you can pour some almond milk on top all the rolls to make them nice and gooey, or you can do both!

*If you’d rather go the traditional cooking route, you can also bake these in your oven at 400*F for 15-20 minutes

Enjoy! And if you need more of a step-by-step here are some pictures to help you out 🙂

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After mixing the dough, roll it out… no rolling pin? No problem as long as you have wine 🙂 When I am not in a kosher kitchen, or when I don’t have kosher counter tops, I roll my dough out on a flexible cutting board and use parchment paper as a barrier between the bottle and the dough. This keeps the bottle mostly clean 🙂

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After rolling out the dough, spread the earth balance and sprinkle the cinnamon & brown sugar.

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Roll the dough up length-wise then…

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Slice the rolls and …

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Place in your crock-pot lined with parchment paper and heat on high for 1 1/2 hours

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If your crock pot gets steamy, wipe the lid and let the cinnamon rolls keep on cooking

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When they are done drizzle with frosting/glaze and enjoy! These are great hot, but they are also great cold so really, there is no going wrong here 🙂 Enjoy!