How to Peel Garlic

Amazing. Unbelievable. Do it.

The Dangerous Mug Brownie

If you’re one of those people who could care less for chocolate/dessert, go back to whatever it is you were wasting your time on – this post isn’t for you.

It happens almost every night. A few hours after dinner, I crave need something sweet. I usually go for some ice cream, or leftover dessert, but there comes a time in every girl’s life when — she runs out.

A few years back, someone gave me a recipe for a chocolate mug cake – mix some ingredients in a mug, and microwave for a short time. It doesn’t get much simpler than that, and patience isn’t my virtue. So needless to say, I have had my fair share of mug cakes. Are they perfect? Definitely not… UNTIL NOW.

I’d say its been about two years since I felt the need to make myself a mug cake. (Don’t tell anyone, but I think I got sick of them ??) So when I suddenly had a craving the other week, I came across this nearly perfect mug brownie recipe. It doesn’t call for an egg, so for those of you who are scared of putting eggs in your food, this is a plus. More importantly, though, there is no cakey texture coming between you and the chocolate. The real secret is in the brown sugar – it makes for the best consistency in a mug cake.

So why is it dangerous? Because you probably have all the ingredients a few feet away in your pantry. And if you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll stock up once you’ve tried it.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup flour
  • 1/4 Cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder (I use hershey’s)
  • large pinch of salt <— necessary
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 Tbs. milk or non-dairy creamer
  • 2 Tbs. chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Mix the dry ingredients very well, until there are no flour or sugar clumps.
  2. Add the oil and milk/non-dairy creamer, and mix until you have a thick paste.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Microwave for about 1 minute and 10 seconds (on high) – check every 30 seconds, until you have that gooey brownie texture we all love.

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Source: Babble – They say you can make it with water (whyy??), or coffee (extra step, nothankyou), but they do have great pictures!

 

You can thank me later.

- Li-or

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Guess Who’s Back

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That’s riiiggghhhttttt. I’m back, and I have all the answers. 

Where have I been?

After quitting my job at Osem, (not so OSEM after all <did you see what I did there?) we moved up to Rochester into a duplex with an electric stovetop. 

What did I make? 

Close to nothing. Did I mention the electric stove top? Also, I got pregnant. So yes, I made a baby, but it turns out being pregnant doesn’t mean you become the next masterchef.. it sort of means you become the anti-chef (at least in my case). 

Why am I back? 

Why do you think? I have too much time on my hands, and I’ve moved back into an apartment with a gas stove. 

What’s to come?

I’ve made a lot of promises in the past. If you read through my posts, I spend a lot of the time apologizing for not posting, and mentioning when I will post next. Do me a favor and lower your expectations by 100%. If you do this, then we’ll both be much happier when I remember to take a picture of the food I am making and post the recipe. I haven’t forgotten how to cook, and I definitely haven’t forgotten that good food isn’t healthy (calm yourself, that doesn’t mean healthy food can’t be good). So if you’re hungry, grab a snickers.. cause I can’t promise that I will post all that often…but when I do – It’ll be worth it!  

Good night! 

Li-or 

New Post!!

Soooo if you didn’t notice – a few posts back (Sesame Chicken recipe), Leah Schapira, author of Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking, commented on my blog! If you don’t remember me mentioning her about 1000 times, look back a few posts – her new cookbook even has a post of its own! 

Either way, she asked me to guest blog for her website www.CookKosher.com (!!!!!) It’s a great site for those of you who want to read and share kosher recipes. And unlike my blog, new stuff is posted everyday. (I know – I’m the worst!)

Click for the post

So click above for my latest recipe. I know it’s a Passover recipe, but I promise to be back before then. In the meantime, I have dishes to do. 

For the record: This counts as a post.

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Hamantaschen You’ll Look Forward To

Be honest with yourself. Are hamantaschen something you look forward to all year round? Probably not.

Sure, they’re fun to make. And it’s tradition – so we eat them every year on Purim. But if you’re going to tell me you look forward to biting into that over baked, crumbly cookie with not enough filling in it.. I am just not going to believe you.

But I’m not here to rain on your Purim parade – I know you love making hamantaschen. After all, someone taught you just how to perfectly pinch each corner when you were a little girl (or boy). And pictures?? People love taking pictures of their hamantaschen. If you don’t make hamantaschen, but you buy from the store – I am seriously sorry for you. Any hamantaschen recipe is 10x better than store-bought. Unclear as to why, but it seems all kosher bakeries got together and decided to slack on hamantaschen baking.

If you have yet to bake your own hamantaschen – read below

And if you already have a recipe for hamantaschen – I promise you, this one is better.

Here it is – originally from Kosher.com (now JoyofKosher.com):

Ingredients  

  • 1 Stick plus 3 tbs margarine
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 3 Tbs. Orange juice
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • about 2 3/4 Cups of flour

Directions

  1. In an electric mixer, beat margarine until smooth – gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in egg.
  3. Blend in orange juice, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough.
  5. Wrap in saran wrap and chill for 1-2 hours.
  6. Once chilled, remove from fridge, split in half, and roll out until dough is 1/4 inch thick on piece of parchment paper.
  7. Using a round cookie cutter or cup opening, cut out circles of dough. 
  8. Fill with about 1 tsp of filling.
  9. Pinch or fold the dough the way you were taught. 
  10. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake on 375°F for 10-12 minutes – or until the bottom is slightly golden.

 

Filling Suggestions (in order of delicious to ‘really?’):

Chocolate, Brownie, Apricot jelly, Raspberry jelly, Strawberry jelly, Prune filling, poppy seed filling, Halvah

My mom told me that last year, she took the sweet ingredients out of her dough and added vegetable and potato fillings – this sounds great. I don’t have time for it, but you should definitely try it! 

BTW: 

Are we in agreement that chocolate filling is the best?

no?

That’s because you fill your hamantaschen with chocolate chips. Am I right? They just don’t melt properly in the oven.

Instead, fill your hamantaschen with a mixture of Israeli chocolate spread (elite or hashachar) AND chocolate chips – it really makes for the perfect filling texture. If you make your hamantaschen dairy (who makes their hamantaschen dairy??) for sure use Nutella. For more information on how to cut, fill, and close your hamantaschen – see below.

[the best looking [Holtzman kitchen] hamantaschen of 2012]

Hope you are having an easy fast!

Chag Purim Sameach!!  

- Li-or 

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One Bowl A-Mayonnaise-ing Chocolate Cake

I know I’ve been apologizing for my lack of time these past few posts, but let’s just be real. Even though I would love for it to be, my blog isn’t my first or even my second priority…maybe it’s my third.. but probably more like my fifth or sixth. (ok fine, I don’t have a list) I’ve started my new job and all is going well, although I have to admit it is extremely draining. But enough complaining – from now on, let us each hold up our end of the deal – you keep checking back.. and I will do my very best to post at least once a week. Deal? deal.

I want you to know I am no cake person. If you were to set three desserts in front of me, one being cake, it is most likely the last one I would choose…That is if you made me choose. I love dessert – it is by far the best course and you know how they say ‘there’s always room for dessert’? – well that’s not true, but if there isn’t room – you make room.

This is one of the few cakes I make. It’s also the only Jamie Geller recipe I use (Quick an Kosher: Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing). Why, you ask? I’m just going to go right ahead and say it – one of the ingredients is mayonnaise. If you’re grossed out by the mayonnaise, I’m grossed out by you. Has my blog taught you nothing??

Take my word for it – this cake is a-mayonnaise-ing.

Make sure you make it in a bundt pan – cake needs an exciting shape. If you don’t know what a bundt is, watch this.

One Bowl (+1 small pan) A-Mayonnaise-ing Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 1 package Osem Chocolate pudding mix
  • 2/3 Cup unsweeteneed cocoa powder (I like Hershey’s)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Cup liquid non-dairy creamer
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F – grease and I mean grease and bundt pan with pam.
  2. In a bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Pour into pan and bake at 325° for 45-50 min (usually takes longer for me), until a knife comes out clean.
  5. Let cool for 20 min and try to flip onto a plate. If it doesn’t come out on it’s own, loosen the sides and center with a knife and try again.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1 Cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 Cup thawed Rich’s whip topping

-Melt over medium-low heat in a small sauce pan. Turn of heat and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes. Drizzle over cake.

‘Till next time!

-Li-or

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When In Doubt, Order the Sesame Chicken

We’ve all been there. Looking at a Chinese restaurant’s crowded menu and finally saying “I guess I’ll just get the sesame chicken..” You went in wanting to try something new, the choices being endless, but inevitably you go with what’s safest. We all do it, cause we all love it. (if you’re a vegetarian, go ahead and swap ‘chicken’ with ‘tofu’.. then ask yourself if you really want to be a vegetarian)

If you don’t already know, I live in NYC on top of a Chinese restaurant (good luck finding me). Does it make my apartment smell? No. Do I eat Chinese food all the time? No. Do I go there every time I don’t want to make dinner? Pretty much.

We always end up ordering what we know – either sesame chicken or general tso’s chicken (which I’m convinced is sesame chicken with some crushed red pepper flakes and a better name.) So when we found a recipe for sesame chicken in the cookbook we got a little while back, we obviously had to try it. We both love it, and it’s super accurate to the restaurant version. If nothing else – it’s your safest bet.

Teriyaki Sesame Chicken

Ingredients 

Batter

  • 3/4 Cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 Cup flour
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 Cup cold water
  • 3 Lbs Chicken cutlets, cut into 1 inch nuggets
  • 2 Cups oil (canola or vegetable)

Sauce

  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup brown-rice vinegar
  • 6 Tbs soy sauce
  • 6 Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • 6 Tbs water
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch

Directions

  1. Combine all batter ingredients.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or pot for ten minutes on medium heat. (I don’t use the full amount of oil [shocking, I know] I just pour in about 3/4 inch of oil into a small pot and fry the chicken in batches)
  3. Dip the nuggets into the batter and then place in the oil carefully. Fry until golden brown. Transfer into an empty bowl. 
  4. While the oil is heating up, while the chicken is frying or soon after – make the sauce. \/
  5. Mix the first five ingredients in a small sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and make sure all the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Mix the water and cornstarch and add to the sauce. Lower heat a little, and mix the sauce until it thickens.  
  7. Pour sauce over chicken and mix well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

[Serve over white rice.. or brown rice if you want this dish to taste less good.]

*From Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking by Leah Schapira .. no, I couldn’t come up with an authentic sesame chicken recipe on my own.

Enjoy!

Li-or

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Requested Week After Week (After Week…)

If there’s one thing I dread, it’s having to put together a menu. Tell me what you want, I’ll make it. Give me a recipe, an ingredient, something.. just don’t leave the menu up to me. The main dish is usually chicken, since it’s cheaper than meat and requires a lot less skill to master. But when it comes to soup, sides, and dessert (mmm dessert) – I could look through my cookbooks a million times and still have no idea what to make.

I try so hard to make different things from week to week. After all, who likes to eat the same thing over and over and over again?

My husband, that’s who.

So whenever we’re deciding what to make for shabbat, without fail, Ari will say “can you make broccoli kugel again?”

I have to say, after making it so many times, I have definitely gotten this recipe down to a tee. So here it is:

Broccoli Kugel

Ingredients

  • 2.5 Lbs fresh broccoli (or 2 lb frozen broccoli cuts, thawed and drained..I do think using fresh is worth the extra time)
  • 1 Cup mayonnaise
  • 4 eggs
  • 4-5 heaping Tbs Onion soup mix (I like Osem brand.. especially since they offered me my first real job :) )
  • 1/2 Tbs salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 9inch frozen pie crust (if you make your own…good for you..)

Directions 

  1. Cut the broccoli into small pieces (using some, definitely not all of the stems), and steam until easy to fork. If you don’t have a steamer, put about an inch of water into a pot and add the broccoli. Cook over a high flame with the lid slightly open until easy to fork. (about 5-10 min)
  2. Throw into a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain very well.
  3. Once drained, transfer into a large bowl.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well
  5. Pour into a frozen pie crust bake at 375° F for 1-1.5 hrs. Make sure to sick a piece of foil under the pie to catch drippings. 

> If you don’t want to use a pie crust because you think it’s too fattening.. just do it anyway. But if it’s going to deter you from making this amazing kugel you can throw it into a greased 8×8 pyrex.

> If you are cooking for someone who eats especially healthy (sucks for you), just don’t mention the mayonnaise.. I mean, the main ingredient is broccoli.

Enjoy!

Li-or

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It’s My Birthday And I’ll Blog If I Want To…

I started this blog when I had too much time on my hands, and ironically enough, ever since then, my extra time has been slipping through my fingers. For those of you who have been checking back these past couple of weeks.. thank you. And for those of you who haven’t… that’s ok, there wasn’t a new post for you to read anyway. Either way…I’m BACK.

Today is my 22nd birthday. Unlike most people I know, I happen to be obsessed with my birthday. It’s the best date on the calendar, and I look forward to it the second the clock hits 12AM on January 25th all the way until it hits 12AM on January 24th the following year. There are obviously years when my birthday is a disappointment, but for the most part it’s just a day when I get to be with and talk to the people that matter most. So.. in honor of my birthday.. I’ve decided to share a ridiculously simple, but ridiculously delicious recipe with all of you. You could say it’s my claim to fame.. only I am not actually famous, it’s my mother’s recipe, and it’s probably too simple to make anyone famous. It includes all of the ingredients I love, and all the ingredients you would never expect to come together. Here it is:

Mean (yes, mean) Rice Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup long grain enriched white rice. Or if you have a lot of $$ buy Rice Select Jasmati or Texmati.
  • 1/2 Can whole kernel sweet yellow corn (I like Libby’s brand)
  • Diced Osem Mediterranean pickles in brine. If you can’t find Osem pickles, click on the link which will send you to Amazon where you can buy them (awesome), or use other Israeli pickles. If you want to ruin the recipe a little, use crunchy dill pickles.
  • Salt
  • Mayo (about 4 heaping, and I mean Heaping Tbs)

 Directions

  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Don’t refrigerate. (If you need to refrigerate, heat up again once you’re ready to make the rice). The rice shouldn’t be cold in the salad, but it also shouldn’t be right off the stove.
  2. Add corn and pickles.
  3. Add salt.. slowly but surely
  4. Add mayo
  5. Add more salt, cause it probably needs it.
  6. Mix all ingredients together and serve.

Simple… I know.

A birthday girl’s request: This salad is perfection. If you’re going to make this recipe, I’m so happy for you. You’ll love it. If you’re going to make this recipe and change a few things (such as amount of salt and/or type of mayo) – don’t tell me about it.

g-night!

Li-or

**for the record: I know the song is called “It’s My Party” .. but I thought it would pass.

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Soup So Good It’ll Make You Cry

It has been FREEZING in NY this past week, and I know I’m from Albany where 20°F sounds a lot like summer, but since living in NY I have learned to seriously hate the cold weather. I guess it’s because I’m not hopping from my toasty house to the preheated car to another warm destination where I usually stay put. In NY, everything is a schlep, and in the winter…everything is a schlep with freezing cold ears.

And now I know I’m not the #1 person to look at a glass half full (unless it’s filled with dc), but one thing I do love about the winter is soup. And hot cocoa.

My Mom would always make French Onion Soup on shavuot. We never ate much dairy in my house, and since F.O.S (did you see what I did there?) is normally topped with a slice of baguette and mozzarella cheese – it clearly belonged to the dairy holiday. Now that I am married to a cheese-lover, F.O.S has become a midweek winter dinner. I would have liked to share my mama’s recipe, but the 7 hour time difference isn’t always the most convenient, and there is a F.O.S recipe in the new cookbook we got last week. So here it is: (By Leah Schapira, people)

For 4 servings:

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Tbs butter (oil for parve..although I would try margarine)
  • 3 Large onions, kept whole, thinly sliced (or 6 small onions..and probably 4 medium)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs flour
  • 4 Tbs beef flavored consomme
  • 6 Cups boiling water
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/4 Cup red wine
  • Baguettes (optional..you can also use plain croutons)
  • Mozzarella Cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Slice the onions. Cry.
  2. Heat the butter in a 6 qt pot. Add onions.
  3. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions brown a bit.
  4. Add flour and mix well, add beef flavor consomme and mix well.
  5. Add boiling water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add red wine. Return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
  8. While the soup is cooking, slice the baguette and toast for 5 minutes. (skip if you’re using croutons)
  9. Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls. (if you have oven proof bowls – good for you – if you don’t..I put ours in the toaster oven.. seemed to be fine)
  10. Top with one or two baguette slices, sprinkle with mozzarella and stick into the toaster oven until the cheese is melted.

[I took this picture from the internet (click it for the link). To be fair, it wasn’t easy finding a decent looking picture of French Onion Soup..it probably would have taken just as long to get a decent picture of mine – I don’t know what people are thinking posting disgusting pictures of their French Onion Soup online. Also we have really similar looking spoons, so I thought this could pass (even if they are for meat)]

gnight!

Li-or

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