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This blog is for the purpose of all things related to the kitchen. This includes recipes, cool gadgets, and little anecdotes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Ma, The Meatloaf"

To me meatloaf was always one of those gross school lunches, which they slopped onto your plate and forced you to eat the "mystery meat" of the day. It is known for being dry, crumbly, and bland...basically nothing special. Recently, when I was home on vacation my mother served a new meatloaf recipe which managed to change my perception on this dish.

Her meatloaf could not be described as dry, bland, or crumbly. It was as if meatloaf received a complete head to toe makeover! Instead of a just a hunk of meat, this dish has vegetables in its center. I made this recipe with sauted mushrooms and onions, but you can also do it with spinach or any other vegetable of your choice. Needless to say, there was not a piece left by the end of the meal. I am convinced this is one of those recipes that no matter how much you make, there will never be leftovers.


3 lbs of ground meat (or you can mix half meat half turkey)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1. spice the meat with some garlic powder, onion powder, 2 eggs, ketchup
2. mix together the brown sugar, ketchup and vinegar.
3. saute the mushrooms and onions in a pan
4. take half the meat and place it in a pan or on a baking sheet in loaf form
5. place the mushrooms and onions on top of the loaf
6. pour on half the sauce
7. use the rest of the meat to make another loaf on top of the first
8. pour the remaining sauce on top of the loaf
9. bake at 350 degrees until brown, about an hour


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another Post From My Dear Sister

It is a well known fact that onions have layers. I have always thought that my older sister, Tali, was one of the most complex people I know. After having not lived with her in the same house now for five years, every time we do reunite I always discover new things about her. She is one of those people who has a lot of depth and really cares about other people. I know that there is always another "layer" to peel away and an opportunity to learn something new from her. After all, Tali is always right...That is why I think it is so fitting that she chose to share a stuffed onion recipe. 

Dear All,

Today marks a day in history…a time when events are happening in the world. 94 year old Zsa Zsa Gabor is trying to have a baby, Jeopardy’s Trebek asked what the backyard BBQ compound with the molecular formula C3H8 is called and a contestant answered “coal,” Congress has just passed the new budget bill, and I am writing my second blog post.

At this point, I’m thinking “hey, I should just start a blog of my own.” The problem is that once I start one blog, I’ll end up having to create numerous blogs in order to fully share with my readers the true life of Tali Bauman aka The Craziness of Me.

So for now, I’ll just stick to guest posting on Shira’s blog (thanks for your kindness, dear sister).

Tonight, I decided to make stuffed onions. Why? Because I thought I would be having only a few guests over for Shabbat lunch, wanted to have another ‘meat’ dish in addition to chicken cutlets (no, deli roll is not an option and is clearly a fallback for people who just want to eat filo dough), and  I figured, heck, how hard can it be to stuff some onions. Well, turns out, my meal grew to 8 and oh hey, it took me an hour and a half to stuff those onions (I’ll be honest- I did 4 loads of laundry in the middle).  

And with that exhilarating introduction, here’s how I did it. (I would like to acknowledge SmittenKitchen for the original recipe and my mom for the "doctoring up the meat" recipe) 

Buy various onions (medium sized, red, yellow, sweet)
SUGGESTION #1: I found the red onions to be easier to scoop out than the yellow onions

Cut each end of the onion (about a ½ in.) and make sure that the onion can stand on one side

Using a knife and spoon (the utensil teamwork really helps), scoop out the center of the onion leaving 2-3 layers on the outside
SUGGESTION #2: Requires a lot of upper body strength and patience. Don’t get frustrated if the onion starts to break a little or if there is a hole at the other end; it will be okay.

Place onions standing upright in 9 x 13 in pan and add ½-1 cup of water at the bottom and cover with aluminum (tin/silver- do they really make silver??) foil

Place in oven at 425 oF for 25-30 minutes until the onions are cooked but not too soft

In the mean time, chop the centers of the scooped out onions and cut up a red pepper

Sautee until brown, add some salt, pepper, and 3 garlic cloves (~1.5 tsp of minced garlic)

Add ground beef to the pan and allow to brown

Stir in 2 tbls of sugar, 1 small can of tomato sauce, and some ketchup and cook for a little longer on low flame

When you are sure the meat is cooked, add some chopped almonds

Scoop meat filling into the onions

Place back in the oven at 325 oF for another 25 minutes (keep an eye that the meat does not start to burn)

Your guests will love this fancy treat. Let me know if you can beat my 1.5 hr time- should not be too difficult.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

And All God Said Was Don't Eat Bread!

In my family, Passover is always a big production. We have 25 guests relatives from out of town move into our house for 3 days. The food is never ending, and with my family there is never a dull quiet moment. Every year the same stories are retold, yet they never seem to get old. The same arguments and words are said at the Passover seder, and yet everyone still loves to hear them.

My mother cooks her heart out for this holiday. It is rare that we see her leave the kitchen. And after every meal everyone expresses how full they are and how they cannot fit another bite into their already bloated stomachs...yet a few hours later they are asking about the next meal.

Most would assume with all the dietary restrictions placed on us for these seven days it would be difficult to eat good food. On the contrary, we all say certain foods always come out so much better on Passover. We cannot explain it since the recipes are the same year round, and yet for some reason we all agree it tastes much better this time.

One of these foods is potato kugel. I make potato year round, it's my go to kugel for shabbat. Don't get me wrong, I am very proud of my potato kugel. I like to think of it as delicious. Nevertheless, I still know that when Passover comes around...all my potato kugels will be put to shame by this one. The most important trick I learned from my mother is to make sure to heat up the oil before pouring it into the mix. So I always put the oil in the pan first and put that in the oven for 15 minutes or so and add that in last, right before placing the whole kugel in the oven. I find it helps to really give the kugel a great golden brown look.

I will place a warning attached with this recipe. It seems to run in my family that we all have our faux pas with potato kugel. My mother has yet to live down this story and it is from before she was even married to my father. She was preparing a potato kugel for shabbat and made sure to add pepper to the kugel since she knew my father liked it. The kugel turned out to be inedible because of the copious amounts of pepper.

I too messed up one of my first potato kugels, however to the opposite extreme. I made it one shabbat and forgot to add any sort of pepper or salt. Needless to say, it was a very bland mixture of potatoes.

So I remind you to check the recipe twice before putting it in the oven!

Potato Kugel

1/2 C. oil
8 medium potatoes
2 onions chopped
1 tablespoon salt
Black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
5 eggs

Heat oil in 9 x 13 pan in oven. Peel and grate potatoes and onions. Mix in
rest of ingredients. Add hot oil and mix. Pour into pan and bake at 400 F
for about and hour or until brown on top.


Happy Passover!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Salty-Sweet Combo

I have always been a fan of the salty with the sweet. In my mind, whoever thought to mix the two was a genius. I will eat chocolate covered pretzels, caramel popcorn, tortilla chips with sweet chili....I like it all.

Recently, I came up with a new salty-sweet combination without even realizing what I was doing. As I was preparing my dinner of a greek salad I decided to change things up a little and really live on the edge. Instead of using my normal dressing of olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano I was in the mood for poppyseed dressing. This dressing is more on the sweeter side and the combination of that with the salty feta cheese really excited my taste buds.

My new favorite thing to do with salad dressing is put all the ingredients in a mini food processor and blend it all together. This saves my poor arm from all the shaking and the high chance of a jar of oil exploding on me. The outcome is a great creamy dressing.

I highly recommend trying this combination, even though it sounds a bit strange!

Greek Salad

Romaine lettuce
red onion
olives (optional)

Poppyseed Dressing

1 cup oil
1/3 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons chopped onion
2 teaspoons poppyseeds


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Heart Attack Continuation

I have loved red meat ever since I tried ribs for the first time on my trip to Florida with my grandparents years ago. Growing up I never had the opportunity to eat it so frequently since my father is very good about not eating meat in order to stay healthy.

In my quest to learn how to make delicious meat and put my cholesterol through the roof, I decided to try my favorite meat of all...corned beef. Your first thought might be why does she like the corned beef cold cut that much?? Well, don't get me wrong thats delicious as well. But this cut of meat is the kind you buy at the butcher, it is normally a brisket which has been pickled. The beauty of corned beef is that you boil it before cooking, so it is always soft no matter what.

The way I make corned beef, as learned from my mother, is by boiling it in water for about 2-3 hours. I then let it cool and slice it nice and thin. I make a great glaze out of ketchup and mustard and poor that on top of the meat and bake it for 30-45 minutes in the oven.

What is great about this recipe is that you can freeze it at any stage so it can be prepared earlier to save time. When I make it, I often freeze it after boiling and only defrost it the day I want to serve it and then glaze it right before the meal.

I strongly believe if you don't try this recipe you are really missing out!

Corned Beef Glaze

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons mustard 

heat all ingredients together in a sauce pan on a low flame and poor onto already sliced corned beef. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, until sauce is sticky. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

London Broil Falling Down

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The idea of cooking meat always scares me. I have always stayed away of any form of red meat that is not ground or minced. You never want to be the one who serves the rubbery chewy piece of meat to your guests. Recently, I have taken the bull by the horns (no pun intended) and decided I was going to learn to cook meat.

The whole process just placed stumbling block after hurdle trying to trip me up. Firstly, I had to go to the butcher and pick out the correct cut of meat. They have this whole diagram with numbers correlating to different parts of the cow, similar to this picture (only much more complicated in real life): 

File:Beef cuts.svg

After staring at this diagram for eternity, it still did not help me chose the right cut of meat. Do I want rib, brisket, top sirloin, bottom sirloin? With my head's looming implosion, I quickly called my mother. Five minutes later and I find myself walking out of the butcher with a nice big shoulder london broil. 

Now what to do next? If picking out the meat wasn't tough enough, the idea of turning it into a perfect dish seemed even more impossible. Once again my mother came to the rescue with suggestions and specific instructions of how not to mess this up. 

After doing extensive research, the next logical step pointed to marinading the meat overnight to make it as soft and juicy as possible. As per my mother's instructions I threw together some oil, soy sauce, honey, rosemary, and garlic and let the meat marinade in a bag over night. The transformation of it the next morning was a sure sign I was headed in the right direction. It was darker, having soaked up all the juices, and definitely looked ready to cook. 

I placed it in a pan and put it into the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 7 minutes on each side to brown. Next, in order to preserve the savory juices, I added a little water to the bottom of the pan and covered the meat with tin foil. I reset the oven to 150 Celsius and let the meat cook for 45 minutes until the juices ran clear. The key was to make sure that it was still a little pink on the inside so that it wouldn't dry out. Once cooled, slice it (against the grain). Overall, I'd say my first attempt was a good one, especially since none was left. 

London Broil

3-4 lb london broil 
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons rosemary
6 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

1. Combine all ingredients and let marinade in a bag overnight
2. Cook at 220 Celsius uncovered for 15 minutes browning each side
3. Cover and cook for 45 minutes until juices run clear at 150 Celsius
4. Cool and slice
5. Reheat to serve


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Do You Like Your Cabbage?


I love salads. My ideal meal is one or two main dishes and a lot of different interesting salads on the side. One thing I have learned in Israel is that they don't understand the idea behind a big leafy salad. Whenever I make my own salad in university and ask for lettuce I always end up with a couple of sad looking pieces and them standing there waiting to hear how I want to fill the rest of my salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Needless to say, I get funny looks when I ask for more lettuce.

Living on my own has also proven a challenge to my salad making. Whenever I opt for the healthy choice and decide to make myself a salad, all I ever seem to find in my fridge is old wilted lettuce and mushy tomatoes. For some reason in my mind the next logical move is to pick up my phone and dial the pizza store (ignoring the fact I have a produce store around the corner which is open at all hours of the day!)Before you know it, a pizza is delivered to my house, so obviously I'm have to eat it. I just still can't figure out how that happens....so much for being healthy.

All that being said, that is one of the biggest reasons I like this cabbage salad. I can buy a couple bags of already chopped cabbage and they last me much longer than lettuce. The ingredients are so simple and I can put together this salad before my hands have a chance to reach for the phone. Being a student, I have adapted this recipe to fit the contents of my kitchen, so the measurements aren't so exact. Even if it tastes a little different every time I make it, it is always delicious.

Cabbage and Ramen Noodles Salad

1 package of chopped cabbage
1 package of instant ramen noodles
1 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar

1. put the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle the raw noodles on top. 
2. combine the dressing (possibly adding more sugar or soy sauce depending on your preference)
3. mix all together