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Feb 26, 2015

Unveiled!



SugarVeil Icing is a dry icing mixture that can be used in many ways to decorate cakes, cookies and desserts. Mixing boiling water with SugarVeil powder creates a new variety of decorative icing: one which combines the fine detail of royal icing, the flexibility of buttercream and the piping ease of whipped cream in one amazing product. SugarVeil may be spread on a mold or piped.  You can work with it on or off the cake, and when it is set, it can be cut with scissors and draped like fabric onto or around a cake or plated dessert. SugarVeil contains no additives or preservatives, and is gluten-free and OU Pareve.
When using SugarVeil some advance planning is required as it needs to rest for a day or two before using the lace Confectioners’ Mats. Beat SugarVeil again for a full minute before using it on the mat the next day. When spreading, the mat may look as though it is completely covered, but it is important to spread SugarVeil repeatedly lengthwise, crosswise, and diagonally to be sure you got into all the tiny lines.
The amount of time needed for the icing to set once it has been piped or molded is also dependent on humidity, and may be anywhere from 15 minutes in an air conditioned environment, to overnight. It is best to use SugarVeil on a day that has low humidity.
Paste food colors and flavors may be added to the SugarVeil mixture. Mix the color with the dry SugarVeil before adding water.  While the package directions suggest mixing the SugarVeil and water for 4 minutes in your mixer, decorating professionals have found that mixing for 10 minutes will help avoid pitfalls that may occur when using SugarVeil in a place that has higher humidity levels.  And since the extended mixing time will not harm the mixture, we think it’s a good rule of thumb.
The easiest way to use SugarVeil is by spreading it on a lace mat. The mats are very thin and flat to achieve the lacey open-work look that is desired when using SugarVeil.  Use an offset spatula to spread the mixture as evenly as possible across the mat.  Use a bench scraper or longer spatula to scrape away any excess mixture and allow it to set. When removing the SugarVeil from the mat or parchment, you can dust your fingers with corn or potato starch, and even lightly dust the decorations for easier handling. Peel the lace carefully from the mat. If you are not directly placing the set SugarVeil onto a cake, be sure to store the decorations between parchment sheets in a zipped bag to keep out the humidity. 
In order to dry out the air, which will allow SugarVeil to set faster, you need dry heat. A good solution to setting SugarVeil in high humidity is to simply place the decorations into an oven set low. Other cake decorators suggest actually baking the SugarVeil lace decorations for a bit of time to add strength and stability to the pieces.
If after spreading the lace you have left it to set for too long and it has started to dry, or if after removing a corner you discover that it is too thin, spread SugarVeil again over the lace and scrape cleanly. This second layer will strengthen and moisten partially-dried lace, and will set quickly.
While working, keep unused SugarVeil mixture in a closed container to keep it from drying.
We are really excited by this product and love that you can create amazingly beautiful decorations with a few simple steps!

Feb 24, 2015

Jar it!


Even if you have attended only one simcha this year you are no doubt familiar with the newest food trend to be gobbled up. Cake in a jar has become so popular that no party is complete without it! Of course you can easily order a selection of mouth watering flavors; we know many of our readers would love to try some at home.  And Purim is the perfect time to come up with a few of these tasty and transportable treats. Neat and compact, jar cakes fit into pretty bags or boxes and will withstand jostling by the six-year old delivery boy.

Any of your favorite layer cakes can be transformed to jar cakes. If you don’t have a favorite try one of our delicious options below.


You can cut your cakes in circles to fit right into the jar but we prefer the rustic look of cubes.


For the cake:

1/3 cup oil

4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

1½ cups flour
1 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder


For the caramelized apple filling:

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 pounds tart green apples, peeled, cored and cut in small cubes
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey (such as Old Williamsburg)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

For assembly:

¼ cup bourbon whiskey

2 pounds prepared caramel filling

1 16 ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 cup chopped pecans or almonds, toasted

24 8 ounce jars with lids

Line a 12” x 18” sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Beat the oil with egg yolks, add the water and vanilla.   Sift together the flour, 1/3 cup sugar and baking powder.  Stir this into the yolk mixture and beat at high speed.  Set aside. 

Whip egg whites until foamy.  Add remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff.  Carefully fold whites into yolk mixture. 

Pour batter into the lined pan and bake 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.  Allow cake to cool on a cooling rack.

Stir sugar, water and cinnamon in large saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil. Add apples and reduce heat to low.  Simmer until tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bourbon. Mix cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in small bowl; add to apple mixture and stir until liquid thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a clean bowl, beat thawed whipped topping until stiff.  Place in an 18” piping bag fitted with a large star tip.

Cut cake into 2” cubes using a serrated knife. Drizzle cake with the bourbon.  Drop a few cubes of cake into each jar. Top with a heaping tablespoon of caramel. Place a heaping tablespoon of caramelized apples over caramel.  Drop in some more cake cubes. Pipe a dollop of whipped topping on the cake.  Top with toasted pecans or almonds.  Refrigerate until needed. 

 


Cake as directed above

For the cream:

2 pounds lemon custard cream

16 ounces whipped topping, thawed

For assembly:

½ cup esrog, lemon or orange  liquor

1 30 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup sweetened coconut

 

Prepare cake as directed above.  Cut cake into cubes, approximately 2” square. Drizzle entire cake with liquor.

In a clean bowl, beat thawed whipped topping until stiff.  Stir into lemon custard.  Place in an 18” piping bag fitted with a star tip. Set aside.

Place half the cake cubes in twenty four 8 ounce jars.  Pipe a rosette of lemon cream over cake cubes.  Arrange mandarins over lemon cream, standing some around the edge so you see them through the glass.  Sprinkle with sweetened coconut.  Place remaining cake cubes into the jars.  Top with remaining lemon cream. Sprinkle with remaining coconut. Arrange remaining mandarins on top of whipped topping.  Refrigerate until needed. 

Feb 12, 2015

Cookie Artistry


 

The latest trend in the cookie decorating is stenciling. Stenciling on cookies is a quick and easy way of adding a pretty design to simple cookies. There are lots of beautiful designs that will allow your creativity free rein. And remember—don’t let fear of imperfection get in the way of having fun!

To begin with you will need to bake and cool your cookies. Here is one of our favorite sugar cookie recipes:

 


1 cup (2 sticks) margarine

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups flour

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Cream margarine and sugar in your mixer bowl, scraping the sides of the bowl, if necessary.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.  Add the flour and optional baking powder one cup at a time, mixing after each addition.  Dough will be stiff. 

Divide dough in half and roll out on a silicone mat, cut the cookies and lift the scraps.  Never move the cookies; cookies that are lifted and moved to a pan will inevitably be misshapen.  Rolling out dough on a silicone mat will prevent this.   Slide the Silpat right onto a sheet pan and bake in the preheated oven.  

Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes or until they are lightly browned at the edges.  Remove and allow to cool 10 minutes.  Place the cookies on a rack to continue cooling.  Wait for cookies to be completely cooled before decorating.

Then you will need 1 recipe Royal Icing.

 

Royal Icing:

3 tablespoons meringue powder

3-4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioners' sugar

5 tablespoons warm water

Yield:  3 cups of icing

 

Begin by flooding your cookies with royal icing. Let them dry overnight.

Put aside remaining icing in an airtight container. Make your stenciling icing a little bit thicker than flood icing by adding some more confectioners’ sugar. When you drag a knife through the surface of the icing, it should still hold its shape. Add a few drops of food color to the remaining icing and stir thoroughly to combine.

Place your stencil on the dry iced cookie. Work with one cookie at a time. With one hand, hold the stencil firmly against the cookie top. Check to make sure the stencil is still lying flush against the cookie top coat in all areas. You can also place small round magnets above and below the stencil outside the cookie to hold it in place.  See photo so you know how to properly position the magnets.

With the other hand, use a small offset spatula to spread a very thin layer of icing over the openings in the stencil. The icing should not be applied any thicker than the depth of the stencil, or you’ll leave peaks in the icing when you lift off the stencil. However, be sure to apply enough icing so you can’t see through to the top coat. Some cookie decorators use an old credit card to spread the icing on the stencil. Play around a bit with different tools to see which suits you best.

Most important: Do not move the stencil while applying the icing or the resulting pattern will be blurry.

Lift the stencil slowly and steadily off the cookie; then wipe any icing off the bottom of the stencil before proceeding to the next cookie. For the sharpest patterns, wash and thoroughly dry the stencil after every 2 or 3 cookies. Do not rub the stencil dry, or you can damage the stencil. Instead, lay it flat between sheets of paper towels and gently pat dry.

You can also use color mist or diluted paste food color and a stenciling brush to fill in a stencil. Place the stencil on the cookie in the same manner as directed above. Hold the spray approximately 12 inches away from the cookie and spray lightly back and forth. Do not over-spray or the color will run under the stencil. Carefully remove the stencil and allow the food color to dry.



Feb 5, 2015

Clementines—Winter’s Candy


While advances in technology, preserving and shipping convenience allows us access to summer fruit all year, winter peaches are not quite worth it.  We say, stick with the stuff in season! One all-time winter favorite is the seedless clementine.  Clementines are in season from late November through February and in our homes we cannot seem to get enough.  Great for snacking out of hand, clementines are also tasty in a salad or when used as a component in a sauce or dessert.

Clementines are the smallest breed of the mandarin orange. Primarily imported from Spain, Morocco, and North Africa, clementines are a hybrid of a sweet orange and the Chinese mandarin. They are small, very sweet, and usually seedless. Most people think of clementines as small tangerines, but they're actually a different variety, with their own unique taste. Their handy size and lack of seeds make it a popular snack for kids.

When buying Clementines, choose those that are shiny and heavy for their size. It's a good rule to follow for lots of fruits, but especially for oranges. They should smell good and the rind should never feel puffy; it should not feel like there's any space between it and the flesh. There should be no spotting, no signs of shriveling, no white patches on the rind, and no fermented smell. Refrigerate them in a plastic bag or in the crisper drawer, and they'll keep well for one to two weeks.

The origin of Clementines is somewhat unclear. Some attribute their discovery to a monk in Algeria by the name of Clement, who found a new variety while tending his mandarin orchard. He nurtured the fruit tree and subsequently called it "clementino".

Clementines were first brought to the United States in 1982. While many quickly recognized them as a fruit with great market potential, it took 10 years hard work to make this latecomer of the citrus family the acknowledged citrus choice of children and adults alike.

The simplest way of adding Clementines to your favorite recipes is by adding them to salads.  You can also try this delicious dish for dinner tonight.

 


For the chicken:

8-10 chicken parts (thighs, drumsticks, wings)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 medium onion, cut in chunks

1 parsnip, peeled and cubed

1 small knob celery, peeled and cut into chunks

½ cup orange juice

                         

For the sauce:

8 clementines

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

1 finely chopped shallot

3 tablespoons orange liqueur

2 teaspoons cornstarch


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Clean and trim chicken parts of visible fat and feathers. Put chicken pieces in a roasting pan and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place onions, parsnips and knob celery around the chicken in the pan.  Pour in orange juice and cover pan tightly with heavy-duty foil. Place in oven and bake 1 ½ hours.

Remove pan from oven. Transfer chicken to a large platter, draining any juices inside back into pan, then transfer cooking liquid to a large bowl. Chill chickens and liquid separately, at least 4 hours. Remove all fat from chilled cooking liquid.

Squeeze juice from the Clementines to measure 1 cup and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium saucepan. Add vinegar and sugar and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup (glaze will bubble up and darken), about 15 minutes.

Brush 1 tablespoon glaze on chickens,

Heat oven to 500 degrees F. Roast chickens until skin is crisp, 25 to 35 minutes.

In the meantime, add cup of the cooking liquid from the roasting pan into glaze remaining in saucepan. Stir together liqueur and cornstarch and whisk into the saucepan.  Simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes; then season sauce with salt and pepper. Serve chicken with sauce.

 

Fruit for Thought


Surely you can all name the shivas haminim, but how much do you actually know about these creations that were chosen to represent the best of Hashem’s edible creations.  Each is among the oldest species known to man.  Each offers untold health benefits as well as good taste.  Read on for a bit of insight…   

Today, wheat is the most important cereal crop in the world.  It is absolutely essential to the food culture of North America and many other regions of the world. Breads and rolls, cakes and pastry, pasta and the like just begin to describe the list of foods made with this crucial grain.   Wheat presents a host of important nutrients.

Barley is a wonderfully versatile cereal grain with a rich nutlike flavor and an appealing chewy texture. Barley is naturally high in maltose, a sugar that serves a natural sweetener. When fermented, barley is used as an ingredient in beer and other alcoholic beverages. In addition to its robust flavor, barley's claim to nutritional fame is based on its being a very good source of fiber and selenium, and a good source of phosphorus, copper and manganese.

The grape is a fruit that grows on woody vines. Grapes can be eaten raw or used for making jam, juice, wine, wine vinegar, and grape seed oil.  Grapes grow in clusters of 6 to 300, and can be black, blue, yellow, green, purple, red, pink, brown, peach or white. White grapes are actually green in color. 

Although dried figs are available throughout the year, there is nothing like the unique taste and texture of fresh figs. They are lusciously sweet and combine the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds. Today most figs are dried, creating a sweet and nutritious dried fruit that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Figs are a good source of potassium which helps to control blood pressure.   They are also a good source of dietary fiber.

The pomegranate, originally cultivated in the Middle East, is now widely grown in many tropical climates around the world.  With the discovery of its extreme health benefits, pomegranate consumption has increased tenfold in all cuisines and cultures.       The name "pomegranate" derives from Latin words for “seeded apple.” This has influenced the common name for pomegranate in many languages such as granatapfel in German.  In Italian its name, melagrana brings to mind the Yiddish milgrom.  And, even though this fruit does not originate from China, the most common nickname is "Chinese apple.”

The olive is a species of small tree from the Middle East and surrounding areas.  Its fruit, the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of olive oil.  The olive has been cultivated since ancient times for its wood, oil and just eating out of hand. However, this naturally bitter fruit is typically fermented or cured with brine before being eaten. 

The date is a palm tree, extensively cultivated for its edible fruit. One of the earliest known dessert foods, it has been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. Dates are oval cylindrical fruits that grow in large bunches that hang heavily from the top of the palm tree.  They range from bright red to bright yellow in color, depending on variety. It is because of their unusually high sugar content, date syrup was used a sweetener long before the discovery of either honey of sugar cane.  It is therefore referred to as d’vash or honey.           

While you can eat each of these minim on its own we’d like you to try combining some in a tasty dish that will be perfect for your Tu B’Shvat dinner.  Be sure to serve it with pasta or couscous so you’ll include wheat in your meal.

 


6-8 chicken parts
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup green pitted olives, sliced
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses or syrup
½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup honey
1 cup red wine

Rinse the chicken and pat dry.   Place the pieces in one layer in a non-reactive oven-to-table dish.
Mix together the olive oil, garlic cloves, olives, raisins, vinegar, and pomegranate molasses and pour over the chicken. Season with thyme and pepper.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator 2-3 hours, turning once or twice.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix the honey with the wine and pour over the chicken. Turn pieces skin side up. Cover the chicken and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and continue to bake until the chicken pieces browned and crisp, about 30-35 minutes longer.  Serves 6-8.

Jan 25, 2015

Mashup!


The newest food trend to take the culinary world by storm is the “food mashup.” Chefs have been combining unlikely flavors to achieve surprisingly delicious new fads. From “cronuts” a popular combination of a croissant and a doughnut to waffle tacos to ramen burgers—cakes of fried ramen noodles replacing the traditional bun, food mashups are now going mainstream.

Of course, the idea of combining foods is not really new; think about ice cream cones. They were invented when an ice cream vendor at a fair borrowed some waffles from his neighboring waffle vendor and wrapped them around ice cream so it would be easier to eat.

Today’s combinations may be more unusual but then again we eat very different things today than folks ate 100 years ago! While some mashups are a hard to fathom we have some new combos we think you will like. Try one today!


Add a new dimension to your avocados!
 
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

½ a small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 avocados

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped (keep some seeds if you like your guacamole spicy)

1 teaspoon cilantro (optional)

1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a sheet pan or line it with parchment paper. Add cubed butternut squash, season with a pinch of the salt, and roast about 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven. Cool to room temperature.

Halve avocados; remove pits. Peel and cube avocado and place in a medium-size bowl. Add diced onion, lemon juice, jalapeno with seeds if you like, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, cumin, remaining olive oil, remaining salt, pepper, and roasted pumpkin cubes. Stir together.  If you prefer, mash guacamole with fork until just a few chunks remain.  Serve immediately.
 

Bring together 2 foods that your kids will always eat—breaded chicken cutlets and pizza!

6 ounces ground beef

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup finely diced onion

8 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (7 to 8 ounces each)

1/2 ready-made cup pizza sauce

16 large fresh basil leaves or 2 teaspoons dried basil

2 ½ cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)

1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed

3 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside.

In a medium skillet cook ground beef and onion over medium-high heat until meat is brown, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain off fat.

Place each chicken breast half between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound chicken lightly until slightly less than 1/4 inch thick, using the flat side of a meat mallet. Remove plastic wrap.

Place one pounded chicken breast on a clean work surface. Top about 1 tablespoon of the ground beef mixture in center of chicken breast. Top the meat with 1 tablespoon pizza sauce and two of the basil leaves or a sprinkle of dried basil. Carefully fold in side edges; roll up from bottom edge. Secure with wooden toothpicks. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts and filling ingredients.

In a shallow dish, combine panko and Italian seasoning. Drizzle with oil; mix until evenly moistened. Coat chicken rolls with panko mixture, pressing lightly. Place, seam sides down, in prepared baking pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and coating is golden. Remove toothpicks.

If desired, heat additional pizza sauce to pass with chicken.

Jan 7, 2015

They’re Back!


Boy have we missed fresh cauliflower and broccoli! The frozen checked broccoli and cauliflower were okay in baked dishes and kugels but nothing can compare with fresh!  Now that they are available at your corner grocery you can incorporate these crunchy fresh vegetables into your dishes and benefit from the taste and nutrition.  Of course, eating both broccoli and cauliflower raw will afford you the maximum nutrient benefits but some folks prefer to cook them before enjoying the taste. When cooking either, less is more so never overcook these healthful vegetables


Easy and delicious side dish that requires minimal preparation for great taste!

1 bag checked cauliflower florets

1 bag checked broccoli florets

1 head garlic, broken into cloves and peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place cauliflower and broccoli into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish, toss with the garlic cloves and olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Cover the dish and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the cover, stir and cook for 20 minutes more, until vegetables are tender and nicely browned.


Crunchy vegetables benefit from a tasty dressing and pastrami chunks!

¼ pound pastrami, cut in small pieces

2 tablespoons canola oil

½ a bag checked cauliflower florets

½ a bag checked broccoli florets

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



Heat canola oil in a frying pan and sauté pastrami chunks until they are browned and crispy.
Place the pastrami, broccoli, cauliflower and onions in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, vinegar and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking to make an emulsion. Mix in the mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss.


This lower calorie version of deep fried vegetables will become a family fave!

1 bag checked cauliflower florets

1 bag checked broccoli florets

2 eggs

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 teaspoon onion powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup panko crumbs

1 cup wheat germ

Combine eggs, mayonnaise, salt and spices in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine. In another bowl combine panko and wheat germ.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray the parchment with oil cooking spray or lightly rub with canola oil.

Coat cauliflower and broccoli florets with the egg mixture. Remove and allow the egg mixture to drip back into the bowl. Dredge in the panko and wheat germ mixture. Place florets on the prepared pan. Once all the florets are coated, spray with a bit of oil again. Bake 30 minutes and turn florets to crisp all sides. Bake another 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower and broccoli are tender. Serve hot or at room temperature.


In this salad the broccoli and cauliflower are cooked just until tender crisp—keep an eye on them!

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, checked and minced

2 tablespoons capers, minced

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 medium shallot, minced

1 bag checked cauliflower florets

1 bag checked broccoli florets

Bring a medium pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, place olive oil, parsley, capers, lemon juice, and shallot in a large bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper; set aside.

When the water is boiling, add broccoli and cauliflower and cook until fork tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and spread out on a baking sheet until cooled slightly, about 5 minutes.

Add vegetables to vinaigrette and toss to evenly coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.