Category Archives: Poultry

passover seder

i hosted a passover seder for 17 people in my apartment this past tuesday and it was amazing! great food, friends and a great seder. for many who attended, it was their first seder, and they loved learning about the various symbols and traditions of the holiday. The meal was generously funded through Birthright NEXT, an organization that supports alumni of Birthright.

IMG_6200

i spent a long time planning the menu, and used a pinterest board to gather ideas. this is what i landed on:IMG_6204

this was the first year i’ve done passover away from home, so i didn’t have all of the necessary equipment, such as a seder plate. copying an idea i found on pinterest, i made my chalkboard cheeseboard into a seder plate!IMG_6206IMG_0007

the highlight of the menu for me was the homemade matzo. i’ve spent my entire life eating prepackaged matzo which tastes like cardboard. this homemade matzo is quick and easy to make, and tastes delicious! my roommates want me to make it year round. IMG_6065IMG_6066IMG_6078IMG_6081IMG_6106IMG_6082

i also started the meal with a haroset recipe from wolfgang puck and matzo ball soup from smitten kitchen, both of which were delicious. IMG_0014

 

and now for the main course…

 

 

 

IMG_0015the fan favorite main dish was the chicken marbella. i debated whether i needed to make a chicken in addition to the brisket, but i decided to go for it and i’m so glad i did! this may be the best chicken i’ve ever had. the prunes and apricots went well with the dried fruit in many of the other dishes. IMG_0006

for the brisket i went with the classic smitten kitchen recipe. my 12 lb brisket was so massive that i had to do half in the slow cooker and the other half in the oven. the slow cooker definitely won. the meat was tender and juicy and fell apart more easily. i was torn between doing brisket or short ribs, and i think i would do short ribs if i could do it again because they’re a bit easier to make and the recipe is more foolproof, meaning you can slightly over/under cook them and noboby will know.

for sides i went with a quinoa risotto recipes i’ve been making for years and tzimmes, a classic jewish dish of sweet potato and carrots with prunes. IMG_0020

for dessert, i made three of my flourless favorites:

pavlova, which is a gorgeous light and fluffy meringue with a crunchy exterior and soft marshmallow like interior topped with fresh whipped cream and berries. IMG_6207haroset truffles, which are an alternative version to the classic haroset with apples posted above. these are a mix of dates, apricots, pistachios and almonds, and rolled in coconut.  I ate all of these before i had a chance to take a picture :(

and last but certainly not least, chocolate toffee matzo, an ungodly mix of butter and sugar, chocolate and toppings. I did toasted almonds, sea salt and cystallized ginger. IMG_0001 IMG_0002 IMG_0003 IMG_0004 IMG_0005

passover is one of my favorite jewish holidays, and as you can tell, i went all out this year! even if you’re not jewish you will still enjoy these recipes (especially the chocolate matzo above).

bon appetit!

baked chicken meatballs

since this is a blog of all of my favorite foods, i couldn’t believe it when i realized that i had never posted these chicken meatballs. i can’t get enough of these, and i’m not surprised, considering the recipe came from Smitten Kitchen. these are the perfect “i don’t know what to make for dinner” or “i want to impress my dinner guests with minimal effort” meal. if i haven’t convinced you yet, i’m going to stop trying, but please for the love of g-d, just make these, okay?!

Beauty, right?

Beauty, right?

baked chicken meatballs

while you could certainly serve these with pasta, as is tradition, i prefer a simple side of sautéed spinach or a big salad.

Serves 4

3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped (you can swap in Canadian Bacon if you can’t find pancetta, which i have done many times, or leave the extra meat out altogether)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided (i like tomato paste so i usually use more)
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about four minutes.

Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in one tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes.

Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley.

ready to be mixed

ready to be mixed

Form 12 meatballs and arrange in a 4-sided sheet pan or roasting dish. Stir together remaining tablespoon or two of tomato paste and oil (i usually use less than a tablespoon) and brush over meatballs (i usually just spoon a drop over each and smoosh it down).

oven ready

pre oven

Finally, bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes (though mine took a good 5-10 minutes longer).

Beauty, right?

fin.

i know what i’m having for dinner tonight.

bon appetit,
e

chicken pot pie

Chicken pot pie was a dinner my mom made frequently during my childhood. I always looked forward to the loud “pop” of opening the crescent roll package, and helping my mom roll the dough over the top of the casserole dish. And then the pot pie itself, warm and comforting, filled to the brim with chunks of potatoes, carrots, peas, pearl onions, mushrooms, and tender pieces of chicken breast. YUM!

I had a sudden craving for chicken pot pie recently, but decided to update my moms version to include fresh instead of canned or frozen vegetables, fillo dough instead of crescent rolls, and skim milk instead of whole milk or cream. The result was a slimmed down, but extremely hearty and comforting one pan classic that my entire house enjoyed. I will definitely be making this again!

chicken pot pie

ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups diced red potato (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas & handful of frozen corn
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions, blanched for 2 minutes (can do this with the carrots)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 (14 x 9-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • Cooking spray

directions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add oil. Add potatoes and next 5 ingredients (through carrot), and sauté for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; sprinkle flour over vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in milk and broth. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken, peas, pearl onions, parsley, thyme salt, and pepper. 

Spoon mixture into a 3-quart baking dish. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a large cutting board or work surface (cover remaining dough to keep from drying); lightly spray with cooking spray. Repeat layers with cooking spray and remaining phyllo. Place phyllo layers loosely on top of mixture in dish. Place dish on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until top is golden.

Bon Appetit!

summer dining: greek style mixed grill kebobs and pine nut orzo salad

It is hard to believe that it’s June already, and summer is just around the corner! Summer has always been my favorite season for a multitude of reasons: my birthday, no school, picnics, barbecues, swimming in outdoor pools, running and biking along the Hudson, lightweight colorful dresses, fresh and simple outdoor meals, farmers market trips, the list goes on!

Today I am going to share with you a delicious meal that is a perfect excuse to dust off your grill and outdoor dining set and invite some friends over for an al fresco dinner!

greek style mixed grill kebobs and pine nut orzo salad

Sourced from Rachael Ray, Serves 4

Ingredients for kebobs:

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green olive tapenade
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 lemons, juiced and 1 zested
  • 1/3 plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm white flesh fish, halibut or swordfish, cut into 12 (2-inch) chunks (I used shrimp instead)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 12 (2-inch) chunks
  • Black pepper
Ingredients for orzo salad:
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 8 Greek hot peppers, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, for garnish
  • 2 tomatoes, diced, for garnish
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water to prevent burning.

Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil for the pasta salad. When the water boils, salt it and cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta cooks, in a small bowl combine the garlic, oregano, rosemary, tapenade, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and the juice of 1 lemon with about 1/3 cup olive oil. 

Place the fish and chicken in separate shallow dishes or bowls and season with salt and pepper then divide the dressing between the bowls and coat the fish and chicken evenly.

Skewer the fish and chicken on metal or soaked wooden skewers.

Grill the chicken 10 to 12 minutes until firm and juices run clear, and the fish for about 6 to 8 minutes, turning the kabobs frequently.

Drain orzo and combine with pine nuts, onions, parsley, feta crumbles, the juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Serve the orzo salad with 3 pieces each of chicken and fish along side. Garnish plates with a couple of hot peppers, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers on each plate.

I didn’t get a picture of a finished plate because it was so delicious that we dug in immediately, but you should be able to get an idea from the pictures I took while cooking that this was an absolutely delectable meal. The shrimp/chicken were packed with flavor from the tapenade, fresh herbs, spices and lemon juice, and the orzo salad was so light and fresh from the cucumbers, feta, tomatoes and had a nice crunch from the pine nuts. That salad alone would make an excellent addition to any picnic.

Bon appetit!

keep calm and gobble on

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. What could possibly be better than delicious hearty food, pie, family, friends, and most of all tradition? Nothing. Every year my family spends thanksgiving at our very good family friend’s house in the village just a few blocks from home. We split up some of the cooking. My mom and I made green beans, pear crumble pie and a curried quinoa butternut squash salad to bring.

Garlic-Roasted Green Beans with Shallots and Almonds

(Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:
1 lb. fresh green beans
6 shallots, peeled, and cut into thin slivers
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
2 T olive oil
1 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1/4 cup almonds, chopped (I used sliced almonds and only slightly chopped them)
1 tsp. lemon zest

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Trim ends from green beans.

2. Peel and cut shallots and garlic, then place with beans in a bowl. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, and use a wooden spoon to toss until beans, shallots, and garlic are well coated with oil.

3. Spray roasting pan with nonstick spray or mist with olive oil, then arrange the vegetable in a single layer. (I like to cover the plan with foil and spray the foil for easy clean-up). Roast 12-15 minutes or slightly longer, until beans are slightly shriveled, and shallots and garlic are lightly browned.

4. While beans cook, toss together chopped parsley, chopped almonds, and lemon zest. When beans are done, toss hot beans with parsley/lemon/almond mixture and serve immediately.

Curried Quinoa with Chickpeas and Butternut Squash

(8 servings)

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided (1/2 tablespoon=1 1/2 tsp)
1 tablespoon honey
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Mix the squash with half the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of honey, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread onto a foil covered baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, turn and bake for an additional 15 minutes until tender. Set aside.

hmm honey

ready for roastin'

2. Combine chickpeas with remaining olive oil (1.5 tsp), cumin, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread onto a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until slightly crunchy and heated. Set aside.

3. While squash and beans are cooling, combine quinoa, water, curry powder and mustard powder in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes.

4. Combine cooked quinoa with squash, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Vanilla and Pear Crumble Pie

Ingredients:
1 deep dish pie shell (can use frozen or make your own)

For filling:
5 pears, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/2 a vanilla bean split lengthwise and seeds scraped out)

For crumble:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large bowl combine pears, flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Use your hands or a spoon to carefully combine the ingredients together, making sure the pears don’t break apart. Set aside.

Thinly sliced

2. In a smaller bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and butter. Using a pastry cutter or fork, combine the mixture until it resembles large crumbs.

Pre-butter

hmmm

yum large crumbs

3. Place the pie tin on a rimmed cookie sheet. Spoon the filling into the pie shell. Top with the crumble mixture. Your pie should be very tall and overflowing. The rimed cookie sheet will catch any spillage.

Ready for the oven

4. Cover the exposed pie shell with thin strips of foil. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes.

The food was INCREDIBLE. We were all in severe food comas by the end, but it was well worth it. Here are some pictures from our beautiful thanksgiving feast:

Cranberry mold

turkey lurkey

cranberry stuffing

wild rice salad with cranberries and nuts

sweet potatoes covered with marshmellows and pecans

my grandmother's cranberry sauce (recipe to come)

my glorious plate

birds eye view of the table part 1

part 2

part 3

And of course, no thanksgiving is complete without an assortment of desserts….

pumpkin cheesecake (recipe to come)

classic pumpkin pie

chocolate pecan pie

And just for good measure, here are some pictures I dug up from thanksgiving last year:

turkey day

best ever roasted vegetables

homemade popovers!

table shot

check out the cranberry mold

tablescape 2

no thanksgiving is complete without pumpkin pie

Hope you all had wonderful thanksgiving feasts with your family and friends! I’m already counting down the days until next year.

Shabbat Dinner Party

Last Friday I hosted a Shabbat dinner for 15 of my closest friends. Through a friend at Cornell I found out about this program called Birthright Israel NEXT, which is for alumni of Birthright Israel. One of their programs is called Birthright NEXT Shabbat, which allows alumni of Birthright to host Shabbat dinners that are paid for by their generous donors. This was obviously a dream come true for me as I was able to cook an elaborate dinner for 15 of my friends at no cost to me, which would have been very expensive otherwise. The cool thing about the program is that they give you no rules or restrictions-this was Shabbat my way. I chose the menu, hand picked the wines, and was even able to buy tablecloths and other decorations to make it special. Thankfully my sister was able to come visit me for the weekend and made a wonderful sous chef/kitchen helper extraordinaire. I spent a while thinking about what I wanted to make and looking at all of my favorite food blogs for inspiration. I knew I had a few dietary restrictions to accommodate: vegetarian, gluten free and kosher, which made it a little trickier as well. In the end I decided on curry mustard chicken, mustard roasted potatoes, oven roasted vegetables, turmeric Israeli couscous with caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes, roasted tomatoes and cipollini onions, quinoa salad, and chocolate soufflé cupcakes with mint crème for dessert. I knew this was ambitious, seeing as I had never thrown a dinner party all by myself before, but I was up for the challenge.

Mara and I spent the night before cutting vegetables and prepping the rest of the ingredients so that we could have everything ready to go for Friday.

The final recipe selection

Intense food shopping experience

Roasted Vegetables
-bunch of carrots, cut into sticks
-parsnips, cut into sticks
-beets, quartered
-butternut squash, cut into pieces
-acorn squash, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 400˚ and line baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. On one of them put the beets (It’s best to cook them separately so they don’t stain everything pink). On another put the squash, carrots, and parsnips. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and toss so that everything is thinly coated. Add some freshly ground pepper and salt and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender when stuck with a fork. The different vegetables may vary in cooking times so be sure to check frequently. Also reach in and shake everything around every 5-10 minutes.

Mara peeling carrots and parsnips

beets!

Prepped vegetables

peeling and cutting beets and staining my hands in the process

Roasted Tomatoes and Cipollini Onions

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 pound cipollini onions
1 pound small Roma or large cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
Coarse salt
Few fresh basil leaves, slivered

Preheat oven to 375°F. Boil a small pot of water and blanche the cipollini for 10 seconds, then plunging them into cold water. Use a paring knife to make a small slit in each, and slide them out of their skins and outer layer.

Spread peeled onions and tomatoes in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and a few good pinches of coarse salt. Toss everything together until well-coated and roast in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, reaching in every 15 minutes with a spatula to roll the tomatoes and onions around to ensure all sides get blistered. Sprinkle the dish with the basil and eat at once.

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 10 servings

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick or 1/2 ounce) butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 pounds 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter mixed unpeeled red-skinned and white-skinned potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges

Position 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Spray 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Whisk mustard, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, lemon peel, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add potatoes; sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper and toss to coat. Divide potatoes between prepared baking sheets, leaving any excess mustard mixture behind in bowl. Spread potatoes in single layer. Roast potatoes 20 minutes. Reverse baking sheets and roast until potatoes are crusty outside and tender inside, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes longer. Transfer potatoes to serving bowl.

Spice mix

whole grain dijon mustard

coating the potatoes in the mustard mixture

Curried Honey Mustard Chicken

Adapted from All Recipes.com and Nancy Dorfman-Tandlich

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup butter, melted or ¼ cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon-style prepared mustard
1-2 tablespoons curry powder
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
teaspoon of salt

In a medium bowl combine the oil or melted butter/margarine, honey, mustard curry powder and cayenne powder and salt. Mix well. Place chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish and pour honey/mustard mixture over chicken. Cover and place in refrigerator. Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 375˚. Bake for 15 minutes covered and then uncovered until cooked through.

Marinating Chicken

Israeli Couscous with Turmeric, Caramelized Onions, and Tomatoes

(I think this was my favorite dish of the night!)

Adapted from this food blog

8 oz. Israeli Couscous
3 cups chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large yellow onions (Spanish or sweet), halved and sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

Bring chicken broth with garlic cloves to a boil. Once boiling, add couscous and cook until al dente (mine cooked for approximately 5 minutes.) The couscous absorbed all of the chicken broth so there was no need to drain.

Meanwhile, caramelize the onions.  Heat the olive oil in a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Saute, tossing occasionally with tongs, for about 15 minutes.  Sprinkle in the brown sugar, balsamic, turmeric, and 1/4 teaspoon more salt, and continue cooking, and giving a stir or two, over this assertive heat for 5 more minutes.  Then reduce the heat to low and cook, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes longer, or until very soft, glisteny, and sweet.

Stir in the cooked couscous, top with the tomatoes, and serve warm, or at room temperature.

Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes with Mint Creme

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used bittersweet)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon espresso or instant coffee powder
3 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons  sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ounces heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9 standard-size (3-ounce) muffin cups with paper liners. Stir chocolate, butter and espresso powder together in heavy medium saucepan over low heat mostly melted, then remove from the heat and whisk until it is fully melted and smooth. (I like to put the butter underneath the chocolate in the pan, so that it protects the chocolate from the direct heat.) Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Using electric mixer (a hand mixer, rather than a stand mixer, actually works best here because the volumes are so small) beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Briefly beat lukewarm chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, into yolk mixture. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and all of the salt, beating until medium-firm peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling each three-fourths of the way.

Bake cakes until tops are puffed and dry to the touch (some may crack) and a tester inserted into the centers comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a cooling rack, where the cupcakes will almost immediately start to fall. It will be all the better to put your mint cream on them.

Beat cream and peppermint extract with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Remove cupcakes from pan, arrange on a platter. Fill each sunken top with a healthy dollop of  mint cream. Top with shaved dark chocolate, if you’re feeling fancy. You won’t be able to stop at just one.

DELICIOUS

Okay! So there you have all of the recipes and pictures I took while prepping. Now here are some pictures from the actual dinner:

Jenna and I saying the blessing over the candles

Nathan saying the blessing over the challah

a plate of my hard work

The whole group!

In the end, all of the hard work was well worth it. The food was delicious and my friends had such a good time. It was one of my favorite nights at school so far and a memory I will never forget. Thanks to Birthright Israel Next, to my sister for all her help and to all of my friends for making this Shabbat so special!