Psssst! Did you enter the giveaway for Dairy Made Easy? Contest closes at midnight EST on Wednesday, August 20, so get your entry in now!
September may be on its way, and it may be back-to-school month, but in my house, no one’s going to school this year. I haven’t been a student since I graduated from the University of Maryland in 2008, my husband is finishing his master’s program now, and both of our kids are at home. So school supplies and packed lunches aren’t at all on my radar.
But I suspect that isn’t the case for most of you. You’re probably gearing up to start packing lunches for your kids or your spouse or yourself, and wondering just how far PB&J can take you. If you’re ready to try something new — something really delicious but still easy to whip up — this roasted pepper cream cheese is perfect. It’s exactly what it sounds like: roasted peppers blended into cream cheese, and even for people who don’t especially love peppers (me), this stuff tastes wonderful. It sounds crazy, but the flavor isn’t overly pepper-ish. It’s just good.
Scroll all the way down to check out what the rest of the Kosher Connection made for lunch!
More lunchbox items:
- Quinoa corn patties, tuna rice patties, homemade corn schnitzel
- Homemade cheese crackers, homemade wheat thins
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Carrot raisin quick bread
- Peanut butter granola bars
- Carrot spice muffins, white chocolate chip craisin muffins, apple crumb top muffins, butternut squash muffins
And a quick trip down memory lane:
- One year ago: Cabbage kohlrabi slaw (I’ve made this SO many times)
- Two years ago: Mustard-roasted potatoes
- Three years ago: Black & white chocolate chip cookies
Yield: About 2 cups
- 1 cup cream cheese
- 2 red pepeprs
- 1 orange pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- Olive oil, to brush on peppers
1. Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 F/200 C. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and brush with olive oil to lightly grease.
2. Wash and dry peppers. Slice them in half, remove the seeds and pith (you know, that white stuff), and place them on the prepared tray. Brush with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes, or until the skins are really shriveled and starting to blacken. Using tongs, immediately transfer peppers to a glass dish and cover. Let them sit like that for 20 minutes. This will make it easier to peel the skin off.
3. Uncover the dish and let the peppers cool completely (so they don’t “melt” the cream cheese in the next step). Peel off and discard the skins.
4. Fit a food processor with the knife blade. Add peppers and cream cheese to the processor and blend until the peppers are finely chopped and everything is combined. Perfect as a sandwich spread or a dip for crackers and veggie sticks.
As a vegetarian, my use of any cookbook is usually limited. Not terribly limited (though it obviously depends on the book), but I clearly have to skip the chicken and meat chapters, as well as any meaty soups and salads and sides. That’s why a book like this one, where every single recipe is dairy, makes me especially excited. This is borderline weird, but I totally get a rush from the idea that I could make every last thing in a cookbook.
Scroll down to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Dairy Made Easy!
Dairy Made Easy came out in May, and it’s the fourth title in the Made Easy series (the others are Passover Made Easy, Starters & Sides Made Easy, and Kids Cooking Made Easy). The fun, spunky design is super inviting, and the 60+ recipes are presented in an appealing and doable way. This book includes a couple of extras, too: a cheese guide, “make it light” suggestions to reduce the calories in 19 of the recipes, and “make it pareve” ideas for 20 of the recipes.
Chapters include: breakfast; starters and sides; soups, salads, and sandwiches; pizza; pasta; and desserts.
The writing is clear and to the point, no wordiness getting in the way. Although I tend to like lots of details in recipe directions, it’s important not to clutter them up, and Leah and Victoria do a good job of making their recipes readable and usable.
The photography is excellent. Each dish is accompanied by an eye-catching photo; there are a variety of angles and the styling is beautiful. Plus, just like with the other books in this series, there are lots of behind-the-scenes tips to help the reader replicate the dish exactly as shown (toppers, garnishes, presentation, etc.).
One minor issue I had was that two of the cheeses included in the cheese guide are not pictured on those pages (surely they could have found them somewhere?). On a similar note, it struck me as strange that some of the cheeses in the guide are not included anywhere in the book’s recipes.
Recipes I’ve tried from this book:
Some recipes I can’t wait to try:
- Grilled cheese toast salad
- Eggplant parmesan wraps
- Avocado and basil pasta salad
- Tres leches cake
Who would enjoy this book?
A book like this is a real treat for vegetarians or anyone who just loves dairy cooking. Even if you only make milchigs occasionally, Dairy Made Easy will give you lots of great dishes to try whenever the dairy stars next align. The variety in the book will give you recipes for special occassions like Shavuos and dairy sheva brachot, as well as ordinary days when you just need a quick meal.
For those of you with dairy allergies, this isn’t really your giveaway, huh? But you can always enter and gift the prize to someone else…
Speaking of which:
Who wants to win?
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post that answers this question: What dairy dish did you most recently cook? (Anything counts.) Limit one entry per person.
Bonus (optional) entry: Subscribe to More Quiche, Please and then leave a separate comment on this post telling me that you did. (If you leave a single comment answering the question above and saying that you subscribed, I will have to count it as one entry only.) Limit one bonus entry per person.
To subscribe, just click the link under the words “subscribe to More Quiche, Please” that can be found on the upper right side of any page on the blog (and then follow the directions that come up on the screen). If you already subscribe, just leave a separate comment to let me know.
The giveaway ends at midnight EST on Wednesday, August 20. One winner will be chosen via random.org and notified by email. If you’re related to me, I’m sorry, but you are not eligible for this contest. Come for dinner instead! The cookbook prize can be shipped anywhere in the United States.
If you just want to buy the book, you can do that right here on Amazon. If you buy it through that link or any of the other Amazon links in this post, a (very) small portion of your purchase supports More Quiche, Please. Thank you!
This is the second recipe I’m testing and reviewing from Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek’s cookbook, Dairy Made Easy. (If you missed it, check out my review of the homemade ricotta cheese, which by the way, has really grown on me since that post went up; I’ve added some comments there.) Come back soon for a book review and giveaway!
This recipe was one of the first in Dairy Made Easy to catch my attention. I’ve always been a huge fan of french onion soup, and the idea to add mushrooms sounded so spot-on.
Usually, when I do a recipe review post, I stick to the original almost entirely. Here, though, I have to tell you that I changed a whole bunch of things. Just couldn’t help myself!
* I doubled the vegetable amounts. I felt like I shouldn’t change the basic makeup of the soup, but 1 onion and 1 (8-ounce) carton of mushrooms just did not sound like enough for 6 cups of liquid.
* I used water + wine instead of stock. I still haven’t tried making my own stock, and I’ve given up consomme powder for good, so I used wine to add depth and flavor to the soup. (It was a good call.)
* I didn’t add croutons to the pot; instead I added them to our bowls when we were ready to eat. This recipe was intended to be an easy version of the classic french onion soup; it tells you to put all the croutons and cheese in the pot, simmer for 10 minutes to melt the cheese, and then serve. That does sound easier than topping individual crocks of soup with bread and cheese, then broiling them in the oven before serving, but I know that after 10 minutes in a pot of soup, the croutons would be way too soggy for me to enjoy.
* I used shredded, not sliced, cheese. The recipe calls for sliced cheese and says that some drops into the soup and some stays at the top, which all sounded great. Buuuuuuuuuut I used shredded instead because it’s what I always have around, and since I only added the croutons at the last minute, there was nothing to hold the cheese up. The sad result was that it basically disintegrated. Next time, I would add both the cheese and croutons at the table.
While I wasn’t into the time-saving part of this recipe, I really liked the addition of mushrooms in this soup, and I can see using that idea in the future. If you’re a fan of the classic french onion flavor, definitely try this updated version.
Recipe at a glance:
Accessible ingredients? Yep. Nothing hard to find here.
Multiple steps required? If you start with caramelized onion cubes, this goes really quickly. But even if you don’t, it isn’t hard.
Left with lots of dirty dishes? Nope, totally reasonable.
Taste worth the effort? Yes, because it tasted great and didn’t require much effort.
Make again? I’d put mushrooms in my french onion soup again, but it wouldn’t necessarily be this recipe.
- One year ago: Ratatouille
- Two years ago: Magically shrinking roasted carrots
- Three years ago: Baked cheesy vegetable crocks
Adapted quite a bit from Dairy Made Easy
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 small baguette
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Salt to taste
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 6 cubes caramelized onions or 2 large onions, sliced thinly
- 16 oz mushrooms, sliced (Israel: 2 cartons mushrooms)
- 4½ cups water
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Position an oven rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat to 400 F/200 C. Slice the baguette into 1-inch cubes and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toast until brown and crisp (about 10 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, melt the butter over low heat. If using caramelized onion cubes: Add onion cubes and mushrooms and saute 7 minutes. If using regular ol’ onions: Saute onions until golden (Dairy Made Easy says 10-12 minutes, but you may need longer than that), then add mushrooms and saute another 7 minutes.
3. Add water and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, then stir in the milk and salt.
4. Choose your own ending: Either (a) add the croutons and cheese to the soup, simmer for 10 minutes, and serve; or (b) for a crunchier crouton experience, add a handful of croutons and cheese to each bowl right before eating.
This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something on Amazon through these links — anything, not just what I link to in this post — a (very) small portion of your purchase helps support More Quiche, Please. Thank you!
If More Quiche, Please was a boy, I’d be making an upsherin today. Yep, my baby blog is three!
Three years, 491 posts, endless hours of cooking and baking and testing and re-testing and photographing and editing and finally clicking “publish.” I’ve loved each of these three years and I’m still blown away by the fact that people other than my husband and my mother read my stuff. A lot of people, apparently — and I really do appreciate each of you. Your comments have encouraged me and your questions have pushed me to learn more and to keep tweaking recipes even when I thought they were complete. Thank you so much to all of you for making this blogging thing so much fun to do.
Since I’m a big believer in transparency, here’s how year three looked in numbers:
- Total visits: 118,500 (up from 78,000 in year 2)
- Page views: 219,000 (up from 165,000 in year 2)
- Highest traffic day: September 15, 2013 (more than 1,500 of you came for my roundup of 46 pareve soups, sides, and salads for Succos)
- Most popular recipe posts: Matzah mac & cheese, zucchini kugel, crispy crunchy onion rings, sweet cheese blintzes (for Pesach), eggplant parmesan stacks, utterly perfect potato kugel, and tuna rice patties
Looking back through my posts during this third year, I can’t help but remember what was going on in my life as I was working on the recipes:
* I tested this recipe and then this one so many times that it seemed we ate nothing else for weeks … but oh wait, I did that with this one, too. My toddler was such a good sport about those matzah balls.
* On the other hand, there are also the dishes that come out perfectly the first time, like this and this. Also these guys — I made them on a whim one afternoon and put them on the blog just a few hours later.
* The photos tell their own stories. I hated the original photos of this recipe so much that I went back outside and did a completely new photo shoot. I allowed myself to move on with the day afterward.
* Sometimes I can’t devote that kind of time to a photo, though. I think I spent a total of three minutes on this one, and that was at 7 p.m. when the house was a wreck and both kids were around.
But guys, I have to tell you about these cheese crackers!
If I hadn’t recently made a quadruple batch of wheat thins for our daughter’s kiddush, I don’t think I would have attempted these. Homemade crackers? Who has time for these things, right? But (1) I love cheese crackers and (2) my son apparently has a deep, deep love for homemade crackers which means I can use them as bribes to get him to eat the rest of a meal.
Still, though, loving cheese crackers and having bribes around is not enough of a reason for me to make a fussy recipe. So I easy-ified it. I made sure you could make this dough by hand, since I know most people’s food processors aren’t dairy. I tested them with regular ol’ pizza cheese, so you don’t have to go running out to the store for a special variety. I tried rolling the dough on parchment paper — so easy! — and I slid the paper straight onto a baking sheet so that you, I, and good people everywhere could avoid transferring a million crackers from table to tray.
And the results, I’m thrilled to say, are genuinely easy, genuinely yummy, and genuinely cool homemade cheese crackers. If I can do it, so can you.
What are some of your favorite recipes on More Quiche, Please? I’d love to hear what you’ve enjoyed in these three years — leave a comment below!
- One year ago: Candy-filled fudge cupcakes + 2nd blogiversary!
- Two years ago: Coffee granita + 1st blogiversary!
- Three years ago: Welcome! Pull up a chair and dig in.
Ingredients *Experiment with different cheeses for a variety of flavors! For the crackers pictured in this post, I used your everyday shredded pizza cheese, which is not so remarkable in taste but still produces wonderfully tasty crackers. Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C. 2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, ½ tsp salt, and paprika. Add the butter and cheese to the bowl and work them into the flour mixture by hand (literally), smooshing everything until it comes together. Add the milk and squeeze the dough into a single mass. Form it into a disc. 3. Place the disc on a sheet of parchment paper and cover it with a second sheet of parchment paper. Grab your rolling pin and roll the dough out as thinly as you can, until it basically covers the surface of the parchment. Thin dough = crispy crackers. 4. Use a pizza wheel (or a knife) to slice through the dough to form lots of little squares. They definitely don’t need to be perfect. If you like, poke holes in the center of each cracker using a lollipop stick or — here’s my creative genius in action — the cap of a tube of decorating gel. (When I say “poke,” I really mean just a gentle prod without going all the way through.) Sprinkle with salt and slide the entire sheet of parchment straight onto a baking sheet. No need to transfer the crackers to a baking tray individually! 5. Bake 15-25 minutes. That’s quite a range, I know. Just check them at 15 minutes and if they’re not browning and looking crunchy, keep them in the oven a little longer so they crisp properly. When they’re done, let the crackers cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to a bowl and promptly devouring. Do ahead: I like to store my cheese crackers in the freezer, though various sources say storing them at room temp is okay for a few days.
Yield: About 110 crackers (which will disappear in two minutes)
*Experiment with different cheeses for a variety of flavors! For the crackers pictured in this post, I used your everyday shredded pizza cheese, which is not so remarkable in taste but still produces wonderfully tasty crackers.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, ½ tsp salt, and paprika. Add the butter and cheese to the bowl and work them into the flour mixture by hand (literally), smooshing everything until it comes together. Add the milk and squeeze the dough into a single mass. Form it into a disc.
3. Place the disc on a sheet of parchment paper and cover it with a second sheet of parchment paper. Grab your rolling pin and roll the dough out as thinly as you can, until it basically covers the surface of the parchment. Thin dough = crispy crackers.
4. Use a pizza wheel (or a knife) to slice through the dough to form lots of little squares. They definitely don’t need to be perfect. If you like, poke holes in the center of each cracker using a lollipop stick or — here’s my creative genius in action — the cap of a tube of decorating gel. (When I say “poke,” I really mean just a gentle prod without going all the way through.) Sprinkle with salt and slide the entire sheet of parchment straight onto a baking sheet. No need to transfer the crackers to a baking tray individually!
5. Bake 15-25 minutes. That’s quite a range, I know. Just check them at 15 minutes and if they’re not browning and looking crunchy, keep them in the oven a little longer so they crisp properly. When they’re done, let the crackers cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to a bowl and promptly devouring.
Do ahead: I like to store my cheese crackers in the freezer, though various sources say storing them at room temp is okay for a few days.
This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something — anything — on Amazon through these links, a (very) small portion of your purchase helps support More Quiche, Please. Thank you!