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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Passover Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Last night marked the official start of Passover so I spent yesterday in the kitchen helping my mother with the cooking for the first Seder. My mom is pretty much a Seder pro at this point and has got the chicken soup and brisket down to an art so she left me in charge of the side dishes.

This dish was new this year, but will definitley become part of our regular Seder repertoire. It is served at room temperature which makes leftovers perfect to take to work for lunch instead of the typical matzah and cheese which ends up being crumbs by the time lunch hour rolls around.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Serves 12 as a side dish
  • 4 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • juice of one orange
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 green onions, white and green, thinly slice
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • salt and pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the sweet potato with 1 tbsp. of the olive oil and salt and pepper. Place onto a baking sheet and roast until golden and tender, tossing halfway through, about 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together remaining olive oil, maple syrup, orange juice, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
4. Remove potatoes from oven and slightly cool.
5. While still warm, toss potatoes with parsley, onions, pecans and raisins. Pour the dressing on top and set aside.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ravioli with Sweet Corn, Leeks and Bacon

With its bright colours and light sauce this pasta dish is a delicious way to welcome spring!!!

This sauce goes great with fresh Fettuccine as well.

Ravioli with Sweet Corn, Leeks and Bacon
Serves 4
  • 4 ears of corn, shucked, kernels removed
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 lb. package of ricotta and spinach ravioli
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. In the meantime, in a blender or food processor combine 1 cup of the corn kernels with the broth and cream. Blend until combined and set aside.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add the bacon and cook until just starting to crisp. Add the leeks, garlic and thyme. Cook until softened and the leeks are lightly brown, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the red pepper and remaining cornand cook until pepper is soft and corn is cooked through about 3-5 minutes. Pour in the broth mixture, stirring to combine. Lower heat and let simmer while you cook the pasta.
  5. Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  6. Check the seasoning of the sauce and adjust with salt, pepper and hot sauce, stir in parsley. Toss the seasoned sauce with the drained pasta and top freshly grated Parmesan cheese before serving.


      Thursday, April 7, 2011

      Weekday Cooking: Peanut Chicken Stir Fry

      I had a friend ask me the other day how she can make the process of making dinner during the week easier. Like a lot of us she was having a hard time getting home from work at 6pm and then having to come up with a delicious and hot dinner in a reasonable amount of time. The key to being able to cook fast is to plan ahead. I know it is easier said then done but if you can plan your meals at the beginning of the week and have all the ingredients available it will make the process much easier. A great weekday meal is stir fry. It is perfect because if you have time the night before, you can slice the protein, cut up all the veggies and have the sauce ready to go all in separate containers in the fridge. When you get home from work all you have to do is cook some rice and toss everything together in a pan.

      This stir fry is delicious and is very versatile. Feel free to switch up the chicken with anything you have on hand like beef, shrimp or tofu, and to add any veggies you want or have on hand.

      This stir fry is perfect with some steamed rice or noodles or as I made it tonight as a filling for lettuce wraps.

      Peanut Chicken Stir-Fry
      Serves 4
      • 2 tsp. cornstarch
      • 1 Tbsp. mirin (Japanese cooking wine, you can use sherry or any sweet wine you have)
      • 2 Tbsp. water
      • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
      • 1 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
      • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce (I used vegetarian oyster sauce)
      • 1 tsp. sesame oil
      • 1 tsp. sugar
      • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
      • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into small cubes
      • 1 tsp. minced ginger
      • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
      • 4 green onions, sliced
      • 1 red pepper, chopped
      • 1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
      • 1 (8oz) can, sliced bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
      • 1 (8oz) can, sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
      • 1 cup roasted peanuts
      1. In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch, mirin, water, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Set aside.
      2. Heat a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add 1 Tbsp. of the oil and chicken and stir fry until almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
      3. In the same pan add the remaining oil, ginger, garlic and onion and stir fry until softened and fragrant. Add the mushrooms, peppers, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and peanuts and stir-fry for a minute longer. Add the chicken back into the pan and pour over the stir-fry sauce. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.
      4. Remove from heat and serve with steamed rice or wrap up in crisp iceberg lettuce leaves.

      I am now Tweeting!!!!

      I have now entered into the year 2011 and officially joined Twitter.

      Make sure to follow me @elyseleanna to keep up to date with my blog posts as well as other quick tips for the kitchen!

      Tuesday, April 5, 2011

      "You Can't Beat a Babka!"

      For those of you who are Seinfeld fans you will know what I am talking about when I say "you can't beat a babka". It was my Mom's birthday this weekend so my family gathered for a celebratory brunch. My mom requested a French Toast Casserole  but I wanted to bring something else as well. Instead of heading out to a bakery only to be left with a cinnamon babka with a hair on it like Jerry and Elaine I decided to make my own chocolate babka. I found a great recipe from Martha Stewart and went to work. The best part was that the recipe makes 3 loaves and the loaves can be frozen prior to baking, so now I have a couple of babkas in my freezer ready to go for a last minute event.

      This babka was delicious!!! It was super chocolaty and the streusel topping finished it off perfectly. If you have a free afternoon, I highly recommend getting in the kitchen to make some of this chocolate babka!

      Find the recipe here:

      Deb, from Smitten Kitchen also attempted the recipe, which you can find here: , her post includes some pictures which helped make the recipe a little easier.

      Saturday, April 2, 2011

      Hearty Kale, Sausage and White Bean Soup

      I know it is Spring, but it is still pretty chilly out so I decided to warm up with a hearty soup for dinner tonight. This soup is delicious, filling and nutritious!

      Hearty Kale, Sausage and White Bean Soup
      Serves 4
      • 2 chicken or turkey sausage links, casings removed
      • 1 tsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
      • 1 spanish onion, chopped
      • 1 clove of garlic, minced
      • 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
      • 1 tsp. paprika
      • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
      • 1 small bunch of kale, roughly chopped
      • 1 can white cannelinni beans, drained and rinsed
      • salt and pepper to taste
      • Parmesan cheese for garnish
      1. Heat a large sauce pot over  medium-high heat. Add the 1 tsp of olive oil and the sausage and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the sausage to a bowl and set aside.
      2. In the same pot add the remaining oil, onions and garlic. Saute until onion is soft, lower heat and continue to cook until onions are golden and caramelized. Stir in red chili flakes and paprika and cook for 30 seconds more.
      3. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil, add kale and beans and simmer until kale is wilted.
      4. Add in sausage with its juices and continue to simmer for five minutes.
      5. Skim off any excess fat from the top of the soup, season with salt and pepper and serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan on top.

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