Matzo All Year Round! March 31 2017
This week I discovered that Passover may be coming sooner than I’d like. The big tip off was that everything at the Kosher Butcher was labeled Kosher for Passover. I won’t bore you with a Jewish History lesson but in a nut shell Passover is the holiday where we celebrate the Jew’s exodus from Egypt and retell the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments among others. Of course, the holiday has a lot of eating traditions and the biggest one for Passover is that we give up all leavened things. That means no cakes, breads, cookies, donuts, etc. for eight days. As you can imagine, that is a pretty tough endeavor for someone who love sweets! Luckily, there are some really delicious recipes to be made from Matzo that you almost forget it is Passover.
The recipe below for Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crunch is that good. I made it using The Matzo Project Salted Matzo from our marketplace. Feel free to expand on the recipe and top with candies and nuts of your choosing. It will only make the recipe better, I promise. Just like The Matzo Project Matzo, this recipe is good all year round!
Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crunch with The Matzo Project Salted Matzo
Makes approximately 30 pieces
4-5 pieces The Matzo Project Salted Matzo
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 12-oz bag chocolate chips
-Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
-Cover the baking sheet with The Matzo Project Salted Matzo, cutting and breaking as needed to fill all of the space.
-To make the toffee combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, continue cooking and stirring for an additional three minutes to let the mixture thicken. Pour the toffee over the matzo, spreading with a spatula to make an even layer.
-Put pan into the oven a bake for 10 minutes or until toffee topping is bubbling over. Remove from oven and place on wire rack. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the pan. Let the chocolate soften for 3-5 minutes before spreading evenly over the toffee.
-Put the pan into the refrigerator for about 45 minutes to let the toffee and chocolate harden. Don’t leave in for too much longer as it will make it difficult to cut. Remove from the refrigerator and cut into squares.
Purim Celebration March 10 2017
This Saturday night marks the beginning of the Jewish Holiday of Purim. This is one of the more festive holidays and is enjoyed by all ages. Children dress up in costumes similar to Halloween and there are often carnivals to celebrate the holiday. One big tradition of Purim is to give Mishloach Manot or Purim Baskets. Traditionally these consist of at least two different food items that are given to family and friends. Historically this was to insure everyone had enough to eat during the feasting portion of the holiday. These days it just adds to the celebration.
I am sure you already have your baskets set for this year but we do have a lot of great Kosher products in our marketplace that would be perfect for next year! I prefer to do homemade items and my kitchen has been busy this week with lots of baking to get ready for the holiday. Today we packed up our Purim Baskets and will deliver them to friends this weekend.This year, along with a hand decorated card by my 2-year-old, we included Grandma Terry’s Hamantaschen, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Rococo Chocolates Bee Bars. I am sure our friends will not be disappointed when they open their baskets of goodies.
The Best Meal for a Crowd December 09 2016
It is amazing how fast time flies between Thanksgiving and New Years. We have just over three weeks left to make the most of 2016! I don’t know about you but I have a lot of family get togethers between now and the end of the year. I always want to make sure everyone is well fed, but also want to enjoy their company. This recipe for vegetable lasagna is always a hit. The best part is it can be made ahead and just heated on the day. Serve with a salad and some fresh bread for a quick and easy meal.
What are your go-to recipes for a crowd? I am always looking for new ideas on how to keep a hungry crowd happy.
Vegetable Lasagna with Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce
Makes 6-8 Servings
1 package(9 oz) lasagna noodles, oven ready
2 each green zucchini
2 each yellow squash
1 medium eggplant
1 – 10oz bag frozen spinach
16 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella
1 piece fresh mozzarella(about ½ pound)
1 –jar Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce
- Slice zucchini, yellow squash & eggplant into ½ inch slices. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes, until cooked through.
- Defrost bag of spinach and ring out extra water. Mix all the spinach with the ricotta cheese.
- Slice the fresh mozzarella into ½ inch pieces.
- Now you are ready to build the lasagna
- Layer 1 – Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce (generously coat the bottom of the baking dish(9x13 pan approximately)
- Layer 2- lasagna noodles(break into pieces so they don’t overlap)
- Layer 3 – single layer of zucchini & yellow squash
- Layer 4- more Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce
- Layer 5- noodles
- Layer 6 – Eggplant
- Layer 7 – fresh mozzarella
- Layer 8 – Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce
- Layer 9 – ricotta & spinach
- Layer 10 – noodles
- Layer 11 – Due Cellucci Tomato Sauce
- Layer 12 – shredded mozzarella
- Once the lasagna is assembled, cover with tin foil and bake in 350 degree F oven for 1 hour, take foil off for the last 10-15 minutes to make the cheese golden brown.
- If you’re making ahead. Let cool before placing in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 350°F uncovered for 20-30 minutes until heated through.
Thanksgiving Recipes! November 04 2016
Halloween is over and it is finally time to look ahead to Thanksgiving. It is definitely one of my favorite holidays because it is all about family, friends and eating!
Here are some great recipes for your Thanksgiving meal using some of the products from our marketplace.
Roasted Chicken with Jacobsen Kosher Salt, just in case a Turkey won’t fit in your NYC oven
Honey Glazed Carrots with Bee Local Cherrywood Smoked Honey
Place orders by Thursday November 17th for guaranteed delivery before Thanksgiving.
I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream! July 08 2016
As you know, I am always looking for new and exciting ways to use our products. When I sent a package of goodies to my sister, I was eager to see what she would come up with. My sister is not only super-creative and artsy (her house looks like it should be in a magazine), she is also a very innovative in the kitchen. I was drooling when I heard about her recipe made with Paul + Pippa’s Me and Grandma Biscuits. Essentially these biscuits (any flavor would work) were a substitution for graham crackers in the crust of an ice cream pie! My sister lives in Phoenix where it is HOT most of the time. This recipe is perfect for those of us experiencing the heat out east and across the country this summer!
Caramel Ice Cream Pie with Apple-Cinnamon Biscuit Crust
Makes 1 – 9 inch pie
2 packages Paul + Pippa Me & Grandma Apple-Cinnamon Biscuits, crushed
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 quart caramel ice cream (or the flavor of your choice), softened
-Combine crushed biscuits with sugar and butter until well blended. Press into a 9 inch pie pan.
-Bake in 375°F oven for 7 minutes.
-Let cool completely, about 1 hour.
-Fill pie crust with ice cream and re-freeze before serving.
Just Add Salt May 20 2016
Salt is defined as a dietary mineral used for flavoring and preservation. It may also be referred to as sodium chloride, an iconic compound resulting from neutralization. As most of you know, salt makes all the difference in cooking as it helps bring out the flavor of everything from savory to sweet. I always add a little bit of salt to anything I am cooking. Sea Salt, like the ones from Jacobsen Salt Co., are the salts and minerals obtained from the evaporation of sea water.
This week I learned that different times of the year it is actually easier to make Sea Salt. Our friends at Jacobsen Salt Co. posted the following on Instagram this week.
‘Summer is here! We make our best Pure Flake Finishing Salt in the summer – when the water is salty and undiluted by winter rain.'
The good news is that you can buy their Pure Flake Finishing Salt right here in our marketplace. The better news is that you really can use it on EVERYTHING! Keep some on your counter and sprinkle just a bit on whatever happens to be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You’ll discover the true taste of your food and I guarantee you will not be disappointed! But remember, a little salt does go a long way!
Hopefully the summer weather has arrived where you are… or at least some spring like temperatures! It is a beautiful day today in New York City!
Cooking with Kids April 08 2016
One of my fondest memories growing up is cooking with my family. Whether it was baking with my grandmothers, grilling with my grandfather (he set a timer so we would have a perfectly cooked steak with perfect grill marks) or making dinner with my parents, I always enjoyed being around food and creating something from a recipe. As a parent now, I love cooking with my son and introducing him to new foods.
It is my son’s second birthday on Saturday. He had few requests for his party but high on his list were a chocolate cake and chocolate muffins. We made the cake and muffins yesterday. I have been cooking with children for years but am still amazed at how they manage to make a mess in the kitchen. We had a great time baking and hopefully he likes the finished product once it is decorated with lots of frosting. For the chocolate cake I used this recipe for chocolate cupcakes and baked it in a large cake pan for about an hour. Here is the recipe for the chocolate muffins.
Chocolate Chip Birthday Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup White Sugar
¾ cups chocolate chips (we used Rococo Chocolates Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Bar)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt
½ cup milk
½ cup vegetable oi
¼ cup chocolate chips (we used Rococo Chocolates Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Bar)
-Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners
-Combine flour, sugar, ¾ cup chocolate chips, cocoa powder and baking soda in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk egg, yogurt, milk, and vegetable oil until smooth. Pour into chocolate mixture and stir until batter is just blended.
-Fill the prepared muffin cups ¾ full and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.
-Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
Sending Mishloach Manot March 18 2016
With Purim less than one week away, I am frantically trying to decide what to include in the Mishloach Manot I will be giving to friends. The gift of MIsloach Manot is one of my favorite Purim traditions. The idea is to give the gift of food (at least 2 types) to family and friends so they will have enough food for the Purim feast. It is also said to increase love and friendship among the Jewish People.
Our Gourmet Kosher Gift Set is the perfect go-to Mishloach Manot for procrastinators. It includes Rick’s Picks K.O.(Kosher Organic) Pickle Spears. These pickles are the perfect straight out of the jar and are even better when paired with your favorite sandwich. Cacao Prieto Chocolate Bark is so delicious. I love the apricot pistachio and the art work is a postcard so beautiful. This is part of a gift that keeps on giving. Tiny But Mighty Heirloom Microwave Popcorn will make a treat for many in just 3-4 minutes. Use the Jacobson Salt Co. Kosher Salt in your cooking or put a bit on your table to finish your dishes. All of these products are certified Kosher but so delicious it doesn't even matter!
Our products are also always available on their own. Have some fun and put together your own unique collection. We would be happy to put together a personalized set and ship them off to your family and friends. Order by Tuesday March 22nd for Purim delivery.
Here’s our favorite recipe for Hamantaschen. Another great item to include in your basket.
No matter how you celebrate… Happy Purim!
A Happy, Healthy & Sweet New Year September 18 2015
L’Shana Tova 5776! This week marked the beginning of the New Year on the Jewish calendar. As with most Jewish Holidays, there are certain foods associated with this holiday. We typically eat apples dipped in honey and just about anything else that is sweet. Here is a delicious recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake. I used the Portland Farmland Honey from Bee Local. It is new to our marketplace and super delicious. Read more about Bee Local here.
Chocolate Honey Cake with Bee Local Portland Farmland Honey
Makes one 9-inch loaf cake
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ cup Bee Local Portland Farmland Honey
2/3 cup light brown sugar
½ cup orange juice
1 cup mini chocolate chips
-Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Melt the unsweetened chocolate in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time stirring in between. Set aside
-Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
--In a larger bowl, beat the eggs and add the oil and Bee Local Portland Farmland Honey. Then add the brown sugar and chocolate chips.
-Alternately add the dry ingredients and the orange juice. Stir in ¾ cup of the mini chocolate chips.
-Pour the batter in to the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips over the top.
-Bake on lower rack of the oven for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for about 15 minutes. Gently run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake, then remove it from the pan.
Puff Pastry Flowjers August 28 2015
I’m always looking for new ways to use the delicious products in our marketplace. While most are delicious eaten straight from the jar/can/box they are even more delicious when used as part of a recipe. My friend Jeremy has been a huge supporter of Julie’s Beet and uses a lot of our products in his cooking. He gave me this recipe for a delicious breakfast pastry or afternoon snack. I’ve named the recipe after him!
I’m sure your crowd will gobble them up just like mine did.
Puff Pastry Flowjers with Gus & Grey Jam
2 sheets puff pastry like Pepperidge Farms
½ cup Gus & Grey Jam (I suggest a sweet one but savory might also be delicious)
2 apples, thinly sliced
Flour for dusting
-Preheat oven to 400°F.
-On a floured surface roll out thawed puff pastry to about ¼ inch thickness. Spread generously with the Gus & Grey Jam of your choice. Line apple slices evenly over the jam.
-Carefully roll up the puff pastry starting with the short end. Slice into 2 inch thick pieces and place these on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
-Make egg wash by combining a beaten egg with 2 tablespoons water. Brush the top of the flowjers with the egg wash.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
-Enjoy warm from the oven.
To Salt or Not To Salt? August 21 2015
I’ve been doing a lot of research this week on artisan salt producers. There are some really great ones out there and I am searching for the perfect salt to add to the marketplace. While looking at all of these wonderful salt makers I started thinking about if we really need salt and if our palettes have grown accustomed to too much salt.
One point is very clear, salt brings out the flavor in food. Don’t believe me? Take a slice of tomato, first try it without salt. Then add some salt and see how much more flavor that tomato has. Salt has even found its way in to sweets like our Sea Salt Milk Chocolate and Sea Salt Dark Chocolate from Rococo Chocolates.
I am a big fan of salt and as a young chef I was taught to season the ingredients all the way through a recipe. This helps to layer the flavor and have an end result of a really flavorful pot of soup, salad, tomato sauce, or whatever you might be cooking. With so many different types of salts out there, it is difficult to decide which one to use. In this post on Panna Cooking, Chef Sebastian Rouxel tells us why he prefers to bake with kosher salt. https://www.pannacooking.com/tips/kosher-salt-vs-sea-salt
I also prefer Kosher salt in my cooking, but definitely have a variety of sea salts and finishing salts around to complete different dishes. Finishing salts have larger crystals so you just need a pinch on top of a dish. Which type of salt do you prefer to use in your kitchen? Do you think we use too much salt?
I’m going to continue looking for the best salt I am able to find to add to our marketplace as long as you promise to use it in your kitchen!
How to Throw a Party for 60 April 10 2015
This week we celebrated the first birthday of my son Hamilton. As he is my first child, I couldn’t let this occasion go by un-celebrated. Since our immediate family who live locally includes 25 people, we decided to go for it and invite our friends as well. To our surprise, everyone responded YES, so we had a big party on our hands. There were 60 guests, 35 adults and 25 children to be exact.
With my background in cooking and event management, the party came together well. Here is a guideline of how we were able to get everything accomplished and also enjoy the party.
Baguette Sandwiches – Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese, Grilled Vegetables & Goat cheese
Frittatas – Asparagus, Mushroom & Parmesan Cheese, Plain
Tea Sandwiches – Cheese, Cucumber and Cream Cheese
Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Pasta Salad
Banana Cake & Smash Cake
Sparkling Wine, Sparkling Water, Juice, Soda, Water
Four Weeks Ahead
Send out invitations – We used evite to make this easier. My grandparents who are in their 80’s and 90’s were able to figure it out, so this is definitely user friendly!
Three Weeks Ahead
Order all non-perishable items – You don’t want to be running around finding these items right before the party. And you definitely don’t want to pay for express shipping. Crossing this off my list early, allowed me to focus on other to-do’s closer to the party. This included paper cups, plates & napkins as well as plastic cutlery. I also ordered plastic table coverings, balloons, party favors and the decorations. We had a bubble themed party so the favors were bubble solution and bubble gum. I ordered some extra bubble gum to have out during the party.
Two Weeks Ahead
Confirm guest count
Put together party favors – When entertaining a big group, it is important to plan ahead. The favors can be made weeks in advance (unless it is something perishable) and will save you a last minute headache at party time.
Make a prep list – The prep list (a to-do list) is something I’ve used since my days of working in a kitchen. It is a list of everything that needs to get done. By looking at each project (item on the list) I was able to prioritize and also make a plan of what could happen ahead of time.
One Week Ahead
Purchase the food - Make that trip to the supermarket or order online or both. Since my son was born, I have learned to love the convenience of grocery delivery. The only downside is that sometimes you get potatoes instead of eggplant or they forget to deliver something entirely. I had my groceries delivered 4 days before the party to be safe. I still made trips to the grocery store three times after that, but it was nice to have the bulk of everything delivered.
I also ordered the baguettes for the sandwiches about a week ahead. This way I could relax on party day and not stress about getting to the bakery early so they would have what I wanted.
Three Days Ahead
Cook Pasta for Pasta salad, prep vegetables
Prep scones and put in freezer, I used the recipe from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook which has you freeze the dough ahead of baking!
Two Days Ahead
One Day Ahead
Make Fruit Salad
Frost & Decorate Cupcakes
Pick up smoked salmon
Get out all platters and serving utensils needed
Set up the bar
Chill beverages (it was cool enough on party day that we were able to chill the beverages outside!)
Set out tablecloths and decorations
Pick up Bread & ice
Set out Food & Beverages
During the party I was able to mingle with my guests and spend time with my son. It was nice to have a few close friends offer to help and I took them up on their offers. People want to be included so don’t say NO to help. I wouldn’t ask someone to do my dishes or take out the trash, but cutting the cake and setting out the favors are definitely within reason.
Happy First Birthday Hamilton! Hopefully in one year, I’ll be celebrating the first anniversary of Julie’s Beet.With this guide, I’ll be able to put the party together in no time!
The Knead for Bread March 20 2015
Recently at Julie's Beet the topic of conversation has been good bread, so we thought we would share our findings with you. As quoted by James Beard “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” and we couldn't agree more.
Our first preference was to bake a loaf at home. We started out with a beginners recipe which requires no special ingredients, equipment or technique, although like any good bread it did take some time. This recipe was created by Jim Lahey from Sullivan Bakery and is one of the easiest but still tastiest recipes out there. It's called the No-Knead Bread. The recipe was original published by the NY Times and still remains one of their most popular recipes to date. However, one of our favorite illustrations of the recipe is here:- So easy a four year old can make it! It truly is a great easy recipe and the bread turned out delicious, especially right when it came out of the oven.
Moving to the other side of the difficulty scale is Chad Robertson's bread recipe. Chad is a world renown baker and runs a famous bakery called Tartine Bread in the Mission area of San Francisco. His loaves of bread consistently sell out within an hour. If any of you are planning on making a trip down there soon, please bring us back a loaf :) He has published his famous technique which has been perfected across years of baking in the book Tartine Bread. The basic bread recipe alone is 38 pages!! It's hard to believe combining flour, water and salt could become that complicated. Creating your initial starter can take up to a week! This being the case, we're sorry to report, we haven't tested the recipe yet, but we'll be sure to update you on how it goes. For now we are still studying the book. If you are interested in learning more, here is a link.
Well, as we are all quite busy and may not have the time to bake any bread, we've rallied up our favorite bakeries in New York City.
- Maison Kayser: There are a couple around the city, but our go to is the one at 921 Broadway. Their Olive Bread is the best!
- Sullivan Street Bakery: 533 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036. They are famous for their Pane Puglise.
- Il Buco Alimentari E Vineria : 53 Great Jones Street, New York, NY 10012. Best Ciabatta around and dipped with 5 Olive Oil is the perfect pairing.
- Bouchon Bakery: Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center, Las Vegas, Beverly Hills & Yountville. Have a baguette or an epi bread and pile on your favorite condiments.
- Lafayette Bakery: 380 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003. A great place for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner & bread. You can even pre-order online.
Hope everyone is having a great week and happy eating!
The Team at Julie's Beet
Jam-Packed Pie March 16 2015
We just celebrated a very special Pi Day(3/14/15) and that got us thinking about all of the delicious pies there are… pizza pies, meat pies and sweet pies(our favorite). After the brutal winter we’ve been having, our thoughts immediately turned to the staple of every summer barbecue, strawberry pie. We searched through our cookbook library for the perfect recipe. This strawberry pie needed to be extra special to get us excited for the spring and summer ahead. We turned to expert Martha Stewart for the recipe. We left out the cranberry juice and half of the sugar and mixed in a half cup of Sassy Redhead - Strawberry Ginger Jam, as an extra treat. Click here for the original recipe.
Making a great pie takes talent. One of my fondest memories from growing up is eating Strawberry Pie made by my great grandmother. Even with her recipe, the strawberry pie still doesn’t taste quite the same. For those who aren’t interested in baking a pie, here are some suggestions on where to find great ones in New York City.
Sweet Pies – Momofuku Milk Bar(multiple locations but you’ll find us at 561 Columbus Avenue at 87th Street most Saturdays at 1pm for their cake walk!). As for their pies, they do call it crack pie for a reason.
Savory Pies – Myers of Keswick(634 Hudson Street) The pies taste just like they did over in London!
Pizza Pie – Grimaldi’s(multiple locations, but worth the trip over the Brooklyn Bridge to 1 Front Street) Just plain cheese is the best!
One tip to making any sweet pie taste better, serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Now that really gets us excited for warm weather.