Toffee Pudding Cake

January 31, 2017

If I'm in a hurry to catch up on recipes, why not share this cake so soon after this? Truthfully, I haven't seen cake around here in a while, so I don't think anyone will mind. We all need a nice big bundt cake to cut sliver after sliver and enjoy with tea, for breakfast, after dinner or just because. This toffee pudding cake is the perfect, matches-any-occasion cake. It isn't as intense as chocolate, which is a good thing even if you're of the chocolate-trumps-all type.
A slice warmed up with the toffee sauce (and a sprinkling of salt is essential) is nothing short of extraordinary. The depth from the caramel with the soft crumb of the cake makes it irresistible. Pencil it into your next baking session. Promise?

I should not that I've made the cake with coconut oil and it was perfect as well. So if you're going dairy-free, opt for coconut oil and skip the toffee sauce though I can't imagine you'd want to do that.

In other news, make sure you follow along by email here. And on Pinterest. Also, have you seen this interesting ted talk? I recently got a carbon steel pan and it still didn't develop that black nonstick coating and might be driving me crazy though I really want to love it. Check out this new website for Jewish women. And this list of Jewish food bloggers Melinda pulled together.

Quinoa Stuffed Chicken Breast in Orange Sauce

January 30, 2017

I wanted to be back soon, and I also have many recipes that I worked on last year for Binah Magazine that I want to share with you. I was hoping that by 2017 I would have started with a clean slate. I even undertook the massive task of cleaning out and organizing my hard drive. It started out well but somewhere along the way, I chose to save my sanity and took a break. So slowly, it is. Eventually I'll get to all the recipes I developed for the magazine so you can enjoy them as well.

Maple Haloumi Arugula Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

January 26, 2017

Let’s talk January things. 

I put together resolutions, if that’s what I should call them, back in September on Rosh Hashana, but between then and now I get easily lost and distracted so I welcome another chance to get things right, or better. Because beginnings hold more potential, no?

Like many, I have health and wellness on that list. On some level, it’s a vain pursuit to fit into two thirds of my wardrobe but more than that it’s to gain energy and clarity so I can be the best version of myself. Let’s just say that you are not welcome around me sometime in the late afternoon after I’ve either hardly eaten or overindulged mindlessly. I get into a cycle of disordered eating, where I skip breakfast and “deservedly” polish off the last from the batch of cookies or settle for a milk and cereal marathon. Because it’s easy and convenient despite being anything but nourishing. So off I go, always reading and researching the latest in health. I’ve done cleanses (feels amazing!), and gone low carb/paleoish (energizing!) but somewhere along life happens and that basically ends the effort. Or it becomes too restricting and my perfectionist side dismisses any progress as pointless. So now I’m simplifying things. Instead of parking myself into a health camp, I’m freeing myself to be in tune with my own compass. 

Maybe juicing, paleo or low carb is potentially the way to perfect health, but eating intuitively is the path to balance. And to me, that’s true wellness. We all know that moderation is key but living in moderation is challenging when cake is there, beckoning with its promise of sweet pleasure. And it delivers said promises until I’ve overindulged and am left overfilled and regretful. So instead of following rigid guidelines that promise optimal health, I’m trying to live what I always felt, that listening to your body is the best way to care for it. That instead of pursuing a 30 day plan of sort, turning a few key things into habits is longer lasting. A lifestyle, they call it. 

I try to stick with these guidelines, if you care to know. 
1) I drink a lot of water 
2) I do not have refined sugar. Really, there’s no way around it, it stops the cravings and the blood sugar roller coasters, and my crankiness. 
3) I eat as many dark, leafy greens as I can. It promotes detoxing and definitely gives my skin a glow.
4) I take time to prepare myself a proper meal. Like many mothers, I put myself last, so I’m trying to focus on taking care of me, sometimes before the little ones. Good thing my baby loves eggs, we do breakfast together. I also love the foods I love, so I’m happy with repeats, which makes things seamless when the fridge is stocked. 
5) I do full fat and healthy fats. That means butter, coconut oil, and olive oil. There is enough research that quells the old “fat makes you fat” approach. So I get the feta and greek yogurt with the highest fat percentage and I never measure my oil. It keeps me satiated throughout the day. I also get to indulge in my roasted, salted hazelnut habit. 

It’s a journey that takes effort and time, but the way I feel propels me forward. In truth, I’ve always been into eating healthy, as a teenager I remember asking my mom to make grilled chicken before it was the thing. I’m happy with a big leafy, colorful, crunchy, tasty salad more than a thin-crusted mozzarella pizza oozing with fresh tomatoes and rimmed with a charred crust, or maybe just as much. I love food, or more honestly I love the pleasure of good food and I believe it to be true kindness from the Creator. So I’m learning to enjoy it all in the right way, at the right time. And that includes chocolate. And also this maple fried haloumi that isn’t unlike candy, really. Those slightly burnt, crispy edges hold an earthy sweetness from the maple and olive oil that complements the deep salty from the cheese. These little squares are utterly addicting and I think you’ll agree this salad to be in perfect balance. 

As a side note, I’m a little wary in typecasting food as “healthy”, as that connotes a different meaning to everyone and qualifies it as either good or bad. I think that if food is whole, in pure form, unprocessed, and homemade, then it’ll be delicious and nourishing without needing a label. I find it particularly amusing when I read blurbs to recipes along the lines “you would never guess this is healthy”, as if healthy food is by default bland and disappointing when in reality it’s intensely flavorful and satisfying. I hope that comes across in this little space.

Sfinj (Moroccan Doughnuts)

January 5, 2017

Seeing every one of the flames lit on the last night of Chanukah was magical. I was mesmerized by the dancing flames, and my mind was calm enough to contemplate the significance of the moment, of how Chanukah lives within me and not a storybook. This sort of introspection should probably have occurred on the first night, but there was all sorts of busy, and so that it happened on the last was worthwhile just as much. Like a sort of culminating point that made me appreciate the true beauty of the holiday.

Zucchini Latkes with Za'atar Sour Cream

Here I am publishing a few Chanukah recipes after the holiday. Does that make me late to the party? Mostly. But these are a must any time of year. My mother makes these latkes throughout the year and I would too if not for my stance on frying. Hovering over the skillet, waiting impatiently for those edges to brown, having every window opened as wide as its track allows and yet still everything smells of that irritating frying odor, makes the whole cooking task one I just don't like it. Otherwise these would make the dinner rotation because the taste of fried potatoes laced with zucchini and dipped in za'atar sour cream is to be repeated as often as possible.
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