Monday, March 18, 2013

Turn Failed Meringues into Killer Cookies PLUS Passover Dessert Link-up

NOTE: Feel free to skip trying to make meringues and go straight to the super easy cookie recipes below.

Other Passover Desserts (all gluten-free, non-gebroks):
Fudgy Brownies
Banana Ice Cream
Fruit Compote

I've had a rough relationship with meringues. For years I would try making meringues and encounter one of several problems:
  • My cheap hand mixer was insufficient or the motor would overheat before I had "stiff peaks."
  • My own hand with whisk got tired before I reached "stiff peaks."
  • I added the sugar too fast.
  • I tried to make too big of a batch.
  • My "stiff peaks" collapsed when I added cocoa powder.
  • I got too creative "folding in" other ingredients and my meringues collapsed or turned to soup.
There's no reason to dump perfectly good egg whites just because they didn't 'peak'. With just a little encouragement and support, those whites can grow up into some very unique cookies that your family and guests will go NUTS over!

Chocolate Walnut Cookies

If you haven't already added cocoa powder to your whites, do it now. I usually start with about:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Non-Dairy Stinging Nettle and Garlic Quiche

Winter is over and the nettles are not looking so hot. Now is your last chance! Find a shady spot with some spunky looking nettles and (carefully) rescue them. I've heard they have health benefits, but I think of them as a free alternative to spinach.

I got the idea for this dish while listening to the February 1, 2013 episode of the Good Food Market Report. My husband and I enjoy listening to the show together and chuckling at all the different varieties of a vegetable or terms like source - "You mean buy?" In this episode Ria Wilson, Sous Chef at Sqirl Cafe, was discussing how she 'sources' the greens for her Green Garlic & Nettle Frittata. But buying stinging nettles? This gave me quite a laugh. I've cooked with nettles before, but never really valued them until I heard about a chef paying good money for them. I was also happy to hear that my sprouted garlic could have a bright future. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pre-Pesach Kosher Cooking Carnival

Chodesh tov! I've been hearing people mentioning Pesach for over a month, and until recently, it hadn't quite clicked why. According to my daughter, the families of all her friends in our building are already done cleaning for Pesach! When she interrogated me about my Pesach cleaning, I assured her that I had begun... by cleaning out a couple boxes of cookies.

Well, the month of Nisan has arrived! I now give you all permission to begin your Pesach preparations, and even mention the 'P' word without me growling in return.

This week I am giddy with excitement to welcome a new member into our home, specifically, my kitchen - a Magimix food processor. It only cost half a years worth of diapers! I just can't stop thinking about it. It actually makes me want to clean faster so I'll have more time in the kitchen to chop and whip  things up like Pesach brownies, Homemade Gefilte fishCauliflower Tabouleh, Banana Ice Cream, quick tomato sauce for Shakshouka (pictured), and "Fresh" Sriracha - Homemade Hot Sauce.

I'm also going to make lots more of Faye Levy’s Almond Macaroons posted by Miriyummy.

Then after Pesach I hope to make more bread, like Easy Awesome Onion Challah (where I can use the Magimix to chop the onions and knead the dough) and stuffed focaccia like the Focaccia Hamentashen I made for Purim.

I love the idea of Schlissel Challah, Key Shaped Bread Baked After Passover (pictured) made by Creative Jewish Mom Sarah Rivka.

I could whip up Chaviva's No-bake Peanut Butter Mousse Pie or make a giant batch of Lavash/Laffa Bread posted on Challah Maidel.

Or maybe I'll mix up a giant batch of cookies and freeze some! Batya shared a simple cookie "nonrecipe" in Not Exactly The Recipe, But....

Saturday, March 9, 2013

How to make great Chicken Soup

When my friend, Tammy, was sick last month, I whipped up some Matzoh Ball Soup for her and her family. I received the following response:
"My dearest,I want to tell you,that your chicken soup was one of the best I ever tasted in all my life! The chicken was sooo....succulent...and juicy! I don't know how you did it,but it was THE BEST!!!!"

Chicken soup is one of those things that can seem intimidating, but once you do it a few times, it's at least as easy as making pasta salad.

Cook time: 20 minutes in a pressure cooker or 1 hour simmering in a regular pot

Basic ingredients:
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2-4 carrots - peeled, whole
  • 2 stalks of celery, washed, cut into a few pieces
  • 1-2 onions, washed or peeled, quartered
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • water
  • salt to taste - maybe 1 tsp for kosher chicken, more for a non-kosher bird (kosher chickens are salted to remove the blood.) 
Extra ingredients or alternatives:
NOTE: don't overdo leafy things or you will have a soup that looks and tastes more green than meaty.
  • whole peppercorns
  • fresh or dry parsley
  • celery seed (I only tried it because I didn't have parsley last time, but It was GREAT!)


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