Sunday, August 19, 2012

August Kosher Recipe Link Up: Grilled!

Welcome to the second month of the Kosher Recipe Link Up! I hope you enjoyed reading through all of the Frozen Desserts posts last month and created some memorable summer moments full of sweet, cold treats!

This month's theme provides ample opportunity to create a few final memorable summertime moments, albeit in a warmer fashion...

Grilling!

While barbecuing and grilling are main methods of summertime cooking, growing up it was something that happened all of the time - rain or shine, winter or summer, hot or cold. My parents prepare dinner on the grill at least 4 nights a week, all year round, culminating in a special family dinner every Sunday. Setting up the vegetables or marinated meat to take outside or making sure that the trays are washed and ready for the food to be brought in, are all common activities in the kitchen late Sunday afternoon!

I absolutely love the flexibility grilling provides. You can make everything from meat to fish to vegetables outside and with the help of a little aluminum foil and a marinade you're good to go! No fuss and dinner ready in under an hour. And to top it all off, all the cooking, splashing, smells and mess take place outside, so the kitchen stays clean and all throughout dinner there's no lingering prep strewn about!

Since moving into my apartment, I can tell you barbecues have been missed dearly. Visiting my parents and standing outside by the barbecue in the backyard, drink in hand, spirits high and the smell of the food on the grill is my favorite way to spend summer evenings. I am incredibly, incredibly blessed to have such awesome and accommodating parents. In order to make sure that everyone gets to take part in Sunday dinner, my parents invested in a small charcoal (my favorite!) barbecue for me and M so that we could prepare the kosher variety of whatever the rest of the family is having for dinner! If they have steaks, my Mom makes sure we have kosher steaks as well. Same goes with everything else!  The bylaws for the area I live in restrict the use of barbecues, so this post is for those of you who are also missing out on backyard bbqs and are looking for a way to bring that summer staple into your apartments or homes! For this recipe, I used my handy Grilla which is fantastic for safe, indoor grilling!


At my parents house, grilling usually means steaks or vegetables. When I was trying to decide what I would share in this link up I was overwhelmed with all of the meat and vegetable recipes I've become so accustomed to. So I decided to challenge myself. I don't know what my parents will say about this, but I decided to work on a grilled dessert! (Truthfully, it most likely won't come as any surprise seeing as how dessert is my main contribution to Sunday dinners and usually all my weekly dinners comprise of!).

My absolute favorite aspects about the Kosher Recipe Link Up are the sense of community it provides as well as the encouragement and challenge to your creativity! When you know that so many wonderful Kosher Food Bloggers will be posting a recipe under one theme, you're pushed to go beyond the typical and that's what I tried to do here! As much as I love my grilled vegetables and steaks, dessert usually takes precedence!


In the spirit of the ease and relaxed nature of grilling, I've created a recipe that takes less than 15 minutes from initial prep to plating, requires barely any mess at all and provides all the smokey and summer flavor you could hope for! This can be served on a toasted baguette (bruschetta style!) as an appetizer before dinner or in a dessert shell as a fresh and sweet treat following your main course! You can find pre-made dessert shells in most large grocery stores, saving you that extra step of prep and allowing you more time to focus on the sun, company and memorable moments!

After walking around the produce section at the market, I realized that besides watermelon (which would be a bit too challenging to attempt to grill) peaches are the quintessential summer fruit! To fill 4 dessert shells, you'll only need one peach so not only is this a time and indoor grilling friendly recipe, it's also budget friendly!

Love it!

I started off by cutting a peach in half and scooping out the center.


I then diced half of the peach and sliced the other half.



Next it was time to make the crumble! This adds texture, flavor and a cohesive element to the dish, allowing everything to come together and meld, just like the best family barbecues! 


After mixing the crumble and diced peaches together so that the peach is completely coated, transfer the mixture to your grill! (If grilling outdoors, transfer onto aluminum foil, fold it up and place it on the top level of the grill). Add the sliced peaches to the grill at this time as well. They'll pick up the flavor without having been coated themselves. 



That's all there is too it! After 7 minutes of grilling, the peaches are ready to be transferred to their dessert shells or to a baguette!


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I enjoyed working on it! Be sure to take a look at the contributions to this month's link up and here's hoping they end up helping you to create a few final summertime memories! 

Grilled Peaches (Yields 4 Dessert Shells)

1 peach
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp quick oats
2 tsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla
Drizzle honey (approximately 1/2 tsp)

Cut the peach in half and scoop out the center.

Dice one half and slice one half.

In a small bowl, mix the white sugar, oats, brown sugar and vanilla. 

Drizzle honey over the crumble mixture.

Add the diced peach to the bowl and mix to coat.

Warm grill over medium heat.

Transfer the mixture to the grill. As mentioned before, if grilling outdoors, transfer onto aluminum foil, fold it up and place it on the top level of the grill. Add the sliced peaches as well.

With the oven on medium heat, grill the mixture for 7 minutes. Stir every once in a while to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Flip the sliced peaches occasionally, so that you maintain even grill lines.

Transfer the grilled peaches with a spoon into the dessert shells or onto a baguette. 

Enjoy! 




Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lasagna Roll Ups

Sometimes you've spent an entire day grocery shopping, tidying up, catching up on work (and y'know, blogs, Twitter and the like) and before you know it the, "what's for dinner?" question comes up... aaaand you're stuck.

At this point I discreetly hide my iPhone which has had me enthralled for the past hour or so, and quickly move to the kitchen to figure out what I can whip up quick that looks like I've put in some effort.

If it were up to me cereal would automatically be the answer to that question.

Or cake.

Cupcakes too, I don't discriminate.

But, alas not everyone (always) feels that way, so sometimes I need to make real food. Boo.

Now imagine this:

You start looking for "dinner recipes" online and classics come up that you love but the weather is a bajillion degrees and you don't want to turn on the oven for hours. Oh and you kinda don't have hours to make dinner either. And then, this brilliant idea presents itself, with all these wonderful promises in tow. For instance, let's say, whipping up a lasagna, start to finish in hmm 45 minutes or so.

Yes. Wonderful promises.

I came across an image on Pinterest that inspired me, and led me to Homemade by Holman's blog. The idea was there... but  my kitchen was lacking the ingredients.

I decided to start pulling what I could use out of the fridge and shortly thereafter I was well on my way to lasagna for dinner!

This dish is fantastic for a variety of reasons. It elevates the presentation of a slice of lasagna, is significantly easier to plate, and makes you feel all fancy and put together (a la chocolate cream filled cupcakes - yeah I'll be celebrating that one for a while). Also, it takes a fraction of the time to prep and cook, and this is quite possibly the first time I didn't have leftover lasagna! Additionally, I made this in my awesome toaster oven. I use this as my dairy oven and absolutely love it. With the temperature being as high as it is, it's great to place these lasagna rolls into the countertop oven, set it and wait to hear that fantastic ping without having to heat up the entire kitchen by turning on the oven!

You can adapt these to your liking! Opt for pareve cheese and add ground beef, sauteed in spices perhaps? Maybe even opt for an all veggie filling, sautéing your favorite vegetables, then rolling them up! My version was based on the ingredients I had on hand (and my preference for a dairy lasagna). It's completely adaptable to your liking - use the recipe I've posted below as a way to kick start your fantastic, super quick and easy dinner!

Enjoy!

Lasagna Roll Ups (5 Roll Ups)

1 c marinara sauce
1/2 c ricotta, crumbled (I placed the ricotta in a small bowl, and using a fork, stirred slowly to crumble the cheese)
1/2 c shredded cheese (I used a "pizza" blend mix)
1/4 c cream cheese
1 tbsp milk
1/8 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
5 lasagna noodles, boiled (make sure you haven't completely boiled them, keep an eye on it so that it won't be adversely effected when it goes into the oven)

Preheat oven to 350F
Place the boiled noodles in a bowl of cold water, to prevent them from cooking any further
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients until combined
Lay the noodles out flat on a cutting board or clean surface
Place 4 tbsp of the mixture along the length of the noodles (you're welcome to add more or less, just be careful not to overload the noodles or else you'll be left with a mess when you start rolling them up)
Picking up the corners of the end furtherest from you, roll the noodle towards you fairly loosely (basically not so tight that the mixture spills out)
Transfer rolls to a prepared baking sheet
Place a tbsp of the mixture on top of each roll as well as a pinch of shredded cheese
Bake in oven at 350F for 25 minutes