Category Archives: recipes

The Easiest Latkes You’ve Ever Had! A Tradition in the making…

DSC_1171Everyone knows Hanukkah means Potato Latkes fried in oil. Horror stories about bleeding knuckles scraped up from grating potatoes are aplenty. Except in my childhood house.

My mother always made these delicious fried pancakes in the blender; instead a thick puree fried to the same golden brown donned our Hanukkah table.

Aside from being oh so much easier…and safer, I always wondered why. Why do our latkes look different? I finally got the courage to ask why. The answer was so simplistic, it almost seemed silly.   “Well,” said my mother, ” when I got married, I got a blender and that recipe came in the enclosed cookbook.” And that is how traditions are made.

This is truly the easiest latke recipe you will ever find.   I hope you make them for your family.

Happy Hanukkah!



2 eggs

1 small onion, quartered

1 small onion

2 tbl. flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

3 cups peeled and cubed RAW potatoes (I use Russet potatoes)

Vegetable or Corn Oil to fry

Sour cream (optional)

Applesauce (optional)


  1. Put the eggs, onion, salt, flour and baking powder in blender with 1/2 of the potatoes. Process on high until potatoes have gone through the blades.


  1. Add the rest of the potatoes and puree on high until the mixture is a thick puree.


  1. Heat up oil in a non-stick pan.


  1. Add small ladles of puree in the hot oil until crisp around the edges.   Flip and fry the other side.


  1. Drain hot latkes on paper towels.


  1. Serve latkes hot with sour cream and applesauce.




Some More S’mores Please!

I am not a sweets lover.   Give me a bag of potato chips and I’m a happy camper.  That was until my friend Jen brought over her scrumptious S’mores Bars.

I wanted just the slightest bite from one of my kids bar.   After taking the bite, the sky opened, the harps played and I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  The slight bit of salt mixed into the sweet and sticky marshmallow, and that nostalgic bite of a Hershey bar all combined perfectly by a not overly sweet graham cracker  dough.  OMG!!!!!

Certainly this incredible mash-up must have been hiding in someone’s recipe vault for years.  I had never …ever…heard of S’mores Bars before.  But alas, it wasn’t.  Jen found it online.   She said her twins were wanting S’mores a lot and she just didn’t want to deal with the whole process of making them again and again.  Building a fire or lighting the grill,  finding something to roast the marshmallows on.  And the sticky finger mess of two young kids…yup… I AGREE 100%.

Whatever magic led her to this amazingly delicious treat, I’m so thankful for it.  So now let’s get cooking!


Baked S’mores

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (approximately 7 full graham crackers)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 or 3 super sized Hershey chocolate bars (plain)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.   Grease bottom of an 11×7.
 In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.

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 In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs ,baking powder and salt.

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 Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until combined.
 Divide Dough in half. Press half of the mixture into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.

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 Place chocolate bars over dough in a single layer.   You may have to break up the bar to make it fit.

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Spread marshmallow fluff evenly over the chocolate layer.   Hint, grease your spreader with non stick spray or butter so it doesn’t stick too much.

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 Place remaining dough in a gallon size zip close baggie. Using your palms, or a rolling pin, flatten the dough out the full width and length of the baggie.   Use scissors to cut three sides of the bag and open it up carefully and flip it on top of the marshmallow. Carefully peel the bag up.   SPread the dough where it is uneven.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into the bars.






Recipes, Recipes, Recipes!

I am a recipe hoarder.  There.  I said it!  I love recipes from cookbooks, recipes from the local food section (what’s left of it anyway), recipes from magazines, recipes from food tv cooking shows and recipes from the internet.  I can’t seem to get enough.  I print them, cut them, file and store them.  Once in a while, I actually try them.

My family loves new recipe days.  A delicious home cooked meal waiting for them to return from their daily activities. Something different. Something creative.  I love these days too.   The problem is they seem to come fewer and far between lately.  The heat of summer just hasn’t made me want to cook ANYTHING!  The insanity of our weekly schedule has hardly afforded me the energy to sit down and plan anything unique.

I think often about the movie Julie & Julia.  The film where Amy Adams, who plays Julie, starts on an adventure to cook through the entire collection of Julia Child’s first cookbook.  She subsequently blogs about her daily adventure.   I would love to try something aspiring like that.  The only problem is I just can’t see myself cooking rabbit, offal and other questionable meats. I mean eeeeew!  Maybe one day, I’ll cook myself through my thousands of recipes.

Motivation to try a new recipe, however, arrived last week thanks to The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.  I love her recipes.  They usually involve way too many steps and pots and pans.   But she posted this soup recipe that intrigued me.  Ten Can Soup.   That’s it.  Ten Cans.  Oh…and some Velveeta Cheese Product.

By personal choice, I usually don’t open a lot of cans and I avoid anything that includes  a word indicating it is processed.  But what the heck, I thought I’d give it a try.  And I am so glad I did.  My family loved it.  Ad I literally put it all together in less than 15 minutes TOTAL!


            Here is the recipe.   Drop me a line and let me know what your family thinks.


1 can meat only (no beans) chili  ( I might use two next time)

1 can 15oz. kidney beans

1 can 15 oz. pinto beans

1 can 15 oz. black beans

1 can 15 oz. diced tomatoes

1 can 15 oz. corn (she used, as did I, Fiesta Variety)

1 can 10 oz. Rotel

Salt and Pepper to taste

8 oz. Velveeta, cubed.

Without draining the cans, dump them in a pot over high heat. The chili, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, diced tomatoes, corn and the Rotel.

Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.   Add salt and pepper as needed.

Dice the cheese and stir it in.

Serve immediately.

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Yup, that’s it!  Enjoy!!!!

Happy Birthday Tradition

We like to use the apple peeler-corer-slicer tool

We like to use the apple peeler-corer-slicer tool

Traditions are huge in our family, and none more important than the Annual Birthday Breakfast in Bed Tradition.

This luxury began when I was young.   My parents would knock on our door and wake us up, singing Happy Birthday and carrying a tray with eggs or pancakes adorned with whipped cream and maraschino cherry happy faces.  Every Mothers Day, Fathers Day and birthday.  So it seemed natural to continue this tradition with my own family.

Each family member gets their favorite breakfast delivered to them annually.

My husband, being a simple guy, enjoys his bagels with lox and cream cheese.  We often try to spice it up with fruit and maybe some other smoked fish or whatever gourmet treat we can find.   (Mainly to make it look special, but also out of some secret guilt that the only effort other than shopping for the ingredients is to cut a bagel in half.)

Me?  I am partial to Eggs Benedict.  Since I am gluten free, my husband has created his own personalized  version of it for me; a perfectly poached egg placed delicately on a nice crispy hash brown and some imported prosciutto, topped with an extra lemony hollandaise sauce.   Heaven.

The kids count down the days until their favorite breakfast.  A puffed Apple Pancake.    Nothing else.   This light soufflé-like, oven-baked egg dish is full of fresh apples bathed in butter and brown sugar.   It is similar to what is often referred to as a Dutch Baby or a German Apple Pancake.

According to, “The word “Dutch” comes from a mispronunciation of “deutsch,” not from Germany’s northern neighbor. The Pennsylvania Dutch migrated from southwestern Germany and Switzerland in the 17th and 18th centuries.”

Researching the actual orgin and history of this breakfast food will make your head spin.  No one can agree exactly where or when or who created this masterpiece.   The origin of my family recipe was from a diner in San Diego, California called Ricky’s Family Restaurant.

This little hole-in-the-wall breakfast joint was a “Must” for all our family vacations in San Diego when I was growing up.    It’s one of those places that evokes so many memories and so much nostalgia when you walk in.  You just know most of those waitresses were there when you were ten.  I couldn’t wait to take my own family there.

Anyways, after the first visit or two, my parents went on a mad search to find that recipe.  While my mom never re-created it exactly, she got pretty close.   This is the Gershman-Wiesen version that has been served up for close to four decades.  I hope you get to serve it to your own loved ones for many special occasions.

6  eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cups flour

3 TBL. sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 lb. butter

2 apples

5 TBL. brown sugar.

2 TBL. cinnamon

Pre-heat 425 degrees.

In the deep dish pie dish, melt the butter with the brown sugar and cinnamon.

We use our deep dish baker from Pampered Chef.

While you wait for the butter and brown sugar to melt together, peel and core the apples.  Then cut them into thin slices.

We like to use the apple peeler-corer-slicer tool

We like to use the apple peeler-corer-slicer tool

Add apples to pie dish and coat with butter and brown sugar mixture and return to oven for 10 minutes.

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In blender add eggs, milk, flour, regular sugar, vanilla and salt.   Blend until all mixed up.

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Gently pour the egg mixture over the apples in the pan and return to oven for 20-25 minutes.

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The sides should puff up like a soufflé and the center will be slightly firm.

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Baba’s Eggplant

I love watching the Food Network and the Cooking Channel.  Save for those silly “game show” style competitions, I could watch it all day long.  And have.

Perhaps it is my love to try new recipes or my love for learning about family traditions and cultures, or maybe even my silly dream to have gone to culinary school.

So I suppose it might not surprise you that I was watching Food Network in the dentist office a few weeks ago.  Although I do watch it during my cleanings, this time it was my son’s turn.  I was in the waiting room.  What surprised ME was my reaction.

I was watching Trisha Yearwood’s show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen.  I just love the things she cooks and the stories she tells.  This episode was about her childhood hero, Olympic Gold Medal winner Nadia Comaneci and her medal winning husband Bart Conner. In the episode, Trisha had invited them over for lunch and made a whole gold medal inspired lunch, pork medallions, pineapple upside cake and her family’s traditional grits.   Nadia brought one of her traditional dishes,”Salata de Vinete” or eggplant salad spread.

I saw the picture and I turned to my 18 year old and screamed, “That’s my baba’s eggplant!”  I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Perhaps I should shine a little bit of light on the excitement.  My baba was an old fashioned cook, as most of our grandmothers were.  She cooked three meals…good old fashioned food.   Since she died when I was 12, most of my memories of her are of me standing on a chair watching, or helping her prepare dish after delicious dish.  I inherited most of her recipes. One of my most treasured possessions.

As much as I remember her eggplant, I don’t EVER remember her making it.  The only reason it even evoked any emotions is that my great aunt (my grandmother’s sister-in-law) Judy loved that eggplant.   Decades after my grandmother died, Aunt Judy was on a mad rush to find the recipe.  She talked about it every single summer, nearly every week, as we drove on our annual pilgrimage to the Hollywood Bowl.   I was somehow determined to find it for her.    Judy now has Alzheimer’s.  Our Bowl trips have stopped.  And darn it if I’m still determined to re-create this eggplant dish for her.

So back to Nadia.   She’s from Romania and my ancestors hail from that neck of the woods.  Well, Russia to be exact, but I’m sure they must share recipes.  The thing that sold me on this dish was just how Nadia made it.  She didn’t whip out her food processor or her modern tool-chopper to puree the eggplant.  She used a regular old chef’s knife.  Just one.   And she chopped and chopped, almost in a haphazard manner, until the baked eggplant was finely minced, almost mashed.

That’s how they cooked in the “pre-Cuisinart” times.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore my food processor.  But there is something magical about the way things used to be done.

Next stop, bringing it to my Aunt to see what kind of warm memories it evokes in her.

Nadia’s Eggplant Salad Spread

2 medium eggplant

1/4 cup olive oil (+more if needed)

2 TBL. lemon juice ( I used 3 or 4)

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 TBL mayonnaise

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Dill for garnish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Pierce the eggplant skins in several places with a fork.  Set the eggplant on a baking sheet and roast until the eggplant is soft and the skin is charred. (about 30-45 minutes)

When done, cut the stems off of the eggplant.  Cut a slit along the side of each eggplant and transfer the eggplants to a strainer for a couple of minutes to allow the juices to drain.

Finely chop the eggplants with a knife until they form a smooth puree.  Add the eggplant puree to a bowl and stir in the olive oil and lemon juice.   Add the onion and mix the mayonnaise, adding more if needed.  Season with salt and pepper and garnish with dill and refrigerate for at least one hour to chill.

To see what else was cooking in Trisha’s kitchen go to