Month: March 2013

Don’t pass over Passover desserts..and hey, they are all dairy free!

Move over disgusting jelly rolls and dusty cookies!  Here are 3 fantastic recipes.  CMC, you know which one is yours!

try to eat just one

try to eat just one

Secret Weapon Merengue Cookies

1 cup  melted chocolate chips or any other semi-sweet chocolate

2 egg whites

½ cup sugar

½ tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt chocolate chips.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until foamy. Add sugar slowly while beating and beat until peaks form (I don’t always succeed in getting peaks, and it doesn’t matter).  Add vanilla and vinegar. Fold in chocolate.

Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake 10 minutes. Cool on rack. Devour.

“Oatmeal” Cookies

These are so good you may decide to make them all year long.

2 cups matzoh meal

2 cups matzoh farfel

1 – ½ cups sugar

2/3 cups oil ( you can reduce a bit and replace with orange juice if you want to cut fat)

4 eggs

2 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

½ cup raisins and/or chocolate chips

combine everything, drop onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 30 – 35 minutes.

If you want to make these “biscotti”, add some orange rind, bake in logs, cut after 15 minutes and dust with cinnamon and sugar.

Finally,…I usually don’t like Nigella, but this recipe is a winner:

this photo is crying for drizzled chocolate!

this photo is crying for drizzled chocolate!

Nigella’s Cinnamon Almond Cake

Don’t worry – the cake comes out of the oven very high but eventually falls to about a 1” thick with a wonderful moist texture and almond paste taste.

8 egg whites

3/4 cup fruit sugar*

a few drops almond extract 9optional)

grated zest of 1/2 orange

1/2 cup mild olive oil

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1 tsp baking powder (yes it is fine for Passover or omit)

3/4 cup sliced almonds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp Passover-friendly icing sugar (approx)

* You can buy fruit sugar – sometimes called instant blending – or make it by processing granulated sugar about a minute in the food processor.

1. In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk egg whites until opaque and start to hold their shape. Slowly add sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny. Beat in almond extract (if using) and zest.

2. Combine almond flour and baking powder. Add oil and almond flour alternately in three additions each whisk after each addition.

3. Pour mixture into a greased 9″ springform pan that has been lined with parchment paper on the bottom. Combine almonds with cinnamon and sprinkle over the top.

4. Bake in a preheated 350F oven 35 to 40 minutes (start checking at 30) until top has risen and is set, almonds are golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

5. Cool cake on a rack. When cool, open the sides and cool completely before removing cake.

6. Push or shake icing sugar through a small strainer over the cake, or do it my way, and drizzle melted chocolate over the top!

Makes 10 to 12 slices

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And I’m back.

Ok, it has been a while. I have experienced what experts call “February”. Symptoms include lack of creativity and a sense of humour. Thankfully it can be cured with a dose of Israel with a side of London.

North Americans do some things well. Even really well. But we need some international assistance in the hotel breakfast department. Sorry Germans, your salty meat displays don’t count. The Brits try hard, but offal before noon is a bit hard core for me.

I’m talking about salads, that although on first glance seem questionable at 7 a.m. are the perfect way to start the day, mixed in with a blob of labne topped with zataar, beside a mini frying pan of shakshuka. All that salad goodness certainly justifies a rugellach or 3 to follow! Funny how that halva is cut in the perfect size to grab as you waddle from the breakfast room…..

That is a breakfast of champions

That is a breakfast of champions

How can cukes, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon and salt taste that good?

How can cukes, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon and salt taste that good?

Here’s a recipe in case you still need convincing:

Shakshuka

images-1 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups ripe diced tomatoes, or 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6 eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional, for garnish)

 

Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium. Slowly warm olive oil in the pan. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.

Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste, and stir till blended. Add spices and stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences.

Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. Place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the centre. The eggs will cook “over easy” style on top of the tomato sauce.

Cover the pan. Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn’t reduce too much, which can lead to burning. (You can put it into a 350 degree oven if you want to, as long as your pot and lid are oven-safe)

If you prefer your eggs runnier, let the sauce reduce for a few minutes before cracking the eggs on top then, cover the pan and cook the eggs to taste.

Garnish with the chopped parsley, if desired.

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