Category Archives: Almond

Macarrrrrrrrons

Macarons…one of the hardest things I have ever made, yet made to look so easy.   A few weeks ago I embarked on a macaron challenge.  I had all I needed…almond flour, egg whites, powdered sugar and a recipe by Chef Thomas Keller.
Painstakingly, I measured out each ingredient on a scale by grams.  I made a meringue using heat for the first time and was super excited when I piped out my first beautiful circles of macaron cookie.  I popped them in the oven and waited.  They looked like they were rising!  When I heard the alarm go off that they were done, I took the macarons out of the oven and placed them on a cooling rack.  My excitement quickly diminished when they began to flatten…and stick to the parchment paper.  Upset, but hope yet not dwindled, I embarked on another recipe.
I watched the YouTube recipe video numerous amounts of time until I perfected each step in my head.  I had in mind to make mint cookies with a chocolate ganache.  As I waited for the cookies to come out of the oven I made the ganache.  There was no way in my mind that these weren’t going to turn out perfect!  As you can probably guess, they turned out less then perfect.  Lopsided to be exact.  I tried the recipe yet again…and they were lopsided…yet again.
I read and watched youtube videos and blogs about possible reasons why I failed at making these cookies.  But, alas, I could not figure it out!
My spirits were down and my motivation needed to be rejuvenated.  I gave it a few days and vented to some friends of mine until one piped up and said their mother was a macaron genius.  I needed her to teach me!  Yesterday, she came in and showed me and my friend the ropes.  They turned out PERFECT!  Thank you to my friend Sara Scheinbach and her mother-in-law Judy Scheinbach for taking time out of their busy days to show me how it’s done.

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Those light and airy cookies are just a whip of an egg white away and I can proudly say that I can now make macarons!  The world is whole again!macarons1macarons2

French Macarons (Credit: San Antonio Cooking School) 
Makes about 45 Filled Cookies

1 1/4 Cup (120 Grams) Almond Flour, ground up in a food processor
1 2/3 Cup (200 Grams) Powdered Sugar
1/3 Cup (100 Grams) Large Egg Whites
Pinch of Salt
2 Tablespoons (35 Grams) Granulated Sugar
Food Coloring (optional) – a few drop is all you need

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  You can make your own macaron stencil by placing the cap of a gallon of water or milk and tracing 20 circles with a pencil or marker.  Place the stenciled macaron paper another piece of parchment paper on the cookie sheet.  After you are done making your cooking with the stencil, simply slide out the stencil and use it for additional cookie sheets.
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Have a pastry bag fitted with a1/4 inch plain tip ready.

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a bowl.  You will have leftover almond clumps.  Dispose of those clumps or sprinkle over yogurt.

In another bowl, whip egg whites and salt.  Begin whipping on medium speed until foamy.  Gradually increase the speed to medium high and slowly stream in the granulated sugar.  Whipping until the whites form a stiff peak when lifted.  Fold in the food coloring.

Add about 1/4 of the dry ingredients and fold in.  Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients in two to three more equal additions.  Fold until the dry ingredients are well mixed and the batter is smooth and forms a quickly dissolving peak when tapped with your fingertip.

Transfer the batter to the piping bag.  Hold the bag perpendicular to the parchment paper about 1/4 inch above.  Use even pressure to squeeze out enough batter to form a 1 inch circle.  Pipe all of the cookies.

Lift each baking sheet about one inch front the counter and drop it to knock the air bubbles out of the cookie batter.  Let the batter rest for 15 minutes at room temperature allowing the tops to dry slightly.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time on the center rack for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are smooth and just firm to the touch. Cool.
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Carefully peel the paper away from the cookies and place them back on the wire racks until you are ready to fill or store them.

Pipe a small amount of filling onto the bottom center of a cookie.  Gently press the bottom of another cookie of the same size onto the filling, allowing the filling to spread just to the edges.  Repeat with all of the cookies. Can be made one day in advance.  They can also be frozen until ready to enjoy.

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I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bread!

“Wow!  Are you sure this is Kosher for Passover?”
Why are Passover foods known to be stale and tasteless?  

From the time Jews left Egypt, Passover  has had a reputation for producing sub-par and “Pesach tasting” food.  There is no reason why this should be the norm because recipe searchers, like myself,  have an extensive list of great “Kosher for Passover” recipes just a mouse click away.
Some of you may have realized  that I did not contribute to Kosher food blogs and websites for Passover. You may have thought I wouldn’t want to waste my time posting about Passover food. However, the real reason I did not share my recipes before or during Passover was because I was just plain ol’ busy cooking them!
Passover (or in hebrew Pesach) is a great time for experimenting in the kitchen.  The forbidden grains, wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt helped me get creative, improving and challenging my culinary skills. My goal was to keep it tasty, healthy and gluten free.
Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas
5 Bananas, sliced 1/2 – 1 inch thick
1 Package of Chocolate Chips
1 TBS Oil
Toppings of your choice (sprinkles, coconut, chopped nuts, white chocolate, dried fruit, etc)
In a double boiler (google a picture if you want to see what it looks like), melt chocolate chips and oil (can also be melted directly on stove top but keep a close eye on it so as not to burn).  When melted, dip sliced bananas in the chocolate and pick up with a fork by scooping under the banana and shake off excess chocolate.  Lay on parchment paper and add toppings.  Freeze the bananas overnight and enjoy!  Serve Frozen.

Orange-Almond Cake Pops
Makes 20 Pops
2 Oranges
4 Eggs
¾ C. Agave
2 C. Almonds
½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
Wash oranges and boil them whole (peel and all) for 1 hour or until soft.  Blend 2 Cups of  almonds until it turns into a flour texture.  Remove and blend oranges till smooth.  Process in eggs, agave, almond flour, salt and baking soda until blended.  Pour into a greased 9 inch round cake pan or spring form.  Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes until center comes out clean. Take cake apart and roll into 1- 2 inch balls. 
Roasted Zucchini with Sweet and Sour Onions
Make 20 Side Servings
5 Green Zucchinis, ½ “ sliced on a bias
5 Yellow Zucchinis, ½ “ sliced on a bias
Olive Oil 
Salt
Pepper
7 Yellow Onions, sliced
2-3 TBS. Apple Cider Vinegar
Preheat oven to 400.  Coat the zucchini on both sides and roast for 15-25 minutes till the zucchini has a slight caramel color and is soft.  Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. 
In a preheated sauté pan, heat 3-4 TBS. of oil.  Add onions and cook at a medium low heat for about 30-45 minutes.  The key to caramelization is to go caramelize the onions nice and slow so the sugars in the onion can release and not burn.  When caramelized, add the vinegar, salt and pepper.
To serve, spread the caramelized onions on the bottom of a plate and layer the zucchini on top of the onion.
Balsamic Glazed Chicken Kabobs
Makes 20 or more Skewers
I really like the recipe because it takes a very minimal amount of ingredients to feed a lot of people. 
8 Chicken Breasts, cut into 2 “ pieces
3 Red Onions, cut into 8 pieces
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
1-2 Containers of Fresh Mushroom, White or Portobello, cleaned and stems removed
½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
½ Cup Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder
Wooden Skewers
Preheat oven to 350. Skewer the mushrooms, chicken, onions and cherry tomatoes.  Put in pan and pour oil and balsamic vinegar on top.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder and rotate to coat the other side in the marinade.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.  Enjoy hot or cold.  
Pictures and Ideas Worth Sharing:
Almond Chocolate Macaroons
Chocolate Cake  (Sugar and Gluten Free)
Quinoa – Broccoli Burgers   


Quinoa and Salmon Fried “Rice” (not pictured)
The Best Brisket (not pictured but recipe coming soon in another blog post)

Brisk, Warm and Delicious

First, I would like to take a moment to direct your attention to the left side toolbar.  I put up pictures of things I made for fun and in school! 


I love Sukkot! It’s really one of my favorite Jewish holidays.  TONS of guests, we get to eat 
outside, and it’s even a mitzvah to be happy!  
The Jewish holidays turned out really well for me this year in regards to school.  The chagim fall out on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, while my school is Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Perfect? I think YES!
I was able to go home for the Sukkot, so I jumped at the opportunity!  Since we eat outside, I decided to really focus on warm and seasonal foods for the sukkah.  I made a braised lamb shank with a red wine reduction in class, and I couldn’t wait to try it out at home!  It was fantastic, the warm and cozy braised lamb contrasting the brisk and cool outside temperature…!
I also made a Cranberry, Almond and Caramel Tart, utilizing the seasonal cranberries.




Cranberry, Almond and Caramel Tart


Best Pie Crust Ever! (bake in a tart shell at 350 for 20 min)


Filling and assembly

1 1/4 Cups Almond Milk
1 Cup Earth Balance
Pinch of Salt
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 3/4 Cup Frozen Cranberries
2 Cups Unblanched Sliced Almonds



1. Keep (or preheat) the oven to 350 degrees. Measure the milk, salt and butter into a saucepan and heat it over low heat. When the butter has melted completely, remove from heat.


2. To make the caramel, spread the sugar evenly in a perfectly dry, deep 10-inch skillet and place it over medium-low heat.


3. The sugar should turn straw-colored, then gold and then a nutty-brown caramel after about 10 minutes. If the sugar cooks unevenly, gently tilt or swirl the pan to evenly distribute the sugar. Remove from heat and slowly whisk the milk and butter into the sugar, which can splatter as the cream is added (long sleeves are a good precaution). If the caramel seizes, return it to the heat and continue to stir until it is smooth and creamy. Strain the caramel into a bowl and cool it for 30 minutes.


4. Stir the vanilla, frozen cranberries and the almonds into the caramel and mix until all the fruit and nuts are coated. Spoon the filling into the baked tart dough mounding toward the center.


5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the juices and the caramel are bubbling slowly around the edges. Remove from the oven and let stand for 1 hour, then gently lift the tart ring off the pastry.


6. Carefully transfer the tart to a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.