Archive for June, 2010

This is sweet, delicious and fresh. Choose different colored vegetables to make a beautiful dish.

This is especially good if you belong to a CSA and wind up with odds and ends like kohlrabi in your ‘fridge. Just julienne the kohlrabi, yellow squash, and carrots, then throw in some sliced cabbage and sweet onion.

Heat up about a tablespoon of olive oil, add the onion and cook until soft, then stir in the rest. After about 2 minutes add about 2 Tbs. of water, cover and let steam for another 2 or 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Read Full Post »

When you have a taste for a chocolatey cookie and you want it fast—this is the recipe to try.

These have to be the easiest cookies to make, and with only 5 ingredients you can enjoy them warm from the oven in about 20 minutes. This also makes a terrific starter recipe for young cooks.

Peanut Butter Balls

Mix together the following ingredients, then form into 1″ balls, place on an un-greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.

  • 1 c. peanut butter
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c. mini (or regular sized) chocolate  chips

Read Full Post »

From The Moosewood Cookbook, Kristina's Potato Salad is not your mother's potato salad.

Nephew Ben phoned this afternoon to say that he would be stopping by for dinner tonight, and bringing his Australian girlfriend, Rachel, for us to meet. I’d hate for Rachel to take the next boat home because our family doesn’t eat well, so I promised them a nice meal of potato salad and fruit. They politely said that potato salad sounded fine, and then they saw this platter and had a taste. “This is the best potato salad I’ve ever had,” said Rachel, whose mother is a gourmet cook.

This should be named vegetable salad, since it has more carrots, cucumber, tomato, parsley, alfalfa sprouts and peas than is does potatoes. Served on a bed of fresh spinach, and garnished with hard-boiled eggs and toasted sesame seeds, all you need to complete this exceptional meal is some good rolls and a platter of fresh melon.

The recipe can be found on-line by doing a search for Kristina’s Potato Salad.

Read Full Post »

Potato knishes, blueberry buns and knishes with sesame seeds.

It takes a village to make knishes and buns.

The thing that I possibly love best about being Jewish is the food—the passing down of recipes, the sharing within our community, and the beauty of the culinary traditions. Some of them are so odd and involve an acquired taste: my grandmother slapping the board with whiskey to make her Passover candy, the cleaning of the fish bones to make gefilte fish and boiling up the broth we call yuch, and the tradition of cooking with chicken fat or schmaltz.

Blogging, apparently has broadened my community. I had never heard of blueberry buns until I received a comment last week from a woman named Irene Saiger, telling me of her family’s tradition of taking challah dough and filling it with sugared fresh blueberries. She invited me to try her recipe: click here for a link to that.

I couldn’t imagine why our family had never tried this, so I made them today. And since I was going to the effort of filling circles of rolled out challah I decided to make some potato knishes as well. A potato knish is another kind of challah bun, this one savory, stuffed with mashed potatoes. At their best they are made with chicken fat—schmaltz—both as part of the mashed potatoes as well as brushed onto the dough before baking. My mother always had chicken fat on hand. She would tear it off of the chicken every week and keep a bag full in the freezer, along with chicken livers, saving both until she had enough of each to make chopped liver. Years ago I started saving up chicken fat in the freezer. But I never used it for anything. Today I found the bag but it was, well, rancid. My kind neighbor, Bev, volunteered to stop by the store and pick up a fat chicken for me. And then I thought of Ben, five houses down, who loves to make his own chicken stock and matzo balls with schmaltz. “Ben,” I asked, “Do you, by any chance, have any chicken fat in your freezer?” “I have a jar in the refrigerator, still fresh. I’ll bring it right over,” he said.

What are the odds of finding a neighbor in the middle of east central Illinois with a jar of schmaltz in their fridge?

If you’d enjoy the recipe, please visit the Apple iTunes store to download my app, iNosh. Here’s the link for that:


I’m donating half of the proceeds to Mazon, A Jewish Response to Hunger.

And here’s a preview of some of the content on the app. For now, it’s only available for iPad users.

iNosh blog ad v2

Read Full Post »

Burritos topped with sour cream and salsa, garnished with fresh cilantro and served with corn and watermelon.

I got into the habit of buying canned refried beans, but tonight I set myself straight and made them from scratch. It was surprisingly easy and, not surprisingly, tasted fresh and light since I used far less oil than one finds in the canned beans.

Refried Beans

  • 1 lb. dried pinto beans
  • 2 Tbs. oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, slivered, to cook with the beans
  • salt to taste
  • cumin (optional)
  • more fresh garlic, crushed, to taste (1-2 cloves)
  • cayenne (if you like it spicy)

Put the beans, 2 tsp. salt and 3 cloves of slivered garlic up to cook, covering them in 3-4 inches of water. Boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 2 hours, or until soft. Drain the beans, reserving 2 cups of the liquid.

Heat oil in a sturdy pan, saute onion until soft then add beans and mash them with a potato masher while cooking over a low heat. Add the reserved liquid, as needed, until the beans are the desired consistency. Taste, then add salt and 1-2 cloves crushed garlic. If you like it more spicy add cumin and cayenne to taste.

Read Full Post »

Breaded and pan fried talapia.

This is a simple breading to use as an alternative to bread crumbs.

Fish breading

  • 1 c. matzo meal
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. corn meal

Rinse off your fish fillets, and dredge them right into the breading (no need to dip in an egg if you don’t want to). Season with some salt, pepper, dill weed and garlic powder, then fry them up in a little hot oil.

Read Full Post »

On the summer solstice, just at the end of the long day, I headed out to the blueberry farm with my friend and my son. I like to take Max along since he is able to pick at my pace, doubling our take. The blueberry farm was serene, and as dusk came the fireflies became visible, creating a magical image. For those in the area, the berries are just now becoming ripe at Pontious Farm.

In return for Max’s labors I promised him a blueberry pie, which I wound up baking at 10:00 pm, but that’s what summer’s for.

Blueberry Pie

For the filling:

  • 4 c. fresh blueberries
  • 1 c. sugar (scant)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 c. cold water
  • 3/4 c. hot water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine 1/2 c. blueberries, cornstarch mixture and hot water in a small pan. Cook over low heat, using the spoon to crush the berries against the side of the pan, and stirring constantly until the mixture gets thick and dark. Stir in the lemon juice and pour this mixture over the remaining blueberries.

For the crust:

  • 2-1/2 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. Crisco
  • 7 Tbs. cold water

Cut butter and Crisco into dry ingredients. Toss in water and form into a ball. Divide into two. Roll out half for bottom, pour in filling. Roll out second ball of dough and place over filling. Prick with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, then remove pie and form a foil collar around edge of crust. Return to oven for 15-20 more minutes.

If you can stand it, let the pie cool before cutting, or it will be very runny. It will firm up after it’s cool.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »