Friday, July 17, 2015

Fun With Popcorn Day!

In the summer things are always a little slower with work (Baruch Hashem for much needed breaks) and it gives me an opportunity to chill (whew)!  This week I made a much easier Shabbat menu and decided to have a grand old time with Dear Son teaching him a valuable life and college student skill - making popcorn in a pot.  To quote dear college age son “when you’re in college you don’t have a lot of money and popcorn is cheap to make”.  Don’t you love it when they finally learn some important life lessons?  Anyway, DS (Dear Son) was loving the super spicy Mexican Chili Popcorn I’ve been making and it was time to give him popcorn wings and let him fly. (Can you hear the inspirational music in the background?).

We had a fabulous time coming up with new, creative popcorn flavors while teaching DS the fine art of popcorn popping.  Many of the recipes came under the “Just because you can” category. Six gallon bags of flavored popped popcorn later I can honestly say I’m super proud of my quick learning DS and his popcorn making ability - he’s on the Matten Dean’s list! To quote DS after he read this article “I am so smart”.  I am officially calling today “Fun with Popcorn Day”.  SO fun!!  And the best part - spending time with DS.  Priceless.

In the past I’ve made Hot Chocolate Popcorn so making other flavors based upon DS’s creativity (and mine too!) wasn’t too much of a stretch.  



I have to warn you though, make sure you make a LOT of this popcorn it goes fast!!!

If you have any new flavors for me to try let me know - I’d love to hear your ideas!!

Basic Popcorn in a Pot recipe & directions:
2 tablespoons oil (canola)
½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels (I like Orville Redinbacher - it does pop better!)
popcorn salt (optional)

Place the oil in the bottom of a 6-8 quart pot with a tight fitting lid.  I love using a pot with a glass lid so you can have fun watching the popcorn pop.  Rotate the pot so the oil completely covers the bottom.  Add the popcorn then cover the pot with the lid.  Turn the heat up to high, constantly shaking the pan in a front back motion to keep the popcorn from burning.  When the corn starts to pop, turn the heat down to medium-high and continue shaking the pot.  When the popping slows down to the point where nearly all the corn has popped, turn of the heat leaving the pot on the burner, allowing the remaining kernels to pop.  Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with popcorn salt.

Place the popcorn in the pot with the oil
Cover with the lid and turn on high, 
then reduce to medium-high while doing the
shake shake shake...
How pretty is this popcorn???
Perfect pop every time!
Ready to snack!


My favorite Air Pop Popcorn ingredients: Tastes like movie theater popcorn without the calories (or having to go to the movie theater).


Hot Chocolate Salted Caramel Popcorn (dairy)
I was in the store this week looking for hot chocolate mix (a very important staple in our house) and came across Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate mix.  This would take Hot Chocolate Popcorn to a whole new level.  If you don’t have the cool Salted Caramel Hot chocolate flavor you can use a regular hot chocolate mix (even sugar free for fewer calories) which is still pretty darn good!  You can pop the corn using the pot method or an air popper.  

½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons canola oil (optional)
1 packet Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix
Non-stick vegetable spray

Pop the corn, then place it in a large bowl.  Spray the corn thoroughly with non-stick vegetable spray until completely coated.  Toss the popcorn with the hot chocolate mix until completely coated, spraying with additional vegetable spray if necessary.  Serve, then make another batch because it goes fast!

Doesn't this look amazing!!!


Mexican Chili Popcorn
You can make this popcorn even hotter by heating the chilis in the oil before adding the popcorn.  Cooking the chili in the oil really kicks up the heat a notch.  You can also add more chili if you like, but beware!

½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons chili oil
1 teaspoon crushed mexican chili’s or crushed red pepper (or more if you like it really hot!)
popcorn salt

Follow the directions for the Basic Popcorn in a Pot using chili oil and adding the mexican chili’s to the oil with the popcorn.  Sprinkle with popcorn salt after popping.

Apple Cider Popcorn
Fun With Popcorn Day means finding fun ingredients in your house that you can put on popcorn.  Apple Cider just happens to be one of those ingredients.  We started out with one packet and felt that it needed more “appley” flavor and added a second.  It was the right move and the popcorn was awesome!!  Perfect for eating outside while roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.

½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons canola oil (optional)
2 packets instant apple cider (you can use sugar-free for fewer calories too)
Non-stick vegetable spray


Follow the directions for the Basic Popcorn in a Pot or air-pop unpopped popcorn kernels.  Thoroughly spray the popcorn with non-stick vegetable spray. Sprinkle the apple cider over the popcorn and toss until the popcorn is completely coated.  Serve with your favorite cup of apple cider!


 DS adding the cider mix - way to go!
 Such an expert in such a short time.  SO proud!
 You can actually see the appley goodness!



Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father
Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.
Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at www.koshereveryday.com,
JewishExponent.com, aish.com, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.
These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Review of "The Silver Platter" by Daniella Silver & Norene Gilletz

I really like cookbooks.  I have a lot of them.  I have old ones, new ones, specialty ones, fun ones, Pesach ones, you name it.  So, when I get a really, really good one - especially one that I get to review, I get gleeful!


The Silver Platter - simple to spectacular, wholesome, family-friendly recipes by Daniella Silver with tips & techniques from Norene Gilletz, is awesome.  Amazing.  Super Outstanding.   I love this cookbook!  It’s kind of rare for me to open up a cookbook and want to make nearly every single recipe in the book. Which is why it took me a few weeks to write this review...I was busy making recipes!   First, this cookbook is visually beautiful.  Each picture enhances the appeal of each recipe.  I wanted to do a Willy Wonka thing and pull the food right off the page (it didn’t work...sad face).  Visual appeal is important in a cookbook because it entices you to actually use the book to make the recipes - this is how it can look on your table!!


Second, I love my dear friend Norene Gilletz’s comments throughout the book.  They are SO useful.  Because Norene is a cooking guru/expert/queen, novices and experts alike can learn from her informative tips.  


Third, in this day of GFEs (Gluten Free Eaters), how handy is it that each and every recipe has a note regarding the recipes GFE status and how to convert the recipe if possible?  Fantastic!  It’s like a GFE cookbook...within a cookbook!


Fourth, there is also nutrition information for each and every recipe in the back of the book.  Watching that waistline? With the information that Daniella gives you, you can make healthy choices.


Which brings us to reason #5 why I love this book.  Most of the recipes are super healthy.  They are also new, refreshing and very current.  Spiralized veggies, quinoa, fresh fruits & vegetables...it’s why I wanted to make so many of the recipes in the book.  


The recipes that I made in this book got rave reviews by my testers (AKA family, friends, Shabbat guests).  None of the recipes were terribly difficult to make and quite frankly I would make them again - after I made other recipes in the book!


Bottom Line:  Get this book!  I know that you can find tons of recipes online these days, but this book is beautiful, fun to read, with a lot of “simple to spectacular, wholesome, family-friendly recipes” all in one book.   The line in the title isn’t there for nothing!  Thanks again Daniella & Norene for such a great cookbook - it’s going in an easily accessible spot on my cookbook shelf!


So...here are the recipes I made:  

Asian-Style Rice Paper Rolls
I was rice paper challenged - until I made this recipe.  The first time I ever tried to make rice paper rolls I thought I was supposed to let them soak or boil for around 30 minutes, like rice noodles.  All of you that know that is not how to use rice paper are all shaking your heads either laughing hysterically or crying noooooooooooooooooo!  Thanks to Daniella and Norene’s useful tip I was able to make these gorgeous Asian-Style Rice Paper rolls for a Shabbat appetizer.  Everyone loved them and thought the mix of flavors in the roll were very unique and fresh.  I liked them so much I re-made them to take pictures and am really looking forward to a delicious lunch thanks to Daniella and Norene!


Check out how colorful & beautiful these are!

Roasted Eggplant Dip
There are a lot of great dips and snacks in this book.  My family has been asking for dips to eat with their challah at our Shabbat table, and there were so many in The Silver Platter that I took the opportunity to appease my family.  The Roasted Eggplant Dip was great, a little on the sweet side too.  Mine didn’t turn out quite as red as the one in the photo but it was healthy and tasty!

Spicy Lemon Hummus & Roasted Eggplant Dip


Spicy Lemon Hummus
We eat a lot of Hummus in our house, and we like it HOT!  The Spicy Lemon Hummus was super easy to make, and tasted great.  I made enough that we could snack on it during the week.  Dear son likes his Hummus super spicy so he even added some schug to it to give it even more kick!



Sesame-Ginger Chicken
I’m always looking for new chicken recipes.  I’m also often making food for Shabbat pretty late on Fridays due to work demands.  There I was, once again, making chicken a couple of hours before I turned into a Shabbat pumpkin.  I grabbed my Silver Platter cookbook confident that I’d be able to find a quick & delicious chicken recipe - and I wasn’t disappointed!  I had all the ingredients in the house except the ginger (I ended up using dried instead with good results), and the recipe didn’t take me long to make at all.  Our GFE guest was thrilled to be able to eat such yummy chicken and you could hear the applause all the way in Indiana.

Thanks to Norenes tip regarding freezing ginger, I now have some stored for the next time I want to make this recipe!


meat/gluten-free/freezes well/yields 4-6 servings

1 chicken (about 3 lb) cut into 8ths
¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup ketchup
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
sliced scallions, for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 375℉. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Trim and discard excess fat from chicken pieces. Remove skin, if desired.  Arrange chicken in a single layer in prepared dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil, if using.  Mix well.
  4. Using a pastry brush, coat chicken with half of marinade; reserve remaining marinade.
  5. Bake covered for 45 minutes, Coat chicken with remaining marinade; sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake uncovered, 30 minutes longer, until glazed and golden
  6. Transfer to a serving platter; garnish with scallions.

Sesame-Ginger Chicken:

All the ingredients...except the chicken!
Chopped scallions for garnish...
Put the sauce ingredients together...
Whisk until smooth...
Brush onto the chicken...
Top with sesame seeds & scallions...
I always make a double/triple/quadruple batch!
(note the pretty challahs in the background!)

Ready to go in the oven close up.  Smile!
Done & delish!

Roasted Eggplant Dip
 Mix the veggies in a bowl with the seasoning...
 Smile for the close up!
SO colorful!!!
All roasted!  I want to eat these NOW!!!
Into the processor with the paste...whirrrrrrr....
 Can't even wait for a bowl!  No double dipping!

Spicy Lemon Hummus
 SO easy...just 2 steps!!!
 Smooth!


  Asian-Style Rice Paper Rolls
 All the cut up insides...
 Dip the rice paper...dip, not boil!
 It's ready...take it out!
 Place the stuffing inside...
 Roll & tuck...
 One done!
 In case you missed the first, here's a second...
 Rock & roll baby!
 Gorgeous!
 Just gorgeous! 
 Super pretty & delicious!!!

 Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father
Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at www.koshereveryday.com,
JewishExponent.com, aish.com, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!










Sunday, April 19, 2015

A review of "Spiritual Kneading Through the Jewish Months"

Passover.  A time of redemption.  Exodus.  Freedom.  Liberation.  By the time Pesach is over, although I’m super happy with having spent time with our family and friends (all 120+ of them), I’m pretty tired.  By the time the kitchen is sort of back to it’s pre-chametz status I’m blitzed.  Tired.  Wiped.  The “E” word (the “E” word is a restricted word in our family, only to be brought out under extreme circumstances due to frequent overuse of the term...ok, it’s exhausted).  In all the chaos, preparation, antibiotics, and re-cleaning, I managed to begin to lose focus regarding the purpose of all the prep.  I needed some Spiritual Kneading!



A while before Pesach I received the book “Spiritual Kneading Through the Jewish Months - Building the Sacred through Challah” by Dahlia Abraham-Klein.  I put it to the side with the intention of reviewing it after the chag when things weren’t quite so crazy. So, last week, I made a much needed cup of coffee, grabbed a pencil, highlighter, post-its and made my way to the Lazy-Boy recliner, put my feet up and started to read.  THANK YOU DAHLIA!!!


The book begins with a beautiful description of the concept of the first Mitzvah, to mark/sanctify the months of the year.  Dahlia then eloquently brings you into the celebration of a Jewish woman’s role in this important mitzvah, then ties it into the very important mitzvah of taking/baking Challah.   


While the writing is incredibly beautiful, there is a lot of practical information in this book as well.  I was blessed to be able to do a Challah Braiding class last week for Chai Lifeline here in Chicago.  I came prepared with my Spiritual Kneading book in hand.  With it, I was able to give clear explanations for most of the questions that the group had.  I also had the brachot, tehillim, and mitzvah specifics handy.


Spiritual Kneading is also a guide for Rosh Chodesh Challah groups, with Jewish Monthly themes, challah recipes, and braiding tips.  As a guide for groups, it’s excellent.  It’s also fun to have a new, seasonal/holiday theme ready to prepare.


I was very excited to try recipes after reading the rest of the book.  I tried the  basic Egg Challah recipe - pretty straightforward. I ended up having to add a little extra water, but once I did the dough was smooth and elastic .  I’m a little lazier and use my mixer to knead, so I probably didn’t get all the spiritual infusion or exercise I might have had I kneaded the dough completely by hand.  Also, in the interest of full disclosure, my plan had been to make the dough early in the morning on Thursday, let it rise, braid all kinds of cool and fun challot for my demo, then bring them all baked.  HA!  Let’s just say that didn’t happen, and I ended up leaving a big bowl of challah dough on the counter to rise as I left for the demo.  When I got back I was ready to braid!  The dough was wonderful after it rose (even though it rose longer than it was supposed to).  It was so nice to be able to pop open the book for the brachot and have them handy.  My friend and I had a blast trying out a bunch of the cool braiding techniques in the book.  


The challot were gorgeous after they baked and tasted great.  They were less sweet than the challot I bake regularly, but that's a matter of personal preference.   

I would highly recommend this book for the new baker to the experienced chef.  Especially for a new bride as a shower gift.  It’s a great way to bring you back to the origins of why we are making challah to begin with, connecting us with our spiritual “needing” via Spiritual Kneading.

You can find "Spiritual Kneading Through the Jewish Months" on amazon.com


Egg Challah
4 tablespoons active dry yeast
3 cups warm water
¾ cup organic sugar plus 2 tablespoons organic sugar
4 cage-free organic eggs
5 pounds organic white flour
1 ½ tablespoons sea salt
1 cup neutral-tasting oil, such as safflower oil


2 cage-free organic eggs beaten


  1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and the warm water.  Cover the bowl and allow the mixture to start activating.  Yeast activation should take about 10 minutes; it will be bubbling and foamy.
  2. In the meantime, break 1 egg at a time into a small glass bowl and check that there are no red spots on the yolk.  Transfer the egg into a larger bowl and, when all the eggs are cracked, beat with a fork.
  3. Set 1 cup of flour aside.  Sift the remaining flour, sugar and salt into the bowl.
  4. Pour the eggs and oil onto the flour.  Combine all the ingredients, using a spatula.  When it begins to form a dough, it is time to knead.  At this point, you can remove the dough from the bowl and knead on the kitchen counter if it’s easier for you, or knead directly in the bowl.
  5. To knead the dough: grab the side of the dough furthest away from you and fold it toward yourself.  Fold the dough in half and use your body weight to push the dough into itself.  If you find that the dough is sticking to much to the surface and preventing you from kneading properly, dust the dough with flour.  Give the dough a quarter turn (90 degrees).  Grab the other side and fold it in half. Again, with a lot of weight behind it, push the newly folded half into itself.  Repeat this process for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, silky, elastic and it does not stick to the surface.
  6. After the dough is thoroughly prepared, lay it on the countertop while you grease the bowl with a fine layer of oil. Next, turn the dough in the oil several times so that the dough is greased lightly on all sides.
  7. Cover the bowl with a large plastic garbage bag or kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 1 hour.
  8. Make the blessing on hafrashat challah.
  9. Knead the dough again for a few more minutes.  Use the remaining flour for the surface area and hands to prevent sticking.  Form it into shaped loaves of your choice.
  10. cover the loaves again and let them rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough as doubled in volume from its original size.
  11. If you cannot bake the challahs immediately then this is the time to wrap the shaped dough in plastic wrap to prevent drying.  You can store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.  On the day of baking, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand on kitchen counter until it comes to room temperature, about one hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350℉.  Brush your challahs with beaten eggs and sprinkle with the topping of your choice.
  13. Bake in your preheated oven for about 30-36 minutes, or until loaves turn golden brown and shiny.  Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
  14. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.  Wait at least one hour before serving.  If you are freezing the challah, wrap in waxed paper and foil.  It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.


Mix the ingredients - Love the new, fresh, yeast bubbling!!!
  Set it in a warm place to rise....

AND THE FUN BEGINS!!!!





Another one:


Next....It was "Shlissl" Challah Week!!!



More challah fun! 


 Into the oven....
 And they came out great!!! 
(If I humbly say so myself ;-) )





Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father
Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at www.koshereveryday.com,
JewishExponent.com, aish.com, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.


These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!