Category Archives: Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur

Gluten Free Honey Apple Bread


I have a serious love for apples, and not just any old kind, my personal favorite is Honeycrisp apples.  They are a little tart, a lot of sweet, and only available in the fall.

Well, what do you know… it’s the fall and it’s Rosh Hashanah time and so there is barely a time that’s better for apples and honey than right now.

This easy recipe is great to have a round during a long holiday weekend, or to use up your favorite apples.

Gluten Free Honey Apple Bread
Ingredients
In a small bowl
2 cups Gluten Free Flour (Namaste Brand)
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
 
In a large bowl
1/2 cup of canola oil
1 apple sauce cup, about 4 oz.
2/3 cup of honey
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup of chopped apple, or about 1 large apple (Honeycrisp) – I like it really apple-y
Sprinkle of cinnamon and raw sugar
 

In a small  bowl sift the dry ingredients and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix with a whisk the oil, honey and apple sauce.  Here’s a tip first pour the oil, then when you pour the honey out of the same measuring cup it will slide right out.  When mixing you may need to give it a little muscle to break down the stickiness of the honey and to have a smooth liquid base.  Then add the vanilla and eggs.  Mix until fully combined.

Then slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet.

When the two sets of ingredients are fully incorporated add the chopped apples and give it a good stir so that the apples get covered in batter.

Pour the batter into an oiled 9 x 5 pan, and bake for 55 – 60 minutes at 325 degrees.

This little bread isn’t too sweet and so it makes for a great breakfast or snack.  Try it warm with some butter, or cheese, or nut spread.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Apple Muffins


Easy holiday, or anytime recipe, no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no mixer!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is quickly approaching and I am excited for the many baking opportunities.  It is customary to wish people a “Sweet New Year” and even more customary to enjoy the sweetness of the season’s bounty of fruits, particularly apples, with honey.

Frankly, I could eat apples and honey any time of day or year, but I realize that to snack or travel too far with this sweet snack can become a bit of a sticky situation.  So, instead, we have muffins.

Gluten Free Apple Muffins
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups of GF all purpose flour (Namaste brand)
1/2 cup of GF Oats
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
 
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 4oz. containers of unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup of agave syrup
1 large (Braeburn) apple grated
 
1/4 apple chopped and cinnamon for garnish
Set oven to 325 degrees

In a medium size bowl mix the flour, oatmeal, baking soda and cinnamon and salt.

In a separate larger bowl mix the canola oil, agave syrup, and vanilla extract.  Add to that the eggs and whisk by hand.  Then add the apple sauce and continue to mix.


Then using a box grater, grate a large apple into the wet ingredients.  I used a Braeburn apple, which has a sweet but tart flavor, but you could use whatever kind of apple you most prefer.  Fold the grated apple into the wet ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and continue to stir, stopping when the dry ingredients are completely incorporated and before you over mix.

Scoop large spoonfuls into muffin liners and then you can add slivers of chopped apples and a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top.  The apple sliver remind me of shark fins, but taste delicious, and serves as a hint of all the amazing apple goodness inside.

Bake for 25 minutes and then enjoy.  These are delicious alone, or with a pad of butter, smear of almond butter, or maybe even a slice of sharp cheddar.

This will be the first of many sweet things as we move into fall!

 

Potato Crust Mushroom and Swiss Quiche


Sometimes it is a Monday night and you realize you have like 12 mushrooms in your refrigerator and two random russet potatoes – both of which were purchased at some point with another recipe in mind.  But now you don’t care about those recipes.

So what to do?  Potato Crust Mushroom and Swiss Quiche probably does the trick.  I am a quiche fan – it is easy, filling, and completely customizable.

Potato Crust Mushroom and Swiss Quiche Ingredients
5 eggs
2 egg whites
3/4 cup skim milk
2 large russet potatoes
1 onion
10 – 12 mushrooms
10 stalks skinny asparagus 
6 slices Swiss cheese, or shredded Swiss
1 tbsp of grated parmigiana cheese
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

 I know there are quiche enthusiasts who will say a good quiche has to be with a proper pie crust, and usually that is true.  However, in the pursuit of healthy living and delicious eating, this is a fast and quite good alternative.

Slice the potatoes crosswise into 1/4″ coins. In a colander drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper -this is a tip, place the colander over the pan you’ll be baking in to catch the oil. Then neatly layer the potatoes in a to cover the base of the pie pan. I sprinkle a tablespoon of grated parmigiana cheese on to the potatoes and then set in the oven for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.


While the crust is baking chop the onion, mushrooms and asparagus.  In a large nonstick pan saute the onions and when they are softened add the mushrooms and then when the mushrooms are just a moment from being down add the asparagus.

Cooled vegetables with the Swiss cheese on top
While the vegetables and crust cools – this is very important – prepare the egg mixture.  I used 2 egg whites and 5 whole eggs and I think you could adjust that to your liking. Whisk egg, milk and salt and pepper and then add the cooled vegetables and cheese.


Bake in the 375 degree oven for 30 minutes – at this time the egg should have a slight bounce but be firm and an inserted knife should come out clean.  This is beautiful served with a fresh salad or on it’s own because it is filled with delicious and nutritious vegetables – and yes, in our house it is breakfast, lunch or dinner!


Enjoy! 

P.S. Mark and Carly secret: During a bridal shower game I had to guess what Mark’s favorite food was that I made.  Not lasagna, or crab cakes, or cookies, quiche. 

Apple Oatmeal Kugel


Over the long and sometimes warm and sometimes very cold weekend I spent a lot of time behind my stove.  I really like to cook over the weekends and sometimes you (I) cook too much.  I also really don’t like to throw things away that taste great, and well, eating the leftovers to get rid of it all doesn’t really do anyone any good.

So, as necessity is the mother of all inventions, a new recipe was born.  It’s not exactly seasonal (apples really makes me think of the fall) but it is definitely comforting.
Apple Oatmeal Kugel*
Ingredients
2 cups cooked oatmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 – 2 apples chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1 egg
1 tbsp of brown sugar
1/2 tbsp almond butter (negotiable*)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turbinado sugar (optional)
Juice from a 1/4 lemon
1/8 cup of slivered almonds

Step 1: Breakfast.  If you’re like me, when you woke up you thought about making something fun with low cholesterol oatmeal, but you have to have breakfast first.  So, you made an abundant amount of oatmeal. By the way cooking oatmeal is always a 2 (water) to 1 (oatmeal) ratio.  In this case I wanted a less watery version, so I went 3 cups of water, 2 cups of oatmeal, Mark and I both had a small bowl of oatmeal with toppings and about 2 cups of cooked oatmeal remained.  Don’t throw out the leftover cooked oatmeal!

Step 2: Oatmeal Toppings.  While the water is boiling and the oatmeal is cooking, chop up your favorite kind of apple (mine is Honey Crisp – they are out of this world good).  Add the apples and raisins to a pan on medium heat with a smidge of butter (like a 1/4 of 1/4 tbsp).  Let the apples and raisins begin to soften and add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and continue to stir so that the fruit is completely covered.  For your breakfast take 1/8 cup of apples and raisins and reserve the rest for later.
Step 2: Dry Ingredients: After you finish your breakfast return to the pot where the oatmeal has now cooled.  Add the whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Combine all of these ingredients.  If the oatmeal is overly sticky – mine was – slowly add 1/8 cup of water at a time until it has a smoother consistency.

Step 3: Wet ingredients.  I included 1/2 tablespoon of almond butter in the oatmeal.  It added a warmer hint of color, but didn’t change the flavor – this is totally up to you to include.  For a nutty flavor I’d recommend at least a tablespoon.  Add the egg and the brown sugar and continue to incorporate.

Step 4: Back to the apples.  The apples and raisin have cooled and should a soft golden color.  Bring the pan back to a medium-low heat and add the vanilla and lemon juice.  Cook the apples until the juice is absorbed.
Step 5: Bring it all together.  Combine the apples and raisins into the oatmeal and then spread the entire mix into a 9×9 baking dish.  If so desired, and I am sure it is desired, sprinkle on additional cinnamon, turbinado (raw) sugar, and some almonds.  Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.  
Here is the warning: your kitchen will have the warm, sweet smell of cinnamon, vanilla and apples.  You’ll know how relatively healthy this little snack is and will have a hard time just eating one bite, but that’s okay, because really (not just relatively) this is a pretty healthy way to go.

*So, I am calling this a kugel, because the flavor and consistency most closely reminds me of my Nannys’ (grandmas‘ – they both make it) noodle pudding.  There are no noodles, so noodle pudding is the wrong name, and kugel kind of sounds funny, but it’s pretty much what it is.  The other thing it is, is sweet, but not too sweet, healthy, but not boring, simple but not bland and probably something that will pop up on a holiday table of mine in seasons to come.

Basic Brisket, and so good!


When you want an authentically Jewish brisket recipe, (not barbecue brisket, or pulled brisket, just you the familiar brisket found on Hanukkah, Passover, and Rosh Hashanah tables),  you’ll probably need to call a mom, or grandma or aunt.  If you want a different variation, visit Food and Wine.

Anyway, so I found myself in Whole Foods standing in the meat refrigerator looking at some huge pieces of meat.  That is step 1 to making a brisket, the meat is huge.  Understanding that, getting over it, and knowing that it will shrink to half it’s original size is critical.

I called my cousin Amy first – she gave a list of her ingredients.  Then I called my mom, and she gave a similiar list of her ingredients.  When it came time to go, I just did everything.

 Jewish Style Brisket Ingredients, serve 8-10
3.5 – 4 lb brisket
1 onion
4 carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 packet of Lipton Onion Soup starter (crazy, I know)
1/2 can of San Marzano Pureed Tomato
1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup of red wine
2 tbsp of Ketchup
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp of butter
Salt and Pepper
Cooks for at least 3-4 hours, at 325 degrees.

In a very large non-stick pan on medium-low heat melt some butter and add the chopped onion.  Let the onion simmer and add a sprinkle of salt.  When the onion are closer to translucent than white add the brisket to the pan.


Let the brisket cook on both sides for 3 minutes.  You’re not really cooking here, you’re just browning.  Here’s the warning, brisket has a strip of fat on one side, seeing it can be a little overwhelming and gross, keep moving, don’t worry about.
After the brisket has browned on both sides place it in a large baking pan with the raw chopped vegetables and the cooked onions.   Make sure the fat part of the brisket is on the top.

 
In a medium bowl mix the ingredients, onion soup starter, tomato, wine, vinegar, ketchup and sugar. 
Then pour all over the brisket.  You may need to use some muscle to lift the brisket to get the sauce in every little spot.  Yep, just like that.  To be fair, I texted this image to my parents to get a virtual thumbs up.  You don’t have to text my parents, you don’t even have to text your parents.  This is what it should look like.
Find a roll of aluminum foil and start wrapping.  The pan needs to be completely covered and secured. Now, you can put it in the oven for 3 – 4 hours.  Walk away.  Try not to worry, definitely do not open the oven and play with the foil.   
After removing the brisket from the oven, keep it covered for an additional 30 minutes.  This will give you enough time to make a side dish or two, maybe Kasha, or potatoes?  We made kasha and bow-ties.  Seriously good.

When you unwrap the pan, you slice against the grain.  You can let it cool completely and remove the fat, or  you can go authentic, and keep the fat on.  It’s a holiday, its going to be okay.  Enjoy the sauce, the carrots will be full of a sweet and tangy flavor and the meat will be very tender.


It’s a holiday tradition, and one that is easy to be creative with.  I think when you make it for many years, like your aunt, grandma and mom, you’ll tell someone else just add some of this and some of that.  But if you need a recipe, now you’ve got it!

Happy Hanukkah!

Roasted Potatoes, Poupourri You Can Eat


To be fair this is not so much of a “recipe” as it is a suggestion.  

I know that this weekend is dedicated to running around for last minute costumes, carving pumpkins, excessive makeup, buying candy, consuming lots more candy, and indulging on some other celebratory vices.  And that is all good.  But, the weekend is long, and eventually you’ll want something that is healthy, and easy.  This is so easy that while you’re setting your hair in curlers and finishing the details of your meat dress this can cook.

Roasted Potatoes is the most homey non-recipe recipe there is.  I like to mix a large variety of potatoes (white, red, purple, sweet, yellow) and chop them all up into chunks that are about 1/4 – 1/3 of an inch thick.

Set the oven to 400 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  And get chopping. 

Ta da!  All chopped.  When all the chopped potatoes are in a bowl drizzle on some olive oil, sprinkle on some Kosher salt, crack some black pepper.  
Okay, now here is where you have some creative license.  Are you feeling traditional?  How about some rosemary and thyme.  Want some heat?  Sprinkle on some cayenne.  Want Italian flavors?  Try oregano, parsley, and maybe some  finely grated Parmigiana-Reggiano, or do as we do and go a little crazy with the Old Bay.  There is no right or wrong amount, but you’ll want to see the flecks of flavor on each piece of potato.  This is truly an instance of “flavor to taste”.

Throw in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, the longer it’s in there the more browned the edges will become, again this is a personal preference.  Also, I am going to again recommend mixing up the variety of potatoes, they each have a different flavor and texture and so all together they are like a little (healthy) party in your mouth.
Enlarged to show flavor intensity detail!
Happy Halloween, this year instead of a pre-trick or treating peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or pizza (which are all more than fabulous), mix it up with this!

Everybody’s Favorite, with a Holiday Twist


And, I’m back!  Sorry for the absence of postings last week, Mark and I were India – more on that soon, with a travel journal and lots of pictures.  In the meantime, let’s get back into the swing of things with an easy, and perfectly delicious recipe.

Like apples and honey, pomegranate seeds are also a symbolic treat for the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  Tradition dictates that you try a new/exotic fruit, which for many a pomegranate qualifies, and also the abundance of tiny pomegranate seeds is symbolically linked to an abundance of goodness in the New Year.  
Image via Vos Iz Neias?
 While working on the whole wheat apple muffins, I thought this would be a fun way to incorporate some extra goodness into the holidays.

Pomegranate Cookies, adapted from Nestle Tollhouse

Ingredients 
1 and 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
3/8 cup granulated sugar
3/8 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup of fresh Pomegranate Seeds
1/2 cup of Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds
Set the oven to 350 degrees, and bake for about 8 minutes or until browned.

Just like you were making regular chocolate chip cookies, cream the butter and sugars, add the egg and vanilla.  Then add the dry ingredients of flour, baking soda and salt.  


Then add the fresh pomegranate seeds.  You could also you dried seeds, but I found the fresh ones kept the cookies unbelievably moist.  You could stop with the fresh seeds for a healthy, sweet treat, but come on, how could I resist not adding in dark chocolate covered seeds as well?  Dark chocolate is rich with antioxidants, so that counts too!

I found the fresh seeds and the chocolate covered seeds at Trader Joe’s, but if you’re not so lucky to have a Trader Joe’s nearby, you could just use regular chocolate chips and remove the seeds yourself.  To avoid a mess you can open up the pomegranate and pull out the seeds with your hands and the fruit submerged in a bowl of water.

For these cookies I used a teaspoon sized scoop.  The cookies came out to be size of an Entenmann’s cookie, which is pretty much the perfect 2-bite size. 

Eat and enjoy, and share with a friend.  Wishing you all great things for fall and the start of the New Year!

Sweetness for the New Year


Growing up there were certain food pairings that always went together: peanut butter and jelly, Oreo cookies and milk, apples and honey.  As the Jewish High Holiday season approaches, my mind and my appetite starts to shift away from blueberries and peaches and to autumn’s bounty of apples.  

On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, it is traditional to dip apples into honey for it signifies the wish for sweetness in the coming year – but really any reason is a good reason to mix apples with sweetness.  The holiday season is always filled with multiple meals, treats and often overindulging, this healthier take on a traditional apple cake will set the year off on a healthier and sweet note, and that’s what I always wish for good health and sweetness.  
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Ingredients: 
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup of apple sauce
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsps dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 cup non-fat greek yogurt
2 large apples, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
I have to start off by saying that I played with the ingredients for this recipe to create something lighter, and more sponge cake like than a traditional dense muffin – although I do love a good muffin.  

Let’s get started, all of the dry ingredients are in one bowl.  Because I subbed out half of the butter, I halved the amount of all-purpose flour and added half a cup of cake flour to help keep the fluffiness.  I also used less sugar than the original recipe called for because of the natural and added sugars in apple sauce.  As a side note, we just got fresh cinnamon, and the aroma is amazing.

In a separate bowl mix the butter, apple sauce, and sugars.  When the butter is broken up enough – it won’t look like normal creamed butter and sugar because the liquid content of the apple sauce, don’t worry.  Now blend in the egg.  It still is not going to be pretty, don’t worry.  Now add in the yogurt.  I use non-fat, sugar free Greek yogurt, because I don’t want to add extra sugars that are hidden in most yogurts.


After you blend the yogurt it will resemble what you probably expected the mixture to look like all along – phew!  Slowly add the dry ingredients to to the wet mixture.


Time to get to the apples.  I am partial to granny smith apples.  I use them for my apple pies or just for snack.  I love their tart flavor and crisp bite.  I am sure you could use your favorite variety.  Make sure to eat some apples a long the way, that’s what I did.


With a large spoon mix in the apples.  I have to warn you at this point the batter is sticky, and not at all like a traditional cake dough.  It more closely resembles a cookie dough.  Don’t worry about it.  Seriously, apples and sugar and yogurt and flour is not something to worry about.


Plop large spoonfuls of the batter into muffin cups or if you run out of papers as I did eventually just make small balls on a cookie tray.  For extra sweetness you can sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on top of the muffins.


Pop these into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes, and then lower the oven temperature to 400 degree for another 5 minutes.  That is it.  It is a fast, fast baking recipe.  Kind of perfect for the holiday season when you are cooking/basting/baking all day and don’t have time to slave over dessert – and probably even better to save for yourself for a treat the next day.

Wishing you good baked goods, health and happiness.