Category Archives: Holiday Recipes

Traditional Ashkenazi Charoset–Apple/Walnut

DSCN2703This is my easiest Charoset. It’s traditional in the sense that it’s an Ashkenazi (Eastern European) recipe. I add a little brown sugar instead of white sugar and it gives it just a bit more character. This makes about 4 cups, but you can easily double it. My family loves it, so I always make a double batch. Remember, while a reminder of the mortar used in making bricks for Pharaoh, charoset is really just a sweet condiment of apples and wine!

Ingredients:

3 medium Fuji apples (or any other kind you like), peeled, cored and finely diced (use processor to make your life simpler) I usually use whatever is in the house, but on Passover I go through so many apples, so buy what you like (I always like Granny Smith because they are nice and tart)

1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped (buy them pre-chopped)

1/2 cup sweet red wine such as Manischewitz Extra Heavy Malaga or just Concord Grape is fine

*20 pitted dates, chopped; or 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

*for a bit of extra added flavor you can add 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger (optional)

Directions:

After chopping apples, stir all ingredients in a large bowl. Keep in refrigerator ’til ready to serve. Serve at room temperature. You can also pulse everything together in processor, just be very careful not to over-process. I often do this to save time. You don’t want it too fine, so just go gently with the processor if you go that route. I do it in the processor, and I know exactly how I like it to come out, so go easy with the chopping.  If it’s a little dry or too thick, you can always add more wine. I find this always tastes better after it sits and allows the wine  to really soak and ripen for 24 hours. Before serving, check for consistency and add a little more wine, if necessary.

Chicken Marbella–perfect for Passover

This recipe is my “go to” chicken. I’ve made it almost every Passover since I found it. The original recipe is from the”Silver Palate” cookbook. It was many winters ago that I first had it at my friend Susan’s house.  It has been a staple on my holiday table ever since. Not to say that it is not a recipe for every other day of the year and week, because it’s perfect for anytime. There is also the Brisket recipe that I posted during Rosh Hashana which is on the website, as well as the Honey Roasted Chicken, and Meatballs which all work well for this holiday. I usually make the Chicken Marbella and the meatballs as another dish.

Enjoy!

*The key to this recipe is the overnight marination, which is essential to the moistness of the chicken.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup pitted prunes

1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives (no pimentos)( if you can’t find, just pick out pimentos)

1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice

6 bay leaves

1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed(chopped well)

1/4 cup dried oregano

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I start with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.)

4 chickens, cut into eighths (original recipe calls for chickens to be quartered but I find that you get more per person if you do it in eighths.) the chickens are about 2 1/2 lbs. apiece , so it’s about 10 lbs. of chicken . Sometimes I ask the butcher to cut the breasts in 1/2, if they are very large.

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)

Directions:

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and their juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper. ( You can combine in a large bowl, but I use a large Ziploc bag.) Add the chicken, then stir or mix around to coat well. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take a large shallow baking pan (you may need 2), arrange the chicken in a single layer and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Then sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.

Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices until the thigh pieces yield a clear yellow juice (don’t want it pink). It takes anywhere between 50 to 60 minutes to cook. (Test thigh with a fork.)

When you are ready to serve, transfer the chicken with a slotted spoon to serving platter. Moisten with some of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley. You can pass the remaining juices in a gravy boat.

*should serve 10 or more

* this chicken is delicious cold or at room temperature. If you make ahead and it is in fridge, just remove from fridge, reheat it in the juices, then allow to come to room temperature.

My Favorite Macaroons–Traditional Style for Passover

I am not sure why I only make these macaroons during Passover. They are definitely my favorites; they are very easy to make, look totally professional, and are the Passover cookie in my book. These can be made ahead of time and stored. I usually make a few days before the Seder because I dip them in melted chocolate (just the tops). You don’t have to dip, you can leave plain. I dip up to 1/2 the macaroon in the chocolate. They are sweet and crunchy on the outside, and moist and chewy on the inside. After Passover, if there are any left over, I freeze them. Cannot have them lying around. Of course you may make these any time of year…they are always welcome on the menu.

*When dipping, just turn macaroon upside down (with peaked part into the chocolate). I usually go just a bit more than the top (probably 1/2 the macaroon into the chocolate). Use as much or as little as you like.

*just a little note, silpat is awesome to use for this recipe instead of parchment paper. You must cool completely before trying to lift off the paper. Also before you dip into chocolate I like to cool down completely.

Ingredients:

3  large egg whites (When I bake, I always leave eggs out so that they are at room temp.)

1/2  cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 package (14 oz.) sweetened, flaked coconut ( I like this Angel Flake Baker’s Brand, but they’re all fine)

*1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (You can really use any semi-sweet chocolate to melt. It’s just easy with the chips.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you can use non stick cooking spray, like Pam, but I just line with parchment, which works really well).

In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar and salt until frothy. With a fork, stir in coconut until moistened.

Using a level tablespoon (measuring ones are perfect), pack the mixture into the spoon, so all macaroons are equal size. Drop mixture onto prepared sheet (cookies will not spread). Bake until golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes. Towards the end, check on them to be sure they don’t burn. I make a little peak with my fingers on the cookies before I bake them (this makes for easier dipping).

*To melt chocolate on stove top: I bring a small saucepan of water to a rolling boil, and on top of it put a small stainless (oven proof) bowl filled with the chocolate.( works like a double boiler if you don’t have one) When it completely melts, take off heat. Once macaroons are completely cool, you can dip the tops. Just make sure chocolate and macaroons are cooled off first. Just dip top of cookie in chocolate and place on a plate to cool. When I am all done, I refrigerate the macaroons to set the chocolate. You can leave in fridge until you are ready to serve and take out with enough time to bring to room temp. Before serving, I usually use a cool cookie sheet with parchment paper to cool off cookies once they’ve been dipped.

*should yield about 20 – 25 cookies. You can double if you’d like.

Passover ’15

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost Passover and Easter!!  Crazy how time just flies. The good news is that it must mean that Spring is on the way. I have so very many wonderful recipes for Passover on my site but am always on the lookout for some new ones. If you are on my website just put Passover Recipes into the search box and you should be able to pull up all of my tried and true recipes from my life.  I’ve been trying to make sure that all of my recipes are tagged properly so this should work.

I have a few new ones that I am going to attempt to post in the next few weeks. So be on the lookout.

There are so very many wonderful recipes that have been in our family for years and am certain that you would enjoy making them a part of your family’s tradition as well. Some of these recipes contain dairy and some do not , clearly the ones containing dairy would not work for those who keep kosher. I think there are enough of both on here.  I am always open to new recipes if you’d like to send them to me. I may not get to post them till next Passover but please feel free to email them to me.

Some of the Passover recipes you may want to look at:

Peach Farfel Recipe — an absolute winner, it’s never Passover without it.

Grandma Regina’s Farfel Recipe–obviously a part of my life since I was a young girl

Julie’s Brownie Recipe–a recent addition but wonderful one. Who doesn’t want chocolate? even on Passover with no flour?

Homemade Chicken Soup with not so Homemade Matzoh Balls–what would Passover be without matzoh balls?

Honey Roasted Chicken–good for anytime and perfect addition to the holiday table

Chicken Marbella–one of our favorite chicken dishes for Passover

Old School Meatballs–sweet and sour meatballs

Karyn’s Cranberry -Apple Crisp for Passover–Best Ever

Sweet Matzoh Pudding–wonderful

Judy’s Apple Matzoh Kugel for Passover–an awesome addition to any table

Cathy’s Popovers–perfect served with gefilte fish and matzoh ball soup , just leave them on the table and watch them disappear. Light and Delicious.

Spinach Souffle for Passover–a delicious vegetable side dish

Happy New Year Brisket–originally added for Rosh Hashana but why not for Passover?

Meringue Cookies–easy and great for dessert

Macaroons–my all time favorite

Charoset–gotta have it

Ellen’s Passover Apple Cake–another wonderful addition to any Passover Dessert Table

Matzoh Brei–what to do with all that leftover matzoh during Passover

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Macaroons — freshly dipped

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Peach Farfel

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Spinach Souffle for Passover *dairy

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Julie’s Brownie for Passover

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Grandma Regina’s Farfel

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Macaroons fresh out of the oven

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Candied Yam Souffle (Easy Peasy)

sweet potatoes pre marshmallows

I just found this recipe. I’ve made this souffle in the past. It is easy and I just felt I owed it to all of you to pass it along. It is especially good for those of you who need to bring something to someone’s house, and don’t have time for fuss and muss.  I am still not 100% sure which yam dish I am going to make, but will make a decision soon. So here you go. And those darn mini marshmallows which you just gotta have.

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 large cans of yams or app. 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, drained

1 small can (I like 8 oz.) crushed pineapple (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

mini-marshmallows (1 bag will more than cover it) or one jar of marshmallow topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and pecans. Simmer for a  few minutes. In the meantime, place drained yams in a large bowl and mash them (you can leave a few chunked pieces.) If you’re cooking your sweet potatoes , peel and cut into quarters (cubes) fill a large pot of water to cover potatoes , add a little salt to water and bring water to boil. Boil for about 12 minutes till you can pierce potato with a fork easily. Remove and drain potatoes. I always place my potatoes back in pot to steam off excess water.

Pour sugar/pecan and pineapple mixture over the yams. Stir until combined thoroughly. Add in cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a pie pan, actually any baking dish will do. Oven to Table is perfect here. Bake for about 15 minutes. Then remove, put mini marshmallows on top to cover, and raise the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes to brown the marshmallows. Don’t let it burn.

Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes (gotta have ‘em)

1/2 eaten Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

1/2 eaten Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

pre marshmallow topping

We always have to have a sweet potato dish with those darn marshmallows! This has a little twist which makes it a bit more interesting. It’s easy, tasty and unique, because I make it with both marshmallows and pecan halves on top. There are probably a million different recipes for mashed sweet potatoes, but this one goes on my table this year.

Ingredients:

3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks. Cook Sweet Potatoes (If you want to cheat with the canned ones, I won’t tell anyone, and what’s more is no one will know with all the other stuff in it.) Just drain them well.

1/2 cup whole milk (no skim please)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (when I double I just add 2 tblsp. butter no need to add 8)

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

20 big marshmallows or mini marshmallows ( as many as you can fit on top)

*40 pecan halves to cover top (you can use only marshmallows if you want)

Directions:

Cover sweet potatoes with cold water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are knife tender. Drain and return to pot. Mash potatoes with a masher, then stir in milk, butter, pineapple, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

Transfer mixture to a 2 1/2 quart oval casserole dish, smooth out on top. If you want to make a checkerboard top, start at the top left, and alternate one marshmallow with 2 pecan halves until the entire casserole is covered. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until marshmallows are browned and puffed. If you don’t feel like doing the checkerboard, you can also sprinkle mini marshmallows on top, or some large ones. Whatever you like. This is pretty loose, but you gotta have marshmallows!

*this recipe serves about 8 – 10 as a side

Apple and Cranberry Cake on my Table for Thanksgiving

It’s so hard to make a choice of Thanksgiving desserts. Usually by the time dessert rolls around everyone is so full . Somehow though everyone seems to rally for dessert, no matter how full. It’s been on my mind what to bake? I already baked my apple pie which is in my freezer from my Baking Class at ICE.  I know so nice and light right??? Well it’s Thanksgiving, and no one is eating the whole cake, so don’t moan and groan. This is an easy one to do. Pumpkin Cheesecake, not so easy. So if you haven’t finalized your decision, this is a great way to go.  I got this recipe from Barefoot Contessa. (Ina Garten). How easy is that? cookbook. This is a wonderful recipe to make for as long as you have those wonderful cranberries, so stock up in the freezer while they’re around.

Ingredients:

10″ glass (Pyrex) pie plate

1 bag of fresh cranberries (rinse and pick out stems, etc.)

1 Apple peeled, cored, and diced (Granny Smith is a good choice here

1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 tablespoon orange zest (probably need 2 average size oranges)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon,( divided 1 Teaspoon for fruit mixture and 1/8 teaspoon for topping)

2 xtra large eggs, at room temp.

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon  granulated sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup sour cream (lite OK) not fat free please

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla and sour cream and beat until just combined . On low speed, slowly add in the flour and salt.

Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10 inch glass pie plate (Pyrex) Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 55 – 60 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Delicious with vanilla ice cream.

Sweet and Spicy Nuts – Perfect for Thanksgiving

photo 4 (3)photo 1 (4)

My inspiration for this recipe came from Barefoot Contessa. I make these and keep them in a baggie or a container. Awesome, thanks Ina. These nuts make the perfect appetizers, no one who eats nuts can resist. I also like mine with a little “kick”, you can manage the heat on these.

ingredients:

vegetable oil

7 cups of nuts (you can break it up any way you want. You can do 7 cups of roasted mixed unsalted nuts or any other combination as long as they equal 7 cups. if you can’t find unsalted nuts, adjust the salt on this recipe as per direction below) 

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

3 tablespoons orange juice (fresh or container. fresh is always best (and one orange will do the trick,) but honestly no biggie.)

2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder–I use 2 teaspoons but if you really like them mild use a little less.

4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (divide 2 tablespoons for now and 2 tablespoons for later)

4 teaspoons Kosher salt (also divided 2 for now and 2 for later. don’t add second 2 teaspoons of salt if you bought salted nuts)

Preheat oven to 350

Brush a sheet pan (prefer one with sides) generously with vegetable oil (use a brush, love the silicone brushes)

First, combine nuts, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder in a large bowl (I prefer a large metal bowl). Toss to coat the nuts evenly.

Add 2 tablespoons of the minced rosemary and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and give it a good toss (a large metal spoon works the best b/c it can get a little sticky with a wooden spoon.)

Spread nuts in a single layer on sheet pan.

Roast nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice. You will want to take them out of the oven to stir them b/c they may slide off the tray. Use a metal spatula. Roast for the rest of the 25 minutes until nuts are glazed .

Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons of kosher salt (only if they were unsalted) and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.

Toss well and set aside at room temp.

While they are cooling, stir them up a few times b/c they may stick together.

Taste for seasoning. They really don’t achieve full flavor until they fully cool. So you won’t know how spicy they are until they sit for a while. I’ve made these a million times and can tell you that this amount of chipotle has kick, but not psycho hot.

Serve warm, or let them cool. Put them in a container and serve whenever you like. They stay good for a long time.

*just a note: you can adjust salt, rosemary, and chipotle to your liking. I have recipe for Union Square Nuts and they don’t have chipotle and are also delish but I prefer these b/c I love the heat of the chipotle!

Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

Corn Bread Pudding out of the oven

My friend Audrey gave this to me many years ago, and it has become a staple on our thanksgiving table ever since. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. It is a favorite in the Kolen household. Can be doubled easily just will need to cook a little longer. I cooked my double corn bread pudding for at least 45 minutes and sometimes a little longer. You’ll want to press down on the middle and make sure that it’s not too soft. If outside edges start to burn put a piece of aluminum foil over it if it’s not done. Usually another 10 – 15 minutes will work on a doubled recipe and it should look like picture. Outside edges will brown a slight bit.

*I really do think this recipe comes out best not doubled, you’d almost be best off finding a larger baking dish or using 2 9×12 dishes. You will not have the issue of it being too soft if it is in a larger baking dish or 2 9×12 baking dishes.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

8 oz. sour cream (lite ok but not fat-free)

8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

8 oz. can creamed corn

8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, mix in beaten eggs, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into glass baking dish (Pyrex is good and I spray it first.) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes for single recipe and double recipe will probably cook for another 10 – 15 minutes. You’ll want middle to spring back to the touch and not be too mushy.

Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

 

Fully Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

This recipe belongs to my sister, Pamela. She is a great cook, and this is her signature Thanksgiving Dish. We count on it every year as her contribution.  I highly suggest it if you like spicy because it is! It definitely packs some heat, be careful when you buy the chipotle peppers in adobe sauce , just make sure they don’t say Hot or you might be blowing the roof off of your Thanksgiving Dinner! Be prepared for a lot of flavor !  If your family likes spicy this is an awesome recipe, and you all know how much I like spicy by now.  This is certainly a new take on Sweet Potatoes because they aren’t sweet.  I also make a Sweet Potato dish with Marshmallows (* see recipe) and the two are always on my table, one sweet and one spicy.  Thanks Aunt Pammy.

Ingredients:

5 lbs.Yams or Sweet Potatoes

Kosher Salt ( about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

Heavy Cream ( about 1 1/2 quarts)

Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (canned) *look in Mexican Food Aisle in most supermarkets

Directions:

Slice Potatoes thinly and add salt. Place in baking dish you are going to use and cover with kosher salt, start with 1/4 cup and go to the 1/2 cup. Use your clean hands and toss together.

Puree Chipotles in small food processor .* you can keep pureed chipotles in fridge for up to 2 months. So you can do this step ahead.

Put approximately 1 – 2 tsp. of chipotle pepper puree in heavy cream and mix together

Pour Cream Mixture over Potatoes in an ovenproof baking dish ( earthenware is nice for this)

Place in 375 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven.

Potatoes should be somewhat set and browned on top when ready.

Enjoy! and Happy Thanksgiving