Tag Archives: Cooking

Hanukkah in Our New Home

18 Dec

happyhanukkah

It’s been some time.. ok years, since I have blogged. Life has been crazy. Moving 2 times with 3 kids in tow, opening new stores, starting new business ideas. All in the span of 10 months. I’m seriously ready to relax a bit. Our new home is a blessing. We are close to the business, we live in a quite calm neighborhood, kids love their new school. The balance of life is coming back to us all. What way to kick it off and celebrate then with Hanukkah and donuts?  About 12 years ago when I was visiting Israel I was introduced to Sfenj.

Definition: Moroccan doughnuts made by deep frying a sticky, unsweetened yeast dough. They can be purchased from street vendors, who use skewers to remove the freshly made sjenj from the oil. Sfenj should be eaten warm, either plain or dusted with sugar, for breakfast or tea time.

I took the recipe down, from a friends Safta (Grandmother). She didn’t speak English but all I needed was to observe her technique and jot down the ingredients. 12 years later, Trial and error … I think I make some pretty yummy Sfenj.

Lets do it!

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • ——————————-
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • sugar, for garnish (optional)

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside.

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and yeast mixture, and stir vigorously with your hand or a spoon until smooth. The dough should be too sticky to knead or shape, almost like a batter.

Cover the bowl, and leave the dough to rise for three to four hours, until double or triple in bulk.

In a wide pot, heat an inch or more of Canola oil until hot. Dip your hands in water, and pull off a piece of dough about the size of a small plum. Use your fingers to make a hole in the ball of dough, stretch the hole wide to make a ring, and place the dough in the hot oil. You will need a good amount of water for each sfenj to prevent it from sticking to your hands.

Repeat with the remaining dough, wetting your hands as necessary to keep the dough from sticking as you work with it.

Fry the sfenj until golden brown, turning once or twice. Remove the cooked sfenj to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Serve the sfenj hot. If desired, dip the sfenj in sugar to sweeten them.
Serve right away with honey, Nutella, Maple Syrup, Jam & a big pot of Nana Tea! (Mint Tea)

Bon Appetit & Happy Holidays!

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Random Thoughts

27 Mar

Occasionally I have a post with an array of topics. It’s when I have one of those do everything days. That’s today. I don’t know if it’s the 2 cups of iced coffee or the gospel music playing…. yeeeah… sometimes that happens… AMEN KIRK FRANKLIN! (I’m serious.. if you need some Redbull just listen to Gospel= same effect, Just don’t let your Jewish husband catch you singing “Ohhhh Jesus!”)  So enjoy my home organizing, cooking, muffin making, book loving, puzzle reviewing, explosion called Tuesday. wait.. It’s Tuesday right?

This is during breakfast- Peanut Butter Face

Making Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatos… boil…

Add Olive Oil to Pesto Powder.. few spoons.. to your liking..

Chop your tomatoes…

Toss. It’s super simple. Super easy, healthy and my Husband loves it. ❤

Also made Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins with a Wilton Heart Pan.. when you flip the hearts over you have this perfect place for a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This was a request from the Man of the House…

2 Books I am obsessing over right now.  I just discovered The Pioneer Woman‘s blog which saved my life (& wallet) with a homemade Iced Coffee recipe- AMAZING. Love her book, full of colorful photos & goes with you step by step so you visually see. Cake Pops is from another blogger Bakerella— Thanks Sis! It was a birthday present and I love this one as well. I love baking and decorating cakes so this is super cute. Lots of ideas for upcoming holidays and birthdays.

My kids were fighting over a Melissa & Doug puzzle non stop so I had to hide it until I bought another one.. Now life is good. They are latch puzzles, they love opening each little door and placing the magnetic puzzle pieces in. My son is 1 and my daughter is 2.5 so this is great for all age ranges.

Moroccan Meatball Tagine Recipe

8 Feb

I just made my favorite meatball recipe and I though why not share the goodness? Sooooo, here we go 🙂

It’s pretty simple and If you don’t own a Tagine you can use a deep dish saute pan…but I prefer the Tagine. Mine is cast iron from Le Creuset and is pretty seasoned by now… same idea as a cast iron skillet and ‘seasoning’.

=Quick info on Cast Iron Pans, skillet, Tagines, etc. There are several reasons that people rave about their cast iron pans and cast iron skillets. Besides being an ideal heat conductor, cast iron cookware heats evenly and consistently, it is inexpensive and will last a lifetime (actually several lifetimes) with proper care, and it is an old-fashioned way to cook fat-free. The first most common mistake of why people do not like cast iron is that they say everything sticks. If food sticks to your cast iron pan, your pan is NOT seasoned right and you need to re-season it. Cast iron is a natural non-stick surface and if your pan is seasoned correctly it WILL NOT stick! To season a cast iron pan means to create a slick and glassy coating by baking on multiple thin coats of oil. This will protect the cast iron pan from getting rusted and makes for a non-stick cooking surface.

You season a cast iron pan by rubbing it with a relatively thin coat of neutral food-grade oil (I stress a light coat of oil). Rub the oil off with paper towels or a cotton cloth. The pan will look like there is no oil left on the surface, but there is as the oil is just very thin (the pan will look dry, not glistening with oil). Place the cast iron pan, upside down, in the oven, with a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom to catch any drips. Heat the pan for 30 minutes in a 450 to 500 degree F. oven. Once done, turn off the oven, and let the pan cool to room temperature in the oven. Repeating this process several times is recommended as it will help create a stronger “seasoning” bond. I usually do this process 3 to 4 times.=

Ok back to the recipe….Everyone loves meatballs, and these tasty little morsels are steamed in a fragrant tomato sauce. For a more filling dish, add some eggs. Just drop 2-3 eggs atop the meatballs in the sauce and cover. Let the eggs cook until the egg whites are set. Serve the meat balls over couscous or even plain spaghetti.

Serves 4-

MEATBALLS:


1 Lb ground beef-not too lean

1 Small Onion very finely chopped

2 Teaspoons cumin seeds ground

1 Tablespoon sweet paprika

1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley

2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1.5 Teaspoon salt or as needed

1 Egg

Olive Oil for browning

To make meatballs: In a bowl, combine the beef, onion, cumin, paprika, blk pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, parsley, cilantro, salt and egg. Form the mixture into 1 inch balls. Set aside.

SAUCE:

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Medium onions chopped

4 Garlic cloves minced

2 Teaspoons cumin ground

1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 Cup chopped fresh parsley,cilantro or mint- your choice

2 Cups tomato sauce

1 Cup beef broth

To make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a saute pan or your tagine. Add the onions and cook over medium heat 8-10 minutes, until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper and parsley and cook for 5 more minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in the tomato sauce and beef broth and bring to a simmer. If you started in a saute pan, transfer to your tagine.

You can brown the meatballs, if you like in a skillet or sauce pan in olive oil over high heat. Or simply add them to the sauce uncooked and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, 20 minutes if you did not brown them first. I just plop the uncooked meatballs right into the simmering sauce cook for a good 20 minutes and then right before I serve a crack 2-3 eggs on top until they are set.

Serve with Couscous, spaghetti, or just by themself!

Good Luck and Healthy Dining!

Pumpkin Fondue

26 Oct

My Mother made this last weekend and all I can say is. Amazing.
It could be because I have a recent cheese fetish but besides that this recipe is perfect for fall. Warm, gooey, cheesy and with a little taste of pumpkin hidden in…makes it all around perfect. And the display can’t be beat! Just take a look at the picture! All of this plus easy clean up makes a perfect dish.

Here is the recipe:
1 (15-inch) piece of baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices (7 oz total)
1 (7-lb) orange pumpkin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère (6 oz)
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Emmental (6 oz)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lower third.
Toast baguette slices in 1 layer on a baking sheet in oven until tops are crisp (bread will still be pale), about 7 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Remove top of pumpkin by cutting a circle (3 inches in diameter) around stem with a small sharp knife. Scrape out seeds and any loose fibers from inside pumpkin with a spoon (including top of pumpkin; reserve seeds for another use if desired). Season inside of pumpkin with 1/2 tsp salt.
Whisk together cream, broth, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in a bowl. Mix together cheeses in another bowl.
Put a layer of toasted bread in bottom of pumpkin, then cover with about 1 cup cheese and about 1/2 cup cream mixture. Continue layering bread, cheese, and cream mixture until pumpkin is filled to about 1/2 inch from top, using all of cream mixture. (You may have some bread and cheese left over.)
Cover pumpkin with top and put in an oiled small roasting pan. Brush outside of pumpkin all over with olive oil. Bake until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffed, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

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