Friday, March 18, 2016

Mini Tiramisu in a Bowl










I love Tiramisu, and these mini Tiramisu's make amazing  food gifts as well as Purim Mishloach Manots.


MINI TIRAMISU IN BOWL
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Total Time: 2.5 hour to overnight  | Serves 6 |  Dairy


INGREDIENTS


 INSTRUCTIONS

2 -3 cups strong plunger quality coffee, cooled to room temp

3 tablespoons Tia Maria
or coffee liqueur of choice


3 eggs, separated

1⁄3 cup fine sugar 

250 g mascarpone cheese
or cream cheese softened with
2-3 tbsp of heavy cream


1 cup heavy cream
(anything that will hold the peaks)


250 g ladyfingers - I used Vicenzovo brand

TOPPING
cocoa powder, for dusting











1.  Prepare your 2-3 cups of coffee, set aside and allow to cool.

2.  Put the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with electric mixers until the mixture goes pale and thick. Add mascarpone and beat until combined. 

3.  Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks hold, and fold gently into the mascarpone mixture.

4.  Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, ensure your bowl is perfectly clean. If there is any grease, it won't whip properly. Fold the whites into the mixture as well.

5.  Mix in the liqueur into the coffee. Dip each biscuits in coffee one at a time - as fast as possible (this is key) you want to avoid overly softened lady fingers. 

6.  Layer in your bowls or containers, covering the whole bottom.

7. Top with spoon fulls of mascarpone and spread out evenly.

8. Repeat with remaining biscuits and mascarpone, finishing with a creamy layer. Smooth the surface and dust with cocoa using a fine mesh sieve or strainer.

9. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

NOTE: These freeze great as well. Wrap them up beautifully and they make wonderful gifts or desserts on-the-go.

Tiramisu Truffles









One of my favorite desserts are coffee flavored ones. So a Purim truffle mishloach manot basket would not be the same without a coffee or espresso flavored one. So I opted for this white chocolate Tiramisu Truffle recipe for all those coffee lovers out there.


TIRAMISU TRUFFLES
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Total Time: 6 hours-overnight  | Serves 24-30 |  Dairy


INGREDIENTS


 INSTRUCTIONS

GANACHE


8 oz white chocolate

½ cup mascarpone cheese
(at room temperature,
not melted)
OR
2 tbsp of heavy cream mixed
into 1/2 cup of cream cheese
(at room temperature as well).


2 tsp Tia Maria or coffee
liquor of choice OR 1 tsp water


1-2 tsp instant coffee, instant Starbucks or Taster's Choice
will do, flavor with coffee according to taste


COATING AND TOPPING
1 oz milk chocolate block

Grated lady finger cookie
 (optional)
























TO MAKE THE GANACHE
1.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.


2.  Using the double boiler method, in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering hot water, melt white chocolate until smooth. Set a side to let it cool.

3.  Dissolve 1 tsp of the instant coffee in coffee liquor. If you do not have liquor you can dilute 2 teaspoons of coffee in 1 teaspoon of water instead.

4.  After the white chocolate has cooled a bit, add in mascarpone or cream cheese cheese, and using a rubber spatula mix until smooth. There may be some lumps, which is fine. Aim to smooth the mixture as best as possible. 

5.  Add in the coffee and liquor mixture in the ganache and stir. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight. you want a smooth yet sturdy consistency enough to spoon it out.

6.  Grate the block of milk chocolate. Optional, toss in optional grated ladyfinger cookie. 

7.  Using a melon baller or a small cookie scoop, scoop out balls from the tiramisu ganache and roll very quickly with your cold hands.You'll get the feeling they are melting in your hands, so roll them fast. 

COATING AND TOPPING

8.  Roll truffles in chocolate shavings.

NOTE:
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. K
eep these cool, when you hand these to people for mishloach manot, specify these should go in the refrigerator. 

If these are not for Purim, you can eat them right away of course. Enjoy, Purim sameach!


Nutella Truffles








We are busy moms. As joyful the holidays are, Purim brings upon a load of work, chores and cooking in Jewish households. We often resort to a mishmash of store-bought candies, chocolates or treats to fill mishloach manot baskets. To me, the best kind of mishloach manots are homemade food baskets. I love the personal touch, often more cost-effective and appreciated. This year I decided to make - IN ADVANCE and FREEZE - assorted chocolate truffles for family and friends. I love the fact I can make these the week before Purim.  This year's truffles includes:

NUTELLA TRUFFLES,
TIRAMISU TRUFFLES,
RUM TRUFFLES, AND
MINT CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES.

I bought beautiful boxes from the dollar store to wrap them up, you can also find miniature cellophane bags or mini boxes at your local art supply store. 

Although these are made dairy using Nutella, for those who are chalav Isroel, I included a link to make a homemade hazelnut chocolate spread. To make these pareve, you can also use pareve Elite chocolate spread and insert a roasted hazelnut inside the truffle. Up next is the Tiramisu Truffle recipe.


NUTELLA TRUFFLES
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Total Time: 2.5 hour  | Serves 24-30 |  Dairy


INGREDIENTS


 INSTRUCTIONS

GANACHE

8 ounces quality semisweet or dark chocolate

3/4 cup chocolate hazelnut
spread (AKA Nutella) OR

Homemade nutella spread

1/2 cup heavy cream or pareve coffee creamer from frozen aisle

COATING AND TOPPING

3 ounces of dark chocolate or chocolate chips for the coating


1 teaspoon vegetable

Roasted, finely chopped
hazelnuts for sprinkling, skin removed
























TO MAKE THE GANACHE
1.  Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.


2.  Using the double boiler method, pour water in a small saucepan halfway and simmer it (avoid boiling water- you want to avoid moisture going into the chocolate).  Also, avoid using a wooden spoon. Place the heatproof bowl on the saucepan, and heat up the heavy cream until hot, but not boiling. Place the 8 ounces of chocolate into the hot cream. Using a rubber spatula, stir mixture until fully combined and the chocolate is melted. (it should be smooth and creamy not clumpy).  Stir in chocolate hazelnut spread. Remove from heat, let cool for 5 minutes, cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until set.

3. With the help of a small cookie scoop or melon baller (about 1 teaspoon), scoop out chocolate mixture and form into balls using your hands. Place them onto prepared cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 15- 20 minutes.

COATING AND TOPPING
4.  In the meantime, heat remaining chocolate - the same double boiler method as above. Add oil, and stir to combine. 

5.  Remove chocolate balls from the freezer and place one ball at a time into the melted chocolate. Using a fork or wooden stick, evenly coat each ball with the chocolate. Use the fork to remove the truffle from the chocolate. Before transferring it back into the baking sheet, slightly tap the fork (with the truffle pricked on it) against the edge of the bowl to remove  any excess chocolate. Place each truffle on the baking sheet and repeat with remaining chocolate balls. 

6.  Pour leftover melted chocolate into a small Ziplock bag, cut off one corner and pipe melted chocolate in a linear up and down motion on top of each truffle and top with the crushed roasted hazelnuts.

7.  Return truffles to the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes or until truffles are set.  Try to keep these cool, when you hand these to people, specify these should go in the refrigerator. 

NOTE:
Nutella Truffles will keep up to 7 days stored in the fridge or up to 4 weeks in the freezer in an airtight container.


If these are not for Purim, you can eat them right away of course.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Honeyed Chicken with Caramelized Onions, Chestnuts and Prunes





After a BIG day of grocery shopping and visiting a Healthy Food and Living Expo at Palais des Congres, a mean headache struck.  Not prone to headaches, this was one of those migraines that would leave any mama winding down on a couch while kids totally taking advantage of the situation. 


"Go take your shower please... close the TV... close the TV... eat dinner... eat the fish... go to sleep... GO TO SLEEP!" I repeated... I felt like a robot or on auto-pilot. For some reason, the girls were non-reactive. I totally shpieled knowing kids are kids.. even when I hoped they can empathize like adults.  I abruptly shut the TV demanding they eat the fish I made for dinner" that's when one of my kids threw a fit. She refused to eat... she refused just about everything I asked of her. The other child, though at a stagnating pace, took her shower, ate dinner, and even surprised me by doing the dishes and stacking everything away.... I totally felt nachas  amid the challenge. I thanked her for listening.

I had no me-time that night, it took the kids 2 hours to finally fall asleep. Who ever said motherhood is perfect? Its not. The next time you have a headache  know you are not alone, this happens to all of us. Looking back, I will have a good talk with my children about the confrontation, situation experienced and  make sure, they get my point.
"The joy of motherhood comes in moments, there will be hard times, and frustrating times, but amid the challenges there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction."  
~ Elder M. Russell Ballard

Motherly food for thought aside, Purim can be an overwhelming time for parents. there are so many things to prepare from costumes, mishloach manot to fasting and feasting. With all this in mind, here is a sweet chicken recipe for your family dinner or Purim seoudah.  A couple of years ago my mom made a delicious caramelized onion chicken recipe for our Purim dinner, which became my inspiration for this dish.  The truth is caramelized onion in chicken is delicious in itself, but I love the added sweetness from the prunes and texture from the chestnuts. Purim sameach!


HONEYED CHICKEN WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS, CHESTNUTS AND PRUNES
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Total Time: 1 hour  | Serves 4 |  Meat 


INGREDIENTS


 INSTRUCTIONS

4-6 chicken pieces, bone-in chicken thighs preferred

1 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp of paprika

2 tbsp of honey 

3 tbsp of olive oil

3  white onions, sliced

250 g dry prunes or apricots

250 g of chestnuts 

3/4 cup of boiling water  


Kosher salt, to taste


Freshly ground
pepper, to taste


SERVE WITH
1/3 cup whole toasted blanched almonds (optional)

Couscous






1.  In a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom pot, on medium heat,  drizzle  oil,  add the sliced onions, the cinnamon, and paprika. Stir well and add the chicken pieces one at a time, cook for 2 minutes, coating all sides of the chicken and then top with 1/2 cup of water.

2.  Drizzle the honey over the chicken, coating properly, sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper on each piece and the chestnuts. Cook for 10-15 minutes. 


3. Keep an eye on the chicken, lower heat to simmer (low-medium), add 1/3 cup of water, allow to reduce  for another 20-25 minutes. Cover the pot halfway. Flip the chicken pieces a couple of times, 
add the prunes, spreading them a bit everywhere in the pot at this point, cook for another 10 minutes. You want to see a golden brown color on both sides of the chicken thighs accompanied with  caramelized onions, and softened prunes.



Friday, March 11, 2016

Traditional Prune Hamantaschen

Photo courtesy Marcy Goldman 









Moms are super beings. Ya, that's you, so pat yourself in the back! 

Moms have 2 jobs, they are breadwinners and bread-makers.... that's the society we live in. Why am I talking about this? Well... recently, my ex-mother-in-law criticized me and my priorities as a mother.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

"Buttery" Lintria





This noodle dish is close to home.

Lintria is the go-to Moroccan noodle dish to make. Made with egg noodles, Lintria is a staple side dish in my home growing up - it was one of my favorites as a kid. Every eve before Yom Kippour we would eat lintria soup served with chicken and potatoes.  The noodles are cooked in a clear chicken stock or bouillon, as my mom calls it. Tumeric is the key flavour accentuated along with chopped parsley. I've changed up my standard recipe by adding pareve butter flavor margarine. You can make this as weeknight side-dish with chicken or kefta.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Conversation with Marcy Goldman

Photo Courtesy Marcy Goldman

Some things never change and we don't want them to. We want to hold on, and treasure our Jewish culinary roots because it's important to cherish where we come from.

15 years ago I found myself at Coles Bookstore, standing and gazing at the line-up of Jewish cookbooks. I didn't plan on buying anything that day, but I did, and it was Marcy Goldman's A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking cookbookSo when I had a chance to interview Marcy on our common passion last month, I was excited! With over 6 baking cookbooks, this fellow Montrealer had a few AHA moments before she knew baking was her calling. Between giving a helping hand in her feminist mother's kitchen, feeling such gratification each time her live-in blind grand-mother qvelled over her baked goodies, her passion was fueled. The idea that baking was so mysterious, and magical, and she loved the challenge, she was IN. Today, she spends her time in Montreal writing, pitching, baking, developing recipes for cookbooks, her BetterBaking.com website or a series of ebooks she is working on.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Grilled Maple Dijon Pargiyot








This is good, REAL good.

March is here! Ladies get your grill pans or B-B-Qs out! Men, move away from the grill, it's time for women to get their grilling on!  

When I think of grilling I think of  a plump-y man standing in front of a BBQ flipping steaks on the grill. Every kosher restaurant I know, that requires grilling meats (or a pizza oven), the men are cooking the food. This needs to change. Yes there is heat, smoke, flames when grilling,  but GRILLING ISN'T A MAN'S THING ONLY.  

I don't have a gas cook-top, I settle for a coil range with - optionally ;) - the right grill pans and tools, and that's enough to get that smokey flavor and grill marks on my food. Spring is coming, and this is the type of food I long for.  

The only meat I used to make as a teen was steak. I'd broil them in the oven with an olive oil sauce with cumin, salt, pepper and garlic powder and that was it. That was my family's go-to weeknight steak recipe. 

MARINATE PLEASE
The key to any delicious grilled meat or poultry is to MARINATE them for hours or overnight before your grill or cook them. You especially want the meats to be embedded with the juices or flavors. Prepare your marinade in the morning or the night before, and then all you need to do is grill for 8-12 minutes. Also, if you are using a grill pan, use a cast iron one. Spring is coming guys, so get ready to grill ladies!


GRILLED MAPLE DIJON PARGIYOT
(CHICKEN THIGHS)
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Marinating Time: 2 hours to overnight  | Grill Time 8-12  minutes at 165 F (75 C) | Serves 4 | Meat


INGREDIENTS


 INSTRUCTIONS

1 lb of skinless boneless chicken thighs 

3 tbsp Canadian maple syrup 

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 chopped coriander

1 tbsp of lemon juice

1 thinly sliced green onion

kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste


1.  Preheat your stove top at medium. Rinse your chicken thighs and pat them dry. Sprinkle kosher salt and ground pepper on both sides and set aside.

2.  In a bowl, combine your maple syrup, olive oil, Dijon mustard, green onions, chopped coriander, lemon juice,  and a bit of salt.

3.  Toss your chicken into your marinade and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and allow the poultry to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour to, preferably, overnight.

4.  Heat your stove top and grill pan or BBQ for about 5 minutes and, using tongs, place your chicken, cook it for about 4 minutes and then flip it, cook it for another 4-5 minutes. 






Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips


Yeah! It's National Peanut Butter Lovers Day. Now who doesn't eat peanut butter straight from the jar? Not I!  So guilty of that!!  Which reminds me of the time I came home from work and the nanny was watching the kiddies. They were 5 and 6 at the time, sitting on the couch watching TV with a Skippy peanut butter jar in between them and a few candy wrappers. They had that drunk or lathargic look on their face, ingesting spoonfuls of peanut butter. I was laughing inside while I had to set things straight... after all dinner was in the fridge. 

I especially love these cookies which is why I had to share. They are crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. So enjoy this recipe guys! It's a keeper.


PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS 
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Prep time 20 min | Total Time: 45 minutes | Makes 45 | Dairy
Adapted from Martha Stewart 


INGREDIENTS


 INSTRUCTIONS

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup of chocolate chips





1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder; set aside.


2.  In a large bowl, beat peanut butter, sugar, and butter until smooth. Beat in egg. Gradually add flour mixture, beating to combine. Mix in the chocolate chips.

3.  Pinch off dough by the tablespoon; roll into balls. Place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Press down each ball with a spoon or fork, flattening to a 1/2-inch thickness.

4.  Bake cookies, rotating halfway through, until lightly golden, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack.