Friday, December 28, 2012

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pecans

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
With Pecans

Inspire by This American Bite's Yosef Silver's recipe: Maple, Balsamic & Lemon Brussels Sprouts.  Yosef's recipe reminded me that I had a couple of pounds of Brussels spouts in the fridge that I needed to do something with.  I liked his idea of using maple, but I only had maple sugar, not maple syrup and I added some pecans for crunch.

2 lbs Brussels Sprouts Trimmed and Quartered
Olive Oil -Enough to lightly coat your sheet pan
1 Cup of Pecans
3 Tbsp of Maple Sugar
Kosher Salt and Pepper to Taste

Cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil and a thin layer of olive oil.  Put the pan in the oven and heat it to 400F.  Once the oven is up to temprature remove the pan.  Spread the Brussels sprouts out on the hot pan and sprinkle the pecans on top.  Season with the maple sugar, salt and pepper.  Roast until brussles sprouts are tender and start to brown about 10 minutes on each side.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

First Look at Soul Surfing Pizza

First Look at Soul Surfing Pizza

First Look at Soul Surfing Pizza

I went into Soul Surfing Pizza this past Saturday night with my wife.  They are in the old Malibu Pizza location, and stuck with the same decor, although it does seem to be a new owner. They are still in soft open mode, although they are open to the public.  

Two weeks prior I had taken a couple of pizzas out from there and what happy with the pizza, but was hoping they would be a little more organized by this week. It took over ten minutes before a waitress came to take our order.  Generally wait times were long, which I will chalk up to the fact that they are still working out the kinks.  At that point they did not yet have menus, so you had to try and remember the types of pizzas they have as the waitress rattled them off.  It appears as if their specialty is using all sorts of fake meats on their pizzas and in their soups. The waitress mentioned that they finally got fries but their fryer was broken. 

My wife and I both started with soups, she got the cream of potato with "bacon" and I got the Italian wedding "meatball" soup.   My wife's soup came without the bacon, which was brought later but was cold, rubbery, and was way too salty.  The potato soup itself was decent.  The wedding soup on the other hand was thin and bland and had two tiny meatballs. 

The star of this place is their pizza.  We ordered 12" 1/2 five cheese, 1/2 Hawaiian barbeque chicken, which was delicious.  The crust is wonderfully thin and crunchy, the sauces where flavorful, and the topping combinations are well thought out.  I only have a few small complaints about the pizza. When I asked what the five cheeses were on the five cheese pizza I was told by the waitress it was secret, which I think was just a cover up for the fact that she did not know.  They don't have anything smaller than 12" which is in my opinion a little large for one person, but perfect for two. Finally pizza by the slice would be nice, especially if they hope to attract families with children.  

My early assessment of Soul Surfing Pizza is that it has potential once they get their act together.  Once they have menus and work out their service issues, this could be a great new Saturday night spot.  My suggestion is give them until after the New Year to work out the kinks, bring a friend, and skip the soup, because here it is all about the pizza.  Look for a full review of this place sometime after it is no longer in a soft open mode.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Duck Fat Roasted Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes

Duck Fat Roasted Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes

Duck Fat Roasted Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes

Duck Fat Roasted Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes
2 lbs of multicolored fingerling or marble potatoes
3 tablespoons of duck fat
1 tablespoon dried or fresh rosemary
Salt to taste

Add potatoes to a pot of cold, salted water.  Cook on high until just soft enough that you can easily insert a paring knife. While the potatoes are boiling, heat a cast iron skillet in a 400 F oven.  Once the potatoes are soft, drain and set aside. Take the skillet out of the oven and add the duck fat.  It should melt almost instantly.   Add the potatoes, rosemary, and salt, and toss to coat.  Put the potatoes in the oven, and roast for 20 minutes or until the potatoes start to brown.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sufganiot (Donuts)

I am not much of a baker, but good thing my wife is.  See her guest post below:

Sufganiot (Donuts)
Guest Post by Ronit Peikes

Sufganiot, or donuts, are a classic Chanukah treat. Traditionally, sufganiot are filled with jelly, custard, caramel cream or chocolate cream. In an effort to engage the kids in a fun activity at a rainy day, I decided to embark on making homemade sufganiot with the kids. We made them smaller, more like mini donut balls, using the recipe below. The original recipe is from

Mini Donuts:
3.5 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp yeast
4 heaping Tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
6 Tbsp butter, softened
Oil for frying
**I made the donuts non-dairy, so I used soy milk in place of milk and margerine instead of butter. I also made a half recipe, as the full recipe said it would make about 45 donuts and our family of four definitely didn't need that many. A half recipe made about 22 donuts.
Mix all ingredients and set aside to rise for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, shape dough into ping-pong sized balls and allow to rise for another hour. **I found the dough to be very sticky, so we used some flour to help form the dough balls.
While dough is rising, prepare chocolate glaze: melt together 4.5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, 3/4 c rich's whip, and 1 Tbsp margerine. Set aside to cool.
Heat oil in a large pot until hot but not popping. Fry a few balls at a time for about 1 minute on each side, or until golden brown. Set aside to paper-towel lined cookie sheet to cool and then dip in toppings. I prepared three toppings options: cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, and chocolate glaze with different sprinkles to dip in afterwards.
The kids really enjoyed being involved in every part of the process except the actual frying. And they liked eating them even more!
Chanukah Sameach!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Potato and Fennel Latkes Fried in Duck Fat With Chinese Five Spice Apple Sauce

Potato and Fennel Latkes Fried in Duck Fat

With Chinese Five Spice Apple Sauce

Potato and Fennel Latkes Fried in Duck Fat

Duck fat is what I like to refer to as the “Cadillac of Schmaltz.”  In the hierarchy of fats, I am told that it ranks higher then bacon fat. (Not that I would know personally.)  It provides a richness that cannot be reproduced by other fats.  The fennel, with its strong licorice flavor, acts to balance the richness from the duck fat and give some more character to the latke.

I shred my potatoes as opposed to grinding them for a more rustic texture and look, likely because that is how my mother makes hers.


·         6 medium russet potatoes

·         3 large eggs, beaten

·         1 fennel bulb, top and bottom removed

·         1 cup all-purpose flour

·         Salt and pepper to taste

·         Duck fat for frying

Makes approximately 18 medium-sized latkes.

Peel the potatoes and shred them along with the fennel in a food processor or with a box grater.   Transfer the shredded potatoes and fennel to a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, salt, and pepper ad mix thoroughly with your hands.  Add 2 tablespoons of duck fat to your pan, and heat it over medium heat until it is hot.  Form palm-sized patties from the latke mixture and fry until golden brown on one side, and then flip and fry on the other side.  Remove from frying pan to a paper-towel lined plate to cool briefly.  Serve hot.

Chinese Five Spice Apple Sauce

For my apple sauce I modified Alton Brown’s “10 Minute Apple Sauce” recipe.   Chinese five spice powder is a spice blend consisting of cinnamon, powdered star anise and anise seed, powdered ginger and ground cloves.  The anise compliments the fennel in the latkes.

  • 2 Michigan Red, 2 Granny Smith, and 2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled cored, and quartered (Original recipe called for 3 Golden Delicious apples and 3 Fuji Apples but I like a little more variety)
  • 1 cup apple juice (Original recipe called for unfiltered apple juice but I used what I had in the house)
  • 2 tablespoons rum (Original recipe called for cognac or brandy, but again I used what I had in the house)
  • 2 tablespoons margarine (Original recipe called for butter, but I needed to keep it non-dairy)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder (Original recipe called for ground cinnamon but I wanted something with a little more character)

This recipe is super simple.  Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe container, cover loosely, and microwave on high until the apples are soft, about 10 minutes (Your microwave may vary).  Then using an immersion blender, sometimes known as a stick blender, puree until desired consistency. 

Makes about 6 cups, depending on the size of your apples.
Related Post: A Trio of Latkes

Stop by the other blogs and check out these Chanukah Themed Recipes:

Jamie from Joy of Kosher made Zucchini Latkes with Tzatziki
Daniel from Peikes Cookbook made Potato and Fennel Latkes Fried in Duck Fat With Chinese Five Spice Apple Sauce

Susan from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen made Squash and Potato Latkes

Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen made Ruby Red Beet Latkes with Cumin

Nechamah from TIforOA Food Ideas made Healthy Oatmeal Latkes
Liz from The Lemon Bowl made Traditional Potato Latkes
Yosef from This American Bite made Latkes & Brisket on Rye
Melanie from From Fast Food to Fresh Food made (I Can't Believe They're Crispy!) Baked Latkes
Laura from Mother Would Know made Three Variations of Sweet and Savory Latkes
Sarah from Crispy Bits and Burnt Ends made Kimchee Latkes
Shulie from Food Wanderings made Baked Panko Sweet Potato Leek Latkes

Donuts and Desserts:
Miriam from Overtime Cook made Shortcut Cannoli with Chocolate Mousse Filling
Leah from Cook Kosher made 5 Minute Donuts
Estee from The Kosher Scoop made Tropical Fruit Fritters
Melinda from Kitchen-Tested made Sweet Steamed Buns
Amy from What Jew Wanna Eat made Homemade Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Gelt
Avidan from Baking It Up As I Go Along made Orange Olive Oil Cake
Tali from More Quiche Please made Glazed Chocolate Donut Holes
Amital from Organized Jewish Home made Mom's Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Princess Lea from The Frumanista made Túrógombóc
Stephanie and Jessica from The Kosher Foodies made Beignets
Gigi from Gigi's Kitchen made Bunuelos: Mini Powdered Cheese Donuts
Esther from Esther O Designs made Edible Menorahs
Patti from No Bacon Here made Hanukkah Oreo Balls
Shoshana from Couldn't Be Parve made Churros con Chocolate
Shaindy from My Happily Hectic Life made Inside Out Apple Crisp
Eve from Gluten Free Nosh made Gluten-Free Hanukkah Sugar Cookies
The Gluten Free maven made Gluten Free Vegan Cake Donuts
Amy from Baking and Mistaking made Mini Cream-Filled French Beignets
Sarah from Food, Words, Photos made Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Victoria from Itsy Bitsy Balebusta made Pure Vanilla Donuts
Vicky and Ruth from May I Have That Recipe made Dulce de Leche and Eggnog cream filled mini sufganiot
Dena from Oh You Cook made Poached Pears in Pomegranate Sauce
Michele from Kosher Treif Cooking made Tiramisu Cheessecake
Sharon from FashionIsha made Sparkly Chanukah Cookies

Appetizers, Soups, Sauces, Drinks and other Hanukkah Food:
Laura from Pragmatic Attic made Caramel Spice Applesauce
Jessie from Bread and Butter made Honey Spiced Hanukkah Martini
G6 from Guess Who's Coming 2 Dinner made Sweet Potato Leek Soup
Claire from I Love Soup made Sweet Potato, Coconut & Lemongrass Soup
Jennifer from Juanita's Cocina made Kugel
Liz from Kosher Like Me made Ready, Stuff Roll!
Shelley from The Kosher Home made Hanukkah Crafts and Printables

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thank You!!! We have hit 12,000 hits lifetime.

I just want to take a minute to thank my readers.  When I started this blog, I did not know if anyone would ever read it.  As of today I have over 12,000 hits.  This blog would not matter without you guys.  Please let me know how I can improve this blog.  What do you want to see more of? What do you want to see less of?  Feel free to be brutally honest.  In return I ask one thing, please share this blog with your friends, via Facebook, Twitter, other social media outlets, and word of mouth.  I have big plans for my humble little blog, but I cannot do it without you guys.  Please feel free to sign up for updates via email or subscribe to the blog, and please comment on posts.  I love to hear from you guys.

Daniel Peikes

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Disappointing Pizza and Service at EJs

I was at EJ's Pizzeria in Skokie tonight.  I ordered a mushroom, pepper, and onion slice.  They took an existing mushroom slice, warmed it up and then added the peppers and onions on it afterwards.  The peppers and onions were still completely raw and not integrated with the cheese at all.  When I showed it to the girl who was helping me behind the counter, the response I got was "I'm not the one who made it."  
Seriously, take pride in your product and learn how to speak to your customers!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Full Review of Hamachi Sushi Bar

Full Review of Hamachi Sushi Bar

Hamachi is the newest kosher restaurant in Chicago. It is a fairly small restaurant with about 5 tables and another 5 or so seats at the sushi bar. The restaurant has a sleek modern Asian look with a lot of solid red and black.

They offer a full range of kosher sushi options from basic vegetable rolls to complex rolls with multiple types of fish topped with multiple sauces. It looked as if there was only one waitress and no bus boys, but it was not too busy when we got there so she took our order almost immediately.

I started with the miso soup and shared an order of edema-me with my wife, both of which seemed on the bland side. The water seemed a bit tepid like it had just come out of the tap and there was no ice. For the main course I ordered their "Blue Man Group" and "Rainbow" rolls, while my wife had the "Sweet 2" and the "Sake Goma Tempura." The sushi tasted decent but their rolling technique could be a bit better. I had a few pieces fall apart on me when I picked them up.

I did have to ask for more water, the soup and edema-me were slow to come out, and people who ordered after us received their food before we did.

The prices seemed reasonable for what was being offered, comparable to Shallots, and maybe a dollar or two cheaper per roll. I generally find that higher end kosher sushi places suffer from a severe case of gilding the lily, in that they over complicate their signature rolls, and Hamachi is no exception.

On a scale from 1-10:

Food: 7

Service: 5

Ambiance: 8

Overall: 7

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Roasted Eggplant With Crushed Tomato

Roasted Eggplant With Crushed Tomato
Roasted Eggplant With Crushed Tomato
7-1/4 inch Eggplant Rounds
1/4 Cup Crushed Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Italian Seasoning
Red Pepper Flake
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Spread the eggplant rounds on a sheet pan drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350F until browned on both sides.  Plate in a circle with one round in the middle.  Top the middle round with the crushed tomatoes.  Season the dish with Italian seasoning, red pepper flake and Parmesan cheese to taste.
Leave out the cheese and this is vegan, gluten free, an paleo friendly.

Why I Love Mexikosher

Why I Love Mexikosher
For those of you who don't know what Mexikosher is, it is a kosher Mexican restaurant run by a half Mexican, half Japanese chef.  They make pretty much everything, with the exception of their tortillas, from scratch.  I am no expert, but to me it seemed just about as authentic as you can get for Mexican food this side of the Rio Grande.  I had the privilege of eating at this fine establishment back in March on a trip to Los Angeles.  Their food was so fresh, and the flavors were vibrant.  The chef took the time to talk to me about all of their offerings.  They have real daily specials like braised goat and burgers made from home ground chuck, beef bacon, short rib, and brisket.  In a move to expand they just announced that will have a food truck rolling soon.  They also are big on giving back.  Today they gave away a taco to everyone who voted.  Last week if you brought a boarding pass to prove you were stuck in LA due to Hurricane Sandy they fed you you for free.  Chicago kosher restaurants take note!!

There address is:
8832 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035

Phone Number:310-271-0900

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Mexican" Pizza

"Mexican" Pizza

Mexican Pizza

I rolled out some pizza dough and topped it with salsa, mozzarella, although you could use a more authentic Mexican cheese, jalapenos, and red onion. This is a great way to spice up pizza night!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kosher Restaurant Update: Milt's Barbeque for the Perplexed in Lakeview

I hear from an inside source that the new kosher resaurant in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago Milt's will likely be opening in early December.  They will be doing authentic kosher barbeque.  By that I mean they are actually planning on smoking their meat.  Their plan is to make everything from scratch in house, including their homemade pickles.
Their website is although there is not much on it yet.
Their facebook page is:
Their address according to their Facebook page is:
3411 N. Broadway
Chicago, Illinois 60657

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Buns
Cinnamon Buns

I took the recipe that came with my bread maker for danish rolls and modified it slightly to make some non-dairy (parev) cinnamon buns.

Cinnamon Buns
Makes about a dozen

For the dough:
2 1/8 cup bread flour
1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1 stick of margarine
3/4 cup of apple juice
1 egg
2 tsp of active dry yeast
1 tbsp of vanilla
2 tbsp of good cinnamon

For the dough put all the ingredients in my bread maker on "dough" mode and let it do its magic.
After the bread maker is done put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour up to over night.

For the filling:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup of roughly chopped nuts(I used candied walnuts because I had them in the house, but I think pecans are traditional)
2 tbsp of good cinnamon
1/4 cup of raising(optional)

Then roll the dough out to a 12"X16" rectangle.  Mix all the ingredients for the filling and spread evenly across the dough.  Roll the dough from the shorter side. Slice into 12 even pieces.  Place the cinnamon rolls on a greased cookie sheet, being careful not over crowd them.  If you would like you can brush some egg wash on them at this point.  Let the cinnamon rolls rise in the warmest part of your kitchen for half an hour.

Bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown and delicious.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cooking with Color: Four Color Roasted Cauliflower Medley

Cooking with Color: Four Color Roasted Cauliflower Medley
Four Color Roasted Cauliflower Medley

I love cooking with color.  Never forget we eat with our eyes before we ever taste food and colorful food looks more appetizing.  Also, while I am not a doctor or nutritionist, my understanding is colorful food has more vitamins and minerals.  That being said you can imagine how excited I was when I found four different colors of cauliflower at my local fruit store. (Note: I almost never buy produce at a grocery store. You will usually find higher quality produce and better variety at a lower price at your local fruit store. And now back to our regular  scheduled program.)  I love roasted cauliflower.  It has a nutty flavor and it is nice and filling without being to high in calories.  It is super easy:

Four Color Roasted Cauliflower Medley
1/4 head each of white, yellow, green, and purple cauliflower
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper taste

Toss the cauliflower in the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper.  Spread out the cauliflower on a sheet pan and bake at 425F until starts to brown, making sure to flip it about half way through.  If you want to kick it up another level sprinkle some hot curry powder or red pepper flake before you bake to heat things up. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Let's Talk About Shnitzel

Let's talk about the schnitzel, specifically chicken schnitzel.  This a staple dish on most Sabbath tables.  This apparently simple simple dish is really a minefield.

1. Breading technique:  You need to go with the standard 3 step breading process.  First flour lightly, then coat in egg, then a light breading.  Make sure both the breading and the flour are well seasoned.  Don't be afraid to make your breading interesting, plain bread crumbs are boring.  See my recipe at the end of the post.

2. Shape and size:  Your pieces should be uniform in shape and size, and not too thick.  This ensures even cooking of all pieces.  If your pieces are too thick the breading will burn before you chicken finishes cooking.

3. Don't be  afraid to fry:  I find baked schnitzel dry and tasteless.  Use a good amount of vegetable oil and make sure it is up to temperature.  I use medium heat but it may vary based on the stove you are using.  If you find your breading is getting too dark before the chicken is cooked though either adjust you temperature down or finish your schnitzel in the oven.

 Breading Recipe:
For 2-3 packs of boneless skinless chicken breast
3/4 of a box of panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
3/4 cups of French's Onions
2 Tblsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of black pepper
1 Tbsp of salt
1 Tbsp of paprika 

Other things you could add: Cereal(Crispix, Chex, Corn Flakes), Coconut, Potato Flakes (if you want to go gluten free or kosher for Passover)

One last note, dipping sauces can really jazz up you schnitzel.  Some options are, spicy Buffalo wing, honey garlic, honey mustard, BBQ, and Teriyaki. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dressing Up Hot dog Night: Sausage and Peppers

Dressing Up Hot dog Night: Sausage and Peppers

Sausage and Peppers
Serves 4 Adults
8 Good Quality Italian or Polish Sausages Sliced Into Rounds
2 Large Onions Sliced 
2 Large Green Bell Peppers Sliced Thin

Throw it all into a cast iron skillet over high heat until onions start to brown.  Serve as is or in a sub roll.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini with Spinach and Feta 
Stuffed Yellow Squash with Sauteed Vegetables and Goat Cheese

3 Medium Zucchini
3 Medium Yellow Squash
6 Large handfuls of stemmed and chopped baby spinach
1 Large Onion Diced
1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
1 Green Bell Pepper Diced
6 Large Chopped Mushrooms
Goat Cheese
Feta Cheese
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and Pepper
Bread Crumbs (optional)

Cut the zucchini and squash in half both length and width wise and scrape out the seeds leaving the ends intact, creating little boats.

Sauté half the onion, the peppers, and mushrooms until soft and season with salt and pepper. Mix goat cheese, fill the yellow squash, and top with bread crumbs if desired.  Bake at 350 until the squash is soft but not mushy.

Sauté the other half of the onion and the spinach until the onions are translucent. Mix with feta, fill the zucchini, and top with bread crumbs if desired.  Bake at 350 until the zucchini is soft but not mushy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stuffed cabbage

Stuffed cabbage is one of those dishes that warms you all the way down to your bones on a cold day.  I have fond memories of enjoying this dish in my parents sukkah with friends and family.  I have to admit that this is the kind of recipe that I never measure out the ingredients.  I provide approximate measurements here but you many need to adjust it.  I think that this approach is appropriate for this recipe, as it is less able technique and more about love. 

1 Small head of green cabbage

3 large cans of tomato sauce
1 cup duck sauce
1/4 cup of honey
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 cup of Heinz Ketchup
Black pepper to taste
1 Bottle of Pomegranate Juice (optional)

2lbs of ground beef
1 cup of instant rice
Garlic powder to taste
Onion powder to taste
2 large eggs

About 5 days before you plan to make your stuffed cabbage freeze the head of cabbage, then take it out to thaw about 24 hours before you are ready to start. 

In a large heavy pot combine the tomato sauce, duck sauce, honey, brown sugar, ketchup, and black pepper and put over medium low heat.  For Rosh Hashana I also add pomegranate juice.

Combine the ground beef, rice, garlic powder, onion powder, and eggs thoroughly with your hand.  Stuff the meat mixture into the cabbage as pictured above.  Add the cabbage rolls into the sauce and simmer on low for about 3 hours.