Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Min's Place

Over the years the Adat Ari El Sisterhood has made thousands of kiddush lunches, cakes and cookies in the dairy kitchen, also known as the Sisterhood Kitchen. However, one special Sisterhood woman has made her mark in the kitchen, Min Leonard. At the Board of Directors Meeting last month Sisterhood honored Min with a tile plaque for her 60 years of volunteerism! The plaque hangs on the wall of the kitchen and reads: "Min's Place...Min Leonard, 60 years of Volunteerism". Sisterhood President, Karen Gale, also expressed our widespread regard for Min, " We hope you know you are a treasure to us". Min continues to spend hours making cakes and offerring Wednesday buffet lunches for our M.I.D. (Multi- Interest Day) students. However, Min is most known around the synagogue for her noodle kugel that is served at many kiddush lunches. Min's has many recipes in California Kosher, including her famous noodle kugel. Let us know your favorite Min recipe.

Congratulations Min!!

Min and Lena

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Indian Summer Strawberry Shortcakes

The stacks of cake mixes in our pantry have been calling our names for some time, but Emily(my youngest teenage daughter who loves to bake) and I just can't bring ourselves to make yet another plain vanilla cake. It's technically Fall in most part of the United States, however, those of us in the western region of the United States are once again preparing for a week of 9o to 103 degree weather. Its an Indian Summer out here ya'll ( I can say ya'll "cause I'm from Texas)! Indian Summer Strawberry Shortcakes are a great solution for this cake mix dilemma and the scorching temps. Simple, easy, and refreshing, these mini cakes will be your favorite dessert recipe. The last of the the juicy, red strawberries are showcasing the produce sections on the Pacific Coast. So run, don't walk and capture the lasting memories of summer with this yummy recipe.

Have Fun Ya'll,


Indian Summer Strawberry Shortcake (Dairy)

2 quarts fresh strawberries, chopped
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 package (about 18 ounces) yellow/white cake mix
1 cup non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
3 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar (or to taste) *
Whipped Cream

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper cupcake liners in 24 standard (2 1/2- inch) muffin cups.
2. Combine strawberries, sugar, and balsamic vinegar in medium bowl. Cover; refrigerate until needed.
3. Beat cake mix, yogurt, eggs, oil, and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer at low speed 30 seconds. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes or until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling two-thirds full.
4. Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire racks. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
5. Cut each cupcake into four pieces and place on small plate. Top with strawberry mixture and whipped cream.

Replace non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt with sour cream.
Balsamic vinegar can be omitted.
Replace 3 eggs with 1/3 cup egg whites plus 1 egg.
Whipped cream can be replaced by whipped topping.

* When you combine the strawberries with the powdered sugar and the balsamic vinegar a lovely syrup results. If you want that syrup to have a stronger balsamic flavor, add more than the recipe recommends. The syrup will be a bit thinner and more plentiful. Its really a personal choice here. No right or wrong!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Casseroles and Sukkot

Can't think of what to make for Sukkot? Casseroles are a great way to serve a delicious meal rolled into one. Fewer serving dishes means less schlepping from kitchen to sukkah and back again. Chile Relleno Casserole, from the 1973 edition of "Flavored With Love", is a tasty recipe that I think you will enjoy under the palm fronds. This would pair nicely with a fresh salad, some fresh fruit and a chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio.

Chile Relleno Casserole (Dairy)

1/2 lb. jack cheese

1/2 lb cheddar cheese

2 cans (4oz.) mild green chiles

2 tsp. flour

1 can (8oz.) evaporated milk

2 eggs

1 can (8oz.) tomato sauce

Dice cheeses in large cubes and combine (shredded would also work). In a 9'x9'x2' casserole, place a layer of cheese, a layer of chiles and a layer of cheese. Mix flour with a small amount of the milk and add to slightly beaten eggs. Add remaining milk. Pour over cheese and chiles.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Pour tomato sauce over casserole; bake 10 minutes more. May be served hot or cold. Freezes well. Serves 6.

Other serving suggestions:

To make this casserole lighter in calories and cholesterol, replace one egg with two egg whites and use lowfat cheese.

Bon Appetit,

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gefilte Fish?

Every month our Sisterhood has a morning breakfast meeting prepared by a group of Sisterhood members. Among the wonderful spread this month, gefilte fish was served and the question arose, "Does anyone serve gefilte fish at Erev Yom Kippur dinner or Break Fast?" Well, the responses were interesting. The question was not answered directly, but instead elicited a slew of responses regarding the like or dislike of gefilte fish in general.

I assumed gefilte fish was an acquired taste. I never had gefilte fish growing up and though I enjoy most fish dishes, I simply do not like it. Much to the dislike of my sister-in-law, I omit it from my Passover seder. Gefilte fish lovers have suggested methods to make the jarred gefilte fish more "homemade". I have been told gefilte fish from scratch is not the same as the store bought.

What is your opinion of gefilte fish?

Take our poll and leave your suggestions and comments. Do you have a gefilte fish recipe that you want to share?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

L'Shana Tovah

Happy New Year! Thinking outside the traditional Rosh Hashanah dinner fare, I thought this Apple French Toast Casserole would be a nice way to add sweetness to your celebration. We have served this at breakfast meetings throughout the year and it received great reviews. Please note that you need to prepare it the night before and bake in the morning. A great way to start off the morning- no clean up and the aroma of apples and cinnamon permeating the house!

Let us know what you think.

Happy Cooking!

Apple French Toast Casserole (Dairy)

1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup butter
2 or 3 green apples peeled and sliced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
12- 14 slices white bread, cut in half
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla

In a saucepan, heat brown sugar and butter until melted.
Add water, apples and cinnamon; cook until apples are slightly soft and the sauce is foamy.
Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Pour mixture into baking pan and let cool.

Cover with bread slices. Combine eggs, milk and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake in a 350 degree oven uncovered for 40 minutes (cover the last 15 minutes of baking, if the bread is browning too quickly).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beat the Heat

Summer heat has finally arrived and with it comes the dilemma: how to prepare dinner without heating up the kitchen! In past summers my family has resorted to blending fruit smoothies paired with crackers and peanut butter! Not a bad combo on a day that is so hot you do not feel like eating anyway (but not something I want every day). So, I started making couscous salad since I prefer vegetarian cooking, especially when it is hot. Couscous salad is a perfect main or side dish and it uses only one pot for 5 minutes on the stove! This salad is light and fresh for that hot summer day, while satisfying hungry appetites and providing plenty of protein.

Recently, my niece, Kate, from Philadelphia stayed with us for a few days, so I served this couscous salad to fit her vegetarian diet. My children give this salad a thumbs up. However, my youngest child states he would give two thumbs up if it was minus the "green things" that he proceeds to pull out. He now knows that the "green things" are called basil and is now more apt to try them now that they grew in our garden.

Let us know what you think!

Happy Cooking (without too much heat!)


Summer Couscous Salad (Dairy)

2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups dry couscous (preferably whole wheat, if available)

16 ounces (approx. 2 cups) cherry, pearl or cherry heirloom tomatoes
8 ounces fresh mozarella (I use cherry size)
1/2 cup basil thinly sliced
1 to 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil


In a medium sauce pan, add water and salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of couscous. Stir well and cover for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Cut tomatoes in half.

Cut mozarella the same size as the tomatoes.
Thinly slice basil by stacking the leaves one on top of the other, rolling up and slicing across the leaves to make thin strips.

Add tomatoes, mozarella and basil to cooled couscous. Add olive oil and lemon juice to taste.

Serve at room temperature. Leftover salad from the refrigerator may need additional lemon added for moisture.

This salad is easy to adjust to your taste. For a variation, add toasted pine nuts.