Recent Posts

Gluten Free Sufganiyot

Gluten Free Sufganiyot

What??? Yes, you read it right. I’ve been toying around with this for a while now…how do I make GF donuts so that my Celiac-suffering friends and family can enjoy this Chanukah treat beloved by so many? This recipe gives you all the flavor of […]

Light and Fresh Corn Soup

Light and Fresh Corn Soup

I must confess, I have a corn obsession. I love corn – raw, boiled, in a souffle, as a soup. I love it. I know, we’ve heard alot about the evils of corn. And yes, when it is processed down to its parts for corn […]

Why you should VOTE!!!

Why you should VOTE!!!

Every time there is an election, I get excited. We live in a country where we are free to choose our government officials – the very people who will make decisions that impact our lives on a daily basis. We are also free to speak our minds and share our thoughts and feelings on each candidate (as well as anything else we want to put out there for the world to see and hear). So today, I ask that you do your civic duty. We don’t have many of those! You may not like either candidate, but if you are an adult with the freedom to choose, I hope you will make the effort and make a decision.

Pick someone who you feel will best represent this country and your vision of how it should function. Pick the person you feel most qualified to uphold the duties of president. Pick the person with the best hair. Just pick someone and cast your vote.

Every vote counts. You may think that your voice doesn’t matter because everyone else is voting anyway. That is not the case! By not voting, you place the decision in the hands of strangers. Strangers who may or may not agree with your choice. You give away your right. A right that has been fought for countless times in the last few centuries. A right that we must never forsake or take for granted. Our country was built on the desire and need to be able to select our public officials. We have lost too many lives to this cause. Please. Let’s pay respect to all those who have fought for our right to vote. And if you won’t do it for that, or for yourself, do it for everyone else. We’re all in this together. No matter who wins, we must move forward together to build a better future for all.

This morning, my daughters came with me to the voting booth. It was exciting – the parking lot was jammed, the polling place was full of people…Luckily, it was well run and the process was quick (under eight minutes).

Election Day
Casting our vote

It’s important that they understand from a young age that we must all play our part. Each election shapes history, whether it’s a vote for president or the local school board. Talk to your kids. Explain why you are voting for your candidate. Have an open discussion about politics, our government, and elections.

In their school, my girls are learning all of these things. Every class is voting today (obviously, not in any real sense) and gaining an understanding of leadership and social studies. My Kindergartner was so excited that we voted in the real booth that she begged me to come into her classroom to see the voting booth they had put together. Here she is, voting for the second time today:

Election Day
Voting in Kindergarten

So, please vote! And also, please be kind. I may not agree with you about the president, but I still respect you as a person with an important opinion. Let’s not make things personal against each other. I hope today is a safe and peaceful day with record voter turnout. May the best person win and may we start tomorrow off on a positive note with a new course for history.

Another bun in the oven?

Another bun in the oven?

I have some exciting news to share. Nope, I’m not pregnant, though it does feel like I just delivered a baby… My first cookbook is published and available for download (ebook) and order (hardcover)! Seasoned Moments | Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur: Recipes for a Happy […]

The Chocolate Cake for Everyone

The Chocolate Cake for Everyone

More and more, I hear from friends that they have a food allergy or that their child does, which makes playdates, birthdays and dessert-time very challenging. The other day, we had a friend over. Her mother hadn’t mentioned any food sensitivities, but it got me […]

Opening Alert: American Cut Bar & Grill

Opening Alert: American Cut Bar & Grill

It’s been a few years since we moved out of New York City and we are still discovering the New Jersey dining landscape. To say it doesn’t compare to NYC is hilarious, I mean who are we kidding??? In a one block radius, NYC beats the dining options of most states, if not countries! Needless to say, we head back into the city often. However, we HAVE done a fair share of eating out in the great state of Joizee and there are a few great options. Now, there’s one more!

On Tuesday, we were lucky enough to test out the brand spanking new Marc Forgione restaurant – American Cut Bar & Grill. Today, it opens officially to the public, so you can go check it out for yourself.

Chic and industrial but warm and comfortable, too.

First off, the space is really beautifully done – industrial but warm. A nice big bar and ample seating in the dining room. Even better, there are some great private dining options to boot. OK. That’s lovely, but how’s the food???

The first thing you get is the everything biscuit. And it sure lives up to its name! Imagine that an everything bagel made sweet, sweet love to the flakiest Southern biscuit. Mmmmmm, mmmmmmm, good…the veggie cream cheese served with it is divine and only enhances the flavors.

I want these every single day
I want these every single day

These biscuits were so amazing that I attempted to copy them the very next day. Unfortunately, it happened to be my first time ever making any sort of biscuits.

My version…I’m going to rework the recipe and try again.

Apparently the recipe I followed (and changed a bit) was not right because although they were flaky and pretty, they did not have the same texture and depth of the ones at American Cut.

Anyway, back to Tuesday night…I knew that if there was this much care and effort put into the bread, the rest of the meal was bound to be great.

I feel like we tasted a good sampling but I’m excited to keep going back to try everything! We started with the hamachi and chili lobster. The tartare really brought us back to the good ole 90’s when we loved going to Tropica for their raw tuna. It was spicy, creamy and bright. The lobster (a riff on Zak Pelacchios’ chili crab) was finger lickin’ good. Thank goodness for that Texas toast so that none of the heavenly sauce went to waste.

For the main course, we split a burger and grilled shrimp. Yum and yummer! The burger was a thick, juicy slab covered in beer cheese on a sturdy briochey bun. We got it with a side of homemade tater tots because YES! The shrimp were ginormous, skewered and dressed with the best oil, parsley and garlic concoction. DELISH!!!

Finally, there was dessert. There was one obvious choice that literally jumped out of the menu and yelled, “ME! ME! ME!” That was the CrackerJack Sundae. Holy moly this is my fantasy dessert come to life. Popcorn ice cream, caramel swirls, peanut brittle and caramel popcorn. I may need to go back JUST for this dessert. We also ordered the banana tart. It was really good, but it was completely outdone by that sundae. I’m drooling a little bit looking at this picture and remembering how delicious it was…

Run, don't walk, to order this awesome treat!
Run, don’t walk, to order this awesome treat!

Get thee to American Cut! It’s a great place and the food is wonderful. Such a great addition to the North Jersey dining scene. Listen, even if you live in NYC, it’s worth the trip. It’s just a couple of minutes from the George Washington Bridge and has ample parking (and tons of Ubers waiting to take you home).

Holy cow! I mean, chicken…

Holy cow! I mean, chicken…

Call me crazy, but I was afraid of roasting a whole chicken. I had different reasons not to try it – it is just as cheap to buy a roasted chicken at Fairway/Wholefoods/Other grocery store as an uncooked one; roasted chicken is dry; I was a […]

An Asian Twist to an Old Classic for Chanukah

An Asian Twist to an Old Classic for Chanukah

There has been a frying fiesta going on in my house. Chanukah celebrates the miracle of just a tiny bit of oil lasting for eight whole nights. It is only appropriate to give oil a central role in this holiday. Therefore, the two cardinal foods of […]

Simply the Best: Carrot Cake and Clementine Cupcakes

Simply the Best: Carrot Cake and Clementine Cupcakes

My family watches lots of cooking shows, but the girls have really fallen in love with Cupcake Wars lately. They watch the same episodes over and over, marveling at the ideas, the challenges and the presentation. On Sunday, my seven year old decided that she wanted to have a Cupcake War of her own. So, she came up with a concept – a carrot cake cupcake with clementines. Since I had to help with the execution, I needed to figure out how we were incorporating this magical ingredient. We talked it out and came up with…carrot cake cupcakes, topped with clementine frosting and candied clementine peel. Needless to say, everyone jumped on board, especially my four year old who calls this particular citrus fruit “Clementime!”

We set to work. I have a luscious carrot cake recipe, so that part was easy. The girls pretty much did this independently. I only stepped in to make sure that their quantities were correct, but they measured, grated, mixed and poured all by themselves. This is a great activity!!!

Grating the carrots in the food processor makes the task quick and tidy
Grating the carrots in the food processor makes the task quick and tidy
bump to bean carrot cupcake (4)
Gently mixing the ingredients
bump to bean carrot cupcake (5)
Using spoons makes the job easier
Only fill the cups 2/3 of the way!
Only fill the cups 2/3 of the way!

 

We worked on the frosting for a bit until we got it just right. The candied peel took the most time. If you’re going to candy stuff, I suggest you make a big giant batch. It takes lots of time and keeps well in an airtight container. What I do is this – each time I peel any citrus (lemon, lime, orange, clementine), I reserve the peels in a bag in my freezer. That way, you can make a bundle of these in one shot.

Boiling the peels in simple syrup
Boiling the peels in simple syrup
Roll the peels in sugar
Roll the peels in sugar
Finished product drying on the rack
Finished product drying on the rack

 

The candied peels definitely give the whole thing a refined twist, but if you have no time (or desire) to make them, a slice of clementine makes a pretty adornment to the top of the cupcake. Go ahead and make these, but beware – they are addicting!

carrot cake

bump to bean carrot cupcake (1)

 

INGREDIENTS
3 1/4 cups grated carrots
1 1/3 cup oil
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten

 

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a food processor, grate your carrots. You can also do this by hand.

In a large bowl, combine the grated carrots and the oil. Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and stir until just mixed. Add the beaten eggs and stir just until combined.

Grease a cupcake tin or use paper liners. Scoop the batter, filling each cup about 2/3 of the way up.

Bake for 15 minutes, then test. Each oven cooks slightly different, so make sure they are golden brown. I also use a skewer to make sure they’re not runny inside.

Cool cupcakes before frosting.

clementine frosting

INGREDIENTS
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup salted butter (half a stick), softened
Zest of two clementines
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
orange food coloring if desired

INSTRUCTIONS
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, zest and vanilla on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and blend until light and creamy (around 3 minutes).

If you’re using food coloring, gently stir it in until the color is uniform. Make sure your cupcakes are cool before you start to frost them. You can use a piping bag or a butter knife (depending on your level of fanciness) to frost your cupcakes. Either way, they will taste great!

candied citrus peel

INGREDIENTS
12 clementines, 5 oranges, 4 grapefruits or 6 lemons
6 cups of water for boiling
4 cups sugar
4 cups water
More sugar for rolling

INSTRUCTIONS
To peel the citrus, make 4-6 slits along the curve from bottom to top of the fruit. Make sure not to cut into the fruit. Gently remove the peel. Reserve the fruit for another use (juice? in a nice chicken?). Slice each peel into 1/4 inch strips.

Place the strips in a large pan and cover with 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, then drain. Repeat this twice more.

Place sugar and water in a pan over medium heat (4 cups of each), stirring gently until sugar dissolves completely. When the syrup starts to boil, add the citrus peels and reduce to medium-low heat. Simmer until the peels are translucent (about an hour). Remove from heat and let the strip cool in the syrup.

Once cooled, roll the strips in sugar and arrange in a single layer on a wire rack. Let them dry for at least 30 minutes.

Keep the syrup in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. It tastes great on pancakes, cakes and other desserts.

bump to bean carrot cupcake (2)

Falatke: The New Holiday Tradition

Falatke: The New Holiday Tradition

I don’t know if I invented this or not, but I have never seen it nor heard of it, so I’m taking credit. It happened a few days ago as I was driving to meet a client. I had some quiet time in the car…I […]


My Diary

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Falatke
Falatkes with schug, labane, tomato and scallion salad, zaatar and a little drizzle of olive oil

I don’t know if I invented this or not, but I have never seen it nor heard of it, so I’m taking credit. It happened a few days ago as I was driving to meet a client. I had some quiet time in the car…I looked around me at the beauty of autumnal leaves turning all sorts of incredible colors. All of a sudden, I found myself thinking about the next holiday.  Since I’m not hosting Thanksgiving, for me it’s Chanukkah. Admittedly, I was hungry at 10:30 in the morning and also thinking what I wanted for lunch. I was craving falafel. Thinking about making latkes and having falafel for lunch…and all of a sudden a lightbulb went off. I’m serious, I think I saw a flash! Latkes, falafels. Two of my favorite fried foods. What if I combined them into one delicious treat??? What if that treat had a name? OMG! FALATKE!!! That was the birth of this fine new tradition. The question remained – would it work?

I set out to determine if this was a silly idea or the next best thing. An interesting coincidence is that I made these on the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s death. What is the connection? I feel like the falatke is the embodiment of my Savta Chaya. She was born in Poland but brought to Israel at the ripe old age of five months. She was truly a melding of the Eastern European Jewish tradition with the very Sabra and Middle Eastern modernity of Israel. She was a great cook and a huge influence in my life, so I’m happy to dedicate this invention to her…the Falatke – quite possibly the most Jewish way to eat a falafel!!! But I digress…

I’m happy to report – this is AMAZING. Not to toot my own horn too much, but holy cow! I then experimented with toppings and ways to eat the falatke and I have to tell you that it’s great simply on its own or as a vehicle for yummy additions. Dip it in tahini, top it with labane and Israeli salad, stuff it in a pita with all the accoutrements, add a little hot sauce (or schug), top it with hummus…the choices are endless!

So, here’s the deal. I want you to make these. And then I want to see your results! Post them on the Bump to Bean Facebook page or Instagram and tag them #falatke. To add an incentive (if the above image isn’t enough), I’m hosting a contest. One lucky winner gets $100 Williams Sonoma Gift Card, my Homemade Schug and Shakshuka sauce FedExed to their home. Enter to win by Dec. 15. Here are the rules:

1. Follow me on Instagram @afamilypassionforfood
2. Post a picture of your falatkes
3. Tag your photo #falatke and @afamilypassionforfood
4. Like your favorite falatke (search the hashtag #falatke and “like” the best shots) – the photo with the most Likes will win

Easy as pie! Good luck!

Falatke Recipe

Falafel Batter

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or ground up veggie chips or tortilla chips (whatever you have on hand – my fave is veggie chips that I pulse so it’s gluten free)
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 2 cans chickpeas (each can = 15 oz), drained, rinsed and drained again
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of a food process.  Pulse until the chickpeas are pulverized but not pastey. But, since we’re stuffing these into latkes, if you get pastey, don’t worry!

Latke Batter

Ingredients

  • 1 lb potatoes (I love to use Yukon Gold, but any spud will do)
  • 1/2 cup minced onions (grated is good too)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Sunflower oil for frying

Peel the potatoes and be grateful that you’re not outside on KP duty somewhere in the frozen tundra! Grate the potatoes. I’m not going to be a stickler here – whatever is best for you, whether by hand or by food processor. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter! Place grated potatoes in a bowl with cold water. Let sit for two minutes, then drain.

Mince the onions – the quickest way to do this is to grate them.

Place potatoes and onions in a towel (or triple thick paper towels) and squeeze all the liquid out. Place back into a bowl and mix in the egg and salt.

Make the Falatkes

Heat 1/4 cup of sunflower oil in a 12″ pan over medium high heat.

Using a teaspoon, take a bit of falafel batter and coat on both sides with the latke batter. Using the spoon, delicately place the falatke in the pan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until undersides are browned (around 4 minutes) then flip. Cook another four minutes until both sides are done. Transfer to paper towels to drain.