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Archive for the ‘food saver recipes’ Category

It’s Shavuot, and Shavuot means cheesecake. I always make my MIL’s cheesecake, but this year I decided to make, in addition, a quick cheesecake to take to the Tikkun (all-night Torah study, see link above). I saw a recipe that I liked, tweaked it, and voila! Easy and tasty.
However, I can’t bring myself to call it a cheesecake as it doesn’t look like a real cheesecake – you know, white and creamy with perhaps some crumbs or fruit on top. In this cake the cheese is mixed with all the ingredients and everything is baked together. Easy? Definitely.  Real Cheesecake? Not so sure. ;)

Based on “Ugat gevina bhusha” (literally “stirred together cheesecake”) from Chef Magazine.

Ingredients
1/2 cup vegetable oil
110 gr sugar
125 gr white cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese, whatever (I used ricotta)
2 eggs
125 gr (1/2 cup) milk
Rind from one lemon, grated
10 gr (1 packet) vanilla sugar
175 gr (1 1/4 cup) self raising flour
1/2 cup blanched sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. In a food processor, mix oil and sugar until light. Add cheese and process again. Add eggs one by one, mixing well between. Add half the milk, the lemon rind and vanilla sugar and process again. Add half the flour, mix, add the remaining milk and flour and mix again.

Pour into 18×18 cm pan,  sprinkle almonds on top and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool and eat!

I used a 22×22 cm pan, it came out excellent.

 

 

Couldn't resist :)

Couldn’t resist :)

Happy Shavuot!

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I love cherry tomato salad. It’s tasty and refreshing and best of all ridiculously easy:

Cherry tomato salad

Cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
Good quality olive oil
Salt
Dried or fresh oregano and/or basil

Mix,  add more spices if you want and eat! It’s even better if you let it sit for half an hour first, but I rarely have the patience.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t continue getting better, and to my taste is quite soggy the next day. So leftover tomato salad is an issue.
However, paired with the inevitable question “what’s for dinner?” An answer appears:

Pizza on Matzah (or pita)
This is a staple dinner that a kid can make on his own, and is standard when the kids have their friends, as it’s easy and appealing to most children. I’ll start with the Passover version and add notes for the regular one.

Matzah, broken in two or four
Pizza sauce of choice:
   1. Ketchup
   2. Leftover tomato salad, minced in the food processor. Add some tomato paste if too thin.
   3. Mix tomato paste, a dash of water, oregano, basil, and optionally ketchup.
Yellow cheese or mozzarella cheese, sliced
Topping of choice

Spread sauce over matzah.

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On the right tomato salad, the rest is the tomato paste mix

Top with cheese.

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Add topping of choice. Kids love to experiment with this,  but this time we went with the classics:

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If only one or two, microwave for 30 seconds on high. For a family, grill in the oven for 3-5 minutes at 200 °C.

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Serve with vegetables cut into sticks: cucumbers, carrots and red peppers are favorites at my house.

Bon apetit!

Notes for pita version: using a knife, separate the pita sides. Spread sauce and cheese as toppings on each round pita half and cook as above.

Obviously this would work with regular sliced bread as well, but for some reason kids like that less.

This is a great use for leftover tomato pasta sauce as well.

Happy Passover!

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My throat is killing me. Swallowing is mildly painful at best, shudderingly painful at worst.  But I’m somehow still hungry. We have schnitzels in the house, but the idea of eating something crunchy and deep-fried makes my body clench. On the other hand, I feel like crap, so this is not the time to take out the gourmet cookbook (I lost it ages ago anyway).

So I started with soup. (While my husband is very talented, soup is out of his league, unless it’s takeaway). I hit my first snag when I discovered I was out of my homemade frozen onion-carrot-celery mix. I hit my second when I discovered we had no frozen vegetable that could be helpful. I did get some hope when i discovered some raw chicken thighs. However, it would make pretty bland soup all alone. I continued searching and hit the jackpot: frozen fresh dill and  parsley,  and even a small bag of beef stock. Now we’re in business!

Clean out the freezer soup

Ingredients:

One chicken thigh and leg, raw
About two bunches dill
one bunch parsley
5 small carrots, peeled but not cut (you can skip peeling them.  Force of habit)
About 1/2 cup beef stock

Boil the chicken in a lot of water and skim the top until clear. Dump everything else in. Boil for 20 minutes (about). Taste. If not bland, sieve into a mug and drink. If bland, simmer more.
No picture, but trust me, it looks like clear broth  :)

Microwave omelet

Break an egg into a small microwave safe dish. Add a splash of milk or water. Add a pinch salt. Mix with fork until yolk is blended. Cover with a plate or plastic lid (not plastic wrap). Cook in microwave on high for 30 seconds or until cooked.

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It doesn’t look like much, but it’s quick and easy and i can swallow it. It even tastes pretty good! ;)

Of course, the best option is to call your mother/neighbour/friend and ask them for soup, which is what I’m going to eat tomorrow – there’s nothing like your mother’s chicken soup :D

Good health to all!

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When my daughter was younger (below 1 year old), she refused to eat a bunch of stuff: milk products, some types of meat, soups, rice, seemingly at random as she ate all of these things at other times and places (except milk products, which she refuses to touch). So she was considered “picky”.

However, over the holidays I needed a meat dish and found that I had no raw meat to cook in any way. Going to the store was a bother. I found some frozen entrecôte steaks, from a BBQ (we looove BBQs!). I also had fresh mushrooms, so I had an aha! moment: strips of entrecôte  with succulent mushrooms in wine and soy (I would have added fresh ginger if I had it. Or alternatively, soy-based  cream instead of soy sauce in order to get a kosher “stroganoff”, but I don’t usually have it in the house).

I did that, and it was a hit with everyone… including my 1 and a bit year old daughter, who practically inhaled it mixed with white rice. So therefore it is now official: my daughter is NOT picky!

Leftover Steak “Stroganoff”

3-4 leftover entrecôte (rib, rib-eye or sirloin) steaks, fat removed and cut into strips
250-500 gr. champignon (button) mushrooms, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic or to taste, minced
1 large onion, minced or diced
1-2 cups red wine (leftover, of course ;) )
2-3 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat oil in non-stick skillet. Saute the onions until clear. Add garlic, saute until garlic is fragrant. Add mushrooms, stir fry for 3-5 minutes, until lightly browned but still firm. Add steak strips, mix, and add wine and soy sauce. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste. If wine is still sharp, simmer for 10 minutes more. Serve over rice, couscous or burgul.

Optional: Add 1-2 tsps flour mixed with 1-2 tbsp water to the sauce at the end, it will thicken into a gravy.

Inhaled it!

Inhaled it!

Bon Apetit!

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I admit it, I’m spoiled. I like cooked vegetables, or at least some sauce with my pasta/orzo/couscous/rice. However, when you’re standing in front of the fridge 5 minutes before you need to leave the house in the morning packing food to take to lunch and you realize you’ve got small hamburgers and orzo without sauce, what’s to be done?

Eat your food dry, I hear your answer. Next time make something the evening before. I picked a different route.

I add a handful of cherry tomatoes to the box. When I eat lunch, I warm it in the microwave. The cherry tomatoes burst. I cut them up before eating, getting a nice fresh tomato sauce (you can’t get any fresher than that ;) ). Granted, there are no fried onions in there and the tomatoes are still mostly raw, but it’s still a sauce, and that’s what’s important, isn’t it? And healthy! If you’ve got another few seconds to spare you can even add a dash of dried oregano or basil. Then you have Italian instant tomato sauce! :razz:

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Sometimes I wonder whether using up leftovers is even a good idea. I still remember the time I made muffins with red pepper and cheese to use up some peppers. It sounded great on paper (well, web site) but when I made it it turned out meh. It was edible, but was that really the best use of flour, eggs, and cheese? I don’t think so.

But this time, a friend sent me this recipe, and I had some bananas and pineapple to use up, and I thought: This can’t be coincidence. This is meant. So I got out the mixer and started baking. :) The results were utterly amazing. A rich cake, filling and satisfying, that my kids practically fought over (without adding chocolate chips!). I didn’t mention the pineapple though ;) Definitely a keeper. So thanks, Claire and Chantal, for the lovely recipe!

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour (originally 3 cups flour)
1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar, unpacked (originally 2 cups sugar)
1 tsp baking soda
2 dashes cinnamon (originally 1 tsp cinnamon, my kids like it less)
2 pinches salt (originally 1 tsp)
1 cup vegetable oil (originally 1 1/2 cups)
240 gr (1 small can) crushed pineapple with juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 cups diced bananas (3-4 medium bananas)

Four Diced Bananas - a little more than 2 cups

Four Diced Bananas – a little more than 2 cups

I first blended the pineapple and the bananas in the food processor, as my pineapple can was cubed pineapple and not crushed. However, the original recipe suggests mixing everything by hand, so next time maybe I’ll leave the bananas in pieces.

 

Really Crushed Pineapple!

Really Crushed Pineapple!

 

I did the classic muffin style: Mix dry ingredients together…

Dry Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

Add liquids…

With Liquids

With Liquids

And mix it all. Pour into ring pan and bake at 170°C for 80 minutes (not a typo).

Waiting...

Waiting…

After ~40 minutes the top will get brown; cover with aluminium foil to prevent burning and continue baking. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean. This is a large cake, about twice the size of my regular cake; it didn’t last twice as long though :)

Done!

Done!

Bon Apetit!

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This one goes to my eldest son, who asked, “Why don’t we freeze watermelon cubes?” And I thought, why not indeed?

So I put some watermelon cubes in a bag and stuck ‘em in the freezer. A few hours later we tasted them for dessert. And they were fabulous!

All that was missing were some popsicle sticks. So next time I’ll stick some cocktail forks in them and we’ll munch away…

Notes: they didn’t stick to one another, so no problem there. They were sweet and not too hard, and were perfect. Easier popsicles than that are simply not possible :)

No pictures yet as we ate them, but next time I’ll photo. In the meantime, a picture of a watermelon:

Mmm...Watermelon...

Mmm…Watermelon…

And finally:

watermelon popsicles

watermelon popsicles

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I had fennel to use up. My preferred method is to chop finely with onion in a food processor, and then sauté in olive oil until caramelized and sweet… mmm, yummy! But when I saw I had about 15 minutes until Shabbat came in  (at which point I need to stop cooking, preferably a bit before) I simply couldn’t use that option. What to do?

Microwave to the rescue!

I chopped the fennel, put in a pyrex with olive oil, and microwaved on high for 3 minutes. Checked the taste (I wanted it to be a bit sweet, still), and cooked for two more minutes. Then I added some salt, and the stroke of genius – balsamic vinegar. Another minute in the microwave, and voilà! Side dish done!

Balsamic Fennel

Balsamic Fennel

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I had persimmons that needed using up, so I thought of making persimmon muffins (because frankly the time I tried to make persimmon cake it wasn’t very popular). My middle son, on the other hand, insisted on chocolate chip muffins, without persimmons. So I decided to do half and half: The same muffins, but in half with persimmon purée and the other half with yoghurt. Instead of looking for yoghurt muffins (of which I actually have some good recipes) or persimmon recipes (which I don’t) I took the recipe of the apple bites I made before, which were excellent, and put yoghurt or persimmon purée instead of the applesauce. Of course, I also added chocolate chips for my son ;)

The results were awesome!

As persimmon purée is very sweet, I put a little less sugar in the persimmon muffins; and the chocolate chips there were rather pointless (but don’t tell him that!). The yoghurt muffins were also excellent and there the chocolate chips really hit the spot.

In short – perfection in both halves :)

Here are both halves of the recipe, 8 muffins each (2 tbsp per muffin):

Yoghurt chocolate chip

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/6 cup canola oil
2/3 cups white unsweetened yoghurt
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup white flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
chocolate chips to taste

Persimmon 

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/6 cup canola oil
2/3 cups puréed persimmon
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup white flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch tsp ground nutmeg

In both cases, mix wet ingredients together, then mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then mix both until just combined. Spoon into muffin pan until 2/3 height. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

The dividing line

The dividing line – left are slightly more orange than right

Bon Apetit!

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I had guests coming for tea and cake an hour after Sukkot ended (*). So the minute we finished Havdala, I called the kids and said, “We’re baking cakes now!”. There were two cakes planned: The ubiquitous chocolate chip oil based cake; and a plum pie because my plums were beginning to get squishy.

We started with the chocolate cake, and I was pretty stressed at first. I mean, let’s face it, I could do it so much faster by myself. But by the time the chocolate cake was in the oven, I began to appreciate the value of three pairs of hands. While I poured the chocolate cake into the pan, my eldest washed the plums. My middle child helped me assemble the ingredients of the crust. I mixed it myself, but my middle child helped flatten the dough in the pie plate. Then we began to slice the plums (he used a regular knife). While we were doing this, my eldest pricked the dough with a fork, and spread jam on the dough. Then he arranged the plum slices. At first he put them too far apart, but when I corrected him he did a stupendous job. I haven’t had such a beautifully arranged pie in… never. :)  (I ruined it a bit by filling spaces between the rows afterwards). Then I put the sugar and cinnamon in the sifter and sprinkled it over the plums while my kids ate all the leftover plum slices. ;)

It was a real joy to bake with my kids. And it actually saved me time!

Plum Pie

Crust – Based on My own pie crust:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup oil
3 tbsp milk or water, cold

The rest:

6 plums, 2 peaches, 1 nectarine, sliced;
2 tbsp nectarine jam (or plum, or peach)

2 tbsp dark brown sugar
dash of cinnamon (or to taste)

Sift flour sugar and salt into a 9” pie plate. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix oil and milk/water. Pour immediately into the pie plate and mix with the flour mixture, using a fork (if you wait after mixing, the oil and milk/water separate again). I use my hands after it begins looking like dough. Press onto the pie plate, spreading it with your fingers. Prick it with a fork. Spread with jam using an egg brush or the back of a spoon. Arrange fruit slices on the jam. Sift sugar and cinnamon on top of fruit. Bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes or until crust is light brown (I baked it at 160 degrees with the chocolate cake, it still came out OK).

I was sure that the pie would be a soggy mess as the plums were juicy, but surprisingly it wasn’t. The jam must have absorbed most of the liquids somehow, resulting in fruit pie in jelly on top of an excellent flaky crust. Divine!

Already half gone…

* The Jewish day starts at sunset. Therefore all holy days start at sunset and end at stars-out the day after. As we started daylight saving (don’t ask), this means that the holiday is between 17:00 and 18:00 the day after. The guests were coming at 19:00.

Notes on crust: I added another tbsp of liquid to the original recipe as otherwise it was too crumbly. It has now graduated to flaky :)  I omit the sugar for savoury pies. 1 tsp salt in the original recipe is waaaay too much, for savoury pies I use two pinches.

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