Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kosher for Passover Classic Caesar Dressing

Again, this caesar dressing is no different than homemade caesar dressing for the rest of the year. That's why it's so good. All you need is a food processor. (And the ingredients, of course!)


4 anchovy fillets, or more, if you prefer a strong anchovy flavor (if you are not using a food processor, press the anchovies through a garlic press or mince small)
2 egg yolks (or 2-3 tablespoons pasteurized egg)
1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
1 lemon, juice only
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
2 garlic cloves (pressed or minced very small)

Combine garlic, anchovies and egg and whisk until you have created a paste (this is very easily done in a food processor, and requires a little elbow grease if done by hand). Add lemon, spices and stream in olive oil while whisking. Taste and correct seasoning. If you have used a food processor, you may wish to thin the dressing with a bit of water, as it sometimes creates a mayonnaise-like consistency (or, you may like it this way). Whisk again before serving.

Kosher for Passover (and delicious all year long!) Mayonnaise

There used to be nothing worse than bottled Kosher for Passover mayonnaise. It's gotten much better in the last five years or so. I have no idea why it tasted so awful, because mayonnaise is simply an emulsion of egg yolks and oil, and should generally have nothing to do with Passover ingredients.

If you have a Passover food processor, then you have the ability to make delicious Pesach homemade mayonnaise (as good, or better than Hellman's). It's worth it to invest in a food processor for Passover just for this recipe, I think. You can also make your potato, cauliflower and other veggie kugels very easily with a food processor!

You can also add garlic and herbs to your mayo in order to make herbed garlic mayo, or you can add horseradish puree to make a chrain mayo for gefilte fish. Your fresh mayonnaise will greatly, greatly improve any tuna or egg salads you make, and since it's so easy to make (and so delicious), I would wager some people might even make homemade mayo the rest of the year too.


1 cup of oil
1 raw egg (or the equivalent in egg substitute)
Juice of 1 lemon, and/or white wine vinegar (I start with the juice of half a lemon, and then about 2-3 tsp of vinegar at the end to get the right taste)
Pinch of salt (to taste)
Water to thin the mayonnaise, if necessary


In a food processor or mixer, pulse or beat the egg and the lemon juice and/or vinegar together continuously until it turns a full shade or two lighter, very light yellow and frothy. Begin adding oil very slowly in a steady stream, with the processor on. As the mayonnaise starts to thicken and lighten, you made need to add some water to thin it. If your mayonnaise never emulsifies (very unlikely if you use a food processor, but more likely the case if you use a whisk), you can try adding another egg yolk, or simply start over. In a food processor, this is very, very easy. By hand with a whisk, it is trickier. Taste as you go along, and add more lemon and/or vinegar to get the mayonnaise taste you prefer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crunchy Sprout Chips

You're not going to believe this, but it's true. Brussel sprouts are addictively good! Especially when simply roasted until crisp with a tiny bit of olive oil, a smidge of salt and some pepper. Making chips from Brussel sprouts takes a bit of slicing and dicing, but it's worth the extra five minutes of effort. Make this and your kids will spurn potato chips and french fries in their favor.

A great idea for an easy Pesach (Passover) side dish, Brussel sprouts also have the side benefit of being a very healthy vegetable.

From Wikipedia:

Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties. Although boiling reduces the level of the anti-cancer compounds, steaming, microwaving, and stir frying does not result in significant loss.

Brussels sprouts and other brassicas are also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.[


2 cups whole Brussel sprouts
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


Slice each sprout in half and cut out the root from each side. Gently remove as many leaves as possible from the outside of the sprout and place in a bowl. Any actual leaves you can separate in a single leaf or layer is usable for this bowl. Set the cabbage-like insides of the sprouts, as well as the roots, aside for a separate roast.

Coat the sprout leaves with 1 tbsp (max) of olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Resist the temptation to add more olive oil. It's not necessary and will only stay on the baking sheet. Spread leaves in a single layer onto baking sheets lined with nonstick foil or parchment paper. Place in a 400 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes, until crisp and browned. Baking time may vary a little. Keep an eye on them.

Prepare the cabbage-like insides of the sprouts in the same manner, but use a separate baking sheet and spread each sprout slightly wider and leave space in between, to give them enough space to prevent them from steaming during the roasting process. If you want them crispy, these will likely need to roast longer, for approximately 20 minutes or more.

Remove from oven and serve hot or at room temperature. Good luck even getting them out of the kitchen before you eat them all. ;)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chicken Chorizo Hash

So what to do, what to do, with all this leftover chicken all the time? Here's a great answer for a totally new meal when you've just had too much plain, boring chicken, whether it's leftover from Shabbos, or was on sale, or whatever. I am trying out a new product called Jack's Gourmet, (OU Glatt), which at the moment is available at Glatt Express in Teaneck. They have a spicy Mexican-style chorizo sausage, which is just delicious and perfectly suited to hash. I made this with extra virgin olive oil, so the (considerable amount of) fat in the four sausages and whatever fat remained on the skin-free chicken is the only fat present in the recipe. However, lower fat meat items can also be used to make this recipe even healthier. You can do it with only the chicken, but it's a little boring. The chorizo really is the star here. An alternative to lower the fat content of the dish is to slice and fry up the sausages first, and pour off the expressed oil and/or pat the sausages dry with paper toweling.

Hash basically means a coarse mixture of ingredients cooked with spices, and to me it usually is characterized by a meat product like corned beef, or sausage, cooked with potatoes and onions. It's a great choice if you want to do a meat meal for Motzei Shabbos, or when you feel like a home-cooked meal but don't want to make a lot of effort. All you really have to do is dice up an onion and a potato, throw it in and forget about it until it perfumes up your house. Then you sing, "Dinner's ready!"


1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into rings
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced, or 2 tsp granulated garlic
2 large Yukon Gold or baking potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch chunks
1 cup carrots, diced
6 cooked bone-in chicken thighs, skin and fat removed and diced into bite-sized pieces (or any leftover chicken)
1 package sausage, diced on the bias (I recommend Jack's GourmetSpicy Mexican-Style Chorizo)
2 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tsp coarse ground kosher salt (to taste)
freshly ground cracked pepper (to taste)


Sweat onion over medium heat in hot olive oil until caramelized to a dark brown color (approximately 10 minutes). Add the garlic and the diced chorizo and cook together for another ten minutes. Now add diced chicken and potatoes, cover and cook over low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve, or place on a back burner under very low heat for one to two hours, until ready to serve. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors will marry. The hash is also easily cooked in advance, refrigerated and reheated. Serve hot!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Transfat-Free and Delicious Hamantaschen

That title is not a Purim joke. Heart disease is rampant not just in the Jewish community with our schmaltz, margarine and non-dairy creamer diets, but all over the country. To stay healthy, we must work to bring healthy foods into our family diet, just as we work to bring money into our bank accounts. That is my general goal with this blog/cookbook.

Hamantaschen is one of the last vestiges of our old country recipes that have been most often made unaltered for several generations with Fleishman's unsalted magarine. It's reliable, it's delicious, it's pareve and most of all, the hamantaschen come out of the oven photo-ready. They're so lovely they even the most novice of bakers can be given as gifts to neighbors. And this is why it's so hard to try to make hamantaschen healthy. Because we know what they're supposed to look like.

That being said, as my dad prepares to hear the megillah for the second year since his heart transplant, I have been working to alter my mom's famous recipe for hamantaschen, to make it transfat free. My friend Rivka has also made it with whole wheat flour, which I am working toward but have not been able to do yet for cosmetic reasons. It's a common adage drummed into us by the chefs at CKCA, that we eat with our eyes, so whole wheat flour is not yet something I am able to build into hamantaschen, because it looks so much more rustic. But next year (if the Moshiach hasn't come yet), I promise I will make transfat-free whole grain hamantaschen. But don't let it stop you this year.

4 cup sifted all-purpose flour (or 2 cups AP flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour)
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup soy/canola margarine (I use, and recommend, Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks -- OU pareve and quite tasty even on toast)
1 ½ cup sugar
2 eggs (if you are watching cholesterol, 3 tbsp egg substitute plus 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce)
4 tsp rice milk or water
1 tsp cinnamon (optional!!)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup of your favorite filling

Cream together margarine and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla. Separately, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture with the mixer on low, alternately with water or rice milk. Chill the dough for 1 hour to overnight. Chilling the dough is what is important in this recipe with Earth Balance margarine. A good stiff cookie dough will allow you to handle it easily, and touching the dough as little as humanly possibly, will keep the cookie light and delicate tasting.

Roll cookie dough out to ¼ inch thickness, and using a water glass or round cookie cutter, cut into 2'' rounds.
Fill with 1 heaping teaspoon of your favorite filling, and draw up sides for triangle. Seal edges with cold water. Bake at 375° for 12 to 15 minutes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Whole Grain and Sneaky Pumpkin Lasagne

As you may know, I am on a continued quest to make delicious food that tastes classically good, without anyone knowing it's healthy. To that end, I have now perfected a fleishig (meat, no dairy) lasagne that is stuffed with veggies and other ingredients of the antioxident variety. I hope you like it as much as we did.

1 and 1/2 boxes lasagne noodles (I use, and recommend, Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Grain lasagne -- OU pareve).

Meat layer:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 large can (35 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 small can (14.5 oz or similar) diced or petite diced tomatoes in their own juice or 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes (If your family prefers a smoother non-chunky sauce, use tomato sauce instead)
1 cup pasta sauce or 1 can tomato sauce with salt, pepper and garlic powder added to taste
2 cups pumpkin puree
4 tsp garlic, minced
4 tsp fresh basil, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-2 dashes cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes(optional)

Spinach layer:

3 cups cooked chopped spinach (I used Bodek frozen chopped spinach), defrosted
4 eggs or the equivalent egg substitute
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp granulated garlic
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Sweat the onion with the olive oil until browned. Add the garlic and the beef and cook until there's no more red. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from flame.

Defrost or prepare spinach and mix with spices and egg.

Layer lasagne sauce first followed by noodles, then spinach. Finish with noodles and the additional cup of pasta sauce on top. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until noodles are fully cooked.

By the way, I filled two medium-sized lasagnes with this, but I imagine these ingredients would fill one large lasagne pan or three small.