Monday, April 30, 2012

Exciting News for Alibabka!

Today, I was featured in an article in the esteemed Wall Street Journal!  I was interviewed by Sumathi Reddy on what it is like being an Orthodox Jew in a non-kosher culinary school.  
I spoke about the challenges I face when preparing and cooking all types of food that I am unable to taste, because of religious reasons.  As many of my readers know, I am allowed to cook certain foods even though I am religiously forbidden to eat them.  Keeping Kosher while attending culinary school is very unique and I am certainly proud of my choice to follow my dreams of becoming a professional chef, all while maintaining my religious observance.  What better way to channel my creativity than learning to substitute kosher foods for non-kosher ones?
I feel truly blessed to be able to do what I am most passionate about without ever having to compromise my integrity.  

 I would like to give a shout out to my fellow classmates and friends who also made it into the article! 
(see picture)
Me - De-veining Shrimp
Charles Grayauskie - Directly behind me, back facing camera, hard at work!
Kristen Casella - Looking towards the camera, across form Charles, prepping something delicious! 
Jiae Ha -  Behind Kristen, facing the East, filleting a fish!
Maurice S., M. Thorpe or Stanly Hui - All the way in the back, making something awesome! (you are all pretty much the same height, so it has to be one of you!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

I Can't Believe It's Not Bread!

"Wow!  Are you sure this is Kosher for Passover?"
Why are Passover foods known to be stale and tasteless?  
From the time Jews left Egypt, Passover  has had a reputation for producing sub-par and "Pesach tasting" food.  There is no reason why this should be the norm because recipe searchers, like myself,  have an extensive list of great "Kosher for Passover" recipes just a mouse click away.
Some of you may have realized  that I did not contribute to Kosher food blogs and websites for Passover. You may have thought I wouldn't want to waste my time posting about Passover food. However, the real reason I did not share my recipes before or during Passover was because I was just plain ol' busy cooking them!
Passover (or in hebrew Pesach) is a great time for experimenting in the kitchen.  The forbidden grains, wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt helped me get creative, improving and challenging my culinary skills. My goal was to keep it tasty, healthy and gluten free.

Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas

5 Bananas, sliced 1/2 - 1 inch thick
1 Package of Chocolate Chips
1 TBS Oil
Toppings of your choice (sprinkles, coconut, chopped nuts, white chocolate, dried fruit, etc)

In a double boiler (google a picture if you want to see what it looks like), melt chocolate chips and oil (can also be melted directly on stove top but keep a close eye on it so as not to burn).  When melted, dip sliced bananas in the chocolate and pick up with a fork by scooping under the banana and shake off excess chocolate.  Lay on parchment paper and add toppings.  Freeze the bananas overnight and enjoy!  Serve Frozen.

Orange-Almond Cake Pops
Makes 20 Pops
2 Oranges
4 Eggs
¾ C. Agave
2 C. Almonds
½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda

Wash oranges and boil them whole (peel and all) for 1 hour or until soft.  Blend 2 Cups of  almonds until it turns into a flour texture.  Remove and blend oranges till smooth.  Process in eggs, agave, almond flour, salt and baking soda until blended.  Pour into a greased 9 inch round cake pan or spring form.  Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes until center comes out clean. Take cake apart and roll into 1- 2 inch balls. 

Roasted Zucchini with Sweet and Sour Onions
Make 20 Side Servings

5 Green Zucchinis, ½ “ sliced on a bias
5 Yellow Zucchinis, ½ “ sliced on a bias
Olive Oil 
Salt
Pepper
7 Yellow Onions, sliced
2-3 TBS. Apple Cider Vinegar

Preheat oven to 400.  Coat the zucchini on both sides and roast for 15-25 minutes till the zucchini has a slight caramel color and is soft.  Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. 
In a preheated sauté pan, heat 3-4 TBS. of oil.  Add onions and cook at a medium low heat for about 30-45 minutes.  The key to caramelization is to go caramelize the onions nice and slow so the sugars in the onion can release and not burn.  When caramelized, add the vinegar, salt and pepper.
To serve, spread the caramelized onions on the bottom of a plate and layer the zucchini on top of the onion.

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Kabobs
Makes 20 or more Skewers
I really like the recipe because it takes a very minimal amount of ingredients to feed a lot of people. 

8 Chicken Breasts, cut into 2 “ pieces
3 Red Onions, cut into 8 pieces
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
1-2 Containers of Fresh Mushroom, White or Portobello, cleaned and stems removed
½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
½ Cup Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder
Wooden Skewers

Preheat oven to 350. Skewer the mushrooms, chicken, onions and cherry tomatoes.  Put in pan and pour oil and balsamic vinegar on top.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder and rotate to coat the other side in the marinade.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.  Enjoy hot or cold.  

Pictures and Ideas Worth Sharing:
Almond Chocolate Macaroons
Chocolate Cake  (Sugar and Gluten Free)
Quinoa – Broccoli Burgers   



Quinoa and Salmon Fried “Rice” (not pictured)
The Best Brisket (not pictured but recipe coming soon in another blog post)







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