Cajun Salmon Tacos with Persimmon Salsa

Sometimes recipes happen by accident. And sometimes those are the best ones.  Like this one.

For the second day of rosh Hashanah I planned on serving tacos, and filling them with whatever meats I had leftover from the previous meals. Because, really anything you stuff inside a taco tastes good. Amiright?

Well, what I did not plan for was having extra mini tacos shells leftover. So, shabbos day, in addition to my crab cakes I decided to fill my leftover shells with some of my leftover cajun salmon. Perfect right? Wrong. 

Why is that wrong? Because tacos ALWAYS need a salsa. My first days, meat filled tacos, were just fined with a dollop of garlic mayo and some crunchy shredded cabbage because I was able to reheat the sauce from thew meat and that moistened the whole thing. But shabbos day, I could for sure not heat up a sauce so I needed a salsa. 

And thats when it hit me. I had 3 beautiful, orange, fall-esque persimmons sitting in my fridge. I chopped them up, threw it together with a bunch of other salsa-must ingredients and boom. 

The perfect Fall time Salmon Taco. 

I knew was recipe I had to share so I made it again after the holiday, just so I could “photograph” (quotations b/c I only pretend to be a food photographer), and share the recipe with you all. 

For the taco shells I used wonton wrappers that I fry with my handy dandy taco shaper, that you can buy here from amazon. It actually pretty fast to fry them up and they really make the best taco shells. Plus, after they cool you can store in them in an airtight container for up to a week and the will stay fresh! I know, magic! 

I also halved the cajun salmon recipe because really you don’t need a whole side of salmon to fill 40 tacos. Half a side will do just fine. Which, FYI, also makes this recipe super economical! 

You can also totally skip the taco shells and just serve the salsa right on top of the salmon! 

However you do it, make sure you do! It’s the perfect fish appetizer for Succos. 

And the colors, oh the colors. They are so appropriate for the beautiful fall season. Besides being delicious they’ll also look soooo pretty in your Succah’s.

To assemble the tacos place a few pieces of the salmon inside the taco and top with a teaspoon of persimmon salsa.

For the printable Cajun Salmon recipe click here

For the printable Persimmon Salsa recipe click here

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Rosh Hashannah Salatim

For me salads are the best part of any meal. I love those cold, refreshing, crunchy bites in between all the hot food. Making salads on the other hand is the worst!

I force myself to make them on a daily basis because I love them and when I make them on my own I get to put in them exactly what I want. However, I would say that any salad that is not cut up and chopped by me is already halfway there to being my favorite salad. 

In an effort to make sure theres tons of cold crunchy veggies on my Rosh Hashannah table this holiday, I made a bunch of salads today that can stay in the fridge and get better everyday they sit! This way if I’m too tired or busy with kids, I at least know I can pull these out!

I made a carrot salad, a fennel salad, a sweet and sour type of eggplant salad, a garlic confit and a bunch of dips to put on the table at every meal. 

I hope everyones cooking is going well and can’t wait to see what you all made!

Happy Cooking!

For the printable Moroccan-y Carrot Slaw recipe click here

For the printable Fennel and Apple Slaw recipe click here

For the Pickled Eggplant and Onion recipe click here

For the printable Garlic Confit recipe click here

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APPLES AND HONEY MUSTARD CHICKEN

     

This chicken dish needs very little explanation. Its description is in the title. 

It’s just the right amount of sweetness, with a touch of tartness, moist and succulent on the inside, crispy on the top and most importantly takes less then five minutes to prepare. 

I even made more of the honey mustard mixture today so that on Friday all I have to do is cut up the onions and apples. The mixture could stay in the fridge for at leas 10 days so why not get ahead?

The only thing I will do differently next time I make this is that I will make double the amount. 

Oh, and maybe add some fennel to the onions and apples on the bottom bc I 💜 fennel. 

But thats it. 

Happy crunch time everyone!

For the printable Apples and Honey Mustard chicken recipe click here

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BOURBON APPLE TURNOVERS

     

Every year I make these and I’m always switching up the “wrapper” that holds the treasure of the most delicious apple filling. I’ve use everything from puff pastry, to phyllo dough to wonton wrappers. And you know what, they’re all awesome. 

This year I discovered frozen pie dough and I am officially hooked. I’m usually more of a “from scratch” person but when it comes to baking, especially marathon holiday baking, I’ll take any shortcut I can get. The pie dough is so easy to use and so yummy that I decided to use it as my “wrapper” for the bourbon apple filling. 

As happy as I am with the results of the pie dough I am still a firm believer that no matter what you put on the outside of the bourbon apple mixture it will still be the best form of apple you eat this entire fall.

Why?

Because. 

BOURBON. 

Which ever wrapper you choose to make it in, all options are freezer friendly. Just fill ’em, seal ’em tight, and freeze ’em. Lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan, freeze till hard, then transfer to a tourer ware or ziplock bag. 

To cook them, remove them from the freezer and while STILL FROZEN lay them on a baking sheet to defrost. (If you wait till they are defrosted to separate and place them on the baking sheet it will be much harder). Once defrosted egg them, sprinkle some sugar and bake away!

Happy cooking everyone!

For the printable Bourbon Apple Turnovers recipe click here

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BOURBON BRAISED RIBS

   

I love everything about this dish. It’s meaty, really well balanced in flavor, sticky in the best way possible and completely addictive. 

I use this sauce on so many cuts of meat that I really hope you play around with it. If you’re more the pulled beef type, no problem. Just use a brisket instead of ribs, cook it at a little bit of a lower temp for a little longer and, BOOM, the best pulled beef ever! Say your family are corned beef lovers? Prepare your corned beef the usual way and then use this as your sauce! In fact you can even pour it over chicken. It’s that good!

It doesn’t take long to make and these ribs freeze really well so I definitely suggest making a huge batch and freezing it. Then you can go back to the kitchen, cook the million other dishes you need to prepare for all these holidays all while having the piece of mind that you already have at least one killer meat done!

Happy cooking! 

For the printable Bourbon Braised Short Ribs Recipe click here

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Chicken Pot Pie

 

       

What’s  crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside, filled with tons of veggies and protein, still kid friendly, freezes well and is beloved by all? 

Well, if the title didn’t give it away, I’m not going to tell you! 

Just kidding. It’s…..

CHICKEN POT PIE

I don’t make it often enough, but every time I do I say the same thing to myself. “Oh, this really is so easy. I’m going to start adding this into my dinner rotations.” But, then the holiday season ends and I vow not to make a single thing we ate during that season for at least month. Due to having children extenuating circumstances, my memory is not what it used to be and by the time my yuntif food hiatus ends, I forget all over again how easy it is to make chicken pot pie. Which is hugely unfortunate. Because really, chicken pot pie rocks!

I wrote you all a very large recipe. Large enough to make 3 very large pie dishes, or 4 medium ones. So that if you too forget how easy it is to make you’ll at least have a stockpile of them in your freezer for a rainy day. Literally a rainy day, because there is nothing better then hot and creamy chicken pot pie when its freezing and pouring outside!

All the freezing instructions are in the recipe, so click the link and get cooking! 

Happy endless cooking month everyone! 

✌🏻💜&🥕,

Danielle

For the printable Chicken Pot Pie Recipe click here

 

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So Simple Salad Dressing Recipes

                 

               

I really don’t consider myself a food snob. I’m a lover of chinese food, eaten straight out of the box and a firm believer that no chocolate chip cookie recipe will ever compete with the ones that are made by just adding 3 ingredients to the mix that comes out of the red box (if you don’t know what I’m referring to, we can’t be friends). But, and this is a huge but, some foods, NEED to be homemade. On the top of that list is salad dressing. 

Home made salad dressing are a huge pet peeve of mine. They are really easy to make and taste significantly better. 

So many times, including in restaurants, the salad dressings taste so artificial and just not good. Not to mention the atrocity that is bottled salad dressing. That stuff is so gross! I recently had the pleasure (read: misfortune) to taste test a bunch of them. Let me just say that some of them were really difficult to get down and totally gag inducing.  They have a weird tangy sweetness and in my opinion, always just tastes off. 

But have no fear. A good salad dressing is actually sooooooo simple to make. They require virtually no prep time and can usually be made with regular everyday ingredients you already have in your house. 

As part of my movement to rid the world of bad salad dressings, I decided to give you all a bunch of really yummy and easy recipes. 

Before we dive into individual recipes though lets just talk salad dressing basics. There are a few fundamentals to a good dressing that really everyone should know. Once you know these principals you can pretty much stop reading this, because you will be able to make your own dressings, from scratch with out a recipe. 

But keep reading anyway because I actually spent time writing them out for you. Thanks, mwa.

Lets start with a vinaigrette. These are the lightest of all dressings. On the simplest level they’re merely any kind of acid (think lemon, lime, vinegar etc.) whisked together with oil salt and pepper. It’s usally a 2:1 ratio of oil:acid and in my opinion are the tastiest! They are flavorful but still light enough to allow you to actually taste the vegetables you are pouring them over. Plus, because the amounts of acidic fruits and vinegars out there is tremendous, the flavor combinations are endless. Which means you can basically have a different salad dressing every night and never get bored. 

Then there mayonnaise based dressings. From here you can go into directions. You can start by making your own mayo or used a store bought mayo as a base. I personally do both, depending on how much time I have. In my mind as long as the flavors are balanced both options are perfectly acceptable. Balancing flavors though is where it gets tricky.

When you make your own homemade mayo you can control the amounts of salt, sugar and lemon you use to make it, which makes it easier to balance the flavors after. Store bought mayos on the other hand come ready made, which means you have to TASTE them before you use them. Every brand tastes different. Some are sweeter, some are blander, mustard-ier (I’m copywriting that word), theres just no way to know unless you taste it! So, even though using mayo out of a jar saves time on the making-the-mayo step, you really need know how to adjust the recipe to suit which brand you are using. (*Sidenote-this is why you have to taste as you go along, even when you follow a recipe exactly because, like in this case if the recipe calls for mayo, if you don’t know what brand they used its may not taste the same). 

Once you settle on which mayo you are using you need to figure out how to flavor it. Now, in my mind the biggest offense of any salad dressing is when someone adds sugar or honey where it does not belong. Let me say this again, because this is insanely important. 

NOT ALL SALAD DRESSINGS NEED SUGAR OR HONEY.

In fact, most of them do not. Once in a while you may need a drop of honey or a pinch of sugar to balance out the tartness of a very strong vinegar that will over power your veggies however, most of the time it is completely unnecessary. It takes the beautiful, bright, fresh dressing you just made it and turns into something that tastes like it came out of a bottle. I don’t know when it became acceptable to put sugar in a caesar dressing but it needs to stop. Of the six dressing recipes I gave you only 1 contains honey and its because it needs it. Without it, the turmeric is too strong and overpowering. 

When flavoring a mayo I like to always start with my acid. From there I add in any garlic or onions and the season liberally with salt and pepper. Mayonaisse is very forgiving, so if you add too much of one thing, don’t worry about it. Just take a deep breath and figure out which ingredients you can add a little more of to balance it out. 

The last category of dressings is actually not a category at all. Its the NON-DRESSING DRESSINGS. What is that? Thats all the things that are not technically salad dressing but yet, can be used as one. Think techina, chumus, pesto etc. These are fun because they add variety to our regular arsenal of dressings.

Personally, of all of them techina is my favorite so, I’m going to include a basic recipe for that here also. But even within the techina world, you can totally individualize it. Add harissa for some middle eastern flavors, spice it up with a fire roasted jalapeño, go korean by dropping in a spoonful of gochujang, or add a handful of herbs for a green techina. 

Now that you have an understanding of what goes into, in my opinion, the two (but sort of 3 if you cont non-dressing-dressings) schools of dressings you can easily whip up a quick and easy salad to go along with your dinners.

Just incase you don’t feel like making up your own  though, I am giving you my easiest and most family friendly recipes. They are extremely versatile so feel free to play around and personalize them to your liking. 

Hope this posts makes your life a little easier and significantly more delicious! 

Peas out, 

Danielle

                      

For the printable Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe click here

For the printable Raspberry Vinaigrette recipe click here

For the printable Roasted Garlic Dressing recipe click here

For the printable Caesar Dressing click here

For the printable Turmeric and Preserved Lime Vinaigrette click here

For the printable Tehini recipe click here

For the printable Creamy Sesame Dressing/Dip recipe click here

For the printable Carrot Ginger Dressing click here

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Mulled Wine

Holidazzzzzzzze.

Drink enough of this and that is what will happen. 

An overwhelming feeling of deep relaxation will wash over you and any awkward, inappropriate or just really annoying things that family members may say to you at your annual party will simply slide right off your back.

Some call this alcoholism. I call it smart planning. 

Any time a bunch of people that love you and think they know what’s best for you gather in a room together, where you happen to also be, they feel like it’s their job to help you “fix” your life. This, of course, never occurs with my own family, since mine is a very quiet and reserved bunch. But, I know that this is a common problem and, anyone that knows my family, knows what a huge lie that is. There is no shortage of “I-could-do-a-better-job-at-your-life-than-you-do” personalities in my family. So, I get it.

The truth is that only people that really care about you and actually want you to succeed in life act like this. They are also the same people that forgive your bad jokes, tell you when you have food in your teeth and run over to watch your kids when you are sick. It’s with these people in our lives that a simple game of taboo can turn into a gut-wrenching, hours-long, laughter-fest that we can hopefully spend our holidays with. 

During these mostly nice and beautiful, but sometimes overwhelming parties, it’s always nice to have something warm on the stove to keep everyone satiated. It doesn’t hurt when that something makes your whole house smell like winter spices and contains some alcohol.

So, this holiday season keep everyone happy and make a huge pot of mulled wine. 

Peas, Love & Happy Holidays,

Danielle

For the printable Mulled Wine recipe, click here

 

 

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Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Crispy Potatoes

 

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Sometimes, in life, all we need is a huge, fatty, pre-historic looking hunk of protein. And when that happens to me, not just any meat will do. I need the meatiest, most succulent, incredibly tender and packed with flavor protein ever. That can only mean one thing…

LAMB.

Not just any lamb, but a whole roasted lamb shoulder. It is so good that truthfully if you just stuck into your oven for a few hours with out any spices or seasoning it would still taste good. But, if you want to up your lamb game this is the way to go.

I have no idea how this idea popped into my head. I was racking my brain trying to come up with all sorts of ways to cook my lamb. My first thought was to put it in a huge roasting tin on top of the potatoes.

Oh, sorry. Let me back up a minute. We need to talk about the potatoes.

Lamb has tons of fat. When you cook the fat it melts. So, you could either let all the fat sit in the bottom of the pan, or you can use that fat to flavor something else. Therefore, potatoes.

Ok, back to the lamb.

I could have just plopped it on the potatoes and let it cook like that, but then what about the bottom of the lamb shoulder. I wanted 360 degrees of lamb crispiness with a completely tender inside. Then it hit me. Why not use my actual oven rack as a way to cook my lamb. This way I can allow the heat to reach the entire lamb evenly, and I can catch  all those amazing fat drippings! Then I though, wait!!!! Why catch the drippings in an empty pan when my potatoes can soak up all the salty, earthy, fatty goodness! So, that is exactly what I did.

And it was AMAZZZZZZZZING!!!!!

 

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It was sooo good! The outside of the lamb was seasoned incredibly and was irresistibly crispy. The inside was oh so tender that we were actually pulling the meat of the bone with our fingers. And the potatoes. Oh. Those potatoes. Crispy, crunchy, salty, soft on the inside, and completely addicting. 

I went with very traditional lamb seasonings. I have to say, I was a bit nervous about the rosemary, because I often find it very overpowering but it worked so well here. The lemon zest, although not traditional, balanced the rosemary and the earthiness of the lamb so well. It really all came together to make a show stopping main course. 

With the winter rapidly approaching, we’re all going to need a meatfest pick-me-up every now again to help keep us cozy and warm! 

For the full and printable Roasted Lamb Shoulder recipe, click here

 

 

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Pumpkin Pie Babka with Lotus Spread Crumbs

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What do you get when you cross the fall with jewish holidays? Pumpkin pie babka. Duh. Its the perfect marriage between the warming spices in a pumpkin pie and the sweet yeasty babka dough. 

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Lets be real, though, for a minute. Most regular pumpkin pies are pretty gross. They usually end up resembling something closer to a baby food pie than anything else. The only good pumpkin pies are the ones that basically don’t look like pumpkin pie at all. They’re topped with mile high mounds of sweet crunchy pecans, crumbled ginger bread cookies or mountains of whipped cream. The soft but not smooth texture of a plain ol’ pumpkin pie just doesn’t cut it. 

The flavors of a pumpkin pie, on the other hand, are AMAZING. Have you ever noticed that every single food in the supermarket that could be turned into pumpkin pie flavor, comes out in the fall? From Oreos to lattes, jello to teas, and energy bars to granola you can basically buy a pumpkin pie in any form.

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So, what do you do when you want to make your own pumpkin pie to serve at the end of your amazing holiday meals? Do you just buy a pack of pumpkin spice oreos and call it a day, or do you serve a mushy baby food version of pumpkin pie?

No way!!!!!!!!!

You take a piece of your challah dough (or you buy a pre-made dough), and you roll up your pumpkin pie into the most comforting of desserts. A huge yummy, warm babka. Then, as if babka-fying your pumpkin pie wasn’t enough, you then decide to up your game a little more and take it over the top with a lotus cookie spread crumb. Now every bite of your pumpkin pie babka is accompanied by the most delicious crumb topping that is laced with the deep dark buttery (but not dairy) caramel-y flavors of the lotus biscoff cookies.

So, this holiday season, that falls out in the depths of apple picking and pumpkin eating season, change things up a little and  turn your pie into a babka!

For the printable Pumpkin Pie Babka recipe, click here.

 

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