Tuesday, September 29, 2009

World's Best Honey Cake

It is a little late for a Rosh Hashana honey cake recipe, but the cake pictured above is great for all occasions. In fact, it's the honey cake for honey-cake haters. I do not usually like honey cake but this one is surprisingly light and moist and not at all too honey-ish and the allspice and cloves add some great flavor.

I found the recipe on Zabar's website and it was so well received on Rosh Hashana that I baked another batch before Yom Kippur, so we'd have something to crave.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Almond Biscotti

Monday, September 14, 2009

Caponata for Rosh HaShana

Caponata Siciliana is a side dish of sauteed/stewed vegetables in a sweet and sour red wine vinegar reduction. The beauty of caponata is that it will keep on the fridge for a week or so you can make it a few days in advance, as I chose to do today in preparation for Rosh Hashana.

This recipe is a little time consuming but well worth it (the page linked might take a minute or two to load so open it in a separate tab while you read on).
The reason I find this to be appropriate for Rosh Hashana is that the combination of sweet- for a sweet new year - and sour, for people like me who prefer savory to sweet- makes a perfect dish to please most palates. I may have started a new tradition!

Peeling the eggplants. I only peel half because some might not like the texture of the peel.

After letting the eggplant chunks sit in salt, they are sauteed and then set on paper towel to drain.

The onions and celery jump into the pan

Followed by the rest of the crowd. Check out those wonderful colors.

Monday, September 7, 2009


The chilly September morning prompted me to put up a big pot of minestrone, a hearty vegetable soup that is easy to make and easy to freeze if you need to plan ahead.

There are of course plenty of recipes available but I like to improvise and use the ingredients I already have and most importantly, get rid of the leftover chicken soup.

1 Large onion
2 Cloves garlic
1 Potato
1/2 - 1 C cannelini beans
3 Carrots
1 Bell pepper
1 Tomato or small can diced tomatoes
Broth or water
2 Tbsp olive oil
Parsley, etc
Small pasta

Sautee onion, mushrooms and carrots. There is no need for any fancy slicing because minestrone goes into the blender. Add the rest of the vegetables and cover with liquid. Bring to a boil, lower flame and add salt, pepper, fresh parsley and any other spices you prefer. Let cook for an hour or so, then blend to form a thick soup (pour out some of the water before blending if you think it might be too much).
Cook some small shaped pasta separately or directly in the soup. Serve hot and sop up with some good bread.


PS: minestrone made with a parve broth is delicious with some cheese added at serving time.

Friday, September 4, 2009

More On Olive Oil & ShopRite

My De Cecco Olive Oil ran out way too quickly and as I resolved to use less Extra virgin in my kitchen I went back to the supermarket to check out any deals they might have.
I found ShopRite brand olive oil that claims to be from Italy, "Made from the first cold pressing of Italian grown selected olives" and marked as Product of Italy, with an OU.

A 33.8 fl oz bottle cost less than $5 with the shoprite card. That is an exceptional price if the label is to be believed. I tried the oil in salads and stir fry and it's much better than others I've used. It's a little more subtle and less fruity than Bertolli but all and all it is surprisingly good.

I never thought I'd use and like a store-brand extra virgin olive oil, but there you have it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Yankee Style Corn Muffins

For no apparent reason, I baked a batch of all-American corn muffins this afternoon. I bought a big bag of white corn meal a few months ago because I had been wondering what it was all about. I made cornbread, was unimpressed and stored the rest of the corn meal in the freezer.
Earlier today I suddenly decided it was time for some corn muffins. This very untypical task was accomplished with the help of an untypical cookbook, the 1955 edition of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook which somehow made its way into our home a couple of years ago.

Good Housekeeping Yankee Style Golden Corn Bread

1 1/4 C flour
3/4 C corn meal
2 to 4 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
2/3 milk
1/3 c margarine, butter or oil

I made the following changes: I snuck in some extra sugar (which I later regretted) and substitute rice milk for milk.
In muffin pans, the batter bakes for 20-25 minutes at 425F.