Friday, April 28, 2017

Ramp Salt

When I make flavored salt, I usually just put the flavor in the jar with the salt and let it sit awhile. I do this often with herbs from my garden. Baking the salt method was new to me but it worked like a charm. 

Ramps have a very short season here in the east coast. Once they hit the markets in the spring, it seems like in no time at all, you can't find even one anemic looking leftover bunch to cook with. 

That's why I love this recipe. Ram flavor preserved in the salt can help your ramp withdrawal for the rest of the year. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Egg Noodles in Ramp Horseradish Cream

It's ramp season and I couldn't be happier. Last weekend I grabbed two of these precious wild garlic bunches at the farmer's market and spent the next couple of days thinking about creative ways to use them. 

Horseradish, ramps, and cream, what could be a better savory combination for a sauce? Not much, in my opinion. I also added onions to the sauce for extra flavor but please don't tell the onion it got second billing. 

Heavy cream withstanding, this dish is actually pretty light tasting. I used horseradish from the jar but feel free to use fresh. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Visit to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem & An Oatmeal Strawberry Thumbprint Cookie Recipe from the Ashes

Women who were starving "cooked with words – to bring back memories of home, assuage their constant hunger, and provide their campmates with food for thought in the true sense of the expression. They talked with each other about recipes and cooking, and sometimes they were fortunate enough to have a scrap of paper and a stub of pencil to write down their recipes." 

The recipes that were repeated sustained the humanity of those who talked about them, those who wrote them down, and those who repeated them, reminding them of home and giving them hope at a time when there was precious little hope to be had.

-Rochelle G. Saidel in The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp

Family recipes are precious for those of us who love to cook. When passed down they bind generations together through nourishment, love, and tradition. They often serve as a legacy and tribute to absent loved ones. Some are guarded as family secrets. Some are ritually made for celebrations. Some are integrated into family menus weekly or monthly. 

Discussing and verbally recreating favorite recipes helped women imprisoned in concentration camps cope with their unimaginable circumstances. The fact that some of these recipes were written down and survived the war is extraordinary. The recipes are a part of these women that live on and can be cherished and experienced over and over again by their loved ones, Jewish people or anyone who has an interest in historical cooking. 
They are Jewish soul food. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Pink Grapefruit White Chocolate Cake

Pink desserts make a lot of people happy, mostly me. Unfortunately, most times they contain lots of artificial food color. 

I got lucky when I spotted these luscious pink grapefruits at the market. It turned out, not only were they extra sweet and their beautiful deep hue, one of my favorites, just made me happy, 

I immediately tossed them into my cart, inspired by a pink grapefruit cake I had earmarked in one of my German cooking magazines. On my list for some time was to create a version of that recipe to share with all of you.  

For my take, I swapped out chocolate for white chocolate. You are free to use milk or dark chocolate varieties if you wish for your own version.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Jerusalem: The Other City That Never Sleeps

What's TBEX? The same message from several different friends kept my phone pinging while I was running around Jerusalem trapped in what seemed like my own hyper-lapse video while furiously posting photos and video with the hashtag #tbexjlm.

My friend, snapchatress extraordinaire, Vicki Winters, a TBEX veteran and a speaker at the conference is the first one who made me aware of TBEX, a Travel Blog Exchange. 

For a few years, I watched Vicki travel to fabulous destinations, always encouraging me to join her on one of their three yearly conferences to connect with other bloggers. I eventually signed up for the TBEX newsletter and became a lurker on their website. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Chocolate Babka - King Arthur Flour's April Bakealong Challenge

When I was a youngster I landed a job in a bakery in the Long Island seaside town I grew up in. It was there I got up close and personal with New York baked good staples such as rugelach, danish and babka. 

I would get up scary early in the morning for a teenager and my mother would drive me to work. Hair pinned back and wearing a large white apron I would box up those delights as well as butter cookies, crumb cakes, crullers, pies and large black and white cookies to customers who included some of my teachers and friends parents. 

The woman who owned the bakery was a colossal bitch and several times cheated me out of my pay, even though I was an excellent, tireless worker and became popular with the customers. Unfortunately for her, she never met a tigress like my mother. After a few choice words from mama bear, I received all my back pay but eventually stopped working for that horrible woman.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Carrot Wrapped Egg Stuffed Meatloaf

This dish is a protein and veggie bomb. A simply seasoned meatloaf mix is pressed into a ring pan on top of a layer of freshly peeled carrot strips. Hard boiled eggs are buried evenly spaced around the meatloaf. The result is a beautiful and flavorful addition to your Easter holiday or spring menu. 

Feel free to substitute any variety of meat you prefer. Ground turkey, veal or chicken would work just as well as provide a lighter touch to the recipe. Just be aware if you use meat with a lesser fat content than beef or use an extremely lean ground beef version, remember to lightly grease the pan before adding the carrot strips or the finished meatloaf will be difficult to remove from the pan.

I used very simple seasoning for this meatloaf recipe. The flavor can easily be switched up by adding your favorite spices or fresh herbs.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Apricot Easter Egg Scones

For the most part, this year's Easter recipes have been about the wow factor and flavor but most importantly, time savers. I wanted to present recipes that looked and tasted great but didn't require tons of prep. As much as most of us love it, holiday entertaining can be stressful enough. Fussy recipes have their place but can add a lot of tension to what is supposed to be a celebration. 

If these scones look familiar, it's because using an apricot half to simulate an egg yolk became a bit of a theme this time of year. In addition to traditional German "Fried Egg" cake. I also showcased these Apricot Flower Tartlets as well as these Oval Raisin Breads Topped with Lemon Cream and Apricot. 

So cake, tartlet and bread are all covered and now I'm on to this scone version. This recipe is simple to make. You will be done in a half hour. 

The scones were created with a vanilla-scented dough. If you want a stronger vanilla flavor, I recommend adding a teaspoon of vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste to the dough in addition to the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in the recipe. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Tomato Tulips Spring Appetizer

Like my Decorated Easter Egg Cheese Spreads, this appetizer is more of an idea than a recipe. It takes about a half hour to throw together. You can cut the tomatoes and make the spread in advance and then just assemble the day of your party.

To create the cheese spread, once again I just threw together ingredients I had hanging around in my fridge. The spread came out great and the recipe is below if you would like to follow it. I just basically zhushed up some cream cheese. 

Although the cream cheese filling takes almost no time to make, stuff these tomatoes with your favorite store bought spread and you save even more time in your holiday meal.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Spicy Raspberry Spiral Ham

How's this for an Easter table stunner?

Fresh raspberries and mint leaves, some jam, juice, a little spice plus a pre-cooked spiralized ham make this a simple and quick holiday main course. Not my Idea but I had to share. 

I saw a version of this in a Better Homes & Garden publication. It was love at first sight and I knew I had to eventually make my own tweaks to present it here. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Bunny Shaped Pistachio Egg Noodles with Carrot Almond Pesto

Ever since I found out how easy it is to make egg noodles and to cut them into shapes, there's no stopping me. 

I dreamed up the idea of pistachio flavored egg noodles dish several months ago and finally got to test it with this Easter recipe, adding ground raw pistachios to the noodle dough. 

At first glance, it may seem like way too much trouble to make your own egg noodles but I am here to tell you, it's a cinch. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Chicken in Apricot Thyme Cream Sauce & Scenes of Dürnstein, Austria

Here's a cosmic travel coincidence. I created this recipe before I left for a month-long trip. Luckily I visited this lovely town before I posted it so I can share some of my visit with you. 

Currently, I am aboard the Ama Viola on a Danube cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest.