Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hannukah in St. Louis

My boyfriend and I took our first holiday vacation together this past winter. It was great to be able to get two weeks away from work but what was even better was being able to spend time with each others families. Within the first 24 hours of being in St. Louis I was introduced to a couple dozen of my boyfriend's family and friends during his cousin's bar mitzvah.

The following day was a family Hanukkah party. As I knew we were going to be attending this family party and I had no clue what to bring or do, I brought a jar of home made cranberry & walnut chutney (Kosher made) so that I wasn't empty handed. I also traveled with my recipe for matzoh toffee. My boyfriend had already warned me that there would be several hungry family members. What I didn't quite understand was that by several, he meant about 50 or so. 

I was a bit overwhelmed for a few reasons. 1) there was no way I could remember everyone's names. 2) I hoped they liked me. 3) I'm not Jewish (by religion) and was a bit behind on the prayers. So now Hebrew is on the list of things to learn in 2015, as is tracking down a bit more information on the Jewish heritage that showed up on my DNA test.

To my great relief and happiness the chutney was a hit. I was asked for the recipe by several people. I normally serve this on top of cream cheese with Ritz crackers on the side. It also goes well with crusty bread, pork, and all sorts of other holiday yummies. I was so blessed to be welcomed into his family and can't wait to be able to share more meals & recipes with them in the years to come.

Cranberry & Walnut Chutney

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup port or other sweet red wine
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind $
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Orange rind strips (optional) $
Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Add cherries, and cook 1 minute. Stir in cranberries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts, grated rind, and extract. Garnish with orange rind strips, if desired. Cover and chill.

Friday, November 7, 2014


It may be unlicensed but I have a lot of friends who will want this.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Easy Rustic Spanikopita

What I like about my spanakopita, besides the fact that it tastes very good, is that it's super healthy. I also like that it's quick and so easy to make that my boyfriend was excited to try to make it himself for us. Leftover slices can be eaten out of hand as the phyllo isn't as flaky but it is delicious! This recipe makes one 9-inch pie.

2 pounds fresh 'Power Mix' Greens (Kale, Spinach, Chard) or frozen version

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, minced

7 ounces Greek feta

3 large eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

8 sheets phyllo dough

4 to 5 tablespoons oil (olive or avocado)

1. Heat the oven to 350 F. Put the greens in a colander, wash, rinse and squeeze out as much water as you can. Finely chop & put in a large bowl and set aside.

2. Heat the 2 tbs olive oil in a pan and add the minced onion. Sauté for around 8 minutes, until the onion is fragrant and golden. Scrape the onion into the bowl of greens.

3. Crumble the feta into the bowl of greens. Add the three eggs, salt and pepper to taste. Then mix until all the ingredients are well-combined and the mass is relatively uniform. You will have little pockets of feta cheese here and there.

4. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan. Open the package of phyllo dough and lay a damp towel over the phyllo sheets. Working quickly, line the pan with one sheet of phyllo dough, then brush it lightly with some oil (olive or avocado). Layer another sheet on top and oil that. Repeat with all the sheets of phyllo until the springform pan is fully lined. Scrape the spinach mixture into the phyllo-lined pan and smooth the top. Fold the phyllo dough over the top of the pie (see photo above). Brush a little oil on the tops of the phyllo dough sheets.

5. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The filling will be set and the phyllo golden-brown and crackling when the pie is done. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing the ring of the pan. Cut into slices and serve immediately. If cooled completely and then wrapped carefully in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, the spanakopita can be frozen for a few months.