Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 a Year to Reflect On

 Started my second semester at school 
and was on a blogging break until April

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Homemade Holiday: Chocolate-Covered Buttercream Cherries

This year I am/have been trying to save money for my upcoming move. In the last few years, my holiday presents have become more and more extravagant. So this year I plan on making some treats for my friends and my family. Although this won't save me too much, it is the thought that counts and these chocolate-covered buttercream cherries will absolutely count.  The cherries were so easy to make and  The test batch was perfect and disappeared so fast that I definitely need to make more. PS this is a family friendly recipe!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Give Thanks for This Salad!

I am so very excited to share this salad with you. This has been my all-time favorite Thanksgiving salad. The consistency and the flavor are wonderful. It the sweet and spicy pecans are crunchy and beautiful mixed with the soft and creamy goat cheese. The hot apple cider dressing is just the perfect touch. I love how the hot apple cider dressing slightly wilts the greens and softens the goat cheese. Every bite of this salad is the perfect bite when the slight crunch of freshness of the greens mixes with the hot, sweet, tangy cider dressing! 
Happy Thanksgiving 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Polar Express and Marshmallow Hot Chocolate Milkshake

When the weather turns chilly and Jack Frost has left his little icy footprints in the grass and there is a nip in the air, nothing is better than a mug of hot chocolate! Especially when there is a song about hot chocolate!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Not Following Directions Equals a Favorite Recipe

This recipe was first shared with you on December 29, 2010, my first year of blogging at Calamity Kate's Kitchen. 

 "So I thought, just for a change of pace, I would share this wing recipe with you. This recipe was a total fluke, I made it and then of course... read the recipe. Normally this would be a terrible idea, but it worked out and became one of my favorite chicken wing recipes. I have adapted this recipe a few times, but with the addition of this creamy and slightly sweet sauce... the recipe is amazing. It is defiantly going to come as a wake up call to your stomach after all this heavy, buttery, creamy, and sweet holiday food. " This was my original description of this recipe and my total lack of patience with recipes and with following directions.  Yes, I do have a problem following directions. Yes it used to be on almost every report card I ever got as a child!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Melted Monster Mashup

Happy Halloween!
Snacks are getting spooky
Have you played Zombies vs. Aliens? I am totally addicted and I play on my IPhone all the time.  Well the zombies are searching for your brains and try (really) hard to get into your "house." Luckily most of the time they are killed by plants and can't eat brains. So in honor of Halloween and those little zombies, I present to you... Melted Monster Mashup.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gluten-Free Flour Power Giveaway

This giveaway is closed.
Many thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the winners!
There are few things in life that are just as good and as wholesome as a brownie. Brownies come in all different flavors and toppings. I love brownies topped with anything from warm caramel, to strawberries to powdered sugar and even ice cream.  Brownies can turn your day around and transport you into the always-perfect land of chocolate and bliss. Brownies makes you happy, excited and sometimes very sick… that is if you are trying to live a gluten free life. People who are living with gluten intolerance or celiac disease can’t always get gluten free baked goods that taste good.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Passing Pumpkin Cupcakes and Midterms

I love how each season of the year has uniquely different foods. In the spring you get to eat fresh fennel, rhubarb, herbs, peas, ramps, and strawberries and in summer you can eat tons of fresh veggies, fruit and my favorite all you can eat blueberries and watermelon, in winter you can snuggle down with big bowls of soup and stew and big warm delicious hunks of meat to get ready for hibernation. But, my favorite foods come during the fall season. As you know, I love winter. It's my favorite season and I have already been dreaming of snow. However, fall foods are the best! It is now time for pumpkins, apple, cranberries, figs, zucchini, acorn squash and pears to name a few. Plus you get the best foods with Thanksgiving. But as a pumpkin lover and pumpkin hoarder (43 cans of pumpkin are in my pantry), this is my time of year to eat all the pumpkin I can (until I turn orange), buy pumpkin and roast my own pumpkin. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pumpkin for Free

I have been cleaning up Calamity Kate's Kitchen and trying to make sure that my recipe box and holiday buttons are all updated and working properly and all the loose ends are tied up. As I have been trying to update CKK and I found a few old blog posts from the last 3 years that never got posted.  Some of the old recipes are from my first blog, Not Just Vanilla. I am closing NJV and updating some of my favorite recipes from NJV to CKK. This recipe on pumpkin was from when I was on Weight Watchers. So... its a little late but this is a great recipe for low fat pumpkin. Enjoy!

 All of these add up to 0...  nothing. Not a single Weight Watcher point!  Not a one!  
No points hanging out here!  
This is a Halloween miracle. I have two, zero point recipes here for you lucky lucky people.  So you ask yourselves... (in disbelief) Kate, how is this possible and does it taste good?  Ok, so life isn't ever really like this, but it is really late... so I might be a bit crazy; but not about the W.W. points.  I have been working on low and no point snacks and meals and this is my favorite so far. 
Please enjoy, even if you are not on W.W. and you are happy with your weight!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sugar and Spice Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Snickerdoodles

I have always been a huge fan of  snickerdoodles. They are easy and just so delicious that they rarely last more than a day.  Snickerdoodles are the first cookie I learned to make as a child, so they have a special place in my heart. And as you know from previous stories I have shared with you all, I used to like to "play" around with recipes and change them up. It really shouldn't be much of a surprise that one of my first cookie recipes it one that has been changed and "updated" over the years. These are my favorite snickerdoodles!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Shiver Me Timbers... Pirate Cupcakes

Ahoy Me Hearties! (Hello my Friends)
 I have a treat that band'o pirates 'o all ages gunna enjoy! These devilishly jolly cupcakes be full of chocolate treasures. These mocha devils grub cupcakes be full 'o chocolate 'n gold. These jolly cupcakes be perfect 'fer International Speak Like A Scurvy Pirate Day. X marks th' spot 'o gold 'n chocolate meet. Don't worry 'bout th' sand, it makes th' cupcakes even more hearty grub. Enjoy me swashbucklers 'n grog-filled shout International Speak Like A Scurvy Pirate Day (put grub in me gullet) like a scurvy pirate day.
Fair Winds me hearties!
Pirate maiden, th' lady th' scurvy pirate Kate 'o th' treasure o' 'n grub

Sunday, September 16, 2012

High Holy Days 101

L'Shanah Tovah!!

Tonight is Erev Rosh Hashanah ("Rosh Hashanah eve") As a Jewish woman, I am very traditional. Although I do not usually attend temple (Jewish House of worship), I try to attend for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (is known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jews.) Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most holy of days. They are commonly called High Holy Days. 

 Every year on Rosh Hashanah we eat the traditional foods and wish each other a sweet new year. Rosh Hashanah meals usually include apples and honey, to symbolize a sweet new year. We recite a prayer for a good and sweet year.. Other foods with a symbolic meaning may be served. We serve apple and honey cakes, dip apples into honey and we eat a round challah symbolizing the continuity of Creation. Sometimes raisins or honey are added to the recipe in order to make the resulting loaves extra sweet. Every year on Rosh Hashanah we eat the traditional foods and wish each other a sweet new year
 On the first night of Rosh Hashanah after the evening prayer, it is the Ashkenazi and custom to wish Le'shana Tova Tikoteiv Vetichoteim, which is Hebrew for "May you (immediately) be inscribed and sealed for a Good Year (and for a Good and Peaceful Life)". 
Shana Tova (pronounced [ʃaˈna toˈva]) is the traditional greeting on Rosh Hashanah which in Hebrew means "A Good Year." 
This is my favorite High Holy Holiday song!

Avinu Malkeniu:
Hear our prayer

We have sinned before Thee
Have compassion upon us and upon our children
Help us bring an end to pestilence, war, and famine
Cause all hate and oppression to vanish from the earth
Inscribe us for blessing in the Book Of Life
Let the new year be a good year for us

To learn more about Rosh Hashanah, please follow the links below:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Swordfish in Style

We made this swordfish for dinner after a cool and windy beach day. The swordfish was delicious with a rich and oily mouth feel and the salsa was perfect, spicy and freshly sweet and it was the delicious,  I am allergic to peppers so I got a small dish of mango salsa without the peppers and it was perfect.
Delicious and spicy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More Thyme Than Dough Blog Swap

When Kate first suggested we do a Guest Post on each others blogs I did not hesitate a nano-second in saying yes.

Kate was one of the first people to follow me on Twitter.  We have been friends for years. I admire Kate because she bakes. I can, mind you. But I don’t.

Kate bakes. And her baked goods are to die for. How do I know that? I will share that story on Thursday when I share Kate’s Pecan Pie Bars over at my blog. Suffice it to say for now that Kate is a fabulous person. But rest assured, I will give you the low-down and ALL the scoop that’s fit to be published on Calamity Kate this coming Thursday. Along with her Pecan Pie Bars (*my mouth is drooling as I type this*) Kate’s deepest, darkest secrets shall be revealed. I spare nothing!

After I accepted Kate’s invitation panic set in. I don’t bake. What kind of recipe could I share on her wonderful blog? Fortunately I remembered these no-bake little jewels. It is more candy than baked goods. But candy, cookie, cake. Who cares? They are all delicious sweets.

So with no more ado and with a grateful heart to Kate for sharing these with her readers I give you…….

Apricot and Pecan Balls

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Nantucket Pancake Breakfast

Chocolate Chip Pancake Smiles!
Normally part of the fun in Nantucket is making pancakes and my famous blueberry sauce for my cousins, E and S. However, we didn't have any blueberries on pancake day, so I improvised... both kids told me that next time we should just go back to my blueberry sauce. Oh well, I agreed, but I actually liked this sauce too. Enjoy and let me know it you like this strawberry pancake jam or my traditional blueberry syrup. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mrs. Rowes Vinegar Pie Crust

Mrs. Rowe's Vinegar Pie Crust
This pie crust is recommended for Peachy Keen Pie
makes 2 9-inch crusts

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

The vinegar in this crust is a flavorless stabilizer, making the dough more forgiving and patchable. In addition to being easy to work with, it also tastes great—even butter-loving  pastry fans enjoy the flavor.

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until it is the size of small peas. Add the vinegar, egg, and just enough ice water to moisten the dry ingredients. Form the dough into 2 equal balls, then flatten into disks. Roll out the crusts right away, or wrap the dough tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball to a thickness of ⅛ inch.

To pre-bake an empty crust, preheat the oven to 400°F. Press 1 rolled-out crust into a 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Line with parchment paper and weight the crust down with dry beans or pie weights to keep the crust from bubbling or shrinking. Bake for 10 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. To par bake the crust, remove it from the oven after 10 to 20 minutes, when you first see a golden hue to the crust.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Peachy Keen Pie

My pie!
I made this for father's day dinner, but I got home from work so late that by the time the pie was ready it was nearly midnight. So I cut slices for my family and then took the rest home with me.  This pie was very dear, I love peach pie and I haven't made any for years and this pie was divine! The peaches were bought at Fresh Market in Indianapolis and they were $14.00.  It had to be great, stellar even...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mrs. Rowe's Plain Pie Pastry

Mildred’s light touch took years to master. Too much flour will make the dough tough.Use just enough to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. Make the dough ahead of time and place it in the refrigerator wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use a fork here, as well as your fingers-if you start with cold hands and work fast. Te more the shortening melts, the less flaky the crust will be. This is the recommend pie crust for Peachy Keen Pie
Mrs. Rowe's Plain Pie Pastry
Recommended for Peachy Keen Pie
makes two 9-inch or 10-inch crusts

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
5 to 7 tablespoons cold whole milk

Sift there flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until it is the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoons of the milk over part over part of the flour mixture. Gently toss with a fork and push to the side of the bowl. Sprinkle another tablespoon over another dry part, toss with a fork and push to the side of the bowl. Repeat with the remaining milk until all of the flour mixture is moistened.
Press the dough together to form 2 equal balls, then flatten into disks. Roll out the crusts right away, or or wrap the dough tightly, smoothing out any little wrinkles or air pockets and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Use a light touch and handle the dough as little as possible.
To pre-bake an empty crust, preheat the oven to400°F. Press 1 rolled-out crust into a 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Line with parchment paper and weigh the crust down with dry beans or pie weights to keep the crust from bubbling or shrinking. Bake for 10 minutes, until firm and lightly browned.To par bake the crust, remove it from the oven after about 10 to 20 minutes, when you first see a golden hue to the crust.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Friday Dinner with Uncle David

Josh and I are on our way to Nantucket!!!! And hopefully, our tradition (meeting up with dad at the airport and finding lobster rolls waiting in the car) will continue. Dad are you reading this?? 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mo's Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes with Luscious Lemon Frosting

My friend Mo made this recipe into a divine cake a few weeks ago and I it was amazing. Well, if amazing doesn't do it justice. The cake was very moist and fruity but it still was rich and satisfying!  The buttercream was the best lemon cream cheese buttercream I have EVER tasted. Mo allowed me to take a little from the bowl as she was frosting the cakes, I couldn't get enough of this rich and sinfully creamy frosting. It was a perfect balance of rich and sweet. The lemon zest made the buttercream light and fruity but it the perfect lemon cream cheese buttercream.  I can not gush about this buttercream enough! When the cake was served it was just perfect and my (rather large) slice disappeared too quickly. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Calamity Kate gets a little Crazy

Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie Pie  

I have been a little pie-crazy lately. Well, pie crazy doesn't even give you an idea on how pie crazy I have become. I have many more pies I haven't shared with you. I used to be afraid to make pies and pie crust was too difficult. So I baked other treats and for many years the only pies I made were chicken pot pies. But since I have been over running CKK with pies (more to come) I decided to take a short pie break and we will return to our normally scheduled program of cupcakes.  And now back to the show... 

Monday, June 25, 2012

It is a Wonderful Day for Pie

Hey friends, I am taking a few days off from my new baking addiction, pie. Oh do I love pie... but  I will leave you with a few pie videos and songs This is one of my favorite pie songs. Enjoy!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Raccoons no S'more

S'mores always make me think of summer and the last year I was in Girl Scouts and end of the summer fateful camping trip (sounds like a Nancy Drew Book.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Memories of Shells and Pie

Hello and welcome to Calamity Kate's 150th blog post!

Growing up, I spent a few weeks a year with my snowbird grandparents in their home in Sanibel Island, Florida. I always say I spent half my childhood in Florida with my grandparents, while this is not true, but Sanibel was my home and every time I think about my grandparents and Sanibel, I become utterly and desperately  homesick.  My grandparents are gone and their home was sold, but there are a few pieces of Sanibel that I have here with me in Indiana.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Southern Chocolate Chess Pie... A Giant Chocolate Mess

 A family friend gave me this recipe after serving it for Passover earlier this year. It was the best, most creamy, sinful dessert I had ever had.  Chocolate move over, this pie is more than chocolate. Chocolate doesn't come close to doing this pie any justice. Chocolate only lifts this little pie into the heavens to make chocolate even more heavenly than ever before.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Summer Fruit Crisp

I'm back to school next week and I just wanted to share a my Mother's Day celebration with all of you. 
Happy Mother's Day!

Since my family (except me) has turned vegan, I have had a really hard time finding food we can all eat. Desserts are especially hard since my desserts contain some of my favorite ingredients like butter, cream, butter and sugar. Who could live without butter? Who wants to live in a world without butter? This dish was awesome and the vegans ate more dessert than the carnivores. We devoured it all! While this crisp does contain some butter, the butter is in the topping only and don't really count.
I found the fresh rhubarb at a small market outside of Camden. The Summer Kitchen has great produce and fresh homemade treats like homemade Amish wheat bread, jams, jellies, cakes and pies.  I bought 1 loaf of the homemade wheat bread and a jar of strawberry jelly. They were delicious and the wheat bread is the best I have ever had! The blueberries were the ones I picked last summer. They have been in my freezer and once defrosted they tasted even better than I remembered. We served this delicious summer crisp with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit salad.

Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp 
Adapted from Gourmet  | June 1999/Epicurious

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 pound rhubarb
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups blueberries 
1/3 cup shelled natural pistachios- optional
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon mace or 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
Preheat oven to 375°F. and butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish.
In a bowl stir together sugar and flour. Trim rhubarb and cut enough of stalks into 1/2-inch pieces to measure 2 cups. Add rhubarb and blueberries and vanilla to sugar mixture, tossing well, and spread mixture in baking dish.
Finely chop pistachios. In a bowl whisk together flour and sugars. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes and with your fingers or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add pistachios and toss well.
Squeeze a handful of topping together and coarsely crumble in chunks over filling. Squeeze and evenly crumble remaining topping over filling in same manner. Bake crisp in upper third of oven until filling is bubbling and topping is crisp and golden, about 50 minutes.
Serve crisp warm or at room temperature.

Mom and I are going to have a special mother & daughter day today at Wolf Park. I have only been once a few weeks ago, during the super moon and it is now my favorite place to visit.  I can't wait to go back and see more wolves.

This is Dharma the Alpha Female and she just gave birth to 6 puppies April 6th. 
The crowd howled and Dharma joined in too!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Middle Eastern Dinner Deseert

Who knew figs were so freaking delicious? We cooked the figs in  a fruit juice, white wine, spiced liquid. Now we just gobbled these up so fast I didn't get a picture. But they were delicious and believe it or not, this was my first time eating figs. I love that we changed the recipe so much that we made a whole syrup to pour over the ice cream. These figs were sweet and soft and with each bite the syrup burst into your mouth and overwhelmed you with sweet honey fragrance and lovely rich spices. The figs came next with a lovely texture and oh it was just delightful. The perfect dessert to end a spicy, flavorful meal.   Yum!
 Dried Figs

Middle Eastern Spiced Figs

Adapted from

4 cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
1/4 cup white wine 
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 lb dried figs
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
vanilla bean ice cream

Combine the water, sugar, wine, fruit juices and spices in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Add the figs and cook for 15 minutes, until the syrup has thickened and  remove from the heat. Remove figs from the cooking liquid and refrigerate in a covered bowl with 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. This keeps the figs from drying out.  

Return the remaining cooking liquid to the stove top and bring to a medium heat. Cook 10 minutes. Then bring to a boil and  cook another 5 minutes or until the liquid becomes thicker and syrupy, about 2 cups.  Let cool and then transfer into a serving container. 

Chill the figs and syrup for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. When cooled cut into 4 pieces.
To serve spoon ice-cream into dessert dishes, place fig slices over the ice cream and spoon syrup on top.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Middle Eastern Dinner Side Dish

Finding this recipe was like finding the most perfect gem ever. It was so easy and absolute everyone's favorite part of dinner. The richness of the rice and oil were soft and delicious on your palate. With the addition of the  rich nuttiness of the browned butter, sweet currents and toasted slivered almonds it was perfect. The saffron took this rice to another level. It was slightly exotic with the saffron and the sweet bursts of currents in you mouth.  Since the meatballs also had cooked currents in them, the whole dinner was delicious but this standard Persian rice was decadent. This is a perfect dish. 

Saffron Rice with currents and toasted almonds
Persian Rice Pilaf with Almonds and Currants
adapted from Food and Wine 
slightly adapted from Lesley Eats
serves 6

2 cups white basmati rice
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt 

½ teaspoon crushed saffron threads
1 tablespoon water

½ cup slivered almonds
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup  and 1 Tablespoon dried currants 
additional salt and pepper to taste

 Bring the four cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add salt and rice, lower the heat and simmer for 5- 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Rice should be slightly “al dente.” Drain the rice thoroughly and return to the sauce pan. Set aside.

 Crush the saffron and then dissolve the saffron in the one tablespoon of water and stir into the rice.
Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F.
 Brown the almonds over medium-high heat in a medium or large skillet. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. When browned, pour the almonds in a bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add the butter and oil. Brown the butter and then add the currants and sugar. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has browned a bit more, stirring frequently (just a few minutes). Remove from the burner and set aside.

Spread half the rice in a casserole dish or other baking dish (at least 3 quarts). Pour half the butter mixture over the rice and sprinkle with half the almonds. Then spread the remaining half of the rice in another layer and pour over the remaining butter mixture and almonds.

Cover (with lid or aluminum foil) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is soft and there’s some browning around the edges. Season with salt and pepper to taste when serving.

This rice was so fantastic and it did not last long but the little that did was delicious the next day!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Middle Eastern Meal Main Course

This trip was so much fun! I can't believe we made this great meal with out driving to grocery stores hours away, as we do in Indiana.  Milwaukee has this awesome grocery store, not at all like Indiana. So I walked through the grocery store Sendik's with my mouth open so wide my chin rested on the floor. As a foodie, I know how limited our grocery stores are but this market had carrots as wide as the mouth of cereal bowl and a meat and seafood selection that make my local supermarket look like the fresh food section of the gas station.  I loved buying lamb, testing cheese, trying and buying raspberry and mustard pretzel dip and all the wine. Yum

Meat and Spice Mixture
I loved everything from our meal. The internet is a wonderful place to find recipes and we lucked into these middle eastern meatballs. They were a hit and the flavors were wonderful. These delightful meatballs have the most delicious spices and currents in them. The flavor was exotic with hints of sweet from the currents, nutty from the meat and the sesame seeds and just divine  I loved every bite and they were just as delicious the next day. You could serve them with kebabs and vegetables but we just served them in a large bowl with minted yogurt sauce on the side.  The most amazing thing about this dinner was that everything came out at the same time. Even though it was our first time making everything but the hummus. It was awesome and so delicious. Enjoy!
Raw Meatballs rolled in sesame seeds and waiting to be baked

Middle Eastern Sesame Lamb and Turkey Meatballs

1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried mint, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
a pinch cinnamon
1 pound ground lamb 
1 pound ground turkey
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten lightly
4 tablespoons dried currants
1/4 cup black sesame seeds 
1/4 cup white sesame seeds

 Form level tablespoons of lamb mixture into 1 1/4-inch meatballs, arranging on a tray as formed.
In a small non-stick skillet cook onion and garlic in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in mint, salt, allspice, and cinnamon. Add lamb, bread crumbs, egg, and currants and combine well.

In a small bowl roll half of meatballs, 1 at a time, in black sesame seeds until coated, transferring to a rack set in a shallow baking pan. Coat remaining meatballs with white sesame seeds in same manner, transferring to rack. Meatballs may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered loosely.

Preheat oven to 450°F.
Bake meatballs in upper third of oven 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden and just cooked through. Serve with Minted Yogurt Dip.

Cooked meatballs 

Minted Yogurt Dip

2 cups plain yogurt (not Greek yogurt)1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

To make the yogurt dip:
In a fine sieve set over a bowl drain yogurt, covered and chilled, 3 hours. Discard whey in bowl and transfer yogurt cheese to bowl. Yogurt cheese may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.
Into yogurt cheese stir mint and salt. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Next time I will share with you the delicious Persian Saffron Rice with Toasted Almonds and Currents. Its my new favorite rice. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Birthday Wish

Have your read the book, Eat, Pray, Love? In this Elizabeth Gilbert sends out a birthday request to family and friends to raise money to build a home for a friend in need. This year, as we are starting to recover from the economic crisis I would like to put out a request for my birthday gift. Despite all, we have so much to give thanks for, while others are starving, dying and suffering we have shelter, food and our health. So instead of sending me gifts or sending me a Happy Birthday message through email, texts or Facebook, I ask you to reach deep into your pockets for just $10 and donate it to Heifer International. This money will be used to give families in need animals for food, products to sell and babies to share with their village. For instance, a cow can produce 4 gallons of milk a day, thats plenty for the family to drink and to sell. Each cow can produce a calf yearly and those calves can be sold. This gives the family milk, meat and money to become healthy and self dependent. When the family can, they will pass on these gifts to other families in their village and so on and so forth. Soon the whole village with be healthy due to your contribution on just $10.

I joined Team Heifer to help raise donations for Heifer's programs to end hunger and poverty around the world. Check out their website to learn more at

Please go to or the Heifer International link to donate in my name.

Thank you all for your love and support, Kate Kaplan
Donate animals to poor countries through the Heifer International charity! Support an international non-profit, a world hunger organization, which has offered tangible, effective and long-lasting ways to make a real difference for more than 60 years

Monday, April 2, 2012

Middle Eastern Meal Appitizers

Well now that I am a school girl (again), I got to enjoy a fabulous spring break. Everyone made fun of me since I was heading north to cooler weather but it turned really warm and I had a blast. I loved visiting my Aunt Nancy and Aunt Fran in Milwaukee. We all love to cook and bake so we just had the most fun in the kitchen.  Aunt N and I sat down to plan our weeks baking schedule. Unfortunately we didn't make too much of a dent in our list but it means I'll just have to go back for another week of cooking.  

We decided to make a special dinner for 8 people on the second night. Aunt Nancy and I planned a middle eastern feast for fun. It was so delicious that we were so glad that we made too much, since we almost finished it all.  We served hummus, babaganoush with homemade pita for the appetizers. Dinner was middle eastern lamb and turkey meatballs with a minted yogurt sauce and dessert was spiced figs with vanilla ice cream topped with a spiced fig sauce. It was perfect! 

I love hummus and this recipe makes a light and fresh tasting hummus with lots of lemon and parsley. We added in too much lemon juice so it was rather runny but still delicious. I have had hummus with organic chickpeas and I find that I like hummus better with regular old canned chickpeas. The texture is much smoother with non-organic chickpeas.  Enjoy!

Barefoot  Hummus
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa
4 garlic cloves

2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
8 dashes hot sauce
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature. This hummus is better the next day. 

I have never made babaganoush before, so I was shocked how easy and delicious it was. This babaganoush is very spicy and delicious. We served this and the homemade hummus with homemade toasted pita and it was a great way to start our Middle Eastern dinner. This recipe originally called for parsley but since we ran out of the parsley I added in the mint. It was delicious and simply perfect!


Adapted from Ellie Krieger

1 large eggplant (about 1 pound) 
1 glove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint 
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Prick eggplant with a fork and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake the eggplant until it is soft inside, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, grill the eggplant over a gas grill, rotating it around until the skin is completely charred, about 10 minutes. Let the eggplant cool. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, drain off the liquid, and scoop the pulp into a food processor. Process the eggplant until smooth and transfer to a medium bowl.

On a cutting board, work garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt together with the flat side of a knife, until it forms a paste. Add the garlic-salt mixture to the eggplant. Stir in the mint, tahini, and lemon juice. Season with more salt, to taste. Garnish with parsley.

Next week I will share with you the delicious and easy sesame lamb and turkey middle eastern meatballs with currents.