Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Passover matzoh kugel with bananas and chocolate chips

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I can't seem to escape the combination of bananas and chocolate. Not even at Passover.

Then again - why would I want to?

Banana chocolate chip bread pudding is a favorite in our house. (By the way, there's a reason I named it Better Than Make-Up Sex Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding. Because it is.)

The matzoh left over from last night's Passover seder got me thinking: Could I make a Passover dessert with bananas and chocolate chips?

Here you go. You can thank me later.

P.S. I made this version dairy, but if you wante a pareve dessert kugel to serve after your seder meal, substitute coconut milk or almond milk for the half-and-half.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Passover Matzoh Kugel
Just like our favorite banana chocolate chip bread pudding - but made with matzoh for Passover. This delicious Passover dessert will get you through a week without bread with no problem at all.
  • 4 squares matzoh
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • whipped cream (optional)
In a large bowl, crush the matzoh into little pieces with your fingers. Warm the half-and-half in a measuring cup in the microwave or in a small pot on the stove until hot but not boiling. Pour over the matzoh pieces. Let sit 30 minutes.To the bowl, add the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the bananas, either slicing them or crushing them with your fingers as you put them in the bowl. Pour in the chocolate chips and stir again.Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.Spray a medium-sized baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour in the matzoh mixture and smooth the top. Let sit in the pan another 15 minutes.Bake the matzoh kugel for 45 minutes, until the edges and top are golden brown and the center is set. Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream if you like.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

California Sunshine breakfast sandwich with pesto and peppers

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For many years I made my boys a hot breakfast every single day.

But as they've gotten older and I've gotten busier, I've left them to their own devices in the mornings more and more.

They're pretty self-sufficient on school days. Neither kid loves cereal, but between leftovers, toast, smoked salmon (the elder), Nutella (the younger), and the Keurig, they do pretty well.

One morning not long ago, I saw my older son rummaging dejectedly through the refrigerator and took pity on him. While he got his stuff together, I threw together a quick open-faced breakfast sandwich: a Stonefire Mediterranean Pocket Pita with pesto, a fried egg, and a quick saute of colored bell peppers. It tasted great and looked even better.

Every time I see this photo it reminds me of mornings in our Santa Monica kitchen: sunny, bright, warm, and cheerful, with a pure golden light that slants in through the southeast windows. Thus the name: California Sunshine Breakfast Sandwich. May it bring sunlight and warmth to all of your kitchens too.

Disclosure: Stonefire sent me their flatbreads to try. I have to tell you - they're fantastic. The pita bread is soft, pillowy, with just the right amount of chew, and it's not dry at all. We also enjoyed the naan and pizza crust, but the pita was the hands-down winner. Other than the free bread, for which my family was very grateful, I got no compensation for this post. We ate the samples faster than I could photograph them. Luckily, Stonefire pita is now available at my local Costco, and possibly at yours too. 

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California Sunshine Breakfast Sandwich
Pesto, a fried egg, and sauteed tri-color bell peppers top a soft pita bread for this delicious breakfast sandwich that looks like California sunshine.
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup mixed color bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 pita bread round
  • 1 Tablespoon basil pesto sauce
  • 1 egg
  • chives, for garnish
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
In a small nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers; cook until wilted and starting to brown around the edges, 3-4 minutes. Put the pepper mixture on a plate.While the peppers are cooking, put the pita in the toaster. Toast until warm and soft. Spread the pita with the pesto sauce.In the same skillet in which you cooked the peppers, crack the egg. Fry the egg until it is done to your liking.To assemble the sandwich, slide the fried egg onto the pita and top with the pepper mixture. Garnish with the chives and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 sandwich

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Blueberry Not Ketchup lamb chops

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Lamb chops take a bath in Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup
Photo: Karen Ard/ FarmToTableLA.com

How do you like your lamb chops? I always want a little sweetness with my lamb, but I've never understood mint jelly. It always makes me think of toothpaste - definitely not what I want with a nice meaty lamb chop.

Lately I've been pairing lamb chops with Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup. Lamb with blueberries may seem unexpected, but trust me: It's a winning combination. The Not Ketchup has plenty of tang (that's the apple cider vinegar, plus the natural acids in the blueberries), which cuts neatly through the fatty mouthfeel of the lamb. And the dusky warmth of the white pepper finishes each bite with a little assertive pinch.

You can use either lamb loin chops or lamb rib chops. Either way, the method is the same: Salt and pepper the meat, brown it on the stove in an ovenproof skillet, brush on a healthy layer of Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup, and stick it in the oven to finish cooking. It's a quick, elegant dinner your family and friends will learn to crave.

Learn more about Not Ketchup, my new line of gourmet fruit "ketchup" sauces, and order online at http://www.notketchup.com. Thanks to fellow food blogger and pro photographer Karen Ard of FarmToTableLA.com for the amazing photos in this post.

Photo: Karen Ard/FarmToTableLA.com

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Blueberry Not Ketchup lamb chops
Seared lamb chops take a bath in tangy Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup, then finish cooking in a hot oven. A quick, easy and elegant main course for your next family meal or dinner party.
  • 8 lamb loin or lamb rib chops
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup, plus more for serving
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Heat a large ovenproof skillet over med-high heat until very hot. Season both sides of lamb chops generously with salt and pepper.Add the oil to the hot skillet and add the lamb chops, with space between. Brown without disturbing for 4 minutes. Turn and brown the other side for 4 more minutes.Remove the skillet from the heat. Using the back of a spoon or a pastry brush, liberally coat the chops with Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. The chops should be cooked through but still slightly pink inside. Note: Lamb rib chops will probably take less time depending on how thickly they're cut, so use your judgment.To serve, remove the chops to a serving plate, spoon a little more Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup over each chop, and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sausage sauerkraut pancakes with Jimmy Dean Sausage Crumbles

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Jimmy Dean, and I am being compensated for creating this recipe. The sauerkraut obsession, however, is mine - for now. I'm warning you, the combination of sausage and sauerkraut may be contagious and highly addictive.

I am obsessed with making sauerkraut.

Do you know how easy it is to make homemade sauerkraut? Cabbage. Salt. Pressure. Time. That's it.

Whether homemade or store-bought, sauerkraut is good, and, many believe, good for you. Google "health benefits fermented foods" and you'll see a long list of articles suggesting that eating naturally fermented foods like pickles and sauerkraut help the digestive and immune systems. (Take a look at this method if you're interested in making your own, although store-bought works perfectly well in this recipe.)

When the nice people at Jimmy Dean asked if I'd be interested in trying their new Sausage Crumbles, my mind went immediately to the perfect combination: sausage and sauerkraut. The spices in the sausage play off the acidic tang of the fermented cabbage. (Think of sauerkraut on a hot dog or a grilled link sausage.)

I've always loved savory pancakes and was inspired by a picture of sauerkraut pancakes from Bon Appetit. I chose Jimmy Dean's Hearty Turkey Sausage Crumbles for this recipe, but you could easily use their other varieties: Hearty Original Sausage Crumbles or Hearty Hot & Spicy Sausage Crumbles. They're sold in the refrigerated section of major supermarkets and I found them extremely flavorful and easy to use - you get to skip the extra step of browning the meat, and there's no messy fat to drain.

Serve these sausage sauerkraut pancakes as a light lunch or dinner. I ate them for breakfast, but that's me. Oh, and that sauce drizzled on top? Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup, of course. Not too sweet, a little spicy, lots of tang - it matched the flavors of the sausage and sauerkraut perfectly.

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Sausage Sauerkraut Pancakes
Savory pancakes studded with chunks of Jimmy Dean fully cooked Hearty Turkey Sausage Crumbles and loaded with tangy fermented sauerkraut. Making your own sauerkraut is easy, but store-bought sauerkraut works fine in this recipe.
  • 2 cups sauerkraut, liquid drained, tightly packed before measuring (homemade or jarred)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose baking mix (I use Bisquick)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 bag Jimmy Dean Hearty Turkey Sausage Crumbles (9.6 ounces)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil, for frying (use more as needed)
  • Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup, for serving
Put the sauerkraut in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Let drain, then squeeze the sauerkraut to get out as much of the excess liquid as possible. To a large bowl, add the sauerkraut and eggs. Whisk lightly with a fork to break up the eggs. Add the baking mix and milk and mix again until everything is combined. Stir in the Jimmy Dean Hearty Turkey Sausage Crumbles, then season the mixture generously with freshly ground black pepper.Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of oil, then spoon 4 pancakes into the skillet, using about 3 Tablespoons of batter for each pancake. Cook until golden brown, then turn the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side. Remove the cooked pancakes to a plate, or to a rack set over a sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining oil and pancake batter until all the pancakes are made.Serve warm with Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: about 16 4-inch pancakes
#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Jimmy Dean. This could include Jimmy Dean providing us with content, product, access or other forms of payment.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup tofu steaks

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The men in my household probably could live on meat alone. But sometimes I need a lighter option and a meat-free meal. They go out for burgers. I eat tofu.

I love a good tofu steak. Searing the tofu gets it crispy on the outside, but the interior stays nice and creamy. But you still need some flavor - which is where the Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup came in. Sweet, tangy and just a little spicy, the Not Ketchup proved the perfect sauce for my seared tofu steaks.

Serve these with brown rice, farro, quinoa, or another healthy grain for a hearty, delicious vegetarian meal.

Want to know more about Not Ketchup, my new line of gourmet fruit ketchups? Click here

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Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup Tofu Steaks
Seared tofu steaks take a bath in Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup in this sweet, tangy, slightly spicy vegetarian entree. Don't worry about the exact size of your tofu blocks - as long as they're the right thickness, it doesn't matter how big they are.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Cut the tofu in half horizontally, so you have 4 pieces, each of which is approximately 4"x4"x1". Put several layers of paper towels on a cutting board and lay the tofu squares on top in a single layer. Cover with more paper towels, then put a sheet pan or another cutting board on top. Weight down the top of the pile with a large can of tomatoes or beans. (This will help draw some of the extra water out of the tofu.) Leave to drain for 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, then lay the tofu steaks in the pan. Cook without moving the tofu for about 2 minutes, until the underside is golden brown and crusty.Flip the tofu steaks and pour over the Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup, spreading the Not Ketchup with the back of a spoon so the tofu steaks are completely covered. Put the skillet in the oven and bake 15 minutes.Remove the tofu steaks from the oven. Serve hot with additional Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup if desired.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings