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 🙂

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

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There is nothing that makes me happier when the weather gets cool than a good bowl of soup, and truth is, there is really only one kind of soup that I crave and it’s this one.

This soup is savory, sweet, filling, flavorful, yet somewhat light… too many words, but basically it’s fantastic. There are a lot of ingredients, so when I make this soup, I make a lot of it and enjoy the leftovers for days and freeze some for perfect meals whenever the weather gets cool again.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 onion chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • 3 chicken breasts sliced
  • 1 -2 TBSP fresh (or frozen) ground ginger
  • 2 11oz containers of cooking grade coconutmilk- I use So Delicious brand
  • 2 – 3TBSP of your favorite curry powder
  • 2 TBSP date sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 delicata squash (or 1 butternut squash peeled) and cut up
  • 1 cauliflower (checked for bugs)
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut
  • 2 pieces of fresh lemon grass cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro washed and checked for bugs
  • 2 32oz boxes of vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 bundle of green onions
  • 3 Limes

 

Directions:

In a big soup pot sautee the onions in your favorite cooking oil (I used olive) and almost immediately add the sliced chicken breast and one carton of coconut milk, curry powder, ginger, and sweetner of your choice. As the chicken cooks, finish preparing the other vegetables and add them to the pot: Wash, cut, and de-seed the delicata squash (the great thing about this squash is you can eat the peel!), check and cut the cauliflower, wash, peel, and cut the carrots, wash, check and rip the cilantro, and cut the two pieces of lemongrass.

Add the 2 boxes of soup stock (Tabachnick is generally easy to find at your local grocery). Heat over medium heat until the squash and carrots are fork tender. To finish the soup off, add some fresh green onions, the juice of 3 limes, and the second carton of coconut milk. Add any additional salt, curry powder, or sweeter to balance out any flavors. Enjoy!

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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

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!

 

 

 

The Fake-Out Box Mac & Cheese You’ve been missing…times 3!

So if you are like me, box mac and cheese was pretty much the best thing ever. I actually distinctly remember the first time I had kraft macaroni & cheese at a friends house- I promptly went home and insisted my parents make this incredible culinary treat…

Well, when I became frum I traded my blue box blues for some super fun “Wacky Mac,” but when I started keeping Cholov Yisroel I was out of luck, until I discovered…

Fake Mac & Cheese #1: Pretty Much Made From Scratch

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Ingredients:

  • Preferred pasta of your choice
  • Cheese Product Singles (Natural & Kosher is my fav)
  • Shredded cheese of your choice (Again, Natural & Kosher, also-I go for the Mexican blend or the Chef’s)

Directions:

Cook and drain the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, open 2 slices of cheese product singles and let them get to room temperature. (Yeah, it’s pretty fake, but it’s also pretty creamy so… yeah). Put 1/2 a serving of the hot, cooked pasta in your bowl and put the first layer of cheese product on top. Add the rest of the serving of pasta on top and layer the second slice of cheese product. Hopefully you acted fast, so the hot pasta melted the  cheese product and you’ve got some cheesy, gooey goodness. Now to seal the deal, add a handful of your favorite shredded cheese and mix it in. The creaminess of the sliced cheese balanced with the real shredded cheese adds a great texture and saltiness…

Basically, this stuff is pretty good. It’s no blue box, (truthfully, its more like real mac & cheese and when you want blue box, you just don’t really want real mac & cheese, you want the processed goodness that is easy mac) but it’ll do the trick, and for a while, it was all I had. Then about a year ago I came across something pretty special…

 

Fake Mac & Cheese #2: Daiya!

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Daiya is a parve, vegan ‘cheese’ brand and they cater to the food sensitive so if you are gluten free, then this is definitely for you. This box of instant mac & cheese is more similar to the velveeta version that came with a pouch of creamy cheese product. The gluten free pasta in this product is actually pretty good.  One nice thing about this is all you need to do is cook the pasta, no need to add any milk/butter etc. The thing is, velveeta was never really my thing, so while this is pretty good, it’s not the mac & cheese I crave. That brings us to…

 

Fake Mac & Cheese #3: Earth Balance! (Finally!)

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THIS IS IT! This is the mac & cheese I’ve dreamed of for the last 7+ years. It’s just like Kraft mac & cheese, it’s got a powdered ‘cheese’ pack, the pasta is the same size/shape as Kraft, and if you buy the white cheddar version it’s even in A BLUE BOX!!! As you can see, this food find has made me pretty happy. I’m not sure why fake out mac & cheese this good took so long to be made kosher & parve (it’s not like kraft’s version has anything real in it), but now that it’s here, I’m overjoyed, and you will be too 🙂 All you need to enjoy this delicacy is some sort of milk or non-dairy milk and some butter, or earth balance. Depending how you make it, this could even be parve!

I’d like to dedicate this post to my dear friend Shay Shay who I love for many reasons, but right now, mostly just because she is the one who told me about the Earth Balance Mac & Cheese of my dreams.

 

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.