Roasted Potatoes

Ive made these a variety of ways.  All are delicious.  I will try to include all the varieties I’ve made below.

Oven Roasted Potatoes:

  • Red new potatoes, or white new potatoes, or Idaho, russet potatoes, or yukon gold
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • light olive oil

Wash potatoes and either leave them whole if they are really small, or cut them in half if they are a little bigger, or cut them into more pieces if the potatoes are large.  I don’t peel any of the new potatoes, which makes the job much easier.

I’ve done this 2 ways.  The first is to put the whole or cut potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water, bring to a simmer, and simmer uncovered just until almost tender, then place on sheet pan lined with foil and coated with oil (I usually use light olive oil).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil, toss with clean hands, and roast in a 425 degree oven for about 45 min., turning potatoes a few times during cooking. 

The other way is to not parboil the potatoes, place them on greased pan, sprinkle with salt and a little pepper, drizzle with oil, toss with clean hands, and roast in a 400 or 425 degree oven until the potatoes are brown and tender, turning them a few times during the cooking time, probably roasting for about 50 min. to 75 min. till potatoes are browned and tender.

Another method is to roast the potatoes in a large, heavy dutch oven, like a Le Creuset on top of the stove.  Melt about 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter in pot over medium flame, place very small whole potatoes or cut into 2 or more pieces if they are larger potatoes. You may instead use light olive oil, or a combination of oil and butter, or just butter.  Sprinkle potatoes with salt and a little pepper.   Cover and cook about 30-45 minutes, tossing every 5-10 minutes or so to prevent sticking.  When potatoes are tender, take off heat.  I found that my butter was burned a little at this point, so I took the potatoes out, wiped out the pan, put the potatoes back in, added about 2 tablespoons of butter, about 2 tablespoons of a combination of chopped fresh dill and fresh Italian parsley, and I tossed.  Taste and reseason with salt. 

Greek Beans with Tomatoes, Celery, And Carrots

After my daughter Randi and her husband came back from their vacation in Greece,  I bacame inspired to find some Greek dishes to make for them.  I came up with this recipe, and Randi and Dan really like it.  It is healthy, tasty, and economical.

  • 1 lb. bag of dried cannelini beans (or fasolia gigantes or similar large dried white beans)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of extra virgin, regular, or light olive oil
  • 2-3 onions, about 11 oz, chopped (rough chop)
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped medium
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped medium
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspooon dried oregano or thyme, or mixture of both (I used fresh thyme leaves, about 1 tablespoon, and dried oregano)
  • 1 28 oz. canned plum tomatoes (do not use juice), rough chop
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste diluted in 8 oz. water
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • crushed red pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp, but that made the end result a little hot)

1.  Place the beans in a large bowl, cover with plenty of cold water, then let soak overnight in the refrigerator.  The next day, drain the beans, then rinse them under cold water in a collander, and drain.
2.  Pour the beans into a large saucepan, pour plenty of cold water to cover, then bring to a boil.  Cover the pan, and cook the beans at a simmer until they are almost tender, about 50-60 minute.  Giantes will cook more quickly, so keep testing them after they have been cooking for 30 to 40 minutes.  The beans should be soft, but not disintegrating through overcooking.  If the beans are starting to break in half, they are totally cooked.
3.  While the beans are cooking, heat the olive oil a clean saute pan ( I didn’t use a nonstick pan for this), add the chopped onions, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper to taste,  and saute until light golden.  Add the celery, carrots, garlic, herbs, and stir with a wooden spoon until the garlic becomes aromatic and the vegetables are softish.  Stir in the tomatoes, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.  (covering is not essential)  Pour in the diluted tomato paste with water, then return the cooked drained beans to the vegetable mixture, add the sugar the parsley, and any additional salt and pepper.  Mix gently.  Pour into a large 9 x 13 baking dish.  Bake covered for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees and serve.
If you want the dish to have more sauce, bake it covered in the oven.  If you would like the liquid to evaporate more so that the surface of the beans and vegetables become a little candied, then bake it uncovered.  If you are baking the dish uncovered, check the beans once or twice during the 30 minutes, and add more hot water if the beans look dry.
Note:
You can make the vegetable mixture while the beans are soaking, and refigerate until after you cook the beans.
You can probably substitute cooked beans, but you may lose a little of the texture or the authentic taste of the dish.

Alu Ki Tikki or Indian Potato Patties

I was lucky enough to eat some delicious authentic, homemade Indian food at the home of my friend Swapna and her lovely son Aditya.  I loved it so much that I got the recipe from Swapna and her mother, and tonight I ventured into the arena of Indian cooking, something totally new for me.  My daughter Randi and my son-in-law Dan both love Indian food, and when I told Randi I would be bringing this dish to her house tomorrow, she got really excited.  My son Danny tasted this, and agreed that it is delicious!  To me, these taste like a spicy version of hashed browns, with just the perfect amount of heat and just a subtle hint of cilantro. I’m so glad I tried this recipe!  Thank you Swapna!

This recipe makes about 15 potato patties.

  • 2 very large Idaho or Russet potatoes, washed
  • 2-4 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs, depending on how big your potatoes are (I use Colonna)
  • about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 or 2 small, dark green thin chiles, chopped fine (I used 2, but did not use the seeds), but you may if want more heat
  • about 10 cilantro leaves, torn or chopped into little pieces
  • light olive oil

Place one potato in microwave safe bowl with about 1/4 cup cold water.  Pierce a few times with fork, cover and cook on high for 3-5 minutes depending on size of potato.  Turn potato over, cover and cook another 3-5 minutes till soft.  Let cool, by pouring hot water out and putting a little cold water into bowl.  Turn potato over a few times in cold water.  Then peel potato with your hands.  Place in mixing bowl.  Repeat with second potato in microwave.  Mash first potato, then mash second potato when it is cooked, cooled, and mashed.  Add the salt, cilantro, the chiles, and the bread crumbs, and mix with a fork or gently with your clean hands. Put a little oil on your hands, and form into round patties about 2 to 3 inches round and about 1 inch thick.  Heat large nonstick frying pan up, add  some oil to coat, and gently place potato rounds in hot pan.  Let sit without turning until they are totally brown on bottom, about 5-8 minutes.  You may need to add a little more oil if pan becomes totally dry.  Turn when nicely browned on bottom, and cook till underside is brown, adding oil if necessary, about another 5-7 minutes.  Serve hot.

Note:  You may refrigerate them and serve them later after heating them in oven- 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Roasted Veggie Casserole

Last night, I tried a new recipe, which really is just a variation on roasted vegetables. I put some of my daughter’s favorite vegetables in this, knowing you just can’t go wrong with roasting vegetables.  I  brought it to my daughter Randi’s for a dinner side dish, and she and her husband loved it, as did I.  If fact Randi liked it so much, she ate it for her main course.

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (I used half extra virgin and half light, but any type is fine)
  • 2 pounds red potatoes, cut into slightly larger than bite size wedges, skin on
  • 3 large red bell peppers, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 container of grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half, or 4 plum tomatoes cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red papper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an oval or rectangular 9 by 13 casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Spread the potatoes, peppers, tomatoes in dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Drizzle remaining oil over, and toss with your hands to coat well with the oil to coat. Bake for about 45 minutes. Then take out of oven, and add olives, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley. Mix gently. Bake another 45-60 minutes. The longer you cook the vegetables, the more caramelized they will become, but the more they will shrink. So the longer you cook this, the smaller the yield. So if you don’t mind the vegetables not being really caramelized, reduce your cooking time.

Thin-Sliced Fried Eggplant With Marinara Sauce

I had this at my in-law’s Marsha’s house. Her husband Al Berman made this for an appetizer. It was DELICIOUS!!! You can serve this as an appetizer, or as a quick and healthy dinner served with marinara sauce and a salad. Believe it or not, my sons, Danny and Benji both love this, and they hate eggplant. Try this for your kids.

  • 1 or 2 eggplants (choose eggplants that have a smaller diameter), peeled
  • 1 or 2 eggs (or as many as necessary) mixed with a little water
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • oil, for frying
  • marinara sauce, for serving

Peel eggplants and slice them thinly, between an 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Place in egg mixture. Then dredge in bread crumbs thoroughly on both sides.

Heat a large frying pan or 2 pans until hot. Then add oil, either light olive oil, canola, corn, or vegetable oil about 1/8 inch high in pan. When oil starts to shimmer, add eggplant. Fry on both sides until nicely browned.  Add oil as needed.

Serve with marinara sauce, either a good jarred variety such as “The Silver Palate” or my delicious homemade marinara sauce.

Roasted String Beans and Tomatoes

This dish is easy to make, healthy, delicious, and the colors are beautiful.  I made this for my son Danny and myself, and to my shock, Danny loved it, even though he doesn’t usually like string beans. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of fresh string beans, ends trimmed
  • about 8-10 plum tomatoes or 2 pints of grape or cherry tomatoes
  • kosher salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • about 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves (optional)
  • olive oil (I use light)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Cut plum tomatoes into medium size chunks, each about the size of a half of a cherry tomato.  If using cherry or grape tomatoes, cut them in half.  Place on prepared sheet pan, drizzle about 2 tablespoons oil over, sprinkle with salt and pepper and thyme.  Toss with your hands to coat well with oil.  Roast uncovered in oven for about 45 minutes.  Then take out, and add the string beans.  Drizzle a little more oil over beans and sprinkle beans with salt and pepper.  Then toss gently.  Roast for another 20-30 minutes until the beans start to brown on the ends.  Serve.

Ellen’s Delicious Passover Pineapple Kugel

Learn To Make This Outstanding Pineapple Kugel For Passover!  

I adapted this recipe from a recipe I got from my friend Ellen Wachstein.  Ellen is an amazing person and a wonderful friend! I have so many memories of the happy times my family spent over the years with Ellen, her husband Bobby, and her three great children, Toby, Steven, and Alexa. My favorite memories are of the many days our two families spent together at the Phillips Avenue Beach Pavilion in Deal, New Jersey, or of the many times our two families just hung out together at their house or our house.  Anyway, my family was lucky to be invited over to the Wachstein’s for a Passover Seder one year.  Bobby Wachstein does a fabulous job of leading the Seder!  Of course, I was very into the food.  One of the dishes Ellen made for the Seder was her Passover pineapple kugel.  I loved it.  I got the recipe and I make it every year for Passover.  Whenever I am invited to anyone’s home for a Seder, I always bring this dish, and it  gets rave reviews.  I know if you make this pineapple kugel for Passover once, it will become a favorite of yours, too!

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine (use unsalted margarine to make this dish pareve, otherwise you can use salted margarine or butter) (used margarine for Passover 2014)(used butter Passover 2015)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (you only need salt if you are using unsalted butter or margarine)
  • scant 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2- 20 ounce cans crushed pineapple in natural juice, strained but not dry at all (you will not be using the juice)
  • 6 extra large eggs, mixed in a small bowl (switch to 7 ex. lg. next time– to give a little more liquid)
  • 4 cups of dry matza farfel (used whole canister April 2014) This year, I used 14 oz. of matza that I broke into pieces myself when I couldn’t find farfel)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling on top (also sprinkled cinn. and sugar on top April 2014) I used 2 1/2 teaspoons 2015 and sprinkled top too

to make the kugel:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put the margarine into a 9 x 13 baking dish, rectangular or oval, and place in the oven.  When it is melted take out the pan, swirl the margarine around in the pan to make sure that the sides and bottom are well greased.  Pour the melted margarine into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Place a colander in the sink.  Put the whole canister (14 oz.) of matza farfel in the colander.  Run warm water over the matza farfel.  When the matza farfel starts to soften, turn the water off.  The pieces of farfel should be soft, but not mushy.  This is the tricky part.  Because if you have let too much water soak into the matza farfel, it will turn into one glob of mush, and you will have to throw it away and start all over.  Hold the colander with both hands and shake the excess water out, the way you would if you were draining pasta.  Dump the matza farfel into the large mixing bowl with the melted margarine.  Mix the farfel gently with the melted margarine using a rubber spatula.  Pour the sugar and the drained pineapple into the mixing bowl and mix gently with the rubber spatula.   Pour the beaten eggs in, and mix gently to incorporate well.  Add the cinnamon, and mix in.

Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle the top with additional cinnamon.  The cinnamon on the top is what is going to make the kugel look pretty, so be generous.  Bake about 60 – 65 minutes until kugel is browned on the sides and the bottom.  Serve.

Hint #1:  You can bake this in advance, then cut up into 24 pieces, place in heavy duty aluminum foil, and then heat up later either  in the microwave (If you are heating this up in the microwave, take it out of the aluminum foil, and place it on a microwave safe plate).

Hint #2:  I like to bake this in a clear glass baking dish so I can see if the sides and the bottom are browning.  If you bake this in a ceramic baking dish, it will be harder for you to know if the kugel is done.

Chippy Linder’s Kasha Varnishkes

Learn To Make This Traditional Eastern European Jewish Dish Right In Your Own Home!

Kasha varnishkes is most definitely a Jewish dish that most non-Jews probably never even heard of …until they saw one of my all-time favorite Seinfeld episodes, the one where a rabbi who lived in Elaine’s building said to Elaine, “Would you like to come up to my apartment for some kasha varnishkes?” Larry David’s masterful and incomparable writing unveiled kasha varnishkes to mainstream America and the world. Well, I’ve been making kasha varnishkes for years, and I have an incredible recipe for it which came from my mother’s close friend, Chippy Linder. The first time I tasted Chippy’s kasha varnishkas, I knew I would have to learn how to make her recipe.  I love to make this dish for my daughter Randi and her husband Dan, and for my mother and my son Benji. What really sets this recipe apart from others is the delicious taste of the fried onions and the texture of the miniature bowtie noodles. You may think this dish is hard to make, but it really is quite easy. Once you make it one time, you won’t need to open up another box of Cohen’s frozen kasha varnishkes or pay a lot of money for it at your local deli. Master this recipe and you will be on your way to becoming a real Jewish cook!

  • 12 ounces (1 box Ronzoni miniature bowtie pasta- egg bows #138)
  • 1- 13 oz. box Wolff’s medium or coarse kasha
  • 2-3 pounds of onions
  • 2 eggs
  • corn, canola, or light olive oil
  •  reserved pasta water (from when you boil the bow ties)
  • kosher salt
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper

Dice onions by hand or using metal blade in food processor. Pour a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. Pour onions into pan, season with kosher salt and pepper, and fry onions over medium flame until well browned but not burned. Set aside pan with the fried onions.

In medium saucepan, put contents of box of kasha, a few dashes of kosher salt and about 10 grinds of cracked pepper. Crack 2 eggs into a small bowl, and then pour into the pan with the kasha. Turn heat to medium. Mix the kasha with the egg with a fork for a few minutes. The kasha will start to dry out. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until the egg has dried on the kasha and the kasha kernels are separate. Add about 3 cups of boiling or very hot water. Stir, and then cover pot and cook over very low flame for 10 minutes until kasha is tender and the liquid is absorbed.  If you think the kasha looks too dry, add another 1/2 to 1 cup of water.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the miniature bowtie noodles according to package directions until just cooked. Drain in colander. Put the pasta in a very large mixing bowl. Add the cooked kasha and the fried diced onions. Mix, and add more salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add any leftover oil from the pan that you fried the onions in. If you think the kasha varnishkes are too dry, add one tablespoon of oil and a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Mix well. Serve hot.

Note 1: This makes about 3 -4 quarts. If you want to make a smaller quantity, just halve all the ingredients.

Note 2: You can make this 1 or 2 days in advance, and then heat in a bowl in the microwave. When you reheat, you may need to add a drop more oil if the kasha seems too dry and some extra salt and pepper to taste. You can also freeze leftovers in quart containers in the freezer.

Note 3:  If your family members are allergic to wheat, then eliminate the noodles from the recipe.  Kasha is wheat and gluten free.

Delicious Potato Kugel (for Passover or Anytime at all)

Make this  kugel- it’s like making a giant potato latke!

When I hear the phrase “potato kugel”, I remember back to when I was a very little girl.  My Grandma Fried lived in a small apartment in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.  Maybe once a month, my father would take my brother Kenny and me to visit her.  My Grandma Fried was a very kind, sweet woman who had had a very hard life.  She was a very loving grandmother.  What I remember so well is when we walked into the apartment building, I immediately smelled the delicious aroma of my grandmother’s potato kugel.  I know that my father loved her potato kugel.  When I got married, I started to develop my own recipe for potato kugel.  My goal was to create a dish that would taste just like the best potato latke only bigger.  I achieved my goal.  This potato kugel recipe is perfect.  When you take a bite, it’s a little greasy, a little crunchy, and oh, so good! I like to make this recipe as a side dish for Rosh Hashana, Passover, or Shabbat.  It is so easy to make, and everyone loves it!

For a 10 x 15 baking dish                        For a 9 x 13 baking dish 

  • 5 pounds baking potatoes                              9 large potatoes

  • 7 extra large eggs                                            4 extra large eggs

  • 4 medium-large onions                                   3 med.-large onions

  • heavy 1 1/3 cups matzoh meal                     2/3 cup matzoh meal

  • 1 cup corn oil                                                    3/4 cup corn oil

  • additional oil for greasing dish                       additional oil 

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt                                 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pepper                                  1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut potatoes into quarters.  Peel onions and cut into quarters.  Place one third of eggs, potatoes and onions into a blender.  Blend until mixture is the consistency of applesauce.  Pour the mixture into a very large mixing bowl.  Repeat this two more times to use all potatoes, onions, and eggs.  Then add matzoh meal, salt, and pepper to the potato mixture.  Mix with rubber spatula.

Grease the sides and bottom of either your 10 x 15 or the 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish with oil .  Then pour either the 1 cup or the 3/4 cup of oil into the dish.  Place in oven for about 5 minutes to get the oil really hot.  (If you think you might forget that your oil is in the oven, skip this step and just pour the room temperature oil into the batter; otherwise, you will have a fire if you leave the oil in the oven too long!) Then take the dish with the hot oil out of the oven and pour the hot oil into the potato mixture.  Mix with a rubber spatula to incorporate the oil.  Then pour the batter into the greased baking dish.  Bake for about 1 hour.  Take out of oven, and shmear a few additional tablespoons of oil over the top of the kugel.  Place back in oven for another 15-30 minutes until the top is very brown.  The kugel should be well browned on the bottom, the sides, and the top.

Note:  You may make this a day or two in advance, and then reheat it in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes.