Month: May 2012

No Bake Chocolate Cheese Cake

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I have a confession to make. I am a chocaholic. I tend to believe that my¬† satiable cravings for chocolate is not only inborn but hereditary. I got it from my father’s side of the family. Thank you Aunt Rachel ūüôā¬† Chocolate is also a valued treasure in our household. In fact, I would estimate that I incorporate chocolate in my desserts 75% of the time. Studies have shown that dark chocolate has antioxidant compounds that¬†¬† lowers high blood pressure thus reducing the risk of heart disease.

To learn  more on cardiac benefits that chocolate offers, click on this link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/chocolate-health-benefits_n_1383372.html#s818522&title=Related_Video

Cheesecake is a traditional Shavuot dessert that can be eaten all year round. Cheese cakes comes with many varieties but right now I’m going to target chocolate. And because this recipe doesn’t require heat or usage of the oven, its simple,quick,delicious, and can be served at any dairy meal. I like to serve some berries on the side and since cherries happen to be in season, it makes a perfect supplement for this dessert. For those of you who are lactose intolerant, I recommend you use soy cream cheese instead. Shavuot may have long passed but its never too late to publish a cheesecake recipe ūüôā

Tip: I include coffee in most of my chocolate desserts. I find it that coffee accentuates the rich flavor in chocolate.

You will need:

9 inch chocolate pie crust

8 oz container of cream cheese (I have a strong preference to Philadelphia cream cheese) at room temperature

200 grams of dark chocolate melted

1 tablespoon of coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water

1 teaspoon of whiskey or bourbon  (optional)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/3 cup of white sugar

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, whisk cream cheese till fluffy. Add the sugar,coffee,vanilla, and continue beating still smooth. Fold in the melted chocolate and mix till well combined. Transfer chocolate cream cheese banner to the pie crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 2 hours to allow the cheese mixture to set.

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Chocolate Pie Crust

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As I reiterated earlier, finding pie crusts in this country is comparable to going on a treasure hunt. They are often not available in most stores. Thankfully, all I need is a food processor and some cookies ūüôā My brother flew in for a friend’s wedding a couple weeks ago. I’ve asked him to bring some pie crusts along. Its always good have some in handy in case you want to spare yourself from the wear and tear of having to make your own (okay, I have a flare for drama). Whenever someone comes to visit from abroad, I always make sure to ask them bring back certain items I need. A little taste of America is sometimes needed. Its extraordinary that the products we used to take advantage of in the US are now essentials that are always in demand. Even graham crackers are¬† not accessible which sort of defeats the purpose of making a graham cracker pie crust. They do sell Oreo cookies (which in hindsight, I should have used to make as a pie crust for my no-bake cheese cake.Oh well. There is always another year) I use tea biscuits or sandwich cookies and they work just as well. Cookie pie crusts are not difficult to make. The procedure is easy and quite basic and only consists of 3 ingredients.¬† This recipe will be focusing on making a chocolate pie crust. If you don’t want to make a chocolate pie crust, you can use regular graham crackers instead. Some of these recipes include nuts so if you have an allergy to them, you can omit them. So you will need:

  • 2 cups chocolate wafers, 2 cups chocolate graham crackers,or chocolate tea biscuits
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 stick of margarine (6 tablespoons) melted

Instructions:

Pulse wafers,crackers,or cookies in a food processor until they’ve been reduced to tiny granular particles. Combine pulverized cookies/wafers with sugar and melted margarine.Press ingredients into a 9 inch greased pie pan covering all sides. Bake at ¬† 325¬įF for 10 minutes. If you decide not to bake, cover pie with plastic wrap and let lit freeze for 45 to an hour until firm.

Cranberry Apple Crisp

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My sister made a special request to have this recipe published on my blog. Cranberry apple crisp is on of her all time favorite side dish as it is mine. I usually make this around Thanksgiving time rather than using a can of cranberry sauce. It goes just as great with turkey. Cranberries contain several nutritious benefits such as antioxidant compound that offer protection from tooth cavities and inflammatory diseases. Raw cranberries have moderate levels of vitamin C and dietary fiber. Researchers discovered that unsweetened cranberry juice reduces cholesterol levels as well. Aside from the health benefits, I like the balance of sweet and tartness that both the apples and cranberries give. This dish can be served hot or cold. It can be served as a side dish as well as a dessert. As a dessert, I highly recommend it served piping hot with vanilla ice cream on top ; absolutely crumbliness.  I am going to take a  more salubrious routine and use fresh/frozen cranberries rather than the canned item.

You will need:

  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries thawed and drained
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup margarine, cut into pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.) Butter an 8 inch square baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together apples, cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place evenly into baking dish.
  3. In the same bowl, combine oats, flour and brown sugar. With a fork, mix in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until topping is golden brown, and apples are tender.

Yields 8 servings

 

Flaky Pie Crusts

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The story behind the pie crust takes me back 2 years ago when I first made Aliyah. Up till then, I relied on store bought pre-made frozen pie crusts to make all my pies and quiches. My husband and I have been invited out for a meal that Shabbat. We offered to contribute a side dish to our gracious hosts. We both had the idea of making Beer Pie for them which required a pie shell. I had the ingredients but I was lacking¬† a base. I’ve been searching high and low through shelves at every store but couldn’t find any. I inquired about pie shells to the staff and apparently they never heard such a thing. Its incredible how an item that’s available in every supermarket in the US can be scarce where I live. I’m sure I could have found some in heavily Anglo populated communities such as Jerusalem and Ra’anana but they probably would cost twice as much. I thought it be more practical to make my own and save myself from the hassle of traveling and overspending on something that’s less than 2 dollars.¬† Thanks to the convenience of the internet, I browsed through recipes, tried them out until I found one that worked. Ice water is a vital component to making a flaky pie crust. The less heat exposure it has, the flakier it will be. That’s why I use a food processor but if you are going to work with your hands, use a fork to break up the margarine and dough. Chilling the dough and the margarine is essential process of making the pie crust which allows the relaxation of the gluten in the flour. So here we go:

  1. 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  2. 1 tbsp. sugar
  3. 2 tsp of salt
  4.  1 cup of Earth Balance shorting/margarine chilled and cut into cubes
  5. 1/4 cup of ice water

    Directions

    1. In a food processor , combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs.
    2.  Pour ice water into flour all at once and blend.
    3. Place dough on a floury surface and form into 2 balls
    4. Wrap with plastic and chill in refrigerator for 30 Р45 minutes  until firm or freeze for later use.

    Roll out each pastry disk on a lightly floured surface. Flour your rolling pin to prevent stickiness.¬† Add a little more flour if the disk should start to crack. Roll out the pastry to fit into a 8-9 inch pie pan.¬† Once you’ve achieved your desired size, lightly roll the pastry around your rolling pin and¬†unroll the dough on top of the pie pan. Dust off any excess flour. ¬† Gently lay in pan and with a small floured piece of pastry or with your fingertips, lightly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Flute the edges of the pastry or use the tines of a fork to seal the pastry. If possible, chill the pie crust before filling and baking. The pastry is now ready to use. Yields 2 9 inch pie crusts.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

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Mash potatoes can come in different textures and made in many different ways. Some prefer their mash potatoes chunky whereas I like mine creamy and smooth.¬† Unlike most mashed potato recipes, mine doesn’t require any heavy cream, cheese, or butter. You can use healthier ingredients and still get the same results. I tend to use skim milk¬† but you can use soy milk if you want to keep it Parve or use it for a meaty meal. I normally use Earth Balance margarine in lieu of butter or regular margarine because its organic and it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils, and are free of gluten, lactose and eggs. Unfortunately most supermarkets in Israel don’t carry these products so I use the Lite Margarine instead. I include caramelized onions to this dish mostly for flavor. The roasted garlic adds sweetness¬† and acidity to the mashed potatoes. For those who are not familiar with the method of making roasted garlic, please click on to the link below:

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roasted_garlic/

So this is what you will need:

  1. 4- large russet potatoes peeled and quartered
  2. 6 cloves of roasted garlic peeled
  3. 1 large onion chopped and sliced (optional)
  4. 1/2 cup of low fat or skim milk (you can use soy milk as well)
  5. 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance margarine.
  6. 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  7. Fresh parsley sprig for garnish
  8. Chopped chives (optional)
  9. Salt and pepper for taste

Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes or until caramelized.  Remove pan from stove and set aside. Add potatoes to a large pot of simmering water and allow it to boil for 15-20 minutes covered. Remove potatoes from pot and drain.  Transfer potatoes back into the pot and use a hand masher to mash them. Add the garlic and mash it. Add the onions, margarine, milk and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in some chives. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a parsley sprig on the side.

Yields about 8 -10 servings

Chocolate Lover’s Mousse

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Chocolate mousse is an all-time Karon-Fiskus favorite dessert. Its immensely savored by both sides of the family. Whenever we go to visit my in-laws, we always have the privilege of dining on my mother in-law’s decadent tri -layer mouse¬† pie which consists of a dark chocolate mouse layer,mocha layer, and white chocolate layer. Mousse is a prepared food that incorporates air bubbles to give it a light and airy texture. It can range from light and fluffy to creamy and thick, depending on preparation techniques. It can be used as cake filling,pie fillings (a recipe yet to be published), and even as ice cream but with a different preparation technique.

Here is what you will need:

6 dessert glasses/cups

4  large eggs at room temperature separated
200 grams of bittersweet chocolate broken up into squares

2 Tablespoons of butter/margarine1 tablespoon of coffee (or espresso) dissolved in 2 tablespoons of boiling water

1 container of Rich’s Dessert whip + 1/2 cup chilled

1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar

1/2 cup of sugar + 2 teaspoons

1 Tablespoon of Whiskey or Rum (you can use any brand)

1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Chocolate shaving ,grounded nuts or berries – not blueberries or blackberries (optional)

Instructions:

Melt chocolate with margarine in a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water. Add one egg yolk at a time and whisk.Slowly pour in sugar and whisk. Add the whiskey,coffee and vanilla and mix well. Set aside and cool

In a separate bowl, add egg whites and beat with an electric table/hand mixture until foamy. Add tartar and beat till soft  peaks form. Continue beating adding 1 teaspoon of sugar at a time until eggs whites reach stiff  In a separate bowl, beat chilled dessert whip mixture till stiff. Scoop out about 1/2 cup to set aside and chill.Fold in egg white mixture with chocolate mixture until well incorporated. Fold in the dessert whip. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours till overnight.

Fill each glass evenly with mousse. Top it off with the remaining whip cream and berries or nuts. Sprinkle with chocolate  shavings. Yields about six servings

Spicy Baked Schnitzel

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This recipe was originally a spicy chicken nugget recipe that I posted. I figure that most of these schnitzel and nugget recipes are reversible.¬† What works for nuggets shouldn’t be a complete fiasco with schnitzel. What I like most about this recipe is that there is no deep frying involved at all. Its just as crispy,crunchy,flavorful, and juicy. There are not that many steps to it and the prep time is approximately 15 minutes! This dish would go wonderfully alongside with some fresh garden salad. Squeeze a little lime/lemon juice and you are all set. For those of you who are not adoring fans of spice, you can substitute the spicy wing sauce with honey-mustard,BBQ, or even with salad dressing (low fat of course.Remember, we’re trying to incorporate healthy ingredients). I have to enjoy a variety of¬† Ken’s Steak House sauces and dressings. If you can’t find any of his brands then grab anything close enough and use that. When it comes to cooking white meat, one should be careful not to exceed the baking time since white meat is vulnerable to drying out quickly.

You will need :

  • 8 thin sliced chicken breasts or schnitzel meat.
  • 1 cup bottle Ken’s Spicy Wing Sauce
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs or cornflakes
  • cooking spray
  • Salad mix

Directions

1. First, preheat your oven to 375ňö.

2. In a shallow bowl, pour bottled Ken’s Spicy Wing Sauce over thin-sliced chicken cutlets. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 10 minutes allowing the¬† flavors to absorb.

3. Fill a large zip-lock bag with flour and breadcrumbs and shake till combined  .

4. Take one cutlet, coated in sauce, place it in the zip-lock bag and dredge it with the flour mixture

5. Lay each cutlet out in a lightly greased baking pan. DO NOT overcrowd the pan.

6. Once all the rolls are good to go drizzle a little of the remaining sauce over top. Finish off by spraying the chicken with cooking spray.

8. Bake at 375ňö for about 20 minutes. Serve with salad and enjoy!