Tomato, cheese & caramelized onion quesadillas

By | July 8, 2014

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With all of the rockets being fired at Israel right now, it feels awfully inane to publish a post on quesadillas (or just about anything, really). To everyone living in areas under fire, we are davening for you and hoping you are okay. And to every member of the IDF: Thank you.

About the quesadillas.

This is one of our favorite dinners, no question. First of all, when you have the right combination of fillings and toppings, they’re just so fantastically good (our toddler agrees). But that isn’t enough for me to really love a meal. It also has to be easy on the prep, short on the cooking time, and easy on the cleanup. Maybe I have high expectations, but look — if it takes me too much time to work through a dinner recipe, I’m probably not going to use that recipe again for a long time. And by long I mean long.

Caramelized onions are definitely not a quick thing to make, since it’s the slow cooking process that deepens their flavor, but because you can make them ahead and freeze, they feel fast to me. Well, not the day I caramelize, but all the days after that, when I magically pop little nuggets of incredible flavor out of the freezer.

Cooking with two kids under 2 can sometimes feel impossible, but you know what? If cranking out dinner is as easy as filling a tortilla wrap, browning it on the stove, and taking a bite … I can totally do this.

Menu Plan: Week of July 6, 2014

By | July 6, 2014

I go through freezer-obsessed phases and ignoring-my-freezer phases, and these days it’s the first one. It occurred to me that if I can tuck something away in the freezer twice a week, then after three weeks, I’ll have six somethings to make week #4 super easy. How great would it be to defrost (homemade, healthy, yummy) dinners every night for a full week, instead of cooking something new every day? I’m almost giddy just thinking about it.

Doubling dinner and freezing half during weeks 1-3 is just one way to go. Making an extra batch of breakfast muffins or granola bars would get me ahead, too. And really, even prepping and freezing individual ingredients (like cooked beans and tomato sauce and pumpkin puree and caramelized onions) would streamline things later. This week, my plan is to freeze half of Tuesday’s pea soup (that recipe makes a seriously massive amount) and double Wednesday’s pashtida. But my first goal should probably be to put away the Shabbos dishes…harder than it sounds.

{No-bake} Coconut caramel biscuit cake

By | July 3, 2014

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This recipe first appeared in the March 31, 2014 edition of “From Tali’s Kitchen,” my cooking column in Binah magazine.

The heat has been kind of extreme around here. Friday, Shabbos, and Sunday were 39 C (that’s 102 F), and it hasn’t been too much cooler since then. Oddly enough, until maybe a month ago, I hadn’t checked the weather forecast since I made aliyah. Can’t figure out why this took me four years.

The point is, though, that it’s hot, and when going outside for five minutes is enough to leave you sweaty for the rest of the day (no? just me?), the best recipes are no-bakes. I developed this no-bake biscuit cake for an edition of my Binah column that printed right after Pesach. You could totally make it in the spring (and maybe some of you did), but it’s even better in the thick of the summer.

The concept comes from the popular Israeli dessert called “ugat biskvitim,” which is made from layers of cream and those ubiquitous tea biscuits. The finishing touch is a topping of melted or shaved chocolate.

For my spin on the classic, the cream is laced with coconut milk and caramel pudding mix, and the cake gets topped with shredded coconut and an easy caramel sauce drizzle. If coconut and caramel aren’t your thing, you can easily switch up the flavors. Any kind of no-bake cake is a winner in July.

Hashem yikom damam

By | June 30, 2014

I was getting ready to finish up tomorrow’s post when my husband came home from maariv and told me that the kidnapped boys’ bodies were found. I don’t have the heart to put up a recipe right now, not when the parents of Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal just found out that their sons were murdered.

Baruch dayan emet. Hashem yikom damam.