Applesauce and Raisin Cake – an Homage to the Bundt Queen

I always call my friend Susan the Queen of the Bundt Cake. It certainly seems to be her calling as she is always coming up with new and delicious Bundt Cakes for all of us to try.  I changed one of the ingredients because I bought chunky applesauce instead of plain applesauce. Of course, if you’re so inclined you can make your own applesauce (I wasn’t so inclined today!).  The original recipe hails from The Silver Palate, and I have to say this is one cookbook you don’t want to be without. There are so very many wonderful recipes in it.  I hoped it came out as good as Susan’s cake did because hers was delicious. It has a slightly spicy flavoring, and is just so darn good. Am very happy to report that this cake came out awesome! Super Delicious with the chunky applesauce. Very moist and delicious, cooked perfectly at 1 hour and 10 minutes. Thanks Suki and the Silver Palate!

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the pan (Butter should be at room temperature.  I woke up early and didn’t have time to let it sit so I just put it in microwave to soften for 15 seconds.)

*if baking for the Jewish Holidays and don’t want to use butter you can use margarine

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs (at room temperature)

2 cups applesauce (I used Chunky because probably didn’t have reading glasses in market and grabbed it.)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or 1 teaspoon freshly grated

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup raisins

Lemon/Orange Icing ingredients:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl (electric mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the applesauce and vanilla.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda together then add to applesauce mixture. Next, sprinkle in the raisins, and blend gently but thoroughly.

Pour the batter into the tube pan and set on a rack in the center of the oven. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. 1 hour and 10 – 15 minutes. I cooked it 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes (I will leave it all day as I go out hiking, and turn it over when it is completely cool when I return.)  When it is completely cool, I will make the icing and drizzle over the top. A little trick is to poke little holes in the cake (on top, with cake tester or toothpick) and pour icing over the cake and it will go into cake and infuse some of the lemon/orange directly into cake.

Instructions for icing:

Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl.

Dribble in the juices, stirring constantly until the icing is smooth. Drizzle over completely cooled cake.

*should be enough icing for 1 Applesauce Raisin Cake

Happy New Year Brisket

Brisket can definitely be an intimidating thing to make. I once made it as a young cook, and it was perfectly inedible. Back then, I couldn’t believe how long it takes to cook, but it does take very long. Now I usually make it in the slow cooker, which is awesome; but I don’t have a slow cooker in New York, and I don’t have time to run out and buy one. So this time I used my trusty Le Creuset, which worked out beautifully. A lot of people have some pretty awesome brisket recipes and I welcome you to send me yours. This really couldn’t be any easier and it’s super tasty. This original recipe came from my friend, Michele (with a few comments from Karyn too.) I did change a few things to the original recipe, but not a lot and I thank Michele for the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

4 lb. brisket (I didn’t need larger but you can adjust this recipe for whatever size brisket you use)

Lawry’s seasoned salt (I’ve never used this before today but I found out it doesn’t contain MSG, as I had previously thought)

2 large Spanish onions (Karyn uses Vidalia, which is also good), sliced thickly

2 cans of tomato sauce , I used the 16 oz. size. You can also use the 1 can of 28 oz. size. It depends on you and how much sauce you like.

2 tbsp. brown sugar (this is my addition. It doesn’t really change the flavor so much as cut the salt a bit)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I sprinkled Lawry’s seasoned salt on both sides of the brisket (generously) then seared it in the Le Creuset pot with a little vegetable oil–probably about a tablespoon. (After the meat was seared, it shrunk to fit perfectly in my pot but I don’t think that a larger brisket would have fit.) Next, I added the tomato sauce and onions, covered the pot and put it in the oven. I cooked it for a total of 3 hours. I checked on it after each hour, which probably wasn’t even necessary. I then let it cool, off of the heat, for about an hour. Next, I sliced it with an electric knife, which came out beautifully. The meat was soft, but not falling apart at all. I then added the brown sugar to the gravy, put the brisket in a container with the gravy and froze it. I’ll take it out the night before I serve. Karyn pulses her gravy with an immersion blender. I didn’t do this but I think it makes for a good suggestion. In fact, I might still do it next time I make this recipe.  I’ll let you know. Thanks again Michele and Karyn!

Honey Roasted Chicken – Holiday Chicken

DSCN4234DSCN4234this recipe was actually given to me by my daughter, jennifer. she has made it numerous times. always to raves from the family. i am going to make it this year for rosh hashana and it is so perfect for Passover.  it is a delicious chicken dish made with honey so it so appropriate for the jewish new year! sweet and savory as our new year should be! enjoy it.  if anyone out there has some holiday ideas i’d love to hear about them. pay attention to cooking directions as you will not be preheating oven!!!!!!

Ingredients:

1 stick butter or margarine

1/2 cup minced yellow onion

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup Dijon Mustard

1/2 cup mild honey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

a rounded teaspoon curry powder

2 tablespoons peach or mango chutney ( available in most supermarkets)

small handful of dried currants or chopped dark raisins

2 roasting chickens  cut up in 8’s

Directions:

you will need 2 shallow baking sheets with 1 inch rims ( you may be able to get it on 1 large sheet)Spray baking sheets well with cooking spray.

to make sauce:

Melt butter/margarine in a heavy 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. while it is bubbling, saute onion and garlic until softened, about 3 – 5 minutes. add remaining ingredients except for chicken and stir until well combined. heat until warm throughout and set aside to cool slightly.

to prepeare chicken:

I would spray each baking sheet with pam cooking spray first

Rinse and pat chicken dry . (each piece) dip each piece in honey mixture, coating chicken completely. lay chicken pieces ( skin side up) on baking sheets. spoon any remaining sauce over chicken.

To Bake Chicken:

place chicken in a cold oven, turn heat to 400 degrees and bake for one hour. if you are using 2 baking sheets , roast in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and switch shelf positions 1/2 way through the cooking time.

to serve:

Transfer chicken to a warmed serving platter and serve . this chicken is good hot, at room temp. and cold out of fridge the next day.

*if you cannot find peach or mango chutney ( I found it at Whole Foods) Stonewall Kitchen Brand , you can use Peach Jam, Apricot Jam, etc. Probably Saucy Susan would work. Use your imagination and don’t kill yourself trying to find the chutney. I think the chutney would give it a bit more kick, and cut the sweet, but either one will be fine.

Happy Holiday and Have a Very Sweet New Year

Un-Stuffed Cabbage

I guess it’s time to start posting my recipes for Rosh Hashana . Time to think about what we’re going to be making for the Jewish New Year. This is a wonderful addition to your holiday table. Happy New Year and Happy Cooking.

Cooking with Candi

photo 3 (4)photo 2 (2)photo 3 (4)photo 3 (5)photo 4 (3)photo 2I love stuffed cabbage and my Grandmother made the most amazing stuffed cabbage ever . I love stuffed cabbage but do not feel like dealing with the actual stuffing of the cabbage, it is way too labor intensive for me.  I have made several variations of this and found this one to my liking the best. You can play with the ingredients which is what I did . Original recipe is from Kosher by Design and it is perfect for Passover by just leaving out the rice and substituting matzoh meal in its place. Basically this is meatballs in a sweet and sour sauce with cabbage . I doubt very much that Joel would ever eat real “stuffed cabbage” but he liked this. The cabbage cooks down so much that you don’t even realize you’re eating cabbage. I also used 1/2 chicken ground meat and 1/2 beef ground meat , this is entirely up to…

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Clams and Spaghetti–White Sauce

IMG_6366

I made this recipe for the first time back in 2014 and highly recommend it for a quick and delicious meal.IMG_6286IMG_6287 (2)IMG_6283 (2)It is super easy and not intimidating at all. I got the recipe from Jessica’s Seinfeld’s book The Can’t Cookbook even though I know how to cook. 

http://www.doitdelicious.com this is Jessica Seinfeld’s site or you can just buy the book “The Can’t Cookbook”.

Ingredients:

2 dozen littleneck clams

3 cloves garlic

app. 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon blanc. I actually used what I had open which was a Pinot Grigio

1 box spaghetti, you can use any kind of spaghetti you like. I actually had bucatini style in the house so that’s what I used

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

*if you’d like a little heat and you should know your audience because mine didn’t so I put on table for those who wanted to add heat. If you are adding add app. 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

Kosher Salt , to taste. I have to say I added almost no extra salt at all.

You’ll need a large deep pot to cook clams in. I used my Le Creuset Pot.

Directions:

I placed my clams in a colander and I put the colander in a larger bowl in the sink and I filled the bowl with cold water. I let the clams soak for a few minutes, then rubbed with my fingers to dislodge any dirt; then drained the clams. Throw away any clams that remain open or were smashed. ( my clams were pretty clean) I purchased them clean from Whole Foods. Any Fish Store will clean them for you, but always run them through this process to remove any residual sand, etc.

Smash the garlic and chop it . Chop the Parsley. Measure the Wine. Place all your ingredients near to the stove.

Cook Pasta according to directions on box.

Place a large pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Pour in 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil until it heats up and shimmers ( a few minutes) Add chopped garlic to the pot, and cook , stirring , for at least a minute, until you can actually smell the garlic breaking down. Don’t Burn!!!! Now add the wine and the clams and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and you’ll want a fairly high flame, probably medium-high . Cook clams until they open, I probably cooked for about 10 – 12 minutes. Looked so beautiful! Add the parsley and the red pepper now if you’re using. Throw away any unopened clams, they are no good.

Once pasta is al dente and drained I transferred to a large serving bowl and added 1 Tbsp. of Olive Oil to pasta, top with clams. Sprinkle if you’d like a tiny bit of coarse salt now if you feel it needs it. I did not need to add any additional salt or pepper. Adjust to your taste.

Amazing!!!! and did I mention Super Easy!!!!!

Recipes for Jewish New Year–Rosh Hashana

Finished Product Apple Cake

Finished Product Apple Cake

photo 1 (3)

Un-Stuffed Cabbage

DSCN2648DSCN4230DSCN2642DSCN4225DSCN4234photo (2)DSCN4230Summer is the most easy-going time of the year and then along comes the Jewish holidays right on the heels of Labor Day and just like that it is over. Kids are back to school and we’re cooking dinner again and preparing meals. Before you know it,  it’s Thanksgiving! Oh well here we go again, for those of you who have been reading my blog you may have made a lot of these recipes and welcome aboard to the new readers.  I am sort of a traditionalist when it comes to holidays and my family always looks forward to the same things. If I introduce a new recipe it’s always hold your breath time and what was wrong with the old one looks on everyone’s face.  Final decisions haven’t been made but I know that there are some things I’d never leave out. Here is a list of suggestions and by all means cruise through my blog and see if there is anything else to your liking. These are just a list of suggestions. I will be posting a few new ones this week, so be on the lookout. Rosh Hashana recipes are tagged Rosh Hashana if you are trying to look them up on my blog. I may sneak in a recipe or two this week if I can get in the time. So sad summer is over but it’s time to move on .

For those who celebrate have a very Happy Healthy New Year! Shanah Tovah!!

Homemade Chicken Soup with not so Homemade Matzo Balls ( even though this is for Passover we eat it a lot on Rosh Hashana)

Happy New Year Brisket

Unstuffed Cabbage–a great alternative to meatballs

Chicken Marbella

Honey Roasted Chicken

Old School Meatballs

A Noodle Pudding from Ellen

Another Noodle Pudding from Marcy *kosher non dairy

Noodle Pudding with Apricot Nectar–probably one of the all time best kugels ever

Noodle Pudding from Julie

Mushroom Barley

Kasha Varnishkes

Grandma Millie’s Cauliflower

Applesauce and Raisin Cake

Don’t let the Apples go Bad Cake

Julie’s Honey Cake

Plum Torte

My farewell to Norah Ephron- her Tzimmes

Summer Peach Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

It’s Labor Day Weekend and this signals the end of the summer. Let’s enjoy this delicious salad as we enjoy the last weekend of the summer! Be safe and be happy ! And Keep on Cooking with Candi!

Cooking with Candi

It’s the end of the Summer and the Palisade Peaches are here in Colorado along with the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes. It’s a no-brainer salad going on here made with the freshest of ingredients. Fresh Mozzarella is readily available almost everywhere now and grab some fresh basil while you’re at it. This salad worked out well with a few easy ingredients and it packed some super delicious flavor. Hurry to your farmers market or produce store to grab some of these beauties before they’re gone .

*this recipe is for 2-4 but can easily be doubled for more

Ingredients:

1 pint of cherry tomatoes ( I grabbed some heirloom cherry tomatoes)

1 large peach or 2 small (Palisade Peaches here in Colorado have been amazing)

4 ounces fresh mozzarella

1 shallot

some fresh basil–throw in about 8 pieces and add more or less depending on your own particular taste

1 1/2…

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Tequila Chicken

Tequila Lime Orangey Chicken! yum. I love this marinade , it’s full of citrus , spicy and savory. Almost everyone has a bottle of Tequila in the pantry right? I do and I can’t remember the last time I drank it, but I do cook with it. I used gold tequila , but didn’t use a very expensive brand. Be careful with the jalapeno, use gloves. I sometimes leave a few seeds because we like it hot, but remove all seeds if you don’t like it very spicy. This marinade packs a lot of flavor. I always let it marinade overnight. It’s an easy recipe and I make it on the grill mostly in the summer, delicious cold as well used in salad the next day if you have any left over. Original recipe calls for 2 lbs. of chicken, I use the thinner chicken cutlets because I prefer them. Use whatever you like. This marinade is also delicious on chicken on the bone, just use a chicken cut up in 8’s.  I use a plastic bag to marinate the chicken in fridge. Right before grilling, I put chicken on a plate and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and a little freshly ground black pepper, this is important because the chicken needs the salt and pepper.  The original recipe comes from The Barefoot Contessa but I’ve taken liberties with it, thanks again to Ina. I also think that this would be awesome cut in strips and served with salsa , guacamole and some soft tortillas.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup tequila ( I use gold , but use what you have in the house)

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice ( about 5 -6 limes)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice ( 1 – 2 depending on the size of orange, get 2 in the event you need more)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno ( seeded)

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic ( app. 3 cloves)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 lbs . chicken cutlets ( I used boneless, skinless) thin cutlets. You can use whatever you like

Directions:

Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. I used my mini chopper for jalapeno and garlic. Pour over chicken breasts and refrigerate overnight. As I said I put all ingredients in a large hefty ziploc bag.

Heat grill, and spray or brush rack with oil to prevent sticking ( which I always do) Grill the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side ( depending on what kind of chicken you are using) they should have nice marks and be browned. Turn the chicken and cook other side for the same. Remove from grill to a plate. Cover tightly with foil, and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.

Orzo with Lemon Shrimp and Spinach

photoDSCN0367DSCN0363DSCN0372DSCN0384DSCN0390By now you all know how very much we love shrimp. It comes in handy to have an ex-shrimp monger on hand to clean and devein my shrimp. I love cooking it but not so much cleaning and deveining it. Joel not only obtains the best shrimp around but he really does do a great job of cleaning and deveining. ( I think it’s in his DNA) In any event we make a pretty good team when it comes to shrimp dishes.
So now on to this delicious dish. I didn’t feel like grilling and this dish was calling out to me. I saw Giada de Laurentiis make a shrimp scampi on her show and she made it with arugula , it looked so awesome and light I figured I’d do it my way and make it with spinach even though I knew Joel wouldn’t eat the spinach. Our friend Drew was over and he loves spinach so we ate Joel’s spinach, once again it’s his loss. This dish was pretty easy to pull together once shrimp was prepped. Not a whole lot of ingredients, and whole thing took about 1/2 hour.  This dish was very light in flavor and a perfect summer night meal, doesn’t have to be served super hot , can be room temperature. Thanks again to Giada for the wonderfully inspiring recipe.

*once the shrimp is prepared this dish is a snap. Have your fish store clean and de-vein your shrimp for you.

Ingredients:

Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup olive oil

zest of 2 large lemons ( try to use organic if you’re zesting and eating the peel) and scrub those lemons well

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice ( from the 2 large lemons you just zested)

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth and set aside.

Ingredients:

1 lb. orzo

1 lb. shrimp , I used large under 10’s, peeled and deveined  ( you can have fish monger do this )

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 large shallot , chopped

app. 1 more teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup dry white wine ,  ( I used what I had on hand)

6 ounces of spinach , I used baby spinach, use whatever greens you like. Giada used arugula .

Directions:

Cook orzo according to directions. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.

Place shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle with kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper . Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped shallots and cook until soft for a few minutes. Add the shrimp, cook shrimp until they turn pink and are just cooked through depending on the size of your shrimp. When shrimp is cooked through remove the shrimp from the skillet. Increase the heat to high and add the 1/2 cup of wine, allow to boil up and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, cook for another minute or so until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Then add orzo to the pan along with the vinaigrette and the spinach and let it wilt down.  I added most of the reserved pasta water , you’ll use as much or as little as you need, I used whole cup of reserved pasta water. Add the shrimp back in and toss well until all the ingredients are well coated. Serve up and enjoy.

S’Mores Baked in the Oven

IMG_8638IMG_8636IMG_8639 IMG_8641 IMG_8642IMG_8634 IMG_8633 IMG_8632Oh Wow!!! what could be better??? truly easy and very little fuss , perfect with the kids and perfect for the adults. Very rich and gooey. Whole thing takes about 40 minutes from start to finish and you can re-heat the sliced bars in the microwave for about 30 seconds if you have some left-over. It’s great for a large group and I would say about 12-15 servings here. Let’s hold on to the last few weeks of summer with this delicious dessert.

For a very traditional s’mores taste eat immediately, I think they tasted a little better after they cooled down for a bit. Whichever way you prefer them –this is a great recipe for a crowd. You can prepare first and then pop in the oven while you are having dinner. Enjoy!

*also I was able to obtain these amazing square marshmallows in the supermarket, if you see them –grab them otherwise just regular old marshmallows will do the trick.

Ingredients:

Crust:

18 graham crackers

1/4 cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter-melted

*parchment paper — I think you’ll want to work with it for this recipe–it can get difficult once they harden to get them out of pan. Clean up was a snap with it.

Topping:

3 extra-large Hershey Bars (or 7 regular-size ones)

24 jumbo marshmallows–look for the large square ones

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 Pyrex type baking pan with cooking spray and then line with parchment paper , allow an extra couple of inches of paper to hang over the edge.

In the food processor bowl, pulse the graham crackers until they are finely ground. Transfer the crumbs to a medium-sized bowl.

Add the sugar and salt to the graham crackers and stir to combine. Add the melted butter and stir until the crumbs are moistened. Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer.

Bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until the edges turn lightly golden. Let the crust cool off completely before adding chocolate. I probably let it sit off heat for about 1/2 hour.

Arrange the chocolate bars (see picture) evenly on the top of cooled crust, I had to remove 1 row of chocolate to fit it in pan and left a little uncovered crumbs around edges. Arrange the marshmallows on top of the chocolate, leaving a little space between each one (see photos) Marshmallows will expand slightly.

Bake until the chocolate is soft and beginning to melt, and the marshmallows are evenly toasted on top. Probably about 10-15 minutes depending on your oven.

I couldn’t wait to eat them but I would suggest letting them cool off for  a little bit, cutting was easier when it cooled down ( after 15-20 minutes) I was able to cleanly cut slices. It’s more like campfire s’mores when you eat them hot out of the oven and certainly messier.

You can re-heat the sliced bars in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds. If you are keeping them , cut them and store individual slices.