April 30, 2014

Bran Muffins with Raisins

Muffins make mornings so much easier.  Seriously.  I love how many varieties there are and how convenient they are to just grab on the run.  When I know I'm going to have a busy week I definitely have some on hand.  

This time I decided to make one of my favorites, bran with raisins, not believing that my daughter would eat them in a million years.  But guess what? She did.  She liked it. I was amazed.  I don't know what it is about bran muffins that I like so much.  I think it's the deep, rich nutty flavors, and sweet bites of raisins. I just love them.

I see lots of recipe where this muffin is made using raisin bran cereal but I didn't want to make that kind.  I wanted mine with some actual wheat bran in there. I guess I need to make both kinds and compare side by side. I'll add that to my to-do list.  In the meantime, I'm gonna go have another muffin.

Bran Muffins with Raisins

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup toasted wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/4 cup molasses or honey (I used molasses)
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used canola)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3/4 cup raisins
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400º
  2. Butter a 12 cup muffin pan or line with papers
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in one medium bowl. (excluding raisins)
  4. Combine the wet ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer or a separate medium bowl.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine just until moist, add the raisins and mix just until combined.
  6. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full and bake for 18-22 minutes.
  7. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.

April 28, 2014

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

This is a classic dessert recipe that I remember from my childhood.  Strawberries and Rhubarb are meant to be together.  The sweet from the strawberries compliments the tartness of the rhubarb making this dish irresistible. 

I think I've mentioned in the past my aunt Cathy has this top secret Strawberry-Rhubarb pie recipe that she refuses to share with me.  Well, she refuses to share it with anybody so it's not just me at least. Since I can't have her pie whenever I want it, I'm glad to have this crisp on hand.  

This is a great recipe for an outdoor cookout or party because it will do just fine outside when it's hot.  If you had some way to top it off with some vanilla ice cream you'll probably get some marriage proposals, or at least some admirers. 

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp
Recipe from "The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook" page 127

Ingredients for the topping
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 Tbsp yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
Ingredients for the filling
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved or left whole
  • 4 cups 1 inch pieces of peeled rhubarb
  • 1 1/4 cups turbinado sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
Cooking Directions
  1. Put oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350º
  3. Butter a 9" deep dish-dish pie plate and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  4. For the topping: In a large bowl combine all of the topping ingredients and use a fork or a pastry cutter to cut in the cold butter.  When fully incorporated, set aside. 
  5. For the filling: In a large bowl combine all of the filling ingredients and mix together well so all the fruit/veg is fully coated. 
  6. Pour the fruit into the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top. 
  7. Place the pie dish onto the baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes.  The fruit should be bubbly around the edges and the topping should be a golden brown color. 
  8. Let cool slightly but serve when still warm. 
  9. Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. 

April 23, 2014

Muffin Melts

Breakfasts around here are one of the times that I like to try new recipes best.  The reason for this? Because I'm not a huge breakfast eater.  I like dinner food for breakfast, for the most part, however I do not indulge in that most of the time.  I force myself to eat "normal" breakfast food.  

This recipe was a nice go-between for me.  It has all the ingredients of breakfast food but with the added flavors from the Dijon and Worcestershire sauce.  The Pioneer Woman calls these make ahead muffin melts, and that's a good way to describe them, because they do take a little bit of planning beforehand to get them on the table.  I cut the recipe in half and still had leftovers, which were also very good reheated.  I liked the different layers of flavor, and the chewy English muffin on the bottom. Great recipe for a crowd and easy to transport. 

Muffin Melts
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

  • 12 slices bacon
  • 12 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 English muffins, split
Cooking Directions
  1. Fry the bacon slices until chewy and slightly crisp.
  2. Chop the bacon into pieces.
  3. Peel and cut the hard-boiled eggs into a rough chop.
  4. Add the cheese, bacon, eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce into a bowl and combine.
  5. Cut the English muffins in half and pile on the topping, evenly over the 12 sides of muffins.
  6. Broil for 3-4 minutes in the lower portion of your oven. The cheese should be melted.

April 21, 2014

Spring Break!

I thought I'd share with you a little of what our Spring Break looked like.  We didn't have any plans to go anywhere specifically so we just winged it.  We had so much fun, we should wing it all the time!

We started off with some Tiger action.  There is a little park in NC called "Tiger World" and they also just happened to be doing an Easter egg hunt so we brought our Easter basket to join in on the fun.  My daughter loved it!  She's a huge animal lover so this was right up her ally.

Tigers always make a good start to a vacation, in my opinion.

Next we learned how to roller skate.  OK, well my daughter learned and I tried to remember.  My husband picked it right back up but it took me a while.  By the end of the day my daughter and I were feeling much more confident about it.

There's no way I was going to post a picture of myself skating so this one will have to do. :)

Biltmore Estate, just magical.  This was the highlight of spring break for me.  I've wanted to come here for years and we finally made it. My daughter (who will be 6 in a month) did really well.  She even had her own audio tour gadget and followed along.  

Hard to believe that George Vanderbilt had so much land and such a big house for just one person to start out.  Even after he married and they had a daughter, this is a lot of house for three people. You've got to put this place on your to-do list one day.  Asheville is great town in a beautiful part of NC. 

This "little" ice cream sundae was called "Strawberry Fields".  Yea, it was about the size of my hand (with fingers spread out) and even though my husband didn't plan to have any….I needed help.  It was peach ice cream with whipped cream and strawberry drizzled over the top.  So.Good.

I couldn't help but take a picture of this shop.  I desperately wanted to buy something but the ice cream had done me in.  I will make it back here eventually. 

The gardens, just one of many actually.  There were several greenhouses too. Imagine coming back here at Christmas time when they have it all lit up!  I can't wait to see that!

One more of the side view of the house, walking the grounds.  I think we took this picture on our way to the Bass pond.  Yes, they have their own Bass pond. 

The rest of our vacation was just simple things like the park, farmers market and things like that.  We had a great break.  Now back to reality.  I hope you all enjoyed your time off (if you got time off).  I'm back in the kitchen so I'll post some yumminess soon!

April 18, 2014


Happy Good Friday everyone!  Easter is just around the corner so I thought I'd give you a fun idea to make with your kids.  This popover recipe was from my daughters cookbook "Cooking with Kids" from FamilyFun.  I know most of you out there probably don't have a popover pan and neither do I so I just used a cupcake pan instead.  I don't think they got as high as they would have with a regular popover pan but they tasted so good!  Just like I remember when my mom used to make them.

The outside was very flaky and the inside was sort of hollow and moist.  That's where you melt the butter and put the jam.  In case you were wondering.

My daughter had so much fun helping me, and that's what this recipe was all about anyway.  It's fun to get the kids in the kitchen with you.

From FamilyFun Cookbook "Cooking with Kids"

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
Cooking Directions
  1. Grease 6 muffin cups or a popover pan. Make sure to grease the rims too.
  2. In a medium bowl, or your stand mixer, whisk the eggs until frothy.
  3. Add the milk and whisk again.
  4. Next add the flour and the salt and whisk for 30 seconds, until smooth and lump free.
  5. Whisk in the melted butter and let the batter rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425º and put the rack in the center position.
  7. Whisk that batter once more just before pouring it into the prepared pan. Pouring the batter into a 2 cup measuring cup will make pouring easier.
  8. Fill each cup 2/3 full of batter.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes and then reduce the heat to 375º  (350º for dark pans) and bake for another 10 minutes. DO NOT open the door to check on them.
  10. The popovers should be golden brown when done. When they have been removed from the oven, use a sharp knife to poke a tiny hole in the tops to let the steam escape.
  11. Let them cool in the pan for a couple of minutes before removing them.
  12. Carefully tear open and top as desired.

April 16, 2014

Butter Mints

My daughter and I had a great time making these little mints.  Such pretty colors to work into the dough with your hands.  It was like play dough that you could eat!  These mints were a lot easier to make then I thought they'd be.  No banking necessary.  You will need a little bit of hand strength to work in the colors, but it's a fun process and we both enjoyed it!

If you've ever bought the butter mints from the store you know what these are.  Only, these are much better.  After my husband ate one he couldn't believe how "smooth" they were.  They literally melt in your mouth.  The mint flavor is just as you'd expect for an after dinner mint but not so strong that you taste mint for 20 minutes after eating one.  Just perfect.

By the way, this is the second recipe I've made from this cookbook I borrowed from the library and I truly love it.  If you're a baker and you love old time recipes this book is for you (this is not a paid endorsement). "The Back In The Day Cookbook" by Cheryl and Griffith Day.  So awesome, the photo's are fantastic and the recipes have been awesome. I have to go out and get my own copy. 

Butter Mints
Recipe from page 211 of "The Back In The Day Cookbook"

  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 7 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 Tbsp peppermint extract
  • liquid gel food coloring, choose 4 colors
Cooking Directions
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the butter and salt. Beat for 2 minutes.
  2. Add confectioners' sugar, sweetened condensed milk and peppermint extract. Mix on low until a dough forms. Add about 6 cups of the confectioners' sugar and mix before adding the last cup (you might not need it). The texture will be dry to the touch but should hold together in a ball.
  3. Remove the dough ball and separate into 4 equal pieces.
  4. Use the food coloring to drop one drop of each color on the four separate balls. Use your hands to knead the color into the dough, add more drops until the desired color is reached.
  5. Once the color you desire has been reached, roll the dough ball into a long rope about 1 inch in diameter. You can dust your work surface with confectioners' sugar if the dough is sticking to the work surface. Cut each dough rope into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces.
  6. Line a 9x13 inch dish with wax paper or parchment paper and layer each color using wax paper or parchment paper in between so they don't stick.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  8. The mints will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1 week.

April 14, 2014

Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests

I can hardly believe that Easter is right around the corner.  I'm not prepared, as usual.  I just thought these little cookies were so adorable I had to make them.  My daughter won't eat coconut but that's OK, I will. 

I love a good macaroon.  If you're coconut, there is nothing like a good chewy macaroon. Ton's of sweet coconut flavor which is already sweet enough, add the center of Nutella and top it with some candy eggs and you have got a very decadent treat. 

Adorable for your Easter table, even if the adults are the only one's eating them!

Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests

  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 bag Easter Egg Candy (I used Cadbury White Mini Eggs)
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325º
  2. Line two cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla and salt and stir together until smooth.
  4. Add the coconut and stir.
  5. Drop about two tablespoons of the mixture onto the cookie sheet. Use your thumb to make a hole in the middle and shape like a nest.
  6. Bake for 17 - 20 minutes, or until the coconut is turning golden brown. Remove and deepen the hole in the middle again. 
  7. Let sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. 
  8. Let the cookies cool all the way before decorating. 
  9. To decorate, add about a small amount of Nutella in the middle hole.  Top with eggs. Serve. 
  10. Store in an air-tight container on the counter. 

April 9, 2014

Balsamic Pepper Steak

It's almost the weekend!  In fact it's almost Spring Break.  Whether you have kids or not this should have some meaning for you.  It either means that you're going on vacation, trying to come up with something for the kids to do or avoiding all the places where kids will be.  We have no real plans.  I think we'll try to do a couple of day trips or plan some fun activities but nothing major.  I know several families heading off to Disney World.  Good luck with that, that is one place I would NOT want to be on spring break!

My husband and I are still attempting to improve the way we eat, and that includes doing as many whole foods as we can.  This marinade is fantastic, even if you have no idea what I mean when I say "whole food".  It's OK, this marinade is a winner. 

We didn't plan far enough in advance to marinate for hours, we marinated for like 1 hour.  Needless to say it was totally delish so I know that if I plan ahead next time and let it marinate overnight it will be even better.  We loved it.  Plenty of flavor.  I left it sort of rustic, more than the original recipe describes but we liked it that way and I would probably do it again that way.  Make it your own, you have to eat it after all!

Balsamic Pepper Steak
Recipe from The Saffron Girl

  • 4-5 cloves garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 steaks of your choice
Cooking Directions
  1. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic. I don't own a mortar and pestle so I did this whole process by hand.
  2. Add the peppercorns and crack.
  3. Add the rosemary and salt and grind together. I chopped the rosemary and left some in fairly good sized pieces.
  4. Add the olive oil and vinegar and mix well.
  5. Pour over the meat (I used steak tips), use the steak of your choice. Do this process in a resealable bag or a container with a tight fitting lid.
  6. Marinate overnight or for 4-5 hours.
  7. Grill to desired doneness.

April 7, 2014

BITD Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

Doesn't it seem like there is a constant quest for the perfect Chocolate Chip cookie?  I mean, while I was at the library the other day I saw an entire cookbook dedicated chocolate chip cookies and nothing else.  I'm sure it's not the only one of it's kind either.  Honestly, I'm not sure there is a perfect one.  It all depends on your personal preferences, doesn't it? Some people like crunchy best, some people like chewy, others like cake like cookies. Me? I like them all but my favorite are the chewy one's.

I found the coolest cookbook while at the library.  It's called "The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook" by Cheryl and Griffith Day.  I absolutely love it and plan to buy my own copy soon.  There are so many wonderful recipes and all I need is a good excuse to make one of them.  I didn't need an excuse to make these giant Chocolate Chip cookies however.  I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to put the dough onto the cookie sheet.

Sprinkled a tiny bit of sea salt over the top of the dough before baking.

And they baked up huge!  Not that that's a bad thing. The edges get nice and golden brown and the centers are still pale.  After cooling they were chewy and completely perfect in every way.  The Sea Salt just adds to the chocolate flavor.

I know I'll never find the best Chocolate Chip cookie in the world, there are just too many to choose from.  But, this cookie is the classic one for me.  Just like the name of the cookbook says, it's just like the one's I think of when I think of what I had as a kid. I thought the texture was perfect and the size just keeps me from having to go back for a second time.

Definitely a favorite of mine, and sure to be repeated.

BITD Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from "Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook"

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large whole eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Fluer de sel for sprinkling
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Line 1 or 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
  3. Place the oven rack in the lower 3rd of your oven. 
  4. In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and sea salt.  Set aside. 
  5. In the bowl of your stand mixer mix the butter and the sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. 3-5 minutes. 
  6. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on low, but don't beat for more than 1 minute.  It will not look incorporated. 
  7. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix well.
  8. Add the chocolate chips and beat on low until just incorporated. 
  9. Use a large ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Slightly push the dough ball down with the palm of your hand and sprinkle a little Fluer de sel over the top. 
  10. Bake for 15-18 minutes.  The edges should be golden but the cents should be light colored. 
  11. Let rest for a minute before moving to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. 
  12. Will last in an airtight container at room temperature for about 3 days. 

April 4, 2014

Dinner Club: Theme - Kosher/Israeli

Our lovely and talented host this month was Lisette.  She is the one who chose Kosher/Israeli as the theme, a theme I was not familiar with.  I'm overjoyed with the theme because not only was it something new for us all to try but it tasted amazing.  This is definitely one of my new favorite types of food.  There wasn't one single thing that I tried that I didn't like.  

Thank you Lisette for hosting!  She made two delicious dishes, one was the kebabs you see above. So good. She made both beef and lamb varieties and they were so tasty.  Ton's of flavor, tender and dipped in the cucumber sauce she made was the perfect compliment.  Great job!

Kofta Kebabs
Recipe from AllRecipes

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or beef)
  • 3 Tbsp onion, grated
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 28 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes.
Cooking Directions
  1. Mash the garlic into a paste using a mortar and pestle or the side of a chefs knife.
  2. Mix the garlic in with the ground lamb and add the the spices. 
  3. Form the mixture into 28 balls.  Slide each ball onto a skewer and flatten into a 2" oval. 
  4. Place all the skewers into a baking dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. 
  5. Heat a grill (indoor or outdoor) to medium heat and lightly oil the grates. 
  6. Cook the skewers until they reach the desired doneness.  About 6 minutes per side for medium. 

Lisette also made this yummy Israeli Salad.  Very refreshing.  The dressing was very light and not over powering and the veggies were crisp and cold.  The couscous added another texture.  Loved this side dish. 
Israeli Salad
Recipe modified slightly from "The Shiksa in the Kitchen"

  • 1 pound cucumbers, diced
  • 1 pound fresh tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 cup onion, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup Israeli Couscous, cooked
Cooking Directions
  1. Place all the vegetables, couscous and the parsley in a large bowl.
  2. Use a whisk to mix the olive oil and lemon juice and pour it over the top of the salad, mix well.
  3. Season with salt and serve at room temperature or chill and serve cold.

Lynn T. brought these amazing Knishes.  I'd never had a Knish before and my first experience with them was true love.  You dip them in some deli mustard first and it was A-MAZING. This was dish number 1 that Lynn brought.  

In case you're wondering, a Knish is a dough filled with a potato onion mixture in this case.  You can either fry them or bake them and I can't wait to make them for my family to try. 
Potato Knish

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold tap water
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 1/2 pound Idaho or Russet potato, boiled and mashed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
Cooking Directions

To make the potato filling: boil the peeled potatoes until they are tender.  Remove from the heat and mash them up.  Incorporate the sautéed onion, salt and pepper.  The mixture will be thick but if you feel they are too thick you can add a spoonful or two of water. You will need about 3 cups of mashed potatoes. Let cool.

To make the dough: 
  1. Combine flour, salt and turmeric in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl beat eggs with the water, oil and vinegar. 
  3. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour the egg mixture in it.  Work together until a nice soft dough forms. 
  4. Knead for one minute. 
  5. Wrap the dough in some floured plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. 
  6. Cut the dough in half and work with one half while the other half stays in the refrigerator. 
  7. Roll the dough out thin on a lightly floured surface. Stretch the dough in your hands being careful to avoid making holes.  It should be nice and elastic. 
  8. Cut the dough into 8 even sized squares. 
  9. Fill each dough square with an even amount of the potato filling and seal the edges.
To Bake: 
Preheat the oven to 350-375º. Place the oven rack in the top portion of your oven. Brush the filled knish's with egg wash (1 beaten egg and 2 Tbsp water). Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden. 

To Fry:
Heat 1/4 to 1/3" oil in a skillet.  When the oil is hot (test my placing the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil, if it bubbles around the wooden handle, then it's ready).  You might need to adjust the temperature so that the oil doesn't get too hot. Place the knish's in the oil two at a time. They take about 1 minute on each side, until golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Wendy S. brought this cold salad, it was apples and cinnamon goodness along with a bunch of other flavors.  You don't see many recipes were you grate an apple but we all really liked the texture and flavors.  Thanks Wendy!
Recipe from Wolfgang Puck

  • 6 cups Granny Smith apples, cored and grated
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup kosher for Passover sweet red wine
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, mix well and serve.

Lynn's second dish was this amazing dessert.  Just look at it, almost too good to eat. Almost. Flavored with orange this was a delicous cake.  The texture was moist with a hint of the olive oil used.  It was another first for me and I loved it! 
Orange Olive Oil Cake
Recipe from Food Network by Melissa d'Arabian

  • Butter, for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/4 cups + more for the pans all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced (3 Tbsp juice, 1 Tbsp zest)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • confectioners' sugar for dusting
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  3. Use the bowl of a stand mixer (or a hand mixer) and add the sugar and eggs. Mix until light and smooth. Add the orange juice and zest and mix well.
  4. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  5. Add the flour mixture little by little to the wet ingredients in the mixer bowl. Mix on low, just until incorporated.
  6. Pour the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Everyone loved this meatball that was brought by Amber.  Amber is actually a new member to dinner club so we loved having an opportunity to catch up with her and found out what an amazing cook she is.  My husband will love this meatball and I plan to make it for him soon.

The Pomegranate glaze was sweet and tangy at the same time.  Perfect!  Thanks Amber and see you at the next event!

Spinach Beef Meatballs with Pomegranate Glaze
Recipe from Kosher in the Kitch

  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp montreal steak seasoning
  1. Sautee the onion and garlic in olive oil. When soft and cooked through, add the spinach and cook until warmed through. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the ground beef and the garlic and onion, mix. 
  3. Add the eggs, bread crumbs and seasonings and mix well. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 400º
  5. Shape the meat mixture into 1" balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. 
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden. 
  7. Serve with rice, or quinoa and the Pomegranate glaze below. 

Pomegranate Glaze

  • 1 cup Pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp water
Cooking Directions
  1. Bring the ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan, then simmer until the glaze has thickened.

It was a night of many first for everyone, but I was particularly intrigued by this cake that Emily brought.  I asked her what was in it and she strolled through several items you would not normally have just sitting around your kitchen so I couldn't wait to sample it.

The thing I liked most about this cake was how the syrup used on top just sort of made a candy like, chewy bite.  The flavor was so amazing, I really don't know how to describe it.  It's something you really have to experience.  I truly loved this one, thanks Emily!


  • 2 1/2 cups coarse semolina
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 200 grams (7/8 cup) thick yogurt
  • 200 grams (7/8 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 25-30 blanched almonds
  • milk if needed
  • 330 grams (1 1/2 cups) sugar
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rosewater
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Mix the first seven ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mixture should be quite stiff but you can add a little milk if needed.
  3. Spread mixture into a buttered 30x25x5 inch baking tray.
  4. Cut into diamond shapes, pressing hard.
  5. Place an almond in the center of each diamond shape.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. While the cake is baking, make the syrup:  Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stir until the sugar has dissolved. 
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes without stirring. 
  9. Stir in the lemon juice and rosewater and remove from the heat, let cool. 
  10. Pour the syrup over the cake while the cake is still hot.  Let cool before serving. 

Melissa Y. brought this yummy appetizer.  No recipe needed here.  It's just a plain bagel smeared with cream cheese and topped with salmon. I believe that smoked salmon was used in this case, found in the meat department of the grocery store. I am quite a fan of salmon so this was right up my ally. It had me craving bagels and lox for days after….

This recipe was my contribution to the night.  I had never heard of these before but I found a recipe on Pinterest on a board labeled Israeli food.  I was thrilled with how they turned out.  It's a pretty basic recipe of making a dough in the food processor.  Keeping it cold and then rolling it out and filling it with a luscious cheese and egg mixture.

The finished Borreka was delicious.  The crust was buttery and soft, the filling was cheesy and flavorful.  I will make them again for sure, great to bring to a party or just to have at home.  

Cheese Borrekas

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, diced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 Tbsp ice cold water
  • 5 ounces cheddar, shredded
  • 6 ounces Feta, crumbled
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten separately
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • sesame seeds
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine the flour, butter and salt in your food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and cold water.  Pour into the flour mixture. Pulse until a dough forms. 
  3. Lightly flatten the dough, wrap in in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
  4. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350º.
  5. Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, combine the cheddar, feta, 1 beaten egg and salt. Stir to combine. 
  6. When the dough has cooled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch. 
  7. Use a glass or cookie cutter to cut 3 1/2 inch circles. 
  8. Use about a 1-2 tsp of filling per dough round.  Fold over the dough and make a half moon shape.  Crimp the eyes using your fingers or a fork. (A fork works best).
  9. Brush the tops of the Borrekas with the beaten egg and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  
  10. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 
I'd also like to thank Lisa F for coming and bringing Challah bread.  I'd never had Challah bread before either but it's sweet and dense and delicious.  Someone mentioned that it makes great french toast and I cannot wait to try that!  

On another note, we had an assortment of wines available at dinner that night.  Lynn told us that her family mixes half sweet red wine with half cream soda so we all tried it.  It was amazing!  Really, who'd have ever thought those two things would be good together? Just goes to show you that you can learn so much from other nationalities (or just from your neighbors)!  I can't wait to see what the next dinner club brings us! Thanks for participating everyone!

April 2, 2014

Secret Buffalo Wing Sauce

It's not uncommon in my house for either my husband or I to just have a sudden wing craving.  We love them!  Some nights you just gotta have wings and they are so easy it seems silly not to cave in an make them.  Granted, this recipe does require a small amount of time to throw the sauce recipe together, but it's very likely that you have all of the ingredients on hand AND it doesn't need that much time to simmer.  I had the wings and sauce done in about 30 minutes or less.

This isn't your typical wing sauce, in lots of ways it isn't typical but it's so very flavorful.  I found myself wishing I had some bread to sop of up leftover sauce with.  It's not spicy so I gave some to my daughter to try and sadly, but predictably, she didn't like it.  But she doesn't like anything.

Feel free to spice yours up by adding more hot sauce or some minced jalapeño. I truly loved this sauce, it's got a lot of butter in it so that's probably one reason I loved it, but it's also got a lot of complex flavors that melted together so nicely.

I will absolutely make this recipe again.  No doubt about it!

Secret Buffalo Wing Sauce
Recipe from Food Network Sierra's Grandma's Secret Buffalo Wing Sauce

  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 5 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano, fresh or dried
  • dash beer
  • dash hot sauce (I used Franks)
Cooking Directions
  1. This recipe is enough for about 20 pieces of cooked chicken wings.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar.
  3. Use a whisk and add the remaining ingredients, adding the beer last to taste.
  4. Cook over low heat until smooth and the flavors have melded, about 10 minutes or so.
  5. Pour over cooked chicken, stir to coat and serve hot.