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Quinoa with Peas and Cranberries

Submitted by Laura, a Challah Bytes reader

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
Salt to taste (I use 3/4 of a teaspoon to one cup uncooked quinoa)
1 small (or medium) onion — depends on how much you like onions
1 tablespoon curry powder — you can use less if you don’t want it too spicy
1/4 – 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar – depends on how “vinegary” you want it — I used a little less than 1/4 cup
1 tablespoon brown sugar — you can use a little more if you want it sweeter
1/4 cup small frozen green peas
1/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries — not cranberry sauce

Method

1) Place uncooked quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and wash thoroughly. Drain well.
*Tamar’s note: I usually soak my quinoa in water for about 30 minutes and then drain, this takes off some of it’s bitterness.

2) Put quinoa in a pot with two cups of water and salt .
3) Cover and bring to a boil.
While the quinoa is being brought to a boil slice onion into small pieces (cubes) and fry lightly in some oil until they are translucent and beginning to brown. Turn off flame and set aside.
Also, at this time, give the peas and cranberries a quick “dunk” in boiling water, strain and set aside
4) When quinoa comes to a boil, turn flame down and continue to cook quinoa until all the water is absorbed — around 10-15 minutes.
5) Turn off flame, keep pot covered and let steam for around five minutes — can be a little longer.
6) Quickly add vinegar, spices, lightly fried onions, brown sugar, peas and cranberries to the cooked quinoa; stir everything together.
7) Cover pot, and let everything “steam” together for around ten minutes.

Thanks Laura, for sharing with us this flavorful dish!

“American” cream cheese

Here’s how to make your own.

Ingredients

2 containers (comes to 2 cups of sour cream) shamenet (I use ones with less fat)
2 containers leben (equivalent to 2 cups buttermilk)
2 tsp salt

Method

Mix together.
Place a clean dry cloth with clothespins over a large bowl.
Pour it all in and in a few hours or even the end of the day, it will be cream cheese!
I also cover the cheese on the top while its draining so it won’t get flies or the like in it.
When done, transfer to a container and refrigerate.

It’s tastes amazing!

Teriyaki Salmon

Ingredients

1/4 cup red dry wine
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 honey
2 tablespoons water
1 kilo fresh salmon, sliced

Method

Mix first four ingredients together.
Place the fish slices in a glass dish or large plastic container.
Pour the sauce over it and cover.
Let it sit in the fridge in the sauce for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.
Place the fish slices, together with all the juices, into a lined pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Test the center of the fish; if raw, bake a bit longer.
If it is just done, take it out and cover it so the heat of the fish finishes the cooking.
Spoon the sauce over the slices, and serve.

Butternut Squash Kugel

butternut squash kugel
image-1996
Serves approx. 8
Makes one 8×11-inch tray OR 1 medium sized loaf pan

Ingredients

2½ cups (20 oz) cooked and mashed butternut squash (about 2 medium squashes)
5/8 cup potato starch
½ cup oil
½ cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. cinnamon

Method

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Place the pieces in a large pot with about 2 inches of water, and cover the pot. Bring to a boil and cook them for 30 minutes, until the squash is fork tender. Remove the squash from the pot and let it cool. Scoop out the meat from the skin, discarding the skins. Mash the squash meat and measure out the amount needed.

Tip: Any extra squash can easily be frozen and used later in a vegetable soup.

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Sift the potato starch over the mashed squash with a small sifter or tea strainer. (This prevents lumps.) Add in the oil, sugar, and eggs. Mix together, by hand, very well until the batter is smooth.

Line an 8×11-inch baking pan or two medium sized loaf pans with baking paper OR spray them with baking spray. Pour the batter into the pan(s). Sprinkle the cinnamon over the top of the kugel. Bake for 40–45 minutes, until the center of the kugel tests firm when pierced with a knife. The center of the kugel, even when firm, should still be a bit moist. Be careful not to overbake the kugel. When it is done, it also cracks slightly on top.

Tip: This kugel slices neatest when it is cold. Make it one day in advance. The next day, slice it into neat squares and then it can be served cold or warmed up again, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.

Chanukah Potato Latkes — THREE IDEAS!

What would Chanukah be, after all, without those old time favorites, our Latkes? Here we’ll just see different ways to serve this favorite oldie, and perhaps even a way to cut down on the amount of oil in a typical latke:

This makes about 10-12 ordinary sized latkes.
This same recipe/ratio can be used for all ideas.

Ingredients:

5 potatoes, peeled
1 large onion or two small ones
3 eggs
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour or breadcrumbs, optional

Method (for all latke ideas)

In a food processor fitted with the sharp “S” blade, puree the onions completely until liquidy. Add the eggs and puree one more minute. Pour this mix out into a large bowl.
Change the blade to the shredding device. Shred the potatoes. Squeeze out the extra moisture and add them into the onto the onion mixture.
Add the salt and pepper and optional starch. Mix well.

Latke Idea 1: Ordinary Latkes:

Spray a large frying pan with oil spray so the latkes will release easier. Add in 2 tablespoons of oil and let it get hot.
Put down mounds of potato mix all over your pan, about 3 tablespoons in size. As they begin to sizzle, flatten them with a spatula. Let them become brown and crunchy, and then flip to the second side to finish frying. Remove them to plate with paper towels on it to absorb some oil. Add a bit more oil to the pan and continue frying latkes until they are all ready.

Latke Idea 2: Latke ‘Muffin Kugelettes’:

Preheat your oven to 375°F (200°C).
Prepare a 12 cups muffin tin, by putting in muffin cups and then spray each one very well with baking oil spray.
Add a small amount, about a teaspoon, of oil to each muffin cup.

Spoon the potato mixture into your waiting muffin cups. Slide into your hot oven and let it sizzle and bake until golden brown on top and sides. Now you have individual potato latke muffin “kugelettes” without standing on top of a hot frying pan or stovetop!

They even serve great Friday night. After baking one or two pans worth of them, let them cool. Then place the kugelettes into a 9×13 pan, one next to the other. Slide them into a hot oven about 20 minutes before Shabbos and let them reheat, open, for 15 minutes. Cover then loosely and turn off the oven. Leave them there until the meal. They won’t be quite as crispy as if you would have eaten them directly from the pan, but they are still quite good and will get eaten up down to the last bit.

Latke Idea 3: “Lite” Latkes:

Another “lite” idea for latkes is that lo and behold, you can make them in the oven! It’s a lot easier and faster than frying them, plus there is a lot less oil involved. Simply layer a baking tray with baking paper, and then spray the baking paper with an oil spray.
Spoon individual latkes onto the tray and slide them into a preheated oven 375° F (200° C) and let them sizzle until golden.
If you feel a need you may flip them halfway through in order to make both sides of the latke crunchy.

Greek Quiche Tart

Serves six comfortably.

This idea comes from my friend, Leah Fink, who shared it with me. It’s a Greek style quiche and in honor the miracle of Chanukah and G-d helping the Jews to win the war against the Greeks against all natural odds, and seeing fit to keep His Nation, Am Yisroel alive to this day, we will celebrate by eating the food of our enemies, who have long ago ceased to exist. And may Our Protector and Father in Heaven see fit to soon do the same to all the rest of our enemies, speedily in our days…

Pie dough:

Ingredients

1 cup (200 grams) margarine (I used the trans-fat free kind)
3 cups flour
1 T. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup water
1 T. vinegar

Method

Crumble together all the ingredients except the liquids. Add the liquids and knead it together by hand until it becomes a dough. Wrap this pie dough in a plastic bag and place in the fridge for an hour before using.

Press this down into the 9 inch pan or casserole dish of your choice, extending it a bit over the edges. Pierce it all over with the tines of a fork so it will not puff up when baking.

Quiche filling:

Ingredients

In a separate bowl, mix together the following:
5 eggs
1 & ¼ cups milk
2 medium red onions, diced
½ cup sliced black olives
½ cup sliced green olives
4-5 medium sized ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. oregano

After this is mixed, crumble into it ½ cup feta cheese by hand.

Method

Pour this into your ready pie shell. It will be very liquidy but that is okay. Bake at 350°F / 180°C for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If it starts to burn on top, cover it loosely with foil, leaving the edges open so that steam can escape and allow it to finish baking. For an added touch, sprinkle a bit of shredded yellow cheese, any type, around the edges of the quiche five minutes before removing it from the oven. It will be somewhat wet when serving it straight from the oven, but it firms up a bit more as it cools off.

Chocolate Chip Cheese Latkes

Here’s a sweet idea that the kids are sure to love…

Ingredients

2 eggs
¾ cup soft white cheese or cottage cheese (OR a 250 gram container of 5% Israeli white cheese, ‘gveena levana’)
1 cup milk
3 Tbls. light brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
3 T. canola oil
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
¼ cup chocolate chips

This recipe also works great as whole wheat or spelt. For whole wheat, substitute the same amount of flour with a light whole wheat flour.
For spelt use the same amount of flour plus an additional 2 tablespoons; I’ve done it with whole grain spelt, which is darker and heavier, as well as white spelt, which makes it come out whiter and lighter. Spelt is a bit lighter in general than wheat so if the batter looks too loose to you, either cut down slightly on the milk or add another ¼ cup of spelt flour. When spelt is baked or fried into patties it can sometimes come out tinted a bit green. This is normal.
Of course this recipe works just fine with ordinary white flour!

Method

Put the ingredients, in the order listed, into a large bowl. Mix well with a fork, or for added smoothness, use a hand beater. One it is smooth, sprinkle in about ¼ cup mini or regular chocolate chips. If you have access to them, you can even get creative and add peanut butter or caramel chips instead…

Lightly spray a large frying pan (a.k.a. ‘griddle’) with baking spray and heat it over a medium sized flame. When hot, pour out small amounts of batter all over the pan for smaller latkes, such as the ones featured here, or larger amounts for full sized ‘pancakes’. Serve with syrup or cream cheese of your choice and enjoy!

Zucchini Cheese Potato Latkes

This makes enough for about four hungry people or six regular people, all depending on how long ago they ate before you started to fry these up…

Ingredients

1 medium sized onion
2 eggs
2 medium zucchinis, scrubbed and washed well
4 medium potatoes, peeled
¼ cup breadcrumbs (if you don’t have, you can use matzo meal)
½ cup yellow cheese such as parmesan or mozzarella, shredded
2 stalks fresh parsley, chopped, optional
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 T. mustard, Dijon or Spicy Yellow
2 T. – 4 T. oil
Oil baking spray

Method

In a food processor fitted with the sharp “S” blade, puree the onions completely.
Add the eggs and puree one more minute.
Change the blade to the shredding device.
Shred the zucchinis and potatoes onto the onion mixture.

Pour this vegetable mixture out into a large bowl and add the breadcrumbs, cheese, and fresh parsley. (Adding it in really adds to the nice look and taste of this recipe. I only wrote it’s optional in case you have fussy little people who won’t eat them if they see ‘those green things’ coming out of their latkes…) Add in the salt, pepper and mustard. Mix well by hand.

Take out a large frying pan and spray it well with a thin coating of baking spray.
Add 1-2 Tablespoons of oil to this and start to heat it on a medium to high flame. You will use the other tablespoons of oil when frying up the second batch.

Form small patties out of the cheese/vegetable mixture with the help of a tablespoon and place them by spoonfuls onto the hot pan.

Using your spoon, shape them a bit more to make them look nice while they are on the pan. Flatten slightly with a spatula.

Let them sizzle until browned on the first side, then flip and do the same to the other side.
You’ll be nicely surprised to see that this small amount of oil is sufficient to do the trick of ‘frying’ your latkes to a nice crunchiness. When they are done, lay them out on a flat plate that is lined with one or two paper towels, to drain them of the outside oil a bit more.

To Your Health – With a Great Salad

Sometimes we get overwhelmed by all the constant talk about healthy foods, eating enough of them, finding the time to change our diets and include more of the important foods…Well, here’s a great salad that is nutritious, wholesome, tasty and best of all, beautiful & easy to serve.

Roasted Beet Salad with Greens

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 large onion, sliced into quarters or half-rings
1-2 leeks, sliced
1 each red, orange, and yellow peppers, sliced
6 medium sized beets, peeled and chunked
1 fennel, chunked, optional
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup of semi-dry white wine
6 cups any mix of greens
1 red onion, sliced into half rings

Method

Prepare the onion, leeks, pepper, beets and fennel and cut them as directed. Put them all in a bowl and toss them together with the pepper, garlic powder and olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190-200°C.

Layer the vegetable mix into a lined baking pan. Pour the wine over all. Bake this until the beets are softened, about 45 minutes. If the vegetables start to dry out, add in a bit more wine and stir. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Place it in a plastic container with a lid to refrigerate until serving.

To serve, toss together the greens and the red onion. Divide the greens among the six salad plates; spoon the roasted beet mix on each plate. This does not need additional salad dressing as it is quite tasty and healthy as is. If you really, positively feel you must add more dressing, then you can choose to drizzle a bit of olive oil and fresh lemon juice on each plate, along with a small pinch of real sea salt – but the salad really does taste wonderful as is. We had nothing left of this one just as soon as the photos were done…
Enjoy – to your good health!

I’ve been baking and serving these for all kinds of simchos for more than two decades and they have always been a hit. Now you can try them for yourself…

Mint Chocolate Brownies

Each recipe makes one 9×13 tray

Brownie Layer

Ingredients

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 & 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
Beat all the ingredients together. It should be a thick batter. Line your baking tray with baking parchment paper. Pour the batter out into the center of the tray. Hold onto the paper while you smooth the batter into all corners of the tray. Slide the tray into your hot oven and bake it for 20-22 minutes, until the center tests clean. Do NOT overbake or your brownies will burn and become too hard and dry. Remove them from the oven immediately and allow them to cool. Freeze slightly.

Mint Layer

Ingredients

1/2 cup margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water or non dairy creamer
1/2 teaspoon mint extract

Method

Beat the mint layer ingredients together on high until it is creamy and fluffy. Using a flat spatula, spread this all over the top of the frozen or slightly frozen brownies. Place these into the freezer to set while you prepare the top layer.

Top Layer

Ingredients

200 grams (about 7-8 oz.) pareve chocolate
3 tablespoons oil

Method

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave. Add the oil and stir together. Immediately spread this all over the top of the mint layer. Allow it to cool off and harden. Cut into squares after it has cooled off and serve.
This freezes great; however, to slice them, do so when it is not frozen. Frozen chocolate layers tend to crack instead of slicing nicely.

Enjoy your simcha!

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