Honey cake with an almond-black tea topping

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Ahh, Honey cake. Such a classic Rosh Hashana taste that has found its way to the mouths of many Jews during this holiday season. Rosh Hashana is just around the corner, and this means a time of reflection, spiritual awakening, and full figured dishes  that contain extra honey, and sugar-yum! I personally have a big sweet tooth, and love baking, so this holiday brings me great pleasure. This time of reflection has also confirmed that playing with spices, textures, and flavors is my go to when I need to bring down my ‘affective filter’ from a  level  8 to a 4. There must be something about the mixing of the dry ingredients slowly to the wet. With each addition a resistance against the spoon is created, and the movement of my body working through the thick, gooey batter helps with the overwhelming thoughts of papers, lesson plans, and graduate school deadlines. Well today was one of those days, and I have to say that this recipe brought down the stress, and heightened the sweet aroma in my house. May this sweetness fill my year to come, and all of yours!

This recipe is very good,  and needs to find its way  to all your Rosh Hashana tables. I do have to thank my friend Danielle for her honey cake recipe, and hope she tries the modifications, and additions I have made to it. The crisp, and sweet almonds on the tops gives the cake added texture and flavor. What can I say, I have always enjoyed adding a little of Zizi to each baking project. 🙂

Cake recipe:
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1cup honey
3/4 cup sugar
1cup black tea
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon

Caramelized Almonds for the topping:
Sugar
Almonds
Cinnamon
Black tea

*
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl add all the wet ingredients, except the tea. You will use the tea to help you mix in the flour. After the wet ingredients are added, mix in the sifted flour and other dry ingredients. Do this slowly, and when the batter gets too think, slowly add the tea*** Make sure the tea is cold. Hot tea will destroy your eggs in the recipe.
Bake the cake for 35-45 minutes. I recommend checking on the cake at the 30-minute mark. Stick a thin stick in the center to check if it is fully cooked.

Topping:
In a small pan add the sugar and almonds on a low heat. Stir occasionally. After a while, when the almonds have gotten toasty, and the sugar begins to crystallize add a few teaspoons of black tea. Once the tea hits the heat of the pan it will dissolve the sugar and help create a caramel crisp. It is important to sprinkle this topping on the cake when you take it out of the oven so that the extra sugar can dissolve and melt into the cake.
Let cool and enjoy!cake

Rum chocolate mascarpone banana muffins

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Ummmm, I know it has been a while.

Do not worry my loyal readers, who I can name on one hand…  I am still cooking and baking, but nothing I felt was worth sharing with you all. That is my story and I am sticking to it!

I am currently on a new solo adventure. It is one that provokes much self-reflection, and growth. I have noticed more than ever now that I do my best baking and experimenting when I am heading towards a new adventure, whether it is with another person or solo. And as predicted, my current  journey has ignited culinary creativity within.

I do have to admit that the inspiration, and force that drove the creativity for this recipe was a woopsie moment caused by a STINKY fridge. Only Jerry Seinfeld would understand (Bad BO in the car). I recently moved into a new apartment and have had a week-long battle with a smelly fridge. This fridge had a horrific odor inside it, and to this day I cannot identify the smell. I did everything to remove the smell…baking soda, coffee, oatmeal, newspaper, mint leaves, lemon juice and soap, vanilla baths- you name it I tried it. Thankfully between my efforts and a detergent my landlord gave me, something conquered the odor from hell. Long story short, the smell is gone, the black bags under my eyes are very present, and I did not think of making sure the fridge temperature was correct- I blame the odor for distracting me. I bought bananas and put them in the fridge, post smell of course. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the cold turned the bananas brown and ripe. I also bought mascarpone cheese for a lasagna recipe thinking it was ricotta- OOPPS!

Welllll, what was any woman going to do with mascarpone cheese, and super ripe/brown bananas… Rum, chocolate, mascarpone, banana muffins of course! This recipe makes a lovely breakfast/ brunch muffin. Add a bit of jam or butter, and enjoy.

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Recipe:

1 ¼ cup sugar

½ cup butter (1 stick unsalted) or ½ cup canola oil

2 eggs

¼ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

3 bananas

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. rum flavoring

1½-cup flour

¼ cup. cocoa powder

¼ cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 tsp. cinnamon to sprinkle on top muffin batter

2 tbsp. mascarpone cheese

pinch of salt

Cream sugar and butter or oil until creamy. Add the vanilla, rum flavoring, bananas, and mascarpone cheese until everything is smooth. Then add the eggs (do not over mix).

After smooth, add the flour, pinch of salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips. Mix and spoon into muffin tins. Then sprinkle cinnamon on top of each muffin.

Bake at a preheated 375* oven for 25 minutes or until fully cooked. (You can check if fully cooked by placing a sharp knife in the center. If it comes out clean, then it is cooked!) Cool and Enjoy!

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Roasted veggie Quiche

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There are certain comfort foods that make a gal smile. A good quiche is definitely one that is on my list. Surprisingly enough, as much as it is simple to make, there are many so-so recipes out there, and  I have had too many horrible slices of  quiche at restaurants..now I never order it because I am always disappointed. Either they are dry, or too eggy, or not enough flavor. This recipe is not only flavorful, but gooey, and super easy. If anyone has been following this blog you will begin to realize that I am all about the woo-factor without the stress-factor in the kitchen!

Roasted Veggie Quiche:

3 zucchini peeled and diced into cubes

1/2 white onion sliced thinly

2 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1/2 cup of cottage cheese

1/4 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, feta, and sharp cheddar was my medley)

5 eggs (2 whole and 3 whites)

pre-made pie crust.

Step one:

Drizzle a roasting sheet with olive oil. Then add the zucchini, onions, salt, pepper and diced garlic. Mix around on the pan so that all ingredients are fully mixed together and all the veggies are coated with the oil. Cook on 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until the veggies cook thru. Discard any burnt pieces.**

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Step two:

Bake the crust half way through. (Oven depends on box instructions)

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Step three:

In a bowl mix the cheeses, cottage cheese, eggs and the veggies (MAKE SURE VEGGIES HAVE COOLED OFF A BIT. IF YOU DON’T, THE EGGS WITH START TO SCRAMBLE IN THE HOT VEGGIES)

Then add the mix to the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Place a knife in the center when checking if done. If it comes up clean then the egg has cooked.

Your end result will be gooey, moist, and packed with flavor from the roasted veggies.

I really hope you all try this recipe. It is easy, and definitely has the woo-factor without the stress.

Enjoy!!!

Z

Jalapeno Chutney Salmon wrapped in Puff Pastry

I find my whole being become more at ease as I stroll back and forth at the farmer’s market through the people, vibrant colors, enticing smells, and let’s not forget the samples!

The  jalapeno chutney, which is the perfect balance of sweet to spicy, is what must get attention in today’s post.

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Tonight’s menu:

Jalapeno chutney Salmon wrapped in puff pastry, broccoli in a cranberry-balsamic sauté, and a tzimis inspired kugel.

Jalapeno Chutney Salmon.

Ingredients:

Chutney

Dried dill

Lemon zest

Salt

Pepper

Frozen puffed pastry

Salmon fillet (remove the skin)

Smoked paprika

1 egg to brush on he pastry dough before baking.

Step one: roll out the puff pastry dough. Before you start, it is very important that the dough is defrosted, but still cold. Once the dough becomes room temperature it will become very hard to handle. Then spread the chutney over the dough.

ImageStep 2: Place the piece of salmon on top and season. Sprinkle salt, pepper, the paprika, the dried dill,  and zest half a small lemon.

Step 3: Wrap the dough around the fish, and brush on the egg wash. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

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So easy. So delicious.

-Z

Muffin Tops

Did you watch 60 minutes this weekend? Well they had a segment on the danger of sugar. My family made sure to call me and discuss the need to cut sugar out of all of our lives. As much as I agree with eating healthy, and am aware of the high rate of obesity, and the studies linking high fructose and refined sugars to heart disease and other health problems, it is very hard to completely cut sugar out of our diets due to the following reasons. 1. Most things we find at the supermarket are processed, and have sugar in it. Even items like crackers, breads and peanut butter have sugar. 2. Some times one just wants a slice of cake.

While I still plan on  enjoying a good piece of chocolate now and then, and even indulging in dessert on occasion, I do feel we all need to be a little more aware of the food we put into our bodies and eat the ‘fun stuff’ in moderation. This anti-sugar, we must go healthy weekend, was an inspiration for the following recipe.

I wanted to create something sweet, but also as healthy as I could without sacrificing taste and ending up with dry, grenade-like, nastiness.  I do have to admit that the intension for this recipe was to make cookies. The end result may have not been a cookie, but something very good and similar to a muffin top without the bottoms…Eat your heart out Elaine Benes!! 🙂

Muffin Tops:

2/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (a great substitute for butter and oil- cuts the fat without sacrificing the moisture)

¼ cup butter

1cup honey

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

3/4 cup flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt (if your butter is salted then do not add salt)

½ tsp cinnamon

3 cups oats

¼ cup

Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl with an electric mixer and then add the dry ingredients. Stir until all incorporated . How easy is that!

On a buttered baking sheet scoop out the batter and roll. Place them on the baking sheet  and pat down a little. Bake for 15-20 minutes on 375. You want them to come out brown on the bttom and still soft in the middle.

Hope you  enjoy!!

-Z

Caramelized scallion and cheddar cheese omlette

Recently I had a lovely girls day with a friend of mine.  As we gals all know, a girl’s day is nothing without a memorable meal to sit and enjoy while discussing life. I had about five minute prep time before my friend popped over, and that meant a fabulous omelette. While some may say eggs are for facactas(Yiddish vocab for  the day. Def: losers), and not impressive, it is the simple recipes executed with pizazz and flavor that can really make the moment special. I made a cheddar cheese, and scallion omelette. Delicious, and easy.. you must try this one.

Ingredients:

2 eggs

2 egg whites

salt and pepper to taste

sauté scallion

margarine (lightly coat pan so eggs do not stick)

cheddar cheese

1 tsp of half and half

Trick: Do not over cook the eggs!

First cook the onions(or whatever veggie you are using) and caramelize nicely, then add the eggs. After you flip the omelette, even if the eggs seem a little underdone, take it off the heat and cover for a bit. It will cook under the lid and not get too tough.(add cheese at the end)

Enjoy

-Z

Drizzle a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper on top of the tomato and avocado salad.

Banana Marble cake

Dear readers,

I woke up this morning and saw that I had waaaay too many brownish bananas in my kitchen. While most people dump the mushy and brown bananas, a true foodie, as I know we all are, knows that at this stage of ripeness these bananas are at their best. It is the funky, soft looking ones that are the sweetest  to add to any baked goodie that calls for bananas. ****Fun fact…when you ever want to reduce the fat and calories in a baking project, substitute bananas for some of the oil or butter asked for in the recipe.

I decided to make a banana cake. Like most of my recipes on this blog, they have to be easy, with a wow and woo factor.  So today, I am going to help you woo… 🙂

Banana –chocolate Marble cake!!!

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup sugar

½ cup butter (1 stick unsalted) or use ½ cup oil…if you are interested in making it a non- dairy item

2 eggs

¼ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

3 bananas (nice and ripe)

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cup flour

¼ cup coco powder(try to use unsweetened, if you only have sweetened, u can use it but  cut some of the sugar the  recipe calls for)

2 tsp cinnamon

 

Preheat oven @ 375*

-Cream sugar and butter until creamy. Then add the vanilla, cinnamon,  and bananas. After smooth add eggs and mix (do not over mix or your cake will get too tough). Then add the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. In a greased pan add ½ of the batter. You will now have the other half of your batter in the bowl…time to add the coco (sifted) to the batter in the bowl, and make the magic happen. Once the coco has been incorporated to the batter with a spatula, it is time to drop it on top of the white batter in the greased pan. With a knife, or toothpick, marble the coco batter into the white batter. This means just drag the knife or toothpick through the batter and make your marbled design…. Super simple

Bake until brown and your knife comes out clean. This can take  from 25-45 minutes baking time.  In my old oven it took 45 minutes, in my new place it takes only 25 so the oven really does change the cooking time.

I hope you try out this recipe. It is simple, and a real crowd pleaser. Go woo!!

 

Enjoy

-Z