Deb's Delicacies - Shabbat and Chagim Menus and Ideas

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Monday, August 08, 2011

The Search for Great Chocolate Bundt Cake

The past few years, at the request of my special someone, my desserts have focused on chocolate. I've tried many recipes for chocolate pound cake and chocolate bundt cakes, but have never really been satisfied - until now. This shabbat I made an excellent, easy, naturally pareve chocolate bundt cake, which was annotated with weights, as well as measurements - HOORAH! I wish every recipe did that. Cooking is an art, baking is a science and requires accurate measurements to get consistent results. I'll write more about that later, but in the meanwhile

Deb's Chocolate Bundt Cake
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped as finely as you can
2.25 ounces dutched cocoa power (3/4 cup)
1 cup boiling water
2 cups packed brown sugar
8.75 ounces all purpose flour (1 3/4 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla 1/2 almond)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 12 cup bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.

Put cocoa and chopped chocolate in bowl; pour boiling water over and let sit for 5 minutes. After five minutes, stir well until smooth. (note: Use real chocolate - not the baking bars that are more like chocolate flavored plastic)

Whisk together chocolate, sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil until very smooth; about two minute (can also be processed in food processor for one minute, but who wants to wash it!)

Sift flour, salt and baking soda. Add to chocolate mixture in two parts, whisking just until mixed. Most of the lumps should be gone, but do not overbeat.

Pour into prepared pan, bake 45 - 50 minutes, until cake test comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan ten minutes, then invert onto cooling rack.

Glaze or dust with confectioner sugar


enjoy!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Back to the Kitchen

It's been a while. After many years of lots of entertaining and extensive meal planning, I needed a break; some time to consider interests and priorities. Please, don't think that since I'm posting again I've magically found the secrets to life. Nope. But I have begun to figure out that I should consider my action, and think about what I'm doing rather than operate on auto-pilot. And as much as I love cooking and entertaining, making one fewer side dish, or buying challah instead of making homemade in order to spend time with someone I love, is a better choice.

But this shabbat, this empty nester has the joy of cooking for a son home on school holiday and here's what we'll have

Friday Night

Homemade Challah
Chicken Soup with Noodles

Roast Chicken with Shallots
Roast Potatoes
Popcorn Cauliflower

Shabbat Lunch (with company)

Fettucine with Tomato Basil Crudo Salsa

Silver tip Teriyaki Roast
Honey Ginger chicken
Basmati Rice
Hot & spicy cabbage
Spinach Patties
Carrot Kugel
Mesclun Salad with Toasted Pecans

Surprise Cookies (mallomar-ish)
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Meringues
Lemon Squares

And if I don't have time to make the challahs, or pecans don't get toasted so that there's less stress - that's ok!

Shabbat Shalom



Sunday, September 05, 2010

Ironic Menu Planning


You never know who or what will inspire you, and where the inspiration will take you...

A few weeks ago, when Rosh Hashana menus were far from my mind, a conversation at the Fairway kosher meat section with a man who regularly provides inspiration to so many people with his voice and spirit, gave me the inspiration to start planning for the holidays

We were talking recipes, and I told him about the grilled brisket that was this summer's "gotta have it"... He shared with me a recipe for a "meat" lasagna, using Morningstar crumbles - amused by the idea of making a "meat lasagna" for lunch one of the days of Rosh Hashana, I decided to continue the theme, and will be serving "crab" cakes for lunch the second day (my sister's recipe - I'll post it soon).

Never one to follow cooking recipes (versus baking recipes) very strictly, I combined the recipe Chazzan Yitzy sent me, with my regular spinach lasagna recipe, and took a little peek at the Ronzoni box recipe - to add a little authenticity -
Lasagna is a terrific holiday lunch meal - it reheats beautifully, and you can put it on the hotplate or in a low oven before you go to shul, have a tossed salad ready in the refrigerator, have the table set and when you get home from shul - IT'S ALL READY!!!! Considering how late lunch is after shul on Rosh Hashanah, after having received spiritual inspiration from Chazzan Yitzy (versus gustatory), this will be ready immediately and DELICIOUS!!!

Deb's "Meat" Lasagna

1 pound lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
12 ounce bag Morningstar farm crumbles
2 jars good quality marinara sauce ( sometimes I make my own, but with a 3 day chag coming it was too much)
2 pounds part skim ricotta
1 pound mozzarella cheese - shredded
10 ounces package frozen spinach, defrosted - squeezed dry
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Stir crumbles into sauce. Combine well ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, spinach and pepper. Ladle a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 pan. Lay down 3 or 4 noodles, overlapping slightly. Carefully spread half of cheese mixture in even layer over noodles. Sprinkle with 1/3 of remaining mozzarella cheese. Ladle over a generous amount of sauce. Place 3 or 4 more lasagna noodles, overlapping slightly. Carefully spread remaining cheese mixture. Sprinkle with another 1/3 of the mozzarella. Place 3 or 4 more lasagna noodles, overlapping slightly. Pour over remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake about 1 hour.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shavuot Confession

Of the three major festivals, Shavuot is the least complicated to celebrate. No manic cleaning, no shlepping boxes, no building a hut and eating (or living) in the cold, and it only lasts two days. But from a cooking standpoint, Shavuot has never found it's way into my heart - I just don't do dairy!

An internet search for "passover recipes", will result in a trillion hits, but google Shavuot - and you'll get a trillion cheesecakes (and to tell the truth, cheesecake is cheesecake - it's all about the mix-ins)

But notwithstanding all my whining - I make terrific homemade blintzes, a killer oreo cheesecake and learned from a friend to make a phenomenal greek salad dressing.

This year, I'm hosting dinner the second night of shavuot and for once, rather than try to figure out a menu that's balanced, nutritious and delicious, I've decided to just have fun and make everyone's dairy favorites - and worry about calories and nutrition another time. So, my shavuot guests will be treated to the following:

Homemade Warm Cinnamon Challah - served with homemade strawberry whipped butter

Greek Salad
Spinach Lasagna
Cheese Blintzes
Macaroni & Cheese
Individual Mini Pizzas (with a topping bar - so I can make them for each person)

Oreo Cheesecake
Heath Bar Cookies

If they're not exhausted from all night learning the night before, they will be when they're done with this food!


Monday, May 03, 2010

Strawberry Spinach Salad - A Taste of Spring

First course on Friday night is nearly always soup (and we all know the story why!). Shabbat lunch first courses run the gamut from meatballs to puff pastry things, or pasta, but when the weather warms up, I like to start the meal with a salad - gives people a few minutes to relax into the meal, but isn't overly filling.

This past shabbat I tried a new recipe - the seeds in the dressing, along with the toasted almonds gave a lovely crunch and the strawberries in the dressing had a tart, sweet, tangy flavor that woke up palates! Don't even bother to use a "fancier" vinegar - it will get lost!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Dressing:
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablepoons grated shallot (use a microplane grater)

1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds - toasted
10 ounces baby spinach
12 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced

One day ahead of serving, put all dressing ingredients in cruet and shake well. Set aside to blend.

Immediately before serving, mix spinach, strawberries and almonds - shake dressing well, coat and toss!



Friday, April 30, 2010

Shabbat Menus

Meals to make the the birthday celebration delicious! The lemon filled cake looks like it's going to be a real winner! Three layer lemon sponge filled with lemon curd and frosted with seven minute frosting - can't wait!!!!

Friday Night Dinner


Homemade Challah

Crispy Baked Wonton
Chicken Soup with Noodles

Roast Chicken
Teriyaki London Broil
Bok Choy Salad - Soy Sauce Green Beans
Roasted Potato Wedges - Corn Kugel


Lemon Filled Cake with Seafoam Frosting
Peanut Butter Brownies




Shabbat Lunch

Homemade Challah

Strawberry Spinach Salad
or Fruit Cup

Shnitzel - Adin Shnitzel Nuggets
Silver Tip Roast Beef
Oven Browned Potatoes
Israeli Salad - Bok Choy Salad
Peanut Butter Noodles
Carrot Kugel
GF Pasta - GF Corn Muffins


Frozen Chocolate Mousse Cake with GF "Oreo" Crust
GF Muddy Buddies - Oatmeal Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies - Peanut Butter Brownies

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Deli Roll - Delicious!

Though a bit more effort that a standard deli roll, a mashed potato deli roll is just delicious! The day before I planned to make the deli roll, I made mashed potatoes, but a little stiffer than usual didn't add salt - the deli meats were going to add the saltiness!

On a sheet of plastic wrap, cold mashed potatoes were rolled/patted into a rectangle, about a half inch thick. Mustard was lightly spread over the mashed potatoes, then thinly sliced deli meats layered on top - I used pastrami and salami - next time I'd use turkey and one other - it was a little too salty....


Using the plastic wrap, the potatoes/meat were wrapped up jelly-roll style



Next, a sheet of puff pastry was lightly rolled out so it was slightly larger than the potato/meat roll and rolled around the outside of the roll



The roll was then brushed with egg wash, sprinkled with sesame seeds and bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. I reheated it for shabbat lunch and it was delicious!


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