Traditional Matzo Kugel for Passover

Traditional Matzo Kugel for Passover

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What is Matzo Kugel?
Matzo Kugel is a pudding made often during the Passover holiday.  Although most people eat a sweet version of Matzo Kugel, prepared with fruit, eggs and nuts, they can also eat a savory version featuring vegetables.

 
Why do we eat Matzo during Passover?
During the eight days of Passover, observers should avoid eating five types of grains which rise:  wheat, rye, spelt, barley and oat.  The only exception allowed during Passover is eating one of these grains in the form of an unleavened flatbread, today known as matzo, matza or matzah.

Ok,…

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Bumbleberry Pie – Mixed Berries and Apple

Bumbleberry Pie – Mixed Berries and Apple

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What is Bumbleberry Pie?
At first I thought Bumbleberry Pie was a sweet baked good featuring bumbleberries.  Little did I know that a Bumbleberry Pie is actually a pie made with mixed berries (usually three types of berries), and sometimes includes apple or rhubarb.

My brother asked me to make a raspberry pie for his birthday.  He then added if raspberry was not possible, he’d like a blackberry or apple pie instead.

Fresh raspberries and blackberries can be expensive at this time of the year (springtime), even in California where tasty berries grown locally or in Mex…

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French Onion Soup in 45 Minutes

French Onion Soup in 45 Minutes

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Memories of French Onion Soup Past
I tasted my first real French Onion Soup at Cafe Figaro on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood as a teen.  My friends and I thought Cafe Figaro with its French bistro-style cuisine was so cool.  It had a good menu, reasonable prices and a European atmosphere.  Taking a date here helped gave me an air of sophistication.  Or at least I thought.

I must have tried French Onion Soup before hanging out at Cafe Figaro with my friends, yet do not have any earlier memory.   Unfortunately Cafe Figaro disappeared almost 20 years ago.  Its French Oni…

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Dandelion Pesto

Dandelion Pesto

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Why make Dandelion Pesto?
Dandelion pesto has brightened up many springtime dishes in past years.  In Belgium, I sometimes gathered the leaves of this wildflower from my backyard lawn to add to salads, soups and other dishes.

 
Dandelion greens grow wild
Picking dandelion greens are an annual tradition that marks the arrival of spring.  Although you can find dandelions all year long, the peak of their growth is during springtime.  Most dandelion greens go unnoticed, except to gardeners who get annoyed by the stubborn growth of this weed as it spreads across their…

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Fresh Red Beet Pasta

Fresh Red Beet Pasta

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Why Bother Making Fresh Red Beet Pasta?
Recently I developed a recipe for Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese, which was absolutely yummy.  Of course, I may be a bit biased.  So don’t rely on my word, try it yourself and see how delicious is this ravioli dish!

The red beets in the pasta make the dough a vibrant purple color, which will certainly make any plate look more attractive.  The red beets also add dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that will help you and your family remain healthy.  Contrary to common belief, red beets are not high in sugar;…

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Pumpkin Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese

Pumpkin Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese

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Why Not a Pumpkin Variation for a New Family Favorite?
During a stay in Kosice, Slovakia at the end of my Journey to Greece, I fell in love with a vegetarian red beet pirohy (pierogi) dish served with fresh spinach and goat cheese.  To discover more about my love story with this delicious wholesome dish, read my recipe for Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese.

While I was testing out recipes for Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese with one of my Belgian sisters, she started harvesting pumpkins from her vegetable garden.

 

 

As I l…

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Papoutsakia – Greek Stuffed Eggplants

Papoutsakia – Greek Stuffed Eggplants

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How do you Make Papoutsakia?
The Greek dish called Papoutsakia can be translated from Greek as the Little Shoes or the Little Slippers.  As charming the name may be in Greek, Papoutsakia are eggplants stuffed with seasoned ground veal and tomatoes.  Sounds simple, right? Well, they are!

 

My friend, Thomais, has kindly provided me with this recipe for Papoutsakia.  As you may remember, she has also taught me how to make Authentic Greek Pasticcio and Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes.  Click on the names of those dishes to find the corresponding recipe.  I appreci…

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Authentic Greek Pasticcio

Authentic Greek Pasticcio

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What makes this Pasticcio Recipe Authentic?
Greek restaurants all over the world prepare Pasticcio (also known as Pastitsio).  Not surprisingly, families and taverns all over Greece also make it.  Most families follow a recipe passed on to them by a dear family member and then adjusted over time to satisfy personal taste.

 
What is Pasticcio?
Those unfamiliar with Pasticcio may wonder what is this romantic-sounding dish.  The easiest way to describe it would be as a Greek version of lasagna bolognese.   This is not entirely fair as a comparison.

In Greece Pastic…

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Pasta with Fennel and Fresh Garlic

Pasta with Fennel and Fresh Garlic

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Pasta with Fennel and Fresh Garlic Makes a Quick Yummy Meal
Not everyone enjoys the strong-licorice flavor of fresh fennel.  It can be a bit overwhelming if you eat a lot of it in one sitting.

Fennel offers many health benefits, making it worthwhile to find ways to include it in your diet.  Full of good intentions, I often buy fennel at the grocery store and farmers’ market, hoping to find a way during the coming days to use it.  Chopped fennel with some slices of orange and a vinaigrette dressing makes an easy salad.

However, when cooked fennel’s pronounced taste beco…

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Wild Garlic Pesto

Wild Garlic Pesto

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Wild Garlic Pesto on Pasta is a Springtime Favorite
 
Memories Triggered by Wild Garlic
The sense of smell can trigger strong memories, no matter how faraway they may be.  Wild garlic, also known by many other names, such as ramps, spring onion, ramson, wild leek, bear’s garlic, and wood leek, is probably my most faithful olfactory trigger.  Wild garlic is not actually a variation of garlic, but rather a variation of leek.

At 16 years old I lived on a farm in Belgium as an exchange student.  Farm life was different in almost every way from my life in Los Angeles….

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Pumpkin Bread Tried, Tested and Tasty!

Pumpkin Bread Tried, Tested and Tasty!

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What recipe makes my Pumpkin Bread a Fall Favorite?
 
My Faithful Pumpkin Bread Recipe
By now you know that I love pumpkin.  Making food with pumpkin is how I connect best with the season of autumn.   Every year tradition calls me to make pumpkin bread at least once.  My kids love it and are always asking me to make it.

I’ve been using the same faithful recipe for almost 30 years. Of course, I’ve tried other recipes, such as one calling for cream cheese to give the pumpkin bread more of a cheesecake finish. Another recipe suggested chopping up and dropping in som…

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Tomato Tarte Tatin

Tomato Tarte Tatin

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Tomato Tarte Tatin is Simply Elegant
 
What is a Tarte Tatin?
You have probably heard of Apple Tarte Tatin (tarte tatin aux pommes), the French version of hot apple pie.  Slices of apple caramelized in a pan on the stove or in the oven before placing puff pastry dough on top and baking it further.  Before serving the pan is turned over so the pastry is on the bottom and the hot caramelized fruit on top.

Although tarte tatin is often made with fruit, a savory version made with vegetables can be just as delicious.  A few months ago I shared on this site my recipe f…

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4 Vegan Tomato Soups

4 Vegan Tomato Soups

4 Vegan Tomato Soups to Sustain you through Winter
During the winter I enjoy a hearty soup that will nourish me, warm me up and keep me satisfied for hours.  Something about adding tomatoes to a soup gives it an extra earthy flavor.  It’s also a wonderful way to add a shot of vitamins and fiber to your diet.

I love making soups all year round with fresh and canned tomatoes and other vegetables, grains and beans.  In general, soups are inexpensive to make, take little time to prepare and remain available for serving over a couple days.

Here are 4 Vegan Tomato Soups from among the recipes…

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Vegan Pumpkin Dumplings

Vegan Pumpkin Dumplings

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What makes Vegan Pumpkin Dumplings a Fall Favorite?
A couple years ago when I started my Vegan Before 6:00 diet I was looking for new fun ways to prepare vegan main dishes.  Around that time I was practicing how to make homemade dim sum.  I kept trying new dim sum recipes so I’d get the techniques down.

As many of you know, I love pumpkin during the fall, especially in savory dishes.  So creating a new fall favorite with pumpkin put a smile on my face.  When a friend came over for lunch I prepared these Vegan Pumpkin Dumplings and instantly fell in love!

The filling is…

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Handmade Wonton Wrappers

Handmade Wonton Wrappers

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Why Make Your Own Handmade Wonton Wrappers?
Wonton wrappers are known by several names:  dim sum wrappers, dim sum skins, and dumpling skins, among the most common  Yet in the end this single basic Handmade Wonton Wrapper recipe will help you prepare yummy dim sum dumplings to eat steamed, grilled or fried.

There are other types of dough for other types of dim sum.  To make make buns you will need a dough with a leavening agent, such as yeast or baking powder.  For dumplings to boil in wonton soup, you will need a sturdier dough usually made with eggs added.  Last there i…

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