For my second article in Elegant Lifestyle Magazine’s Winter 2022 issue, I was tasked with finding fun drinks for a variety of holidays. I admit it, hon, I didn’t know what making a craft cocktail entailed, and researched ingredients and instructions on how to create simple syrups before deciding which drinks to include. Craft Cocktails & Mocktails features recipes for: Cranberry Old Fashioned, Apple Cider Fake-Tini, The First Fruits Cocktail, Bread & Oil, and Cotton Candy Mocktails. Guess which drink sounds the best to me? Hands down…Bread & Oil. Why? It includes jelly doughnut holes!
Good things definitely come in small packages when the “gift” is made with fresh ingredients, tailored to the holiday, and presented in a unique and imaginative way. Craft cocktails, poured one glass at a time, usually include four or five ingredients, homemade syrups, freshly squeezed juices, and niche liqueurs. In a hectic season, creating and serving flavorful upscale drinks is a way to slow down and drink in the moment.
I only make potato pancakes–aka potato latkes–once a year because a) they’re so delicious I’ll eat way too many of them, b) they’re a lot of work, and c) they’re messy to make. The other reason for the once-a-year-situation is my philosophy of why make one batch when the recipe can be multiplied?
Last week, I quadrupled my great Aunt Florence Goldberg’s recipe. (Shout out to cousin Claudia for sharing it with me.) Guess how many potato latkes I made? 104! (Yes, I counted.) And guess what my wonderful Hubby did? Cleaned up all of the cooking apparatus. Thanks, Hubby!
The house smell amazing, and now I have enough for several get-togethers. Happy Chanukah!
The best part of Aunt Florence’s recipe is her gem to serve the potato latkes with “sour cream and caviar when the kids aren’t around.” LOL!
Great Aunt Florence’s Potato Pancakes Recipe
4 large potatoes (2 Yukon golds, 2 russet), peeled and cut into chunks for food processor
1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks for food processor
1 egg, beaten
flour (approx. 10-15 Tablespoons)
for draining after frying–brown paper such as grocery bags cut up, brown butcher or wrapping paper or, alternately, paper towels
Process potatoes and onion in food processor fitted with grating attachment.
Place potato and onion mixture in a large sieve, strainer, or colander over a bowl. Apply pressure with paper towels to get as much liquid out as possible. Discard liquid.
Transfer potato and onion mixture to large mixing bowl. Add egg.
Add flour a tablespoon at a time until mixture holds together as a batter, approx. 10-15 tablespoons in all.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a large frying pan with oil to cover bottom of pan, about 1/8 inch.
Drop potato pancake mixture into pan with large tablespoon and flatten with bottom of spoon or a spatula. Pancake size– about 2 inches in diameter.
Cook until golden brown and crispy on both sides.
Drain on brown paper.
Serve immediately with applesauce (or sour cream and caviar when the kids aren’t around.)
Yield: Approx. 2 dozen pancakes.
Tip: Potato pancakes can be frozen in single layers (parchment paper or tin foil in between). Reheat on baking sheets at 400 degrees F.
On a cold, rainy day last week, I was in the mood for soup. When I found this easy, healthy, hearty, vegetarian recipe for Minestrone Soup on Love & Lemons and realized I had most of the ingredients on hand, I had to try it. This is the kind of recipe that’s easy to alter. I didn’t have white beans or kidney beans, so I used black beans instead. I didn’t have diced tomatoes, but I had can of tomato soup to add to the veggie broth. And I wanted to use the zucchini sitting in my vegetable crisper.
One of the best things about this Minestrone Soup recipe is that the onions, carrots, and celery are sautéed in the same pot in which the soup simmers. Less pots to clean. Hubby and I agreed it was so delicious, I have to make it again.
This recipe is best right after it’s made, as the pasta absorbs the broth as it sits in the leftover soup. If you want to make it ahead of time, I recommend cooking the pasta separately and stirring it into the soup as you’re ready to eat. Alternatively, you can skip the pasta and add an extra cup of beans to the soup. Prepared this way, the soup will keep well for up to four days in the fridge.
When you’re ready to eat, top each bowl with a sprinkle of parsley, red pepper flakes, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If you’re vegan, feel free to skip the cheese, or garnish your bowl with a scoop of vegan pesto instead. (Non-vegans take note: regular pesto is also a great topping for minestrone soup!).
Serve the soup with good crusty bread and call it a day, or round out the meal with a side salad. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups white beans or kidney beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed
1 cup chopped green beans
4 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup small pasta, elbows, shells, orecchiette
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Pinches of red pepper flakes
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional, for serving
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt, and several grinds of black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the garlic, tomatoes, beans, green beans, broth, bay leaves, oregano, and thyme. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in the pasta and cook, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, until the pasta is cooked through.
Season to taste and serve with parsley, red pepper flakes, and parmesan, if desired.
My apple pies are done and one of them is gluten free, so I’m re-posting the recipe and how-to video.
Unlike regular dough which comes together in a food processor, Michael McCamley’s recipe for gluten free dough in Gluten Free Baking is worked by hand. The dough is sticky and a bit messy, but the end result is delicious. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour for the pie, and have used rice flour for gluten free cookies and gluten free pancakes.
Guess what I did? I labeled the pie using my ceramics letters. Fun!
Gluten Free Pastry Dough
3 2/3 cups gluten free flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) plus extra for greasing (I used Crisco vegetable shortening.)
1 egg, plus extra for glazing
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
To make pastry dough, combine the flour, xanthan gum, and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Rub in butter (or vegetable shortening) with your fingertips until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the egg and milk (or almond milk) and combine to make dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
On a gluten free-floured surface, divide dough in two. Roll each piece out to form a large circle*–one to line pie plate and one to become top of pie.
Line pie plate with one of the pasty circles and spoon in the apple filling. (See Apple Pie filling below.)
Mix together a little milk (or almond milk) and egg and brush rim of pastry with this. Add second pastry circle as a lid and, using a fork, crimp edges of dough all the way around. Pierce pie in the middle a couple of times to let out steam during baking. If you make a basket weave top, no need to pierce dough.
Brush top of the pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden.
Apple Pie Filling
6 cups apple slices (I use a combination of Granny Smith and other varieties)
3/4 cup sugar (I cut the sugar to about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
approximately 1 Tablespoon gluten free flour
1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)
Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, spices and salt. This mixture will give off a lot of liquid so use a slotted spoon when spooning into pie crust, allowing you to spoon the apple mixture without the excess liquid.
*I rolled out the dough by a)pressing dough ball down to flatten it, b)sandwiching dough between two pieces of wax paper, then c)rolling the rolling pin on top of the wax paper. (Demo can be seen in the video.) If the dough sticks to the wax paper, you can spray the wax paper with non-stick spray.
**You can make this pie ahead and freeze it. Let pie cool completely before wrapping in saran wrap and aluminum foil. A couple of days before serving, defrost at room temperature.
Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool about 20 minutes.
Serve room temperature–cool completely.
Rewarm defrosted pie– warm in a preheated 250- 275 degrees F oven, uncovered, until desired temperature.
Preferably vegetable, creamy and hearty.Velvety Vegetable Soup has been my go-to, but I wanted to try something different this year. I found this recipe for Ginger & Turmeric Carrot Soup that also calls for butternut squash on Simply Quinoa, where Alyssa says, “This creamy ginger & turmeric carrot soup is anti-inflammatory and perfect for a chilly night. It’s packed with nutrients, has a velvety smooth texture and tastes delicious!” Thanks, Alyssa–all credit for top photo and recipe to you!
To make enough for Thanksgiving and extra to give away and to freeze, I multiplied the recipe by 6! (Would that be called “sextupling?”) With two huge soup pots simmering on the stove, the house smelled delicious. I taste-tested this new recipe, and it may be the first time, but won’t be the last, I make this healthy, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, parveGinger & Turmeric Carrot Soup.
Happy cooking, hon!
Single Serving Tip: Did I share my single-serving tip? Pour soup into either a disposable coffee-to-go-cup or a small container, leaving room at the top for liquid to expand as it solidifies, and freeze. Freezing soup in ice trays is another tip. Pop out as many cubes as needed to make whatever size bowl is desired.
Ginger & Turmeric Carrot Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek , cleaned and sliced
1 cup chopped fennel (1 small head)
3 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped butternut squash (or more carrots)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger (about 2″ piece)
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
Salt & pepper to taste
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 (14.5 oz) can lite coconut milk
Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or saucepan. Add the fennel, leeks, carrots, and squash. Saute for 3 – 5 minutes until the veggies start to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, and pepper, and saute for a few more minutes.
Add the broth and coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Once the soup is cooked, add it to a blender and blend until creamy. You could also use an immersion blender. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste.
Serve immediately with a dollop of coconut yogurt and enjoy!
Carving out the insides of a pumpkin with an audience of little onlookers is fun. Inviting the kids to explore its’ texture is funny. Some are game and some are not! A few reluctant kids change their minds when they see others touching the orange, wet, and stringy pulp and seeds. One girl tasted the pulp and seeds. I know who’ll be a fan of pumpkin lattes!
At the end of the school day, I collected the seeds and, hon, you know what came next. I made Roasted Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds (recipe below) and brought them in for the kids to try. Yum!
We also painted mini-pumpkins, crinkled leaves to decorate paper trees, and explored a texture tray filled with smooth acorns, bumpy pinecones, and itty-bitty pumpkins snipped off of Pumpkin Tree branches. We rolled pinecones in paint and then rolled the paint-covered pinecones on blank paper to create original prints.
Roasted Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds
Tips Before Roasting Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds must dry completely before roasting. Remove the seeds from pumpkins and rinse thoroughly, discarding any stringy orange pieces. Drain seeds by lining a large baking pan with paper towels, spreading seeds evenly in a layer, and letting sit for 24 hours. At the 12 hour mark, change damp paper towels for dry ones, stir to air out pumpkin seeds.
3 cups pumpkin seeds dried for at least 24 hours
3 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter (or vegan butter)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar (or coconut sugar to make paleo)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 325°F. Very lightly grease a large baking pan, set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
Melt coconut oil or butter in a large microwave safe bowl or on the stovetop in a 4-quart pot.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Mix in pumpkin seeds until they are all evenly coated.
Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin seeds and mix until all they are evenly coated.
Spread pumpkin seeds on your prepared baking pan in single layer.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. They are done when they start to brown.
To test for doneness: remove a few seeds from the pan and let sit on the counter to cool. If they harden up the seeds are done. If they remain soft, return to the oven, checking them after 5 minutes. Continue baking in 5 minute intervals until done.
Once seeds are done, transfer them from the warm pan to another pan lined with parchment paper to let cool.
Yield: 3 cups
Store pumpkin seeds in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
I saw this recipe in the Cooking section of The New York Times and, as usual, Bookmarked it. When I was ready to try it, I shopped for ingredients, but didn’t realize the almond flour I had at home was actually almond meal, a grittier, nuttier-tasting “flour.” I decided to use it anyway, and also incorporated suggested adjustments to the recipe for Blueberry, Almond and Lemon Cake byYotam Ottolenghi. Alterations include decreasing the amount of sugar, separating eggs, beating egg whites, coating blueberries in dry ingredients, and baking for a shorter time uncovered.
The cake smelled so good coming out of the oven, I didn’t make the icing–the recipe below is essentially a Blueberry, Almond, and Lemon Loaf rather than a cake. Slice it and enjoy plain or with butter or cream cheese. The inside is super moist and the blueberries are–umm–berry sweet!
Happy baking, hon!
Blueberry, Almond and Lemon Cake
½ cup (1 stick) 150 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan (I used non-stick spray for greasing pan and parchment paper.)
1/2 cup/95 grams granulated or superfine sugar (caster sugar)
1 teaspoon lemon zest (grated lemon), plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more juice as needed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (vanilla essence)
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 large eggs, room temperature and separated
⅔ cup/90 grams all-purpose flour (plain flour)
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 cup/110 grams almond flour
1 ½ cups/200 grams fresh blueberries
⅔ cup/70 grams confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius. Grease a 9- or 8-inch/21-centimeter loaf pan with butter or non-stick spray, line with a parchment paper sling and butter the paper. Set the pan aside.
2. Combine butter, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla and almond extract in a bowl and mix with paddle attachment. Beat on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light. Add eggs yolks and beat. Don’t worry if mix splits a little: It’ll come back together once dry ingredients are added.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and almond flour.
4. Sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon of dry ingredients over blueberries (or just enough to coat blueberries) and carefully toss. Set blueberries aside. (Coating blueberries w/dry ingredients helps to keep them suspended in batter rather than sinking to bottom.)
5. Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
6. In three additions, add dry ingredients to butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix just until no white specks remain. Fold in blueberries by hand. Fold in stiff egg whites. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan.
7. Bake uncovered for approximately 1 hour. Test middle with toothpick and when it comes out clean, cake is done. Let cook in pan for at least 10 minutes before removing cake from pan and placing on wire rack to cool completely.
8. When cake is cool, make the icing: Add lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar to a bowl and whisk until smooth, adding a bit more juice if necessary, just until the icing moves when you tilt the bowl. Pour over the cake and gently spread out. The blueberries on the top of the cake may bleed into the icing a little, but this will add to the look. Let icing set (about 30 minutes), slice and serve.
This perfect-for-summer Three Berry Crisp is yummy by itself, served with ice cream, or topped with whipped cream. There’s plenty of berry juice at the bottom to drizzle on waffles, brownies or anything else you want to dress up with some red and blue sweetness. Found on Oukosher.org by Eileen Goltz, this Three Berry Crisp is gluten-free, nut-free if walnuts are eliminated, and vegan and parve when margarine is used. The recipe is missing one thing–a note that spoons are required for serving and eating–lol!
Happy baking, hon!
Three Berry Crisp
3 cups raspberries
1½ cups blackberries
2 cups blueberries
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1¾ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup granulated sugar (I cut to approx. 1/4 cup.)
¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup coarsely-chopped walnuts (Or substitute with plain oatmeal to make nut-free.)
⅔ cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted and cooled
Optional: dashes of ground cloves and cardamom
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 7×11-inch baking dish and set aside. (I used two deep pie dishes.)
To Prepare the Filling:
2. Lightly rinse the berries and drain on a paper towel-lined half sheet pan. Gently pat dry and then place in a large bowl. Add the sugar and cornstarch and toss them gently with the berries. Add the lemon juice and toss gently. Transfer the filling to the prepared dish.
To Prepare the Topping:
3. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the nuts. Pour in the butter and toss with a fork to form crumbs.
4. Take a clump of the crumb mixture and squeeze gently to form a larger clump. Break the larger clump apart over the fruit. Repeat, using all of the crumb mixture. (Optional: Sprinkle cinnamon on top of crumb mixture before baking.)
5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the crumbs begin to brown and the fruit juices are bubbling.
6. Serve warm with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Tip: Make ahead. Warm before serving in a 300 degrees F oven for approx. 10 -15 minutes.
Note: Berry Crisps are prone to leaking. If transporting, wrap in foil from bottom up and carry in leak-proof bag or dessert carrier.
My mother loved to garden. Her roses were lush, hearty, and fragrant, and their maroon and pink petals were as soft as velvet. Before I walked to elementary school, she’d cut stems, crinkle tin foil around the bottoms, and tell me to give the flowers to my teachers. I’d walk the whole way smelling sweetness.
Irises and strawberries were also abundant in my mother’s garden, while my father cultivated tomatoes and cucumbers. I’d pick wild raspberries and blackberries which grew on the hill behind my childhood home. Needless to say, roses are my favorite flowers.
Though I share my mom’s love of writing, I did not inherit her green thumb. If the garden in front of my house were my mother’s, the roses would bloom large and healthy. My roses are not. I prune them regularly, cutting off spent blossoms at an angle, and though they smell sweet, their petals are thin and their leaves are being eaten by garden pests. What to do?
I came across this organic pesticide in the article Safe Rose Spray Recipe That Really Works by Meghan Shinn in Horticulture.
Hon,do you have any tips for keeping roses healthy?
More than 5,000 rose bushes grow at Hershey Gardens in Hershey, Pa., where the gardening staff works hard to keep them free of pests and diseases. They use a chemical spray in the main garden, but they did not want to use this spray in the dedicated Children’s Garden. Instead, they came up with the following safe rose spray recipe, which they’ve found to be very effective.
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil (or any other cooking oil)
Mix vinegar and water, then add baking soda, dish soap and vegetable oil. Stir mixture into one gallon water. Pour into spray bottle and spray on roses’ foliage. Reapply every seven to ten days or after a rainstorm.
I haven’t posted a recipe in awhile, but I’m still collecting them! Every time I see something interesting, I “Bookmark” it on my computer. So many recipes to try!
I discovered this recipe for Strawberry Galette by Naz Deravian in the Cooking section of The New York Times. Though not complicated, this recipe takes time. I read comments and found out some steps can be skipped. I needed to make this dairy-free and nut-free, so I used non-dairy whipping cream, margarine, and rice flour. Hubby whipped up whipping cream and, hon, the dessert was delicious!
A strawberry galette served with a side of fresh whipped cream or ice cream is a spring salve that is just as soothing to prepare for oneself as it is to share with others. Inspired by the baker Alice Medrich’s yogurt-butter pie dough, the dough in this recipe includes almond flour for a flaky, subtly nutty crust that comes together without much fuss. This dough is very forgiving and works well with the rustic charm of a galette. It’s OK if the edges of the crust crack and some juices leak. Even out-of-season strawberries would work, as there’s just enough sugar here to coax them back to life. Make sure you give the galette enough time to rest before slicing into it, so that the juices have time to set.
1 tablespoon ice-cold water, plus up to 3 tablespoons more, if needed
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
½ teaspoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon yogurt or water (for the egg wash)
FOR THE FILLING:
½ to ¾ cup/100 grams to 150 grams granulated sugar I used the smaller amount of sugar.
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 ½ pounds stemmed strawberries (about 5 cups), sliced
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Small pinch of salt
Whisk the all-purpose flour and the almond flour in a large bowl, then set aside. (It’s best to stick it in the freezer for about 15 minutes until ready to use, to ensure a well-chilled dough.)
Slice 3 tablespoons of the butter as thinly as possible without getting obsessive about it. (It’s OK if pieces break.) Cut the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Keeping the sliced butter and cubed butter separate, set the butter in the fridge to chill until ready to use.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the 1/4 cup yogurt with 1 tablespoon of the water and keep cold in the fridge until ready to use.
Whisk the flour mixture with the 1 teaspoon sugar and the salt. Spread the cubed butter pieces over the flour and cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or your fingers until the chunks look slightly smaller than pea size. Toss the butter slices with the flour mixture, separating them as you go, then gently press them into the flour between your fingers into flat sheets. (This extra step is helpful in creating pockets of steam, which will make for a flakier crust, an added bonus for pie dough makers of any skill!) I used a food processor to make the dough. I skipped this step and in a food processor, I added the flour to the container, dropped sliced butter through the tube and pulsed.
Drizzle the chilled yogurt over the flour and butter mixture. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon to toss and combine. If the dough seems dry, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the ice water, and continue tossing and combining, incorporating any dry flour bits at the bottom of the bowl and scraping off the spatula as you go, until the mixture just comes together in a mound. If needed, drizzle more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, without allowing the dough to get too wet. I skipped this step, adding cold water through food processor tube a little at a time until dough came together in a mound.
Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap, then press the dough into a 6-inch disk and wrap well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
Heat oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the center position. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Prepare the filling: Place 1/2 cup sugar and the lemon zest in a large bowl and rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingertips. Add the strawberries, cornstarch and salt; mix well to combine, making sure the cornstarch is well incorporated. Add up to another 1/4 cup sugar if desired, depending on the sweetness of your strawberries and your desired level of sweetness.
Dust your countertop with flour, then transfer the chilled dough to it and sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough. Roll the dough out to a 12- to 14-inch round, lightly flouring as needed. (It’s OK if the edges break and the shape isn’t perfectly round.) Gently transfer the dough by rolling it over a rolling pin and onto the prepared baking sheet. (At this point, if you’ve forgotten something, like preparing the egg wash, or if your dough has warmed up slightly, place the sheet pan in the fridge for a few minutes.)
Mound the strawberries and their juices in the middle of the dough and leave a 2-inch border. Fold the border over the fruit, pleating as you fold and leaving the center of the galette exposed. Brush the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until the crust is golden and the strawberries are bubbling, about 35 minutes. It’s OK if some juices leak. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour and serve.