Category Archives: linkup

This Soup is Smokin’

Tomato soup is one of my all time favorite comfort foods.  In my opinion, comfort food needs to have the ability to be made quickly in order to eat it when you want it the most.  I know plenty of recipes for tomato soup that call for roasting them in an oven and sautéing multiple ingredients together to reach the desired flavor.  I, on the other hand, would like to keep comfort food simple.  This recipe has very few steps and ingredients. The tomatoes have their own sweetness and creaminess and therefore it takes very little to make it very delicious.  I used liquid smoke to give the tomato soup it’s signature toasty flavor….in virtually one second! 
Next time you have a craving for tomato soup (and how about some grilled cheese?!) open up a few cans or slice a few tomatoes and let your immersion blender do the rest!

Smokey Creamy Tomato Soup
Serves 4

4 Cups Tomatoes (Fresh or Diced in Can), with juices
1 – 6 Oz. Jar Tomato Paste
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tbs. White Miso Paste
1/2 Tsp. Back Pepper
1 Tsp. Basil, dried
1 Cup Milk (2% or Whole)
1/4 Tsp. Liquid Smoke
Optional Toppings: Sour Cream, Bread Croutons, Arugula, Basil

Pour in a pot the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, pepper and basil.  Heat through.  When the tomatoes begin to simmer turn off the heat and blend with an immersion blender or vitamix till smooth.  Add the milk and smoke and blend until desired consistency has been reached.  Ladle into bowls and garnish.  This soup may be served hot or cold.

It’s 5:00 Somewhere

In my house, we love our mixed drinks!  They are beautiful, tasty and really hit the spot.  We usually create drinks based off of what we can find in the house.  I had just purchased blood oranges from Trader Joes and thought that the red color would really pop in this drink!  I made this Orange Almondine in the early afternoon, but as the famous saying goes “it’s 5:00 somewhere!”

Orange Almondine
Serves 2

3 parts Bourbon
2 parts Disarono
2 parts Orange Juice
Generous Pinch of Cinnamon
Cinnamon Stick, garnish
Blood Orange Slices, garnish

Shake the first 4 ingredients over ice.  Strain and pour into a glass.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick and blood orange slice.

Corn, Pears and Mike and Ikes…Oh My!

Since graduating culinary school I have had a desire to make crepes.  If you have ever been to Israel, crepe stands are like ice cream shops.  Their is a crepe maker stand in every mall and shopping area around Israel and you can get your basketball sized crepe served with anything you wish (like my favorites, nutella and Israeli chocolate)!

Using both my desire to make crepes and the fact that I just enjoy eating them, I went for it and made a crepe for the link-up challenge this month. This month we were given three ingredients: Canned corn, Pears, and….Mike and Ikes!  The last one was throwing me off.  Although we had to use two out of the three I decided to really challenge myself and use the candy.  You can totally opt out of the Mike and Ikes for the recipe, but they do add a fruity flavor to the pears.     

Tip: Crepes are really thin, so use the first few you make as practice. You will get that perfectly cooked and round thin pancake most likely on your third try.  Keep trying because the outcome is very rewarding!

Cornmeal Crepe with Pear Compote
1 C. Corn
3 Tbs. Cornmeal
1/3 C. Flour
3/4 C. Milk
2 Eggs
2 Tbs. Butter, melted
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Pears, sliced
2 Tbs. Sugar
1 Tbs. Buter
1 Tbs. Canola Oil
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1/2 Tbs. Cinnamon
Pinch of Anise Seeds
1/2 tsp. Dried Ginger
Pinch of Salt
Optional: 1/4 C. Mike and Ike infused Rum (Put a handful of Mike and Ikes in 1/4 C. Rum and let sit for an hour)
1/2 C. Cream Cheese
1 Lemon, zested
Puree the corn in a food processor till smooth (or as smooth as you can).  In a separate bowl whisk the cornmeal, flour and milk together till smooth.  Whisk in the pureed corn, eggs, butter and salt.
Let sit for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
In a sauce pot, melt the butter and oil.  Add the pears, sugar, lemon juice and spices.  Simmer for 5 minutes and add the Mike and Ike infused rum (when adding, take the pot off the stove away from the fire…this will prevent a potential fire with possibly spilled alcohol).  Simmer for another 5-10 minutes till pears become soft and syrupy.
Whip the cream cheese and lemon zest till it becomes lighter.  Put to the side.
Lightly grease and heat an 8 inch non stick pan or crepe pan.  Add 3 Tbs. of batter and swirl till it covers the bottom of the pan.  Cook on medium for about 30 seconds or until the top looks dry.  Carefully flip the crepe over and finish cooking another 15-20 seconds.  Remove and repeat. 
Add about on spoonful of pear filling in the middle of the crepe and fold over both sides.  Dollop the top with the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle cinnamon, pine nuts and lemon zest for garnish.  Serve immediately.  This can be served for a fun and different dessert or breakfast.



Desserts Are Better Frozen

As you might have discovered by reading my previous posts, I love frozen desserts!  Have you ever tried frozen Lemon Meringue Pie or frozen Chocolate Chip Cookies?  They are so fantastic that your life will change!   
Ice cream is probably the most popular frozen dessert.  The cold and creamy texture can bring anyone to their knees asking for more!  I discovered this recipe for halvah ice cream by Vicky and Ruth from MayIHaveThatRecipe.  They grew up in Barcelona, Spain and have fantastic recipes and bold and colorful pictures on their site!  
If you have ever been to Israel and tasted halvah from the Jersualem marketplace you know what halvah tastes like!  It has a very dry consistency, but not unpleasant, and is so sweet and delightfully earthy at the same time.  Basically made of ground sesame seeds and sugar, it is a popular dessert in the Middle East.  

I adapted their recipe a bit by using cinnamon in my sauce instead of cardamom, and using dates as a garnish instead of pistachios.  This is a vegan and processed sugar-free dessert and tastes so divine, like seriously divine!  The original recipe called for powdered sugar, but I used a combination of maple syrup and potato starch.  It rocks the house, raises the roof…you get the point.
Halva Ice Cream with a Cinnamon-Halva Sauce
I adapted this recipe to eliminate cane sugar, but you can check out the real recipe HERE
Ice Cream:
2 C. Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/2 C. Tahini
4 TBS. Maple Syrup
Pinch of salt
Dates for garnish

Halvah Sauce:
2 TBS. Tahini Paste
2 TBS. Corn Starch or Potato Starch
2 TBS. Maple Syrup
2 TBS. Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
In a medium size sauce pan, bring milk and agave to a simmer. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in tahini until well incorporated. Add a pinch of salt, let it cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Pour into an ice cream maker and churn until creamy, 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately (see note)

For the Halvah Sauce:
Whisk tahini and corn starch until well incorporated. Add almond milk and maple syrup one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. Add cinnamon and mix well. Drizzle Halvah sauce over sorbet right before serving 
and garnish with dates.

Sorbet will harden significantly once it freezes. If you are not planning on serving it immediately, we suggest freezing it in ready-to-eat portions and let it thaw for a couple of minutes before eating.  The sauce will harden and thicken in the fridge as well. 

An InLinkz Link-up

Give Away Contest

Ready for a fun giveaway to celebrate one year of Kosher Connection? We are giving away two prizes from Emile Henry. A Bread Cloche valued at $130 and a 4.2 qt Dutch Oven valued at $170! Use the Rafflecopter below to win- you can enter up to 23 ways! Two winners will be chosen at random. 
Contest Fine Print:
The contest winners will be contacted via email. They will have 48 hours to respond before other winners are chosen. This contest is open to United States residents over the age of 18

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Me Want Cookie!

One of my most favorite foods of all time is the Chocolate Chip Cookie.  Eating a warm, crispy on the outside (I like em’ crispy) and gooey in the middle cookie right out of the oven or even straight from the freezer, brings me memories of happiness.  The smell could make someone tune into their animal like tendency’s to sniff and salivate till they munch down on their treat.  
Asking a chef their favorite dish is like asking a painter their favorite color.  It is just impossible!  Too many choices and too many ideas!  It might be just as evil to give a child an ice cream cone in each hand during the middle of the summer and tell them to finish both. 
The bottom line is, I have numerous amounts of favorite foods and dishes and will continue to be my favorite till the end of my days while always adding more to my list!  Who knows…tonight I may have an addition to make!  
I guarantee  99% of the time you ask someone if they like chocolate chip cookies you will get a resounding yes.  There is even a study shown that links chocolate chip cookies to a homier feeling.  Have you ever gone through a house you were thinking of buying and smelled a whiff of baking cookies in the oven?  Suddenly that grungy, not so perfect house, became a little more appealing!
Do you want to woo that boy you have a crush on?  Make him chocolate chip cookies!  It worked with my husband…

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Nestle Toll House…who else?)
2 1/4 C. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup (2 sticks) Butter or Earth Balance, softened
3/4 C. Sugar
3/4 C. Brown Sugar, packed
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
2 C. Chocolate Chips
1 C. Walnuts

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

And The BEET Goes On…

Known to stain everything it comes it contact with, beets are by far one of my favorite vegetables! Their leaves and stems are very flavorful, full of great vitamins and their bitter flavors contrast so nicely to the sweet beet.  I couldn’t help but use every part of this plant in my recipe!  The crust has a nutty flavor, giving this tart a comforting feeling; like chicken soup, chicken pot pie, or mac and cheese.  
Tonight, I surprised my fiance’ and a few friends with this great addition to our make-shift impromptu communal dinner.  It was a huge hit and this recipe will definitely be added to my spontaneous (and non spontaneous) meal menus in the future!  

Beet and Sweet Potato Tart

3/4 C. Walnuts, fineley processed
3/4 C. Cashews, finely processed
1 C. Flour
6 TBS. Earth Balance, cut into cubes
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 TBS. Flax Meal

3 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and diced
4 Garlic Cloves, peeled and sliced
1/4 C. Almond Milk
2 TBS. Earth Balance
3 Beets, Leaves and Stems, sliced thinly, beets seperate from leaves and stems
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350.
In a food processor, mix the nuts, flour, salt and flax meal.  Add the butter and turn the food processor on till the dough forms a ball.  Using your hands, press the dough into a non stick tart pan with a removable bottom. Put the pan in the oven for 10 min. Remove from oven and reserve for later.

In a pot with boiling water, add the potatoes and garlic cloves.  Boil till the potatoes are soft.  Drain the potatoes and garlic and mix in the earth balance, almond milk, and beet leaves.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Smooth the mashed potato mixture over the crust.  Place the beets in a circular pattern on top of the mashed sweet potatoes. Drizzle the beets with a little olive oil, a few extra beet leaves and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Bake in oven for 50 minutes.  Serve warm.

Frozen Dessert Link-Up

As you all might know by now, I am a big fan of frozen desserts! Chocolate chip cookies, lemon meringue pie, cheesecake…they are all meant to be frozen!   Today is the first ever kosher frozen dessert link up!  I am showcasing my Raspberry-Avocado Sorbet and posting a link below that gives you access to the desserts of the kosher link up participants.

Raspberry-Avocado Sorbet
1 Avocado
1 lime, juiced
2 C. Frozen Raspberries*
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 C. Water
1 C. Sugar
In a food processor, process avocado, berries, lime and vanilla.  Combine water and sugar in a pan and simmer on stove till sugar dissolves and creates a simple syrup.  Pour the simple syrup** into the food process or and process till smooth.  Serve immediately or freeze for later.  If you are freezing for later, take the sorbet out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator a 1/2 hour before serving.
*Any fruit may be used for the sorbet. If using raspberries and you don’t like the seeds, puree first and strain the seeds out.  The strained raspberries can then be added with the rest of the ingredients.  
**If you don’t like the sorbet as sweet, you can use half of the simple syrup.