Sunday, January 29, 2012

Salmon Rolls with Cucumber Dill Sauce

Super easy Salmon Roll!
Like everyone else in the world I’ve had a really busy week.  I’m not really sure what I did…but somehow Friday came and I was amazed by how quickly my week had passed me by!  To top it off I’m having trouble with my hand-me-down laptop, sigh.  (It might have something to do with the cup of tea that I spilled on it, but of course I can’t be sure…)  So when getting ready to cook for Shabbat, given my current state of affairs, had I been someone else I would have turned to to find some fun, fast, and easy recipes to make for my family and guests…but I AM  Sigh.  It was time to dig deep into my recipe database and pull out my Kitchen McGyver persona for something fabulous but super easy to make.

I opened my freezer and my dear friend puff pastry was smiling at me from the freezer door.  If you want to make something that looks impressive but isn’t too hard to make, puff pastry is the answer.  Step one to completing my Shabbat menu – check.  It was time to check the pantry and the refrigerator. I found canned salmon and cucumbers – this was almost too easy!

Everyone knows that salmon is good for you.  Every list of the top ten best foods for your health includes salmon.  It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, good for you protein, vitamin b-12 and iron*. Canned salmon is also high in calcium, with pink salmon actually having more calcium than the red. So, when trying to find an awesome appetizer, the healthy salmon I found was like finding a hidden treasure in my pantry.  I’m sharing with you my super easy recipe for Salmon Rolls with Cucumber Dill Sauce, that uses ingredients that you already have – frozen puff pastry, canned salmon (pink or red), bread crumbs (fresh or store bought), and a secret ingredient that everyone has in their fridge that gives this dish it’s fabulously beautiful deep red color and terrific flavor – ketchup!  Topped with a refreshing cucumber dill sauce made with just three ingredients, cucumbers, lowfat mayonnaise, and dried dill (which I had to send my helper bees out to get at the store) it’s a beautiful start to your special Shabbat meal (mine too!).  

The rest of the meal was pretty straight forward, hearty chicken soup, roasted whole rosemary seasoned chickens stuffed with jasmine brown rice and crimini mushrooms (there had to be some mushrooms!) and a bed of Yukon Gold potatoes tucked underneath the chickens.  Dear Husband made roasted cauliflower, and along with some new Near East Quinoa pilaf we were set.  Dessert was easy – we always have plenty of dessert in our house!

TGFS – Thank G-d For Shabbat!  It was great to have a restful and relaxing Shabbat to recharge.  I know that this week will be chaotic (just like every other one!) but I know I have another Shabbat and good food to look forward to (and yummy Shabbat leftovers from this week for Sunday night’s dinner)!


Thanks Dear Husband for letting me use your computer this week for this week's blog entry. Sigh.

Salmon Rolls with Cucumber Dill Sauce

2          14.75 ounce     cans salmon (pink or red)
2 ½      cups                 bread crumbs (I ground old challah), or more if necessary
2          large                 eggs
1          small                 onion, finely diced
¾         cup                   ketchup
2          sheets               puff pastry, defrosted
2          medium            cucumbers, peeled
1 ½      cups                 lowfat mayonnaise
1          tablespoon        dried dill weed
1          tablespoon        sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 400˚F or 375˚F if using a convection oven.  Line 3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

Place the cans of salmon in a large bowl.  Do not drain.  Crumble the salmon with your hands (I wear kitchen gloves) to make sure there are no lumps or hard pieces.  Add the bread crumbs, eggs, onion, and ketchup.  Mix until smooth.  If the mixture seems too moist add more bread crumbs – but make sure that the mixture isn’t too dry.

Roll a sheet of puff pastry dough to 9x11 inches.  Spread half the salmon mixture onto the puff pastry sheet leaving around 2 inches uncovered on the long end.  Roll the sheet lengthwise, pinching the ends to seal.  Using a long, thin knife, slice the uncooked roll into ½ inch slices, placing each slice on the prepared cookie sheets cut side up.  You should have approximately 12 slices on each sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes until browned.  Serve warm or cold with Cucumber Dill Sauce.

For the Cucumber Dill Sauce:
Process the cucumbers in a food processor until coarsely ground.  Add mayonnaise and dill and pulse a few times to combine.  Transfer to a container with a lid and refrigerate until ready to serve with the Salmon Rolls.

All the ingredients: 
 It looks a little gross...but mush
it all together and it will be great...
trust me!!
 See I told looks great!
 Add the rest of the ingredients....
 Mix it up again...(it's really much
redder in person - really!)
 Spread it out but leave an empty
space at the bottom.
 Roll it up and then pinch the
ends to seal.
 Slice it up and place it on the
cookie sheet cut side up...
 SO pretty & golden brown!
 Now for the sauce...
 Grind the cucumbers...
 Add the mayo and dill...
 And they'll think you slaved for hours!!
(but we know better!!) 
Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,, 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!!

KosherEveryday is one of the finalists for the 
2011 CBS Most Valuable Blogger Awards!! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baby Portabella Mushroom Wontons with Baby Portabella Mushroom & Caramelized Onion Cream Sauce

I love our neighborhood.  Here in Chicago we live in the wonderful neighborhood of West Rogers Park, where you’re never too far from a Shul or terrific neighbor!  We are extremely privileged to live across the street from Rabbi Zev and Hilary Kahn – A.K.A Rabbi & Mrs. JET!  JET, or Jewish Education Team, is a Jewish College Student outreach organization.  The JET organization, run by the Kahns and Rabbi & Mrs. Garfinkel, sponsors educational seminars, courses, Shabbatons, social events, and trips to Israel for young adults.  Things are always jumping at the Kahn’s, and it is not unusual to get a call from Hilary – “Sharon, can you put up two boys (or girls depending upon the week) for Shabbos this week?  And if you have space for them for lunch too…if it’s not too much trouble….” We love having JET people at our house.  Each young adult is friendly, pleasant, unique, and interested in experiencing Shabbat with us, and it’s always fun when they are around!  We are lucky enough to have a guest room in the basement that accommodates two, plus we have additional sleeping space in our basement den.  We try to have a pretty relaxed  atmosphere so our guests feel comfortable.  One week we were having three “boys” stay with us in the basement, and came down to the kitchen Shabbat morning  to find our guests had multiplied over night to four “boys” – one young man found himself without a place Friday night and our guests told him to come crash at our place…and he did!!  It’s all good!  So, when this week I got my call from Hilary for “two boys” to stay with us I wanted to make something awesome with a “wow” factor to make the Shabbat meal especially nice for our guests. 

Mushroom lovers...this
one's for you!
I have to warn you, normally I try very hard to stick to fast, healthy and fun recipes…what I made is neither fast nor healthy – but wow, it’s really delicious!!  Always a huge hit with guests, I made Baby Portabella Stuffed Wontons with Baby Portabella and Caramelized Onion Cream Sauce.  Slightly labor intensive, but worth it if you can find the time.  I love baby portabella mushrooms (also known as Crimini mushrooms).  They have a deep, rich mushroom flavor packed into a small mushroom!  Sautéd with garlic and caramelized onions, they are the perfect filling for just about anything except cake (and even then I might make an exception).  I cut the prep time by finely chopping the onions and mushrooms with fine dice blade of my Hindy Chopper (A.K.A The Vidalia Onion Chopper), and sliced the thinly sliced mushrooms with my mandolin (I said it was a time consuming recipe…I needed all the time saving help I could get!).  I’m sorry to say that I fried them too (I’ll eat extra vegetables to make up for it…really I will), but they are incredible when fried and crispy.  Topped with more mushrooms in the sauce this dish is mushroom lover heaven!

It’s cold outside and snowing here in Chicago again (shocking, right?), but with our wonderful company and good food we know that we’ll have a beautiful warm Shabbat here in the Matten house.

Baby Portabella Stuffed Wontons with Baby Portabella and Caramelized Onion Cream Sauce
1          pound             baby portabella mushrooms (crimini), finely diced
1          medium           onion, finely diced (or two small, around 1 cup)
1          clove               garlic, crushed (or one frozen cube)
1          tablespoon      extra virgin olive oil
12        ounces            wonton wrappers (around 48)
                                   water for brushing wrappers
                                   canola oil for frying

Line a large cookie sheet with paper towels. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet, then add the garlic and onions.  Sauté until golden brown over medium-high heat, around 3 minutes.  Add the diced mushrooms and sauté until all the liquid is absorbed, around 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, place a wonton wrapper on a cutting board.  Using a pastry brush, brush the bottom ends of the wonton wrapper with a small amount of water – do not make the wrapper too wet.  Fill with approximately one teaspoon of mushroom filling.  Fold the wrapper over the filling and press to seal.  Set aside and repeat with remaining wontons.

Heat around ¼ inch of canola oil in a skillet, over medium-high heat.  Fry wontons until golden brown on each side.  Remove from the skillet and place on prepared cookie sheet.  Repeat with remaining wontons.

Baby Portabella Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Cream Sauce
1          tablespoon      extra virgin olive oil
1          pound             baby portabella mushrooms (crimini), very thinly sliced
1          large               onion, very thinly sliced
1          clove               garlic, crushed (or one frozen cube)
3          tablespoons     margarine
1          tablespoon      all-purpose flour
1          cup                 soy milk
1/8       teaspoon         salt
1/8       teaspoon         black pepper

Heat oil in a medium/large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft and caramelized, around10 minutes.  Add mushrooms and sauté until all the liquid is absorbed.  Transfer onions and mushrooms to a large bowl and set aside.
Melt margarine over low heat in the same skillet that the mushrooms were sautéd in.  Add flour all at once and whisk until smooth.  Add the soy milk, salt, and pepper, increase heat to medium, then whisk until smooth and thick, around 5 minutes.  Return mushroom mixture to the skillet and heat through, stirring continuously.   If sauce is too thick add additional soy milk or hot water to achieve desired consistency.  Serve under Baby Portabella Mushroom Wontons. 

Baby Portabella Mushroom Wontons & 
Baby Portabella Mushroom & Caramelized Onion Cream Sauce

Simple ingredients...
 Very finely diced onions (thanks Hindy Chopper!)
 Add the finely diced mushrooms...
 48 wonton wrappers in this package!
 Wet the bottom with a pastry brush...
then add around a teaspoon of filling
(try not to shnuker the's really good!)
 Fold it over and press to seal...
grab another one and repeat!
 48 mushroom wontons waiting...
they're fit to be fried!
 Into the skillet to brown...
 Now the other side...
 Wonderful wontons!
Now go make the sauce!
 Caramelize the onions & garlic...
 Add the thinly slice mushrooms & saute' until 
liquid is absorbed - YUM!!!
(I said no shnukering!!)
 Melt the margarine...
 Add the flour all at once...then whisk until smooth.
 Smooth, thick & creamy...
 Add the best part!
 It's so gorgeous I almost want to cry!
 SO Delicious!! (Cute profile too!)
 Awesome for hungry "boys" & the rest 
of your family and company too!!

Kosherfest Product of the Week: Action Nutrition Bars

When I tasted the Action Nutrition Bars at Kosherfest I was really surprised at how good they were considering that they’re so good for you, 100% natural, Cholov Yisroel, and as they say on the packaging – absolutely delicious!  Some of the bars are even gluten-free…great for the GFE (Gluten Free Eater).   They are a terrific grab-and-go healthy snack…I know because I grabbed one while on the go with my off-from-school kids this week.  And I didn’t feel one bit guilty eating it even though it was so delicious – because I knew it was good for me!  Thanks Action Nutrition!  You can find more information about Action Nutrition bars at

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,, 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!!

KosherEveryday is one of the finalists for the 
2011 CBS Most Valuable Blogger Awards!! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Shwarma - A Taste of Israel! Plus bonus: a review of Fresh & Easy by Leah Schapira with her Pita & Falafel recipes!!!

Shwarma Matten style!
When I’m not here at home in Chicago, my favorite place to be in the whole wide world is ISRAEL!!  When the plane lands at Ben Gurion airport, I really feel as though I’m coming home to the land of my ancestors!  I love the holiness of Yerushalayim – praying at the Kotel, visiting lifelong friends that have moved to Israel and made Aliyah, and of course being able to eat in nearly every restaurant in Jerusalem – because they’re almost all Kosher!  We love going to the outdoor shuk – Machane Yehuda, with its crazy chaos and amazing and unusual foods at bargain prices.  Even going to the local grocery store the Supersol (yes…I did remember to bring my Supersol frequent shopper card with me!) is an experience checking out all the new and interesting products as well as the familiar ones (like Heinz ketchup and Wacky Mac with Hebrew labels!).

Ben Yehuda's Moshiko's
Last week I had the privilege of going to Israel with my son.  It was an incredibly short trip – less than a week in Israel.  Our first order of business after checking into our hotel, is a family ritual – going to eat Shwarma!  I am a huge Shwarma fan, and no one makes Shwarma like Moshiko on Ben Yehuda in Jerusalem!  For those of you that don’t know, Shwarma is very similar to gyros. In addition to spit roasted lamb or turkey, the Shwarma’s in Jerusalem have your choice of hummus, charif (spicy sauce – we love charif!), and any combination of salads, pickles, french fries, and sauces – such as techina (I love techina!), all wrapped up in a large laffa (a huge pita like wrap).  I always ask for extra charif and techina and hope that the Israeli guys behind the counter don’t make too much fun of my Hebrew!  This year’s Shwarma didn’t disappoint – it was awesome!!  We even went back a second time the night we were leaving Israel!

It's Shwarma!!!
After all the walking we did, I didn’t feel too bad indulging in a few Marzipan incredible éclairs and rogelach (the best I have ever had anywhere), Aroma’s excellent hot chocolate (made with pieces of milk chocolate on the bottom of the cup!), lots of pizza, the best spicy hamburger ever at the Burger’s Bar in the Old City (we were on a budget!), and incredible Asian Teriyaki Salmon Pasta at Spaghettis in the Mamilla mall. 
Look for this sign for the best eclairs and rogelach in the world!!!
 Fresh spices in Machene Yehuda!
 I told you the Asian Teriyaki Salmon pasta was awesome!
Aroma hot chocolate - SO chocolatey!!
Burger's Bar Spicy Burger with everything! AMAZING!
English words written in Hebrew...can you guess what this says???
So, after such a short trip and not really being ready to leave Israel, I decided to bring a little bit of Israel to Chicago this week.  When shopping at the Supersol, we found packages of Shwarma Seasoning/Spices.  I was so excited I bought two!  Shwarma’s for the Chicago Matten family!!    I put together a whole Shwarma bar with chopped cucumbers and diced tomatoes (thanks Hindy Chopper!), hummus, techina, charif (of course!), pickles and French fries.  I cheated a little and made the Shwarma meat with dark chicken instead of turkey or lamb, because I knew it would cook relatively quickly and also was easy to get at my local butcher.  I coated the chicken with a little oil, a few tablespoons of the Shwarma seasoning, and baked it on a low temperature to keep it moist.
My family went crazy over them!!  They each got to pick what they wanted to put in their “Shwarma Laffa” just as if they were in Moshikos.  I had mine without the large laffa pita as a salad and it was still great.  Fantastic!  Now at least our family will have Shwarma’s to tie us over until our next trip to Israel!!

BTW….We also finally got to meet my favorite editor, Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith, who kindly gave us a tour of the Aish Hatorah facility in the Old City, and showed us the spectacular rooftop view of Jerusalem.  The view is incomparable, and if you’re ever in the old city I strongly recommend taking the stairs up to the top of Aish.
The breathtaking view of the Kotel (Western Wall) from the
top of the Aish Hatorah building in the Old City of Jerusalem!
Also...don't forget to check out the Kosherfest product of the week below: Fast & Easy by Leah Schapria!!
2 ½          pounds                               dark chicken, trimmed of fat
  1            tablespoon                          olive oil
  2            tablespoons                        Shwarma spice 
                                                         (plus more for covering missed spots)
                                                         non-stick vegetable oil spray

  1            large                                  onion, thinly sliced
  1            tablespoon                         olive oil
  1-2        pounds                                french fries -- baked
  16         ounces                                 hummus
  8           ounces                                 techina
  4           small                                   cucumbers, chopped (I use the Hindy Chopper)
  2           medium                               tomatoes, diced
                                                          pickles, sliced
                                                          coleslaw (optional)
                                                          schug – crushed red pepper paste-“charif”(optional)
  8            large                                   laffa pitas

Preheat oven to 275° F.   Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick vegetable spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss chicken with one tablespoon of olive oil and Shwarma spice, coating chicken completely.  Evenly place chicken on prepared pan. Sprinkle additional Shwarma spices on any parts of the chicken that weren't coated.  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, then shred into smaller pieces.

In a medium skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil.  Add onion and sauté until golden brown and slightly caramelized.  Set aside.

Place one laffa on a flat surface.  Spread with 2 tablespoons of hummus, then schug (optional), then top with chicken, vegetables, fries and any other additional desired toppings, ending with techina, leaving around 5 inches of empty laffa on the bottom.

Fold the bottom of the laffa pita over the filling, then fold one side over and roll into a laffa wrap.  Eat warm!

 All the ingredients to start....
 Bake the chicken slowly so it's moist...
 Sauté the onion until golden...
Dice the vegetables with the Hindy Chopper!
Cut up the chicken....
Is it Matten's or Moshikos?
Can you tell the difference?
Ok...this one's Moshikos!  It's SO GOOD!!!
 Here's the Matten version you can try at home:
First hummus on the pita...
Then the schug "charif"....
Now everything else!!! YUM!!
Rock & Roll time!
Now...can you tell which is Moshkos?
They just can't wait!!!

Kosherfest Product of the Week:  Fresh & Easy by Leah Schapira
One of the most exciting aspects of going to Kosherfest 2012 was getting to meet the great Kosher food writers of our time.  I was privileged to meet and speak to Leah Schapira who was introducing her new cookbook: Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking.  It’s a wonderful cookbook!  Each recipe is accompanied by a beautiful full page photograph, and every recipe is better than the next – mouthwatering and easy to make.  The recipes are also accompanied by useful notes and tips as well as interesting stories.

In honor of “A taste of Israel Week” in the Matten household I’d like to share with you two recipes from Fresh & Easy (reprinted with permission).  Next to Shwarma, what could be better than homemade falafel?  Leah Schapira makes it Fresh & Easy!!

Pita (Yield 8 Pitas)
2 ¼         teaspoons                          dry yeast
1 ¼         cups                                  warm water
1             tablespoon                         sugar
3             cups                                   flour
1 ½         teaspoons                           salt
2             tablespoons                        oil

  1. In a mixing bowl, place yeast, water, and sugar.  Add the flour and mix for 30 seconds.  Add salt and oil.  Mix on medium speed for 8-10 minutes.  If the dough looks too dry, add up to an additional ¼ cup water if necessary.
  2. Lightly coat a bowl with oil and place the dough inside.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel.   Let rise 1 ½ hours.  When the dough has doubled, punch down and divide dough into 8 pieces.  Roll each part into a ball. 
    Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, center a rack in the oven and insert an inverted baking sheet or pizza stone.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  5. Lightly coat your working surface with flour.  Using a rolling pin, roll out the balls of dough to 6-inch circles.  Lightly dust both sides with flour.  If you have trouble rolling out the dough, let it rest an additional 10 minutes and try again.  Cover the dough circles until ready to bake so they don’t dry out.
  6. Throw 2 ice cubes into the bottom of the oven, and place 3 dough circles on top of the inverted baking sheet.  Bake for 405 minutes.  Pita should puff up.  Remove carefully and let cool.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Falafel (Yield  75 Falafel Balls)
1              pound                               dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
                                                         water for soaking
1              head                                  garlic, peeled (12-14 cloves)
1              medium                             onion, quartered
3                                                       eggs
2              tablespoons                       dried cilantro leaves
1              teaspoon                            black pepper
1              scant tablespoon                salt
1              tablespoon                         baking soda
1              tablespoon                         ground cumin
2              tablespoons                        flour
1 ¾ - 2  cups                                     water
1              cup                                    breadcrumbs (or more as needed)
                                                         oil for frying

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in water.  For a quicker soak, place the chickpeas in a pot.  Add water until the peas are submerged beneath two inches of liquid.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let stand for 1 hour.  Drain.
  2. In a food processor or with a grinder, grind chickpeas, garlic, and onion.  Place mixture into a large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  3. Fill a pot halfway with oil.  Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Form batter into tight balls with a small ice-cream scooper.  Test-fry one ball; if it falls apart, add breadcrumbs.  Slip balls into oil, a few at a time.  Do not crowd.  Fry until golden on all sides.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Drain on paper towels.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,, 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!!

KosherEveryday is one of the finalists for the 
2011 CBS Most Valuable Blogger Awards!!