Pea and Mint Soup

The kosher link up this month is cold soup (see below).  At first this theme gave me pause as I LOVE soup, but seldom eat cold soup, unless it is gazpacho.  I could have done a gazpacho recipe, but thought about my mint and pea soup which I have made hot, and wondered if  it would be good cold.  So, I tried it and found that it is still really good cold and very refreshing as well.  Phew!

Now that summer is here and the heat is on it is nice to have some cold recipes that do not require much time in front of a stove.  I am working on a few “summery” recipes and cold soup fits right in.  Stay tuned for a few salad and slaw recipes that I hope to post this summer.

A nice thing about this recipe is that it is so easy and quick to make.  There are really only 3 ingredients so it is easy to shop for.  You can find some great vegetable broths on the market which also make this soup a cinch to make. I prefer to use one with low sodium so that I can control the amount of salt in the recipe, and there are a few organic ones which make a nice base for this soup.  It is a perfect make ahead dish and as I said before it can be served cold or hot.  If you happen to have an immersion blender (one of my all time favorite kitchen gadgets) then this recipe is a total breeze.  If you do not then you can use a blender, but I highly recommend  investing in an immersion blender.  My one just died after 8 years and I purchased a new one for only $30.  Totally worth it!

 

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time:  10 Minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

 

32 oz. vegetable broth

16 oz. frozen peas

1 tablespoon fresh mint finely chopped

Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

 

Pour the vegetable broth into a pot and heat over medium heat.  Stir in frozen peas and chopped mint.  Bring to boil and simmer for five minutes.

Pea Soup - Pot

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender.

Pea soup - immersion

Serve hot or cold and garnish with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Pea Soup - finished

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Filed under Pareve, Soups, Vegetarian

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

I love weekends. I love them for many reasons.  One of my favorite things to do on a weekend is to make a really good breakfast.  It DSC_0582.NEFdoes not have to be fancy.  Perfectly cooked scrambled eggs and some whole grain toast with a veggie “sausage” is a simple, nutritious and delicious breakfast that is great for a weekend and is easy and quick enough for any day of the week.
Most people know how to make scrambled eggs.  However, do you know how to make perfect scrambled eggs?  If I am out and order eggs I find them to either be too runny or way over cooked.  They key to perfect scrambled eggs is a nonstick frying pan, enough fat to cook the eggs in and to cook them low and slow while constantly stirring them with a rubber spatula.  If you follow this recipe and this technique your scrambled eggs will come out fluffy and perfect every time.  The other secret to my scrambled eggs is a dash or two of hot sauce.  It is not enough to make the eggs spicy, but enough to add a great flavor.  Whenever I make these eggs people always ask what makes them so good.  It is the hot sauce – you have to try it!
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time:  10 Minutes
Yield: 2 servings
2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of milk (any kind you have)
1 – 2 dashes hot sauce (I like Frank’s Original Hot Sauce)
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in an 8 inch skillet over medium-low heat.
Beat the eggs and add the milk, hot sauce, a pinch of salt and pepper.  Beat until it is all combined and frothy.
DSC_0576.NEF
Pour the eggs into the frying pan and lower the heat to low.  Slowly stir the eggs with a rubber spatula.   Keep stirring the eggs pulling the cooked eggs away from the sides of the pan.
DSC_0580.NEF
Keep the eggs moving until just cooked through and firm.
scrambled eggs

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Caesar Salad With Garlic Bread Croutons

Alas, my maternity leave has come to an end.  I have gone back to work (my day job) so now I figure it is time for me to start bloggingCesar Salad again.  I decided to make my return with the Kosher Link Up (see below).  This month the theme is croutons.  I would love to say that I have a really creative use for croutons in a recipe, but my recipe is for a traditional use for the little crouton – salad.  I have a FANTASTIC salad recipe with really delicious croutons.  I do not like most store bought croutons.  I find them to be overly salty and hard as rocks.  These have no sodium and you can make them as crisp as you like.  The reason I call the them “garlic bread croutons” is because this is actually how I  make garlic bread and just do not cook it as long.  I use both whole wheat and white bread only because I think it looks pretty. However, you can use any bread you would like.

My recipe is close to a traditional Caesar salad, but without the raw egg yolk.  Truthfully, I have made it with the egg and do not find there to be much of a difference.  Since that is the case I would rather leave it out and save on the calories and salmonella risk!  Yes, there are anchovies in it.  If you are really freaked out then you can leave them out, but I HIGHLY recommend that you try it!  It is not fishy at all!  Whenever someone sees me making the dressing they get nervous about the anchovies and I have to promise that they will never know they are there.  The trick is to really chop and work the anchovies into a paste with the fresh garlic and then incorporate the paste into the dressing.  They add a great flavor without the fishy taste.  Trust me, my husband and sister would not touch it if it were fishy at all and they are my biggest fans of this dish 🙂

I make this salad all the time because it is very easy and so, so good.  I am always getting requests for it so I am glad I will finally be able to share the recipe.  It is great as a starter salad or main course with a piece of grilled or blackened fish.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 – 15 Minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

4 slices bread (I use 2 whole wheat and 2 regular, but you can use all the same)

butter

2 large heads of romaine lettuce washed and dried (or 3 packages pre-washed)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Juice of one large lemon

3 anchovy fillets

1 large garlic clove

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little more for garnish

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Lay all four slices of bread on a large plate or cutting board.  Butter one side of each piece of bread.  Sprinkle that side with garlic powder.  Cut the crusts off the bread and then cut them into bite size squares to make the croutons.  Place the croutons on a foil lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (quick clean up).  Cook in the oven for  5 minutes, then toss and cook another 5-10 minutes until the croutons are crunchy.

Croutons2

Juice the lemon into a large bowl.  If you are not getting a lot of juice from the lemon use another one.   Finely mince the garlic clove.  Once chopped add the anchovy fillets on top of the garlic.  Continue to mince and chop the garlic and anchovy together until the two are integrated into a paste.

Anchovy Garlic

Add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and whisk together until everything is combined.  Pour the olive oil in a stream into the mixture while whisking until there is a thick dressing consistency.

Chop the lettuce and add it to the bowl with the dressing.  Toss until the lettuce is covered with dressing.  Add the croutons to the top and sprinkle with some additional Parmesan cheese.

Cesar Salad2



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Filed under Salads, Vegetarian

Game Day Chili

I love chili and I make lots of different versions of it.  They all stem from this basic recipe.  This recipe is so easy and delicious that you can easily make it for game day or any other day of the week.  The version I am posting here is a vegetarian recipe using veggie crumbles which you can find in any grocery store.  I like Morningstar Farms.  I use this recipe when I want a lighter chili and also when I want to load it up with sour cream and cheese 🙂  Of course you can always use a lean ground meat or turkey as well.  I try to use reduced fat (not nonfat) sour cream and cheese to also keep it on the lighter side.

Even though this is vegetarian, it is still extremely hearty due to the veggie crumbles and all the beans.  The texture is perfect as well.  Another really nice thing is that it is extremely easy to make and quick cooking.  It is great on its own, with toppings such as scallions, cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, pickled jalapeno, fresh cilantro, etc.  In fact, a really fun way to serve this is to make a chili bar where you put out the pot of chilli and lots of different toppings and let people make their own bowl.  Another favorite way to eat this is to put them over cheese nachos and make chili cheese nachos.  I will have to post that recipe some time soon.  In the meantime, this is a great recipe that you can get really creative with.

 

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

 

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (12 ounce) package veggie crumbles

2 (15 ounce) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 ounce) can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon dried chili powder

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

 

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.  Add veggie crumbles and beans and stir to combine.

Add tomatoes, spices, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer on low until all flavors are combined, about 15-20 minutes.

Touchdown_Chili_Recipe

 

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On A Personal Note

I first want to thank all the readers who have been continuing to come to the site even though it has been a long while since I have been consistently posting. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many visitors the blog still gets.  I thought I should let people know why the long gaps between posts.  The past few months have been difficult, but also a time of great joy. 

This past November my grandmother was hospitalized with a blood clot.  Although that is quite dangerous, the doctors caught it on time and her prognosis was good.  Unfortunately, while in the hospital she developed an infection.  Due to inadequate and negligent care (in my opinion) she ended up passing away three weeks later.  It was a shock to me and my family and I still cannot believe she is gone. 

Image

From left – my siste Kathleen, my mom, my grandma, me

I wanted to write about her here, on my food blog, because she has been such an influence in my life and my cooking.  She used to take care of my while my parents were at work and my fondest childhood memories are of her.  Mostly of us cooking in her kitchen, watching cooking shows on TV such as Julia Child and The Frugal Gourmet, and creating recipes together.  I recently found Micky’s Cookbook, the original version.  This was a project I did with my grandma when I could only have been 7 or 8 years old.  It was a beat up blue spiral notebook with recipes.  Some of them were family recipes, some were ones that she found in magazines and some were ones that we made up together.  I completely forgot that we even did this and had to laugh as today I have volumes of Micky’s Cookbook.  In college I started collecting recipes from the internet, magazines, cooking shows and my family.  Today I must have close to 500 recipes and three huge binders.  I forgot that it all started with my grandma.  This is why I would like to pay tribute to a very special woman that has shaped who I am as a person, mother and cook today.

Her passing was a time of great sadness and then just to demonstrate the circle of life, I gave birth to a baby girl five days later, Ariel Leah.  My grandmother wanted so much to meet her and I can only hope that she is looking down on her now.  She is the sweetest baby and I am in love.  I am pretty much getting no sleep between her and my 2 year old, but I would not change anything.  I am so grateful. 

As for the blog, I am going to keep at it. I just wrote up a fabulous chili recipe which I plan to post this week as it is a great Superbowl dish.  I am not sure how much posting I will be doing in the upcoming months but I ask that you stick with me and keep checking the blog.  If you choose to “follow me” you will automatically receive an email when I post.   If you “Like” me on facebook I always announce postings there as well. 

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Jewish Indian Stuffed Vegetables (Mahashas)

So, it has been a while since I have posted a recipe.  I apologize for the delay.  I have had some technical difficulties (computer died), a crazy work schedule, school and my child with a stomach virus.  Also, I am pretty pregnant at this point and not so quick on my feet….  The good news is that I have a few recipes that I have been working on and am planning to post in the upcoming weeks.

This recipe that I am posting today is a really great one.  This month the Kosher Connection Link Up theme is “stuffing” (see below).  My all time favorite stuffed anything is my Aunty Seemah’s Mahashas.  This is a classic Jewish Indian dish and family recipe.  Although it has been years since I have had these, I have always remembered how delicious they are.  Thanks to a Sykpe session with my aunt I have the recipe to share with all of you.

For today I have chosen to stuff tomatos and peppers, but onions are another common vegetable used.  I just thought these would be easiest.  These vegetables can either be a side dish or a main dish.  If you would like to make them vegetarian then just omit the ground chicken.  They are extremely flavorful and divine either way!

 

Prep Time:  45 minutes

Cook Time:  1 hour

Serves: 5 to 10

 

5 medium bell peppers – any color

5 large firm tomatoes

¾ cup basmati rice (you can use regular long grain, but basmati is SO much better)

½ pound ground chicken

½  – ¾  cup canola oil – depends how large your pan is

Juice of one lemon

3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ground tumeric

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Rinse the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear.  Place the rice in a bowl and over it with cold water to soak.

Cut the tops off the tomatoes about ¾ of an inch from the top. Save the tops. With a pairing knife gently cut around the edges of the tomato to loosen the veins and seeds from the outer shell. With a spoon scoop out the seeds and flesh from the inside of the tomato. Place the juice and seeds into a large bowl and the flesh on a cutting board.

Cut the tops off the peppers about ¾ of an inch from the top. Save the tops. Discard the ribs and seeds from the inside of the pepper.

You can either finely chop the tomato flesh or puree it in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Add to the bowl with the tomato juice and seeds. Add the juice of one lemon, 2 tablespoons canola oil, salt, tumeric, garlic, ginger and mint. Stir well. Drain the rice.  Add the rice and ground chicken to the mixture and stir well again. You want the chicken and rice to be completely integrated into the tomato mixture. You also do not want any big pieces of chicken to be stuck together and you want a thick soup consistancy so that the rice has enough liquid to cook in.

Coat the bottom of a foil pan or baking dish with canola oil. Place the tomato “shells” and the peppers in the pan. Fill each tomato or pepper ¾ of the way to the top. Do not fill completely to the top as the rice will swell as it cooks. Drizzle the filled vegetables with a bit of canola oil on top. Place the tops back on the tomatoes and peppers.

Cover the dish tightly with tin foil. Cook in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes take the tin foil off of the dish and cook for a remaining 15 minutes. The vegetables should be tender, the rice should be cooked through. The internal temperature should read at least 170 degrees F.  Enjoy!



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Honey, honey

Considering that I have a serious sweet tooth, it is pretty funny that I actually do not really like honey.  I have more of an affinity towards it now than I did as a child, but I still do not really love the stuff.  During Rosh Hashanah dinner as all my friends and family were pouring gobs of honey all over their apples I would dab the smallest ritualistic amount on my apple.  Actually, I still do that to this day.

For the most part, I find the taste to be really floral and overpowering.  Being that I feel this way, most people would be surprised that I use honey all the time.  Honey is actually rich in antioxidants and can be a great natural sweetener.  For me the trick is to use enough for what I am making to be sweet, but not really taste too much like honey.  I often drizzle it over plain yogurt (which really needs a bit of sweetness) with fruit and granola.  I use a bit of it to sweeten my tea and will often substitute it for sugar in baking.  I also really like to use it in vinaigrettes as I find it gives a nice thickness to the dressing. 

The one exception to my rule is buckwheat honey. I love this stuff!   It is very rich in antioxidants and has an earthy, almost molasses taste.  In fact, it tastes nothing like the traditional honey which is probably why I like it so much.  It is so dark and rich that it actually looks like chocolate syrup.  It can be difficult to find as it is not available in all grocery stores.  You can normally find it in a health food store (I buy mine at Whole Foods) or it is easily found online.  Trust me when I tell you it is worth it!

There are pleanty of honeys in your regular grocery store for a reasonable price.  There is clover honey, wildflower honey, orange blossom honey to name a few.  The type is named for the nectar that the bees were drinking when they produced the honey.  Honey is the star of my Stewed Apples A La Mode Drizzled with Buckwheat Honey.  It is a great dessert for any time of the year and nicely highlights the use of honey as a natural sweetener and buckwheat honey as a delicious garnish.

For all of you who will be celebrating the holiday of Rosh Hashanah and dipping your apples in honey next week,  I wish you a happy, sweet and prosperous new year!  L’shana Tova!

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