Savoury Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Tart

Spring Vegetable & Goat Cheese TartThis savoury tart is filled with wonderful bits of green from the asparagus and onions, contrasting with the bright yellow from the eggs. The cheese adds a creamy tart note that definitely satisfies, even those of you who might not normally go for a tart. If you don’t have a tart pan (kinda like a shallow spring form pan) then you can always just use a regular pie dish or even the disposable tin ones that the pie crusts come in (that’s what I do). With regards to asparagus, please follow the link below to learn how to clean them properly. Alternatively though, you could use frozen pre-checked asparagus, from a brand such as Bodek. If you can’t find crème fraiche, you can substitute with sour cream or Greek yogourt. If you’re not crazy about tarragon (like me), you can omit this herb or use basil in its place. This tart will serve 8.

Ingredients:

1 store-bought pie crust
All-purpose flour (for surface)
2 bunches asparagus (about 1 ¼ pounds total), trimmed, peeled if thick*
5 spring onions or 12 scallions/green onions*
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
¼ cup crème fraiche
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley*
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives*
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon*
3 large eggs

* Click here to learn how to properly clean these ingredients.

Directions:

Roll out pie crust on a lightly floured surface to a 12″ round. Transfer to tart pan and press onto bottom and up sides. Bake crust according to package instructions. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut off top 1½” of asparagus tips; reserve. Slice stalks into ¼” rounds. Cut white bulbs from spring onions; trim and quarter (halve if using scallions/green onions). Slice pale-green parts into ¼” pieces. Toss asparagus tips and spring onion bulbs in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on prepared sheet; roast, turning once, until onions begin to brown and asparagus is bright green and tender, 12–15 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add sliced asparagus and pale-green parts of spring onions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and asparagus is bright green and tender, 6–8 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan. Spread evenly over bottom of tart crust.

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Tea Sandwiches

Tea SandwichesThese three recipes will make the most adorable, and yummy, sandwiches for your tea service. They are just as good if you “up-size” them to a regular sandwich for lunch in stead. If you’re expecting a large crowd, you can easily double the recipes.

Curried Egg Salad in Mini Pitas
Servings: Makes 16

Ingredients:
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons scallion/green onion, thinly sliced*
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon (heaping) curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
4 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped**
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into ⅛ inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 mini pita pockets, halved
Arugula leaves*

* Click here to learn how to clean these ingredients.
** Click here to learn how to make the perfect hard boiled egg.

Directions:

Whisk mayonnaise, scallion, shallot, apple cider vinegar, mustard, curry powder, and cumin in a large bowl. Fold in eggs and apple. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Fill pita pockets with about 1 tablespoon egg salad each. Top pita sandwiches with arugula leaves.


Sesame-Crusted Crab and Mango Tea Sandwiches
Servings: Makes 16

Ingredients:

¼ cup plain yogourt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup fresh cilantro/parsley, chopped*
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped*
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ pound lump-style artificial crab meat
½ cup mango, finely diced
16 slices Pullman or white sandwich bread, cut ¼ inch-thick, toasted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (optional)

Directions:

Whisk yogourt and vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Stir in cilantro/parsley and mint, kosher salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Fold in crab meat and mango.

Thinly spread yogourt on one side of each slice of bread. Divide crab mixture among 8 slices; top with remaining bread, yogourt side down. Trim crusts. Cut each sandwich in half on a diagonal.

Place toasted sesame seeds on a plate, if desired. Dip one cut side of each sandwich in sesame seeds.

* Click here to learn how to clean these ingredients.


Shaved-Radish Sandwiches with Herb Butter
Servings: Makes 16

Ingredients:

½ cup (1 stick) room-temperature salted butter
5 anchovy fillets, mashed and drained
1 small garlic clove, grated
3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped*
3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped*
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest**
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
32 slices of baguette, diagonally cut ⅛ inch thick
12 radishes, very thinly sliced
16 green radish leaves*

* Click here to learn how to clean these ingredients.
** Click here for tips on zesting.

Directions:

Mix first seven ingredients in a small bowl. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Spread herb butter on one side of each slice of baguette. Toss radishes with salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Top half of bread slices with radish leaves and radish slices. Top with remaining bread slices, butter side down.

Easy Marinades

Marinades 101These marinades use ingredients that you likely have on hand. Remember that they typical ratio for marinades is one part oil to three or four parts acid, with extra ingredients added to taste. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk, then transfer the marinade to a large freezer bag and add your favourite protein. Seal the bag, turning it so the protein is exposed to the marinade, and refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight, for meats or tofu, or about 1 hour to 4 hours for fish.

Honey Barbecue Marinade
Olive oil + Dry Red Wine + Honey + Crushed Garlic + Pepper

Fresh Mediterranean Herb Marinade
Olive Oil + Balsamic Vinegar + Finely Chopped Rosemary* and Basil* + Salt + Pepper

Asian Fusion Buttermilk Marinade
Sesame Oil + Buttermilk** + Ground Ginger + Cilantro* + Soy Sauce + Pepper

* Click here to learn how to clean these herbs.
** Click here on tips for making non-dairy buttermilk.

Milanese con Insalata di Pomodoro (Milanese Chicken Cutlets with Tomato Salad)

tomato chicken cutletThis salad is to be served on top of the chicken cutlets, as part of the dish, not as a separate salad/side dish.

Ingredients:

6-8 ripe, juicy tomatoes cut into a small dice
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil leaves, ripped into small pieces*

Directions:

Make the Cotoletta (cutlets) as per the previous recipe (click here).

While the cotoletta is cooking, make your salad by putting your tomato in a mixing bowl with a bit of salt. Allow the tomato to macerate for just a minute or two, then drain out the excess liquid along with most of the seeds. Take the pulp, mix it with the basil leaves and toss with the olive oil. Adjust for seasoning.

Serve the cotoletta, still hot, with the tomato salad spooned over the top, and eat it right away!

Note: If you cannot find ripe large tomatoes, try changing to cherry tomatoes instead; you will need about 2 pints for this recipe.

* click here to learn how to properly clean basil.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Now while I don’t know any Jewish wedding that this amount of soup would fit the bill for, you can feed about 8-10 people with it as a nice starter. Think of it as an Italian chicken soup, but with meatballs instead of matzo balls! Not that the edition of matzo balls would be a bad idea… hmm…

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ teaspoon salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soup:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
⅓ cup coarsely chopped onion
⅓ cup coarsely chopped carrot
⅓ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 ½ quarts chicken broth
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
salt to taste
1 cup seashell pasta (or other small-shaped noodle)
2 cups spinach – packed, rinsed* and thinly sliced

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, basil, parsley, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined, but do not over mix. Shape the meat into ¾ inch balls, and set aside. In a large stockpot, on medium-high heat, add the oil and sauté the onion, carrot and celery until the onion becomes slightly translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic, and let cook a few minutes more until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the broth, bay leaf and peppercorns and any salt that is desired, bringing the broth to a boil. You may wish to put the bay leaf and peppercorns in a little cheesecloth bundle, to make for easy removal later, but you can skip this step, and simply fish them out later. Once boiling, slowly drop in the meatballs and pasta. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, at a slow boil for about 10 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the meatballs are no longer pink inside. At the last minute add the spinach and wilt it into the soup. Serve hot with crusty bread and enjoy!

* click here to check out how to clean spinach properly.

Best Minestrone Soup

Minestrone

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, diced
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced in ¼” rounds
6 cups vegetable broth
1 796ml can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 769ml can crushed tomatoes
1 540ml canned kidney beans, drained
1 540ml can green beans, drained
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed and checked*
2 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
2 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoons dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup pasta, seashell or ditalini, or your favourite shape
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and sauté garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth, diced and crushed tomatoes and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, squash, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better. If the soup is too thick, or you would like more broth, you can add additional vegetable broth or water.

Fill a medium saucepan with water and add a heaping teaspoon of salt. You can omit the salt if you’re watching your sodium, but this is really your only chance to flavour the pasta itself. You could also add a teaspoon of bouillon to the water instead of salt. Bring the water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

* To learn how to check spinach, click here.

Leeks – כרתי

Leek in Hebrew is כרתי related to the word כרת—to cut, and so with that in mind we make the following request when eating these symbolic leeks:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּכָּרְתוּ אוֹיְבֵינוּ וְשׂוֹנְאֵינוּ וְכָל מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתֵנוּ

May it be Your will, Lord our G d and the G d of our fathers, that our enemies, haters, and those who wish evil upon us shall be cut down.

In addition, the braised leek dish calls for carrots which the Hebrew word is גֶּזֶר and sounds very much like g’zar, the word for decree. Eating them is meant express our desire that G-d will nullify any negative decrees against us. Interestingly, the Yiddish words for “carrots” and “more” — mern and mer, respectively — are strikingly similar. So among Yiddish speakers, carrots symbolize the desire for increased blessings in the new year.

Leek Latkes

Leek Latkes
Yields 14-16 latkes, depending on the size you make them!

Ingredients:

4 large leeks, washed and sliced into ¼ inch circles
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour or matzo meal, or a combination of both
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon dried basil (optional)
oil, for frying

Directions:

In a large soup pot, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Add leeks. Cover. Turn heat down to low. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the leeks are bright green and just tender. Drain the leeks in a colander, and let them cool a bit. Place leeks in a mixing bowl. Add beaten eggs. Add flour or matzah meal. Season with salt, pepper and basil. Mix well.

On medium-high heat, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, drop batter by spoonfuls into pan. Flatten the latkes a bit so they are not too thick to cook well in the middle. Fry approximately 3 minutes on each side, until browned on both sides and firm in the middle. Remove from frying pan onto paper towels to drain excess oil and cool. Repeat, starting with hot oil and then dropping spoonfuls of batter, until all the batter is used.

Tips:

  1. Adjust the heat when frying so it is just right. If you fry on too high heat, the pancakes might burn. But if you fry on too low heat, the latkes will be mushy rather than crisp.
  2. Use enough oil when frying so that the latkes won’t burn, but don’t use so much oil that the pancakes are oily.
  3. Don’t make the latkes too large that they fall apart when flipped over.

Braised Leeks and CarrotsBraised Leeks & Carrots

Ingredients:

2 leeks, washed and sliced into ¼ inch circles
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into sticks
⅓ cup chicken/vegetable broth
2 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Combine leeks, carrots, broth, margarine, sugar, thyme, salt, and pepper in a deep skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes. Cook and stir mixture until leeks and carrots are lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes, adding a touch more liquid if needed so the vegetables do not burn. Adjust the seasonings to taste and serve warm.

Kitchen Sink Vegetarian Chili

Chili

The great thing about this chili is that you don’t like one of the ingredients? Leave it out! Add something else! Play around with it! Want it spicier? Up the chili powder or hit it with some Tabasco sauce. This really acts as more of a guide to let your inner cook out to experiment and see what happens. You can always add meat if you wish. If you do, brown off the meat first, then follow the rest of the directions as listed below. Serve this chili up over rice or on top of baked potatoes for a great filling meal. This recipe makes 6-8 servings.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup onions, diced small
¾ cup carrots, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
¾ cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 ½ cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 (796 ml) can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
1 (540 ml) can kidney beans, drained
1 (540 ml) can black beans, drained
1 (341 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, and garlic until tender. Stir in green pepper, red pepper, celery, and chili powder. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, and cook 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and corn. Season with paprika, salt, cumin, oregano, and basil. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium. Cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once all the vegetables are tender and cooked through, and remove lid and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes to reduce the liquid in the chili as needed. Serve over rice or baked potato.

To make this into Cincinnati Chili, serve the chili on top of cooked spaghetti and top with shredded cheese and raw diced onions. To make this into a Frito Pie, line a pie or casserole dish with corn-chips, then top with the chili. Top the chili with shredded cheese, raw diced onions and a few slices of jalapeno and bake in the oven at 350 for 5-10 minutes, until the top is browned and melted.

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

An easy way to up the nutrition on this dish is to use high fibre or whole wheat pasta instead of regular. If you don’t have fresh basil, you can used dried instead. The rule of thumb when converting is to use ⅓ of the amount dried that you would fresh. So this recipe calls for ½ a cup of fresh, so you would use 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of dried. This recipe will serve 6.

Ingredients:

12 chicken thighs, skin and fat removed
Olive oil spray or enough oil to coat a pan
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 (796ml) cans crushed tomatoes
½ cup chicken broth, more if needed*
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups cooked (12 oz. uncooked) pasta

Directions:

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and spray with cooking oil. Add the chicken to the pan and brown on each side for about 3-4 minutes. Add all other ingredients to the slow cooker, except the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms in the last hour, mushrooms can be omitted if you are not around to toss them in. Cook on low for 6 hours. In the last hour add the mushrooms. Serve over pasta. If you are preparing this ahead of time, complete the steps above, however after browning the chicken, allow to cool and then add all of the ingredients, minus the mushrooms and pasta into a gallon sized freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and store in your freezer. On the day you wish to make your Cacciatore, allow it to cook on low for 8 hours. Again, add the mushrooms in at the last hour and then serve over pasta. *Depending on your crock pot you may need to add more liquid.

Mama Miriam! Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce

Original recipe makes 10 quarts

Ingredients:

25 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
3 bay leaves
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound yellow onions, finely chopped
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 1-quart canning jars with rings and lids
10 teaspoons salt, divided
1 ¾ cups bottled lemon juice, divided

To make 1 Quart:

Ingredients:

2 ½ pounds plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
¼ bay leaf
½ teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
⅓ cup yellow onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1-quart canning jar with ring and lid
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons and 2 ½ teaspoons bottled lemon juice, divided

Directions:

I find this first step, while a little time consuming, really helps in the end, so trust me and go with it! Blanch your tomatoes and remove the skins! Bring a large pot of water to boil. Take each of your tomatoes and score an “X” at the top and bottom of it. Drop it in the boiling water and let it roll around for a minute or so, then fish it out and plunge it into an ice bath. This will shock the tomato, and let you slide the skin off relatively easily. if you’re having difficulty, use a paring knife to remove any stubborn pieces.

Due to the sheer amount of tomatoes used in this recipe, you make want to divide it up amongst several large pots on your stove top, rather than attempting to try and do everything in one large (enormous!) pot. Place tomatoes, bay leaves, honey, oregano, 1 tablespoon salt, and black pepper in a large stockpot and cover with water. Stir to combine, cover, and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Remove cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning. Depending on the acidity of your tomatoes you may want to add more salt or more honey.

In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onions and garlic in the hot oil until the onions are softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Once the tomatoes are done, you can either transfer the mixture in batches to a food processor and puree it, or use an immersion or hand blender, and just blend it in the cooking pot itself. Return the pureed sauce to the stockpot, add the cooked onions and garlic, and cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat until sauce thickens and reduces by about half, about 2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. During this reduction time, you can make your different varieties of sauce by divvying up the sauce into smaller pots and adding additional garlic to one for a garlicky sauce, fresh basil to another for a basil sauce, or chili peppers to make a spicy sauce. You are only limited by your imagination!

Prepare quart jars and lids by heating them in boiling water in a canning kettle for at least 5 minutes. When the sauce is ready, remove jars and lids and place on dry towel. To each jar, add 1 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons bottled lemon juice. Ladle the hot tomato sauce into jars, leaving 1/2-inch of space at the top of each jar. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth, place lids onto jars, and screw on rings. Place filled jars in the canning kettle. Return water to a simmer, adding more water if needed to cover the jars by at least 1/2 inch. Cover kettle and bring water to a boil. Cook at a steady boil to process the jars until fully sealed, about 45 minutes (add more water if needed). Turn off heat and let jars rest 5 minutes before removing and cooling on a clean, dry towel placed on kitchen counter or table. Check that the lids have sealed, and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.