light and fluffy mashed potatoes

For Erev Yom Kippur dinner last night, I made mashed potatoes.  I thought they were good, but my daughter Randi swooned as she ate some and said, “These potatoes are like fluffy clouds, they’re so light!  She asked me if I had done anything different than usual to which I said I didn’t, but I realized I’d better write down what I did do!

5 lbs. organic Idaho potatoes

2 sticks Whole Foods salted butter

about 1/2 cup whole, organic milk

salt (not kosher)

about 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Peel potatoes.  Cut into largish pieces and put in large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil (uncovered), and simmer over low boil till you can put a fork into potatoes easily.  Drain in colander.  Put your sticks of butter back in pot to melt over low flame.  Add potatoes back in, and mash.  Add salt to taste and pepper too.  Then add milk, and mash till nice and fluffy.

easiest spinach pie

I’ve been making this spinach pie for years for my daughter and my grandkids.  During dinner tonight at my daughter’s house, my grandson Ezra said, “Safta, this is my favorite dinner!”  Noah chimed in his agreement.   They each had at least 4 or 5 pieces.  My daughter said, “This is the perfect comfort food.”  She commented that  it’s her favorite meal too.  She wasn’t too happy when I set aside a piece to bring home to my son Benji.  When I got home, Benji wasn’t too happy that I only brought one piece home for him.

  • 1 box Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets
  • 2 10 oz. boxes frozen organic chopped spinach, defrosted and drained and squeezed pretty dry
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • about 8 oz. chunk feta
  • about 1/4 cup parmesan
  • about 1/2 tablespoon Litehouse dill
  • about 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch salt

Place frozen puff pastry in refrigerator to defrost.

In mixing bowl, put mostly dry, drained spinach, eggs, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese.  Break apart the feta into smallish pieces and add to mixture.  Add the dill, pepper, and salt.  Mix gently with a rubber spatula until all ingredients are incorporated.

Grease aluminum pan that’s about 9 x 13 in. (sides are less than 1 inch deep).  Place pharmacy online parchment paper that’s a little longer and wider than the bottom of the pan, pressing it down into the corners.

Take 1 sheet of the puff pastry out of fridge and roll it out so that the size matches the bottom of your baking pan (about 9 by 13.  Sprinkle flour on the counter as necessary to roll out the pastry.  Transfer to parchment lined pan.  Spread entire filling evenly over pastry, almost to the edges of the pastry.  Then roll out second sheet of pastry.  Place it over the filling, and turn the edges of the pastry over the filling and crimp it with the bottom layer of pastry.  Then make an egg wash of 1 egg with buy modafinil 1 teaspoon of water, and brush it generously over top of pie.

I usually stick it in the canadian pharmacy freezer for about 30 min.  Then I cover it with foil and put back in freezer till I’m ready to bake it.

Bake about 45-50 min. at 400 degrees till puffy and brown.  Serve immediately.

very fluffy buttermilk pancakes

I tried a new recipe for buttermilk pancakes that’s very similar to my other ones.  I was very happy with the result and so was my own personal Alex Si Hente (from the old Savarin Coffee commercial), my son Benji.  I also made them for my mother’s best friend Adele, and she enjoyed them as well, commenting that she loved my pancakes, but no others!

adapted from ohsweetbasil.com melt in your mouth buttermilk pancakes:

  • 2 cups organic King Arthur brand unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs- fresh from the farm, separated
  • 2 cups Friendship 1.5  percent fat (make sure you shake before using) 
  • 2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter (either salted or unsalted- I happened to use salted)  

First, melt butter in small microwave-safe dish and set aside to cool.  Put dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.

Measure buttermilk in pyrex glass cup measurer.  Then add egg yolk to the buttermilk.  Add melted butter and mix till well blended.

In separate glass bowl by hand with wire whisk or pharmacy online using a hand-held mixer (I did this by hand), mix egg whites till almost stiff, but not quite.

Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and fold in with canadian pharmacy rubber spatula till almost smooth- but batter still has some lumps.  Then fold in egg whites gently.

Heat non-stick griddle.  Then coat very lightly with butter. Do not let your butter brown! Scoop 1/4 cup spoonfuls onto hot griddle.   Leave alone till you have the idea that the undersides are brown, use buy modafinil a spatula and peek under.  If sufficiently browned, carefully flip with a wide spatula.  Cook till browned nicely on other side.

Serve immediately with butter and pure maple syrup.

 

the perfect summer dinner of fried fish (tilapia or flounder) with homemade tartar sauce, cole slaw, sliced Jersey tomatoes, and Jersey farm corn on the cob, french fries or baked stuffed potatoes!

This is one of my favorite summer dinners to eat and make.  When my parents were alive, I loved to make this for them (with french fries, too) because they loved it to the nth degree.  And what I loved was how much they loved the meal and how they commented with almost every bite about how delicious everything was.  My mother Shirley Fried’s comment would be, “How do you make everything so perfect, dolly?”  My daughter Randi loved the meal too, and she recently asked me to make it.  I invited her father in law and his wife, because I really have fun with them- they are great people- and because they like my food.  As my daughter says, “They are good customers.”

I bought the fish at Whole Foods and it was super fresh. The only other place I’ve bought fish that’s been this fresh has been at the Keyport Fishery.  The corn I bought at an amazing farmstand in Pennington, NJ called Kerr’s Kornstand. The corn is brought right in  from the field while you are there- and it is perfect corn- there is none fresher or sweeter!  I also buy modafinil got my tomatoes there, and they were sweet, dark red, and juicy.

for the fish (tilapia, flounder, or other mild white fish):

My recipe for the fish harkens from the recipe used at Klein’s Fish Market in Belmar, NJ.  I once asked them for their recipe, and they readily gave it to me, I think because they sell the coating mix right there in the market. For the coating they use 1 part McCormick Golden Dipt Tempura Seafood Batter Mix  to 2 parts McCormick Golden Dipt Fry Easy All-Purpose Breading Mix. What a breeze to make.  Simply put the mix into a 9 by 13 baking pan and whisk together to get any lumps out.  Put some cold water in a separate mixing bowl.  Dip each fillet into the water on both sides of the fillet, then dredge the fillet through the coating mix on each side of pharmacy online the fillet, using your hand to sprinkle some extra coating over the fish to cover the fillet completely.  Then heat your oil (about 1/2 inch deep)  on a high flame in a nonstick frying pan till it’s really hot.  Fry about 2-3 minutes till underside is beautifully browned.  Flip with spatula and cook till underside is browned.  No need to drain- the fish doesn’t pick up excess oil if it’s hot enough to start.

For each pound of fresh fish fillets, use about 1 cup of the all purpose breading mix and 1/2 cup of the tempura mix.

Use canola or light olive oil  in a large non-stick fry pan, and get the oil nice and hot before putting the fish in.  Fry till underside is brown, flip and brown the other side. This should take about 5 min. altogether.  Serve immediately with tartar sauce and/or cocktail sauce and lots of fresh sliced lemon.

judy’s homemade tartar sauce:

  • 1 cup of Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or Minute Maid frozen lemon juice from concentrate 
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated onion
  • a few tablespoons of chopped dill pickle (I use Claussen dill sandwich slices)
  • a dash of kosher salt 

After you taste, adjust by adding a little more lemon juice or chopped pickle to your liking.

my simple cole slaw:

  • 2 bags dole cabbage for cole slaw
  • about 1 cup of Hellman’s mayo
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk (you could substitute plain Greek yogurt or sour cream)
  • about 4-5 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • about 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • about 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • about 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • about 1 tablespoon of the BEST herbs- Litehouse dill 

Mix together in large mixing bowl at least a few hours before serving.  Add more or less of any of the ingredients to your taste.

fresh corn on the cob:

Cover shucked corn in a large pot with water.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer on low boil for 8 minutes.  Serve.

french fries (Be careful with this recipe- although it’s easy, only experienced cooks should make this!)

Heat a large pot of oil (corn or canola) till oil starts to shimmer, but is NOT yet boiling. You don’t want your oil to come to a boil before you put the fries in, because the oil could catch on fire!  Carefully place your fries in and stand back a bit so you don’t get burned if oil splatters a little- I use either Whole Foods Crinkle Cut Fries or Nathans Crinkle canadian pharmacy Cut Fries.  Leave the fries alone, do not mix them in the oil.  Fry on a rolling boil till fries are browned- the time may range from 15 min. to 25 min.  Drain in paper towels, sprinkle with kosher salt, and serve.

baked stuffed potatoes:

  • Idaho organic potatoes
  • salted or unsalted butter
  • paprika 

Pierce potatoes with a fork.  Bake at about 375 degrees to 400 degrees for at least 1 hour till a fork goes in easily and potatoes are soft inside. Slice the tippy top of potatoes off.  Scoop out the potato being careful not to break the skin and put in mixing bowl.  Add butter to taste, salt to taste, and a little pepper to taste.  Mash potatoes.  Scoop the mashed potatoes back into the potato shells.  Sprinkle tops with paprika.

Note:  I usually make these in advance, so I refrigerate them, covered, and then I heat them up in a baking pan or sheet pan at 375 degrees for about 45 min. to an hour, till piping hot.

nectarine, blueberry, and raspberry galette or crostada

I usually bake pies, but sometimes, I enjoy baking summer fruit galettes because they are quick to prepare, and because you are guaranteed a flaky, browned crust on the bottom, which is hard to achieve in a pie.  For this, I used nectarines, blueberries, and raspberries, because that’s what I had on hand.  I liked the color of all three fruits- dazzling! I also liked the pure taste of the fruit in the tart- a result of only a little sugar and a dash of cinnamon- and no nutmeg!! I’m publishing this recipe because my daughter told me this dessert was one of the most delicious desserts she’s ever eaten. It’s adapted from Simply Scratch – Rustic Peach and Blueberry Galette.

for the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached organic flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks frozen butter (I used salted), cut into smallish cubes
  • 1 extra large egg yolk mixed with 3 tablespoons whole milk- but I will use 3 1/2 tablespoons next time, as dough needs a bit more liquid                                         ** (reserve the white for egg wash) 

In bowl of food processor with metal blade, put flour, salt, and sugar.  Pulse 1 or 2 times. Put butter cubes on top.  Pulse until you can still see little pieces of butter.  Pour egg yolk and milk mixture into canadian pharmacy online feed tube and whirr until dough just comes together as a ball.  Sprinkle some flour on a marble slab or on a piece of waxed paper, and flatten (roll) pastry into a disk about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick.  Wrap in plastic or waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, or if you’re short on time as I was, stick in freezer for 30 minutes.

for the fruit filling (you can adapt your fruits to your taste or what you have on hand):

  • 2 large nectarines (do not peel!)  (or 4-5 nectarines or peaches to 1 cup of blueberries and no raspberries)
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 heavy cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached flour 
  • NO NUTMEG!!! (I hate it!) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

In mixing bowl, slice the nectaries, put the blueberries, and the raspberries.  Sprinkle in the sugar, cinnamon, salt, and flour.  Gently mix with a rubber spatula.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take pastry out of fridge.  Roll out (either on waxed paper or on a marble surface) to a circular shape of about 14 inches. You should flip it a few times, sprinkling flour on rolling surface as needed.   Transfer carefully to a large sheet pan lined with parchment (I folded pastry in half to move it and then unfolded it onto my parchment lined sheet pan). Evenly put the fruit mixture evenly on pastry leaving a border of about 1 1/2 inches around the outer edge canadian pharmacy viagra with no fruit.  Then pleat that uncovered pastry up and over the fruit (You will have quite a large opening where the fruit is uncovered by pastry).  Make an egg wash of the reserved egg white with a teaspoon of water.  Brush it generously over the folded pastry.  Sprinkle the crust lightly with granulated sugar, and a little extra sugar over the fruit, too.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 30 min.  Once you see crust buy modafinil is starting to brown, reduce oven to 375 degrees, and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes till crust is perfectly browned.

Serve warm or at room temperature plain or with vanilla ice cream.

banana pudding a la magnolia – in more ways than one

I was recently at 2 parties where my cousin Jane made the Magnolia Bakery recipe for banana pudding.  I couldn’t help but notice how everybody was going crazy for it.  So this weekend I decided to make it  as a dessert for my grandson Noah’s afterbirthday party (7 years old).  My daughter told me that it made a big hit.  I don’t see how it couldn’t – it’s rich and refreshing and just plain delicious. My cousin used the recipe on popsugar.com, so I used that as well.  I also referred to the recipe on health-e-child.org

ingredients:

  • 1 box Nabisco Nilla wafers (don’t substitute any other brand of cookies)
  • 1 14 oz. can Magnolia sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water
  • 1 pack Jello brand vanilla instant pudding
  • 4 large ripe (but not too ripe) bananas 
  • 3 cups heavy cream

instructions:

  1. In the bowl of a mixer, beat sweetened condensed milk and water for about a minute with paddle attachment. Add the pudding mix and beat for canadian pharmacy cialis about two more minutes. Transfer to a smaller bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. By that time the mixture should be nice and firm.
  2. In a large bowl on medium speed, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form (I put my large metal mixing bowl and whisk mixer attachment in the freezer for 15 minutes. I also put the cream in the freezer for 5 minutes before beating.) Beat till stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in whipped cream to the pudding mixture in thirds until fully incorporated and no streaks of pudding are visible.
  3. I like to use a glass trifle dish.   Start out by putting a shallow layer of whipped cream in bottom of dish. (This is different than any recipe I looked at for the Magnolia banana pudding) Then put about a layer of cookies (about a third of the box of Nilla wafers) on top of cream.  Layer about one third of the sliced bananas over cookies, then about 1/3 of leftover cream.  Then put second layer of cookies, then 2nd layer of bananas, then 1/2 of leftover cream.  Then put last canadian pharmacy online layer of cookies, last slices of bananas, and rest of cream over bananas.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 8 hours before serving.

Note:  I recommend you watch the video on popsugar.com at least once before you begin making this banana pudding.

creamy and light quiche lorraine

Whenever I go out for a breakfast or a brunch, I always think about ordering the quiche, but I usually don’t make that selection because I’m usually disappointed.  I’ve had a yen for the perfect slice of quiche, and my son Benji put in the request, so I obliged.

Wow.  I put together a bunch of recipes and came up with this.  The result was quiche heaven. The consistency was creamy but light like a soufflee at the same time!

ingredients:

  • 1 Oronique deep dish pie crust (very important to use a deep dish crust.  I have found this crust to be the best tasting.
  • 5- 6 oz. swiss cheese, grated by hand (you can substitute gruyere)
  • 1 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • no nutmeg (to me that ruins the recipe!) 
  • about 10 -11 oz. crispy bacon, broken into bite sized pieces, not crumbles! (I use Nature’s Promise, which I bake on a foil lined sheet pan at 425 degrees, till crispy, then I drain on paper towels) 

First, take crust out of freezer, use a fork to prick pharmacy online bottom and sides.  Bake for 10 min. at 350 degrees. Take out of oven while you prepare the filling and raise temperature to 375 degrees.

Cook your bacon as described above in list of ingredients. Drain and set aside.

Grate the cheese by hand.

For filling, mix eggs and cream well with a fork.  Add canadian pharmacy online salt and pepper. Place pie crust on a sheet pan lined with foil.

Spread cheese on bottom of crust.  Then spread bacon evenly over cheese.

Ladle the custard over bacon and cheese.  You may not be able to use all the filling because it will overflow, but save it for a few minutes later after the quiche has started to cook.

Begin to bake on middle rack of oven.  After about 15 min., pull oven shelf out with sheet pan carefully and spoon any remaining custard into the quiche.

Bake for about 45 to 55 min. until entire pie is puffed nicely.  Let sit modafinil online on counter for about 15 min. before serving.

Judy’s Blueberry French Toast Casserole/ Bread Pudding

For my new granddaughter’s baby naming party, I wanted to make one more spectacular hot brunch item. I’ve made my french toast bread pudding recipe a few times to rave reviews, but there’s something I don’t like about it, and that’s the syrup that’s on the bottom.  It’s too sweet for me, mostly. I found a recipe on Kitchen Treaty called Cinnamon Blueberry Overnight French Toast that I mixed with my own recipe. So I pretty much kept the custard part of my recipe, added a sprinkling of blueberries, and sprinkled the top with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Most importantly, when I took the masterpiece out of the oven, I drizzled the entire top of it with pure maple syrup.  Oh my gosh, I can’t express how delicious this was.  Everyone who ate it loved it and commented on the absolute perfection of the dish.  My daughter called me to tell me that I need to make one entire casserole for her family because she did not get enough of it and because her husband got none.  This is an outstanding recipe, and what makes it even better is that you can prepare it a few hours ahead, or the night before, as I did, and bake it off the next day.

for the custard:

  • 1 challah (I use Zommick’s 15 oz. challah, which I buy at Stop and Shop
  • 8 extra jumbo eggs
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 1/2  to 2 cups of blueberries (optional, but I used them)

for the topping:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 

essential ingredient for serving:

about 4-6 oz. pure maple syrup- medium grade

Directions:

1.  Cut the challah into slices about 1 inch thick.  Then cut the slices into pieces about 1 to 1 1/2 inches big.  Let them sit out to get a little stale.  If I don’t have the time for that, I put them on a cookie sheet and stick them in a 200 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes (I did this for baby naming party).

2.  Grease sides and bottom of large oval or rectangular 9 by 13 pan with butter.

3.  Place the pieces of challah in so they fit like a puzzle.  If you have to squeeze a few in, that’s fine, but use the entire challah.

4.  Sprinkle the blueberries on top of the challah pieces; you can push some of them down a little into some crevices.

5.  Whisk the eggs, light cream, sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla in a mixing bowl. Ladle the custard evenly over the bread.

6.  Refrigerate over night or for a few hours till you are ready to bake.

7.  Before you put into the oven, sprinkle the topping evenly over the top, using all of it.

8.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 min. until top is puffed (even the center) and a toothpick comes out clean.

9.  Take out of the oven, and immediately drizzle the maple syrup all over the  top of the casserole.

10.  Serve immediately!

Back to Basics Macaroni and Cheese

When my children were little, I found a recipe for macaroni and cheese on the back of the Creamettes box.  This was the recipe I made for years and years.  I recently made it again instead of the recipe I’ve made for the last 10 years (Judy’s Creamy and Delicious Macaroni and Cheese), and I discovered that I may like it more because it seems a little less rich.  It’s basically the same as my current recipe except that it has much less cheese.

  • 2 cups elbows (I like Creamettes) (about 1/2 of 1 lb. box)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 10 oz. Land o’Lakes yellow American cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk 

Melt butter in saucepan.  Add flour, salt, and pepper.  Whisk over medium heat for about 2 minutes.  Add milk gradually.  Whisk over medium heat for about 10 minutes till starts to thicken a little, but not too much.  Add in the cheese.

Cook pasta in boiling water till just cooked- not overcooked.  Drain in colander.  Butter a casserole dish.  Pour sauce into casserole.  Pour the macaroni noodles in and mix together till noodles are evenly coated with the sauce.

Cook at 375 degrees for about an hour till the cheese starts to rise to top and brown and the edges start to get brown and crusty looking.

Baked Penne with Marinara, Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Miniature Meatballs

I wanted to make a baked pasta dish and add my homemade meatballs, so I came up with this very easy recipe.  I was thrilled when my daughter told me how much she loved the dish.  I decided to omit ricotta cheese from the dish, and I was glad.  I thought it came out perfect without it.

Ingredients:

1 lb. penne or ziti, whole wheat or not

1 lb. or a little more of grated mozzarella (I used Whole Foods part skim)

about 1/2 cup grated parmesan

about 1 qt. marinara sauce (I used jarred)

about 1 teaspoon fresh thyme if you happen to have it

a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes, if you like the heat

for the meatballs:

1 lb. grass fed or organic ground beef, 85% fat

about 1/3 cup ketchup

1 large egg

abut 1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs or white ones

kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder

make the meatballs:

In a mixing bowl, gently mix the ground beef, ketchup, 1 egg, about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, about 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and the bread crumbs.  I use my hands to mix gently.  Then form little meatballs- a little less than 1 inch in diameter.  Put about 2 tablespoons light olive oil or canola oil in nonstick saute pan and heat.  Gently place meatballs in pan and brown only very lightly on all sides.  Pour marinara sauce in a saucepan, and gently place drained meatballs in sauce.  Add the thyme if using as well as red pepper flakes, and simmer covered over low flame about 10 or 15 min.  Turn heat off.

for the assembly:

Cook pasta in boiling salted water till al dente.  Drain in colander. In 9 by 13 rectangular or oval baking dish, spoon a little sauce in pan to coat bottom.  Put a nice layer of noodles to cover bottom of pan.  Spoon about 1/3 of sauce and meatballs over the noodles.  Sprinkle with parmesan and about 1/3 of grated mozzarella.  Put another 1/3 of noodles on top, 1/3 of sauce and meatballs, parmesan, and 1/3 of mozzarella.  Spread last 1/3 of noodles, the rest of the sauce and meatballs, parmesan, and rest of mozzarella.

Either put in fridge to bake later, or bake right away.  From the fridge, it will take about 1 hour at 375 degrees.  If you are baking it immediately, it might only take 30 minutes for it to get nice and bubbly.