Easy Mushrooms in Garlic Butter

There used to be this steak restaurant that served steak and beer and that was it. The only sides they had at the time were baked potato or mushrooms. You would walk into the restaurant and all you could smell was this amazing smell. Later, I learned it was the smell of their mushrooms sautéing in a garlic butter sauce that was filling the room.

Now that I eat only Kosher food, I still crave some things from the past and this is one of them. I think I’ve perfected the flavour and honestly it’s so simple. It’s always those easy things that end up being awesome.

Ingredients:

1 pint sliced fresh mushrooms, stems removed,

1/4 cup of butter

3 cloves of minced garlic

Place everything in a pan and stir on medium heat until the mushrooms are sautéed.

That’s it. Seriously. That’s it. I serve this with breakfast and if I want it with meat, I change the butter to a non dairy margarine or canola oil. The butter brings this recipe to the level you want though. It’s just so good.

-Chaya

Puff Pastry Schnitzel

I haven’t been feeling well. 2 weeks ago I was bitten by some insect and had a bad reaction. I ended up in hospital for a week and this is Canada…we don’t keep people in hospital ever…unless it’s bad.

So I’ve been having trouble making the meals. I can’t stand for long periods of time etc. This week for Shabbos I came up with this recipe for phyllo schnitzel. I used to make this by cutting up the schnitzel into bite sized strips and then covering each strip with a piece of puff pastry (like wieners in a blanket) but today I just couldn’t. If you want something that presents well that you can serve on a tray, do it that way. This way worked well for me right now and took only 35 minutes to bake. Hope you enjoy it. The result looks awesome.

Ingredients:

4 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken

Honey mustard

Puff pastry dough squares

Garlic powder

Pepper

Take the chicken pieces and sprinkle with garlic and pepper

Place two squares together and roll out to make a rectangle.

Place one piece of chicken chicken on one side of the pastry dough and on the other half smear with a thin layer of mustard

Seal the pastry dough and tuck the ends under so it looks like a pocket.

Repeat with the other three piece until you have four pastry pockets.

Place on an oiled 9×11 pan. Cover with egg wash and sesame seeds

Bake for 35 minutes at 375F or until pastry is golden. Serve warm.

If you have any questions about this one, just ask.

Chaya

Why I Started Food Blogging

Let’s face it…everyone is blogging about food today. It’s all over Instagram and Pinterest. Food is the in “thing” now. Why does the world need another food blogger? Unless you are doing something different, there really is no point.

I went to university for biomedical engineering and honestly, being a personal chef and food blogger was the furthest from my mind. In the end, that did not bring me happiness. If anything, I was extremely lonely and often sad.

My mother didn’t have a degree and all she wanted for her kids was for them to go to university. Maybe it was some sort of proof that her family succeeded in this “new country”.

Now, everything that I hold onto to survive are things I learned from my mother’s mother….my grandmother who lived with us. She couldn’t even read when she came to Canada, but she could take anything from the fridge and turn it into a huge meal. Her culinary skills were beyond. Her skills were goals.

It’s that form of genius that has taught me modern day happiness. My grandmother was always giving of herself through her food.

During one of my conversations with a friend, we were talking about food as we always do. Isn’t it the “safe” subject to talk about though? Not a mention of another person or hurtful word is involved. She pointed out that all I talked about was food. That’s when I realized that “food” was my passion. It excited me. It was what I thought of when I woke up. Planning my “creations” (as my family coined my recipes) was what I was always focused on.

That’s why I started blogging. This blog is filled with my history and food passions. My recipes are a reflection of who I am as a person. They are how I show my love to my child. Food makes me happy. If everyone in the world is writing a food blog, that’s fine. I am only here to share myself with you and for me there’s no better way then through food.

Let me know your thoughts on food blogging and what brings you here. I’d love to hear from you.

Potato Kugel as seen above:

5 medium potatoes

1 large onion

1/2 cup canola oil

3 checked eggs

1/2 tsp salt

Dash of garlic powder

Dash of pepper

Peel vegetables and cut into quarters. Place into food processor with S blade. Add other ingredients and pulse until everything is smooth. Pour into 9″ round pan or square pan. Bake for one hour at 375F. Makes a soft, yummy kugel.

-Chaya

Easy Couscous Salad

Couscous is an amazing pasta. It was developed in Israel back in 1950s when they couldn’t get rice. The roasted semolina wheat gives it a sort of nutty flavour. I love it. It’s so adaptable to so many dishes. It can be served hot or cold…as a dairy or meat side…and it’s super easy to prepare.

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted pearl couscous

2 cups boiling water.

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

1/2 red diced red pepper

1/2 red onion

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp Kedem Red Wine Vinegar

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt to taste

Instructions:

Place couscous in heated pan with 2 tbsp of canola oil and fry until couscous is coated and a bit translucent. Add boiling water to pan. Cover pan and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Stir every so often so it doesn’t clump. Take off heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.

Empty couscous into a serving bowl. Dice onion, red onion, pepper and slice cherry tomatoes in half. Add to couscous. Add oil, vinegar and salt to taste. Serves 4.

Any questions…just give me a shout

Chaya

http://www.instagram.com/kosheriffic

Quick Beet Salad

Quick summer salads are a must for you right now. During the last meal on Shabbos, all I serve is salads and I always have beet salad as one of them. It’s great after a heavy lunch meal. You can prepare it the day before and have it handy in the fridge for those niblers who are never “full”.

You can also bring this one to a picnic, tailgate party and family BBQ. It’s great cold and at room temperature.

Ingredients:

1 14 oz can sliced beets, drained

1 tsp dill weed

1 tbsp Kedem wine vinegar

1 tbsp diced red onion

Sea Salt to taste

Directions:

Drain beets and add to bowl. Drizzle vinegar over top. Add dill weed and red onion. Sprinkle sea salt to taste.

People don’t think of beets as a salad that often, but they are refreshing. I hope you try this one.

Any questions, send me a shout!

Chaya

http://www.instagram.com/kosheriffic

Cherry Shiraz Duck

People are often afraid to cook duck. This one isn’t that hard. It’s inspired by Jamie Oliver and I tweaked the juice with Cherry Shiraz Preserve

The average guide to cooking duck is 20 minutes for each pound at 350F. Scoring a duck is important because it allows all that extra fat to run out and into your pan. That’s no worry, because you will take it out half way through, drain the fat and save it in a nice mason jar with your favourite herb (I added poultry seasoning to my jar…but fresh rosemary sprigs would be great). Use the fat anytime when frying onions or add to cholent.

Ingredients:

Duck:

One duck (4-5 pounds)

2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

Dry contents of 1 orange pekoe tea bag

Olive oil

Cherry Shiraz Gravy:

1 jar Tishbi Cherry Shiraz Preserves

Three cloves garlic

Three small red onions cut in quarters

2 medium carrots cut in 3 inch long chunks

1 cup steeped orange pekoe tea (Note: throw out the bag when done and use the tea)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F

Score the top of your duck in a cross cross fashion with a sharp knife. Drizzle some olive oil on top. Mix all spices including tea leaves and rub all over duck (including legs, wings and underneath) It should look like this:

Place into 9×13″ pan and pop it into the oven uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350F

Take out and drain all the duck fat into a mason jar as described above. Add garlic, onions and carrots to the bottom of the pan making sure they are covered with a bit of duck juice. Turn duck over with breast down this time placing it on top of the veggies and re-insert duck into oven for 45 minutes. For 5 lb duck add 15 minutes.

Take the duck out and let it sit.

Cherry Shiraz Gravy:

1 7.7 oz jar Tishbi Cherry Shiraz Preserves

1 cup steeped orange pekoe tea

Cooked onions, garlic and carrots from duck

3 tsp flour

1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger

Instructions:

Remove duck from pan and set it onto a clean platter or plate, leaving cooked veggies in the bottom. Place pan onto your stove element.

(Transfer veggie mixture to a stove top skillet if you can not place your pan directly on your element)

Sprinkle flour around pan and blend it with veggies

Add tea, Tishbi Cherry Shiraz Preserves and ginger to pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. This will give you a chunky gravy.

Serve your duck on a board. It’s not something you daintily slice. You will tear it apart with two forks and dip the pieces in the gravy. (You can always tear the pieces off the duck and put it in a serving bowl, mixing it with the gravy).

This is a great Friday night meal. Serves 4. The average kosher duck is $25 and we had pieces left over for our Shabbos day meal.

You can find “Tishbi’s Cherry Shiraz Preserve” at Fruit of the Land Store in Toronto. It’s worth it for this recipe. When I opened the jar, the smell was like heaven. The mix of cherries and Shiraz added the right flavour to this spicy duck. It blends with the ginger and garlic to give everything a extra kick. (#sponsored)

Let me know if you have any questions

Chaya

Healthy Breaded Chicken

It’s super hot in Toronto right now and everyone is thinking picnics and family get togethers. Why not bring along this simple, healthy breaded chicken to the party?

I made my own bread crumbs (inspired to do so by @raizyscookin on Instagram) by putting left over bread (that was on the verge of going stale) on a cookie sheet. I sprinkled them with garlic powder and salt and turned the over to 200F. I let them bake until they were hard (it took mine 1/2 hour but depending on how much you have on your pan it could be less. (Watch them that they don’t burn but dark brown is fine because they are just bread crumbs). When they were hard I crumbled them into a food processor and pulsed until finely ground. I ended up with enough crumbs to fill a litter container. You can always buy your own breadcrumbs and skip the step

Now onto the chicken:

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken cut into 8ths

Canola oil

Bread crumbs

1 tsp Garlic

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Pepper

Directions:

Wash the chicken and lay it bone side down onto a 9×13″ foil baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Take canola oil and drizzle onto each piece of chicken

Sprinkle bread crumbs over chicken so that they are completely covered

Sprinkle spices over chicken

If you find it looks too dry, you can add a little more canola oil over the bread crumbs but not too much. You don’t want the pan swimming in oil…you just want it to cover the chicken.

Put into 400F preheated oven uncovered for 1 hour.

Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. The chicken will be crispy and flavourful. It will taste like you deep fried it without the deep frying.

Have fun experimenting with the spices. You can add what you like to your chicken and if you have any questions, just let me know.

Thanks

Chaya

Follow me on Instagram Kosheriffic

Veggie Tuna Salad

I am not one who beats myself up after eating cheesecake because honestly, I love the stuff. There has to be a balance in what you take into your body in terms of fats and calories though. That’s why I love easy, summer salads as a go to after the cheesecake weekends.

This tuna salad is easy and is so light. It presents well and even kids love it. You can have it at a BBQ as well. Add hard boiled egg if you like. I kept mine simple:

Ingredients:

2 cans tuna in water

1 stalk of celery

1/2 red pepper

1 tbsp mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cucumber

Thoroughly wash vegetables and dice. Prepare tuna by draining water and mashing with the back of a fork until completely flakey. Add mayonnaise and vegetables. Serve on plates with sliced cucumber. 4 servings.

Charcuterie Boards

With any holiday time, it’s always nice to have guests. I love the idea of making charcuterie boards for a lunch meal. They are super easy to prepare, and they look gorgeous when they are done. You will be the trendy chef when you present it to everyone. I made the one above as a meat board. You can totally change this up to cheese by replacing the various meats with various cheeses. Everything else should stay the same

Here’s some ideas I used. Anything really works. You can get several boards and put them across the middle of a table as well.

Breads:

Sourdough loafs

Baguette

Pitas cut into small triangles

Meats:

(Count 6 ounces per person)

Torpedo salami (beef and chicken)

Meat slices

Fruits:

Blueberries

Grapes -red and green

Cherry tomatoes

Dried apricots

Crackers:

Any artisan cracker looks good, like ones with cracked wheat or seeds

Condiments:

Serve these on the board in ramikens or off to the side

Gherkins

Black olives

Green olives

Dijon mustard

Dill dip

Mayonnaise

Hummus

Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is day 2 of my sourdough starter and it was ready for use. I think the all purpose flour was lighter than the whole wheat and so it rose easier. There are so many recipes for sourdough bread out there. I used one that called for 2 and 1/3 cups of starter. The problem with this was I was left with 1/2 cup of my starter. Solution: I just added two cups flour and two cups water to the starter…returning it to my counter. I’m not phased by doing this again.

Not going to lie here…making this bread is a JOB! Today my son went out (I homeschool him) so I had a day free and this was a perfect time to be doing this.

So many steps to making this but the end result is SO worth it! The crust was crisp and the inside airy. The flavour was that of a restaurant artisan bread. You know when you go out and say, “This is why I’m paying for this meal!” When you taste their bread and it’s so good. That’s how this bread turned out.

Ingredients:

2 and a 1/3 cup of sourdough starter

5 cups of all purpose flour

1 cup water

1 tbsp non iodized salt

Directions:

This is where is gets tricky. This dough can not be put into a mixer or you will kill it. When you first combine all the ingredients, it’s a sticky mess (like play dough gone wrong). Continue to combine with a spatula. Then fold the dough upon itself (take one side of the dough and bring it down to the over side with your hands) This is like kneading, but you aren’t using your knuckles. You continue to do this over and over again until the dough stops beings sticky. If it’s too sticky, gradually add some flour and fold some more until the dough is smooth. It should look like this:

Rest the dough for thirty minutes and then fold it three times again. You will do this every thirty minutes 4 times which means 2 hours has passed.

This is when you can let the bread rise. Form the dough into two round balls by tucking the dough underneath and place the good end facing down on a floured tea towel. I took the flour and actually moved it around into the towel. Then cover with siran wrap and let sit 4 hours.

(I didn’t have a Dutch oven, but they are what works best for this bread.)

Take a cookie sheet and place it in the bottom rack of your oven, filling it with an inch of water while it’s in the oven. Don’t try to carry a sheet of water to your oven…you will fail. Turn your oven to 400F

Take your bread from the tea towel and roll it onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. The dough should be covered with flour. Take a sharp serrated knife and score the top of your loaf. I just made a straight line done the side.

Cover the dough again with a towel and let rise for a half an hour. This bread doesn’t get big like regular bread, but it does grow.

After the half hour, place it in the oven at 400F for 50 minutes- 1 hour. Do not open the oven or you will let the steam out.

Take out the bread. It will feel hard when you tap it. Let it rest for one hour before slicing.

This recipe makes 2 loaves.