Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

apple compote

19 Mar

I know this sounds elementary, I mean who doesn’t know how to make compote?  Compote is a dessert which is generally a concoction of cooked fruit with sugar and spices.  It is the staple of desserts.  I don’t think there is a time when I don’t have a container of homemade compote in the freezer.  When my family is full after a meal, there’s always room for compote.  I generally use apples and serve it with a sprinkling of sliced or slivered almonds, but anything goes!  Peaches, pears, rhubarb, strawberries, plums, or a mixture of the above – you name it.  Peel the fruit, slice it and put it in a pot.  Add water about 1/4 – 1/3 way up, put in a handful or two of sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit and how sweet you like it.  You can always add more water and more sugar if needed.  Then add in a few cinnamon stick and let it cook on a low flame for a couple of hours.   With apples, the longer you cook it, the more it will melt into applesauce and even turn pink.  When plums are in season, I add some to the mixture (pitted but not peeled) and the mixture turns a gorgeous magenta color.  Let me know what your favorite compote combination is!


matzah stuffing for chicken or veal

15 Mar

At any given time, I usually have baggies of challah stuffing in my freezer.  I use them to stuff chicken capons, veal breast pockets, and deboned chicken drumsticks.  On Pesach, when I serve my holiday delicacies, I like to have matzah stuffing as a stand-in for my traditional stuffing.


  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 6 square matzahs, broken in 1/2″ pieces
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsely
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Cook onions, celery, and carrots in oil until they begin to brown 8-10 minutes.  Run water over matzah until softened.  Drain water by squeezing matzah between the palm of your hands.  Add 1/2 of the vegetable and the eggs, parsely and spices.  This recipe is enough to stuff 4 cornish hens or 1 veal breast pocket.

Topping for chicken/veal: Puree 1 small onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 Tbsp oil, 2 tsp paprika, 1 1/2 tsp salt, dash of pepper


homemade pesach pickles

13 Mar

As far back as I can remember, my mother has made her own pickles for Pesach.  It was a tradition she got from her mother, no doubt because they did not use Passover vinegar or fresh garlic.  I can’t say that I liked them, so I never continued the tradition.  Her pickles would sit for weeks in the boiler room and then on the window sill throughout Yom Tov.  They were soft and mushy inside (practically alive!) and I stayed far away from them.  Now my brother has experimented with his own version and this is the first year that I am attempting my own jars of fresh homemade pickles for Pesach.


  • fresh dill
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 lbs. Persian cucumbers
  • jalapeno peppers, optional, whole or cut, with or without seeds (wear gloves!)
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • cold water to fill jar
  • If you use kosher for passover vinegar, you can use equal amounts of water and vinegar, and cut down the salt to about 2 Tbsp.


They are quite simple to prepare.  First, I  bought a couple of 8-cup “ball” brand jars with a 2 pc screw on cover.  While preparing the cucumbers, I soaked the rubber part of the cover in hot water.  Start by putting the dill and garlic cloves on the bottom of the jar.  Top with cucumbers and jalapeno peppers.  Pour salt into the jar, fill with water, and tightly screw on the cover.  Store in a cool dry spot for 2-3 weeks.  Store jar upside down for the first 24 hours.  When pickles are to your liking, store in the refrigerator.

note: The pickles were delicious (albeit a bit salty).  By request, I will have to make more next year!!



chocolate covered coconut macaroons

10 Mar

It’s time to pull out the Pesach recipes and plan what to make for the upcoming festival!  This pyramid shaped confection is the first on the list of many recipes which have become a favorite of my friends and family.


  • 3 cups (lightly packed) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup egg whites ( about 6 large)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened) or 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream



Mix first 3 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture appears somewhat pasty, stirring constantly, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.   Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.  Spread out coconut mixture on large baking sheet. Refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Line another baking sheet with parchment.  Press 1/4 cup coconut mixture into pyramid shape (about 1 1/2 inches high).  Place on prepared sheet.  Repeat with remaining coconut mixture.  Bake cookies until golden,  about 30 minutes.  Transfer cookies to rack and cool.

Set cookies on rack over rimmed baking sheet.

Stir chocolate and cream in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.  Mix in remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Spoon glaze over cookies, covering almost completely and allowing chocolate to drip down sides.  Refrigerate until glaze sets, at least 2 hours.

(Can be made 1 day ahead and kept refrigerated in an airtight container, or freeze.)


recipe credit: Bon Appetit Sept 2002

photo credit:


chocolate-honey ganache layer cake

16 Sep

When the newest issue of Fine Cooking arrived at my door, I was amazed at all the Rosh Hashana/Sukkos appropriate recipes.  The chocolate honey cake sounded intruiging.  Although I’m not a huge fan of honey cake in general, I think I like chocolate cake in any form, so I gave it a try.  It is large (10-inch) and impressive.  I can’t wait to present it at the meal and to sample it!

The combination of natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powder, coffee, and mild honey gives this cake an incredibly moist texture and an intense, complex, and very grown-up chocolate flavor. Making the cake layers ahead allows the flavors to develop, and making the ganache ahead gives it time to firm up to the perfect texture for spreading.

Serves 16

  • For the cake
    cooking spray
    2-1/4 oz. (3/4 cup) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
    1-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
    1-1/2 cups hot, strong brewed coffee
    1 cup mild honey, such as clover
    3-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
    1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. kosher salt
    6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
    3/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 cup packed dark brown sugar
    1 cup granulated sugar
    4 large eggs, at room temperature
    3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
    2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • For the chocolate-honey ganache
    1 lb. semisweet chocolate (60% cacao), finely chopped
    2 cups heavy cream
    1/4 cup mild honey, such as clover
    2 oz. (4 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
    3 Tbs. dark rum (optional)
    1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • For the chocolate curls (optional)
    1 thick block semisweet chocolate

Make the cake
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray two 10-inch round cake pans (with at least 2-inch sides) with cooking spray and line the bottom of each with parchment.
  3. Sift both cocoa powders into a medium bowl. Whisk in the coffee and then the honey. Let cool completely.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
  5. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed. Gradually add the oil, beating until combined. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Raise the mixer speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well on medium-high speed after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla, beating just until combined. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture in three additions and the cocoa mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour (scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary). Beat just until combined. Divide the batter between the two pans, using an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Tap the pans once or twice on the counter to settle the batter.
  6. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of each cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool the cakes in their pans on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a knife along the sides of the pans, invert the cakes onto the rack, and remove the pans and the parchment. Let cool completely.
Make the ganache

Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.

Combine the heavy cream and honey in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir with a silicone spatula over medium-high heat until the honey dissolves into the cream, about 30 seconds. Just as the cream comes to a simmer, remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let stand about 1 minute; then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter, rum (if using), and vanilla until the butter is melted and the mixture is glossy. Cool the ganache at room temperature for at least 8 hours. It will thicken as it cools. (The ganache can sit, covered, at room temperature for up to 24 hours.)

Frost the cakeSet one of the cake layers on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup ganache over the surface of the cake. Top with the second cake layer and spread a very thin layer of ganache over the top and sides of the cake to seal in any crumbs. Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set. Spread the remaining ganache evenly over the top and sides of the cake. 

Make the chocolate curlsTo decorate the cake with chocolate curls, if using, soften the chocolate in the microwave on high power for 30 to 50 seconds. Scrape a vegetable peeler firmly down one side of the chocolate block to form thick curls. Put the curls on a plate and refrigerate until they’re firm enough to handle. Scatter over the top of the frosted cake. 

Make Ahead Tips

For the best spreading texture, the ganache should be made 8 to 24 hours ahead. Keep covered at room temperature.
For the best flavor and texture, the cake should be made at least 1 day before serving. To store at room temperature, wrap each completely cooled layer tightly in 2 layers of plastic wrap and store for up to 2 days.
Up to 10 hours before serving, fill and frost the cake. Keep the cake at room temperature, covered with a dome, until ready to serve.
The cake layers can be frozen for up to 2 weeks: Transfer each completely cooled unfrosted layer to a 10-inch cardboard cake round and wrap tightly in 2 layers of plastic wrap, then in foil, and freeze. Up to 15 hours before serving, remove the foil but not the plastic wrap from the cake layers and thaw at room temperature. When completely thawed, unwrap, fill, and frost the cake.
If you plan to travel with this cake, it’s easier to transport if it’s refrigerated, uncovered, until the ganache is firm. To aid transport, assemble the cake on a cardboard cake round and transfer it to a covered cake carrier once it’s firm. When you arrive at your destination, put the cake on a serving plate and allow it to come to room temperature before slicing.

photo: Scott Phillips

my favorite chicken pot pie

16 Sep

Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is from a 1996 edition of Fine Cooking magazine.  I’ve made it several times and always panic if I will be able to find this issue among my stacks of magazines when I need it.  Now, I can relax knowing it is on this site whenever the whim strikes.  Whether you make this recipe to warm you on a chilly winter night or to serve for a Yom Tov meal, this recipe is a winner!
  • One 3-lb. chicken
    3 Tbs. olive oil
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 cups 1/2-inch potato chunks (1 to 2 medium peeled potatoes; I prefer Yukon gold)
    24 pearl onions, peeled and left whole
    2 cups 1/2-inch carrot chunks (2 to 3 medium carrots, peeled)
    1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
    8 mushrooms, halved or quartered
    2 Tbs. chopped assorted fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme); more to taste
    1 cup peas (fresh or frozen and defrosted)
  • For the sauce:
    4 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-salt canned)
    6 Tbs. margarine (as needed)
    6 Tbs. flour
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pastry:
  • 1 package of flaky dough, refrigerated

Roast the chicken and vegetables:Heat the oven to 375°F. Rub the chicken with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and sprinkle generously, inside and out, with salt and pepper.
Toss the potatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, and mushrooms with the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil and the chopped herbs.
Set the chicken upside down in a large flameproof roasting pan and scatter the vegetables around the chicken. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring the vegetables several times.
Remove the chicken from the pan to cool. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and reserve them in a bowl, with the peas. Don’t rinse out the roasting pan.
To make the sauce:
Pour the fat and juices into a measuring cup or gravy separator. Spoon or pour the fat away from the juice; reserve the fat. Add the juices to the chicken stock. Measure out the fat and add enough margarine (if needed) to make 6 Tbs.
Put the roasting pan (which should still have the caramelized bits from the chicken and vegetables) on the stove over medium heat. Pour in the 6 Tbs. of fat and butter mixture; when it’s melted and bubbling, add the flour and stir constantly to make a smooth roux. Scrape up any caramelized remains from the chicken and vegetables. Cook the roux, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and simmer. Continue to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan. Cook the sauce for at least 15 minutes, whisking occasionally, until it’s as thick as heavy cream. Season with salt, pepper, and more herbs to taste.
When the chicken has cooled, pull the meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Cut the meat into small (1/2- to 1-inch ) chunks and set aside.
Assemble the pot pies:Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Choose six 12-oz. ovenproof bowls or one 2-qt. casserole.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lay it on a floured board and roll it out 1/8 inch thick into a 20×16-inch rectangle. Set the dishes (or dish) for the pot pie upside down on the dough and cut around the rims with a knife or pastry cutter. (If you like extra pastry, cut the pastry a little larger than the top of the dishes.) Stack the pastry pieces on a plate, separating each with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Divide the chicken, vegetables, and sauce among the dishes. Lay the pastry on top, pressing along the edge of the dish to seal.
Bake the pies:Blend the egg yolk and parve cream. Brush the mixture onto the pastry with a pastry brush.
Put the pies on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake on the center rack in the 400°F oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the crust is thoroughly browned and puffed. Steam will escape along the edges of the pastry.
Yields six 12-ounce pies, or one 2-quart pie.
nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 1070; Fat (g): 72; Fat Calories (kcal): 61; Saturated Fat (g): 34; Protein (g): 42; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 27; Carbohydrates (g): 64; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7; Sodium (mg): 820; Cholesterol (mg): 255; Fiber (g): 6;
photo: Alan Richardson

onion bialys

10 Jul

This past Sunday I made the most amazing bialys!  It was a fast day and I like to busy myself with food preparation on a fast so that I get distracted from my hunger, and I have something special to serve my family and friends who traditionally join us for the “break fast”.

The bialy originated in the city of Bialystok in Poland.  It is a doughy roll with a flat center and puffy rim,  sprinkled in the center with sauteed onion & poppy seeds.  Most bagel stores make bialys from their bagel dough, and bake it without boiling it, making it a cousin of the bagel.  My homemade version was made with a yeast sponge that sat for over an hour before adding the flour, giving it a bit of a sourdough flavor.  Although I’ve never tasted an “authentic” bialy, I can honestly say that mine was delicious; crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, as artisan bread should be.  Bialys are mostly eaten split open, toasted, and slathered with butter, but we ate them fresh out of the oven with a cream of broccoli soup (compliments of Sarah Lasry,, scrambled eggs, hash browns and salad.  They were awesome!  Today, I had a leftover one for lunch and can’t decide which way I like ’em better!

recipe credit: Lauren Groveman in Baking with Julia
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (malt extract or) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional but recommended)
  • 3 cups high-gluten flour, bread flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour

1.  Pour 1/4 cup of the water into a small bowl, add the yeast and a drop of the sugar and whisk to combine.  Allow the mixture to rest until the yeast dissolves and turns creamy, about 5 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, melt the shortening in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute until softened, about 3 minutes.  Scrape the onions and the melted shortening into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the remaining 2 cups water, sugar, and the black pepper, if using.

3.  Add the creamy yeast to the mixing bowl, making certain that the temperature of the ingredients already in the bowl doesn’t exceed 110 degreees F;  if the mixture’s too hot, give it a few minutes to cool before proceeding.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in a steady stream, mixing until the flour is incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl and paddle with a rubber spatula and remove the bowl from the mixer.

4.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the sponge rise at room temperature for 1 and 1/4 hours.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup minced yellow onions
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • The sponge (above)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 cups (approximately) high-gluten flour, bread flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour

1.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions and poppy seeds until the onions are soft, 3 to 5 minutes.  Season with pepper and let cool.

2.  Brush the inside of a large mixing bowl with some of the oil; set aside.  Reserve the remaining oil for coating the top of the dough.

Mixing and Rising

1.  When the sponge is fully risen, return the bowl to the mixer.  On low speed working with the paddle or dough hook, beat in the salt and as much flour as needed to make a dough that cleans the sides of the bowl.  Increase the speed to medium and knead for 3 to 5 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead briskly until the dough is smooth and elastic.

2.  For the dough into a ball and transfer it to the oiled mixing bowl.  Brush the top of the dough with a little oil, over the bowl with greased plastic wrap, and top with a towel.  Let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.  If you’ll be baking the bialys on a baking or pizza stone,m preheat it too and generously dust a peel with cornmeal; set aside.  If they’re going on baking sheets, brush the sheets with vegetable oil (or spray them) and dust them with cornmeal.  Dust two kitchen towels with cornmeal.  (to create steam in the oven, you’ll be tossing ice cubes and water onto the oven floor.  If you don’t think your oven floor is up to this-it can be tricky witha gas oven-put a heavy skillet or roasting pan on the oven floor and preheat it as well.)

Shaping the Dough: Divide the risen dough in half; work with one piece of dough at a time, keeping the other piece covered.  Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.  Work with one piece of dough at a time, keeping the others covered with a towel.  Shape the dough into a round and flatten the center to create a thick 1/2-inch wide rim.  Prick the center of the bialy with the tines of a fork and transfer it to a cornmeal-dusted towel or pizza peel; cover with another towel while you shape the other 5 bialys.

Prick the center of each shaped bialy again and transfer to the prepared baking sheet or peel.  Spoon a little of the onion-poppy seed filling into the center of each bialy and prick again to flatten.

Baking the Bialys: Put 4 ice cubes in a cup and add 1/4 cup cold water.  Put the bialys into the oven and immediately toss the ice cubes and water onto the oven floor (or into the hot pan).  Immediately close the oven door to trap the steam.  Bake the bialys for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 450 degrees and bake for 5 mnutes more.  Transfer to a rack to cool.  Brush off the baking stone, if necessary and return the oven to 500 degrees.

While the first batch is baking, cut and shape the remaining bialys.  Then bake them as you did the first batch.  If you have 2 ovens, as I do, you will be able to bake 6 bialys in each oven at a time (that’s all my pizza stone would hold).

Storing: Bialys are best the day they are made.   You can freeze them as is or sliced in half and wrap airtight.  The bialys will keep in the freezer for a month and can be popped into the toaster directly from the freezer.


may, time to start a rumpot

16 May

I’ve wanted to do this for years, and finally, amidst the frenzied activities of pre-Shavuos cheesecake baking, I bought a crock and and a flat of strawberries to start a rumpot.  The push to make one actually came from a local farm which reminds me daily through social media, that it is strawberry picking season.  But it is 25 minutes away and the hours are 9-3 and I just can’t seem to get there during these busy work days.

A rumpot (or rumtopf) is a crock which is used to preserve summer’s fruit and berries in a delicious way so you have them throughout the year as an accent to desserts such as compote, pound cake, ice cream, and cheesecake.  The recipe for sour cherries which I’ve made with success for several years now, preserves the cherries in (95%) alcohol, while the berries in the rumpot are preserved in light rum.  The idea of adding fruit as you go, and making your own mix of favorite fruit and berries is very exciting, because there’s somewhat of a surprise element in that you never know how the final mix will turn out.

To start your rumpot, you will take any fruit or berry which is ripe to eat (start with one kind), and toss it in an equal weight of sugar.  I am starting my rumpot with strawberries. After washing them (for bugs) and taking off the green tops, I weighed the fruit and then weighed an equal amount of sugar, and tossed it with the fruit.  Then I put it in the crock and covered the fruit with light rum.  It is important to put a plate or other weight on the fruit & close the lid tightly as rum can evaporate and it is imperative that all the fruit be submerged at all times.  As the fruits and berries of summer ripen and come into season, you can add them to the rumpot in the same way – by tossing with an equal weight of sugar, adding them to the crock and adding rum to cover.

After making your additions, keep the crock in a cool, dark place until October or November.  Enjoy ladeling the fruit over desserts or drinking the delicious liquor of the fruits of your labor.



amazing banana nut roll

09 May

Amazing Banana Nut Roll

I love bananas in any way, shape or form.  To paraphrase a childrens’ book “I can eat them here or there, I can eat them anywhere!”  After I tried this cake many years ago, I misplaced the recipe and went to great lengths to get another copy. (I finally found it in the library, where they keep magazines on file for quite a while.)  This cake is a favorite of my sisters’, and I know that she would welcome a piece any day!

In this cake, the jellyroll and the filling are baked together and then they are rolled together. A thin icing is then spread over the cake.


  • 11 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. Lightly grease a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan (cookie sheet). Line bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl. Beat with the paddle attachment of your mixer on medium until smooth. Add whole egg and milk; beat until combined. Spread in the prepared pan; set aside.
  4. In a small mixer bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla on medium speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, beating till sugar is dissolved. Stir in banana and nuts.
  5. In a clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Slowly add the 1/2 cup sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Do not over beat.
  6. Fold yolk mixture into egg whites. Sprinkle the flour mixture evenly over egg mixture; fold in just until blended.
  7. Carefully spread the batter evenly over the filling in the pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.
  8. Immediately loosen the cake from sides of pan and turn out onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully peel off paper. Starting with narrow end, roll up cake using towel as a guide. (Do not roll towel into cake.) Cool completely on wire rack.
  9. spread top with cream cheese frosting. If desired, drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Cream cheese frosting: In a small mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 oz cream cheese, softened and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beat with a mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1 cup unsifted powdered sugar. Beat in enough milk (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make a frosting of spreading consistency. Makes about 1/2 cup frosting.

Makes 10 servings.

recipe credit: Better Homes & Gardens

photo credit: kitchenchatter


chicken, lemon & olive stew with saffron couscous

09 May

I very seldom do this, but one day when my daughter and son-in-law were coming for supper, I decided to make the entire menu of a column in Fine Cooking Magazine (no. 96).   I made the chicken stew, saffron couscous, arugula salad with almonds and even the ginger creme brulee.  It was all outstanding and this recipe has become a favorite dish in our house – so  much so, that my 11-year old, Yitzy, requested this for dinner on his birthday.  It is a large recipe and easily feeds a crowd of ten to twelve.  Its’ Moroccan flavors lend a homeyness to the dish while infusing the entire house with delicious aromas during cooking.

Fine Cooking Magazine No.96

Chicken, Lemon & Olive Stew


  • 6 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 25)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 Tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 small dried red chiles, crumbled
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 quart low-salt chicken broth
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 4 lemons (you won’t use all the juice)
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cup small pitted green olives



Season chicken all over with 2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. pepper. Heat the oil in an 8-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, brown the chicken all over, about 3 minutes per side, transferring each batch to a plate or bowl.  It’ll take about 4 batches and 24 minutes total to brown all the chicken.  The bottom of the pan will be brown, that’s OK.
Reduce to medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are softened and golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, chiles, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the chicken broth, lemon zest, and 1/2 cup of the lemon juice. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot. Stir in the chickpeas and olives. Increase the heat to medium high and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes more.  Stir in 1 Tbsp. of the remaining lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over the Saffron Couscous.

Saffron Couscous
3 cups (1.5 lbs) couscous
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 Tbs. margarine
1/2 tsp. saffron threads, crumbled
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Put the couscous in a large bowl, set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the chicken broth, butter, saffron, and 1 tsp. salt over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and the broth is hot. Pour the mixture over the couscous. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap until the liquid has been absorbed by the couscous, 10 min. Drizzle with olive oil then using a fork, gently mix the couscous and break apart any clumps.