Feb 23, 2017

Log Blog

While some food trends seem to come and go, chocolate logs seem to have secured their place on the sweet table at every simcha. Always on the lookout for new versions to old favorites, we have come up with collection of new recipes to please your guests and put your chocolate log molds to work.
The quantity for these recipes makes a large 18” log. You can use half the recipe for the narrow 18” log or ¾ of it for the wider, 10” long silicone molds.
The 18” molds are great for making multiple mishloach manos—simply cut your log into 3 or 4 pieces to send as Purim gifts. A 4” or 6” piece makes the perfect shalach manos.

This one is pareve but you can make it milchig just by using milk or white dairy chocolate

Large log mold
Acetate sheet cut in half lengthwise
Plastic texture sheet or printed transfer sheet

1 lb. halva spread (fresh at our store)
2 lbs. quality bittersweet chocolate  or  1 lb each good quality white coating and bittersweet (available at our store)
8-10 ounces halva, plain or marble, cut in cubes

Chop the chocolate and melt in a microwave or double boiler. Add the halva spread and stir to combine and melt completely.  Gently stir in the chunks of halva.
Line the mold with acetate sheet.  Reserve extra acetate for another use.
Place a texture sheet trimmed to the size of the mold on top of the acetate. Pour the chocolate mixture into mold and put into the refrigerator to set.
When the log is firm, release the two ends with a spatula and invert the log onto a tray. Gently remove acetate sheet and texture sheet.  Serve. Store at cool room temperature.

This new recipe allows those who are allergic to nuts to enjoy the popular chocolate logs—it’s nut free!


Large log mold
Acetate sheet cut in half lengthwise
Plastic texture sheet or printed transfer sheet

1 pound semisweet chocolate ex: dark chocolate or Callebaut semisweet chocolate
1 pound premium white chocolate coating
10 ounces whip topping, thawed
10 black & white sandwich cookies, (oreos) cut in chunks
10 chocolate chip cookies, cut in chunks

Bittersweet coating and white coating to drizzle

Chop chocolate into chunks. Melt in double boiler or microwave.  Pour topping over chocolate and whisk to combine to achieve a smooth shiny mixture.  If there are white streaks of topping, heat for 15 seconds in the microwave and stir some more. Fold in chopped cookies.
Line your chocolate log mold with an acetate sheet. Pour mixture into mold and freeze until firm. Pull on acetate to release the log. Invert onto platter. Drizzle melted chocolate over the length of the log to decorate as desired.

This recipe combines two popular trends—chocolate logs and Lotus cookies butter spread

Large log mold
Acetate sheet cut in half lengthwise
texture sheet

2 lbs. quality bittersweet chocolate or 1 lb each white and bittersweet (available at our store), chopped
1 lb. Lotus crunchy or plain cookie butter spread
6 ounces Lotus cookies, broken up
6 ounces cinnamon chips

Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler. Stir in cookie butter to combine and melt completely.  If needed, use an immersion blender to smooth out all lumps. Stir in the cookies and cinnamon chips.
Line the mold with acetate sheet.  Reserve the extra acetate for another use.
Place a printed transfer sheet or texture sheet trimmed to the size of the mold on top of the acetate. Pour the chocolate mixture into mold and put into the refrigerator to set.
Alternately, you can use just the plain acetate sheet in the mold and drizzle the top with melted chocolate and more chopped cookies once it’s removed from the mold.
When the log is firm, release the two ends with a spatula and invert the log onto a tray. Gently remove acetate sheet and transfer or texture sheet.  Serve. Store at cool room temperature.

Feb 16, 2017

Bent on Babka

Of all the popular trends foodies are following now the Babka renaissance has got to be the most delicious! While we have been enjoying babka for generations, it has recently developed a cult following with bakeries all vying for the title of best babka around. 

Babka is a sweet yeast dough with is rolled out, spread with filling and rolled up. It is twisted and baked in a loaf pan, often sprinkled with streusel or drizzled with chocolate.

Recently, a friend of ours who runs a bakery was interviewed while preparing the bakery’s famous babka. The video interview featured many non-Jewish folks who claim this babka is the best in Brooklyn. Their babka features both streusel and drizzled chocolate topping, making it extra rich and tasty. 

The babka trend has spread across the country with many bake shops coming up with versions to fit the tastes of local patrons. There are even babka doughnuts, croissant babka and any other version food bloggers can dream up. Of course, we’ve already baked lotus cookie butter babka!

The babka is believed to have originated in Ukraine or Russia. The name is derived from an endearing term for “grandma” as the layers of dough in a babka resemble a grandma’s layered skirt. The original fillings were more likely nuts and jams as chocolate was a luxury in those regions and would more likely be a birthday treat than a cake filling. Over the years chocolate and cinnamon have replaced the nuts and fruit much to the pleasure of foodies everywhere.

So whether you buy babkas at your favorite bakery or make your own from a family recipe, babkas have now moved out of the realm of “Jewish food” to become common at bakeries in every corner of the country.

Our Favorite Babka

For the dough:

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup warm water

½ cup orange juice

1 cup margarine (2 sticks)

1 egg

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon salt

for the filling:

1 cup cocoa

2 cups sugar

1 stick margarine

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

(Alternately, you can use our Belgian Chocolate Spread to fill your babkas—it’s ready to use and delicious)

Egg wash—2 egg yolks, beaten

For the streusel:

1 cup flour

½ cup sugar

4 ounces margarine, (1 stick)

Place the flour in your mixer bowl.  Add the yeast and sugar.  Add all the other ingredients and knead 10-12 minutes until it has formed a smooth dough.  Remove from the bowl and allow it to rise 30 minutes. 

Prepare the filling by mixing all ingredients in a mixer or food processor until it comes together.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Divide dough in thirds and roll out one piece into a rectangle approximately 14"x10".  Spread generously with filling.  Roll up the dough jellyroll-style. Stretch the roll and fold in half. Twist the roll two or three times and place in a greased 9-10” loaf pan, tucking in the ends. Repeat with remaining dough.

Allow the loaves to rest for 5 minutes. 

Using a pastry blender, combine streusel ingredients by hand until they resemble large crumbs. You can also make them in a food processor using the pulse button; be careful not to over-process.

Brush the cakes generously with egg wash. Sprinkle streusel over babkas and place the pans the rack in the center of the oven.

 Bake 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Babkas freeze well for up to 3 months when well wrapped.

You can also slice the rolled strips into buns and bake flat on a lined cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with streusel as directed. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Feb 9, 2017

And a Shmear

Today is National Bagel Day (in case you need a reason to indulge in this ever popular uniquely Jewish food that can now be found across the globe.) Make some at home to celebrate.

For the sponge: (substance that causes the bagels to rise)

4 cups high-gluten flour or bread flour

1 tsp. instant yeast (not active dry)

2-1/2 cups hot water

For the bagel dough:

1/2 tsp. instant yeast

4 cups high-gluten flour plus more as needed

1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tsp. malt powder or 1 Tbs. malt syrup (available at natural food stores)

For shaping, boiling, and baking:

canola oil spray

1 tablespoon baking soda


Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, finely chopped onions tossed in a little oil

In a 4-qt. bowl, mix the flour and the 1 teaspoon yeast. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth mxture. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until the mixture is very foamy and bubbly, 1 to 2 hours. It should double in size.

In a stand mixer bowl, stir the sponge with the 1/2 teaspoon yeast. In a bowl, mix 3 cups of the flour with the salt. Add it to the sponge, along with the malt. Using a dough hook, mix on the lowest speed, slowly working in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff and smooth; you may need extra flour. Keep kneading on low until the dough is firm but still pliable and smooth, about 6 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces, each weighing about 4-3/4 oz. Shape each piece into a smooth ball by pulling the dough down and around to one point on the bottom and then pinching the bottom closed. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 20 minutes so the gluten relaxes.

To shape, boil, and bake the bagels:

Line two baking sheets with parchment and spray the parchment with canola oil.

To shape the bagels, poke a hole in the center of each ball of dough with your thumb and then gently rotate the dough around both thumbs, slightly stretching the dough as you turn until the hole has enlarged to 1-1/2 to 2 inches. The dough ring should be an even thickness all around.

Set the shaped bagels on the prepared pans so they’re 2 inches apart. Spray the bagels very lightly with oil and cover the pans with plastic wrap. Let the bagels sit at room temperature until they grow a little.

After 15 minutes, do the “float test” to see if they’re ready to be set in the refrigerator: Drop one bagel a bowl of water. If it floats within 10 seconds, the bagels are ready for the overnight rise. Pat the test bagel dry and return it to the pan. (If it doesn’t float within 10 seconds, pat it dry, return it to the pan, and test again every 10 minutes until it floats.) Refrigerate the pans, covered, for at least 8 hours, or up to two days.

When you’re ready to bake the bagels, heat the oven to 500°F. Bring a large wide pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda; have ready a skimmer. Remove one pan of bagels from the refrigerator. Line another pan with parchment, mist with oil, and sprinkle with cornmeal.

Gently drop the bagels into the water, boiling only as many as will comfortably fit; they should float within 10 seconds, if not immediately. Boil for 1 minute, flip them over, and boil for another minute.

As the bagels finish cooking, lift them out with the skimmer and set them on the baking sheet with the cornmeal. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, kosher salt, chopped onions, or minced garlic.

When the bagels on the first pan are boiled and sprinkled, bake for 10-15 minutes or until firm. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the bagels to a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Remove the second pan of bagels from the fridge and boil and bake them the same way.

Serve with cream cheese and lox—another Jewish favorite!

Feb 2, 2017

Bone Up

One of the hottest trends in today’s culinary world is not new to us. Bone broth, the new darling of chefs everywhere, is actually good old “krefitge” chicken soup like your grandma made!  When she added marrow bones and let if cook for hours the nutrients in the bones broke down and made the soup protein rich and immeasurably flavorful.  Historically, people across the globe have always used the whole animal, nothing went to waste; and that includes emphasis on using bones for making broth.

Nowadays, elaborate recipes begin with preparing bone broth to flavor soups, stews and braises. Short-cuts have you purchase shelf stable, boxed bone broth, but we all know nothing compares to homemade.  Health gurus are even drinking it for breakfast as a protein-rich way to start the day. Of course, we are unlikely to make ourselves fleishig so early in the day but having a cupful before dinner will ensure you get in that extra dose of protein that is so important.

What’s the difference between broth, stock and bone broth?

Bone broth, broth and stock are built on the same basic foundation: water, meat or bones (or both), vegetables and seasonings.

Broth is typically made with chicken and a small amount of bones. Broth may be simmered for a short period of time (45 minutes to 2 hours). It is very light in flavor and thin in texture.

Stock is simmered for a moderate amount of time (3 to 4 hours) and contains vegetables as well.  

Bone Broth is typically made with bones and the meat adhering to the bones. Some recipes call for roasting the meat or chicken and vegetables before cooking to bring out even more richness and flavor. Bone broths are simmered for a very long period of time; often for 8 hours with the purpose being not only to produce gelatin from collagen-rich bones but also to release a small amount of trace minerals from bones. Bone broths are extraordinarily rich in protein, and can be a source of minerals as well.   

Bone broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.  You can also freeze it for up to for 6 months.  

A heavy-bottomed stock pot that’s large enough to hold several pounds of bones is a worthwhile investment. A fine-mesh sieve helps you to strain the broth after you’ve made it so that it’s easy to discard the bones and other debris. A skimmer helps to remove the foamy scum that bubbles up at the top of the pot as it cooks.  Removing it helps to clarify your broth and improve its flavor.

The powdered soup mix in your pantry will be a thing of the past!

6 pounds bones, a mix of marrow bones and bones with a little meat on them, chicken or meat or a combination

4 medium unpeeled carrots, washed

2 leeks, trimmed and washed well

1 large onion, quartered

1 garlic head, halved crosswise, peels are fine

4 celery stalks

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

4 tablespoons kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place bones, carrots, leek, onion, and garlic on a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Toss the contents of the pan and continue to roast until deeply browned, about 20 minutes more.

Fill an 8 quart stockpot with 4 quarts of water. Add celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Scrape the roasted bones and vegetables into the pot along with any juices. Add more water if necessary to cover bones and vegetables.

Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook with lid slightly open, skimming foam and excess fat occasionally, for 8-10 hours on the stovetop. The longer you simmer it, the better your broth will be. Add more water if necessary to ensure bones and vegetables are fully submerged. Alternately, you can cook the broth in a slow cooker on low for the same amount of time.

Remove the pot from the heat and let cool slightly. Strain broth using a fine-mesh sieve and discard bones and vegetables. Let continue to cool until barely warm, then refrigerate in smaller containers overnight. Remove solidified fat from the top of the chilled broth. Freeze until needed. Use in soups, braised and stews for unbelievable flavor. 

Jan 19, 2017

Going Bowling

No, this hasn’t become a sports column. We’re talking about another fascinating food trend—bowls! While this piece of crockery has been around since the beginning of time it has now taken center stage. What began in 2014 with all-in-one breakfasts has morphed into a full-fledged movement with all types of meals being arranged beautifully in bowls and always photographed before eating. According to trendsetters, people feel the bowl makes everything a little more photogenic.

The bowl is very friendly, you can see everything—it shows up well on social media—a huge driver of food trends.  The #bowl hashtag has been used millions of times on everything from berry and oatmeal breakfasts to meat and potato dinners.  There are even a few bowl-focused cookbooks.  Writers feel that food gathered in a bowl brings out the contrast in flavors and textures like no plate ever can.

It started with acai berry bowls in Brazil. This super-fruit was pureed and blended with cream then served with additional fresh berries and whole grains. Next came Buddha bowls; rice based and filled with vegetables both raw and cooked. Some added healthy protein like soft boiled eggs or lean meat.  Soon every cuisine had its own version and bowl dishes could be found on restaurant menus throughout the world.

1/4 cup 100% fruit juice like orange, pineapple or guava

4 dried apricots, diced
1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 medium pink grapefruit, cut into segments
4 ounces canned mandarin oranges, strained
1/4 cup bran flakes cereal
2 tablespoons toasted or raw pistachios, roughly chopped

Put the fruit juice and apricots in a small bowl, and cover. Microwave until the apricots are tender and the juice reduces to a thin syrup, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to help cool faster. Alternately, this can be done in a small saucepan.
Put the yogurt in a cereal bowl. Spoon the apricot-guava compote into the center. Arrange the grapefruit, mandarin oranges, cereal and pistachios in neat piles or rows around the compote.

For the mango dressing:

1 cup diced fresh mango

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar

2 tablespoons coconut milk

1 teaspoon honey

Pinch of red pepper flakes

For the bowl:

1 sweet potato, diced

3 cups broccoli

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

1 tablespoon chili sauce or sweet chili sauce

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken (grilled, baked or any sort of leftovers)

1 cup baby spinach or baby kale, checked

1 avocado, sliced

1 mango, cubed

1 cup cooked rice

Preheat your oven to 400°F

In a food processor or blender, blend all ingredients for mango sauce and set aside.

On two lined baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes and broccoli separately with oil and salt. Roast for 45 minutes until fork tender. When done, toss each separately with chili paste.

Assemble the bowls:

Use 2 soup bowls.

Place 1/2 cup each of greens and rice in each bowl.

Arrange roasted potatoes, broccoli, avocado, chicken, and mango nicely around the bowl. Drizzle carefully with sauce.

3 cups cooked quinoa

1 pkg shredded green cabbage

1 pkg shredded red cabbage

1/2 cup diced scallions

3/4 cup chopped almonds

2 medium-size sweet potatoes, diced

1 tablespoon canola oil

Kosher salt

For the dressing:

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic

3 inches peeled fresh ginger

juice of 3 limes

Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the sweet potato pieces in one tablespoon of oil until they are coated. Spread them on the baking pan and sprinkle them with salt. Bake 20 minutes or until crispy

Prepare the dressing by adding the ingredients to a food processor and blending until smooth. Add water to thin if needed.

Next, rinse the cooked quinoa and transfer to a large bowl. Blot dry with a few paper towels to remove any excess water.  Divide quinoa among 4 bowls. Add the cabbages. Add the sweet potatoes to the bowl along with the chopped almonds, and scallions. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Pickled Pink

The latest food trends run the gamut from odd new movements to old standbys. Some are extremely healthy and others—not so much.  Foodies pick the ones they like best and make them work for their families. Among the healthier movements is the fermentation kick. Of course, eating fermented foods is not new. Our ancestors knew this was the best way of preserving vegetables for use during long winter months when no fresh produce was available. But shelf-stable foods became popular and fresh vegetables are readily accessible all year round so home canning and pickling has been relegated to artisan fare.

Now we are learning more and more about how good bacteria found in fermented foods can support our health. We are also discovering that bad bacteria can lead to things like obesity and digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.  There is a whole school of thought that encourages diets that add foods to reestablish one’s inner “ecosystem” by creating healthy bacteria. Books have been written on diets that add food rather than restricting them. Of course, these foods are eaten in conjunction with other well balanced and nutritional foods. The fermented foods help break down fat as well as quickly digest foods to promote weight loss. Scientists now realize that a healthy gut does more for you than any low-fat diet ever can. So while this may not be the cure-all it sounds like an idea whose time has come.

Fermented Carrot Pickles

1½ lb. small carrots, peeled

Zest of 2 lemons, strips or shreds

4 bay leaves

4 tablespoons kosher salt

Two 32-oz. canning jars lids

Combine salt and 6 cups warm water in a large bowl, whisking to dissolve salt. Divide carrots, lime zest, and bay leaves between canning jars. Add brine to cover carrots. Cover with lids. Be sure carrots are covered with liquid. Let jars sit at room-temperature for 5 days.  Keep out of direct sunlight.

After 5 days, taste carrots every day; once they are tangy and flavorful in about 1 week, recover jars with lids and chill. They will last about a month.

2 bags shredded cabbage—green or purple

3 tablespoons kosher salt

1 jalapeno, seeded or not, optional

1 teaspoon caraway seeds, optional

1 32 ounce canning jar

Place cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Knead the cabbage with clean hands, for about 10 minutes, until there is enough liquid to cover.

Stuff the cabbage into a quart jar, pressing the cabbage underneath the liquid. If necessary, add a bit of water to completely cover cabbage. For a more complex flavor add the jalapeno or 1 teaspoon caraway seeds.  Cover the jar with a tight lid.

Allow the jar to sit at room temperature, 60-70°F, for at least 2 weeks until desired flavor and texture are achieved. Open jar for a minute every day to release excess pressure.

Once the sauerkraut is finished, put a tight lid on the jar and move to cold storage. The sauerkraut's flavor will continue to develop as it ages.

This will get your kids into the fermentation movement!

Three 7-oz cans of tomato pasteDescription: http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nourisheda-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=B001HTIPU0

1/3 cup honey

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegarDescription: http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=nourisheda-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=B0006Z7NOK

3 small garlic cloves, crushed

6 tablespoons liquid from your homemade sauerkraut 

1 tablespoon kosher salt

pinch cayenne pepper

Equipment needed: one 32 ounce canning jar

Combine all ingredients in the jar. Stir well to combine.

Ensure that the top of the ketchup is at least 1-inch below the top of the jar.

Using a clean cloth or paper towel, wipe the top of the jar above the ketchup clean.

Put lid on jar and leave at room temperature for 3 days; then transfer to the refrigerator.

Jan 12, 2017

Mild Meat

Experts say veal actually has very little flavorits all about texture.

That’s why you rarely see a recipe for a simple piece of broiled or grilled veal; they always have a sauce. Beef, on the other hand, can be simply seasoned with salt and pepper to give it delicious flavor.
Think about thisif you're making chicken soup, the classic starting ingredient is "an old stewing hen", because the longer it's lived, the more flavor it has. The older an animal is or the more its muscles have been used, the better the taste.

Another reason people choose veal is the lower fat content. Fat adds calories but also adds flavor.
For tender texture and light mouth-feel, go with veal! Try one of our recipes today.

Veal Scaloppini
1/2 cup flour
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless veal cutlets, about 3/4 pound, pounded to a thickness of 1/8-inch
6 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 lemon, juiced, or more to taste, (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves, optional, plus sprigs for garnish

In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and pepper and stir to combine thoroughly. Quickly dredge the veal  in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Cook the veal until golden brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Pour the wine into the pan to deglaze and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine has reduced by half. Add the chicken stock, chopped garlic, lemon juice and capers and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Whisk in the remaining salt, and the chopped parsley. Return the veal cutlets to the pan and cook until heated through and the sauce has thickened, about 1 minute. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve immediately.

Veal Stuffed Cannelloni
2 tablespoons canola oil
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage meat with fennel (Jack’s)
12 ounces ground veal
About 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced, or 2 teaspoons dry
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in kitchen towel
1/3 cup dry white wine

for the sauce:

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
15 ounces tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt

12 cannelloni pasta
1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
2 teaspoons dry parsley
Salt and pepper to season crumbs

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, break it up with a fork and crumble to very small pieces. Then add the veal, brown and crumble. Add the sage, garlic, onions and some salt and pepper, and cook until tender. Add the spinach to the skillet. Stir to heat through. Add the wine to deglaze, scraping up all the browned bits. Remove from the heat.

Prepare the sauce:
Heat oil in a medium saucepan; add onions and sauté until translucent. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar and salt. Stir well to combine and boil for 2-3 minutes.

Fill the tubes with the meat filling using a small spoon. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with one-quarter of the sauce, then arrange the tubes and cover with the remaining sauce. Top with panko and sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper.
Heat oven to 375 degrees and 30 to 40 minutes or until crumbs are nicely browned.