Monthly Archives: June 2015

Homemade Almond Butters


My poor 25 year-old food processor, it worked really hard. Between the 2 nut butters, it was running for almost an hour and a half.  Overheated once, so it took a rest and then was able to finish the batch.IMG_0441

Each nut butter used a different approach for preparing the almonds, for the roasted maple, the almonds were tossed in maple syrup then roasted.


For the nutella-like butter, they were soaked in boiling water to remove their skins and then roasted.


From there the processes were similar.  The almonds went into the food processor for about 20-30 minutes.  Oil was added as needed to help the consistency.



Flavorings and any other ingredients were added and the processing continued.


When the nut butters were the desired consistency, they were put in jars, allowed to cool and refrigerated.


For fear of truly burning out the motor on the food processor I did not make them quite as creamy as I could have, but they are great as they are. The flavors are wonderful, they are the perfect spreads for my breakfast toast!

Chocolate Nut Spread aka Almondtella

from CutterLight

1 cup whole raw almonds

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp cocoa powder

up to 1/4 cup vegetable or light olive oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Skin almonds by pouring boiling water over them in a bowl and letting them sit for 2 minutes. Drain off hot water and replace with cold water. Almond skins should pop off when you squeeze the individual almonds.

Preheat oven to 350° F (175 degrees C). Place almonds in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. Toast for 10 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through baking to ensure an even color.

Process nuts in a food processor, or use a stick blender. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary until the nuts have liquefied, about 5 minutes. First, you will get coarsely chopped nuts, then a fine meal. After a little while, the nuts will form a ball around the blade. Keep processing. The heat and friction will extract the natural oils from the nuts and you will get almond butter!

When the nuts have liquified, add the sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Slowly drizzle in enough oil to make a spreadable consistency. Since the mixture is warm, it will be more fluid now than at room temperature.

Transfer the spread to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.


Roasted Maple Almond Butter

adapted from Edible Perspectives

2 cups raw almonds

5 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt


Preheat your oven to 300° F.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (to avoid a very sticky mess). Do not use foil or wax paper.

Place almonds on the pan in an even layer and toss with the maple syrup to coat.

Roast for about 15 – 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes until the skins are golden. They brown a bit after removing from the oven, so watch closely. Let cool for 10 minutes. While still warm, place in your food processor with the vanilla, and salt and turn on. Let process until you have smooth and creamy nut butter. This can take 20-30 minutes due to the maple syrup. Scrape the sides and bottom frequently to help move it along.

Scrape into a jar and let cool to room temperature before sealing. Keep for about 1 month in a cool pantry or in the fridge for 2-3 months (thickens if refrigerated).


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Raspberry Refrigerator Oatmeal 

It has been a wonderful year for raspberries in our garden, otherwise referred to as “garden candy.”  Not only have they been delicious, but I have been picking just shy of a quart every other day!


Raspberry Refrigerator Oatmeal

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup skim or lowfat milk

1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon raspberry preserves (from the garden)

1/4 to 1/3 cup raspberries (cut each berry in half), or enough to fill jar


Place all the ingredients in a one-cup jar, stir until well mixed. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Enjoy!IMG_0451

Serves 1.


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Spaghetti with Zucchini

The zucchini harvest has begun, it must really be summer!


Not enough yet for zucchini bread, but the perfect amount for a nice pasta dinner. Simple flavors – zucchini, garlic, basil and cheese – so very satisfying. Fresh and filling.


Spaghetti with Zucchini

adapted slightly from Katie Lee

Kosher salt
8 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed (from the garden)
2 medium  or 3 small zucchini, thinly sliced (from the garden)
6 fresh basil leaves, torn (from the garden)
1/3 cup grated Balsamic BellaVitano cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, 9 to 11 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain the pasta.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic; when it begins to sizzle, add the zucchini and saute for a couple of minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the pasta water and cook until the zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.


Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and half of the basil. Remove the garlic.

Add the pasta to the skillet along with about 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water; mix the pasta with the zucchini, adding a little more cooking water if the pasta looks dry. Cook, tossing, until the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cheese and the remaining basil; toss. Top with more grated cheese. Enjoy!


Serves 2 – 3.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Zucchini | 1 Comment

The Challah Project #6 – Scallion Pancake Challah

Asian food for dinner Friday night? Not so good with challah, unless, perhaps you make a scallion pancake challah.

I was so excited to try this one.  I took Molly Yeh’s ingredient list and used my  developing challah technique and ended up with this…


The flavor was great, the sesame oil is the real star.  But even better than the taste was the texture.  The dough recipe will become one I go back to again and again.IMG_0430

Scallion Pancake Challah

Adapted from Molly Yeh

1tablespoon instant yeast

3/4cup warm water

2tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar

3cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1teaspoon kosher salt

2tablespoons honey

1/3cup vegetable or canola oil

2large eggs

Filling and topping

tablespoon toasted sesame oil

stalks scallions, minced

Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, to taste

egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

A few pinches of toasted sesame seeds and black sesame seeds


The night before…In a small bowl, add the yeast to 1/2 cup warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of sugar, let proof for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flour, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer with dough hook attached.  In a medium bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup of water, honey, oil, and eggs, set aside.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour, followed by the wet ingredients. Mix on low – medium speed for about 10 minutes. Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to rise overnight (it will at least double in size).

Next morning…Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Heat oven to 375° F.

Divide dough into three equal parts and then roll each part into a 1-foot log. Gently flatten each log so that it is about 3 inches wide. Brush each with toasted sesame oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, chili flakes, and scallions.IMG_0421

Roll them up length wise like a jellyroll, lengthening the rope.IMG_0422

Pinch the edges to seal, and then braid. Place the loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet and then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and black pepper.IMG_0424

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the challah is cooked through.


Makes 1 loaf.

Categories: Bread, Kosher, Recipe | 1 Comment

Chocolate Krantz Cake

Ever since I first opened my copy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook I have been mesmerized by the chocolate Krantz cake. It looked so beautiful, and so complicated.


But I finally worked up the nerve to make it. And, surprisingly, it was really quite simple and….oh so delicious!

Chocolate Krantz Cakes

From Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Cookbook (I only made on change – using hazelnuts instead of pecans)

4 cups / 530 g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1/2 cup / 100 g superfine sugar

2 teaspoons fast-rising active dry yeast

grated zest of 1 small lemon

3 extra-large free-range eggs

1/2 cup / 120 ml water

rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3cup / 150 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 3/4-inch / 2cm cubes

sunflower oil, for greasing

scant 1/2 cup / 50 g confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup / 30 g best-quality cocoa powder

4 oz / 130 g good-quality dark chocolate, melted

1/2 cup / 120 g unsalted butter, melted

1 cup / 100 g pecans (i used hazelnuts), coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons superfine sugar

2/3 cup / 160 ml water

1 1/4 cups / 260 g superfine sugar


For the dough, place the flour, sugar, yeast, and lemon zest in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs and water and mix on low speed for a few seconds, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes, until the dough comes together. Add the salt and then start adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, mixing until it is incorporated into the dough. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is completely smooth, elastic, and shiny. During the mixing, you will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times and throw a small amount of flour onto the sides so that all of the dough leaves them. (I have to note that it was amazing to watch the dough hook work its magic on this dough through all the steps)

Place the dough in a large bowl brushed with sunflower oil, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge for at least half a day, preferably overnight.

IMG_9883 IMG_9894

Grease two 2 1⁄4-lb / 1kg loaf pans (9 by 4 inches / 23 by 10 cm) with some sunflower oil and line the bottom of each pan with a piece of waxed paper. Divide the dough in half and keep one-half covered in the fridge.

Make the filling by mixing together the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate, and butter. You will get a spreadable paste. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle measuring 15 by 11 inches (38 by 28 cm). Trim the sides to make them even, then position the dough so that a long side is closest to you. Use an offset spatula to spread half the chocolate mixture over the rectangle, leaving a 3⁄4-inch / 2cm border all around. Sprinkle half the pecans on top of the chocolate, then sprinkle over half the superfine sugar.


Brush a little bit of water along the long end farthest away from you. Use both hands to roll up the rectangle like a roulade, starting from the long side that is closest to you and ending at the other long end. Press to seal the dampened end onto the roulade and then use both hands to even out the roll into a perfect thick cigar. Rest the cigar on its seam.


Trim about 3⁄4 inch / 2 cm off both ends of the roulade with a serrated knife. Now use the knife to gently cut the roll into half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing at the seam. You are essentially dividing the log into two long even halves, with the layers of dough and filling visible along the length of both halves.


With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half. Repeat this process, but this time lift the left half over the right, to create a simple, two-pronged plait. Gently squeeze together the other ends so that you are left with the two halves, intertwined, showing the filling on top.


Carefully lift the cake into a loaf pan. Cover the pan with a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 11⁄2 hours. The cake will rise by 10 to 20 percent.


Repeat the whole process to make the second cake.

Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C, making sure you allow plenty of time for it to heat fully before the cakes have finished rising. Remove the tea towels, place the cakes on the middle rack of the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.


While the cakes are in the oven, make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and leave to cool down. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, brush all of the syrup over them. It is important to use up all the syrup. Leave the cakes until they are just warm, then remove them from the pans and let cool completely before serving.


Makes 2 cakes.

Categories: Dessert, Kosher, Recipe | 1 Comment

Ligurian Kale Pie

More kale from the garden! And some swiss chard from Highland Orchards. Just right for this recipe I saw on the NY Times cooking site – Ligurian Kale Pie – a free-form pie with an olive oil crust.


This is a very simple looking food, but don’t be deceived, the taste was fabulous! It was light but filling, and felt like a comfort food.Perhaps because you eat it at room temperature, it kind of feels like you are sneaking leftovers right form the start.


I will definitely be making this, or some variation of it, again!


Ligurian Kale Pie

Very slightly adapted from CHRISTINE MUHLKE

2 large bunches mixed dark greens (like kale & chard) washed and stalks trimmed (from the garden & Highland Orchards)

cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour


¼ cup plus 5 tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch scallions, white and light-green parts only

1 cup mixed fresh herbs (like thyme, parsley, oregano) (from the garden)


2 eggs (from Farmer Kim)

1 cup grated hard cheese (Parmesan or Asiago)

½ cup ricotta cheese


Place the greens in a large pot. Add 3 cups of water, cover and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until wilted. Transfer to a colander. Once cool, wring out the greens to remove as much water as possible.


Using a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flours and 2 teaspoons salt until combined. Add 1 cup cold water and 1/4 cup olive oil and mix on medium speed for 8 minutes. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and let rest for at least 10 minutes. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place half of the greens in a food processor and pulse until the pieces are about the size of a grain of rice.


Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the remaining greens. Process the scallions and herbs to a rough paste and mix into the greens.


Stir in the egg, cheeses and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Season to taste with salt.


Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Flour a flat surface and roll one of dough balls into a circle about 16 inches in diameter, 1/8- to 1/16-inch thick, and lay it on the cookie sheet.


Scoop the filling onto the dough and spread it evenly to 3/4 inch from the edge.  Add more flour to the surface, roll out the second ball of dough and drape it across the filling. Trim the top layer so it hangs over the filling by 1/2 inch. Pinch together the layers. (If the dough doesn’t stick, moisten the edges with a little water.) Slash two vents into the top of the pie and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.


Bake until the pie is slightly puffy in the center and the filling has set, 40 to 50 minutes. If the top crust browns too quickly, cover it with foil. 


Cool before eating, Enjoy!


It will keep 3 to 4 days at room temperature. If refrigerated, warm the slices in a skillet before eating.




Categories: Kale, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Swiss Chard, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

The Challah Project #5 – Triple Chocolate Chip Challah


The Challah project continues.  This past Shabbat was also my husband’s birthday, so as a treat I made the recipe for Triple Chocolate Chip Challah  from  To be honest, the dough itself came out a bit heavy, but I think the concept is a fun one.  So some other time I will try mixing 1/2 cup of a mix of dark, semi-sweet and white chocolate into one of the challah dough I like best, like the dough from the saffron challah – minus the saffron.


I should admit that I did get a little space-y while making this (I was baking 3 separate things that morning) and realized that I did not brush it with an egg wash until the challah was midway through cooking.  So my 4-stranded braid came out very pretty, but the loaf just wasn’t nice and shiny.



The challah may have been a little disappointing on its own, but it wade really tasty french toast for breakfast! A chocolate-y treat.


If you want to try the recipe as given, here is the link…

Hmm…what challah shall I try next?




Categories: Bread, Jewish Holiday, Kosher, Recipe | 1 Comment

Calzone with Tomato, Kale and Cheese Filling

This is a great time of year; veggies in the garden are coming in, typically one at a time.  This week it is the red russian kale. I have plans for some fun, different dinners.  Tonight it was calzones.


The filling on this was great, we had to force ourselves to stop eating it before filling the calzones. Our filling was a slight variation on that my Martha Rose Shulman – we love cheese, so we added 2 ounces of diced mozzarella and also preferred using Parmigiano Reggiano in place of the Pecorino Romano.  It was so yummy, I was glad we had leftovers to use on my lunch tomorrow.

We had mixed success with keeping the calzones closed.  None actually exploded , but some popped open a bit.


But, opened or not, they were a fun a tasty treat.  And a great way to get the family to eat kale!


Calzone with Tomato, Kale and Cheese Filling

Slightly adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s Calzone with Tomato and Kale Filling

1 large bunch kale, stems removed (from the garden)


1 28-oz can tomatoes with juice, preferably organic

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves stripped from the stem (from the garden)

Pinch of sugar

Freshly ground black pepper

pinch red pepper flakes

4 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

2 ounces Mozzarella cheese, diced or grated.

1 batch pizza dough


Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add 1 Tbsp salt and the kale.  Cook for 3 – 4 minutes, depending upon the tenderness of your kale.  Remove to an ice bath.  Drain the kale and squeeze dry.  Cut into slivers and set aside.


Place the tomatoes in a food processor or blender and process to desired level of chunkiness (my kids don’t like chunky tomatoes, but I would prefer them).


Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the oil and onions.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add 1 tsp salt and continue cooking until the onions are very tender but not yet browned, about 7 – 10 minutes.


Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, oregano, and black pepper.  Cook until the tomatoes have cooked down, about 20 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and kale.  Taste and adjust seasoning.


Meanwhile, set a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 450F.

Remove the sauce from heat and stir in the cheeses.


Divide the pizza dough into 4 or 6 equal pieces.  Roll or stretch to a thin disc.  Place them on a parchment lined flat baking sheet (you will be sliding the parchment onto the baking stone – or if you do not have a baking stone, leaving it on the baking sheet). Place filling on 1/2 of each circle, moisten the edges, fold over and press the edges together to seal.  If possible, fold the bottom over to roll it up together to create a better seal.


If using a baking stone, slide the parchment with the calzones onto the stone and bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned.


Serve hot and enjoy!


Serves 4- 6.




Categories: Kale, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Kale and Leek Quiche

I love quiche.  I especially love healthy quiche.  I super especially love healthy quiche made with veggies from my garden and Farmer Kim’s eggs!


OK, I’ll admit it, I used a prepared pie shell for this one.  It was a busy day and I was in a rush to do all the other preparations to make the quiche, that I used the emergency pie shell I keep in the freezer.


But, the red russian kale that I harvested in the morning made almost as pretty a bouquet on my counter as the swiss chard I typically grow does.


I am always looking for ways to get my family to eat more kale.  This was a success (although the 6 year old still balked). The leeks added a sweetness that I find irresistible.

The kale is still growing well, I am always open to suggestions for other ways to use it.

Kale and Leek Quiche

Adapted from Swiss Chard and Leek Tart – Bon Appetit October 1999

1 frozen pie crust (or your own recipe)

2 tablespoons butter

3 leeks (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)

1 1/4 cups whipping cream or whole milk

3 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until leeks are very tender but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes.


Add kale; sauté until wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.


Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°F.

Whisk cream and next 5 ingredients in large bowl.


Mix in leek mixture. Pour filling into crust.


Bake tart 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F and bake until filling is puffed and just set in center, about 15 minutes    longer. Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes.  Enjoy!


Serves 6.



Categories: Kale, Kosher, Leeks, Recipe, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

Glazed Strawberry Bread

“Oh wow this is good!” was heard over and over as we each tried this bread.  It was music to my ears.


It was especially nice since I had made the  bread simply because I had a lot of strawberries on my counter and had to find something to do with them. These were not strawberries from my garden.  Those are coming in, but just a few a day.  These I had gotten at a farm down the road. When I am buying fresh-picked fruits I find it hard not to buy way too much.  Not a problem, I can freeze, dry, or make preserves with the extra, or….my family’s favorite, make a quick bread.


Oh, I am looking forward to my breakfast tomorrow!

Glazed Strawberry Bread


2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large egg, at room temperature (from Farmer Kim)

3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar

1 cup (240ml) buttermilk

1/3 cup (80ml) canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, dried, chopped, and tossed in 1 Tablespoon of flour (from Fifer Orchards)


1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk


Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Make the bread: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until combined. Make sure there are no brown sugar lumps remaining.


Whisk in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.

IMG_0186Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently whisk until there are no more lumps. Try very hard not to overmix, which will result in a tough textured bread. Fold in the strawberries.


Pour into the prepared loaf pan.IMG_0188

Bake the bread for 50 minutes to 70 minutes.  Poke the center of the bread with a toothpick at 50 minutes. If it comes out clean, the bread is done. If it comes out wet, bake longer, covered with foil (to keep it from getting too browned on top). Oven times will vary between ovens. Allow bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before glazing and slicing.


Make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and milk together until combined and creamy. Drizzle over bread.


Serve and enjoy!


Categories: Bread, Breakfast, Kosher, Recipe, Strawberries | 1 Comment

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