Moroccan Spiced Butternut Squash

This recipe is my new go-to for butternut squash. After trying this, I know you will agree with me!

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Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch pieces
(or you can purchase pre-cut ones at your grocery store. I found them at Trader Joe’s).
1 teaspoon slat
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch of cayenne pepper
A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unrefined virgin coconut oil, (melted)
2 tablespoons pure grade A maple syrup
Juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper
Place the squash in a large bowl and the salt, spices, oil, maple syrup and orange juice. Toss to combine and pour onto prepared baking sheet.
Roast in the oven until tender, 30 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway to ensure even browning. Garnish with parsley and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.


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Molten Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine at room temperature for 15 minutes
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 bag best quality chocolate chips
cooking spray
1 good quality semi sweet chocolate bar broken into pieces.

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350° F
2) In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, at medium low speed, mix the butter or margarine with the sugar and brown sugar. Raise the speed to medium high and mix until creamy, light and fluffy. Turn the speed down a little. Add the vanilla and eggs. Mix to incorporate.
4) Add half the flour mixture. Mix. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.
5) Spray the muffin tins with non stick cooking spray.
6)Fill each muffin tin a quarter of the way with large, ping pong ball size of the cookie dough. Flatten slightly to cover the bottom. Stack 2 chocolate squares in the center. Cover with a second walnut sized ball of cookie dough, flattening it completely to cover the chocolate.
7) Place onto a cookie sheet and bake until tops are golden brown. Do not over-bake or the end result will be doughy not gooey! The baking time will vary from 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your muffin tin and how much dough used to fill it. You are looking for tops to be golden not wet looking.
Serve warm.

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Balsamic Braised Brisket

I am always on the look out for a new brisket recipe, and this one is a definite winner. The longer you marinate it, the better. Your home will be filled with a wonderful aroma as the brisket slowly cooks to perfection.

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Ingredients:

1 beef brisket (4-5 pounds/1.8-2.3 kg)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
1 can (6oz/170 gm) tomato paste
2 Tbsp honey
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup red wine or water

Directions:

1) Coat a large roasting pan with non stick cooking spray. Add brisket; sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Rub brisket with spices to coat on all sides.


2) In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions for 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in parsley, tomato paste, honey, bay leaves, vinegar and wine. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool.


3) Pour sauce over, around and under the brisket. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight, turning occasionally.


4) Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake, covered, for 3-31/2 hours or until meat is fork tender. Calculate 45 minutes per pound to determine the cooking time.


5) Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Discard hardened fat from gravy. Trim excess fat from brisket. Slice against the grain to desired thickness.


6) Reheat, covered, in pan gravy at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.

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Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins and Crispy Quinoa

Here is a delicious recipe, by Pamela Salzman, for roasted cauliflower with healthy add ons such as turmeric and quinoa. Do not be daunted by all of the steps! They are easy and it is well worth it! The original recipe calls for capers. Since we are not big capers fans, I leave them out.

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Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into 2 inch florets
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
5 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, drained and patted dry (optional).
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup hot water
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3/4 cup Crispy Quinoa (see below for recipe)
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley

Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 425°. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2) In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with the turmeric and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Arrange the cauliflower in one in one layer on the prepared baking sheets. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast until the cauliflower is golden and tender, 40-45 minutes.
3) While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the remaining2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the edges are just golden, 4-5 minutes. If you are using capers, stir them into this mixture and cook until they start to open up, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
4) In a medium size bowl, soak the raisins in the hot water and vinegar until softened and plumped, about 10 minutes. Drain.
5) Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the raisins and garlic on top, then toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. Top the cauliflower with crispy quinoa and parsley.

Crispy Quinoa Recipe:

Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium heat.
add the quinoa and cook, stirring frequently, until crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. This can be prepared 1 day in advance and stored in a sealed container at room temperature.







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Herbes de Provence Roasted Chicken

There is nothing like a good roasted chicken. It is nourishing for the body and the soul. This one is delicious and and combines a crisp golden skin with flavorful meat. 

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Ingredients:

4  tablespoons of either unsalted butter or margarine, I like to use Earth Balance.
1 1/2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
Salt and freshly ground pepper.
1 (5 pound) chicken, rinsed and patted dry.
1/2 lemon
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 (3 inch) sprigs, fresh rosemary
3 (3 inch) sprigs fresh thyme
4 or 5 sprigs flat leaf parsley
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°F
In a small bowl, stir together the butter or margarine, herbes de Provence, 1/2 teaspoon and a few grinds of black pepper.
Put a roasting rack in a roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken, and put the chicken on the rack. Stuff the lemon, garlic, rosemary, thyme and parsley inside the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs closed with kitchen twine. Loosen the skin on top of the bird and rub half of the butter or margarine and herb mixture over the top of the chicken, sliding your hands beneath the skin to rub it evenly over the breast and thighs. Smooth the skin back into place, and smear the remaining mixture over the legs and thighs of the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. 
Pour the broth and wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.
Roast the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh, 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a carving board that has a juice groove to catch the juices and let rest for 10 minutes. carefully pour the pan juices into a fat separator, pouring off the fat and retaining the juices. 
Carve the chicken and pour some of the pan juices over each serving.

Chocolate Pull Apart Babka

For years I avoided every Babka recipe for fear of the time and effort. That is, until I made this one, which all of my guests polished off in one sitting!

 Ingredients:  1 14 oz box frozen Kineret brand Chall-ettes or Challah. 3 tablespoons good quality Dutch process cocoa powder. 1/2 cup shugar 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 5 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted.  Directions:  Preheat oven to 325℉. Cut a sheet of unbleached parchment paper to fit the bottom and up the sides of a 5 1/2 by 10 1/2 loaf pan, or spray heavily with nonstick cooking spray. The parchment paper will enable you to move the babka form the pan and transfer it to a serving tray; without it, you may need to serve it from the loaf pan.   Open the package of Challah dough. Allow the Challah rolls ti stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, until the rolls are soft enough to unknot.   In a medium bowl, mix the coca powder, sugar, flour and vanilla. Stir to combine.    Break each strand of Challah dough into 5-6 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball between your palms. Drop the balls, a few at a time, into the coca mixture. Dip each ball into the melted butter or margarine, shake off excess, and then drop back into the coca mixture. Drop itno prepared pan.    Pour the remaining cocoa mixture into the remaining butter or margarine and use your fingers to pinch it into coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the babka.   Cover the pan with a kitchen towel. Open the door of the preheated over and set the pan on the open door. The indirect heat from the oven will help it rise quickly. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Close the oven door, and allow the over=n to return to 325℉. Bake the Babka for about 30 minutes more.    Serve warm. To remove the babka from the loaf pan, slip a spatula under the parchment. Hold a platter a flip the cake out. Carefully flip it back over  so that the crumbs face up, and let your guests pull it apart!

Ingredients:

1 14 oz box frozen Kineret brand Chall-ettes or Challah.
3 tablespoons good quality Dutch process cocoa powder.
1/2 cup shugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
5 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325℉. Cut a sheet of unbleached parchment paper to fit the bottom and up the sides of a 5 1/2 by 10 1/2 loaf pan, or spray heavily with nonstick cooking spray. The parchment paper will enable you to move the babka form the pan and transfer it to a serving tray; without it, you may need to serve it from the loaf pan.
  Open the package of Challah dough. Allow the Challah rolls ti stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, until the rolls are soft enough to unknot.
  In a medium bowl, mix the coca powder, sugar, flour and vanilla. Stir to combine. 
  Break each strand of Challah dough into 5-6 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball between your palms. Drop the balls, a few at a time, into the coca mixture. Dip each ball into the melted butter or margarine, shake off excess, and then drop back into the coca mixture. Drop itno prepared pan. 
  Pour the remaining cocoa mixture into the remaining butter or margarine and use your fingers to pinch it into coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the babka.
  Cover the pan with a kitchen towel. Open the door of the preheated over and set the pan on the open door. The indirect heat from the oven will help it rise quickly. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Close the oven door, and allow the over=n to return to 325℉. Bake the Babka for about 30 minutes more. 
  Serve warm. To remove the babka from the loaf pan, slip a spatula under the parchment. Hold a platter a flip the cake out. Carefully flip it back over  so that the crumbs face up, and let your guests pull it apart!

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Rina's Guacamole

This is hands down the best recipe for Guacamole. Ever since our amazing housekeeper, Rina, came into our lives 14 years ago,  our family has been devouring this guacamole at every opportunity. We know many people, (our son, Yale among them), who are either allergic or have a strong aversion to Cilantro, so you will notice that it is intentionally missing from this recipe. This is truly an easy and delicious crowd pleaser, perfect to serve up at your next gathering, or just to have in the fridge!

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Ingredients:

2 avocados
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1/4 medium red onion, chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon lime zest
salt to taste

Directions:

Core and remove the avocados form their shells and add them to a medium sized bowl. 
Do not discard the seeds.
Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix together until somewhat smooth.

Store in an airtight container with the avocado seeds until time to serve. The seeds maintain the green color.
Enjoy with veggies like jicama, carrots or celery.
If you opt for tortilla chips, think outside the box and go for some healthier options such as  Trader Joe's Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips. They are delicious!  
 

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Sugar Snap Peas With Sesame

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Sugar snap peas are the perfect snack since they are lower in carbohydrates than regular peas, and they are  high in fiber, Vitamin C, K, B, and minerals. They are also less starchy than regular garden peas, so crunch away, free of guilt!

Here is a delicious way to get all the health benefits from sugar snap peas

1 pound of sugar snap peas
Dark sesame oil
Black or regular sesame seeds

Pick through the sugar snap peas to remove any that aren't perfect. Remove and discard the stem end and the string from each pod. Toss the sugar snap peas in a bowl with sesame oil and sesame seeds to taste. Serve at room temperature. 

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Asian Slaw

I was watching the Today Show this week, and saw Al Roker and a top chef make this Cole Slaw that accompanied a turkey burger. It looked easy, so I tried it out this week. It is delicious and can be made in minutes. Just allow at least 30 minutes for the dressing to fully absorb. The green apple is what makes it a standout!

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Ingredients:

  •  

    • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
    • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 lime)
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 large green cabbage
    • 1/4 medium red cabbage
    • 2 carrots, peeled
    • 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
    • 6 scallions, white and light green parts chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

 

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, mix together the rice vinegar, peanut oil, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, lime juice, salt and red pepper flakes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days for the flavors to blend.

2. Using a sharp knife, core the cabbages. Finely shred with a sharp knife or shred in a food processor using the slicing blade. You should have about 5 cups of green cabbage and 4 cups of red cabbage. Shred the carrots in the food processor or on the largest hole of a box grater.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the cabbage, carrots, apples and scallions. You can do this several hours ahead of time. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

4. At least 30 minutes before serving, pour the dressing over the coleslaw, add the cilantro, and toss.

 

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Watermelon Sorbet

 INGREDIENTS  3 1/2 cups fresh seedless watermelon chunks, (about 1/2 medium watermelon)  2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice  1/4 cup warm water, as needed  raw honey (optional) to taste.*  * I did not use anything to sweeten my sorbet.     INSTRUCTIONS  Freeze watermelon chunks overnight. I lay mine out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place the frozen watermelon chunks in a food processor or heavy duty blender, along with lime juice, and allow to sit for 5 minutes to slightly thaw.  Blend until smooth.  You may need to add some of the warm water and press down with a spatula to help the process along.  Eat immediately for a softer texture, or transfer into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 3-4 hours or until firm.

INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 cups fresh seedless watermelon chunks, (about 1/2 medium watermelon)

2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup warm water, as needed

raw honey (optional) to taste.*

* I did not use anything to sweeten my sorbet.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Freeze watermelon chunks overnight. I lay mine out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Place the frozen watermelon chunks in a food processor or heavy duty blender, along with lime juice, and allow to sit for 5 minutes to slightly thaw.

Blend until smooth.  You may need to add some of the warm water and press down with a spatula to help the process along.

Eat immediately for a softer texture, or transfer into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 3-4 hours or until firm.

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