Jun 12, 2018

Rhubarb in Your Garden or Your Farmers Market

It's prime time for Rhubarb!
If you are like me you might have looked askance at "pie plant", or let the rosy stalks from your neighbor's garden wilt in the fridge while you put off cooking them.
Have I got a recipe for you!
Its a delicious, easy-bake  cake that everyone loves, and it is perfect for dessert, brunch, snacks or afternoon tea. After rhubarb season it's delicious with any fruit-- try peaches, blueberries, raspberries (fresh or frozen). I reduced the sugar a bit (to 3/4 cup) because I like the tangy rhubarb, but make it with a cup of sugar if you like it sweeter.

  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (whole milk is best) or buttermilk
  • 1 stick softened butter 
  • 3/4 to 1 cup  granulated sugar plus 2 tsp for sprinkling (or sprinkle with demerara sugar)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, (save 1 Tbsp to toss with rhubarb)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
  1. Cream the soft butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  2. Toss 1 Tbsp of the flour with the rhubarb and toss well.
  3. Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and blend in. Add the yogurt, and blend in. Finally add the rest of the flour and blend just until combined, don't over mix. Fold in the rhubarb. Note: the batter is on the thick side.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top evenly with a good layer of sugar. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the cake golden and a toothpick in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it (moist crumbs are fine.)
  6. Let the cake cool slightly before cutting.

May 4, 2018

Grammy's Cheesecake

Grammy’s Cheesecake

According to my longtime friend, Amy Cahners, this is the best cheesecake ever.
You might have to place an order on Amazon for the Zweiback crackers if you want to try the real thing, or else  substitute Graham Crackers.

2 boxes (12 pieces) Zweiback rolled into crumbs (can substitute graham cracker crumbs but they’re not as good)
Add 1 stick melted butter
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Mix in a spring-form until wet
Press along bottom and sides

2 lbs. cream cheese
4 eggs separated
½ - 1 pint all-purpose (heavy) cream ( or whipping cream)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in milk
½ teaspoon lemon juice

In an electric mixer, cream the cheese until smooth.
Add sugar gradually.  Beat until smooth.
Add egg yolks. Beat until smooth.
Add cornstarch mixture.
Beat cream partially in a separate bowl.
Add to mixture.
Beat egg whites until stiff.
Add to mixture by hand with lemon juice.
Pour into spring-form.

Bake at 225° for 1½ hours.  Turn off heat.  Do not open door.  Leave in oven for 1 more hour.
Bake at 250° for 1 hour.  Turn off heat.  Do not open door.  Leave in oven for 1 more hour.

This is what made Harriet Schwartz famous.

Apr 6, 2018

Fudgy Olive Oil Brownies for Passover or Any Time

Passover Fudgy Olive Oil Brownies

·       4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
·       1/3 cup Olive Oil,
·       1/2 cup dark brown sugar
·       1/4 cup granulated sugar
·       2 eggs
·       1/2 cup matzo cake meal
·       2 tsp vanilla
·       1 tsp salt
·       1 1/4 cups chocolate chips, milk or semi sweet
·       *optional 1-2 Tbsp coarse sea salt for sprinkling
1.     Preheat oven to 350
2.     Line an 8×8 pan with foil and spray lightly with baking spray
3.     In a large bowl, combine your melted chocolate and olive oil.
4.     Whisk in eggs, sugars and vanilla until combined.
5.     Add in cake meal and salt and stir until incorporated.
6.     Fold in chocolate chips.
7.     Spread in prepared pan and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired.
8.     Bake approx 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted 1″ away from the edge comes out clean, and the center is still slightly soft.
9.     Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Dec 5, 2017

The Best Latke Recipe, and Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats

Time For Hanukkah Treats! Decorate with abandon! Stave off mid winter blues with Empty Carbs!
  Of Course, there are those who would object to the kinds of decorations I have come to love: but hey, why shouldn't Hanukkah be pretty? Like this Coconut Cake with a tiny Menorah, and blue M&Ms

Ina Garten Coconut Cake, Hanukkah Version
Hanukkah Cookies

Time for Fun and Family, Friends, and FOOD!

The Best Latkes
Under the influence of GG and Grandpa we learned, decadently, to love eating masses of them with creme fraiche and gravlax and caviar.

6 medium potatoes, scrubbed, peeled
1 onion
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
fresh pepper.
(serves about 6)
Using the shredding blade of a food processor, shred the potatoes. Set colander in the sink to drain.
Grate or finely chop onion, mix in eggs, salt and pepper.
Squeezing out as much liquid as you can, put half the shredded potatoes in with the onions and eggs, and return the other half to the food processor with the steel blade, and pulse a few times.
Mix the chopped potatoes in with the rest, add flour, and mix well.

Heat about 2 1/2 inches of wesson oil in a large frying pan, and heat the oil till smoking. Drop a bit of the mixture in, it should sizzle like crazy.

Add tablespoons of the mixture into the pan, allowing the oil to come back to temperature. Turn occasionally with a slotted spoon, and cook until they are nut-brown.

Drain on brown paper bags over a rack, and sprinkle liberally with Kosher Salt. Keep latkes warm until the batch is done on baking pans, lined with paper towels in a 225 degree oven.
Serve with Creme Fraiche, Applesauce, and Gravlax (make your own with this recipe).

"Salted Caramel" Rice Krispie Treats

Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats (Vegetarian)
One of the blogs that I avidly follow is called Smitten Kitchen, and I remembered seeing a recipe for these there. I have adapted it substituting Vegan Marshmallows, and Brown Rice breakfast cereal, but I invite you to try it. If you have blue sanding sugar and want to decorate with it, shake it on top of the pan while the "treats" are still warm.

1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag vegan marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal or Puffed Brown Rice Cereal
Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square "brownie pan"

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.
As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.
Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with Colored Sugar if desired

Nov 21, 2017

Cranberry Orange Sauce with Agave Nectar (Thanksgiving Healthy)

Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce with Agave

If you are like me, sometime into your Thanksgiving Cooking you realize the shocking amount of sugar that you are putting into your food. So, when I started making my cranberry relish, I realized that I could easily "lose" that four cups of sugar right there. The sauce was decidedly less sweet than the one we are used to, and in the end, I stirred in a swig of Pomegranate Molasses, but it is totally optional. I think this is really good, if you are looking for a healthier bite of Thanksgiving.

4 cups fresh Cranberries
1 orange (preferably organic) washed well, seeded, and chopped in a food processor
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup Agave Nectar
1-2 cinnamon sticks

optional: a Tablespoon or 2 of Pomegranate Molasses, a Tablespoon or 2 of Grand Marnier,  Cognac, Brandy, Orange Liqueur.

Put all ingredients except brandy into a heavy saucepan and cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until berries pop. Remove from heat, stir in liquor if using. Chill.

Nov 12, 2017

Thanksgiving Do Ahead Tips (also for Latkes)

I've gotten quite a few calls today about what you can do ahead of time if you are cooking Thanksgiving, and how to optimally store the do-aheads.

Here are some tips that work well for me:


4 Days Before Thanksgiving - Start Thawing The Turkey Now:
Thawing the Turkey: If you're bought a frozen turkey, you'll need to start thawing it.
Every 5 pounds of turkey will require 24 hours of thaw time in the refrigerator (i.e., a 15-pound bird will take 3 full days). Start defrosting the frozen turkey in the coldest part of the refrigerator, in the back. A slow thaw equals a juicy and moist turkey.
NEVER DEFROST TURKEY AT ROOM TEMPERATURE - bacteria multiplies at room temperature. Another REASON TO BUY AN ORGANIC BIRD

Following information on thawing turkeys from the National Turkey Federation:
Refrigerator Turkey Thawing Time (40 degrees F)
Turkey Weight
Days to Allow for Thawing Turkey
8 to 12 pounds
2 to 2.5 days
12 to 16 pounds
2.5 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds
4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds
5 to 6 days
Emergency Thawing Only: If you need to thaw the turkey more quickly, you may thaw the bird in COLD water, in the original wrapping. The cold water must be changed every 30 minutes. Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound using this method. This is not my favorite method as it is a last-minute hassle and does dry out the turkey.
COLD Water Turkey Thawing Time
Turkey Weight
Hours to Allow for Thawing Turkey
8 to 12 pounds
4 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds
6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds
8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds
10 to 12 hours

What can you do before Thanksgiving?

  • A few days before Thanksgiving, iron table linens, designate serving platters, and clean and polish your glassware and silver. Set the table if you can.
  • Order, buy, and arrange flowers or other centerpiece and decorations. Save a few blooms to decorate platters and serving bowls.
  • Make cranberry sauce and refrigerate. You can also make cranberry chutney and applesauce several days ahead and store tightly closed in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare other sauces, jellies, and dressings; store in the refrigerator.
  • Purchase, wash and cut up vegetables that you will use for your stuffing and side dishes. Chop onions, celery,carrots, parsley etc. and store in zip-lock plastic bags. Chop bunches of herbs and wrap in a damp paper towel inside a plastic zip lock bag in the freezer.


  • You can make pies up to a month in advance, and freeze. After assembling, put the entire unbaked pie — greased tin and all — into a loose-fitting plastic bag and seal tightly. Transfer it to the refrigerator the night before baking to thaw, and the next day you’ll have a fresh baked pie on your table in the hour it takes to bake it up fresh.
  • Make pie crust pastry up to 5 days ahead and store, well wrapped in the refrigerator. Make the dough, and roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper. Fold up the parchment paper around the pastry and double wrap in plastic wrap. Let it warm up a bit before you start to assemble your pie.
  • Cookies can be made up to a month ahead. You can make the dough and freeze, Or portion your cookies right on baking sheets, and freeze until hard, then place the individual cookies on parchment lined baking sheets and bake whenever you want. Rolled and cut cookies like sugar cookies can be baked ahead and frozen in airtight tupperware containers, and iced and decorated before serving.

Bake up to five days ahead. Cool well, and wrap well in plastic. Keep at room temperature (think fruitcake) they actually improve.

Vegetable soups can be easily frozen if they don't have cream or eggs, Making them an excellent trick. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat the soup before serving, and thin as necessary before serving if it has thickened too much. Be sure to leave enough space in the container you freeze in. Soup can be frozen in heavy duty ziplock freezer bags.

Turkey Gravy can be made up to five days ahead. When you heat it up, correct the seasoning, and add any pan drippings you have accumulated.

If you are using kale or cabbage or sturdy greens you can clean and cut them up in advance. Otherwise, I don't really recommend making salads ahead, because-- well, because they are supposed to be FRESH!

You can make hummus, eggplant dip and the like a day or two ahead. Marinate a bunch of olives with good olive oil and some herbs de provence, and a shake of red pepper.

Potato Dishes that cook in casserole pans- like our FAVORITE PRALINE SWEET POTATOES can be assembled a day ahead and put in to cook before the meal. Watch carefully when you are juggling a lot of dishes in the half hour before the meal, because the pecan topping can burn easily. Have some parchment handy to lay over the top if its browning too fast.

Because of, well, you know what, you might have to be dealing with latkes too. Make Latkes (or the given sweet potato variety) ahead. Cool, and freeze individually on cookie sheets until hard. For reheating: Put frozen latkes on cookie sheets into a 375 degree oven, turning frequently until crisp and hot. Keep warm on paper towels in a warming drawer if you have one or a 225 oven.

Mashed potatos can be made ahead by boiling them 2 or more hours before the meal, and leaving them in the warm water. then mash at the last minute with olive oil, pepper and sea salt. I love a handful of whatever fresh herbs you have leftover- parsley, a bit of sage, chives, celery tops, scallions.

Thanksgiving. New Traditions: Second Dessert

Blueberry Crumb, Apple Lattice, Perfect Pecan

Henry's Famous Smoked Turkey

Of course its your favorite holiday!
Browse the links below to some of our favorite recipes, or check the column of "tags" on the right edge of the blog for more ideas.
One of our favorite "New Traditions" (is that an oxymoron?) is "Second Dessert". Second Dessert solves two problems at once.
First, keeping kosher means that your Thanksgiving pie crusts will not be made with butter, and will not be served with whipped cream or ice cream. (And might contain nasty margarine/transfat/stuff).
Second, you know how after you finish all the yummy dinner, you kind of feel too full for dessert, but then you kind of start scrounging around for a snack a couple hours later.
So, our tradition has become: Dinner (at 5-ish), a light dessert for those who want it (apple cake, a brownie, some fruit). We continue on to a lively game of Charades, Trivial Pursuit, or Guitar Hero.
Then some time later (consult your Rabbi or the most "Jewy" in your crowd for the specific time frame), Dig into a rich, non-pareve, whipped cream garnished dessert.

Hey, all traditions had to start somewhere.

Indian Pudding
4 cups milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
grated fresh nutmeg to taste
1 tsp. salt
1 cup molasses
1 tsp. grated orange peel
Vanilla ice cream
Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan over low heat, scald milk and sugar. Gradually stir in the cornmeal. Cook and stir constantly until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs, cinnamon, ginger, molasses, nutmeg, and orange peel. Mix thoroughly. Pour into greased 2-quart casserole. Bake 1 1/2 hours. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Makes 6 servings.