March 17, 2010

French Toast Bread Pudding Cups

This poor challah had had a long journey. I bought it a few months ago and then froze it when it was rendered unnecessary. It was defrosted this weekend, and still not used. At this point it was too stale to eat as bread, so something had to be done. I was going to make French Toast and freeze it to be used as weekday breakfasts. But I changed my mind last minute and decided to make something resembling Bread Pudding. I can't honestly say I know how to make Bread Pudding but I can make yummy bready muffiny breakfast treats.
I froze almost all of them and took one to work for breakfast a few times. I just defrosted in in the microwave and then got the soggy out by finishing the reheat in the toaster oven.

1 large challah, at least a few days stale
4 eggs
1/4 cup half and half
3/4-1 cup skim milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP sugar
2 4 oz. cans of diced peaches in light syrup
turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut challah into 1-inch cubes. Whisk together remaining ingredients (including syrup from peaches). Pour custard mixture over bread cubes in a large bowl. Bread should absorb the custard like a sponge, so mix it as well as you can. Let bread soak for about an hour, mixing a few times throughout. Your end product will be very soggy bread with few discernible chunks. Butter each cup of a muffin tin. Fill cups with mixture and top with a little melted butter and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes until edges are brown and muffins feel spongy but not wet and squishy to the touch.

March 13, 2010

Lemon Coconut Cake

Another meat Shabbat meal, another parve dessert conundrum. This time I wanted to use my new(ish) bundt pan. As we know, I'm not generally a cake-from-scratch kind of girl, so the challenge was what to do with a box of cake mix and some imagination. I decided to revisit the lemon-coconut flavor combination of a previous post. I took a chance and combined the coconut with non-dairy cream cheese and made a tunnel/swirl in the middle of my lemon cake. This tunnel ended up being a crown which suited me just fine. I think my guests liked the cake and didn't mind one bit that it was dairy-free.

Lemon Cake mix plus water, oil, and eggs
~7 oz Coconut
~6 oz Tofutti (non-dairy) Cream Cheese
3 TBSP Powdered Sugar
1 TBSP Margarine
2 TBSP Soy Milk

Prepare cake mix according to package directions.
Soften cream cheese and margarine.
Cream together cream cheese, margarine, soy milk, and powdered sugar, add coconut.
Mix in a little batter.
Pour half of cake batter into a prepared bundt pan, pour coconut/cheese mixture on top then add rest of cake batter.
Bake at 350 F for 38-43 minutes.
Let Cool and glaze.

1/2 a can Whipped Vanilla Frosting
1 tsp Lemon Extract

Put frosting in a bowl and microwave for 15-20 seconds until it is a little thinned, then mix in extract. Pour or spoon over the cake so it looks pretty, drippy, and glazed.
Serve cake with Strawberry Sauce.

Strawberry Sauce
1/2 lb. cut-up strawberries
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1-2 TBSP sugar

Mix together and let macerate for at least 1 hour. I filled the center cavity of the bundt cake with it, looked pretty.

Cake storage tip: I am not married and therefore have not been privy to the extreme awesomeness that is a registry, so I don't have a fancy covered cake plate. But I still need to store cakes, so I use the lid of a large plastic bowl as the plate, and the bowl as it's cover. Weird, but it works; just make sure your cake pan fits in the bowl so you don't mess up your work of art.

Nunu Cookies

Nunu is one of my dearest friends, and she absolutely LOVES peppermint. So for her birthday I chose to honor her obsession with some home baked goodies. The only other catch is that Nunu does not like cake, so that was out. I've already mentioned my love for cake mix in other applications so I decided to go with it. With a chocolate cookie, I was looking for visual and flavor contrast with the white morsels because I personally can have too much chocolate. In addition to the peppermint extract, I wanted to add a candy element. I've read some baking blogs that advise against baking with candy pieces because they essentially melt and dissolve into the batter, but why wouldn't you want that? The candy pieces I used were not necessarily visible, but they melted a little while baking and created chewy to crunchy pockets of yum in my cookies. For the candy I used I couldn't find starlight mints (the white and red stripy hard candies), but I did have some boring-looking red peppermint sucking candies that I had actually bought with Nunu in mind months ago, they did the trick. The cookies will be VERY soft when they first come out of the oven, especially if you add the extra water. I even left mine in the off oven for about 10-15 minutes, but they do get at least handle-able when they cool. There are a lot of recipes for cake mix cookies out there, and I think using butter instead of all or some of the oil may help the cookies set up more solidly. I brought the cookies to her birthday party and they were a hit! But I kinda knew they would be because I may or may not have been snacking on them for the few days between baking and gifting.

1 box devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
1/3+ cup vegetable oil
2-4 Tbsp water
1 tsp peppermint extract
~8 peppermint candies, crushed with a hammer
~1 cup white morsels (white chocolate chips)

Mix together cake mix, eggs, oil, and peppermint extract. If the batter looks wet enough to hold onto the morsels and candy chunks, go ahead and add them. If it's too dry, add some water 1-2 TBSP at a time, then add the mix-ins. Roll little balls and place on a lined baking sheet (or 2). I got about 3 dozen cookies out of the recipe.

Bake at 350 F for 8-9 minutes

Remove from oven and let cool.

March 11, 2010

Feta Lime Salad

So on Shabbat after services, it's traditional to have a nice lunch, but the catch is you can't cook on Shabbat, so unless you prepare something before sundown Friday you're stuck with raw food for lunch. I was cranky and busy last week so after services on Saturday morning, I brought my friend home with me (she was going to have cereal for lunch, I had to save her), woke up my roommate from her deep weekend slumber and threw together a salad. Now, I wasn't planning on blogging about a stupid salad I threw together; but it is with this salad that I have unearthed one of my new favorite flavor combinations: FETA and LIME!!!!! I am that excited about it, don't judge. So excited, in fact, that I decided to attempt a recreation of it for dinner tonight. I say attempt because I knowingly added a few salad ingredients, but because I make my dressings from scratch and fairly haphazardly, it is sometimes hard to recreate them. But the reason I make them from scratch is not a grandstand against bottled dressings, because we know I love processed foods that make things easier. I just like my dressings better; plus, I don't want to commit to a big bottle of same flavored salad forever because I'm rarely in the mood for the same thing for more then a few days. The original salad had everything but the apples, but they seemed like a good idea to add. I also had to use up the tofu that I didn't use in yesterday's dinner, so I made some Crispy Coconut Tofu Nuggets that I found on Cara's Cravings via my fave "food porn" site, All in all delicious. And now that we've had tofu two nights in a row, we're super super proud of ourselves. "You did good with the tofu"- Ruby, thanks Cara!

I don't like giving directions for salads, because salad recipes are really just flavor concepts. I think these things taste good together, I hope you do too, but you can chop and mix the ingredients however you choose. For the dressing just whisk it all together to taste.

Salad Ingredients:
Lettuce (Romaine and Green Leaf blend)
Feta , crumbled
Lime Zest
Red Onion
La CHoy Noodles

Dressing Ingredients:
Lime Juice
Red Wine Vinegar
Veg Oil
Hot Sauce

And an additional picture because I took it. Tuna Salad with capers, sundried tomatoes, and feta. And some Teeny Weeny potatoes roasted with garlic, rosemary, and onions.

March 10, 2010

Garlic Noodles

I (Jenna)** adapted this recipe from Budget Bytes, and I'm pretty happy with the results. This recipe for noodles or a side dish is now a full meal complete with protein (tofu) and my favorite food (mushrooms). I also had to substitute hoisin for oyster sauce because oysters aren't kosher, but both sauces are sweet and Asian-y tasting. I was super hungry and found this recipe as I was compiling my shopping list on the way out of the office. I buy mushrooms more or less every time I go shopping (ya know, the whole favorite food thing) and had bought tofu last week and wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, so I threw them both in. It was pretty good, I would maybe add more sauce to compensate for the added tofu and I would have liked a little more flavor regardless. Also, we're super proud of us for eating tofu and not complaining a.bout it, you should be too

1/2 lb angel hair pasta
4 T butter
4 cloves minced garlic*
4 scallions, chopped
6 cremini mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 package extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 t soy sauce
2 T brown sugar
1 t sesame oil
1 1/2 T hoisin sauce
toasted sesame seeds

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Saute garlic, scallions, and mushrooms in butter until soft, add tofu and continue to cook over very low heat.
In a separate bowl, stir together soy sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, and brown sugar.
Add pasta to sauteed mixture and then mix in sauce.
Top each serving with sesame seeds.

*I used a variety of minced garlic sources because I was in the mood to switch it up and diversify my garlic flavor. I used one large clove of fresh garlic, one frozen cube of minced garlic, and 2 cloves equivalent of jarred minced garlic. I don't know if it made a difference, but I'm gonna keep thinking it did.
**I'm specifying who wrote the post early on, because Becca has thankfully rejoined the blogging world, but it has created some confusion among our followers

March 2, 2010


We went to an awesome bar called Smuggler's Cove (yes, you heard right). The best drink I had there was also the simplest, and I decided to try it on a grand scale for our New Year's Eve party. The hardest part here is juicing all of the limes.


10 limes, juiced + 2 sliced into rings
12 oz brown sugar simple syrup (1 3/4 cups brown sugar dissolved in the same amount of water)
12 oz pineapple juice
1.5 L rum
3 L water

Combine the rum (I recommend Bacardi Gold for this application, not too expensive, but good quality) with the lime juice, simple syrup, pineapple juice. I suggest making an ice block like in the Lychee Punch recipe. Pour half the mixture into a punch bowl with the lime rings, add half the volume of water. Repeat when the first batch is almost gone.

Makes approx 40 servings.

Pimm's Cup

This one is very simple, no muss, no fuss.

Pimm's Cup

750 mL Pimm's No. 1
4 lemons, juiced
48 oz lemon juice
48 oz (4 bottles) ginger ale
1/2 - 1 cucumber, sliced into spears

Combine all in a large pitcher or other receptacle. I did this 1/2 at a time, mostly so it would fit into the pitcher. It might need a little more lemon juice / ginger ale, depending on your taste. Serves 20-30... ?

Lychee Punch

We've been hosting some pretty awesome parties lately, and punches are an excellent way to get people drunk :D

I'm happy to say the punches have been a big hit, and I've been asked for the recipes by multiple people. So here's the first one...

Lychee Punch!

8-10 lemons, juiced
2.5 20 oz cans lychees in heavy syrup, pureed and strained of pulp
1.75 L vodka
750 mL triple sec
2 bottles sparkling white wine (asti works really well, i got super cheap stuff (like $4-5 bottles) and it was great)
1.5 20 oz can lychees in heavy syrup
4 pints raspberries

combine vodka, triple sec, lychee juice, lychees + syrup, lemon juice and raspberries (muddle some) in a large container for a few hours to overnight. pour half of this liquid into a punch bowl, add 1 bottle wine. repeat when necessary.

ice is also important. i poured some water into a bowl with lemon slices and put it in the freezer for at least 4 hours (it probably doesn't take that long to freeze, but i didn't want to risk it). rinse with hot water to loosen the ice from the bowl for removal. or you can make an ice ball by filling up a balloon (not all the way!) and then cutting the balloon off once the sphere is frozen. basically it is much better to have one large block of ice vs. lots of small ice cubes which will melt faster and dilute your punch.

makes approx 40 servings.

Udon with Napa Cabbage, Shiitake Mushrooms and Tofu

Last time I went to the supermarket, most of my staple veggies were looking less than prime, so I looked around and saw some very healthy looking napa cabbage instead. I've never cooked with napa cabbage before, so I looked around on the internet for some ideas. There were a lot of salads, slaws, etc. which is all well and good, but I definitely wanted a hot meal, so I decided to make this udon dish (which I've done before with bok choi) and hope for the best. And it came out really well!

1 head napa cabbage, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
12 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
1 package firm tofu, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch think rectangles
1 package fresh udon noodles
soy sauce
black bean sauce
tomato pickle
rice vinegar

In a large, flat bottomed skillet, heat olive oil and sesame oil adding up to about 1 Tbsp. Once the skillet is hot, place the tofu onto the skillet in one layer and leave to fry. Keep an eye on these while you start the next step. Turn them once they are fired and golden on the first side.
In a large wok, heat about the same amount of oils as in the skillet, and add the shiitakes once the wok is hot. Toss them so that most or all of the slices are lightly coated with oil. Once the mushrooms have heated a little, add a bit of soy sauce, a drizzle of molasses, a spoonful of black bean sauce, and a spoonful of tomato pickle to the shiitakes; stir. If the tofu is done by now, add it to the wok, then add the udon, and toss it all together. Or do the reverse (order isn't important). Once the udon are coated with the with the sauce and juices, add the cabbage. Pour in some vinegar and more soy sauce, to taste. Stir everything together, and add about a cup of water. Cover the wok to steam the cabbage, 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with a drizzle of sriracha, to taste.

In conclusion, I'm very glad the napa cabbage was the only good looking veggie at the supermarket last week, because it was a great success. However, this dish is equally good with bok choi.