Lag B’Omer Carob Cake

Carob CakeThis Carob cake is very apropos for Lag B’Omer, but can be served any day of the year! It is especially good for those that want the flavour of a chocolate cake, without the chocolate. This cake will serve 9.

Ingredients:

½ cup margarine
⅔ cup honey
2 eggs
1 banana, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup carob powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
icing sugar (to garnish)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan. Sift together the flour, carob powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and honey until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the banana and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the water. Stir in chopped nuts (if using). Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool, then dust with icing sugar to decorate.

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Easy Barbecue Chicken

BBQ ChickenI got this recipe from a family friend and neighbour, Stella Katz, and it is quite the winner! Easy and delicious, you’ll make it over and over again! This recipe will feed 4-6 people.

Ingredients:

1 chicken, divided (you could also use breasts, or what ever cut your family prefers)
8 sprigs of flat leaf parsley, chopped*
2+ cloves of garlic, minced (depends how garlicky you want it)
1 ½ lemons, juiced
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
3-4 tablespoons honey

* Click here to learn how to clean parsley.

Instructions:

Combine ingredients together in a extra large zip-loc bag to create a marinade. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, and let marinate for up to 24 hours. To cook, grill chicken on a BBQ or indoor grill, until the juices run clear. This dish can also be baked in a 350 degree oven, for 30 to 45 minutes.

Ginger, Herb, Lime & Sweet Onion Rub

Ginger, Cilantro, Lime and Sweet Onion RubThis rub/marinade is full of light, crisp flavours and would work really well on fish, chicken or tofu. If using on fish, beware that the acid in the limes actually starts to “cook” the fish, so do not let the fish marinate over night, but rather for just a few hours. FYI, for those of you that hate cilantro (like I do), I find that when combined with other herbs, like here with mint, the cilantro flavour is not that strong. Alternatively, you can substitute with an equal amount of parsley. This recipe will make about 2 cups of rub/marinade.

Ingredients:

1 ounce fresh ginger, finely diced (about ¼ cup)
¼ cup cilantro, chopped (about ¼ of a bunch)*
¼ cup mint, chopped (about ¼ of a bunch)*
4 limes, juiced and zested**
¼ sweet onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt

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

Directions:

If you want to save time and not have to dice everything by hand, you can use a food processor, but just make sure to use the pulse control feature, as this is supposed to be chunky and not a puree.

Combine all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and mix to incorporate. If using as a rub, coat the fish/chicken/tofu (or other protein) about one hour before grilling, using only enough to coat the protein. If using as a marinade, on chicken or tofu, marinate for 4 hours or more, even up to overnight. If using on fish, marinate for 1-3 hours. This recipe should be enough for about 4 large pieces of protein.

Charred Jalapeno, Mango, Citrus & Tequila Rub

Charred Chile, Mango, Lemon Verbena and Tequila RubThis marinade/rub will give your meat a bit of a Latino kick! You can cut down on the amount of jalapenos you use if you want it to be milder, however when the jalapenos are charred they tend to lose a bit of their potency. Additionally, if you remove the seeds and inner membranes (the white parts that the seeds cling to) from the peppers, that will greatly reduce the heat level. This recipe will make about 2 cups of marinade.

Ingredients:

6 jalapenos
1 mango, diced
3 limes, juiced and zested*
¼ sweet onion, diced
2 tablespoons chopped lemon verbena (you can substitute lemon thyme, lemon grass or lemon zest)**
2 ounces silver tequila***
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt

* Click here for tips on zesting limes.
** Click here to learn how to properly clean lemon verbena.
*** Click here to see the approved kosher alcohol list.

Directions:

Preheat your grill or grill pan. Place the jalapenos on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until charred black. Allow jalapenos to cool. Once cooled, remove the stem and seeds. Combine the seeded and stemmed jalapenos and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Using the pulse control, process until almost smooth and combined. Rub steaks (or other protein) about one hour before grilling, using only enough to coat the steak. This recipe should be enough for about 4 steaks.

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.

Matzo Baklava

Matzo BaklavaThis dessert just gets better with time. I would always plan on serving it the next day, or even the day after that, as the longer it sits, the longer the matzo has a chance to soak up the sweet lemony syrup. This recipe will make 9 to 16 squares (depends how small you slice it).

Ingredients:

6 sheets matzo

For syrup:
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey

For assembly:
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup shelled raw unsalted natural pistachios, chopped
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted margarine or butter, melted

Directions:

Briefly pass each sheet of matzo under cold running water until wet on all sides. Layer sheets between damp paper towels and let stand until somewhat pliable but not soggy or falling apart, about 2 hours. While matzo is softening, make syrup.

In small saucepan over moderately high heat, stir together the water and sugar. Bring to boil, then lower heat to moderate and cook, uncovered, until syrupy and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and honey and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool, then chill until ready to use.

To Assemble the Dessert:

Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir together walnuts, pistachios, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Separate out ⅙ of nut mixture and reserve for topping cooked baklava.

Transfer 1 sheet of the prepared matzo to the counter. Press a rolling pin once over the sheet from one end to other to flatten. Rotate 90 degrees and repeat. Using a pastry brush, grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with the melted butter/margarine. Lay one sheet of flattened matzo on the bottom of the pan, and then spread with more melted butter/margarine. Sprinkle the matzo with ⅕ of unreserved nut mixture. Roll out second sheet of matzo and transfer to pan. Brush with margarine and sprinkle with nut mixture. Repeat with remaining matzo sheets and remaining nut mixture, ending with matzo sheet brushed with margarine on top.

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Keeping the baklava in the pan, place the pan on a cooling rack so that it can cool all around, and immediately pour the chilled syrup over. It may seem like a lot of syrup, but the matzo will absorb it all. Sprinkle with reserved nut mixture. Let cool, then cover and let stand at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. (Do not chill.) Cut into small squares or diamonds and serve.

Sweet-and-Sour Celery

Sweet and Sour CeleryThis is a nice, easy side dish that gives a little sweet and a little sour to balance out the flavours. This recipe will serve 8 people.

Ingredients:

¾ cup water
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons mild honey
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 lbs celery, cut into 2-inch pieces, reserving about 1 cup inner celery leaves* (2 to 3 bunches, any dark green outer ribs peeled)
¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley*

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

Directions:

Cut a round of parchment paper to fit just inside a wide heavy 6-to 8-quarts pot, then set round aside. Simmer water, lemon juice, oil, honey, salt, and pepper in pot, stirring, until honey has dissolved. Stir in celery (but not leaves) and cover with parchment round. Simmer until tender and liquid is reduced to about ¼ cup, 35 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely chop reserved leaves. Serve celery sprinkled with celery leaves and parsley.

Hamentashen

HamentashenThere are a million different flavours out there for Hamentashen! You can go old fashioned with prune or poppy seed, traditional with jam, or try some new modern twists! Below you’ll find a basic dough recipe, and then some new fillings to try this year! I hope you like them!

Ingredients:

3 cups flour
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
¾ cup margarine
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
Filling of choice (See below for some options!)
egg wash (egg + water)

Instructions:

Sift together the baking powder, flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the margarine. Add well beaten eggs and mix together to form a soft dough. Roll out on a floured board to ¼” thickness. Cut with a large, round cookie cutter. Put a spoonful of desired filling in centre, and pinch together to form triangular pocket. Brush with an egg wash, put on a well-greased pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Poppy Seed Filling:

Ingredients:
¾ cup poppy seeds
2 tablespoons margarine
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

Directions:
Beat the egg in a bowl and set aside. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan. Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar and honey and simmer over a low flame until the sugar is melted. Pour half the hot mixture into a cup. Very slowly drizzle the hot mixture into the beaten egg, whisking constantly. Slowly pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Simmer the mixture for 3-4 minutes until it thickens. Remove from fire. Whisk in the poppy seeds and refrigerate until fully cooled before using.

Fresh Cranberry Filling:

Ingredients:
1 (12 oz.) package fresh cranberries
1 ¾ cup white granulated sugar
1 ¼ water
Zest of one orange

Directions:
Bring water, sugar, and orange zest to a boil and continue to boil for about 10 minutes, until mixture is syrup–like. Add cranberries and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until berries pop. Remove from heat. Pour into bowl and refrigerate overnight or until chilled.

Apple Pie Filling:

Ingredients:
2 apples, very finely diced
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:
Peel and dice the apples very finely. Mix in the sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss until apples are fully coated.

Coffee Cake Filling:

Ingredients:
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans or cashews
2 tablespoons melted margarine
1 to 2 tablespoons apple butter

Directions:
Mix the sugar, cinnamon and nuts together. Slowly drizzle in the margarine in, and then toss to mix with the apple butter. You may find it easier to blend in the butter if you microwave it first for about 15 seconds.

Pecan Pie Filling:

Ingredients:
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup almond milk
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¾ cup pecan pieces
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Whisk together the maple syrup, almond milk, salt, and cornstarch in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep stirring continuously with a whisk until the mixture boils and thickens. Once boiling, turn off the heat and stir-in pecan pieces and vanilla. Allow to fully cool.

Lemon Bar Filling:

Ingredients:
½ cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
4 lemons, juiced (just under 1 cup juice)
zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs
¾ cup honey
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:
Combine arrowroot or tapioca, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, palm sugar, and maple syrup. Whisk wet ingredients into dry until dry ingredients are completely dissolved. Pour mixture into a medium saucepan on low-medium heat, and whisk continuously for 8-10 minutes until a thick custard forms. Be very careful to continue whisking on a lower flame or the eggs might scramble. Allow to completely cool.

Jicama Slaw

Jicama SlawFor those of you not familiar with jicama, you don’t know what you’re missing! Jicama, (HEE-kah-ma) also known as Mexican Yam or Mexican Turnip is the name of a native Mexican vine that has an edible tuberous root. The root’s exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some apples or raw green beans, and it is usually eaten raw. In Mexico, it is popular in salads, fresh fruit combinations, fruit bars, soups, and other cooked dishes. You can find it year-round in the produce section of many supermarkets and Latin American markets. Select firm, dry jicama roots. Skin should not appear shrivelled, bruised, or blemished.

Ingredients:

1 large jicama, peeled and finely shredded
½ napa cabbage, finely shredded*
2 carrots, shredded
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves*

Directions:

Place jicama, cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, ancho powder, honey and oil in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour the lime mixture over the jicama mixture and toss to coat well, fold in the cilantro. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.

* Click here to learn how to properly inspect a Napa Cabbage and cilantro.

Horseradish Vinaigrette

Horseradish DressingIngredients:

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 ½ teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped*
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped*
⅓ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk together the horseradish, mustard, garlic, honey, salt and pepper. Add the vinegar, and then gradually whisk in the oil, until blended. Add the parsley and thyme, and mix to combine. Let the dressing sit at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavours to combine. Mix well before using.

* Please click here to learn how to properly clean fresh parsley and tarragon.