Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pomegranate Chicken

Made with real pomegranate
juice!  YUM!!
Rosh Hashana is right around the corner, and we are all excitedly “Rosh”ing to find recipes that incorporate all the beautiful holiday symbols.  One of the foods that is nearly synonymous with Rosh Hashana is the pomegranate.  Filled with lots of tiny seeds, we say a special “Yehi Ratzon” blessing - "...she'nirbeh ze'chu'yos k'rimon" "...that our merits increase like (the seeds of) a pomegranate*."  It’s always and adventure finding recipes for unusual seasonal produce, and pomegranates are no exception.  A few years ago I found a recipe for Pomegranate Chicken in one of my cookbooks.  It looked interesting…but it called for pomegranate syrup.  I looked around in nearly every local store and couldn’t find it.  When I searched online, and asked around, I was told that pomegranate syrup was just concentrated pomegranate juice.  Being undaunted by the prospect of making my own pomegranate syrup, I proceeded to boil down pomegranate juice until it was extremely concentrated – then I used it for the recipe.  I didn’t love it…it just didn’t have the special flavor I wanted for a Rosh Hashana dish.  I started surveying my friends, polling them for their favorite pomegranate chicken recipes.  One of my friends incorporated honey into the recipe – I loved that idea, and it was perfect for Rosh Hashana.  Then one day, when I was at my local restaurant supply store, I was looking at the flavoring syrups used for mixing drinks.  There it was…pomegranate syrup!!  It wasn’t the concentrated pomegranate syrup made from actual pomegranates – it was a large bottle of flavored syrup (not a pomegranate to be found in the syrup).  Perfect!  It was thick, sweet, and had a great (imitation) pomegranate flavor.  You can find that type of syrup in the liquor department of your local grocery store.  I added that syrup to pure pomegranate juice, added some honey and a few other ingredients for a Pomegranate Chicken marinade.  When the chicken was done marinating, I removed it from the liquid, placed it on a baking sheet and put it in the oven to roast.  While the marinated chicken was roasting, I added some corn starch to the remaining marinade and cooked it until it thickened for a really delicious really “pomegranety” tasting sauce.  Top the chicken with a few fresh pomegranate seeds and you have a beautiful Rosh Hashana main dish!!  You can even make this dish ahead, warming the syrup separately and then spoon it over the chicken just before serving.  Fabulous!!

Another ubiquitous Rosh Hashana food is apples and honey.  You can find more Rosh Hashana recipes in my aish.com article “Apples For Rosh Hashana”.  Unfortunately due to space limitations the aish.com published version of the article is an abridged version of the original.  I hope that you will enjoy the rest of the article below.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!!

Love,
Sharon



POMEGRANATE CHICKEN
2          3.25 pound       chickens, cut into 8ths, skin removed (it’s healthier!)
2          cups                 pomegranate syrup
1          cup                   pure pomegranate juice
½         cup                   honey
1          clove                garlic, finely minced
¼         teaspoon          black pepper
¼         teaspoon          ground thyme
                                    non-stick vegetable spray

2          tablespoons      corn starch
                                    fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)

Combine the pomegranate syrup, pomegranate juice, honey, garlic, pepper, and thyme in a medium bowl.  Stir until thoroughly combined.  Place chicken bone side up in a large casserole, or in an extra large ziplock bag.  Pour marinade over chicken.  Cover with plastic wrap, or seal bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375° F or 350° F convection.

Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spray with non-stick vegetable spray.  Remove chicken from marinade, reserving remaining marinade.  Place chicken bone side up on the prepared baking sheet.  Spoon a small amount of marinade over the chicken, reserving the remaining marinade.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn chicken bone side down, and bake for an additional 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

While chicken is baking, place marinade in a 4 quart saucepan.  Add the corn starch and stir until starch is completely dissolved with no remaining lumps.  Cook over medium heat until sauce thickens, around 20 minutes.

Place baked chicken on a serving platter and garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serve warm.

All the ingredients....
even the syrup!
Make the marinade...
(wow...that's red!)
Marinate the chicken in 
a casserole or ziplock...
Put the chicken in a pan
to bake...
Then make the sauce!
Pomegranate Chicken!!!
It's so "pomegranety"!!


“Apples For Rosh Hashana” – the unabridged version
One of the symbols most often associated with Rosh Hashana is the apple.  Throughout the Jewish World families are dipping apples in honey and reciting the special Y’hi Ratzon blessing requesting Hashem to renew for us a good and sweet year.  When my children were small, they would go on school field trips to pick apples for Rosh Hashana, coming home with large bags of apples.  Other years we went as a family to the local orchard around an hour away, where the apples grew low enough for the kids to pick.  Expecting a full day family outing we arrived at the orchard excited to pick the fresh, juicy, delicious apples for Rosh Hashana!  Each child was given a basket to fill and with much excitement we walked to the apple orchard.  Five minutes later we had 17 bushels of apples (I said the apples were low and easy to pick)!  Not wanting to discourage our enthusiastic bunch we continued to pick more apples anticipating all the apple gifts we would give to our friends and relatives!!   It was a lot of apples!  When you have so many apples you have to come up with an assortment of very creative apple recipes…saving a few crunchy, sweet apples to dip in honey!

In keeping with the apple theme of Rosh Hashana I’m happy to share with you some of my best apple recipes!  Add a little honey and have a Shana Tova U’metuka – A Happy and Sweet New Year!!

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

 Congratulations!

KosherEveryday was one of the finalists for the 
2011 CBS Most Valuable Blogger Awards!! 


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Honeyed Beets

Honeyed Beets...perfect for
Rosh Hashana!!
Sometimes classic things are the best.  Many years ago, long before I was working with food professionally, I had an incredible cookbook collection.  I had vintage books that were irreplaceable from the 1940’s and 1960’s, as well as more “modern” cookbooks.  I loved going through the recipes – what was “old” suddenly became “new” when looking at the books through a fresh perspective.  One year, in our attempt to be especially zealous with our Passover cleaning, we moved all my flour-covered cookbooks to the basement in cardboard boxes.  Tragically (it was tragic to me at the time), our basement flooded before we had a chance to bring the boxes upstairs and unpack them.  So sad.  I wasn’t able to save most of the cookbooks, but the one cookbook that I made extra effort to save was my Betty Crocker’s Cookbook Copyright 1969.  My goal in this blog is to share recipes that are delicious and not too hard to make.  The Betty Crocker’s Cookbook is the poster child for those type of recipes.  I love that cookbook. The pages and cover are completely warped from water damage, and some of the pages still stick together, but when I need a tried and true recipe it’s my go-to book.  One of my all time favorite recipes – Honeyed Beets, is from that cookbook.

When I got married, my sweet, easy going husband, shared with me that he would eat anything that I would make…except beets and lima beans!  (He probably would eat those too under duress but I don’t like to push my luck!).   I really like beets, but because I’m the only one in my family that does, during the year I rarely make them (lima beans aren’t so much of an issue).   The only time I specifically insist on making beets is Rosh Hashana when beets are one of the specially symbolic foods that we say a Y’hi Ratzon Blessing of Sheyistalku Oyveinu – May our adversaries be removed (maybe they’re “beet”en).  The Honeyed Beets recipe from the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook is just the thing…beets and honey – perfect for Rosh Hashana!

When I was in the store today buying the beets, a nice lady came up to me and asked me how I make them (it really happened!).  She said that her mother used to make them but she is phobic (my word) about making them.  I used to be too…until I found the recipe in the book.  You cook the beets with the peel on, and once the beets are cooked properly, you don’t even have to use a knife to peel them – you just put on a pair of disposable kitchen gloves and rub the peel right off!!  It’s incredibly easy!  I also have a cool French Fry cutting tool that I use when making multiple batches of this recipe for company, but when making a single batch I just cut them into long pieces with a knife.  Really, it’s easy.  If you’re feeling especially overwhelmed (or particularly lazy) you can even use canned beets (oh no!) but the fresh are way better. 

A number of years ago, Rabbi Doug Zelden asked me to be on the Rosh Hashana episode of his Cable TV show – Taped with Rabbi Doug.  If you want to see a video of how to make the beets (and see what I looked like when I was much younger) you can just watch this show Sharon Matten's Holiday Honeyed Beets.  It’s really fun, and you can see the process step by step.

I pulled out my special Betty Crocker’s cookbook to share this recipe with you and now it’s going back on the shelf in it’s special spot – but not for long…

I know that everyone is really focused on getting ready for Rosh Hashana…here are some more of my special Rosh Hashana Apple recipes which will are available on aish.com

Have a Happy & Healthy New Year!!!

Honeyed Beets from the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook
5          Medium            beets (about 1 ¼ pounds)
            or  2 16 oz cans julienne beets, drained
1          medium            onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
2          tablespoons      margarine
2          tablespoons      honey
1          tablespoon        lemon juice
½         teaspoon          salt
1/8       teaspoon          ground cinnamon
1          tablespoon        snipped parsley

To prepare the beets:
Cut off all but 2 inches of beet tops.  Wash beets and leave whole with root ends attached.

Heat 6 cups of water, 1 tablespoon vinegar (to preserve color) and 1 teaspoon salt to boiling.  Add beets.  Cover and heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Boil until tender, 40 to 50 minutes; drain.  Run cold water over beets; slip off skins and remove root ends.  Cut into shoestring pieces.

For the recipe:
Prepare and cook beets as directed above; Cook and stir onion in margarine in 10-inch skillet (I used a large pot) over medium heat until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in beets, honey, lemon juice, salt and cinnamon.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until beets are hot, about 5 minutes; sprinkle with parsley.

 All the ingredients...
fresh beets!!
 You know the beets are done
when you can stick a knife
easily all the way into the beets! 
 Put on a pair of gloves...
then rub off the skins!
Slice the beets...
Add them to the saut├ęd onions....
Add the honey, parsley and spices...
YUM!!
It's Honeyed Beets...
perfect for Rosh Hashana
(and all year round)!

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday atwww.koshereveryday.com, aish.com,

 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.


These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!


 Congratulations!


KosherEveryday is one of the finalists for the 
2011 CBS Most Valuable Blogger Awards!! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Homemade Pancake Mix - The Back to School Recipe (and Spice Packet Breaded Zucchini Bonus Recipe!)

Made from scratch!
(Sort of!)
It’s back to school time.  Leisurely mornings are a thing of the past.  Now mornings are filled with: Do you have your lunch?  Did you put your homework in your backpack? Did you remember the note I signed?  Do you need a jacket?  Did you remember to brush your teeth?  Do you need money for tzedakah?  Please hurry, you’re going to be lateDid you eat breakfast??!!!

By the time we’re done with the ritual morning interrogation we are exhausted and pressed for time, but…regardless of how rushed we are, as semi-responsible parents, we know the importance of getting some healthy(ish) food into our kids before they walk out the door in the morning!  ”Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”! 

The most asked for breakfast food in our house is pancakes.  My kids love them with chocolate chips or candy coated chocolate chips (thus the “ish” part of healthy).  Although I am perfectly capable of making pancakes from scratch (the real scratch where you pull out all the ingredients, measure them, and mix them all together) I just don’t seem to have the time.  I am not a get up early in the morning with the roosters, singing a happy tune, “Leave it to Beaver, June Cleaver” type mom.  I usually stumble downstairs in the morning muttering something about not enough caffeine in the world.  The thought of pancakes from scratch on a school day…well, let just say it’s not happening here.  I really like the whole wheat blend “just add water” pancake mixes that are available, but they are kind of pricy and often have ingredients that I am not entirely familiar with (not a good sign).  So, as the school year started, and requests for pancakes poured in, it occurred to me that it shouldn’t be all that hard to make up my own Homemade Pancake Mix.  My biggest challenge was coming up with substitutes for the wet ingredients, such as eggs, that normally go into pancakes.  I also wanted to maintain some semblance of a healthy recipe with whole grain ingredients, without my kids throwing them at me in disgust (ok, so they would never really do that…).  Something with a little more fiber so they aren’t ravenous by the time they get to school!  As a baker, I have lots of handy ingredients around that you might not find in the average house – meringue powder is an example.  Meringue powder is just dried, pasteurized, egg whites.  I have often substituted egg whites for whole eggs in recipes, so it occurred to me that meringue powder (which can be found in many local grocery stores, and anywhere you find Wilton cake decorating products) would make a great dry substitute for eggs.  Excellent!  I used my favorite whole wheat pastry flour, which is lighter and doesn’t taste as “whole wheaty” as regular whole wheat flour, and blended it with all purpose flour for a little healthier mix.  After adding the rest of the standard pancake ingredients along with the meringue powder I was ready to test my Homemade Pancake Mix.  So excited!  It worked great!  I used water, but for an even better flavor you could use milk or soy milk.  I made several batches to test the consistency and flavor, and each one was better than the one before – although my personal favorites were the blueberry pancakes and chocolate chip pancakes.  When I was done, I just put the remainder of the mix in an airtight container to use on another busy morning!  So happy…and looking forward to happy well fed kids!! Everyone wins!!  Now if only I could come up with another instant mix for all the other stuff we need to do to get ready in the morning!!  (That, and transporter technology…)

Homemade Pancake Mix – The Back to School Recipe
1 ¾      cups                 whole wheat pastry flour
1 ¾      cups                 all-purpose flour
1          teaspoon          salt
2          tablespoons      baking powder
2          tablespoons      meringue powder
½         cup                   splenda (see note)
                                    non-stick vegetable spray

¾         cup                   water, milk or soymilk per 1 cup pancake mix

Notes:
  1. You can use regular sugar or a few packets of vanilla sugar instead of splenda.
  2. Pancake Add ins:  Fresh blueberries, chocolate chips, mini chocolate covered candies, chopped apple, your favorite chopped cookies, fresh fruit, your own favorite add in (please let me know!).
  3. You can even make the pancakes in advance and freeze them in a large zipper bag or airtight container.  Of course they are best fresh!

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Store mix in a dry, airtight container.

When ready to make the pancakes, add 1 cup of Homemade Pancake Mix with ¾ cup of water.  Mix with a fork or whisk until most of the lumps are gone. 

Heat a large skillet or griddle.  Spray with non-stick vegetable spray.  Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour batter onto skillet.  Cook until browned on one side then flip, and allow to cook for another minute.  (Ok, so everyone knows how to make pancakes but I had to put it in anyway!!)  Serve with your favorite syrup, jam, or fruit topping.  Breakfast is served – although on a busy night they could even be dinner!!!

All the dry ingredients 
in the bowl - so easy!! 
Measure a cup of mix
and add the water - so easy!!
You know what to do - so easy!!  
Hooray!  It's yummy, 
healthy(ish), pancakes
 - so easy!!  
 Store the rest of the
dry mix in an airtight
container - so easy!! 

BONUS RECIPE - Breaded Spice Packet Zucchini: This week I made spice packet schnitzel for Shabbat (you can check out the movie for more details), and was left with a few cups of seasoned breading.  I had bought zucchini to make for Shabbat, and decided to try to coat the cut zucchini with a little olive oil, then toss them with the crumbs and spray them with a healthy spray of non-stick vegetable spray.  I baked them for around 45 minutes at 350° F and they turned out splendidly as you can see!  Hooray!
 It's SO pretty!!

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday atwww.koshereveryday.com, aish.com,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

 Congratulations!

KosherEveryday is one of the finalists for the 
2011 CBS Most Valuable Blogger Awards!! 





Sunday, September 4, 2011

Starburst Chicken

Starburst Chicken...a burst of
delicious flavor!
Here in Chicago we are fortunate to have a number of terrific day schools, so when my oldest son was old enough to start school we underwent the task of visiting the different schools to determine which one would best suit our family.   So, off to visit the schools we went!  When we got to my alma mater, Arie Crown, we met with the principal Rabbi Meir Shapiro, who had been my principal! (“Wow Rabbi Shapiro, it’s so weird to be in your office and not be in trouble!!”).  We got a tour of the school, and the rest is history!

We have now been at the school a long time, and have had the privilege of working on various school committees and projects.  My favorite school project of all time was the Arie Crown Cookbook – “A Crowning Elegance”.  Although I wasn’t one of the primary editors of the book, I had the opportunity to be a more minor editor, contributor, and participant.  The Chief Editors, Valerie and Mandy, organized fabulous (and incredibly fun) “tasting parties” where everyone got to make, taste, and rate/critique the recipes.  The final book is really beautiful, with gorgeous pictures, and delicious recipes (yes…some of them are mine) that are not too complicated for the everyday “chef” to make.

One of my favorite recipes from the cookbook (and I love a lot of them so it was hard to choose!) is Starburst Chicken (page 182).  I keep my bookmark on that page because it’s my “go to” recipe when I want a quick, healthy, delicious, and colorful meal that can be made without a lot of cleanup. This recipe is also flexible enough that I can add more chicken, vegetables, or pasta without changing the taste of the dish too much (and I often do!).  

As a kid I never imagined being a parent at my school!  I warn my kids to be nice to their teachers and principal…you never know!! In a few short years my youngest daughter will be graduating, but I know that I’ll be using my “Crowning Elegance” cookbook long after my kids are out of Arie Crown… 

STARBURST CHICKEN
2          tablespoons      olive oil
1 ½      pounds             boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into ½ inch strips
2          cloves               garlic minced (or 2 frozen cubes*)
¼         teaspoon          ground ginger
1          20 ounce          can crushed pineapple, drained, 1/3 cup juice reserved
2          medium            carrots, sliced (diagonally*)
1          medium            green or red bell pepper, thinly sliced (or cut into squares*)
2                                  scallions, thinly sliced
4          ounces              spaghetti, cooked according to packaged directions, drained
                                    (or 8 ounces*)

Sauce
1/3       cup                   reserved pineapple juice
¼         cup                   soy sauce
1          tablespoon        cornstarch
1          tablespoon        olive oil

Notes: * denotes my alternatives for the recipe

For the chicken:  In a large skillet over medium-high flame, heat oil.  Stir fry chicken and garlic, sprinkle ginger over chicken.  Stir fry for about 2 minutes.  Add drained pineapple, carrots, pepper and scallions.  Reduce heat to medium.  Cover and steam for 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in cooked spaghetti.

For the sauce:  In a small saucepan away from heat, combine the pineapple juice, soy sauce, cornstarch and oil.  Stir until cornstarch is dissolved.  Place saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes until sauce thickens.  Pour sauce over pasta with chicken.  Toss and serve immediately.

Note:  To make this dish for the GFE (Gluten Free Eater) substitute gluten-free pasta, and use gluten-free soy sauce.

Stir fry the chicken with the garlic
and ginger....
All the rest of the healthy ingredients!
Add them to the chicken....
Make the sauce...
combine the ingredients cold...
heat until thick!
Add the sauce...
It's Starburst Chicken!!! YUM!!


Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at www.koshereveryday.com, aish.com,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

 Congratulations!

KosherEveryday is one of the finalists for the 
2011 CBS Most Valuable Blogger Awards!! 

Please click on the link below to vote for the 
Kosher Everyday Blog...
PLEASE vote early and often!
(you can vote everyday!)
THANKS!