Friday, March 31, 2017

Almond Butter Tahini Cookies and 23 Passover Recipes!

"These almond butter tahini cookies are gluten free which makes them perfect for Passover. Chewy, but fragile, I know you will love them. Tasting like they are made with browned butter-but not- I know these cookies with dark chocolate, will be a new hit!"


Passover is a week from Monday and my cooking has begun. Yesterday found me starting 2 pots of chicken soup and experimenting with a new almond butter, tahini cookie. I was pleasantly surprised by these. They taste rich and a lot like a browned butter cookie, but no butter in these except for the almond butter. Totally gluten free and perfect for Passover. I used just a touch of almond flour in them and some dark chocolate chips. I put most in the freezer but not before Manservant devoured 1/2 dozen of them. 

I still have a long ways to go and tomorrow I will be regrouting our shower that badly needed it. I took out the grout Thursday-what a mess!  I best figure out quickly what will be on our plate next Monday as Zoe and my folks arrive on Saturday. I'll do as much as I can before they get here. To help me focus I decided to put together a round up of what's been on our plates through the years. Even if you don't celebrate Passover I know there will be something here to enjoy!

A few tips to pass on...I have made gefilte fish in the past but highly recommend Ungar's gefilte fish, found in the freezer case. Add some onions, celery and carrots to the water when you boil this loaf. It is a hit! I also make my own horseradish easily in the food processor. Yes. It is a pain to peel and chop and WATCH OUT when you open the lid of the processor! Those fumes will get you! Throw in a bit of white vinegar, some salt and maybe a cooked beet if you need to tone it down. This is great horseradish!

I'm sure I will have some new recipes to add during the week if I get a chance. This matzoh grilled cheese is a favorite of mine and though I know it won't work for Seder be sure to make it during the week. Love this! For snacks during the week this matzoh crunch more than suffices! Hopefully some of the menus below will give you some ideas if you are behind like I am. Spring cleaning got the best of me, as did spring fever. Happy Passover or Easter! 

                       Chopped Liver                                    Sephardic Charoset

     

Matzoh Ball Soup and Passover Menu 2015


Roast Chicken with Saffron, Hazelnuts and Honey   Glazed Chicken with Lemons and Olives

   

Za'atar Chicken with Lemons and Red Onions               Roasted Salmon with Roasted Fennel


    
                                           
                                                        Not My Mother's Brisket







                          Macaroons 1                                          Macaroons 2

  

                                                     Matzoh Fool's Toffee



Rosewater Meringues and Passover Menu 2016












           Marshmallows and Matzoh S'mores                        Chocolate Covered Orange Peels

  



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Our favorite Passover recipes over the years. Lots of tried and true ones here!Almond butter tahini cookies are gluten free and perfect for Passover. So good, you'd think they had real butter in them. But no, these are dairy free, too!


















yield: About 2 dozenprint recipe

Almond Butter and Tahini Cookies

These almond butter tahini cookies are gluten free which makes them perfect for Passover. Chewy, but fragile, I know you will love them. Tasting like they are made with browned butter-but not- I know these cookies with dark chocolate, will be a new hit!
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 30 mins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 c brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 t vanilla
  • 1 1/4 c almond butter with salt (Make sure this is blended well!)
  • 1/2 c tahini (Make sure the oil is incorporated)
  • 1/4 t kosher salt and more to sprinkle on top
  • 1/4 c almond flour
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Stir in almond butter and tahini. Mix well. Add almond flour and chocolate chips.
  2. Using a tablespoon drop dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. They will be oily. Freeze for about 30 minutes or chill overnight. If oil is puddled on the cookie sheet, use a paper towel to blot up before baking.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Place about 15 dough balls per cookie sheet. Sprinkle with more salt if desired. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. They will spread a bit and may become lacy at the edges. These crumbs taste like browned butter. So good! Cool and let set a minute or so before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Chicken with Ancho Chiles and Prunes

"This sultry chicken with the chocolatey richness of ancho chilies and the sweetness of prunes is a crowd pleaser. And a man pleaser. And it makes the house smell heavenly. What are you waiting for?"


When this old world starts getting me down and people are just to much for me to face, I look for recipes.  Yes, it would be nice if Carole King was playing in the background. I suppose I should look her up on Spotify, but I'm not very good at that. I could drag out my music and sing my heart out on my out of tune piano, but that might scare the dogs. Good thing cooking often helps brighten my mood and get me back on track.

                                       

I have a plethora of cookbooks, but sometimes it is easier to just look online. I read a lot of blogs and the last few weeks I have been slow on commenting. I apologize, my friends. I get lots of ideas from all of the good cooks out there, but this recipe is from the New York Times. I can't say I like reading the New York Times, except for maybe the weekend version, but I really do love their cooking section. Yes, you too should subscribe. Every day they send emails about what to cook for the week or the weekend or the upcoming holidays. Sometimes they miss the mark and other times I think they know just what I want.


This recipe wasn't a featured recipe, but somehow I got on the chicken page and while browsing I hit upon it. Maybe it sounded like the perfect Sunday night dinner or maybe I knew the house would smell terribly good. I did knew I could leave it on the stove with no worries if Manservant was running late or even nonexistent. I also could serve it with polenta or mashed potatoes, rice or quinoa, and I love those. Preferably the mashers, but in this case I chose blue corn polenta, because the recipe suggested it. I love polenta, but won't do it again. This sauce was made for rice or mashers. Trust me on this.


You can also trust me on this recipe. It's as simple as browning the chicken, chopping some onions and garlic and soaking the chilies. Add in some sherry and last but not least, some sherry vinegar and you have a meal that Manservant actually showed up for. That should tell you something. This isn't a spicy recipe but it does have spice. The soothing kind of spice. The kind that makes you come down from the roof and still dream of paradise. Or ask for seconds.


Some more to try:
      Chicken Sofrito                     Chicken with Saffron and Hazelnuts          Ketchup Chicken

                


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This chicken with ancho chilies and prunes is a little sweet and a little spicy. What a great combination!




yield: 4-6 servingsprint recipe

Chicken with Ancho Chiles and Prunes

This sultry chicken with the chocolatey richness of ancho chilies and the sweetness of prunes is a crowd pleaser. And a man pleaser. And it makes the house smell heavenly. What are you waiting for?
prep time: 20 MINScook time: total time: 20 mins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Dried Ancho chilies
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cut up chicken into 10 pieces
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Ancho chile powder
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 3/4 c chicken stock
  • 1/4 c fino sherry
  • 1 T red miso or I used umami paste
  • 16 pitted prunes
  • 2 T sherry or sweet vinegar
  • Cilantro, radishes, chives, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place chilies in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soften.
  2. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan that has a lid. Dry chicken pieces and place in pan. Sprinkle well with salt, pepper, garlic and chile powder. Sear until gold on one side and turn over. Season again as above and sear until golden. Remove pieces to platter. Reduce heat to low.
  3. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft. Dust with cumin powder, stir and then add stock and sherry while scraping residue from pan. Stir in miso and remove from heat.
  4. Drain chilies, cut in half and remove seeds and cores. Chop and add to sauce with prunes. Stir.
  5. Return chicken and any juices to pan, basting with sauce. Cover and simmer on low 20 minutes or until done, basting occasionally, until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken to platter. Add vinegar to pan, bring to a simmer and stir. Check for salt and add if needed. If sauce has reduced to much add more chicken broth or water, though I had plenty of sauce. Spoon sauce and prunes over chicken. Scatter garnishes on top.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Banana Oat Date Bars #LoveMyHealthyHeart

"Thanks to Sprouts for sponsoring this post. February was American heart month and Sprouts gave me lots of tips to keep my ticker ticking. These banana oat date bars are guilt free and perfect for satisfying my sweet craving, while also helping keep my heart healthy!"


After last week's calorie filled Irish nachos it seems fitting that I supply you with something a bit healthier. February was American heart month and Sprouts supplied plenty of information on ways to keep our heart healthy. Heart disease runs in my family so it is never to late to learn or review new tips to stay fit. My father had a wake up call at the age of 42 when he collapsed on the tennis court with a heart attack. I was 16. He never smoked, was not a drinker, just a tad overweight, and jogged at the time, though I'm sure he ate too much red meat. He's continued to stay fit and even at the age of 85 he ran/walked a 5k. He has had two open heart surgeries to replace arteries, but thank goodness for modern medicine. Turns out in our case heart disease is genetic, though that doesn't mean we should give up on trying to stay healthy.

Exercise is not something I really enjoy, but I do try to walk on  regular basis. Eating is something I really enjoy and though I received a minor in nutrition way back when (when no one cared about nutrition) I know what I'm supposed to eat.  However, I'm just not very good at following what I know. Well, at least I admit it. So far I've been pretty lucky and though I am overweight, I've avoided health related diseases. I'm getting older and know the odds of staying healthy are decreasing each day therefore it's best to err on the side of health.


Following a heart healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet is one way to do things. Another way is to eat lots of fruits, veggies and fiber. Suzanne Farrell, a dietician and nutrition coach, gave us lots of tips to point us in the right direction. One thing I'm trying to do is to follow the rule of 1/4, 1/4, 1/2. No this isn't a math test; that's the way one's dinner plate should be designed. In other words, (much to Manservant's chagrin) vegetables and fruit should fill half of our plate, grain and starches should fill 1/4 and the other 1/4 is for your protein.

Some foods that help our heart include fish such as salmon. Get your omega 3's in. Walnuts and flax seeds, chia seeds or fish oil capsules also contain omega 3's. Decrease your risk factors by getting lots of fiber in your diet. Most of us only get about 15g daily when we should get 25-35. Think lots of whole grains and oatmeal. Oatmeal is so good for you. Oats not only help lower your bad cholesterol, they also absorb it from your GI tract. Think beans. Beans are loaded with fiber. Think fruit; berries, apples and citrus are all great choices. Bananas are also great because they contain potassium and potassium is known for lowering blood pressure.

So today's lesson is what to eat for a healthy heart. You figured that out, right? I decided to combine some ingredients that Sprout sent us home with and come up with something that Manservant could munch without feeling guilty-well, me too! I used bananas-check! I used flax seed-check! And I used oats! Add in some dark chocolate which is also linked to reducing heart disease, (thank God!) some dates, which also contain lots of fiber and you don't need sugar. We all now sugar is the new bad boy, not fat-right? Well, that is if you are eating healthy fats!


So check these bars out. They aren't crunchy like granola bars but they are chewy. No, they aren't a chocolate chip cookie, but I don't feel guilty eating them. They aren't sugary sweet;  they taste like bananas and I love bananas. They are easy to make and perfect for those brown bananas that I usually throw away. It's just a mind set, right? I mean if my mom had started me on these, maybe my heart would be healthier. So save those yucky bananas and help save your heart!

Need a new snack? Give these a try. They pack well, are easy to make and just might cure that sugar urge while also providing lots of fiber and heart healthy goodness!


More heart healthy recipes:
Banana Baked Oatmeal                         Simple Salmon                  Moroccan Fish with Chickpeas
               

                                   Please Pin and Share:
                                               
 Banana Oat Date Bars are gluten free, added sugar free and dairy free. Filled with all great things they may just satisfy your sugar craving in a healthy way!


yield: 1 9" panprint recipe

Banana Oat Date Bars

These banana oat date bars are guilt free and perfect for satisfying my sweet craving, while also helping keep my heart healthy! Gluten free, sugar free and egg free-what's not to like?
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 45 mins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 c chopped pitted, dates
  • 2 c oats
  • 1/4 c coconut flakes
  • 1/4 c flax seeds
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1/3 c mini chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 350. Grease or line with parchment a 9" square pan.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mash your bananas until they are almost liquid. I used an immersion blender. Stir in all ingredients except the chocolate chips.
  3. Pat mixture into pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and then pat them into mixture so that they are resting on top.
  4. Bake for abut 30 minutes or until the edges begin to crisp up. You can also bake these longer if you want them crisper. Remove from oven and cool. Slice into bars and serve. Leftovers keep a good week, if they last that long.
Created using The Recipes Generator


    

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Irish Cheesy "Nacho" Potato Chips with Corned Beef

"Potato chips drenched in beer cheese, topped with garlic corned beef and a bit of dill sauerkraut, broiled to perfection...the perfect food to accompany beer!"


It isn't often I go overboard. After all a girl does have to watch her figure. In my case I'm not sure what figure that is, but I don't post many foods slathered with gooey cheese on a base of potato chips. Well, like never. And you know I adore potato chips. Potatoes plus salt fried equals pure heaven to me. But somehow St. Patrick's Day brings out the worst in me. Maybe my past history of drinking to much green beer has lingered within.

After discovering an enticing recipe of cheese sauce-known to some as Welsh rarebit-I decided that it was time to take all my favorite Irish foods and make something totally decadent. Something totally salty and crispy and lush with cheese; perfect as a base for corned beef and possibly some sauerkraut, for those who desire a healthy bit of probiotics.



 It was time to concoct the perfect beer drinking food. The one that sops up what's left in your intestines, the one that just might possibly make it possible for you to drive after a night of beer drinking, or Irish whiskey. But no! Let's leave that to Uber. However let's not leave these potato chip nachos sitting on the bar. The ones we made dinner of just last night and alas, without the beer. This easy simple recipe that will make everyone feeling like they found the pot of gold. And they did, only in the form of dill or honey mustard kettle chips, slathered with beer cheese, found not in a pot, but in a cast iron skillet.


So go overboard. Double the beer cheese.  Dive in. Pretend it's spring break. Lord, how I miss those. Find that pot of gold and that cute little leprechaun and break out the beer. It's St. Paddie's Day my friends! Slainte!

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St. Paddie's Day only comes around once each year. Splurge! Of course, I also love these all year long!



Yield: 2-4 servings  Print Recipe

Irish Cheesy "Nacho" Potato Chips with Corned Beef

Potato chips drenched in beer cheese, topped with garlic corned beef and a bit of dill sauerkraut, broiled to perfection...the perfect food to accompany beer!
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 5 MINStotal time: 20 mins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 T butter
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 T flour
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 - 3/4 Guinness stout
  • 1 T Worcestershire
  • 4 oz extra sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 4 cups of Kettle Chips (I used Honey Mustard and Dill Pickle.)
  • 4-8 ounces of thinly sliced corned beef (I used Boars Head, but leftovers work well, too!)
  • 1/2 c well drained sauerkraut (I found some dill garlic sauerkraut.)
  • 4 finely chopped green onions

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in flour and whisk until golden. Make sure there are no lumps. Cook until golden brown.
  2. Add mustard and cayenne and stir until incorporated. Add beer and Worcestershire and stir until combined. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese until it is melted and smooth.
  3. Preheat broiler to high. In a lightly oiled cast iron skillet, place 4 cups of potato chips. Top with corned beef. Make sure it is tucked over and under chips. Pour cheese sauce over top.
  4. Place skillet under broiler and broil until cheese is bubbly and chips are a touch dark. This only takes a few minutes so watch carefully. Remove from broiler and top with drained sauerkraut (if using) and scallions.
Created using The Recipes Generator

More Irish Favorites:

Irish Grilled Cheese Sandwich   Irish Bacon Buttermilk Pie   Corned Beef,  Potato, Cabbage Pie