Saturday, April 4, 2015

Jessica's Famous Sweet Charoset


I make this every year for Passover and it is a big hit and makes a lot but typically there is none left at the end of the night!

Ingredients:
- 6 apples (I used 2 delicious, 2 Fuji and 2 Gala)
- 12 Medjool Dates (pitted!) - I used Bard Valley Natural Delights. You can find these by the nuts in the produce section. Don't get the ones with pits - get pitted. 
- A 9 oz. box of raisins
- A 10 oz. bag of recipe ready walnuts (I used Planters, found in the baking aisle)
- 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tablespoons of Honey
- 1/2 cup of red wine (I used a bottle of Cabernet that I had left over from last night!)
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon 
- the juice of one lemon
- a pinch of salt

Directions:

- Peel your apples and then chop them in a small dice (cut around the core). After thatI then popped them in the food processed cause I like it very fine dices. That is optional. 
- Take your bag of walnuts and either chop them or put them in the food processor to chop them finer - not into walnut dust, but kinda small
-Chop up your dates 
- In a BIG bowl, mix together the apples (pour the lemon juice over them at this point), walnuts, raisins, dates, brown sugar, wine, honey, salt, and cinnamon. 
- Let it marinate for a few hours for optimal flavor and you are good to go!

Idea: Put this over vanilla ice cream! Ben and Jerry's just came out with Charoset ice cream, but I bet this tastes better!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Dinner - Grilled corn salad with steak



I almost love the sides more than the meat, so i have a little steak with my corn. This fabulous steak and corn salad dinner is perfect for a summer night! Watermelon makes a great dessert. 

Grilled Corn Salad

Ingredients:

- 4 ears of corn with husks removed (I used a yellow/white multicolor corn) sprayed with a little Pam
- 1 block of feta cheese (8oz)
- 2 hass avocados
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1/2 container of pre chopped red onions (about a cup)
- salt and pepper
- olive oil 

Instructions:

- Preheat grill to medium/high and grill corn on direct heat (lid closed) for about 15 minutes turning once. Move to indirect heat for about 5 mins
- Slice grape tomatoes in half, cube the avocado flesh, cube the feta cheese and add to a bowl
- Add the chopped onions
- Let corn cool a bit and then slice the kernels off and add to bowl 
- Add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste (prob half a cup of olive oil)
- Stir well
- Serve warm as the hot corn will make the rest of the mixture warm up  (or cold would be fine the next day)

Steak

Ingredients:

- 2 strip steaks 
- Aged balsamic vinegar
- Salt

Instructions:

- Marinate steaks for an hour or two at room temperature in balsamic (maybe 1/4 cup or enough to coat on both sides)
- Sprinkle with kosher salt on both sides right before grilling
- Grill on preheated high heat grill on direct heat for 6 minutes turning once (lid closed)
- Let rest for 10 minutes off the heat loosely covered with foil
- Slice on the diagonal
- Sprinkle with more kosher salt

Tip: Use time wisely - put the corn on grill  and then prep the other salad ingredients. Put the steak on and let corn  stay on with steak. 

Delicious!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Gorgeous Beet Salad


I made this lovely beet salad for a Passover celebration with my friends after being inspired by a similar beet salad at Ad Hoc restaurant in Napa Valley. 

Salad Ingredients:
- 6 red beets (I bought 2 bunches with the leaves at Whole Foods)
- 6 golden yellow beets (I bought 2 bunches with the leaves at Whole Foods)
- 4 clementines
- About 1/2 cup of radish slivers (I bought radish slices from the salad bar at whole foods and then sliced into slivers)
- 3 Hass Avocados (cut in large cubes)
- About 1/2 cup of roasted chopped pistachios 
- olive oil
- salt

Instructions:
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
- Rinse dirt off beets and you may need to scrub
- Cut the beets off from their stems and leaves and throw out the leaves or look up another recipe to use them in
- Wrap each beet in aluminum foil (pour olive oil and salt over beets before closing foil). Note: you can put several beets in a shared foil pouch if you want but don't mix the yellow beets with the red beets). Put foiled wrapped beets on a sheet tray in case of leakage. 
- Roast the beets for 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes until a fork can be pierced in easily. They should be tender but not mushy. 
- Unwrap the foil and let them cool so you can handle the beets (save the olive oil and juices if you want later to add to the dressing). 
- Once beets are warm vs hot take a paper towel and gently rub the skins off the beets and they will look perfect and shiny. Note: wear gloves to avoid hand staining. 
- Then slice the beets in quarters and you may need to cut each quarter in half 
- Note: all the steps above to roast beets can be done the day before. Pour some olive oil over the beets and put in plastic containers (red and yellow separate). Store in fridge overnight. 
- Now I got fancy before putting in the fridge overnight and poured regular olive oil and a little fig balsamic vinegar on the red beets and a blood orange olive oil on the yellow beets but regular olive oil will work just fine. 

- Once all ingredients are cool arrange on a platter and sprinkle with salt and pour a little olive oil over it. 

Optional: I made a homemade citrus vinegraitte by mixing together:

- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- juice and zest of one lemon
- juice and zest of half a naval orange
- zest of a grapefruit (no juice)
- a couple pinches of kosher salt
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- whisk it
- slowly stream in about 1/2 cup of olive oil while whisking and then 1/2 cup of canola oil while whisking. 
- taste it and add more sugar or salt if needed. At the end I poured in some of the roasted beet juice the beets had been sitting in to give it a pink color. 

Enjoy!

Note: this was so good that I made it again for Passover 2015. This time I added feta! I also skipped the dressing and just put plenty of olive oil over it and a drizzle of honey over the beets for sweetness!