All posts by rblander

Spinach-Ricotta Latkes

Chanukah is almost here, which means latke time! What can be wrong – potatoes :).

Anyway I passed a pizza store that I used to get these awesome spinach and cheese borekas from and it got me thinking about doing that but in a latke! Plus I know that spinach and ricotta (or really any cheese) is a classic duo. So, I went to work and combined them to make the yummiest latke! Really! I kept frying them up and making mini ones for me to eat as I was cooking them :P.

A quick refresher on some latke history from last years latke post – which you also totally should make cuz – pizza…lakes…yumm  Pizza Latkes :

My question on that was always – so why latkes and why potatoes. After some research I found out that originally, the first mention of latkes on chanukah was from a Rabbi Kalonymus ben Kalonymus (c. 1286-1328) in a poem he wrote talking about cheese latkes on chanukah. So how did cheese turn into dairy? Well, in the mid-1800’s there was a bad crop in Europe which led to the mass planting and abundance of potatoes! Hence giving lead to our potato latke of today.

But this year im adding spinach and cheese and its just YUMMM!

Anyway, enough history and talk and lets just get cooking!

 

Spinach-Ricotta Latkes:

Yield: 8-10 Latkes

2 Large Potatoes, shredded

1 Small Onion, shredded

1 Egg

1 tsp Salt

Pepper to taste

1 cup Frozen Spinach, defrosted and squeezed

1/3 C Ricotta Cheese

1/2 C Shredded Cheese

2 tsp Potato Starch

 

Defrost the spinach and squeeze all the liquid out.

Shred the potatoes and onion. Add in the egg, salt, pepper, spinach, ricotta cheese, shredded cheese and potato starch.

Heat oil in a pan. Fry latkes until crispy on each side

** Note: for a healthier version you can use a non-stick pan and spray oil instead to pan fry instead of fry. Make sure you spray the pan before each batch.

Enjoy!

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Carrot Stuffed Corn Bread

I never really liked corn bread or muffins. The texture was too weird for me and like if I am going to have a muffin, why not make it Chocolate Chip?

I don’t know where the shift came in, but one day I like corn muffins! Like really. And obviously corn bread too.

Corn bread has a long history in America. The Native Americans who lived down south has a hard time growing wheat in the hot days, so they turned to corn (something which even earlier civilizations in Central America grew and ate). Corn was easy to grow and easy to eat. One could eat it raw, or grind it up into a “meal” and mix it with things. Originally, corn bread was just water and corn meal, but it developed as it is known today with milk, fat, sugar, baking powder…

carrot stuff corn bread 2

Either way this corn bread is an awesome addition to any meal – especially a Thanksgiving meal. The colors are festive and this will side beautifully with any gravy or even as a dessert if you please!

 

Carrot Stuffed Corn Bread:

1 C. milk, or soy or almond milk

1/4 C. Oil

1 Egg

1 1/4 C. Cornmeal

1 C. Flour

1/3 C. Sugar ( If you want it sweeter for a dessert use 1/2)

1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Salt

 

5 Carrots

3/4 C sugar

2 Tsp lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop the carrots into small pieces and boil until mashable.

Mash the carrots – but leave clumps. Place in a pan with the sugar and lemon juice. Let the sugar melt and thicken (about 5 minutes), over a medium heat, stirring constantly so the sugar does not burn. Remove from flame and let cool.

Beat milk, oil, and egg together. Add in the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix until the flour is combined.

Pour half the batter into a greased 9×9 pan. Sprinkle the carrot mixture over the batter. Pour the rest of the batter over the carrots.

Bake 30 minutes.

 

carrot stuff corn bread 5

 

Information from: https://www.southernliving.com/veggies/corn/southern-history-of-cornbread-video

 

Cookie Butter Snaps

So I know the rave about cookie butter has died down but I love that stuff. Okay maybe not the healthiest but once in a while…

Anyway I wanted to come up with a cookie that has cookie butter. I figured that 3 ingredient peanut butter cookie works so what if I try the same concept but with cookie butter…SCORE!

The cookie came out thinner then the peanut butter cookie did and it kinda reminded me of a ginger snap cookie. But cookie butter. So yum. Nuf said, so heres the recipe and you can thank me later.

cookie butter snaps

Cookie Butter Snaps:

1 C. Cookie Butter (make sure its mixed really well)

1 egg

1 C. Sugar

Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight (really important). Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Granola Bars

Yomtovim are over and now school is in full swing. I remember being in school and either not having time for breakfast or wanting a healthier filling snack. Well here is one great one that fills both wants. Homemade granola Bars!
There are nuts, seeds, and quinoa in these bars which make it jam packed full of protein making them a filling bite.
One great idea to help things go more smoothly in the mornings would be to make these granola bars in the beginning of the week and then breakfast is made for the week. This is a “grab and go” type of meal (or snack) also which is great for a late start – for kids or for yourselves.
This recipe isn’t just a great snack or breakfast but could be served as a healthier dessert as well.

granola bars 2

These Bars were actually tested over the summer when I was working in a sleep away camp and did a cooking demo with this recipe. After the summer the campers sent me picture after picture of them making the bars for them and their family. Not only is it kid approved but easy enough for them to make it or help make it as well.

So shout out to all those campers ( you know who you are).

Note: The fun thing with this recipe is the ability to play around. As long as the proportions match up it does not matter what you put into the bars. For example, if I wanted to add in corn flakes to the bars I would add in 1 cup of corn flakes and then only 2 cups of oats and 1 or rice crispies. This goes the other way as well if you do not want a certain ingredient in the bars then omit it and just add more of another ingredient.

** for the add ins my favorite combination is 1/3 C. quinoa, 1/3 C. coconut, 1/3 C. slivered almonds

granola bars 3

Granola Bars:

Yield: 12 bars (or 24 squares)

2 1/2 C. Whole Oats (quick oats will work as well)

1 1/2 C. Rice Crispies (or the equivalent)

1 C. of add ins (almonds, quinoa, coconut, corn flakes, dried fruit (more rice crispies or oats) etc.)

2/3 C. Brown Sugar

1/2 C. Honey

1/4 C. Oil

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 – 1 C. Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Combine the oatmeal, rice crispies and other add-ins. Spread over a baking sheet (should be a THIN layer. Use two baking sheets if it is thick)

Toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until ingredients are lightly browned.

In a pot combine the honey, oil, brown sugar and cinnamon. Heat over a low-medium heat stirring often until everything is melted into a thick syrup.

Pour the syrup over the toasted dry ingredients and mix.

Pour into a 9×13 pan, spread and press down (use a spatula because it will be hot).

Let cool for 15 minutes. Cut into bars.

**Note: to make regular granola do not press the ingredients down and just let them cool clumped.

 

 

Honey Cake

For as long as I can remember we have been making Honey Cake, or Lekach, for Rosh Hashana. My father used to tell me how his mother used to make it every year and she put coffee in it to get a rich color and flavor, so we gotta keep up the tradition, don’t we? And besides…its honey cake…do you really need an excuse?

Some short history of Honey Cake – evidence of honey has been found in ancient Middle East. It was used to sweeten things since its discovery. When Europeans went to the Middle East (mainly for a pilgrimage), it seems that they discovered the sticky sweet treats and brought them back to Europe with them where honey cakes as we know got further developed. In fact the commonly used word for honey cake “Lekach” is a German word which means “to lick” referring to the sweet treat. According to Gil Marks, even when honey become “out of style” in Europe it was something Jews kept on using. Additionally, because honey keeps cakes so fresh it was used more and more before refrigeration.

honey cake 5

While I love honey cake I am rather picky with it: it must be moist, with a sticky honey top and lots of flavor. There are too many cakes out there that look like honey cake but don’t have the classic attributes that make it honey cake.

Now this one has all 3 of those – plus it’s just easy and yummy to make. Simple, nothing fancy or crazy going on. Just honey cake the way it should be.

I have been developing this one for a couple of years now and when I got that sticky top I knew it was ready. Make it Rosh Hashana or any other day of the week and add it into your cake rotation.

honey cake 7

Shana Tova!

Honey Cake

Yield: 1 loaf pan

2 Eggs

1 C. Sugar

1/2 C. Oil

1 tsp. Vanilla or Vanilla sugar

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1 C. Honey

1 C. hot or warm Coffee

2 tsp. Baking Powder

2 C. Flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the eggs, sugar, and oil together. Add in the vanilla or vanilla sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix to combine. Then add the honey and coffee and mix. Add the flour and baking power and whisk until there are no clumps.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 35-30 minutes, or until the cake has set.

Enjoy!

 

 

History from Gil Marks Encyclopedia and https://forward.com/articles/130912/deconstructing-honey-cake/

Tuna Patties

Shavuos is usually associated with heavier dairy meals, which might taste really good on the spot, doesn’t feel so good later.

This is why I usually skip the heavy dairy and opt to make lighter options like these Tuna Patties.

They’re super easy to make and make an awesome lunch or supper any day of the week.   And if your really in the mood for your dairy, after the patties are made melt cheese on top. You can do this either in the pan – put cheese on top of the patties and put a cover on the pan to help the cheese melt, or you can bake them in the oven to get a crispy cheese top.

There is also an option to add vegetables into the patties, which I highly suggest, as it adds in vegetables to your meal and a good crispiness as well.

Either way, with or without cheese these are an awesome addition to any menu you are making.

IMG_0654

Tuna Patties

Yield: about 8 Patties

2 Cans of Tuna, drained

2 Eggs

1/2 C. flour, Matzah Meal or gluten free panko crumbs

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 small zucchini, or 1/2 a med. zucchini, shredded (optional)

2 Tbsp Red Pepper (diced)

Mix all the ingredients together to combine. Spray a frying pan with Pam or some other oil spray, and heat the pan over a medium flame. Form the tuna batter into patties. Pan fry for about 4 minutes on each side, or until browned.

Enjoy!!

Spinach-Double Tomato Egg White Frittata

Pessach is here again! So much matzah, meat, kugels, matzah, potatoes and potatoes and more matzah! Now I happen to love matzah but, after a day, I already am ready for a lighter meal.

Usually I try to fill my pessach not with the above list (although I am a proclaimed meat lover), but with lighter proteins like eggs, fish and chicken (and of course meat).

Here is an awesomely yummy egg dish that can be served as a main course, or side dish for any dairy meal you are having. It is filling and the flavors are complex yet simple lending anyone to be able to make and eat this Fritatta.

egg white frittata 1

Spinach-Double Tomato Egg White Frittata

Servings: 4-6

1 C. Frozen Spinach, defrosted

1/2 Small Onion, diced

1 Small Tomato, diced

5-6 Sun Dried Tomatoes, sliced

1/3 C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

8-10 Egg Whites (about 1 cup)

3 Tbsp Feta Cheese

Saute the spinach, onion and tomato for about 5-8 minutes. Place in a 9 inch baking or pie dish. Add in the sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and egg whites. Sprinkle the feta cheese on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until egg is set.

Enjoy!