Sunday, February 22, 2015

Meat with Hummus

Remember I mentioned in previous posts that I often get bored of my recipes? Remember I mentioned that I often crave recipes that are different and exciting?
Meet this recipe! It says different and exciting all over it J
I first encountered this appetizer at my friend, Aidel’s house over Rosh Hashana (holiday celebrating the beginning of the Jewish calendar). It’s just like Aidel to have funky and inspiring food on her table. She is a food guru, after all! When I asked her for the recipe, she told me that she had eaten it in a restaurant and merely replicated the dish. I wasn't about to start jotting down a recipe that she had created from her own taste buds.
A couple months down the line, we received an invitation from a lovely family in Ramat Beit Shemesh, the Rapps, to come join them for Shabbos lunch. When we sat down to our meal, she also placed down the beautiful and exotic meat and hummus dish. When I saw Sara Rapp during the week, I asked her if she by any chance had the recipe to the meat and hummus appetizer. I was waiting for her to say something like, “Uh I do, but I’m not allowed to share it with you.” I was glad when she carelessly replied, “Sure. I’ll send a picture text.”
Now we have it, the Meat and Hummus recipe. It’s super easy, super non-traditional, and super delicious!
I would advise you to not serve this recipe to picky guests. I once served it to a table full of seminary girls and they just started the dish down! Seriously. However, we have also served it to couples who loved it as much as we do.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


A gut chodesh, everyone! (Yiddish and Hebrew- and it means enjoy the first days of the new month J)
It’s so nice that Adar is here again (Adar is the Jewish month that symbolizes joy and happiness in the Jewish nation).
This is a very apropos time to discuss the recipe of hamentashen! Yay! Hamentashen is the triangular, jelly-filled cookie that is eaten during this time to remember the wicked antagonist, Hamen, in the Purim tale!

Don’t these Hamentashen make you happy? Don’t you hear them whispering, Purim is on its way….
Now, the recipe below is not just a simple Hamentashen recipe. It’s really an awesome cookie dough recipe that could be used for various uses, aside from hamentashen, but also including hamentashen. This dough could be used for fun cookie-cutter cookies with sprinkles and chocolate chips; it could be used for a cherry pie; or it could be used for hamentashen! Understood? My mother gave me the recipe, and she received it from our very dear neighbors, the Shurins.
The dough tastes delicious, both baked and raw! It is a bit sticky, though, so make sure to work on a floured surface, and constantly add flour to your hands and the rolling pin. Don’t knead more flour into the dough; this will affect the consistency and texture of your cookie.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Colorful Couscous Salad:

I was sitting in my mother’s kitchen one day when she gave me a couple of cook books. “Rechy, I get most of my recipes online these days, and I definitely have not touched these in years.” I was more than happy to add some cookbooks to my meager collection. One of them was a paperback book called “Kosherlicious Dishes” by Chabad of Owings Mills. This definitely was the least appealing to me from them all. It was simple: no pictures of recipes, no glossy pages, and no graphic design.
Every so often, generally when I am hosting guests, I get into these nervous frenzies were I am like, “I have such boring recipes. I need something new!  I need something different!” And then I take down all my cook books and start manically turning the pages trying to find that elusive recipe.
Well it happened one Thursday night, when all my cookbooks were strewn across the kitchen table, and I was frantically searching for a new and exciting recipe. Frustrated with my lack of progress, I dug deeper into the cabinet that held my cookbooks and pulled out the small paperback Chabad cookbook. “Hmmm, maybe this has something.” I was shocked to find some wonderful recipes in the salad and kugel sections, recipes that I still hold dear today.
I just want to take a moment to apologize to the “Kosherlicios Dishes” Cookbook for not giving you a chance right away.
In any case, I was especially pleased to find the “Colorful Couscous Salad”. There is a very well-liked Shabbos take-out in Baltimore that has an array of beautiful salads and the “Colorful Couscous Salad” reminded me of one of the salads they sell.

Oma’s Zucchini Soup

The day I received the email with “Oma’s soup” was a very big turning point in my marriage.
You see, Oma’s soup was not just a regular zucchini soup, it was a recipe that was full of nostalgia for my husband. When he was young, his parents and 6 siblings would often travel the 1 hour trip from Monsey to Borough Parkto visit Oma and her husband. Oma would generally prepare a big pot of her special soup for the family, and my husband in particular, would look forward to having a bowl of soup each visit.
I remember calling him and saying, “She sent the recipe.” He was shocked. I think he thought that she would refuse to send it. “Don’t share it with anyone!”, he said. He was serious. It’s funny. We felt that we had won the lottery. We had gotten the secret recipe to “the soup”.
The first time I made it I, unfortunately, had added too much pepper and the soup was unmendable! The second time though was a success. We blissfully ate our soup for dinner, savoring each spoonful.
Everything is way more fun when it’s a secret, but fortunately for you, I stink at secret keeping. First I told a sister in-law, them my mother in-law, and then some guests who insisted on the recipe. Those guests told me that they shared it with their guests and now, dear friends, the secret is no more!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Baking with Babies

A good friend of mine recently gave birth to her first little munchkin. One day when we were chatting, she asked, “How are you able to make dinner and Shabbos with a baby?”.  She then continued to vent about how whenever her hands are deep in chopped meat, her baby starts to wail or has a dirty diaper or just needs her.
Personally, I love giving advice, especially when I’m experienced in the area. Once I started talking on this topic, I could not stop. I never realized how passionate I am in the area cooking and baking with babies!
Now, let’s do a quick recap. I have two little ones that are 20 months apart. My daughter is 2 and my son is 8 months. This qualifies me as somewhat competent to give advice in this area!

I’m going to write my precious words of advice in list form:
#1- Aim to do your cooking when your kids are out
I try to plan out my cooking and baking times very strategically. I will never cook or bake anything that requires more than one or two steps while my daughter is home from gan (playgroup). For example, I will make macaroni, heat up french fries, or fry an egg, but I will not bake a cake, make breaded chicken cutlets, or put together lasagna. I really should apply the same rule to my son, but since we spend the whole day together, it’s a bit tougher. I do try and do the bulk of my cooking during his unpredictable nap times though.
It seems rough and restricting, but honestly, if I would try to do stuff in the kitchen with her around I would just end up getting frustrated with her and making a mess!
#2- Always be prepared
I am not a super organized person, at all, but what I could say is that I have learned the value of being organized and prepared!
In the beginning of my marriage, I used to save all my cooking for Friday. Everything! Then when I started to work, I started my cooking on Wednesdays. I still start my cooking on Wednesdays. Some people may think it’s funny, but to me, it’s reassuring that I am a quarter of the way there. By Thursday night, I try to be at least 80% ready for Shabbos. Friday is always a crazy day. There are always things to do, besides for cooking….like cleaning, just for example!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream Pie

Hello Friends & Family,

Nice to chat with you again!

This is a fun food to do a write-up on! This is mainly because it looks and sounds really spectacular (which it is), but it is also a complete joke to make. I remember the day that my sister shared this sacred recipe with me. I remember the relief that surged through my body and the glee. Oh yes, the glee!

This recipe is not found in any cookbook (that I know of, at least), yet many wives and mothers know of this secret concoction. “How? How!,” you may ask. Well, this recipe is generally passed down from mother to daughter, sister to sister, friend to friend. And because we are all friends on this blog, you will now be privy to the recipe that may just change your life.

I love watching people’s reaction when I list the ingredients and steps to the cookies ‘n cream pie.  I just recently told a friend of mine who ate by our house, and she reacted with an evil chuckle! And then she whispered, “No! Really?”.