Thursday, April 14, 2011

Roasted Turkey with Matzoh Suffing and Potatoes

Not my Turkey...
When writing this week's blog I thought it might be fun to just post my to-do list, the pages and pages of things to do before Pesach.  HA!  Everyone has that list!  I do want to tell you about the program that saves what’s left of my sanity this time of year - Mastercook (and no I don’t get a cut from the company!).  I have a pretty old version of this software, and I have to assume that the new version is way better, but I love this program!  What’s so great about this program is that you can enter all your recipes, categorize them, save them on your computer, and then print them (or not) whenever you need them.  They are all in a database so you don’t have to go searching for them, every Pesach for example.  I add new recipes that I find every year, and make sure that I mark them as “Passover” recipes.  It’s so easy!  That is only the start. The absolute best part of this program is that you can actually make Meal Plans using the actual recipes that you entered in the database, and then with a click of a button can generate a shopping list from that Meal Plan!  You can copy from Meal Plans that you generated the previous years as well – they are all saved in your handy Mastercook database.  Printing the Meal Plan will print:
  • The Shopping List (of everything that you need to make the Meal Plan)
  • The Meal Plan
  • All the recipes used in the Meal Plan!
 It’s unbelievable!!  It is the key to organization for crazy Pesach preparations.  I am the person that people envy when they see me actually shopping with a list!!  Mind you the list looks like a book, but I don’t care – it’s pretty hard to forget to purchase anything with that comprehensive Mastercook list!

For the Pesach Blog, I wanted to come up with a recipe that everyone could enjoy, that wouldn’t take much time to prepare, and wouldn’t take me too much time to write up…LOL!  I could have given you my famous Matzoh Ball Recipe (go to the store, buy a box of Matzoh Ball mix, follow the instructions on the box, serve with soup), but I thought that would be kind of a cop out.  The recipe I came up with is always my go-to recipe when I’m having a lot of people and want to maximize the quantity of dishes generated and the total amount of food produced. I also want to minimize the prep time.  Roasted Turkey with Matzoh Stuffing and Potatoes.  Yes, I’m blogging about making a Turkey!  I always make Turkey for the first night of a major Chag – especially when having the bracha of a big crowd.  My Dad (KIH) is the one that originally taught me to make Turkey.  He has his very precise recipe and is very exacting with his measurements.  Me, not so exact, and I add a few more ingredients to my stuffing.  The principles are still the same though. First I slice potatoes into 1 ½ inch wide slices and place them on the bottom of the pan.  They are amazing – all the flavor from the Turkey is infused into those potatoes!  YUM!  Not so healthy, but YUM!    The stuffing is made out of crunched up Matzoh and vegetables.  This is where I have the kids help.  “Here honey, take this box of Matzoh and crunch it up in this pot.  Take as long as you want….”  I sauté a really big diced onion, diced carrots (you can use the Hindy Chopper!), a few stalks of sliced celery, and sliced mushrooms (of course) until they are all soft.  Then I combine them with the crunched Matzoh, add some chicken soup (which I am already making for Yom Tov) and into the bird it goes.  I use my “convection roast” setting and roast the turkey uncovered at 325° F.  Using the “convection” setting circulates air in the oven that “seals” the outside of the bird, keeping the inside moist and juicy.  The “roast” setting applies heat 60% from the bottom, and 40% from the top – more evenly cooking the turkey (yes, I actually took a class to learn how to use my oven properly).  Before I had my fancy shmancy oven, I used to roast the turkey covered for 15 minutes per pound at 350° F.  Now I have an actual temperature probe that I put in the meatiest part of the turkey thigh.  I set the temperature probe for 170° F and the oven lets me know when the turkey is done.  Meal in a pan – outstanding! 

Just don’t hide your afikomen in the stuffing….

In our kitchen, the person that carves the turkey and the servers conveniently get to shnooker the first juicy and delicious slices!  Somehow, everyone always winds up in the kitchen when it’s time to serve…shocking!!

Have a Chag Kasher V’sameach!!

1          large                 Turkey, defrosted, cleaned and dried

1          box                  matzohs, crunched in a large bowl or pot
1          large                 onion, diced
1          cup                   carrots, diced
3          stalks                celery, sliced
1          pound               mushrooms, sliced
2          tablespoons      oil
1          large                 egg, lightly beaten
2          cups                 chicken stock (or more)

6                                  potatoes, (peeling is optional), sliced 1 ½ inches thick
                                    garlic powder, onion powder, paprika,
                                    any other spices you love.
                                    non-stick vegetable spray
                                    cooking twine
Preheat oven to 350° F for conventional ovens, 325° F on “convection roast” for convection ovens.

Spray a large roasting pan with the non-stick vegetable spray. Place sliced potatoes on the bottom of the pan.  Place the turkey on top of the potatoes.

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the onions, celery, and carrots and sauté until soft.  Add the mushrooms and sauté until cooked through. 
Add the vegetables to the crunched matzoh.  Mix to combine.  Add the chicken stock.  Mix until the matzoh is softened.  Add additional stock if necessary.  Add the egg to the matzoh mixture, and stir until thoroughly combined.  Stuff the bird with the prepared stuffing.  Tie the legs of the turkey together with the cooking twine.

Spray the outside of the bird with non-stick vegetable spray.  Sprinkle spices on top of the turkey.  If cooking in a conventional oven, cover with foil, if using a convection oven bake uncovered for 15 minutes per pound.  You can check if the turkey is done by inserting a cooking thermometer in the meatiest part of the leg.  The temperature should register 170° F.  If you like a crispier skinned turkey, remove the foil during the last 30 to 40 minutes of baking.  Remove stuffing from cavity.  Slice and serve with pan juices.

Remove stuffing from turkey before storing if preparing the turkey in advance.

(Sorry, no photos yet…not making the Turkey until next week…stay tuned!)

I'd love to hear from you!! Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and recipes after each blog!!!  Don't forget to pass this blog on to your friends and family!!

Look for additional information about  Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Honey Dijon Deli Roll With Caramelized Onions & Puff Pastry Cinnamon Sugar Smushers


I was very conflicted about today’s blog.  On the one hand I wanted to give you amazing Pesach recipes with fabulous photos – except I’m not ready for Pesach yet!  I know there are people that have awesome Pesach kitchens, or that are so organized there is no chametz left in their homes…I’m just not one of them.  The last batch of Pre-Pesach chametz chocolate chip cookies is about to come out of the oven, and I’m slowly getting rid of the chametz in my pantry, cabinets, and refrigerator.  I’m still cooking chametz for Shabbat…so no Pesach recipes yet!  However, I am happy to give you the recipes for the chametz containing foods that I am making this week! 

We were very blessed to be invited to the Purim Seuda at my friend Fran’s house (not the Vegetable Soup Blog Fran…yes, it would seem most of my dearest friends are named Fran).  We came early enough to be able to help setup.  One of the biggest benefits of helping setup is that you get to pick at the extra scraps of food that didn’t merit being placed on the actual serving tray.  For example, the ends of the cake, or the pieces of other foods that conveniently “just didn’t happen to cut right”.  My favorite “shnookering” food was a sliced chicken/deli roll.  It was amazing!  I am a bit ashamed to admit that I was responsible for the diminished quantity of those scraps.  I asked Fran for the recipe.  In her incredibly laid back way she said “Oh, I don’t know…I just threw some stuff together.  I had some leftover chicken that I put in, I sautéed some onions and put that in, wrapped it in some puff pastry and stuck it in the oven. It was easy.”   We love Fran, and we love how brilliant she is (although she will never admit it)!  What really made that roll so awesome were the sautéed onions!  They added a fabulous sweetness and flavor to the recipe that kept me coming back!

When I went to my freezer to figure out what chametz odds and ends I had left, lo and behold – there were exactly 3 puff pastry sheets left.  I also had about ¼ jar of Honey Dijon mustard left in the refrigerator.  Remembering Fran’s recipe, I put together the Honey Dijon Deli Roll with Caramelized Onions.  I know that everyone has their own version of the Deli Roll – and I’d love to hear about yours…but I loved the idea of melding the Honey Dijon Mustard, spicy chuck pastrami, milder white turkey breast, and the flavorful sweetness of the caramelized onions.  Topped with additional caramelized onions, it makes a beautiful side dish or appetizer. 
Honey Dijon Deli Roll...
with Caremlized Onions!!
The roll used up of one of the puff pastry sheets.  I still had two to go…and it had to be easy and fast! (I may not actually be ready for Pesach yet, but I am getting ready!)  I sprinkled the remaining pastry with a cinnamon sugar blend, cut it into triangles, and then baked it.  Easy, little Puff Pastry Cinnamon Sugar Smushers.  The whole prep time was around five minutes – so speedy.  The kids love shnookering them, they are pretty addicting!  Light and airy, melt in your mouth, and a little sweet…the perfect “cookie” snack!  The best part…less chametz in the house!  Now if only cleaning the rest of the house for Pesach were that easy….

Puff Pastry Smushers
 To assuage my guilt about not posting a Pesach related blog this week, I give to you a link to a Pesach related video I did a few years ago for the cable TV show “Taped With Rabbi Doug”. Enjoy!

1                      large                 onion, very thinly sliced
1                      tablespoon        minced garlic
2                      tablespoons      olive oil

1                      sheet                puff pastry, defrosted
¼                     cup                   Honey Dijon mustard
scant ½            lb                     chuck pastrami, thinly sliced
scant ½            lb                     turkey breast, thinly sliced        

1                      large                 egg,
1                      tablespoon        warm water
                                                non-stick vegetable spray
                                                additional sautéed onions and mustard for garnish

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Spray with non-stick vegetable spray.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil.  Sauté onions and garlic in oil over medium heat, periodically stirring, until onions are caramelized.  This can take up to 15 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of mustard on puff pastry.  Place a layer of pastrami on the mustard, covering the entire sheet, using the entire ½ pound.  Place a layer of turkey on the pastrami, covering the entire sheet, using the entire ½ pound.  Evenly spread the caramelized onions over the layer of turkey.  Roll.  Place on the prepared cookie sheet.  

With a sharp knife, make several diagonal slits across the top of the roll.  Whisk together the egg and water.  Brush over the top of the roll.  Bake for 45 minutes until top of roll is golden brown.  Serve sliced with additional mustard and sautéed onions.

2          sheets               puff pastry, defrosted
½         cup                   brown sugar
½         cup                   sugar
1          tablespoon        cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Cover two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, blend together sugars and cinnamon.  Sprinkle sugar mixture over the two pastry sheets.  Evenly cut the puff pastry sheets into small squares.  Cut each square into half diagonally.  Place triangles on prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for 11-15 minutes until puffed and browned.   Watch them disappear!


Slice the onions very thinly...
 The last of the Pre-Pesach mustard and puff pastry!
LOVE the spicy pastrami!
 Caramlized Onions!!! YUM!!!
 Now put it all together...
 Roll it up tightly, score it, egg it, bake it!
 Puffed, golden brown & delicious!
Slice & serve!


Sprinkle the sugar on the pastry,
slice & easy!
 Smushers are done...
a little light taste of Heaven!

 I'd love to hear from you!! Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and recipes after each blog!!!  Don't forget to pass this blog on to your friends and family!!

Look for additional information about  Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Pesach Chametz Cabinet Cleaning Blog #1 Golden Safron Rice & Teriyaki and Mushroom Brown Rice

When planning this week’s Shabbat menu, what I’m making is determined by what I will find in my “rice/pasta” cabinet, and what I find in my freezer.  I know that I have huge boxes of those mini hors d’oeuvres which I have been saving for a “special occasion”…which will now be this Shabbat!  I also have lots of rice.  All different types of rice…including my favorite brown rice and fragrant basmati rice.  For the basmati rice, I’ll keep it simple – Safron Rice.  This is one of the best smelling, prettiest, and easiest rice dishes I make.  Sauté a diced medium onion (finely diced using the Hindy Chopper) in some margarine, add the rice, some vegetable stock, a few saffron threads, cover and cook.  SO simple!  The result is beautiful, golden rice that is a great accompaniment to any dish you make. 

Golden Safron Rice
(Made with fragrant Basmati Rice!)

The next rice dish will have to use the brown rice I have left over.  I also have some leftover teriyaki sauce, which means Teriyaki and Mushroom Brown Rice.  This is a great recipe that also works well with brown and wild rice blends.  There are a lot of excellent components to this recipe, such as celery and mushrooms.  We love mushrooms, and the celery gives the rice a great flavor, a little bit of crunch, and is a vegetable (healthy - bonus)! Also, the vegetables in this recipe are sautéed in teriyaki sauce, instead of oil or margarine.  Omitting the oil and margarine from this recipe makes it lower in fat and calories.  The best part…using up this rice gets it out of my cabinet before Pesach!!

Teriyaki and Mushroom Brown Rice
Check out all the mushrooms!
With this plan I feel like I’m starting to make some progress towards my Pesach Cleaning goals.  If you think this week’s menu is interesting…wait until next week!  Hmmmm…what can you make with pasta, more pasta, lemon pie filling, and tuna….

Stay tuned for The Pesach Chametz Cabinet Cleaning Blog # 2 next week!

1          medium            onion, finely diced (around ¾ cup)
1 ½      tablespoons      margarine
2          cups                 basmati rice
3 ½      cups                 vegetable stock
½         teaspoon          saffron threads, crushed
½         teaspoon          salt (optional)

Rinse rice until water runs clear.  Melt margarine in a large stock pot.  Add onions and sauté until soft and clear.  Add vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil.  Add saffron and stir to blend.  Add rice and stir to combine.  Return stock to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork.  Serve warm.

  1. If you don’t have vegetable stock handy, you can use water and 1-2 tablespoons of consommé mix instead.  Omit the salt.
  2. This recipe is gluten-free!  Great for the GFE (Gluten Free Eater) and everyone else too!

1          large                 onion, diced
2          stalks                celery, thinly sliced
1          pound               mushrooms, thinly sliced
1          tablespoon        minced garlic
¼         cup                   teriyaki sauce
2          cups                 brown rice
4          cups                 chicken or vegetable stock
                                    additional teriyaki sauce (optional)

In a large stockpot, bring stock to a boil.  For an extra boost of teriyaki flavor add an additional few tablespoons of teriyaki sauce.  Add rice.  Cook according to package directions. 

In a large skillet, sauté the onion, garlic and celery in the teriyaki sauce until vegetables are soft.  Add mushrooms and sauté until liquid is completely absorbed.

Fold the vegetables into the rice until thoroughly combined.  

Serve to your favorite mushroom lovers!

  1. The boxed cartons of chicken or vegetable stock are usually 32 ounces, or exactly 4 cups…perfect for this recipe!
  2. This recipe can be made gluten-free.  You can purchase gluten-free teriyaki sauce at your local grocery or health food store.  Great for the GFE (Gluten Free Eater) and everyone else too!

Rinsed basmati rice,  safron,
diced onion, and margarine
(The Safron is really expensive - you don't need to use a lot!)
Sauté the onion until clear...
Add the safron, stir, then add the rice...
It's smell-o-vision time!  
How gorgeous is this?!!
(and so easy to make too!)

Get the ingredients ready!
Cook the rice and have it ready...
Sauté the vegetables in the teriyaki 
until all the sauce is absorbed
SO yummy!!
Mix the rice and vegetables...
LOVE the mushrooms & teriyaki!!

I'd love to hear from you!! Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and recipes after each blog!!!  Don't forget to pass this blog on to your friends and family!!

Look for additional information about  Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.