Tag: Candy

Weekend Finds 4:13:14: Passover edition!

As soon as I returned from Vietnam on Thursday, my mind quickly zeroed in on the upcoming holiday: Passover! While I sadly can’t make it home this year to celebrate with my family, I am going to have a small dinner at my house with my roommates. I don’t think we’ll do the whole seder, but I am looking forward to cooking some of my favorites and sharing this bit of tradition with my friends. Now, the age old question: should I stick with the known and loved recipes? Or try something new and adventurous? Here are some recipes I’ve been eyeing.

1. Haroset with Medjool Dates

Haroset on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
This smooth haroset has medjool dates!

I love haroset. When I was in college, and I couldn’t go home for Passover, but I certainly couldn’t cook a whole seder in my dorm, I still made haroset.¬†This haroset looks a little more smooth than the one I usually make, but I like the addition of the dates for sweetness.

2. Matzo brittle/crunch/toffee

Matzo Toffee on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Matzo, brown sugar, butter, and chocolate: what could be better?

There are a thousand different variations on matzo brittle. Seriously, you can find so many recipes from a quick google search (see David Lebovitz, HuffPost, or Smitten Kitchen). But I’m thinking I’d like to be a little adventurous and top the traditionally matzo, toffee, and chocolate with some more interesting ingredients like dried sour cherries, toasted coconut, or pistachios.

3. Brisket

Passover Brisket on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Decisions, decisions: which brisket recipe to make?

Perhaps one thing I’m most excited to make for Passover is the brisket. My mom made this recipe from Martha Stewart at least once when I was growing up, and it is the one that really sticks out in my mind. But there are so many good looking recipes, like this one from Bon Appetit, that I’m already having trouble deciding which to use.

4. Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
These asparagus deviled eggs look awesome.

I think making deviled eggs instead of simply serving plain hard boiled eggs might be more interesting and give me more chances to try something new. This recipe that Deb just posted on Smitten Kitchen looks great, and I love the use of a spring vegetable like asparagus.

5. Seder Plate

Seder Plates on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
I love the color of this Victorian seder plate.

I don’t have a seder plate, and this year I’ll probably just put a bunch of ramekins on a platter and call it good. Still, I haven’t been able to stop myself from eyeing some beautiful (and some very expensive) seder plates. This Victorian era seder plate is fantastic – I love the color, and I love to think that I’d use the cake stand part year round. I like the more modern take on this stainless steel seder plate. And this painted ceramic plate reminds me of the one we used growing up.

6. Matzo Brei

Matzo Brei on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
I like to sprinkle my matzo brei with sugar or syrup.

Because what else do you eat for breakfast during Passover?

Candy for Grown Ups (or Roasted Tomatoes)

roasted tomatoes

Every summer, I get excited about the produce that will soon be available and all the delicious things I can make with it. I’ve already started with the rhubarb. I am waiting impatiently to go to Sauvie Island and pick strawberries. Soon there will be peaches and nectarines aplenty for me to use for things like salsa, smoothies, pies, etc. The other thing I love? Tomatoes. My little sister worked at a tomato stand at various farmer’s markets in Seattle last summer, and is slowly teaching me the joys of all these different weirdly colored tomatoes. But my favorite thing to do with tomatoes is to season them a little and roast them in the oven forever. And last week I got antsy. I couldn’t wait for the perfectly ripe, soft tomatoes to arrive at the markets. So I went to New Seasons and bought a bag of not-the-ripest roma tomatoes. I left them in our fruit bowl for a few days to soften up, and then I made roasted tomatoes.

Simple Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients

Tomatoes (any kind will do – I usually go for just regular old vine tomatoes or romas or whatever is prettiest looking)
Olive Oil
Garlic
Salt
Dried basil and/or oregano

Instructions

All of the amounts of the ingredients above are based on your personal taste. If you like garlic, use a bunch. If you are trying to cut back on salt, don’t use it. They’re also great without the basil or oregano.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. If you have more time to cook, you can heat your oven to 250 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil into a large baking dish. Slice your tomatoes in half and, if you want, cut out the little stem bit. Rub the tomatoes sliced-side down in the olive oil, then flip them so the sliced-side faces up. Mince the garlic and sprinkle it over the tomatoes. Now sprinkle on some salt and whatever other seasoning you want (this is the time for the basil or oregano if you’re using it). Now here’s the fun part: set it and forget it. Throw the suckers in the oven and let them cook for 3-4 hours. I took these ones out at 4 hours because we were leaving the apartment, but they probably could have gone another 30 minutes. You’ll want to check on them after the 3.5-4 hour mark, as the way they cook will depend on the kind of tomatoes and the temperature of your oven. When they’re caramelized and cooked to your liking, remove them from the oven.

I suggest letting them cool enough to eat one before using them for anything else, just so you can taste heaven. After enjoying one all by itself, the rest is up to you: cut them up and put them on a pizza or in a salad, throw them in your food processor or blender for soup (I suggest looking up a recipe so you know what else to add) or pasta sauce. Also, the oil that is still at the bottom of the pan is delicious, so scrape this into whatever container you’re saving them in so you can use it too. These things are amazing. The kids I nanny for didn’t like tomatoes until I made these; I made a giant dish of roasted tomatoes, and they were almost gone by the time their mom got home from work. That’s how hard it is not to eat these all up.

Pistachio Butter Cups

Pistachio Butter Cups
Pistachio Butter Cups

Pistachio Butter Cups

Another recipe brought to you by food52. The same day I made that scallops dinner for Jonah, I also made him these pistachio chocolates (think Reeses cups but with pistachio filling). What can I say, I was feeling loving¬†and¬†ambitious. This was the first time I’ve ever made a candy/chocolate thing, so I was a little scared and often felt like “am I doing this right?” but it all worked out. And actually, now that I’ve done it, I can confidently say that it was pretty easy! But I would definitely advise reading through the whole recipe before you get started (I actually always advise that, but especially in this case).

Pistachio Butter Cups

Ingredients

1 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

Special equipment: mini muffin liners

Instructions

I found I needed a little more chocolate than the recipe called for, but I think I used too much in the first step, which you’ll see below, and because of that the chocolate overwhelmed the pistachio filling a little bit.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until 75% of chunks are melted, and just stir to melt the rest. Set 24 mini muffin liners out (I did it on a baking sheet so they’d be easier to move and such. Add a spoonful (think maybe 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons) of chocolate to each liner. Use the back of the spoon to push the chocolate up the sides of the liner. I pushed it up almost all the way to the top (see picture). Put the liners in the fridge for half an hour to cool until they’re solid.

While the chocolate is cooling, put the pistachios, salt, and butter into a food processor and process until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and 1-2 Tbl of water until you have a thick frosting consistency. Remove the chocolate-filled liners from the fridge. You’ll see that because you’ve pushed the chocolate up the sides, you’ve got a nice mini chocolate bowl. Add about 1/2 Tbl to each liner. How to go about this is tricky. I had to use my fingers to kind of smooth out the filling, as I wanted it to be flat (like a Reeses would be), but it stuck more to my fingers than to the chocolate. But I figured it out and it worked just fine.

Reheat the remaining chocolate (as you did above) and spoon it over the pistachio mixture until it’s thoroughly covered. You want the top layer of chocolate to meet the chocolate that was pushed up the sides of the liner so that the pistachio filling is encased in it. Allow to cool and enjoy!