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The Themes Are … Passover and Easter!

Posted by in Holidays, The Theme Is...

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Passover and Easter!

 
Today, we’re going to feature some of our recipes here that could potentially find their way to your Passover table (like Ree’s Passover Brisket above), or your Easter celebration (like the Easy Easter Egg Bird Nests from taracooks, also in the photo above). And no, we’re not going to accomplish this dual-themed post with a re-enactment of a certain someone’s offering of a honey-baked ham after being invited to a Seder.

Let’s start with some recipes for Passover. This would be a good time for me to add the disclaimer that, despite my little honey-baked ham jab up there, I am in no way an authority on Jewish or Passover cooking. So this post called for quite a bit of research, but I was glad for the time spent learning what I did. The one thing I took from all that was, as specific as the restrictions are, there still is a wealth of possibilities, and the best approach is to focus more on what you can have rather than on what you can’t.

For example, most vegetables are fair game, which would mean the Maple Orange Glazed Roasted Vegetables from myrecessionkitchen would be a wonderful addition to the meal. (Be sure to use pure maple syrup, as imitation versions may contain corn syrup, which is a no-no.) Jaden’s Ginger Orange and Curry Roasted Chicken is another delicious option, as are copykat’s Charoset (of course!), a simple Pot Roast from Ree, and a lovely Country Borscht from mixedlovers.

 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Passover and Easter! (Passover Dishes)

 
 
 
While most desserts call for flour or other kinds of grain, that doesn’t mean dessert time is a time of deprivation. For one, all fruits are fair game. And if you’re in the mood for something like a frozen treat, why not try sweettooth’s Healthy, Impossibly Easy Banana “Ice Cream” below? Believe it or not, it has only one ingredient: frozen bananas. Or you can do a Carrot Kugel courtesy of elanaspantry, or snack on some fabulous Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons from ashleymac. (It does have condensed milk, so just make sure you use a can with a “Kosher for Passover” label, and wait long enough after your meal to enjoy it so you’re not mixing dairy and meat at the same meal.)

 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Passover and Easter! (Passover Dessert)

 
 
 
For those celebrating Easter, I found some lovely choices for you, too. Of course, when we think of Easter, usually the first thing that comes to mind is ham. And we’ve got a delicious Southern Honey-Baked Ham here that’ll fit the bill. Or you can whip up a Show Stopping Cranberry Ham Glaze and impress your guests.

Did you know how ham became associated with Easter? Apparently, since they didn’t have refrigeration back then and meat wasn’t a popular commodity during the Lenten season, all the meat that they had left over from the winter was cured in order to help preserve it. And right around the end of the Lenten season was when the meat was done curing, and so ham became a natural and popular choice for Easter celebrations.

It’s amazing what you learn doing research.

For this post, I thought maybe we could find a different way to present the traditional Easter ham. So I thought I’d show you the pretty Ham and Cheese Egg Cups by jodiemo below, which would be great for an Easter brunch. Another traditional Easter food is pretzels, because the shape of the pretzel resembles two arms clasped together in prayer. And I thought we’d veer a bit from the usual sweet bread and instead highlight some Cheesy Homemade Pretzels from Karenpie.

Since Easter and spring are so closely associated together, we’ve got some nice spring recipes from our theme post last week that would make great Easter dishes. Or you can also make a lovely Spicy Asian Slaw with Napa Cabbage, Carrots & Ginger Dressing from cookincanuck, which would go well with either a nice Easter ham or some Broiled Lamb Chops with guinness BBQ Sauce from patiodaddio.

Of course, scalloped potatoes are almost a given as an Easter side. Individual Scalloped Potatoes from The Noshery are a wonderful spin on the classic, and something those little hands can easily handle. And I couldn’t do an Easter roundup without including an Italian Easter Pie from thegoodlifegourmet.

 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Passover and Easter! (Easter Dishes)

 
 
 
Finally, if there’s one thing that says “Easter” loud and clear, it’s the candy for the kids—the Easter eggs, bunny cupcakes, and marshmallow peeps. Like the White Chocolate Easter Eggs from Cooking Ventures in the photo below, that almost look too good to eat. For the grown ups, how about some carrot cake, served up in cupcake form? Adults and kids alike will want to grab some Carrot Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting from multiplydelicious. Or get all colorful and festive and make some Rainbow Finger Jello from tarverine. Just looking at a bowlful of that is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face!

 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Passover and Easter! (Candy)

 
 
 
And that’s our theme roundup for today!

So what are you up to this week? Are you observing Passover? Celebrating Easter? Or maybe it’s neither of those and you’re just looking for something seasonal to make. Why not shout out your meal plans? As I said earlier, I’m no expert on anything, and I’d love to hear what’s traditional in your household. The Tasty Kitchen community is so diverse, and I just know there’s so much I can learn from everyone. I can’t wait to see your comments!

 
 

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Meet Elana

Posted by in Meet the Member!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Elana of Elana's Pantry.

 
If you’ve ever needed to search Tasty Kitchen for gluten free recipes and have been pleasantly surprised to see how gluten free eating can look so gosh darn mouthwatering (as in the case of the Double Chocolate Orange Torte pictured above), then chances are, you’re familiar with Elana’s recipes. And if you never thought there’d ever be any mention of the mafia in a Tasty Kitchen member profile—and I’m not referring to those suits who supposedly show up at your door to settle “sauce vs. gravy” debates—then chances are, you haven’t read Elana’s story yet.

Today we’ll get to meet another one of Tasty Kitchen’s most prolific members: elanaspantry. Elana has always led quite an exciting life, from bartender to entrepreneur, venturing out as an environmental consultant and starting her own company Ecosav. She was involved in setting up waste management and recycling programs all over New York City and the Eastern Seaboard, cutting their clients’ costs by a considerably percentage. She says, “I was threatened by the mafia … still, it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed helping companies do their share for the environment.”

And you thought I was kidding about the whole mafia bit, weren’t you?

Elana goes on to explain that, just at the peak of her success, she suddenly found herself raising a small family in New York City. Except, it wasn’t what she wanted; she wanted to raise her sons in the same kind of simple environment that she knew growing up in Northern California. And so she and her family moved to Colorado, with Elana already looking for a new venture to embark on that was relevant to her new role as a mother.

When Elana and her son were diagnosed with celiac disease, she took on the challenge of cooking gluten-free food that was delicious enough to make her husband look forward to coming home for dinner. What we are enjoying from her now is a result of her passion for making food that isn’t just good for the body but actually tastes good, too. And if you need any more convincing, just take a look at some of these desserts.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Elana of Elana's Pantry (Dessert)Clockwise from top left: Lemon Rosemary Mini Muffins, the incredibly intriguing Cabernet Sauvignon Cookies, delightful little Lemon Lavender Cookies, a festive Gluten Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Cheesecake, and some seriously decadent Chocolate Espresso Power Bars.

 
 
 
Elana’s favorite ingredients include almond flour, agave, and vanilla, and you’ll see that many of her recipes above use them. But Elana’s repertoire doesn’t just include gluten-free desserts. Her entrees and soups are just as delectable, and it’s no wonder that even those who aren’t on restricted diets ask her for her recipes.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Elana of Elana's Pantry (Soups and Entrees)Clockwise from top left: Salmon Kabayaki, a delightful Coconut Chicken Soup, a simple yet flavorful Grilled Chipotle Orange Chicken, and a grain-free Chicken “Noodle” Soup with zucchini noodles.

 
 
 
Cooking gluten-free full-time also means you have to find acceptable substitutes for common ingredients, condiments, or sauces. Although she lives within walking distance of two organic grocery stores, that hasn’t stopped her from fashioning her own homemade versions of a few kitchen staples, as seen below. (She also has an awesome Creamy Onion Dressing and Tangy Peanut Sauce that are a hit with her sons.)

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Elana of Elana's Pantry (Homemade Ingredients)Clockwise from left: Kale Almond Pesto, Roasted Chicken Stock, and Marcona Almond Mayonnaise.

 
 
 
Of course, this former bartender also has some awesome drink recipes in her recipe box. From a simple and comforting Hot Homemade Apple Cide, to a creamy Pina Colada Smoothie or a unique and surprisingly refreshing Ginger Cilantro Green Shake, you can certainly see that’s she’s just as interested in keeping the body clean as she is committed to keeping the environment clean.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Elana of Elana's Pantry (Drinks)

 
 
 
Speaking of keeping the environment clean, she may have moved to Colorado and transformed herself into a cookbook author and food blogger, but she does still run an environmentally sound household. She composts and recycles, makes her own cleaning products, and has recycling bins in just about every other room in her house. She cheerfully admits that her family thinks that she’s crazy, but adds that she doesn’t mind. “Life is good,” she says.

It certainly looks good from here.

And now, it’s time for the best part of these posts, which is when we get to ask our guest of honor some questions. Let’s get right to it!

 
 
Q: What do you enjoy most about cooking?
A: Eating. And after that, it would be hanging in the kitchen with my children—they very often come to help out.

 
Q: Any favorite chefs or food celebrities? Who inspires you?
A: Bubby made the most amazing matzo ball soup; she is my inspiration.

 
Q: What is the strangest food or food combo that you really, really enjoy?
A: Toasted seaweed (nori) for breakfast.

 
Q: What ingredient or technique/method gives you the most trouble?
A: Everything. Though I have not ever made anything with yeast and rising time. I refuse.

 
Q: What is your favorite kitchen tool?
A: My Vita-mix. We make smoothies all day.

 
Q: Give us one of your favorite kitchen tips that you wish you’d always known.
A: Store everything in glass jars. They’re cheaper, prettier and utilize vertical storage space.

_______________________________________

 
Thanks for answering our questions, Elana! Aren’t you glad we didn’t ask you about the mafia? I did consider it, but decided I wanted to live to see the end of this post.

 
To see more of Elana’s amazing recipes here at Tasty Kitchen, pull up a seat and browse her recipe box that’s packed with all sorts of wonderful goodies! And do visit her blog, Elana’s Pantry, for more of her recipes, as well as information about her cookbook, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, which was heralded by the Denver Post as “One of the Best Cookbooks of 2009.” She also offers cooking classes in the Boulder, Colorado area, and you can find all the details on her website.

 
 

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The Theme Is … Spring!

Posted by in The Theme Is...

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Spring! (Risotto Primavera, from Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman)

 
Ah, finally. Spring has sprung, at least for many of our members. It’s the season when we say goodbye to winter coats, snow shovels, and early sunsets, and start saying hello to those green things coming up from the ground, the sound of birds chirping, and rain showers instead of snow.

The advent of spring also means some of our favorite fruits and vegetables come into season. It’s when those young leaves and shoots of edible plants start emerging from the ground, and eventually end up in our plates as “field greens” or “spring mix.”

One of the lovely vegetables that enjoy their peak season in spring is asparagus. Did you know that a serving of asparagus (1 cup) will give you 114% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin K? It’s also loaded with folate, and vitamins A and C. We’ve got a wealth of recipes here that make use of this wonderful vegetable, so now that it’s in season, why not give some of these a try?

 

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Spring! (Asparagus)Clockwise from top left: Creamy Chicken Asparagus Soup from taracooks, Asparagus with Goat Cheese Dressing from whatmegansmaking, Soba Noodles with Grilled Sea Scallops and Asparagus from steamykitchen, Patsy’s Marinated Asparagus and Hearts of Palm posted by Ree, Meyer Lemon-Scented Farro and Asparagus Salad from activefoodie, and a beautiful Asparagus, Gruyere and Parmesan Tart from whatsgabycooking.

 
Of course, there are a lot of other vegetables also coming into their peak during spring. Like artichokes, which are high in fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, and phosphorous. They’re multitaskers, and they look pretty, too. Fennel is another one that really loves the spring, and it’s loaded with antioxidants. Vidalia onions and radishes are also at their sweetest and crunchiest in the spring, as well as new potatoes, peas, and beautiful greens like crisp lettuce and arugula.

 

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Spring! (Spring Vegetables)Top row, from left to right: Fennel in Bechamel Sauce with Parmesan Cheese, Radish Pickles from muskegharpy, and Grilled Salad from patiodaddio. Middle row, from left to right: Potato Parmesan Soup with Parsley-Fennel Pesto from runningwithtweezers, Swiss Chard and Caramelized Onion Tacos from ashleyrodriguez, and Artichokes with Orzo Salad from wynk52. Bottom row, from left to right: Lamb Chops and New Potatoes from bell’alimento, and Arugula Soup with Goat Cheese from A Cozy Kitchen.

 
Of course, with the abundance of the spring harvest, we don’t have to limit ourselves to featuring just one or two vegetables in a dish. After all, the dish named after the season, Risotto Primavera (in the photo at the top of this post), has all the lovely fresh vegetables of spring in it. So why not go on a true “spring mix” spree and combine all your favorites in one dish, whether it be in a salad, soup, or a nice hearty casserole?

 

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Spring! (Vegetable Medleys)Clockwise from left: Mixed Greens with Oranges and Balsamic Steak from goodlifeeats (hint: now would be a good time to grab some navel oranges, because they’re ending their season right about now), those wonderful Springy Shells from Ree, and a creamy French Spring Soup from barefootbelle.

 
Aside from vegetables, spring also ushers in the season for some lovely fruits, like strawberries. We’ve got tons of recipes here using strawberries, and not just as dessert items. There’s a delicious Fresh Strawberry Vinaigrette from butterbean, and a refreshing Strawberry Salad with Spicy Pecans from callimakesdo.

 
I’ll also mention strawberry’s usual partner rhubarb here, although rhubarb is technically a vegetable. But they like each other and play together all the time, so who am I to separate them?

 

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Spring! (Fruit)Clockwise from top left: Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam from kathyingreendale, an impressive-looking Strawberry Pizza from oneordinaryday, a beautiful Strawberry Meringue Pie (Lovebird Pie) from Farmer Gal, wonderful Rhubarb Ginger Peach Muffins from Tracy (Sugarcrafter), and an elegant Strawberry Crostada from Karly Campbell.

 
There are so many things to look forward to now that spring is here! Of course, the specific vegetables and fruits that come into season around this time will really depend on where you live. So tell us! What are you looking forward to cooking in the coming weeks? Do you have any favorite ingredients that are just coming into season? Or maybe there’s that one special dish that just reminds you of spring and makes your heart sing. We’d love to hear from you!

 
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few more strawberry recipes that can help you celebrate the new season. To me, nothing says “finally, some warm weather!” quite like a refreshing drink, or a frozen treat. Here are some of my favorites.

 

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Spring! (Strawberries)Clockwise from top left: An irresistible ButterYum’s Strawberry Sorbet from, you guessed it, ButterYum, a thirst-quenching Strawberry Basil Lemonade from whatsgabycooking, and a tantalizing Meyer Lemon Strawberry Ice Cream from Dandy.

 
I hope you enjoy the season, wherever you may be. Happy Spring everyone!

 
 

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Globalize Your Pizza

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Globalize Your Pizza. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

 
Restaurant chains like California Pizza Kitchen or Wolfgang Puck’s make a killing out of gourmet pizza creations, and it is pretty fun to explore different flavor combinations that veer off the standard pepperoni and cheese combo. The problem is, most of these gourmet pizza creations are not by the slice. So, if you’ve got a family of four, you’re pretty much stuck with ordering just one or two … and most likely if you’ve got a husband like mine, one of them is bound to be sausage and pepperoni.

Instead of going out to eat pizza, we have pizza parties at home. I know many of you love to make your own pizza dough; sometimes when you’re pinched for time or are lazy (me), another alternative is to buy pre-made flatbreads or naan bread. The naan flatbread is personally my favorite. It’s got that nice satisfying chew similar to pizza crust.

I’ll lay out an entire table full of aspiring pizza toppings, and each person can make their own mini pizza. The kids have a blast assembling their own me!me!mine!domyself! dinner (are your kids in that stage too?).

My husband … well … he’s forced to go all wild and crazy with artisan pepperoni and chicken-apple sausage. What a good sport—he plays along anyway—but I know he’s thinking: “Meat. Woman. Just want plain meat.”

So I wanted to throw out a few global pizza ideas for toppings. All of them start with flatbread brushed with olive oil all over, which is then baked in the oven for 7-10 minutes at 400F.

 
Japanese (photo above)
Sauté a combo of thinly sliced shallots and Japanese mushrooms, like enoki, white beech, shiitake, or king trumpet with a little butter and a touch of soy sauce. Assemble the pizza with a base of shredded cheese and then sauteed mushrooms. Bake and then sprinkle julienned shiso leaf (or a basil/mint combo) on top. Shiso is a Japanese fresh herb also known as perilla.

 
Thai
Saute chicken breast strips with a bit of soy sauce and honey. Assemble the pizza with cheese of choice, then chicken. Bake and top with chopped peanuts, crunchy fresh bean sprouts and fresh cilantro.

 
Moroccan
Brush a thin layer of harissa sauce (a Moroccan red pepper sauce that you can find at gourmet markets) and cheese of choice. Add whole roasted garlic, olives, sliced red bell peppers and maybe sliced dried apricots that have been rehydrated in warm water (and drained). Bake.

 
Argentinean
Hmmm … how about sauté sausage with bell peppers and onions, then assemble the pizza with cheese, followed by the sausage/peppers. Bake and before serving, drizzle just a bit of chimichurri sauce on top.

 
Tell me more! I want to hear your global pizza ideas!

 
Here’s a list of countries. GO!

 
 
_______________________________________

Jaden Hair is a food writer, television personality, and food photographer based in Tampa Bay, Florida. Find more of her recipes in her blog, Steamy Kitchen, where you can also read more about Jaden’s new book, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook, and the rave reviews it’s received!

 

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Murphy’s Hot Hamburger

Posted by in Step-by-Step Recipes

I almost fell over when I came across this recipe on Tasty Kitchen. Submitted by AlishaGibb, the recipe’s from an old (and still open!) haunt in my hometown called Murphy’s. I can’t even begin to adequately summarize what it is about Murphy’s that’s so wonderful. The burgers…the garlic salad dressing (I have that recipe,…

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Meet Vince

Posted by in Meet the Member!

  Look, another boy! And this one brought some outrageous Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls with him. Which makes him both incredibly creative and evil at the same time. I think we’ve waited long enough to be properly introduced to the man behind those decadent rolls. Everyone, meet Vince, known ’round these parts as cookingventures. One look […]

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In Case You Missed Them

Posted by in Looks Delicious!

Jaden’s step-by-step Scallops ‘n Pasta. I want this for breakfast right now.       Magical Butter Sauce. This makes me want to cry, it looks so good.       Don’t forget to try these delicious Funnel Cakes, especially if you’ve never tried a Funnel Cake in your life. It’s an experience.    …

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Magical Butter Sauce

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

  I think everyone should have a magical butter sauce recipe up their sleeves. One that you can pull out of a hat in an instant, without even looking the recipe up. Don’t know what to make for dinner and don’t have time to think? Take any ingredient, sear, steam, broil, grill or even microwave […]