Lazy Leftovers Make Super Summer Suppers: Roasted Chicken Salad with Provencal Style Tomatoes and Dijon Dressing

The inspiration: Leftover roasted chicken breasts, garbanzo beans that needed eating, fresh tomatoes, and a need for something to feed my family for lunch.

Leftover chicken breasts can be delicious, but they usually need something to accompany them to really make them taste their best. Rummaging around my fridge, I found some leftover garbanzo beans, and I had tomatoes that needed to be used up.  It was far too hot to stand over a stove to cook, and when I am feeling lazy I usually make some sort of salad. This way I feed my family quickly and it’s not too much work!

The innovation: Giving the whole salad a boost by adding seasoned, roasted tomatoes and a bit of Dijon-red wine vinegar dressing.

I had wanted to make Provencal style tomatoes for a while. I have a cookbook that I read to get inspired (The Provencal Cookbook by Gui Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine) and I kept coming back to this recipe.  Even so, the salad still needed a kick, something to make it really delicious. I love a good Dijon dressing, and after dipping pieces of cold chicken into some Dijon mustard, I had the idea for this dressing.

This salad is full of flavors and textures – the softness of the salad greens, the bite from the Dijon and the red leaf lettuce, the smooth creaminess of the garbanzo beans, the silky texture and sweetness from the tomatoes, and the roasted flavor and heartiness of the chicken. I think that is what makes it a great salad – no two mouthfuls are indentical.

My Interpretation: Roasted Chicken Salad with Provencal Style Tomatoes and Dijon Dressing


This recipe is a entree size portion for 2-3 adults.


3 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts (already cooked and cooled completely)

2 cups already cooked garbanzo beans

4 beefsteak tomatoes

1/4 tsp of the following spices: sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic

1 (12oz) bag of butter lettuce/red leaf lettuce mix (or 12 oz of your preferred salad greens)

3 tblsp of Dijon mustard

2 tblsp of capers

2 tblsp of juice from the capers

2-3 oz of red wine vinegar

A three- finger pinch each of  sea salt and black pepper

Olive oil 

To Prepare:

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the tomatoes in half, and with a spoon carefully scoop out the seeds and white interior (set aside for another use or dispose). Turn upside on a sheet tray and leave sit for at least 30 minutes to remove excess liquid. 


2) Oil a oven-safe baking dish with a light layer of olive oil, and arrange tomatoes in dish cut-side up. Sprinkle insides with the sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic. Bake at 400F for about 45 mins, then remove and let cool to just above room temperature.

3) Cut the tomatoes into slices – you may notice that the skin comes away as you cut, and that is ideal. Whatever skin remains after cutting, carefully peel away. Refrigerate and chill completely.

4) While you wait for tomatoes to cool assemble the dressing. Using a stick blender, blend together everything except the olive oil.  Very slowly and in a thin stream add the olive oil til mixture looks a bit fluffy and is a very pale yellow.Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

5) To assemble, slice the chicken breasts on the bias, then cut in half down the middle (for a fancier presentation leave in strips) Add the garbanzo beans, and roasted tomatoes to the salad greens. To avoid over-dressing the salad, dip the fingertips of one hand into the dressing, then fold the dressing onto the salad, gently mixing the ingredients at the same time. Save leftover dressing for another use. 





Nicoise Salad with Potatoes – May Kosher Connection Challenge

Shavuot is about two weeks away, and I am already planning my menu. Especially for the last meal, on the second day of the holiday. In our Hasidic group the men and boys gather in the synagogues to observe the passing of a previous Rebbe (Grand Rabbi) on that day. They are away from early morning til very late in the afternoon, and even eat the festive holiday meal in the synagogue. These yahrzeit seudot (meals to commemorate the passing of a holy person) take place twice a year – once on Shavuot and once during Sukkot. We women take these times to eat with friends – groups of women co-ordinate and get together and eat in each other’s homes. Just as the men and boys bond together in the synagogues, the women and girls bond together over a delicious Yom Tov meal. It is also a chance to relax the menu a bit – it is our custom to eat meat at every Yom Tov meal except these. nicoise This is a more modern interpretation of a Nicoise salad – it features seared tuna, as well as green beans and baby red bliss potatoes. Instead of a vinagrette, it is merely dressed with fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.  This is a recipe for one large, main course salad, and is easy to multiply for larger amounts.


1 tuna steak,about 6 oz

4 baby red potatoes, cut in half lengthwise

4 black olives (with pits)

1 Romaine heart (I use Andy Boy), torn into bite size pieces by hand

1 hard boiled egg

8-10 fresh green beans, ends trimmed

Juice from one fresh lemon

3 oz extra virgin olive oil

Table salt for salting water

Sea salt for seasoning

Olive oil spray for grilling

To Prepare: Fill a large pot at least halfway with water, and add table salt to the water, enough so there is the finest layer on the bottom of the pot Add your egg and when the water is at a full boil, add your green beans and potatoes set a timer for 8 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove egg with slotted spoon and set into a bowl of cold water to cool.  Boil for a few minutes more, testing once midway. The beans are done when still crispy and green but not hard. Use a slotted spoon to remove green beans and set aside. Boil for another 10 mins or so, then check potatoes by gently poking with a fork – if they are soft but not mushy, they are done. Drain and remove, setting aside with the green beans. Put a grill pan on the stove, and get it very hot. Spray the pan lightly with olive oil spray. Place the tuna steak into the pan for 2- 3 mins, depending on thickness. Flip once, cook another 2 mins on the other side, then remove from pan, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and set aside. Roll the lemon on a cutting board or counter and cut in half, squeezing into a bowl and removing the seeds. Add the olive oil a tiny pinch of sea salt. Mix well. When all ingredients are cool but not cold, take everything except the tuna, egg, and olives and combine. Garnish with the remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

Kol Foods: A Series on Duck (Finale) Duck Mujadara

The ducks used in these recipes are from KOL Foods. ( I received no other compensation – all opinions are my own.

One of the things I love to do in the kitchen is to take ingredients, look at them, and say “What happens if I…”.  There is two vital considerations I keep in mind at all times. One – it has to make sense to me. Two – it must treat the ingredient with the respect I feel it deserves.  Yes, even if it’s leftovers. Especially if it’s leftovers. In many homes, they are the source of whines and frowns, but in my house, they can sometimes be better than the original meal!

So when I managed (by hook, crook and bribery) to secure a full duck breast (two pieces) for this recipe I knew precisely how I was going to utilize these gorgeous leftovers. Because let’s face it – duck is delicious right out of the oven, but the next day?  It can be some of the best eating ever. The question was how to make the meat stretch enough to feed my now duck-crazy family.

If anyone asks me what one of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes are, mujadara is in the top three (shakshuka and lachmagine round out that list). Many varieties of lentils and rice are staples in my home, so this made my choice pretty simple. To avoid a clash of tastes, (the recipe I was taught for this dish has cilantro, which I couldn’t see working with duck) I had to re-tool the recipe a bit. I can say these were leftovers my whole family enjoyed! (This recipe make quite a lot, so divide it easily in half for a smaller amount)


Recipe for Duck Mujadara

3 cups basmati rice 

2 cups green lentils 

1 whole KOL Foods duck breast (two pieces), already cooked and diced

1/3 cup white wine

2 tbsp of lemon juice

heaping 1/2 tsp of turmeric

tiny pinch of cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Generous splash of olive oil

 4 cups of  duck stock, plus a little more for the lentils. (see this recipe for duck stock )

1) In a large pot, add just the lentils and a mix of water, white wine and duck stock til the lentils are covered and have an additional knuckle of liquid above that. Bring to a boil, then turn off and leave sit for a minimum of 2 hours (check and add a bit more stock if needed) and then simmer on low til prefered doneness. 

2) In another pot, add your rice, 4 C  duck stock, olive oil, a scant handful of salt and a three-finger pinch of pepper. Simmer for 25 mins with the lid tightly closed. Remove from fire and leave sit for 10 mins. (Nearly everyone I know combine steps 1 and 2, but I find either the lentils are not done as I like or the rice is too soft, so until I get a bit better at making mujadara this is how I make it. If you are able to make the lentils and rice together in the same pot, please feel free to do so.) 

3) In a saucepan, add the white wine, lemon juice, tumeric, and cumin to make a sauce. Add the duck breasts last and cook on low heat til the pieces of duck are warmed through. 

4) Combine the rice and the lentils gently, then add the duck pieces and sauce. Using a rubber or silcone spatula, fold the mixture together til well-coated (all the rice should have a bright yellow hue) and serve immediately.


December Kosher Connection LinkUp: Fagiuoli all’Uccelletto with Beef and Mushrooms

This month’s linkup topic is Comfort Food. Perfect for this time of year, I’d say, with the cold and wind. It’s the time of year one fires up the stove top and makes dish after dish that simmer for hours to make a meal that warm the home and satisfy both body and soul.

This dish is a compilation of everything I love: it has wine, fresh herbs and garlic, white beans that melt in your mouth and meat so tender you can cut it with a spoon. Fresh tomato sauce reminds me of summer, and the mushrooms add a bit of taste and texture.

The actual preparation of this dish is not difficult at all, but to make all the components from scratch, as I do, you will want to have some time on your hands.  Let me give you the recipe, and then I will include links to recipes on my blog how to prepare the individual ingredients like the stock and tomato sauce.


This recipe makes quite a lot – easily divide in half if you are serving for yourself or a few people. It is quite delicious fresh, but as with a lot of stews and slow cooked meals the leftovers are even better the next day!

You will need:

1 lb dried white beans

2 lbs stew beef

2 quarts tomato sauce

3 quarts stock or water

1 1/2 lb sliced button mushrooms

1 large handful fresh parsley finely minced (leaves only, save stems for stock)

7 fresh sage leaves finely minced  (leaves only, save stems for stock)

14 fresh tarragon leaves finely minced (leaves only save stems for stock)

5 fresh garlic cloves, finely minced

Generous two finger pinch dried orange peel

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 C dry red wine

Olive oil

1) Take 1 lb of dried white beans and soak in 2 quarts cold water or stock with a generous splash of wine added. Soak for 12 hours. Leaves beans sit as you prepare the rest of the recipe


2) Take 2 lbs stew beef (preferably from the shoulder or chuck) and pat dry. Add a touch of salt and pepper to all pieces. Get a saute pan very hot, add a bit of olive oil. Sear all pieces on both sides for about 3-5 minutes, or until you develop a good browned layer. Remove beef from pan, set aside.  Do not clean saute pan – you will need that for the mushrooms.

3) Drain beans, and add 1 quart stock, 2 quarts tomato sauce, and the stew beef. Bring just to the boil, then lower to a simmer. Stir occasionally, leave simmer for a minimum of 3 hours. It is done when you can smash a bean easily between two fingers, and the meat is soft and tender.


4) With the saute pan from the seared meat, add a tiny bit of olive oil and cook the garlic first, til it starts to brown. Add your mushrooms, herbs, and dried orange peel and cook til there is practically no liquid left – about 30 mins on medium heat. To help in the reduction, remove excess liquid at times and add to the beans and meat mixture. When the mushrooms have shrunk to half their original size, and there is only a tiny bit of liquid in the pan, raise heat to high and add your wine. Reduce til there is barely any liquid, and the edges of the mushrooms start to brown and crisp up.

5) When beans and meat are finished, garnish with a generous spoonful of the mushrooms and enjoy!

Recipe for Vegetable Stock (photo step-by-step as well as recipe)

Recipe for Tomato Sauce (


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Beef and Lentil Stew

The inspiration – The need for a tasty main dish for the Sabbath

It’s easy to make the same Sabbath foods week after week, and you would even be perfectly justified (and in the majority) to do so.  Some sort of fish, a type of soup, a type of roasted meat, a starch, a veg, and dessert more often than not grace the majority of Sabbath tables. Truth told, there is nothing wrong with this formula – one could even say it is traditional. I cannot speak, nor do I intend to speak for anyone else, but the question begs to be asked- do you ever want to change this? Make something new?

But what do you do when you want something different? For me, it is a luxury to make a meal all in one pot, and a novelty on a Friday night. The meal gets cut to 3 courses instead of four, and the serving and cleanup is much less.

Once in a great while, I’ll make some sort of stew – the main factor is that it must have meat, veg and starch all in one pot, and everyone has to be able to eat something from it.

The innovation – Taking a classic, French -style stew and using lentils and barley instead of potatoes or beans

Since on Shabbat day (Saturday morning) we eat cholent, (a bean and potato based stew  cooked on the stove overnight), I wanted a stew with no beans or potatoes. So with a little thinking, I added some lentils and barley directly to the pot – the stew was not super thick, with a smooth texture to the broth due to the starch in the barley. This was a stew everyone ate!

My interpretation: Beef and Lentil Stew


Recipe for Beef Stew:

3 lbs large pieces stew beef (I use chuck tender)

8 oz green lentils

6 oz pearled barley

2 small parsnips, cut in half, then diced

1 bunch celery, chopped fine (trim the very tips, use everything, leaves included, til the last 1/2′)

4 carrots, cut into small pieces

1 lg Spanish onion, fine dice

5 garlic cloves, fine mince

3/4 C dry red wine

Olive oil for searing/sauteing

Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

In a large saute pan, pat stew beef dry with paper towel, add a tiny bit of salt and pepper, and sear on high heat both sides, about 3-5 mins per side or until you see a nice brown crust forming. You may need to do this in batches – do not scrape pan in between. Set meat aside, and add 1/4 of red wine to deglaze pan and get all the goodness left in the pan. Reserve this as well.

In a 10Q stock pot, add a bit of olive oil, get it hot. Add garlic and onions, let sweat til onions starts to turn clear, about 5-10 mins on meduim high heat. Add carrots, celery, and parsnips, cooking on meduim high heat til the vegetables just start to soften, about 10 mins more. Add the reserved liquid from searing, as well as the red wine.

Add the lentils and the barley now, stirring well and lowering heat. Cover and let sit for about 10 mins, then add water to completely cover, and a bit of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to scarcely a simmer and cook for approx. 3 hrs. Meat and veg will be tender, and the lentils and barley will have a bit of bite but will not be hard at all.

Flavor note: In the last 10- 15 mins of cooking, taste the stew. At this point, you may decide to add a bit more wine for a stronger red wine taste – 1/4C will do the trick. Also use this time to readjust your salt and pepper if needed.



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




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 ( 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?



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  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.

August Kosher Connection Linkup: Turkey Apple Sage Meatballs (Two Presentations)

The inspiration: The August Kosher Connection Recipe Challenge

Every month, the Kosher Connection features a Recipe Challenge.  An ingredient or style of cooking is chosen at random and the bloggers who participate (all kosher food bloggers are welcome) need to create a recipe featuring that. For August, because Rosh Hashanah is about 3 weeks away, the ingredient is apples.

The innovation: A sweet meatball that highlights apples

I wanted to do something a little bit different. While going through my fridge and freezer  to see what I have on hand, (I’m elbow deep in preparations for the upcoming High Holidays) I came across a pack of frozen dark turkey meat, a couple of packages of white stuffing mushrooms, a small amount of sage, and a few other odds and ends. Looking at all the ingredients, I realized that by adding apples to the list, I had my recipe.

My interpretation: Turkey Apple Sage Meatballs (Two Presentations)


Recipe for Turkey Apple Sage Meatballs

1 and 1/2 lbs ground dark turkey meat

3 Early Apples (remove core)

1/4 Spanish onion

2 packages of large white button mushrooms (remove stems and peel outer layer off caps, chop stems and reserve caps.)

6 large fresh sage leaves

1/2 bunch of parsley (leaves only. Get one small bunch at the store. Leave the band on. Cut half the top off. Save rest for your stock pot or something else.)

12 to 14 fresh tarragon leaves

3 cloves fresh garlic

3 3 fingered pinches of salt

1 3 fingered pinch of coarse ground black pepper

Add the salt and pepper to the ground turkey, then set aside in fridge. Take 1 apple (cored), the mushroom stems and the remaining ingredients and mince together well.  Mix with ground turkey.  This recipe makes 14 medium stuffed mushroom caps and 12 meatballs. See below for preparation suggestions.

Recipe for Homemade Tomato Raisin Sauce

4 lg carrots, chopped

4 lg cloves garlic chopped

1 lg Spanish onion rough chopped

4 fresh sage leaves rough minced

1 small handful fresh tarragon leaves rough minced

8 fresh basil leaves rough minced

Olive oil for sauteing

5 lb ripe Roma tomatoes (look for ones that are bright red and only the slightest bit soft or not soft at all) cut into quarters

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (look for a can that says Imported from Italy)

1/2 of 750ml bottle of dry white wine ( I prefer Chablis)

8 oz golden raisins ( I prefer Dole brand)

Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a 10Qt or larger stock pot. Add carrot, garlic and onion, cook on high heat til they just start to color. Lower heat, then add fresh herbs with the white wine, cover with lid and leave sweat for at least 30 mins, or until vegetables look more tender. Add fresh and diced tomatoes, as well as the raisins, season with salt, pepper and sugar (use a little now, adjust later as needed) and let cook covered at a low simmer for at least 2 and a half hours. The vegetables should be tender, and there should be a significant amount of liquid in the pot. At this point, take a immersion or hand blender and blend everything into the pot together very well, til mixture is thick and mainly smooth. Cook a bit longer, about 30 mins, then turn off heat and allow to cool completely before storing away. This will make a large quantity of sauce – I filled 4 2lb deli containers.


Preparation Suggestions:

Stuffed Mushrooms: Using reserved mushroom caps, fill entirely with a bit of the meatball mixture, garnish with a slice of apple. Bake at 350F for about 30-35 mins. Check for doneness by sticking a butter knife into the meatball. If it comes away smoothly, very hot and completely clean, it is done.

With tomato -raisin sauce: Form the turkey mixture into meatballs the size of a golf ball.  Taking a small portion of your tomato sauce in a separate bowl (see recipe above) use a plastic soup spoon and cover the top of each meatball with the sauce. Bake at 350F for about 30 mins. A knife stuck through the center should come out smoothly, very hot and completely clean.





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Product Review: Sneaky Pete’s Oat Drink

Special Consideration to the Baddish Group ( for providing the samples for the product review.  All opinions are my own. 

When it comes to food and beverages, I’d like to say I am a pretty informed consumer. I’ve known for years that drink companies have added different types of vitamins and minerals to beverages to make them healthier, and hopefully more appealing to the people who drink them.  Some lines of beverages have built their entire reputations on being a healthier alternative to the traditional soft drink.

Oat Square The biggest complaint I hear from so many people I know is the following: ” I know I’m supposed to drink more, but I hate plain water! I need what I drink to taste good!”  Sound familiar? If I may, I’d like to suggest you try Sneaky Pete’s Oat Drinks.

Even I was skeptical at first:  who put oats in a drink? I’ve heard all about the benefits from oats and oat fiber, but this was something completely outside the box for me. When I was given a chance to review it. I didn’t hesitate.  I decided that not only would I try it, I’d set up an informal tasting panel of eight people whose ages ranged from 5 to 70 to assist me. This way I could get other people’s opinions as well. I was given one bottle of Apple and one of Peach to sample. Putting both into clear plastic cups, I gave one of each sample to each member of my group. Here are the results:

Out of 8 people, 5 liked the Peach flavor better, 2 liked the Apple flavor, and 1 person liked both equally. The people who prefered the Peach flavor liked the ‘sweet, clear, very peachy’ flavor.  Those who liked the Apple were pleased with the ‘fact that  it tasted like apple-cinnamon oatmeal.”

SPB Icons 2013

I was more impressed with the following: Per 12 oz bottle, Sneaky Pete’s only had 40 calories, 5 grams of sugar in the entire bottle, and 3 grams of oat fiber.  Most of the time, a bottle of equal size has at least double the amount of sugar and at least one and a half times the amount of calories. The very best fact: there is nothing artificial in the beverage. No artificial sweeteners of any kind.

SPB Booth Image 2013

Sneaky Pete’s comes in 5 different flavors: Peach, Apple, Mango, Raspberry, and Grape. You can order the beverages from their website, or from a retailer near you