Monthly Archives: March 2017

How about an Everything Bagel Salad to get you through the week?


For days when you are missing your weekend bagel, how about an everything bagel salad to get you through the week? It’s getting close to the weekend and you’re craving an everything bagel with cream cheese. What’s a girl to do? Turn it into a salad of course! Why an everything bagel salad? There are a few reasons: I love everything bagels, I love salads filled with everything but the kitchen sink, it gets me ready for the weekend without all the guilt of a bagel on a weekday and I happen to have a jar of everything bagel seasoning in my house impatiently waiting to be sprinkled on EVERYTHING!

Here is how it all started… I was in Trader Joe’s a couple of weeks ago scanning their new food section for a great new find. If you are a Trader Joe’s junkie like me, you totally get this. There on the shelf was a jar of Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend (try to say that 5 times fast!). First of all, the label was adorable and really caught my eye. Second, I don’t know why I got so excited, but I did; ideas were flooding through my head on what to use it on. I bought 2 jars and posted a photo on Instagram immediately proclaiming my excitement for this new and wonderful treasure I found. Since then, I have topped challah rolls with it, used it on salmon before grilling, sprinkled it on green beans and of course my husband added it as a booster to his already everything bagel with lox and cream cheese! Ooh, I just thought of how great it would be on avocado toast – I’m so going to have to try that!


Not familiar with the everything bagel (click here to find out more)? The only thing you need to know about an everything bagel is it is the quintessential NY bagel. Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced onion, minced garlic and coarse kosher salt – that’s it. Five simple ingredients become a game changer to the average bagel; in this case the average salad. There must be a lot of fans out there for type of bagel since it has its own jar of seasoning mix on the shelf. I found it at Trader Joe’s, but King Arthur also has a great mix you can buy online. I’ll also share my recipe at the end so you can make your own at home. Every now and then you will come across an everything bagel with caraway seeds – I’m not a fan and think it should stay in rye bread where it belongs!

Here’s my favorite way to eat a bagel… Unless it’s fresh and hot out of the oven (which only happens in NY) I lightly toast it and then scoop it so there is less bread and you can add more toppings. Then of course there is the cream cheese, but not just any kind of cream cheese, for me it has to be vegetable cream cheese (follow this link for my recipe). Lox is a perfect addition and a couple of thick slices of a crisp tomato. Is your mouth watering yet?


Now for the salad… I love a really good salad and I’m hooked on making salads fun and interesting. For me, a salad is at its best when there are a lot of goodies in them other than an overwhelming amount of lettuce. I like to think of the lettuce as the bread or bagel in this case, which holds a sandwich together. The lettuce will be the anchor here.

When I first set out to make the salad I thought of all the components from toppings to the base.  I knew the calories and carbs would be a fraction of what you get from a bagel, plus I wanted to keep all of the satisfaction. The fun of it is you can customize it to what you like on your bagel i.e. salad! If you love whitefish, buy smoked whitefish or smoked trout and top your salad with that. If you like capers, hard-boiled eggs, and onions, throw them in too.


For this salad, I deconstructed the vegetable cream cheese and made the ingredients the toppings: radishes, carrots, and scallions. Of course, I had to include salmon in some way but didn’t think lox was the way to go, but if you try it, let me know how it is. I’m more of a baked smoked salmon girl anyway, which is difficult to find in Columbus. I decided on a piece of fresh salmon. I topped it with everything seasoning then seared it in a pan. Hard-boiled eggs also make an appearance in my salad for a few reasons: I love them, they are perfect on a bagel, and they go great in a salad!

It’s a very quick salad to put together as well. As the salmon was cooking, I assembled the other ingredients. I shredded some romaine lettuce, crushed up some everything bagel chips, added some goat cheese for that cream cheese texture and really good flavor. It was all coming together and I couldn’t be happier.

There you have it, a salad to get you ready for the weekend and for you diehards, a salad you can bring to work on Monday. Enjoy!

Ingredients for one salad
1 ½ cups shredded romaine lettuce
8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 carrot grated (½ cup)
1 to 2 perfect hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters
2 to 3 radishes sliced very thin
2 scallions sliced into thin rounds
1 ounce goat cheese
8 everything bagel chips broken into pieces
Dill (optional)
4 ounce salmon filet
everything bagel seasoning

Lowfat ranch dressing of your choice

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine the shredded romaine and next 8 ingredients. Arrange it nicely in the bowl by layering it, or placing the vegetables together.

For the salmon, rub it with about a teaspoon of olive oil, sprinkle the everything seasoning on both side then place it in a hot pan on medium heat. Cook about 4 to 5 minutes per side or until your desired doneness. Then add the cooked salmon on top of the salad.

For the salad dressing, I used a package of Concord Foods Ranch dip (which I find in the produce area of my grocery) mixed with a container of Breakstone’s reduced fat sour cream (nonfat plain Greek yogurt would work as well) plus one tablespoon of Hellman’s mayonnaise. Then I add water until is pour-able but not too thin. I am always on the lookout for a good ranch dressing in a bottle, but they all have msg in them. I like this brand because it does not contain monosodium glutamate (msg) and I can use a very low fat base. And yes, I do know this is a lot of dressing for one salad, but I think you’ll be making it again and again, so you might as well have dressing on hand! Of course, you can buy any kind of creamy dressing you like for this. Pour dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

How to make your own everything bagel seasoning (feel free to play around with this ratio)
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds*
2 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1 tablespoon minced dried garlic
1 to 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt (this is optional if you don’t like salt, omit)

Mix it all together and store in a small jar until you are ready to use it.

*Use 2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds   if you can’t find, or don’t want to use the black.

 

 

 

Hamantashen Ice Cream Sandwich… It’s A MATCH!


Hamantashen + Ice Cream = The most delicious Hamantashen Ice Cream Sandwich… IT’S A MATCH! Everyone calm down, I’m not a real matchmaker; I’m more of a food matchmaker. I guess I could start with a corny joke like a hamantashen and a scoop of ice cream walk into a bar, yada – yada – yada… ba dum bump! But I can feel my family start to twinge, so I’ll put my comedic career on hold for a little while.

Yes, you heard me right and oh yes I did put ice cream in the middle of my hamantashen! I hear you all out there judging me, with your “Oh no you didn’t.” But, oh YES I did. I know hamantashen can be a rich cookie with it’s pie filling, and chocolate but when you stop and think about it for a minute, it really sounds good doesn’t it? We put ice cream on pie. Isn’t hamantashen just a triangular little pie? Plus, didn’t 2016 bring us the babka ice cream sandwich from Russ and Daughters? And, what about the black and white cookie ice cream sandwich I recently saw on Instagram? If you ask me, hamantashen was just waiting for its turn to be asked to the dance. Hamantashen and ice cream, let’s tango!

So how did I decide to make an ice cream sandwich using hamantashen? This happy union came about after trying a new hamantashen recipe this year. On Tuesday, the hamantashen softened up a bit because of the cherry pie filling. When I ate one, something just screamed out “HEY, HOW ABOUT A LITTLE ICE CREAM WITH THAT?” See what I did there with the caps? Obviously the trick is to have the right dough and filling for it. If you read yesterday’s post, you know I have tried quite a few different recipes in my time so you can trust me on this. For example, I make a cream cheese dough which tastes similar to rugalach, ice cream would not be a good match for that.

This recipe is adapted from the 2nd Avenue Deli Cookbook. It’s a hamantashen that definitely stands alone. When it is first baked, it is crisp on the outside and tender on the inside and is absolutely delicious. On the second day, when it softened a bit, the addition of ice cream put it over the edge. Plus, I don’t know about you  but I absolutely love anything with almonds in it, and this has a double dose. I hope you will try this with your favorite ice cream and let me know what you think!  Happy Purim everyone! Enjoy!
The recipe makes 4 dozen cookies using a 3” round cookie cutter, or 24 ice cream sandwiches

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup finely ground almond flour* (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
3 extra large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 stick softened unsalted butter (or margarine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
sanding sugar
egg wash**
Cherry pie filling (or other pie filling of your choice)

Good quality ice cream
Sliced almonds (I used honey toasted almonds from Trader Joes)
Chocolate or caramel sauce (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)

Directions
In a large blow, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add the almond flour and mix well then set aside.

In another large bowl, cream sugar and butter with mixer until blended. Add eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and mix well. Add the almond and flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides. If the dough is sticky, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough until it no longer sticks to your fingers. I did not do this step; I found the dough fine and then wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight. The original recipe says you can bake it without refrigerating first.

When you are ready to bake, position the racks to the upper and lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Roll the dough to a thickness of about 3/16”. My trick is to use paint sticks you get at the hardware store. I cover them with plastic wrap and use them as guides. I like that better than the rings you can put on your rolling pin. Using a 3” round cookie cutter, cut circles of dough and place them on the cookie sheets.

When all of the dough has been cut place about 1 ½ teaspoon of filling in the center of the circle. Brush the perimeter with the egg wash or a little water. Now you can either use the pinch method as I do and pinch 3 corners together, or use the folding method where you flap one side, then the next two till you form a triangle.

Brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash. I sprinkled mine with some sanding sugar for that extra sparkle and crunch. Bake the hamantashen for 18 to 20 minutes (checking after 15) or until the cookies are golden brown. To ensure even browning, rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back. When done, remove from the oven and let them rest for 2 to 3 minutes on the cookie sheet then remove to a wire rack.

Now to make the match… Place one hamantashen bottom side down, add a scoop of ice cream of your choice, top with another hamantashen top side up so you can see the beautiful topping and eat it carefully. Of course you can place it bottom side up as well – make it your own. It’s so yummy it won’t last long! If you want to plate it, dress up the plate with some chocolate sauce, maybe some whipped cream, and almonds. However you choose to eat it, it’s a match made in heaven!

* I used Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour which I found in my local grocery. King Arthur makes a great one as well which you can purchase online. You can also make almond flour in a food processor, here is a how to link.

**For the egg wash I use the whole egg and put in a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, and a splash of water.

It was Almost like a Hamantashen Throw Down!


It was almost like a hamantashen throw down at my house on Monday, the only difference is there was no winner – just a really good time. Every year for the past few years, my friend Marcy and I get together to bake hamantashen for Purim. Hamantashen are the triangular cookies we eat during the holiday. Purim is a fun Jewish holiday which includes dressing up in costume, carnivals and drinking quite a bit! FYI, the drinking is so we can no longer tell the difference between good and evil – not such a bad thing once a year! As with all Jewish holidays, there is a retelling of the story of why we are celebrating and we always have very traditional and symbolic foods we eat. For Purim, hamantashen play a staring role. Let me set the scene… 6 different fillings on the counter, 5 dough recipes all chilled overnight and wrapped tight in plastic wrap, 4 fun hours of baking, 3 too many hamantashen eaten which gave me a bellyache, 2 friends happily talking the morning away, and finally 1 house that smelled absolutely delicious – and still does! Did I forget to mention approximately 200 hamantashen were made?

Mine were baked, packed up and shipped out yesterday or handed out to local friends. Hers were frozen and will be baked today then brought to Connecticut for some very lucky people! Among the varieties: a cream cheese dough reminiscent of rugalach, a traditional dough, a secret recipe dough, a chocolate dough, and finally a new one I tried from the 2nd Avenue Deli Cookbook which calls for almond flour. I almost said my new favorite but then deleted it. Like my mother always said “I have ten fingers and I love them all the same – don’t ask me to choose!” That is how I feel about most hamantashen recipes I’ve made.
I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this before or not, but mother had some kind of obsession with hamantashen recipes. Not necessarily baking them – collecting them! For whatever reason, she included about 3 of them in the little 15 page handwritten cookbook she made for me when I got married. The crazy thing is while she was an avid baker, I don’t remember her ever baking hamantashen when I was growing up except for the time with the sisterhood from our Temple. So it was very surprising she added so many into my book. This being said, I guess it should be no surprise I have inherited her obsession. I never really thought of it like that, but clearly after reading my own words, what else would you call it? The only difference is I don’t write about them and collect them, I actually bake them!

Today I’m sharing Carole Walter’s recipe which my friend Marcy brought with her. Oddly enough is extremely similar to my mother’s except my mom used shortening (which is exactly why I know she never made them – she never used shortening!) and she always baked with jumbo eggs. Carole uses butter in her recipe and large eggs. The preparation is a little different as well. Sorry mom, but Carole is the winner in this throw down not only because I’m not a fan of shortening – because I don’t think my mom ever made them! However, I do think my mom would approve and besides, there is always room for one more hamantashen in your life – and in my mother’s case, one more recipe to add to the list! I hope you try this recipe which is adapted from Carole Walter’s cookbook simply called Great Cookies! The name says it all, they are great cookies and very delicious, with a nice bit of crunch on the outside and soft on the inside. Whatever filling you choose… Enjoy!

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt (I would add one tsp. like my mom next time)
1 cup (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter or margarine cut into cubes
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
sanding sugar (optional)
Egg wash*
Fillings of your choice (I used cherry pie filling, lemon curd, and poppy seed)

This recipe makes 40 – 2” cookies


Dough

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse two or three times to combine. Add the butter and pulse five times then process 5 seconds to form meal like crumbs.

Place the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla in a small bowl and mix with a fork to combine. Pour the mixture into the processor and pulse four or five times, then process until the dough begins to clump together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and with floured hands, form into two disks, wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days. (This dough may be frozen for up to 4 months)

When you are ready to bake, position the racks to the upper and lower 1/3 of the oven. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough to a thickness of about 3/16”. My trick is to use paint sticks you get at the hardware store. I cover them with plastic wrap and use them as guides. I like that better than the rings you can put on your rolling pin. Using a 3” round cookie cutter, cut circles of dough and place them on the cookie sheets.

When all of the dough has been cut place about 1 ½ teaspoon of filling in the center of the circle. Brush the perimeter with the egg wash or a little water. To fold or to pinch? That is the question! Now you can either use the pinch method as I do and pinch 3 corners together, or use the folding method where you flap one side, then the next two till you form a triangle.


Brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash. I sprinkled mine with some sanding sugar for that extra sparkle and crunch. Bake the hamantashen for 15 to 18 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. To ensure even browning, rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back. When done, remove from the oven and let them rest for 2 to 3 minutes on the cookie sheet then remove to a wire rack.

Store in an airtight container with wax paper between layers for up to 3 days. These cookies may be frozen.

*When I make an egg wash I use the whole egg and put in a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, and a splash of water. Carole uses egg whites only. Either will work fine.