Celebration of love – 60 years strong!

This weekend was a special occasion…Noah’s grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary! We were lucky enough to get to go to Vermont to celebrate the day with them. And it was a celebration indeed! The festivities focused around a wonderful dinner.

The main event was a grilled trout that was stuffed with herbs and scallions and marinated for about an hour (we speculated that longer marination might have resulted in an even stronger flavor):

IMG_2340

The fish was a bit startling to look at – (EYEBALLS!) – but the yummy smells got going as soon as the fish was cooking. Getting the fish on the grill required a somewhat involved process of moving the fish from the pan to the grill without letting all the herbs and such from the inside spill out:

IMG_2343 IMG_2346 IMG_2342

Success!

IMG_8361

Meanwhile, the indoor preparations were also underway: setting the table, preparing a cucumber/radish/yogurt dressing side dish, and cooking a “salad” of sauteed peppers and green beans over lettuce:

IMG_8362 IMG_8365 IMG_8364

Soon enough, the fish was done!

IMG_8363

Everything was delicious, and it was really nice to see three generations of the family there!

The happy family – 60 years strong!

IMG_8371

Plus, there was lemon cake with passionfruit filling for dessert so…who could ever complain? 🙂

IMG_2348

IMG_8374IMG_2355

❤ ❤ ❤

Advertisements

Desserts from around the web

I’ve gotten into the habit of bringing dessert to Shabbat meals. This has served as a perfect excuse to make several of the dessert recipes that have been sitting on my ‘sweet things’ Pinterest board for days months years. It’s problematic to make an entire pan of brownies or a cake for myself, so Shabbat is the perfect opportunity to make a mouth-watering dish of sugar-chocolate-sweet-love (take your pick).

Here are a few highlights of desserts made in the last month. I didn’t make up any of the recipes, so I just link directly back to the original recipe source.

I made this flourless chocolate cake from Satisfying Eats. I had a slight mishap because I accidentally bought a can of straight coconut cream as opposed to canned coconut milk, so I had to dilute the cream with water to make it more milky…nonetheless it came out well.

IMG_5719

It may have been my cooking errors, but this wasn’t a cake that held together (don’t expect to eat it with your fingers!). I served it warm and gooey, eaten with spoons. This would be absolutely divine with some vanilla ice cream!

Next up were applesauce brownies from Something Swanky. Although they are advertised as healthy, they do not have ANY of that these-are-brownies-but-taste-sort-of-like-health-food thing going on. They are rich and dense and seriously delicious.

IMG_5718

I made two pans: one topped with chocolate chips and one topped with walnuts. This was my contribution to last week’s Thanksgiving meal. 🙂

While both of the previous two desserts were quite good, this next one is a whole other level. This is a gooey pumpkin spice latte chocolate pudding cake from Oh She Glows. Seriously, the name says it all. This cake is made in an unusual way; You make the batter, pour it into the pan, and then dump some hot coffee on top of it. It will look like something has gone terribly wrong and this will never be anything that tastes good:

IMG_5709

But, somehow, a miracle will occur when you put it into the oven and it will turn into this:

IMG_5714

In my opinion, this recipe was TOP NOTCH. For anyone who likes chocolate or pumpkin or things-that-taste-good, I suggest cooking this ASAP.

And, finally, the biggest crowd-pleaser I made were these oatmeal chocolate chip cheesecake bars from Lovely Little Kitchen. They were a bit labor intensive to make because there were a lot of layers (crust, cheesecake, chocolate topping), but overall it was totally worth it.

IMG_5706 IMG_5707 IMG_5713

These bars were a HUGE hit. In fact, several people have mentioned them to me again since that meal. So, if you are looking for something that will make people happy, I would suggest this recipe as a good candidate.

And one last food shot of what I’m baking right now….

IMG_5759

No desserts in the oven for this Shabbat, just some good old-fashioned challah. 🙂

 

Avocado Chocolate Cake

Kashrut is a Hebrew word meaning ‘fit’ or ‘proper.’ Although it has several applications in Jewish law, kashrut is most often spoken about in relationship to food and the Jewish dietary laws. To explain the entire system of dietary laws here is a much larger undertaking than I am interested in, so I will VERY briefly sum up the highlights: no pork, no shellfish, no mixing of meat and dairy , and no eating dairy after meat for 1, 3, or 6 hours (depending on who you ask). Due to the prohibition against eating meat and dairy together, traditional Jewish meals are classified as either halavi (dairy) or basari (meat). Restaurants in Israel serve EITHER dairy dishes OR meat dishes, and meals within homes are also given the same classification. Therefore, after being invited to a Shabbat meal and being asked to bring dessert, my first question was, “Is it a meat meal or a dairy meal.” The answer, “Meat.”

No. That does not mean I would be making a dessert with meat in it. It does, however, mean that the dessert cannot contain any dairy products – milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, and other creamy things that often find their way into the end-of-meal deliciousness.

Fear not, dessert lovers, because there is a solution! It’s BIG. It’s green. It’s still creamy:

avocado21

Yes. The avocado is the magical replacement ingredient for dairy. While others may be bringing margarine-laden delicacies to Shabbat meals, I am powering my meat-meal dessert with the fatty avocado (a good kind of fat, if you’re interested!).

I decided that I wanted to make a chocolate avocado cake, loosely based on this recipe*see the full recipe for my cake below

First, mix together the dry ingredients of whole wheat flour, white flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda:

IMG_4846

In a separate bowl, mix together melted coconut oil, water, apple cider vinegar, 1 mashed avocado, and white and brown sugar. This will quite possibly look gross. In fact, the one in my kitchen looked quite gross, hence my artistic decision not to include a photograph of this particular step. Don’t worry though, it will still taste great!

After you mix the wet ingredients (as listed above), combine them with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly:

IMG_4847 IMG_4848

Pour the batter into a large pan (two small pans would be preferable  – I just didn’t have) and cook for 45 minutes at 350º.

IMG_4852

When the cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool for about 30 minutes. While you’re waiting…make the frosting!

Combine two cups powdered sugar with cocoa powder and cinnamon:

IMG_4850

Add (another) mashed avocado to the mix and stir until the frosting takes on an even consistency:

IMG_4851

Once the cake sufficiently cools, you can layer and frost it! Since I had only the large pan to cook in, I ended up cutting the cake in half and making layers that way. If you have two pans, I have no doubt that would be much easier!

Full cake (with avocado flecks – don’t be scared of the green!):

IMG_4853

Half cake (otherwise known as the first layer):

IMG_4854

Frosting and layers:

IMG_4855 IMG_4856 IMG_4857

Yummmmm

IMG_4858

Tell your guests that the green bits are actually delicious. And that it’s healthy. And no one will care. Or, just get a food processor. 😉

Ingredients
For the cake:
- 4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups white flour
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 3/4cups water
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 ripe avocado, mashed
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
For the frosting:
- 1 ripe avocado, mashed
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
 Method
 - for the cake, combine cocoa powder, flours, cinnamon, baking 
powder, and baking soda in a large bowl
- separately, combine coconut oil, water, apple cider vinegar, 
mashed avocado, and sugars
- add the wet ingredients to the dry, transfer to a pan and cook
for 45 minutes at 350º
 - as cake cooks, make frosting by combining all ingredients
and stirring thoroughly until smooth
- allow cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before frosting

Halva Banana Cake

Today was my first baking experiment in Israel! I think it went pretty well. 🙂

I bought some halva (a Middle Eastern dessert/candy made out of sesame and honey, often sold in large bricks) earlier in the week, and quickly realized that it would be an incredible feat to eat the whole amount of halva straight.

IMG_4801

So…I decided to incorporate it into a baked good! The result: halva banana cake! *full recipe below

First, I mixed together 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup white flour, a scant 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon:

IMG_4795

Next, in a separate bowl, I mashed 3 small bananas:

IMG_4796 IMG_4797

With the bananas, I mixed two eggs, 1/3 cup applesauce, 1/3 cup greek yogurt, and 1 tsp. baking soda:

IMG_4799

I combined the wet ingredients with the dry ones:

IMG_4800

And then added 3/4 cup crumbled halva to the batter:

IMG_4802

Once the halva was stirred in, I poured the batter into a buttered cake pan and added another 3/4 cup of crumbled halva on top:

IMG_4803 IMG_4804

I baked for 40 minutes at 350º and…

photo (13)

YUM YUM YUM! The little hole is from where I put the knife in to test it before it was quite done…

Ingredients

 - 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

 - 1/4 cup white flour

 - scant 1/2 cup sugar

 - 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

 - 3 small mashed bananas

 - 2 eggs

 - 1/3 cup applesauce

 - 1/3 cup greek yogurt

 - 1 tsp. baking soda

 - 1 1/2 cups halva

 Method

 - Combine flours, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and
stir to combine

 - Combine bananas, eggs, applesauce, greek yogurt, and
baking soda in a bowl
 and stir thoroughly

 - Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and
stir to combine

 - Stir into the batter 3/4 cup crumbled halva

 - Pour batter into a buttered cake pan

 - Sprinkle another 3/4 cup of crumbled halva on top

 - Bake for 30 minutes at 350º F (175º C - useful temperature
conversion for my Israeli oven!)