Chocolate Marshmallow Candy

The inspiration: Family coming to visit and no dessert in the house!

I’d made everything else for the family dinner (roasted chicken, my version of green bean casserole, mashed sweet potatoes, rice with peas and carrots) but at the last minute I realized I did not have enough dessert. The family was due in an hour and a half, so I had to get something made – and fast!

The innovation: Raiding the pantry to use what I had instead of running to the bake shop.

I really had no idea how this would turn out. I also had to raid my neighbor’s pantry to get some of the ingredients- I now have new staples I need to stock, because this is now a family favorite!

My interpretation: Chocolate Marshmallow Candy

The peanut butter breaks up the sweetness of the chocolate and marshmallow, and the chocolate chips add textural contrast to each bite.

The peanut butter breaks up the sweetness of the chocolate and marshmallow, and the chocolate chips add textural contrast to each bite.

Recipe:

20 oz of semi- sweet chocolate ( I use either Callebaut or Alprose. For Alprose, it’s 2 whole bars)

13 oz marshmallow fluff (1 container)

8 oz smooth peanut butter

6 oz chocolate chips

To prepare:

Using the double boiler method ( pot filled with a few inches of water with a glass bowl fitted over the top) break chocolate into chunks and melt completely over mid-high heat, til chocolate is bright and shiny and there are as few air bubbles as possible.

Mix marshmallow, peanut butter, and chocolate chips together well, then spread onto a parchment- lined tray into as thin of a layer as possible. 

Taking the tempered chocolate, coat the entire surface of the marshmallow mix as thinly and evenly as possible. Be more generous for a thicker layer – that is your preference. Place entire tray into freezer and freeze for about 30-45 mins or until chocolate is hard and matte in appearance.

Chocolate has been flipped- see the hardened and darker chocolate along the edges. Be sure to coat thoroughly all the way to the edges.

Chocolate has been flipped- see the hardened and darker chocolate along the edges. Be sure to coat thoroughly all the way to the edges.

When chocolate has set, take another parchment paper and place on top of the chocolate. Carefully flip the mixture onto the new parchment paper and then transfer to tray, chocolate side down. Peel off the paper from the marshmallow side, coat with chocolate, then refreeze til new chocolate layer is hard. 

Remove from freezer, and using a sharp knife cut into squares. If chocolate gets too soft, refreeze for 5-10 mins til it re-hardens. Store in a parchment lined container in single layers.

Lazy Leftovers Make Simple Suppers: Sprouted Beans and Rice

The inspiration: Leftover rice and a need for a quick, light yet filling supper.

After all the Yom Tovim ( Jewish Holidays) of Rosh Hashana and Succot. with all the cooking and planning that it entailed, I was exhausted. For a month straight, it was back to back weeks of holiday, with a  few days to shop, restock, and cook again in between. So the Sunday after Simchat Torah (the last holiday) when my family said they were hungry, I could not bring myself to make a large meal for them.  I also could not bring myself to order takeout. Each day when I had been too busy cooking/cleaning/shopping/preparing, DH and the kids had gleefully lived it up eating takeout – pizza and falafel, mostly.  Enough was enough. Time for a home cooked meal, too tired or not.

The innovation: Using frozen sprouted beans to cut down on my cooking time

I rummaged through the fridge to find something the DCs would not turn up their nose to, and thankfully there were not that many leftovers.  I found a half of a 9×13 disposable pan of leftover, plain basmati rice, and I grabbed a pack of frozen sprouted beans. They were mixture of garbanzo, kidney and navy beans. Couldn’t find stock, so water and white wine had to do for cooking with.  Too tired to mince herbs and garlic – so a bit of dried cilantro, salt and pepper came to the rescue. Not the fanciest or most thought out meal I ever planned, but it was good and filling, and at the end of the day, everyone was happy.

My interpretation: Sprouted Beans and Rice

009editfwp

 

Recipe:

8 oz raw basmati rice, cooked to package instructions and set aside, or 3 to 4 cups cooked rice

1 12oz package frozen sprouted bean blend

2 to 3 cups water or vegetable stock, plus a bit more (keep some on reserve as you may need to add during cooking)

3 oz dry white wine

Two generous pinches of dried cilantro (substitute with parsley but use a tiny bit more pepper to compensate)

Salt and pepper to taste.

To Prepare: 

Have the rice on reserve. Take a 6 Qt pot and add the water or vegetable stock and white wine. Bring to a boil and add the beans, covering tightly with a lid and cooking on at a low boil for at least 20 minutes. Check at least once to ensure there is enough liquid. When the beans are nearly finished – about 30 to 45 mins – drain almost all the liquid. Add the rice, a bit of salt, pepper, and the cilantro at this point, mix well and cook on medium to low until beans are done and rice is hot all the way through.

 

 

 

Product Review: Voilà! Hallah Part 2 AND September Kosher Connection Challenge: Spread the Joy

Many Thanks to Leah Hadad of Voila!Hallah (Tribes a Dozen)  for the product used in this review. All opinions are my own – the only compensation received was a case of Voila!Hallah for testing

So, remember a little while ago, I did a review on Voilà! Hallah, (see the first part of the review here (http://foodwordsphotos.com/product-review-voila-hallah-part-1) and promised to come back with a second post about experimenting with it? Thanks for bearing with me on this. To everything there is a season, and there was a reason why! I believe if it would not have been for Voilà! Hallah, the following incidents would have never happened.

Imagine a group of Hasidic housewives, dressed in long housecoats with their heads covered with various scarves and kerchiefs waiting in front of their apartment building in Boro Park for their children’s respective camp buses.  It was a Wednesday afternoon, and of course we all are discussing food for Shabbat. Which reminded me..

“Dassi, I’m making my challah that you like so much again, with the seeds. Want me to send you one?” That’s me, asking my neighbor who lives on the other side of my building if she wants my roasted pepita-sunflower seed-zaatar-Hungarian paprika challah. She had it once, on a Shabbat afternoon and loved it.  I never let my guests leave empty-handed, so that time a half- loaf went home with her.

” Sure! I’d love some!  It was really yum, and thanks for sending some home with me last time. My husband ate it the next morning with cream cheese – he said it was so good!” Dassi replied. ” Whoops! There’s my son’s bus – gotta run!”

My third friend turned to me, a funny look on her face. “You OK, Rifki?” I asked her. She just tilted her head and asked me a question I never considered. “How can you say that was challah?” she asked. ” Challah has to have certain ingredients in it for it to be challah. In my house we use seven, to represent the days of the week.” As she went on to list the ingredients, I was puzzled. Thinking for a few moments, I decided to answer.

” I believe that any bread, as long as it is shaleim (perfectly whole) and hamotzi (made with water and flour, versus a dough made with juice) can be considered challah. Why not? I made it in honor of the Sabbath, who says it can’t have seeds and flavors?” I asked her.

” On the outside, sure. But you put it in the inside, that just makes it fancy bread, not challah. Lots of people put sesame seeds, or everything mix (a spice blend of dried onion, garlic, salt. pepper, poppy and sesame seeds)  on the outside. My husband would never eat such a bread for a Shabbat meal” she pointed out.

” Tell you what. Come over Shabbat afternoon with your kids, and you’ll try it. It is so good, you’ll see why I can say it is challah, and special for the Sabbath.” I told her. My son’s bus came then, so I had to go.

I had made this before, and I wanted to perfect the recipes before using it on my last few boxes of  Voilà! Hallah. Now, usingVoilà! Hallah as the challah dough, I knew the challah would be exceptional.  I was not disappointed.

I had four boxes left, which I did in two batches of two boxes each. One batch got roasted pepitas and sunflower seeds with zaatar and Hungarian paprika, where I oven roasted the raw seeds with the spices til it was rich and fragrant. The second batch got the herbes de Provence treatment – garlic powder, and fresh parsley, sage, tarragon and basil.

My friend Rifky brought her kids that Shabbat afternoon, and she could not stop raving over the challahs. We agreed to disagree, after a bit more discussion, but she said she would make these for a fancy weekday lunch or dinner. She said the pepita challah tasted a lot like pita with zaatar, and the herbes de Provence challah tasted like a really good garlic knot. When I told her my mix for the challah dough came from a box, she was amazed – she said would have never guessed, it was that good!

In the end, she understood my point of view, I understood hers, we respectfully agreed to disagree, and I thought this was a good story to share for the September Kosher Connection Challenge. The theme is ‘spread the joy‘. Food is a universal ground-leveler, peacemaker, conversation-starter. In a way like nothing else can, it can overcome prejudices, cross social-economic divides, and bring healing to both body and soul.  In this case, this lady (myself) from Philadelphia, a semi-recent transplant to Boro Park who only became religious in her twenties and Hasidic a whole lot later started a discussion and gave food for thought to a woman ten years younger than herself, who was born and raised in Boro Park with a strong, European/Hasidic background, who does things the way her great-grandmother did them.  If sharing food and dialogue doesn’t spread the joy, I can’t think what else can. Can you?

034editfwp

 

Salmon Tail Gravlax

The inspiration: A package of salmon tails and the need for new recipes for the High Holidays

Have you ever gone into a grocery store and walked out with something you never expected to buy? Perhaps it was something you never saw before. I’ve seen salmon tails before – they are quite common in Boro Park supermarkets.  I never thought to buy them, and I still don’t know what possessed me to, but I did.

When the fish is cut into fillets, the tail ends are left separate, and are usually a dollar or two cheaper per pound than a regular salmon fillet.  Salmon tails pieces are rather good to serve to young children as they are naturally boneless.

So the question was: what was I going to do with them?

The innovation:  Taking salmon tails to make something new and interesting

In the run-up to the High Holidays, I’m completely in experimenting mode – I like to try new recipes a month or six weeks before a holiday so I have time to refine them. This way, every Yom Tov I can add new dishes to my menu.  So I decided to try gravlax – I’ve never made it before and it’s less salty and fishy-tasting than regular lox, so I knew this would also appeal to my family.

From Rosh Hashanah through Simchat Torah, my family has a tradition not to eat anything sour or bitter – no lemons, vinegar, pickles, those sorts of things. We believe that what we eat during this time is an indication of how our year will be, so we enjoy a lot of sweet and savory dishes. We also partake of foods that are more elegantly prepared and presented than we do during the year, and gravlax fits this perfectly.  Using Levana Kirschenbaum’s recipe for gravlax was a stroke of genius – it gives the salmon a bold and unique flavor while still allowing me to keep with my family’s traditions for the High Holidays.

My interpretation: Salmon Tail Gravlax

Home cured salmon tail gravlax. Try to cut as thin as possible using a very sharp knife and a single cut per slice. The fish tears easily, so take care. Any torn slices are perfect for a tartare or mixed with mayonnaise and made into salad.  .

Home cured salmon tail gravlax. Try to cut as thin as possible using a very sharp knife and a single cut per slice. The fish tears easily, so take care. Any torn slices are perfect for a tartare or mixed with mayonnaise and made into gravlax spread.

I used Levana’s recipe http://www.levanacooks.com/gravlax-recipe/  and applied the mixture to six tail fillets of salmon. I cut the recipe in half (hers is enough for 2 full sides of salmon). I then wrapped in Saran Wrap and packed into a 9×13 tin, then covered the top with aluminum foil. To weigh it down, I took 4 32oz jars of duck sauce that were sitting in my cabinet.

Salmon tail 'bundles' ready to be wrapped. It is extremely important to wrap as tightly as possible. and to place in a tray deep enough that will catch the excess liquid and oils.

Salmon tail ‘bundles’ cured and ready to be wrapped. It is extremely important to wrap as tightly as possible. and to place in a tray deep enough that will catch the excess liquid and oils. Make sure to drain it  away.

It is important to turn the salmon over twice a day so that it gets equal pressure on all sides. After the third day I unpacked, removed the dill, sliced and tasted it. The texture was fantastic, and I will be making this again for Yom Tov. Store well refrigerated in Ziploc or air tight container.

July Kosher Connection Challenge: The Great Blog Swap (Homemade Disaronno Ice Cream with Hazelnut Chocolate Bark)

The Inspiration: The Great Blog Swap and a Giveaway!

The Kosher Connection, the group I co-founded with Jamie Geller and Tamar Genger of Joy of Kosher (http://www.joyofkosher.com/), is turning 1 year old this month! The KC (as we fondly refer to the group) is a group of about 20 kosher food bloggers who are dedicated to the ideal that kosher food can be fantastic. The exchange of ideas, the fact that we are all dedicated to not only the improvement of kosher food, but also of ourselves as bloggers and recipe developers is nothing short of amazing. Unless it is Shabbat or a Yom Tov, not a day has gone by without at least one or two members of the group emailing each other or the group as a whole, using each other as sounding boards -and fully confident in the advice they receive in return.

In addition to the group, there is a monthly cooking challenge (the Kosher Connection Challenge) open to any kosher food blogger.  To celebrate this milestone, what better challenge could there possibly be than to try to step into a fellow blogger’s shoes? Using a random sorting device, each blogger participating was assigned another blogger whose recipe (or style of recipe) they would have to replicate for this challenge.

I was so thrilled to get Sina Mizrahi of The Kosher Spoon (http://www.thekosherspoon.com/) as the blogger whose recipe or style I had to imitate! Her food always looks delicious, and her photography is stunning.

The Innovation: A recipe similar to what Sina would make for her own blog.

We all know I cannot seem to follow a recipe. No matter how hard I try, it just never happens. There are precisely 2 recipes I follow to the letter – and that is because they are for Passover! The best I would be able to do was to become inspired by something Sina made previously, and hope my interpretation would do her justice. Here is the recipe I was inspired by: http://www.thekosherspoon.com/2012/07/dairy-free-halva-and-pistachio-ice.html

My Interpretation: Disaronno Ice Cream with Hazelnut Chocolate Bark

2013-07-21 15.50.07

 

Recipe for Disaronno Ice Cream:

14 oz ( 1 can) coconut cream

16 oz (1 container) non-dairy whip topping

32 oz vanilla almond milk (no sugar added)

5 oz vanilla extract

8 oz Disaronno

2 -2 finger pinches of table salt

Combine all ingredients and bring to just below a boil. Stir continually for about 5-7 mins. Whne you taste it, the raw sharpness of the  liquor and vanilla extract should not be present, only the flavor. Cool to room temperature, then pour into a mixing bowl with a whisk and mix at meduim high speed til the top starts to froth and turn foamy. Pour into a 9×13 baking pan ( it will fill it about half way) and set into freezer. You will let it set partially, remove from freezer and reblend 2 or 3 more times, til you get a lot of froth. Then you will return to pan and freeze completely. Remove from refrigerator a few moments before serving so it is easy to spoon out. The texture is more icy than creamy.

Recipe for Hazelnut Chocolate Bark

20 oz finest quality semi-sweet chocolate ( I used Alprose in this particular recipe)

8 oz chopped hazelnuts ( I used raw, you can use toasted or toast for 5 mins in oven at 350F)

2 -fingered pinches of Dead Sea salt

1 large baking sheet covered in parchment paper.

Using double boiler method, temper chocolate til there are no lumps, no air bubbles, and the chocolate has a high gloss. Working quickly, remove from heat, pour entire bowl in the center of the papered tray, and spread out, leaving room at the edges of the paper so you can cut and remove pieces later. When chocolate is evenly spread but still liquid, sprinkle hazelnuts evenly over chocolate. Then add the sea salt, and refrigerate on a level shelf til set. Take a sharp chef’s knife and dip the blade in boiling water, then dry. Working quickly so the chocolate does not melt or smudge, cut into peices of desired size. If chocolate does not cut easily, re-dip knife in boiling water. If chocolate gets too soft, re- refrigerate until its sets once more. Store in a plastic container, with parchment paper in between the layers, in your fridge.

And now for the giveaway…remember to enter everyday for a chance to win these amazing prizes from Emile Henry! The contest winners will be contacted via email. They will have 48 hours to respond before other winners are chosen. This contest is open to United States residents over the age of 18. Contest is sponsored by Joy of Kosher.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Chocolate in Various Forms

From left: Chocolate covered cherries, chocolate-almond truffles, chocolate peanutbutter squares

Eat your heart out! Top: Chocolate covered cherry Bottom: Chocolate peanutbutter square

Chocolate covered cherries and peanutbutter squares – pick as you choose!

A handful of sweetness -take 2 and call me in the AM!

The Finale: on the tray, ready to go!