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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Little Bit Of Nice

Deborah Dowd of Play With Food is, as I have previously said a regular commentator here. Recently I published her Sparkling Punch Recipe which I stole from Play With Food with her permission of course. In that post I made a comment about Deborah not being Jewish and thus her blog was essentially not a "kosher" blog. I did it because the recipe appeared right with a "shrimp" recipe and meant it as a compliment.

Deborah then commented on the post writing:

Teddy,

Glad you don't old my not being Jewish against me. An equal opportunity blogger...

Deborah
When I read that I assumed that Deborah was offended by the remark about not being kosher so I immediately wrote her and apologized and removed what I thought to be the offending sentence. The following is what Deborah wrote back:
Teddy,

Absolutely no offense taken! I took what you said in the manner in which it appeared. No need to be politically correct. I am thrilled if you and your readers can find not only recipes but ideas and attitude from my blog, and I am excited to do the same from yours. Also, do not apologize- I respect that your faith is part of your life and part of your blog. It is very refreshing to see someone who does not apologize for their faith, especilly in a public forum like a blog. We both worship the God of Abraham, so don't sweat it.

And since I have heard there is such a thing as Jewish guilt don't spend another moment on this- I am thrilled to have your readers visit my blog and I hope they find things they can use within the constraints of a kosher diet, and your blog is still prominently linked as one I visit daily.

Deborah
Thanks Deborah. But one small thing you got wrong. Guilt? Me? Hah! (You see I know it is always my fault. That is what makes it so easy!)

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Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen goes to help feed needy families in Israel. The funds are donated directly to the needy families - regardless of religion, race or creed. The remaining 50% will be donated to a Rape Crises Center for Women in Israel. (For a full explanation please read this.)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hot Milk Sponge Cake - Cake Recipe Contest

Editor Note: This is from Beth whom we called "Shrugged" at Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen. She is a regular contributor of recipes here.

The Great Cake Recipe Contest - Submission # 5

I'd completely forgotten about this recipe! All my life, my mother has been making Hot Milk Sponge Cake. All of us kids loved it, but even so, I haven't thought to make it in years. I've made this recipe successfully dozens of times, but after a major debacle with this recipe, I needed to put in a caveat. I was living in Utah at the time, and I forgot to adjust for altitude. (We were about 4000 ft above sea level.) The result was a sorry mess, so I've added a note on how to avoid my disaster.

You can certainly frost this and serve it, but it doesn't need any frosting. It's perfect all by itself. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I and my family have all these years.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake

Cooking Utensils Required:
  1. 2 8" round cake pans or 1 8x11" rectangular cake pan
  2. 1 large bowl
  3. Electric Mixer (for beating egg mixture)
  4. 1 medium bowl
  5. Fork (for sifting)
  6. Spoon (for stirring in flour mixture and milk mixture)
  7. 1 medium sauce pan
  8. Soft Spatula
  9. Toothpicks (for testing)
Ingredients:
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 3 cups sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  4. 2 cups flour
  5. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  6. ½ teaspoon. salt
  7. 1 cup milk
  8. 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
  2. Grease and flour – on bottom only – either 2 layer pans or 1 rectangular pan.
  3. In large bowl, beat eggs until appearance is thick and lemony.
  4. Beat in sugar and vanilla.
  5. In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Gradually stir flour mixture into egg mixture.
  7. In saucepan, bring milk and butter to a boil. Remove from heat and add hot milk mixture to batter mixture all at once.
  8. Stir until well combined.
  9. Pour mixture into prepared pan(s) – using spatula to get remaining batter out of bowl, and to spread batter evenly.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
(At higher altitudes, make sure to adjust time. Cooking at higher altitudes generally takes about 10-15 minutes longer for this cake. When in doubt, though, stick to the toothpick test for accuracy.)

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Sparkling Punch

I stole this one from Deborah Dowd's - Play With Food Blog. Deborah is a regular commentator at Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen, and I love her philosophy on kids and food. I peek at her blog from time to time (shush..don't tell her!). I decided its about time to steal a few gems. This one is for Purim - with or without the alcohol. Actually it is for Passover and the whole year as well! But we just make this the official Purim drink of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen. After all we can spike it galore and no one will know until they are passed out on the couch! Of course Deborah gave me permission to repost as she wrote:

As long as you provide attribution, I am happy for you to post my recipes. And the punch is really good... much better than the usual Hawaiian Punch type that is too sweet and too watered down. It provdies a great base and you can play with additions to change it, too.
So here you go folks - I LOVE THIS ONE!

Sparkling Punch

This punch is very good and both kids and adults like it- no alcohol- but you could add spirits (rum or vodka) to give it a kick.

Ingredients:
  1. 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail chilled
  2. 1 cup apple cider (you could use sparkling for extra bubbles)
  3. 1 package frozen strawberries, partially thawed
  4. 1 liter lemon lime or grapefruit soda
Directions:
  1. Mix cranberry juice and apple cider together, stir in strawberries, and then slowly pour in soda.
  2. Mix gently together to avoid breaking all the bubbles, and serve.

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Even one star for difficulty is too much for this. I love this drink because it is natural and really tastes good. If you are into alcohol then just add some good Vodka. I am going to make this on Purim. Going to spike the drinks, and make sure everyone walks out of my house, not knowing the difference between Haman and Mordechai. That will teach them! You got to love Purim!

Important Prayers To Always Remember While In The Kitchen - Rule #14

Teddy’s Insane Laws For The Kitchen & Cooking

There Really Is A Method To My Madness

Rule № Fourteen

Important Prayers To Always Remember While In The Kitchen

I have zillions of magnets on my refrigerator. The bottom two have been with me through many good and bad times in the kitchen. Here are two prayers to share with you.

When that friend who is always so damn skinny comes over and eats and eats and eats and does not gain even a half of pound, before you go to sleep that night, say this prayer. It does not work but it sure makes you feel good!


Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen


Now, how about all those friends and family that call you up to ask you for a recipe and suddenly you are cooking a 15 course dinner for 10 people for a party in their house - a party to which you were not invited!
"Oh darling. I know how much you hate mingling and making small talk. I didn't invite you because I wanted to save you the trouble and aggravation. Besides Steven Spielberg is only coming for desert. How much fun would that be? Now when did you say I could pick up all that delicious food?"

Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen

The one problem. When I am on the phone and my mouth says "Yes" I always fail to look at the magnets on the refrigerator!

Go Figure!

ETA: Paula's comment reminded me! Here you go folks... never forget this one!

Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen



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Fifty Percent (50%) of all revenue of any product purchased through
Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen goes to help feed needy families in Israel. The funds are donated directly to the needy families - regardless of religion, race or creed. The remaining 50% will be donated to a Rape Crises Center for Women in Israel. (For a full explanation please read this.)

Real Men Don't Eat Quiche

In my recent post, Honey-Garlic Chicken With A Few Other Tidbits, I told readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen the story of the almost-not-done chicken on Friday. What I did not mention is that in the morning I made two dairy dishes. I was kind of stupid. I did not think of taking pictures of the Mac & Cheese one, (which I should have - cause it came out SO PERFECT...sheesh!) but I did think of taking a picture of my potato madness Quiche.

Now this is not really a Quiche... so I am cheating... pfffffttttt. Hell, it kind of looks like Quiche! So I am taking a literary license on this one!

It is actually almost the exact the same recipe as the one I gave in, Mr. Potato Head - The Good Ole' Potato Recipe, but it is worth its own post, me thinks. There is a bit of a change nothing drastic mind you, but if you rather make a dish and not start with the muss and fuss of nice looking potato halves, this will fit the bill quite nicely.

(I did try to make the picture come out nice.. but I am so not a photographer!)

So here it is:

Real Men Don't Eat Quiche

Subtitled: (can you tell I write for a living?)

Potatoes, Cheese and Some Spices To Liven Up Your Taste Buds


Potato & Cheese Madness

Ingredients:
For this dish above:
  1. 8 medium potatoes (I have an affinity for medium sized potatoes. The large ones take a long time to bake and get soft - but to each their own)
  2. 1 Teaspoon Basil - spice jar is fine here actually recommended
  3. 1 Teaspoon Oregano - same as above (use the spice jar not fresh!)
  4. 1 Teaspoon Garlic powder or 5 garlic cloves grated fine.
  5. 1 Teaspoon Onion salt or 1 small to medium sized onion grated fine.
  6. 1 Half Teaspoon Sweet Paprika
  7. 200-250 grams (or more depends on your taste) Cheese grated - (whatever you like here - regular, cheddar, mozzarella - go for it!) I buy it already grated in these tight spots. A little more money - a lot less work in the kitchen.
  8. Around 600 gram of sour cream (or 2 pints)
  9. 1 Teaspoon Butter
  10. Extra Virgin or Virgin Olive Oil - the good stuff folks not the cheap kind!
  11. (Some people will want to add in one raw egg. I find it totally unnecessary, but to each their own.)
Directions:
  1. Bake or Boil potatoes. If you bake them leave the skin on. If you boil them - first peel them. If potato skin bothers you even after you mash up potatoes then boil them.
  2. To Bake - wrap each potato separately in aluminum foil. Turn the oven up to as high as you dare. Mine is in Celsius - I use 275 degrees Celsius. These babies just have to bake nothing more. Medium size potatoes will take between 60-90 minutes on the average to get soft enough to cut.
  3. To boil - Peel the potatoes and drop them in a pot on the flame (with water in it guys!) and let it go for around 60 minutes. Medium flame. Make sure the water does not boil out!
  4. Check the potatoes after 60 minutes by just putting a fork through the aluminum foil or in the potato in the pot. If they are soft take them out of the oven - use gloves (don't be like me and burn your hands!) If they are not yet soft on the inside leave those babies baking or boiling away!
  5. Once they are soft enough take them out and put them in your serving dish.
  6. Take out a big good fork or flat utensil and mash them up. Go ahead. Take out all your aggression on those potatoes. I give you permission. Make sure there are no small hard lumps!
  7. Take the olive oil and sprinkle very lightly over the cut potato halves. Again VERY LIGHTLY. Just a touch.
  8. They should be steaming so all you have to do is dump the butter inside. Mix it around until it melts.
  9. If you are going to add a raw egg - do it now.
  10. Sprinkle the Basil on the potatoes.
  11. Do the exact same thing with the Oregano.
  12. Do the exact same thing with the Garlic powder. If you are using grated fresh Garlic spread it around.
  13. Do the exact same thing with the Onion salt. If you are using grated fresh Onion spread it around.
  14. Now once again spend around 60-90 seconds mixing it all up in there. Remember you should not have any "potato lumps"!
  15. Take the Sour cream and cover the whole top with it. You should not see any potato once done. Just a layer of sour cream.
  16. Now sprinkle the Paprika very lightly over the sour cream. You should see the red inside the white cream.
  17. Now the grated cheese over the potatoes. Sprinkle on top. As much as you like. I like cheese so I cover the tops with cheese.
  18. Now cover the bowl or pan or whatever you are using with aluminum foil. We need these babies to bake but not too fast.
  19. Make sure your oven is about 200-225 degrees Celsius - 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  20. Put the potatoes on and plan on 30 minutes.
  21. Check them after 15 minutes see if the cheese is totally melted down the sides and you may possibly see a bit of the Olive Oil on the bottom of the bowl.
  22. Once done - take out and serve.
This can be refrigerated without any harm for a few days as well. Then heated in the oven or nuked in the microwave.

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Pretty much the same ingredients as the Mr. Potato Head - The Good Ole' Potato Recipe. By the way, you can try adding a bit of curry in here. Here though, you do not have to worry about the appearance of each potato half as it is all in one dish. Plus, this keeps much better if you have leftovers. I am going to repeat again this recipe contains the three C's - Carbohydrates, Cholesterol and Calories. Be careful with stuff like this. This is not a dish to serve to those who want to diet or overweight people.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ratatouille

Paula writes:

If you like vegetables, this is a great dish either by itself, served as a side dish or over rice. You can add or subtract vegetables to suit your taste. This makes a nice side to chicken or fish (Imagine, One pot.. that’s it)
You will need:
  1. Large Saucepan
Ingredients:
  1. 4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  2. 3 Tomatoes (chopped)
  3. 2 Red Onions (cut in half, then sliced thin, separate rings)
  4. 2 Zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  5. 1 Eggplant, diced into cubes
  6. 1 each – Red , Yellow, Orange and Green pepper , chopped
  7. 1 Teaspoon Salt
  8. 1 Teaspoon Fresh Black Pepper
  9. 3 Gloves Garlic, chopped fine
  10. 3/4 Teaspoon Thyme
  11. 1/2 Cup Worcester Sauce
Directions:
  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Saute’ Garlic and Thyme
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat, uncovered for 45 minutes
  4. Stir occasionally

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It is often the simple that is the best. There is no genius here. There is simply a sane combination of veggies to make for a great tasting dish. Not a lot of work and just a bit of preparation when you shop in the dreaded supermarket! And this is a dish to experiment with in terms of Ingredients. Enjoy. Paula often outdoes herself but this dish is something that shows she is truly an expert at feeding her family. And folks take heed - she only uses one pot here. Now that is a miracle!

Chocolate Mousse Cake - Cake Recipe Contest


The Great Cake Recipe Contest - Submission # 4


Editors note on some terminology used in Martha's submission:
  1. Balabusta - means "home-maker" actually refers to the Matriarch of the family. The one who with just one look will make you crawl into your shell!
  2. Pesadik - means Kosher for Passover. (Yiddish-English kind of term)
  3. Parve - as readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen know is something that does not contain milk or meat and thus can be eaten with both.
  4. Coeliac disease or celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small bowel that occurs in genetically predisposed individuals in all age groups after early infancy. (See the Wikipedia article on this for more info. or click below on the link for celiacs.)

Martha Greenberg writes about her submission to the Great Cake Recipe Contest:
This cake is my all-time favorite. I got the recipe from my aunt, who is a terrific balabusta. It is not only parve, it is also pesadik (and safe for celiacs), but so good that we make it year-round. It can even be made ahead of time and frozen. If it has any flaws, it is that this cake is so rich and yummy that you can't each very much of it. But if you are chocolate lover, you will love this.

This recipe comes in 2 sizes. To make a large cake, use the first set of quantities and large spring-form pan. To make a smaller one, use the second set and smaller pan.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Ingredients [large]:
  1. 13.5 oz (200gr) margarine (plus a small amount to grease the pan)
  2. 10.5 oz (325 gr) sugar
  3. 10.5 oz (300 gr) bitter-sweet chocolate
  4. 11 eggs
Ingredients [small]:
  1. 9 oz (130 gr) margarine (plus a small amount to grease the pan)
  2. 7 oz (215 gr) sugar
  3. 7 oz (200 gr) bitter-sweet chocolate
  4. 7 eggs
Requires:
  1. 1 spring-form pan
  2. Electric mixer
  3. 1 egg separator
  4. 2 mixing bowls (one large, the other can be smaller)
  5. And either one glass bowl and a microwave or a small saucepan and burner (to melt the ingredients)

Steps (Directions:)
  1. Melt the margarine, sugar and chocolate together (I break up the chocolate bars and put the ingredients in a glass bowl in microwave, you could use a pan on the stove instead).
  2. Separate the eggs.
  3. Beat the yolks.
  4. Add the melted mixture to the yolks.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff.
  6. Gently fold the egg whites into the other ingredients.
  7. Grease the spring-form pan and pour 2/3 of the mixture into the pan.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. When the cake is cool, add the leftover 1/3 of the mixture (if it hardens in the meanwhile, add more beaten egg-white)
Keep refrigerated or in freezer.

ENJOY!

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Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen goes to help feed needy families in Israel. The funds are donated directly to the needy families - regardless of religion, race or creed. The remaining 50% will be donated to a Rape Crises Center for Women in Israel. (For a full explanation please read this.)

No ratings are given for entries into Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen - The Great Cake Recipe Contest

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Honey-Garlic Chicken With A Few Other Tidbits

It always seems that Friday brings on the stories... so here is a pretty good one for readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen. If you remember last week I posted, Mr. Potato Head - The Good Ole' Potato Recipe. In it I told you the father of a friend of mine is recuperating from difficult heart surgery. Anyway, this week it turns out she had guests she had to feed for Friday night dinner. So since I was making chicken for my own children, I told her not to worry, to bring over a chicken and I would just make two of them together. No real big deal ...

No big deal - USUALLY! But life with Teddy is always full of surprises. So there I was preparing the chickens and they were in the oven, timed to the minute to be ready to be picked up before the Sabbath which began around 5:25 PM, when a little before 4 PM - BANG! - all the electricity goes out in this dumb abode. Well turns out a major fuse had burned out, and the electric company had to come to replace it. They were actually really great and by 4:30 I had electricity back. Now I had to pray that the chicken, rice, potatoes and sweet potatoes were all going to get done in time. (Well the rice was on the flame - gas but of course I was sure it was going to screw up as well!)

Well folks, by 5:20 those suckers were out of the oven - all made, and I even made it to Friday night prayers in the Synagogue. So HAH!

The picture below was taken like at 5:18 and please excuse the parsley all over. I kind of cheated and before she took the chicken and rice I just let the parsley fall where it would - I was really kind of pressed for time. But all is well that ends well.


Honey Garlic Chicken - Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen

O.k. what the hell is in this dish? Here you go...actually fairly easy to make. Everyone I know likes crispy chicken skin, which is not as easy to make sure comes out as it sounds, but I will try and explain it below.

Utensils You will need:
  1. Either an aluminum foil pan or a good oven tempered bowl or pan (I used the above to cook one chicken and a bowl to cook the other)
  2. Big serving fork and knife to test the chicken while cooking
  3. Oven gloves - go ahead laugh but I did burn my finger on this one, because I was really *&^%$$ when the electricity went out.
  4. Cutting board
  5. Cutting knives
  6. Aluminum Foil

Ingredients:
  1. 1 whole chicken - either fresh or defrosted but make sure it is totally defrosted! If you are caught and need to defrost it fast well that I will teach you how to do in another post.
  2. 1-2 medium sized Onions
  3. 1 Fresh Garlic
  4. 4-5 Tablespoons of Honey
  5. Off the rack supermarket "Chicken Grill Spice" (you can make your own here but now is not the time - this is how the above was made)
  6. Parsley for the end if you like (but much less than I threw on the chicken!)
  7. 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil depending on size of chicken of course.
  8. (If you like the stuff you can use one of the various "bbq" sauces on the market. But not too much of the stuff. Just a bit. Like 2-3 Tablespoons worth over the chicken.
  9. If you want to make the Sweet Potatoes you see cut up on the sides of that plate then just get 2-3 of them, leave them whole, wash them off and wrap them each separately in aluminum foil. Suggestion would be to put them in a bowl of their own as they kind of "leak" while cooking.
Directions:
  1. Place the chicken in the bowl you are going to cook it in.
  2. Pour the olive oil over the chicken.
  3. Cut up onion(s) chop or grate or however you like it. If grated then you should just put the onion all over the chicken so that it can seep in. If chopped just place the onion all around the chicken.
  4. Same with the garlic btw. Either chop or grate.
  5. Hint: Put one clove and a few chopped pieces of onion inside the chicken cavity.
  6. If you are using a bbq sauce then now is the time to put it on and spread it around!
  7. Pour the honey all over the chicken.
  8. Let it sit in a corner now for at least 30-45 up to 2-3 hours minutes so the seasoning can seep in a bit.
  9. When you are ready to cook. Preheat oven to 200° C. (390° F.)
  10. If you are making the sweet potatoes just put them in the oven and take them out after you take the chicken out. They should be soft after around 60-90 minutes in that heat.
  11. Sprinkle real lightly (for now) the "chicken grill spice" all over the chicken especially the part that will now be facing the heating element or exposed to the gas heat in the oven.
  12. Cover the whole chicken for now with aluminum foil.
  13. Place chicken in oven for only 15-20 minutes - we are just bringing the temp up to cooking temp.
  14. When 15-20 minutes are over open oven door, and with your oven gloves on, (pfffttttttt!) pull out the chicken.
  15. Remove the aluminum foil and sprinkle the chicken spice again over the exposed part of the chicken. (It should be covered with the chicken spice if you want crispy skin.)
  16. Get that sucker back in the oven for 20-30 minutes without the aluminum foil now. (Here I say 20-30 minutes because this really depends on the size of the chicken and how much your oven loves you. Be careful here cause this really requires a knowledge of when your oven is acting up or is out to take revenge on you or is in it's "Hey I am the best damn oven you ever had" mood. - Mine seems to always be in the mood of "What can I do today to give Teddy high blood pressure? I love it when his ears turn purple.) All in all your chicken will be cooking between 70-100 minutes.
  17. When the time is over take out the chicken and turn it over. (Chickens do have top, bottom and two sides when you cook.) By the way by now you should see lots of juice in the pan. That is the chicken gravy as well and will be great when you serve the chicken.
  18. 20-30 minutes on the other side.
  19. Now look at the chicken. It is going to need (depending on size again) around 15-20 minutes once again on each side. You repeat above sprinkling the "chicken spice" but now waiting until you see the skin turn crispy before turning the chicken over.
  20. Do NOT overcook. Dry chicken is horrible!
  21. Take the chicken out and sprinkle a bit of parsley over it. (If you made the sweet potatoes take them out, cut them in thirds or halves and put them around the chicken.)
  22. Ta-Da!
  23. You will not have any change. Guaranteed!

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Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen goes to help feed needy families in Israel. The funds are donated directly to the needy families - regardless of religion, race or creed. The remaining 50% will be donated to a Rape Crises Center for Women in Israel. (For a full explanation please read this.)

You do not need a whole chicken to make this one. You can use all wings, or drumsticks or just chicken breasts. But the amounts and timing in the oven must be adjusted accordingly. When serving just ask the person if they want added sauce or not. Or let them dig in themselves.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Paula Writes:

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, my sister hosted a family that had been displaced. On Sundays, we got together for brunch. Each of us made a dish and swapped recipes. Not only did we have a great opportunity to help a family in need, we also had a wonderful experience sharing a kitchen and swapping recipes.
Sweet Potato Pancakes

Utensils - You will need:
  1. Griddle ( or large surface frypan)
  2. 2 Mixing bowls
  3. Potato Masher
Ingredients:
  1. 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  2. 3 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  3. 1 Teaspoon Salt
  4. 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  5. 1 1/4 Cups Mashed Sweet Potatoes (2 large potatoes)
  6. 2 Eggs, beaten
  7. 1 1/2 Cups Milk
  8. 1/4 Cup Butter, melted
Directions:
  1. Peel and cube Sweet Potatoes and place in medium size pan, cover potatoes with water and cook on medium heat until potatoes are fork tender.
  2. Drain water and mash potatoes
  3. Combine Flour, Baking Powder, Salt and Nutmeg, whisk until blended.
  4. In separate bowl, combine Eggs, Potatoes, Milk and butter.
  5. Whisk until blended.
  6. Add the combo of eggs, milk and butter to the bowl of flour;
  7. Mix only until dry ingredients are dampened.
  8. Drop by spoonful onto hot greased griddle and fry until browned.
  9. Serve with sugar & cinnamon mixture. (Cinnamon & Sugar, mix 1/2 Cup of sugar w/ 3 Teaspoons of Cinnamon)

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Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen goes to help feed needy families in Israel. The funds are donated directly to the needy families - regardless of religion, race or creed. The remaining 50% will be donated to a Rape Crises Center for Women in Israel. (For a full explanation please read this.)

This is clearly an easy and interesting recipe. Actually in the end all one is doing is substituting the normal pancake batter for "sweet potato". Enjoy!

Pound Cake

Paula sent this in as a regular submission. She writes:

This is an easy one. The ingredients are something usually in the cabinets and can be made quickly. Make ahead and freeze for those drop in guests… thaws in ½ hour. Ok.. let me guess, you will give it a two for difficulty because it’s baking… but.. again ONE BOWL…highly unlike me.
Pound Cake

Utensils. You will need:
  1. 1 Medium Bowl
  2. Electric Mixer
  3. 1 Loaf Pan ( Greased)
  4. 1 Toothpick (for doneness test)
Ingredients:
  1. 1 Stick of Butter Softened
  2. 3/4 Cup of Sugar
  3. 2 Jumbo Eggs
  4. 1 Heaping Teaspoon Baking Powder
  5. 1 3/4 Cups Cake Flour (it gives it a better texture)
  6. 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  7. 1/2 Cup Milk
Substitutes and variations (on Ingredients):
  1. Replace milk with 1 Cup of Sour Cream
  2. Use Margarine in place of the butter
Directions:
  1. Mix butter and sugar until blended
  2. Add eggs and mix until blended
  3. Add vanilla and mix until blended
  4. Add Baking Powder and mix until blended
  5. Add Milk and mix until blended
  6. Add flour and mix until blended
  7. Bake @ 350 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Serve topped with fresh fruit

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Fifty Percent (50%) of all revenue of any product purchased through
Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen goes to help feed needy families in Israel. The funds are donated directly to the needy families - regardless of religion, race or creed. The remaining 50% will be donated to a Rape Crises Center for Women in Israel. (For a full explanation please read this.)

Yep. Gets a two for baking. Minute you put that baking thing in there... goes from one to two at least! This is an easy cake to make and certainly great for the guests. We are lazy. We buy cakes and cookies and small cakes from the great bakeries around here. But if you are not into bakeries or you just want a cake to have around for the kids and the drop-in guest this fits the bill! Pay attention to how Paula sent in her recipe. Utensils, Ingredients, Substitutions, and Directions. This is really important to allow us all to understand just what craziness Paula is cooking up for us! Seriously... now all Paula has to do is to start sending in PICTURES! (Come On Paula - it is about time for photos of these creations of yours!)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tu Bi'Shvat 7 Biblical Grain & Fruit Cake - Cake Recipe Contest

The Great Cake Recipe Contest - Submission # 3

Editors Note on explaining the meaning of Tu Bi'Shvat Before This Recipe:

Tu Bi'Shvat is known as the New Year For Trees - Rosh Ha'Shanah La'Elanot. (Not to be mistaken with the normal New Year which falls out in the fall, on the 1st day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei and which is followed 10 days later by Yom Kippur.) Indeed this is Judaism's "green" holiday. It falls out between Hanukkah and Purim. Tu Bi'Shvat simply means the "15th of the month of Shevat". Tu - is just a transliteration of the number of days. The "T" stands for the Hebrew Letter "Tet" which is equivalent to the number 9. The "u" stands for the Hebrew letter "Vav" which is equivalent to the number 6. 9+6 = 15. Thus "Tu" is fifteen. Shevat being the name of the Hebrew Month - "Bi" meaning in. Thus "Bi'Shevat or Bi'Shvat (spelled both ways with the "e" and without the "e") means "in Shevat".

This is celebrated in Israel and abroad by eating the fruits and grains associated in the Bible with the Land of Israel. These being seven:
  1. Wheat
  2. Barley
  3. Grapes
  4. Figs
  5. Pomegranates
  6. Olive
  7. Honey (which means actually the honey of figs)
Some people also have a festive meal on this day known as the "Tu Bi'Shvat Seder" where all the above are eaten in one form or another. And now that you understand the meaning of Tu Bi'Shvat on to the submission of the Tu Bi'Shvat 7 Biblical Grain & Fruit Cake.

Submitted By Shimon S. - He Writes:

A recipe for T"U B'Shvat - based upon a passage in the Torah [editor: Hebrew for Old Testament]. Its very rich nutritionally, and plenty sweet so I only bake it once a year. The cake can be sliced up into about 40+ pieces No cholesterol! Only 155 calories per piece! & only 5 gr. of fat per piece! Like eating less than 1 slice of bread (per serving)! That's if you can control yourself, of course...

The Verse is from Deuteronomy 8:8 -
"A land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates;
a land of olive oil and honey. A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in it...".

The Great Cake Recipe Contest - Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen

Tu Bi'Shvat 7 Biblical Grain & Fruit Cake

Ingredients -The Dough:
  1. 4 cups wheat flour (sifted, of course)
  2. Text Box: 3/4 cup of oil (to include 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil)
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1 package baking powder (12 grams)
  5. 1/2 cup barley malt beer (black beer)
  6. 1/2 cup Pomegranate juice or wine (called Grenadine in Israel)
  1. Spread about 2/3 of the kneaded dough on a greased pan.

Ingredients - The Filling:
  1. 200 grams of chopped-up Figs
  2. 200 grams of raisins (Grapes)
  3. 200 grams of Dates (the biblical Honey)
Directions - The Filling:
  1. Spread this mix over the dough that's in the pan.
  2. Cover this spread with the remaining 1/3 of the dough
To finish up sprinkle over the batter:
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  3. Bake: in an oven, at 180° C. (350° F.) for about 30 min.

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Fifty Percent (50%) of all revenue of any product purchased through
Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen goes to help feed needy families in Israel. The funds are donated directly to the needy families - regardless of religion, race or creed. The remaining 50% will be donated to a Rape Crises Center for Women in Israel. (For a full explanation please read this.)

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Book Review - Talk Of The Table Kosher Cookbook

Recently I visited the Jerusalem International Book Fair which I wrote about in Cobwebs Of The Mind, in the post, Jerusalem International Book Fair - Flashlight Press. While there, I was handed a cook book with the request to have it reviewed in Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen.

I warned the person requesting the review that I would be brutally honest about the book and gave them a chance to cancel their request for the review. However, and this I say to their credit, they insisted they wanted an honest review of the book in question.

Before I enter into my thoughts on the book, I know that some readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen have contributed recipes to this book, as will become apparent soon, since this is somewhat of a conglomeration of recipes from many home cooks and some chefs at some fine restaurants in Israel. So it kinds of puts me on shaky ground, as it is never really a great place to be when you happen to know some of the people who contributed to a book that you are reviewing.

Some parts of this review are harsh. And that does not sit well with my inner voice as I know this book was produced to aid a charitable cause. But it is being sold commercially (which means profits for the publisher), and thus by volition the publisher entered it into a very competitive market. Thus all this has to be done in measure with an eye on the cause and an eye on the "professional" look and feel of the book as well.

Nevertheless, I took some time to think about this review, and my summary, critique and evaluation of Talk Of The Table Kosher Cookbook published by Urim Publications follows.

Talk of the Table CookbookTalk of the Table Cook Book">Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen, as I have said numerous times, is about real people, real cooking, real recipes and real food. Some of those who submit recipes to Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen are "people" chefs - others can be either gourmet or the normal down-to-earth variety. Both kind of cooks are great. Both serve a purpose. The recipes in Talk Of The Table Kosher Cookbook for the most part come from the normal down-to-earth home cooks who know what it means to cook for a family.

When a community puts together a Cook Book or recipes from different sources one simply does not and should not expect the same finesse and professionalism that is apparent in the cookbooks written by the great chefs of the world and published in fine, glossy formats. Certainly one cannot expect the same finish on a cookbook from a small publisher as one of the large ones. But then again if you are going to play in the sand box - then be ready to play.

However, cook books by their nature do require certain basics. And if the cover price of a cook book is $20.00 I expect to be given $20 worth of book. Putting recipes in a hard cover on good paper is simply not good enough.

If you are looking for simply interesting and good recipes (all Kosher) then a quick perusal of Talk Of The Table Kosher Cookbook does answer and fit that bill. Some of the recipes are indeed interesting and good. Some seem to be fairly delicious unique food creations.

My problem with Talk Of The Table Kosher Cookbook is not with the recipes. My problem is with the layout and editing of this book.

The editors for this book obviously spell-checked the recipes (I would certainly hope so) and probably made some grammatical corrections. But they did not, it seems, bother to actually take a look at the recipes themselves nor at the way a "normal" reader would read them. This irks me a great deal to be honest and certainly has colored this review.

The ingredients for each recipe appear on the sidebar of the page next to the recipe (two per page). The instructions or directions for creating the plate appear in the middle. There is absolutely no mention of what kind of utensils are needed for each recipe nor is there a mention of amount of pans, bowls etc. By the way, this is my pet peeve with many cookbooks. For some reason the editors and chefs seem to take it as a normative self-understood fact that you will need 6 bowls, 7 frying pans and 15 large spoons for a given recipe. They also don't have to clean the stuff after the cooking is done and the camera, light, action is all over. This book suffers from the same malaise. Suprisingly so because most of the recipes come from home cooks! No where, it seems, did any of these home cooks deem to mention what kind of utensils one may need for which recipe.

One of the faults of the editors here can be best illustrated as follows. One recipe reads as follows: (I honestly broke out in laughter when I read this!)

Combine stock ingredients and bring to boil. Season to taste. Simmer for 1 hour. Add carp and vinegar to stock. Cook for an additional 45 minutes.
You are kidding me, right? This is what you tell a friend over the phone if you are pressed for time, your kids are about to murder each other, your other phone is ringing, and you are late for your nephew's wedding - so you are in a hurry! As a recipe, this just does not cut it. But this is the basic recipe for carp. That cannot be denied. Now someone please tell me what carp is and how I get it. And "season to taste"? What if I never made carp before? And btw, the word "cook" here is wrong. It should be actually "leave on the flame for another 45 minutes". But is it a big flame? Do I bring it to a boil? Do I keep it simmering? Why is there such a paucity on words here?

Small example. Picky? I am not sure. I have been at this long enough to know exactly what people require, what they need and what they should expect from a book on recipes - especially when it is being sold in a competitive market. And this book is geared to the home non-professional cook.

The problem lies in the fact that just placing ingredients before the cook and then giving very concise (and sometimes even terse) directions is often not enough. Home cooks have the recipes. The editors must know how to edit them and explain them to the reading public.

Cookbooks also should have pictures. Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen is a blog, and most often we just don't take pictures of our great recipes. Still pictures are always welcome. BUT then again Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen as all other blogs of its type is FREE. And all good blogs and web sites that I have seen do take the time to explain directions, utensils and ingredients.

All this being said about the downside of the book, I must add the following. This book seems to have been put together as a community effort for a school. That I find laudable and thus for that reason alone I would give it an A+ for effort. But unless it is my child's school or my own recipes or I really believe in the charity I am not going to spend in $20 on effort. Effort in professionally published books which make a profit for the publishers - is just not a reason to purchase something.

The recipes, as I said are fairly good. I was very disappointed with some of the chefs of the fine restaurants in Israel and what they contributed, however, assuming they were not paid for their recipe I assume they just contributed some very basic recipes. Still, professional chefs that submit recipes with their names attached to them should be a bit more circumspect about what they contribute to such a book. If this is the extent of their capability, then the food at some of these restaurants is really overpriced, and certainly the chefs need a course themselves in how to cook.

The book, since it is a kosher cook book, is divided into logical sections - Dairy, Meat, Cakes etc. Makes recipes extremely easy to find if you know what you are looking for. This the editors got right and did with brains. I like that part of the book.

Would I personally buy Talk Of The Table Kosher Cookbook? I would do it to give as a present, knowing the proceeds are going to a worthy charity if I thought that it would serve a purpose. So indeed Talk Of The Table Kosher Cookbook does make a good present to the learning cook for that reason while contributing to a worthy cause - though I have no doubt the publisher is making money off of this and that does irk me because it simply is priced way too high for what one should expect to get.

However, there are some editorial failures in this book sad to say. This does not in any way reflect upon most of the recipes contained within the book. A bit more effort in the editorial process, and yes more money invested in its publication could have made it into a wonderful cook book. However I do find it hard to justify the $20 cover price for this book. That is near 90 NIS in Israel which makes it not a cheap book to buy.

Talk Of The Table Kosher Cookbook is not a coffee table book. You will not learn how to cook from it. You will however, add some really interesting recipes into your repertoire, and with a bit more finesse turn some of these recipes into truly great dishes. It fails at being a true "real" cook book though. And that is sad because the extra effort would have turned this book into a unique gem.

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Fifty Percent (50%) of all revenue of any product purchased through
Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen goes to help feed needy families in Israel. The funds are donated directly to the needy families - regardless of religion, race or creed. The remaining 50% will be donated to a Rape Crises Center for Women in Israel. (For a full explanation please read this.)

One final note. Please do not write in or comment that since the book is a community, charitable effort - no matter what - it should get a great review. If it was being sold for $5 or less I would have praised it to the ceiling. After all for $5 it is a good investment. But when I see the $20 price tag - I must professionally ask what is missing and what am I paying for. In the end the recipes are for the most part passable or good, with some unique individualistic creations, and the faults of the publication process and editors should not reflect upon the contributors of these recipes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Maple Cake - Cake Recipe Contest

The Great Cake Recipe Contest - Submission # 2

Submitted By Manara - She Writes:
A sentence about my recipe: For those who LOVE pancakes, and crave it as dessert (rather than breakfast), well, now you can! Go figure, Maple Cake!
Maple Cake - The Great Cake Recipe Contest - Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen

Maple Cake

Ingredients:
  1. 3 eggs
  2. 1 packet (or 1 tablespoons) of vanilla sugar
  3. 1 cup of heavy (sour) cream
  4. 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  5. 1/2 cup sugar
  6. 1/2 cup light brown sugar (demerara)
  7. 1/2 cup oil
  8. 3.5 ounces walnuts, finely chopped
  9. Maple syrup
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
  2. Grease up and flour either 3 loaf tins or 1 medium size cake tin (approximately 9 inch X 12 inch).
  3. Add all ingredients, except for walnuts and syrup, in a mixer until there's a consistent batter.
  4. Pour batter in tin(s) and sprinkle chopped walnuts all over cake.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until cake is settled with a golden brownish color.
  6. Check with toothpick.
  7. When cake is ready, remove from oven, and while it's still hot, drizzle maple syrup over the cake until it's glossy. (Not too much syrup because it's very sweet).
  8. Let it cool, and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

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Fifty Percent (50%) of all revenue of any product purchased through
Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen goes to help feed needy families in Israel. The funds are donated directly to the needy families - regardless of religion, race or creed. The remaining 50% will be donated to a Rape Crises Center for Women in Israel. (For a full explanation please read this.)

No ratings are given for entries into Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen - The Great Cake Recipe Contest