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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Best Matzo Pancakes

Morning all,


So we had the first night of Passover, lots of food and 4 cups of wine (at least).

Back when we were kids, I remember my dad waking up at 5 am the day after the "Seder" to make his wonderful Matzo Pancake.

The minute we smelled the cinnamon sense, all 3 of us would know – It's time to wake up… because Passover has officially begun!


When I had my first Passover away from home, I felt that I was missing something. One call to my Dad that day would resolve this issue.

And now this is my tradition... every Passover morning my kids wake up to the same great feeling of Home.


Even today, when it's just my parents at home, they are still continuing the tradition, and I am sure the neighbors don't complain.



7-8 Matzo sheets

3 cups of water

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon Cinnamon

3 eggs

Oil for frying



In a large mixing bowl, pour water and let the Matzo sheets soak until they are soft and mushy (they will absorb most of the water)

Once they are soft, strain the water and squeeze the Matzo from the water as much as possible.

Place back in the bowl.


Add the sugar, cinnamon and eggs – mix to combine.

The mix will be sticky and wet.


Heat oil to 350F, once oil is hot, with wet hands form a patty out of the batter and cook 1 min each side (until golden brown)

Place on a paper towel to absorb the oil.

  Sprinkle powder sugar on top and serve hot.




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Monday, March 29, 2010

Passover is here…

Hi All,


Let me begin with wishing you all happy holidays.

This time of year you can start felling the winter leaving and spring is right around the corner,

The flowers and trees are starting to bloom with wonderful colors.
You can hear the kids running around and playing outside, so what better way to open the spring then with a nice chocolate cake ? (which is kosher for Passover)
What is that mean? Well, a whole lot of chocolate.

I was looking for a good recipe for a cake that will taste great and also won't contain any wheat flour. 3 cakes that I tried went to the trash, courtesy of my sister (she was my taste tester).

The forth one was a winner; this is a recipe that I adapted from Tyler Florence.

So thank you Mr. Florence, this recipe will add a few inches to my waist - but its do good I can't help it : )



3 ½ cups of semi sweet chocolate chips

10 tablespoons of butter (stick+2 tablespoons) - original was 1 stick, adding 2 more tablespoon enriches the chocolate

½ cup of sugar (original recipe was ¾ cup, but the outcome was very sweet)

9 large eggs, separated

¼ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes (this is my addition)



Preheat oven to 350F and batter a 9-inch springform pan.

Put the chocolate and butter in a heat prove bowel over a double boiler.

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the mix is light yellow and a bit thicker. 

Once the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, take some of the warm mix and add it to the eggs and sugar – mix that quickly to prevent the eggs mixture from scrambling (this is called tempering). Add the rest of the chocolate to the yolk mix and mix to combine.Add the coconut at this point


In a clean mixer bowl , Whisk the egg whites to stiff pick (the foam don't droop form the mixer attachment while upside down), I add 1/4 teaspoon per 2 egg whites of cream of tartar or white vinegar, midway through whisking. 


Fold the egg white into the chocolate mixture in 3 installments. (The first one, I stir rather then fold to thin out the batter, this will make it easier to fold the rest).


Pour the mix into the pan and bake it until the top starts cracking and a toothpick inserted to the cake comes out with moist crumbs. The original recipe says 20-25 min but it took me about 35-40 min to get that same results.Let the cake cool before removing from the pan.

Best serving suggestion is to cut a small slice of cake and microwave it for 20 sec, serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

I Wish you all to have a happy holidays

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday night fish fillet

OK, so it's Sunday night, we are all exhausted from the whole weekend and its dinner time…

If you are like us, you want a quick and healthy dinner; let the kids eat so we can call log off for this weekend.

So what about a good fish dish?


Some of my family members who probably read this posting are laughing right now, why is that you ask?

I am not a fish person, never was. For me, actually cooking and enjoying fish is a major thing.


This dish doesn't smell or task like fish but it has all the nutrients of it.

I got this recipe, well not exactly got it, I tried to replicate it form Olive Garden.

A few years back I went with Hagai there and I think it was my sister who ordered this dish, and it was very good, so it became my personal mission to try replicating it.

So after many tries and some internet research – I believe I got it, and sharing it here with you all is a privilege.


For this dish I use the Tilapia fillet, you can also use the flounder if you wish.

I buy the fish either fresh that day, or I get is at BJ's, divide it to serving portions and freezes is.


This recipe is for 4 servings;

4 fish fillet
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup breadcrumbs (I use the seasoned ones)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup Romano cheese
4 teaspoons chopped parsley


Heat over to 400F, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray.

Place the fish fillet on the cooking sheet, drizzle the olive oil on the fish.


Mix the cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley.
(you can double the amount of the mix and just freeze it for next time)

Top the fish with this mixture until completely covered.


Place in the oven for about 20 min (if you are not sure if the fish is cooked, stick a thermometer, it should be 140F)

The topping should be crunchy and golden brown.


Its best served with pasta / rice, and a side of steamed vegetables.


The hardest part of this meal will be the vegetables… it's that easy and equally delicious.

Enjoy and have a great week








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Friday, March 26, 2010

My Challa Bread

Hi All,


So here we are again, this time I don't have a childhood story to tell you about how I started making this bread, But I hope one day my kids will be able to share it with their loved ones.


Don't really remember how or why I started making this brad, maybe I wanted to challenge myself a bit or just furious about the price of the challa in the local bakery. Bottom line I did try, and I am not going to fool you all, the first few tries were a mess and went directly to the trashcan.



One day I came across a recipe, the winning one (I was so long ago that I don't even remember who to give credit for).

It's so simple and works every time... Just like magic. There is only one thing that can beat this smell on fresh baked challa bread (and I will tell you what it is later on- it's a promise).



3 ½ cups of flour (bread flour will be the best, if not then all p will be just fine)

¼ cup of warm water (110F)

1 Tablespoon of dry yeast

4 teaspoon sugar divided

¾ cup of warm milk / water

4 tablespoons of butter / margarine melted

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs


Tablespoon of sesame seeds / poppy seeds

Egg wash



First we will start with the yeast mixture, we need to mix the yeast, ¼ cup of warm water and one teaspoon of water in a small bowl, let it sit for 5 min.

While yeast is sitting, combine the flour and remaining sugar in a mixer bowl, creating a hole in the middle – like shown in the picture.

Pure the yeast to the flour.



Using a mixer kneading attachment mix the dough for 2 min, and add the ¾ cup of milk / water with the melted butter.

Mix until combined. Start adding the eggs, one at a time.

At that point you will notice that the dough is formed, it should not be sticky. If still stick to the sided of the bowl, add more flour (one teaspoon at a time, remember you can always add more but you can't take back).


Salt should be added last.

Remove from the bowl and form into a ball.


Grease a large bowl and place the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest until double in size (it usually takes about 3 hours; you can also place overnight in the fridge).


Once the dough rose, punch in down (yes I said punch!).

Knead the dough and divide to two. Each half will be challa bread.

Now – how to braid it?

Each half will need to be divided to 3 equal (or somewhat equal). You will need to roll each one to a strap, and then place all 3 straps and off you go with the braiding.


 (here is my son,Ely, helping me  - you got to admit he is going a good job) 

Let the dough rise again until doubles in size.

Brush it with egg wash (one egg + one tablespoon of water)

Sprinkle the sesame seeds / poppy seeds.


Place in oven (middle) on 350F for about 30 min (until golden).


Now - like I promised, the only thing that is better than the fresh challa is ..

French toast made from Cinnamon challa .

I just flatten the dough and sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon, roll it to a loaf and let it rise...

Try it – you won't be disappointed, it's a promise!!


My dear friends, I wish you all a great weekend and Sabbath shalom









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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Aviva’s Meat Balls

Evening All,


One of my best memories from growing up in Israel was (and now I can appreciate it better), always having a hot home cooked meal on the table.

My mom since I remember had a full time job, she and my dad did everything to provide for us with all we wanted, even if it meant going door to door at night and selling pictures. And still, dinner was always there!!

I can still taste is, and it's even better than ever.

Whenever my mom comes to visit me here in NY the one thing (well... maybe not just one) I always ask is her Meat Balls.

And don't get me wrong – we follow the same recipe, but I don't know why – hers always tastes better.

Maybe it's the taste of childhood that comes back to me and allows me to be that little girl again, and this is what I wish for my kids – that great feeling when you are far...far.. Away from home.


So Mommy - this is for you, with all the love in the world.

This is a note to all the Italian out there, I know this is not quite what you expect - but it has the Mediterranean kick to it. After all, I am half Moroccan and half Egyptian.


So here goes:

1 pound of ground beef (I use the 80% lean; you got to have some fat in it…)

1 egg

½ cup breadcrumb (I like the panko, gives it a bite)

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¾ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon chopped parsley

¼ teaspoon of Arissa (it's a Tunisian hot pepper paste, go easy on it since it's very hot)

1 tablespoon sweet paprika



1 cans stewed tomatoes

1 cans tomato sauce

½ teaspoon of mashed garlic

¼ teaspoon of Arissa

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon sweet paprika



Put all the Meat balls ingredients in a large ball and mix until combined, let the meat rest while you make the sauce.

In a large deep pan, combine all the sauce ingredients and let the sauce simmer.


Form the meat balls and drop then to the hot sauce.


Cook on medium for about 25-30 min.


And that's it … a nice meal.

Told you its easy didn't I?


You can serve it with white rice, or my personal favorite Couscous. (Here is the Mediterranean kick again).

The only left over on the plate will be the side... J

See you all soon




















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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

First Post ..

Hi all,
First time for me at a blog, before I even start let me introduce myself
My name is Tal (it’s the morning mist in Hebrew for all of you who are wondering). I am a young working mom of 2 cute kids.
Ely – an energetic 3 year old boy
Lily – a 9 month demanding baby girl
Married to Hagai. He is a privet banker.

I was born in Israel and came here a few years ago, so please excuse me if my English is not perfect.
So what is the purpose of this Blog?  If you are like me a working mom who comes back home at 6:00 pm for my other full time job, stressing out about juggling all those insane duties and surviving to tell  I am here for you girl!!!
Main thing is getting dinner at the table on reasonable time without worrying is it good? Is it somewhat healthy?  
Now I know about all the shows and websites out there, I think I had only one channel on TV when I was pregnant with Lily - if you guessed Food Network, you hit the jackpot!!!  
Hey - I was pregnant and food was (and still) is my thing!
I had my share of misshapes trying to cook different recipes from the Barefoot Contessa and even Rachel Ray … (embarrassing but it’s the truth).
So what do I do? You guess it– call mom in Israel and try to get some idea about the infinite question
What are we eating today?

So I will let you all in to my privet shrine, the one place where I find peace and quiet for at least 30 min a day  (well, wishful thinking ) and we will see if we can concur this thing with success.
Its kind’s like the movie Julie and Julia …

So Here we go and good luck to us all..
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