Salmon Salad with Donut Peaches and Pistachios

The inspiration: a long Shabbat afternoon spent with a friend

Shabbat afternoon is the time I use to catch up with my neighbors (who also happen to be good friends of mine).  I live in an apartment building in Brooklyn that is home to about 30 families, and we are all like one big extended family. So many a late Shabbat afternoon (about 2 hours before nightfall on Saturday afternoon) you will find my kids and I visiting a neighbor and sharing a light meal with them.  One of the foods we enjoy at that time besides challah is salad – something light to offset the heavy Shabbat lunch from several hours earlier. I will usually go to visit a friend with fresh produce or some sort of fish and between the two of us we make a couple of salads.

The innovation: pairing a fish with a stone fruit

Salads are fun – you can add so many different combinations. So one Shabbat afternoon I showed up to my friend’s house with donut peaches, leftover baked salmon, and roasted pistachios. It had been a last minute invite, and I was basically making it up as I went. This salad was originally made that Shabbat afternoon with iceberg lettuce, but the flavor of the peaches with the salmon and pistachios stuck with me. Donut peaches are not as sweet as regular peaches – they remind me of more of white peaches – and I find they work really well with salmon.

My interpretation:  Salmon Salad with Donut Peaches and Pistachios

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Ingredients

8 oz fresh, boneless/skinless salmon fillet, baked or grilled

10 to 12 oz spring greens or mesclun mix (you want a mixture that has both sweet and  bitter greens)

3 donut peaches, pitted and sliced

large handful of roasted pistachios, crushed

a scant drizzle of best quality light olive oil

a two-finger pinch of sea salt (if desired)

1) Make sure the salmon is completely chilled if you are preparing it fresh. I have used leftover salmon as well – warm fish will wilt your greens.

2) Carefully flake the salmon, and mix the fish, peaches, and olive oil into the greens with your hands delicately.

3) Taste and add sea salt now if desired. If not, top with pistachios.

 

Recipe for a simple baked salmon

In an aluminum tray or pan,  place your salmon skin side down. Add a sprinkle of salt and squeeze half of a fresh lemon over the fish. Cover tightly, bake at 350 for about 15mins. Fish is done when glistening and completely cooked through.

 

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Sour Cherry Lemon Iced Tea

So one of the perks of my job, besides being surrounded with the most current and amazing things for a kitchen, is the ability to purchase what I’d like for my kitchen at a significant discount. For now, I have a whole list on order. That’s because what I want, (Wusthof knives, Staub Dutch ovens, a Wellness gel floor mat, a full set of All-Clad stainless steel pots and pans, and that is just the start of the list) I need serious money. But every now and then we get in something that I just have to have. I try not to indulge too much – good thing too, as we get new merchandise in at least once a week. But I had my eye on a Primula Flavor It 3 in 1 system. It comes with a fine mesh insert for loose-leaf tea, a filter for infusing fruit into the water, and even a freezable insert that you can put inside the pitcher to chill the drink without ice cubes. I had to get this, and when I did, one of the first drinks I made was this sour cherry lemon iced tea.  Super refreshing, not too sweet – this iced tea is perfect anytime you can get fresh sour cherries. This was my first time using this fruit, and I know I will be using it again. 016 Ingredients (this makes about 3/4 of a gallon) 16 sour cherries, stems removed and squished between your fingers 4 tea bags 2 and a half lemons cut into quarters 3 to 5 oz of honey - (I find that blueberry, or wildflower varieties work best. ( Clover honey I found to be too sweet for my liking)   018 1) If you have a pitcher like mine, make a layer of cherries, then lemons, then teabags, then the remaining lemons. Add the honey over the fruit and teabags, and fill pitcher with boiling hot water.  If you don’t have a pitcher, use a pot, add all the ingredients, then fill with water. 2)Leave the fruit and tea in the water til the water cools to just above room temperature. Stir the insert inside the pitcher or stir your ingredients once or twice. I like to leave my insert in for about an hour, but for weaker iced tea leave the fruits and tea in the water for less time. 3) Remove the insert, or strain your tea mixture into a pitcher. Make sure to press down gently on the fruit and tea so you get as much liquid from it as possible. Chill and serve. 

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Red Currant Coulis

To say that this summer has been insanely busy is an understatement.  In June, I started a new job – I’m the shipping manager of a high-end kitchen utensil store in Boro Park called Kitchen Couture.  It’s a candy store for foodies like me – all the best brands, anything you’d could want for your kitchen.  It’s a fantastic job, and I love it – it’s just a lot of hours.

Starting in September, I’ll be working even more hours. The weather will be getting cooler as well, and soon I’ll also be filling orders for chocolates again.  So while I will definitely still continue to blog, I cannot promise how often it will be.  Right now I am hoping to get back on schedule and blog weekly, but if I blog two or three times a month, I will be happy as well.

One recipe I did make (and I was really happy to do, because I never worked with this fruit before) was a red currant coulis. I have plans with this as a base for a filling for chocolates, so stay tuned to find out if I am successful.

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In the meantime, let me give you the recipe for the coulis. If you want it sweeter, add more sugar – since I plan to mix it with fondant, I intentionally added less sugar.

Ingredients:

2 lbs fresh red currants, stems removed and rinsed 

enough cold water to just cover over the fruit

2 cups of sugar

2 tablespoons of kirsch

1) In a large non-reactive pot, add all the currants and water and bring to a boil until the fruit is soft and wilted.

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2) Drain the currants and reserve the liquid. 

3) Pass the currants through a food mill or pour the fruit into a strainer and press firmly against the sides of the strainer, scraping the bottom to get the fruit puree. Incorporate this with the reserved liquid. 

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4) Bring the puree to a boil and add the sugar and kirsch. Boil for five minutes, then remove from the fire and let cool.  

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Meeting Chef Jehangir Mehta: Blendability at Broadway Bites

Many thanks to Sarah Davis and  Ellina Stein for coordinating this interview with Chef Mehta. For more information on Blendabilty, please visit The Mushroom Channel 

It all started with a simple email: ‘How would you like to meet Chef Jehangir Mehta? He’ll be at Broadway Bites promoting Blendability. You can also email us questions to have him answer.’  After I got over my initial reaction ( that perhaps they confused me with some more famous blogger)  I immediately said yes and started working on the logistics. This interview/meeting almost didn’t happen – it turned out at the last minute that the blogger event was scheduled on Shabbat. However, Sarah and Ellina graciously worked it out that I would be able to meet Chef Mehta on Friday morning, the day before the event!

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Chef Jehangir Mehta is famous across the world – I’ll explain more about that in my second post, where I get the answers to the questions I emailed him. For now, I want to focus on Blendability and the event at Broadway Bites.

Blendability (as I understand it) is the art and science of taking mushrooms and using that to replace a percentage of ground animal protein (such as turkey, beef, chicken) – without impacting the original ingredient in any negative fashion (in terms of mouthfeel, consistency or taste).  How is this art and science? I asked Chef Mehta how he would use this in a real-life scenario. He explained to me that the Angus Blended Burger took a lot of experimenting to get right, ensuring the ‘whole burger experience – the char on the outside, the juiciness, the flavor.’  While he experimented with ratios of meat to mushroom as high as 70/30, he found his ideal blend at 80/20.

Broadway Bites is a twice yearly pop-up event located at Greeley Square Park (33rd and Broadway)  that showcases a cross section of the awesome food scene that makes NYC one of the foodie capitals of the world.  My designated foodie (DH’s aunt, who has an exceptionally refined palate, definite opinions and impeccable manners and taste) and I met up with Chef Mehta at his popup for Graffiti  and his newest venture Me and You (I will DEFINITELY be discussing this more in detail in the next Chef Mehta post!)

As my designated foodie keeps kosher as well (‘completely kosher in the house, kosher-style outside the house, and no meat or obvious treif’- her words, not mine) she sampled the vegetable mushroom dumplings.  While I marveled at the smell (a spicy blend of Asian and Indian, and simply mouthwatering) and the presentation ( there were bits of tiny crunchy garnish that had been made by with garbanzo bean flour and water using a spaetzel -style technique of forcing the batter through a sieve) she gave me a low down on the taste.

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”  Very good. Wow. Oh.  Are you sure there is no meat in here? It’s spicy, and there is something I can’t place, but very good. I’d definitely pay money for this. Look, I cleaned my plate. ”

Consider that this woman has dined aboard the Queen Mary II cruise liner, has traveled the world, and regularly dines with friends in the best restaurants (kosher as well as non kosher), I feel I can say that this was not your standard vegetable dumpling.

While DH’s aunt enjoyed her dumplings and chatted with Ellina and the cook behind the counter, I was able to get nearly an hour, uninterrupted, to speak with Chef Mehta. What did we talk about? I’ll give you a little teaser – the conversation spanned from how to get children to try new foods, the importance of teaching them as young as possible to know their palettes, how to shift the tastes and food preferences of an entire generation.   We touched on religion, compared cultures, and even considered that an newer form of cooking technology could possibly revolutionize how to cook for Shabbat and Yom Tov. We also talked about eating gluten free for necessity versus eating that way as a diet or out of the perception it is healthier.

But for all that…well, there will be another post!

 

For a cooking video from Culinary Institute of America’s Chef Bill Briwa demonstrating Blendability, click here 

For everything you need to know about Chef Jehangir Mehta, his restaurants (Graffiti, Mehtaphor, and his new venue Me and You) click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lazy Leftovers Make Super Summer Suppers: Roasted Chicken Salad with Provencal Style Tomatoes and Dijon Dressing

The inspiration: Leftover roasted chicken breasts, garbanzo beans that needed eating, fresh tomatoes, and a need for something to feed my family for lunch.

Leftover chicken breasts can be delicious, but they usually need something to accompany them to really make them taste their best. Rummaging around my fridge, I found some leftover garbanzo beans, and I had tomatoes that needed to be used up.  It was far too hot to stand over a stove to cook, and when I am feeling lazy I usually make some sort of salad. This way I feed my family quickly and it’s not too much work!

The innovation: Giving the whole salad a boost by adding seasoned, roasted tomatoes and a bit of Dijon-red wine vinegar dressing.

I had wanted to make Provencal style tomatoes for a while. I have a cookbook that I read to get inspired (The Provencal Cookbook by Gui Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine) and I kept coming back to this recipe.  Even so, the salad still needed a kick, something to make it really delicious. I love a good Dijon dressing, and after dipping pieces of cold chicken into some Dijon mustard, I had the idea for this dressing.

This salad is full of flavors and textures – the softness of the salad greens, the bite from the Dijon and the red leaf lettuce, the smooth creaminess of the garbanzo beans, the silky texture and sweetness from the tomatoes, and the roasted flavor and heartiness of the chicken. I think that is what makes it a great salad – no two mouthfuls are indentical.

My Interpretation: Roasted Chicken Salad with Provencal Style Tomatoes and Dijon Dressing

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This recipe is a entree size portion for 2-3 adults.

Ingredients:

3 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts (already cooked and cooled completely)

2 cups already cooked garbanzo beans

4 beefsteak tomatoes

1/4 tsp of the following spices: sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic

1 (12oz) bag of butter lettuce/red leaf lettuce mix (or 12 oz of your preferred salad greens)

3 tblsp of Dijon mustard

2 tblsp of capers

2 tblsp of juice from the capers

2-3 oz of red wine vinegar

A three- finger pinch each of  sea salt and black pepper

Olive oil 

To Prepare:

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the tomatoes in half, and with a spoon carefully scoop out the seeds and white interior (set aside for another use or dispose). Turn upside on a sheet tray and leave sit for at least 30 minutes to remove excess liquid. 

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2) Oil a oven-safe baking dish with a light layer of olive oil, and arrange tomatoes in dish cut-side up. Sprinkle insides with the sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic. Bake at 400F for about 45 mins, then remove and let cool to just above room temperature.

3) Cut the tomatoes into slices – you may notice that the skin comes away as you cut, and that is ideal. Whatever skin remains after cutting, carefully peel away. Refrigerate and chill completely.

4) While you wait for tomatoes to cool assemble the dressing. Using a stick blender, blend together everything except the olive oil.  Very slowly and in a thin stream add the olive oil til mixture looks a bit fluffy and is a very pale yellow.Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

5) To assemble, slice the chicken breasts on the bias, then cut in half down the middle (for a fancier presentation leave in strips) Add the garbanzo beans, and roasted tomatoes to the salad greens. To avoid over-dressing the salad, dip the fingertips of one hand into the dressing, then fold the dressing onto the salad, gently mixing the ingredients at the same time. Save leftover dressing for another use. 

 

 

 

 

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Silvertip Roast with Mustard Crust (Maille Mustard Review)

Many thanks to Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco of Fraiche PR  for sending me two full size jars of Maille mustard (1 Old Style and 1 Dijon Originale) to sample. All opinions are my own.

I’ve seen Maille mustard in my local supermarket, and chalked it up to one of those ingredients that I’d have in the fridge of my dreams. You know, the type of things that would be in your fridge if you had an unlimited food budget.

PHOTO CREDIT: http://maille.us/

PHOTO CREDIT: http://maille.us/

So when I got an email from Diana asking if I was interested in reviewing these products, I jumped at the chance.  I couldn’t wait to taste really excellent, kosher mustard (both of these are certified OU pareve).

I can say I wasn’t disappointed, and for the first time in my life tasted genuine Dijon mustard. In short, these are excellent products. I tasted a bit of each straight from the jar. The Old Style was a bit spicy, and I was surprised by how smooth the flavor was on my tongue. As soon as I tasted this, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

The Dijon Originale, however, gave me quite a surprise. In the past, I have tasted Grey Poupon, and was not thrilled with the taste – that had been a bit sharp and sour to the point my mouth puckered. Imagine my surprise when I taste this Dijon – bright, full of flavor – and a bit hot.  The heat lingers on the tongue a bit after eating it. After getting over my initial reaction, I found that I kept wanting more.

I will confess that I still need to develop a recipe for this mustard, but just try this- dip boiled red potatoes straight into the jar of Dijon Orignale – and then try to stop eating them. You will find it very hard, if not impossible. I know this from personal experience.

As for the Old Style mustard, I highly recommend using it as a crust on a roast. Be generous – the flavor is distinct but not overpowering, and I can say this was one of the best roasts I have ever made.

Silvertip Roast with Mustard Crust

Ingredients:

2 Silvertip Roasts, about 3 lbs each

2 cups dry red wine

Salt and Pepper for sprinkling

Half a jar of Maille Old Style mustard

2 shallots, sliced

1 pack of crimini mushrooms, cleaned and left whole

1 large Spanish onion, cut in half then cut into slices

To Prepare:

1) Pre-heat oven to 350F.  In a disposable aluminum tray (or doubled up 2 gallon Ziploc bags) pour the red wine over roasts and set in the fridge for a minimum of 20 mins, turning once midway through. While the roasts are marinating, prepare your vegetables and set aside.

2) Remove roasts and discard wine, gently pat dry and sprinkle salt and pepper over top and bottom of roasts.

3) Using a roasting pan with insert, arrange the vegetables on the bottom of the pan. Add the insert, placing the roasts on it. Using a brush (or your fingertips)  liberally apply the mustard all over the roasts, top and bottom. maille1fwp 4) Loosely cover with aluminum foil and roast for 1 hour, uncovering half way through. The temperature at this point will be about 140F, or mid-rare. I would not recommend cooking this style of roast much past mid rare to meduim (150F).

5) Leave roasts to cool at room temperature at least one hour, or until it is barely warm when touched. Slice on a diagonal, and serve with the roasted mushrooms and onions from the bottom of the pan.

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For more information on these specific varieties of mustard, as well as Maille’s other products, please visit their website: http://maille.us/

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In My Town: Review of Bagels n Greens

All opinions are my own. I purchased all the products used in this review. bagelngreens1 Bagels n Greens has been in Boro Park and Flatbush for a while already (in BP on 18th Ave and in Flatbush on Coney Island Ave) but recently they opened a branch on 13th ave between 51st and 52nd streets.

When I worked at my previous full time job,  a lot of us ladies would order in lunch each day -with small kids to get out the door and trying to juggle a demanding job, we all treated ourselves to this small indulgence. Once or twice we ordered from Bagels n Green on 18th Ave, but with the minimum order for delivery ($30 minimum for delivery) and the longer wait (because we were on 38th between 14th and 15th) it took too much effort to co-ordinate and left too little time for eating. We would sigh and say “If they only opened up a closer location! Their food is the best! ”

Wish no more. I stopped in a few times before I decided to officially sit down and write a review. In Boro Park, you can’t just start snapping pictures in a restaurant – or anywhere, really. It tends to cause questions and people get upset. So after introducing myself to the manager, giving them my card and speaking to the owner on the phone (a lovely woman named Rivka)  and assuring them I would not take any pictures of any customers, I was allowed to go on my way. bagelngreens5 Bagels n Greens is known for fresh, delicious salads, sandwiches, Nepresso coffee drinks, and their delectable dairy desserts. For a kosher restaurant, they are also incredibly tech-savvy – their website and Facebook page are gorgeous. The thing I love best – they are forever introducing new products. Their closest competition, (and until BnG where I would order from) Spoons, has not changed their menu in at least a year- closer to two- when they added some pastries to their selection of baked goods.  Do not get me wrong – Spoons has good, reliable food – but for breakfast and lunch BnG (especially if you are taking to go) is poised to blow them out of the water. bagelngreens2 The space is a bit cramped at this branch of BnG, and there is not a lot of seating, but what is there is quite comfortable- and that is the only thing that is not completely positive I can say about the place.  The colors are light and vibrant, and their decor reflects their motto: It’s nature’s recipe…we just gave it a name. In every other aspect, it is hip, it is modern, and so fresh. bagelngreens3 I decided to go in for an early lunch – about 11.30- so I could have a chance to sit and enjoy my meal. One of my basic criteria for eating out is how a restaurant prepares the simpler menu items – their salad and egg selections. Since I have gotten salads from them before (and have never been disappointed – I suggest making your own, but any salad is delicious) I went with things I would never prepare at home. bagelngreens8 I tried the Jerusalem Toast (hardboiled egg and mozzarella cheese grilled with a thick tomato sauce and fresh pesto on homemade bread) and their shakshuka.  When I inquired as to the spice level, I was told that it used to be spicier, but because people preferred it less so, they adjusted it.  Good thing, as it was still spicy, but not so spicy that it was painful. bagelngreen10 What can I say? It was absolutely delicious! I asked a lady who had a tasty looking soup and salad if I could take a picture of her meal, and she obliged. When I asked her later how it was, she said it had been fantastic. Would she order it again? She assured me she would. bagelngreens7 So, here is the question: would I recommend this place to others? With a resounding yes. If you want to sit and enjoy a meal with a group of friends, I would recommend their Coney Island Ave location (the dining area is stunning). I would invite anyone from anywhere to come in and try Bagels n Greens.  Finally, a classy, fun, kosher restaurant that is reasonably priced, located in Boro Park, that I can rave about and recommend without reservation! For more information, please visit their website: http://www.bagelsngreens.com/

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Nicoise Salad with Potatoes – May Kosher Connection Challenge

Shavuot is about two weeks away, and I am already planning my menu. Especially for the last meal, on the second day of the holiday. In our Hasidic group the men and boys gather in the synagogues to observe the passing of a previous Rebbe (Grand Rabbi) on that day. They are away from early morning til very late in the afternoon, and even eat the festive holiday meal in the synagogue. These yahrzeit seudot (meals to commemorate the passing of a holy person) take place twice a year – once on Shavuot and once during Sukkot. We women take these times to eat with friends – groups of women co-ordinate and get together and eat in each other’s homes. Just as the men and boys bond together in the synagogues, the women and girls bond together over a delicious Yom Tov meal. It is also a chance to relax the menu a bit – it is our custom to eat meat at every Yom Tov meal except these. nicoise This is a more modern interpretation of a Nicoise salad – it features seared tuna, as well as green beans and baby red bliss potatoes. Instead of a vinagrette, it is merely dressed with fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.  This is a recipe for one large, main course salad, and is easy to multiply for larger amounts.

Ingredients:

1 tuna steak,about 6 oz

4 baby red potatoes, cut in half lengthwise

4 black olives (with pits)

1 Romaine heart (I use Andy Boy), torn into bite size pieces by hand

1 hard boiled egg

8-10 fresh green beans, ends trimmed

Juice from one fresh lemon

3 oz extra virgin olive oil

Table salt for salting water

Sea salt for seasoning

Olive oil spray for grilling

To Prepare: Fill a large pot at least halfway with water, and add table salt to the water, enough so there is the finest layer on the bottom of the pot Add your egg and when the water is at a full boil, add your green beans and potatoes set a timer for 8 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove egg with slotted spoon and set into a bowl of cold water to cool.  Boil for a few minutes more, testing once midway. The beans are done when still crispy and green but not hard. Use a slotted spoon to remove green beans and set aside. Boil for another 10 mins or so, then check potatoes by gently poking with a fork – if they are soft but not mushy, they are done. Drain and remove, setting aside with the green beans. Put a grill pan on the stove, and get it very hot. Spray the pan lightly with olive oil spray. Place the tuna steak into the pan for 2- 3 mins, depending on thickness. Flip once, cook another 2 mins on the other side, then remove from pan, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and set aside. Roll the lemon on a cutting board or counter and cut in half, squeezing into a bowl and removing the seeds. Add the olive oil a tiny pinch of sea salt. Mix well. When all ingredients are cool but not cold, take everything except the tuna, egg, and olives and combine. Garnish with the remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

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In My Town: What You Want to Eat (Bo & Bon)

All opinions are my own. I purchased all the products used in this review.  When people think of Boro Park (official spelling Borough Park) it is easy to think of the obvious – the Orthodox and Hasidic residents, the many Judaica shops, Thirteenth Avenue.

Most people associate food in Boro Park with Amnon’s, Jerusalem 2, and Mendelsohn’s for dairy and China Glatt for meat – but in this series I want to challenge these perceptions. Change comes slowly to Boro Park, but it does eventually. It has to – with magazines like Joy of Kosher, supermarkets like Gourmet Glatt and the soon-to-open BreadBerry, and with kosher cookbook writers like Jamie Geller, Susie Fischbein, Paula Shoyer and Esther Deutsch (just to name a few!) bringing kosher gourmet cooking to the masses – it was only a matter of time before restaurants and shops had to start catching on.

Has Boro Park become the newest foodie hot-spot? Not yet. But for a person who knows where to look, there are places that are definitely worth your time and money (especially if you know what to order and when to go to get the best experience!)

So how do I know all this? Very simple – I live in Boro Park, right near the heart of all the major shopping – 13th avenue lays two avenues from me in one direction, 18th avenue two avenues from me in the other.  I’ve lived here almost 8 years, and I have watched as restaurants and shops have come and gone – and I know where to find what you want to eat in Boro Park.

Today I want to tell you about a little shop on 13th avenue between 50th and 51st streets called Bo & Bon. The Boro Park store opened up about 6-7 months ago, but Bo & Bon has been in business for a few years in Lakewood, NJ.  Bo & Bon sells homemade, gluten free, all-natural macarons, marshmallows, and chocolate bon-bons. They also sell madeleines (not GF)bobon1 I stopped in and picked up a sampling of macarons and marshmallows to take home. The store itself is spotless and very modern, and the packaging very beautiful. Would the product live up to the hype? Happily, I can say it does. I bought a half dozen macarons – praline, pistachio, blood orange, chocolate, strawberry vanilla, and pistachio-blueberry.  The macarons had a beautiful, paperthin crisp shell and a soft, moist interior that melted in the mouth. bobon2 They were all delicious, but the blood orange. pistachio-blueberry and strawberry-vanilla had the most distinct, stand-out flavors.  DH and I loved the blood orange, the DCs loved the strawberry-vanilla, and there was not a scrap left of any.  I can honestly say if you are having a chocolate craving, the rich chocolate macaron will certainly satisfy that! I also brought 4 marshmallows to try – vanilla, raspberry, lemon coconut, and passionfruit. My DCs loved the vanilla the best, and I couldn’t get enough of the passionfruit, with had a pleasing, slightly grainy texture I enjoyed. The vanilla reminded me of a true, pure marshmallow – ideal for putting into cocoa. The lemon coconut was a bit messy – it was covered in coconut flakes that fell off with every bite. The raspberry was another I couldn’t get enough of as well – not too sweet with a strong, natural raspberry flavor. Since becoming religious and keeping kosher, these marshmallows are the closest I have ever tasted to being a true marshmallow. bobon3 Here is the second best part: the price. With a macaron being $1.60 each, and each marshmallow costing only 90 cents for a piece the size of an air conditioner remote you most certainly get your money’s worth. This is a place I would recommend to anyone, and I know I will be returning there again myself. bobon4 Bo & Bon is also available online. They are certified kosher pareve under NSK (New Square Kosher). For more information, please visit their website  .

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The Basic Kitchen: Let’s Talk Acid

If I can offer one easy,natural and inexpensive tip to add excellent flavor to your food, it would be this: add acid.  Acids do amazing things when added to food! They can add a different flavor (sweet, sour, savory), or they can add depth of flavor to an existing ingredient. Acids can also add a pleasing balance or contrasting flavor to a dish.  The one thing about acids that astonish me is that when added to fish (citrus, in particular lemons and limes) they can ‘cook’ the fish, completely changing the texture without adding heat! These are just a few examples of how versatile acids can be in food preparation. Take a look around your kitchen – I’m willing to wager you have several examples of acids already on hand. I took a look around my kitchen and this is what I found: photoacid When I took a real look at what I had on hand and how I used them, I discovered exactly how much I rely on these ingredients.  I realized that learning to use acids effectively is a process that takes time, as well as trial and error. Let me share a few tips that I’ve learned along the way that work quite well. 1) Some commonly recognized  foods that are acidic include citrus produce, tomatoes, vinegars and wines ( I would recommend dry versus sweet). Some foods that I was surprised to find that have some acidic properties are mangoes, papayas, and kiwi.

2) If I want a more subtle flavor, I add the acid I am working with to the dish at the beginning of cooking. For a more assertive taste, I add it closer to the end.

3) Some of the pairings of acids that I use constantly in cooking: fresh lemon juice and white wine, fresh orange juice and red wine, tomato juice and white or red wine (depending on the dish). I have found that red wine and lemon juice really do not play nicely with each other. I also have found that while red wine poured directly from the bottle onto fresh salmon filet tastes delicious, it may also discolor the fish unpleasantly.

4) I tend to use red wine for dark chicken and turkey, lamb, and beef and use white for fish, white meat chicken and turkey, veal, and fish. While this is a more classic and traditional approach, it is not one that is set in stone. One of the things about cooking is to experiment and find what you love, not follow rules.

5) Try acids in unexpected places! My family loves chicken soup with red wine and orange juice in it. They also love tomato soup with rice and a tiny hint of lemon. A tiny splash of rice wine vinegar makes sauteed green beans with sesame seeds incredible.  Add a bit of tomato sauce and red wine to your meatloaf or meatball mixture for extra tenderness. For a super tender beef roast, pour a bottle of red wine and half that amount of orange or tomato juice into a doubled up 2 Gallon Ziploc. (If a Ziploc is too small, use a disposable roasting pan and remember to turn your roast over after several hours) Add your roast, and let marinate overnight. I’ve done this with my French roasts in particular.

6) Less is more, especially if you are just getting started.  You can always add more, but it’s impossible to remove once you’ve added.  Add a bit, taste, and if it is still not where you want it, add more then.

Remember my amazement at how acid can cook fish? It is literally the simplest thing ever! It’s called ceviche, and here is my take on this lovely, warm-weather fish recipe: http://foodwordsphotos.com/january-kosher-challenge-mini-ceviche-amuse-bouche/

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