Salmon with Spicy Citrus Soy Sauce

The hot weather does not inspire me to stay in the kitchen very long, so I have been making light, quick meals for dinner, and Mr. BT has been making nice big salads that include the home-grown lettuce of which he is very proud. This past Shabbat, I made a lovely fish dinner with salmon in an Asian citrus sauce over soba noodles. I served it with steamed asparagus and sauteed mushrooms.

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour, which is wheat-free and gluten free, and can be served hot or cold. The Bretons make crepes with the flour and the Russians make Blini. It is also a good honey plant that produces a rich, dark honey. The buckwheat hulls are used to fill upholstery and the groats are now used to produce gluten-free beer.

I like to serve the soba noodles warm and sprinkle a little sesame oil on them just before serving.

Salmon with Spicy Citrus Soy Sauce

Serving Size: 2

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

Juice of small lemon

Juice of small orange

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon chili paste

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 salmon fillets

Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Place the salmon fillets in a frying pan with a little oil over medium heat. Add the sauce and cook until the salmon is still slightly pink in the center. Serve over soba noodles or brown rice.

Happy as a Duck in Andalusian Sauce

Last Friday we were invited by a dear old friend of ours to a wine tasting in Har Adar, near Abu Gosh. It is a beautiful drive up to the Jerusalem Hills that always reminds me of Provence. Yossi and his lovely wife Dina, who makes lovely biscuits,  were our gracious hosts. Yossi, who writes a blog called Yossi’s Wine Page, invites vintners from boutique wineries around the country to do wine tastings about once a month at his home .

This month’s event was a tasting of wines from Ben-Shoshan winery at Kibbutz Bror Hayil in the South. The award-winning winery makes approximately 12,000 bottles a year which are sold mostly in wine boutiques. Yuval Ben-Shoshan and his adorable son Gefen (which means a grape vine) were showing off their delicious wines.Bror Hayil in the Sou

Yuval makes his wine from grapes grown in two completely parts of the country. One is Avdat, in the northern Negev desert, an area that 1500 years ago was the center of the ancient kingdom of the Nabataeans, who also built Petra in Jordan. In spite of the desert climate, the Nabataeans were famous for developing irrigation systems, including underground storage cisterns, that allowed them to farm the land successfully with very little rain water; and modern Israeli farmers have done very much the same thing except using modern technology. The other area is at Kfar Shamai, in the northern Galilee, which is one of the countries grape-producing regions.

The result is an outstanding Shiraz 2007, which won a bronze medal at the Israel Wine Awards this year, Cabernet Sauvignon Avdat, Cabernet Sauvignon Kfar Shamai, and a Cabernet-Merlot blend. We tasted the first three wines and came home with a bottle of Shiraz and Cabernet Avdat. The Shiraz was unusually light and fruity, and just right to drink a little cooler than room temperate, which is how it was served due to the heat of the hot Israeli sun beating down on us.

Mr BT’s birthday was last Sunday and I was lucky to find a whole duck on sale that I snapped up right away. I had never cooked a whole duck before, but I knew that I had to find something special to make for Mr BT’s special day. I found a recipe for duck with an Andalusian sauce where the duck is first marinated in a boiling marinade flavored with star anise and tumeric. It is served with an delicious sauce made of oranges, lemons, honey, and balsamic vinegar. I served the duck with pan-roasted potatoes and sauteed artichoke hearts and mushrooms. If I had served this dish in the winter, I would have served it over creamy polenta.

We toasted his birthday with the Ben-Shoshan Shiraz 2007. It was a perfect match to the sweet and sour Andalusian sauce.

For dessert, I served a light dessert of beautiful fresh figs with a drizzle of Provencal chestnut honey.

Roast Duck with Andalusian Sauce

Serving Size: 4

1.4 kg (3lb) whole duck

For Boiling Marinade:

1 quart of water

6 cloves garlic (skin on and bashed)

6 bay leaves

4 star anise

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon tumeric

For the sauce:

Juice and zest of 2 large oranges

Juice of 1 medium lemon

2 cloves garlic (crushed)

1/2 a pint of chicken stock

60g (2oz) sultanas

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch

3-4 teaspoons cold water for slurry

For the boiling marinade: Put all of the ingredients in a tall pot, such as an asparagus steamer, and bring to the boil. Boil for ten minutes and then reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, cut the wings tips off the duck and make two cuts into the carcass, parallel to the wing bones. This will allow the duck fat to escape during roasting.

Suspend the duck, using a butcher's hook or similar into the neck over the pot, without letting it fall into the marinade. Using a small soup ladle, pour the marinade all over the duck. Keep doing this until the duck has a nice golden yellow color from the tumeric. Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan and dry for approximately one hour.

After the duck has dried, preheat the oven to 200C (400F) and roast the duck on a rack over a roasting tin of water for approximately one hour and a half. Check the duck half way through cooking because you may need to put a tent of aluminum foil over it to prevent the duck breast and wings from overcooking.

While the duck is roasting, prepare the sauce. Put all of ingredients in a small saucepan, except for the cornstarch and water. Bring to a boil and reduce the sauce by half. Then, make a slurry of cornstarch and water, and whisk it into the sauce to thicken it. When the sauce is sufficiently thickened, take it off the heat and reheat it before serving.

A Date with my Honey

I use Silan, also known as date honey, as part of the yeast starter for the bread that Mr BT and I make every week. It doesn’t really impart any extra flavour to the bread, but I think it is a bit healthier than white sugar.

I was really tired of making the same chicken dishes I make all the time, so I decided to try an experiment using date honey. It has a slight taste of dates and can be spread on bread, mixed with equal parts of tahina and used as a spread, used on pancakes instead of maple syrup, etc. What I like about Silan is that it is not sickeningly sweet.

I mixed the date honey with oranges and grapefruits from the trees around the moshav. And for an extra kick, I added some chili paste and grated ginger. It made an excellent spicy barbeque sauce.

Spicy Silan, Citrus and Ginger Chicken

Serving Size: 4 to 6

1 whole chicken, cut into eighths

1/2 cup date honey

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup grapefruit juice or lemon juice

1-1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated with a microplane

1 teaspoon chili paste

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Place the chicken in a baking dish. Mix all of the ingredients and pour over the chicken. Bake for 1-1/2 hours or until falling of the bone.

Serve with rice, couscous or quinoa.

Grandmother’s Cake

I think there are about 9 or 10 different varieties of dates grown here in Israel. Dates were always an exotic treat for me as a kid. My father made a delicious apple and date cake, and I would always sneak some of the dates to munch on. My favourite variety of dates is Medjoul, they are  luscious pieces of caramel in your mouth. They are so rich that I can only eat a couple at a time.

Babkas are dime a dozen here because of the Eastern European influence on baked goods, but this is the Middle East and there is definitely a twist on things. For example, I don’t think you would find a Babka filled with date filling in Russia or Poland, at least not thirty or forty years ago. Here you find them filled with halva and chocolate, date, chocolate, hazelnut or walnut filling.

This recipe produces a moist and not too sweet babka. I glazed this babka with orange syrup that I had from making candied orange peel. It was a nice added touch to the cake.

Date, Orange and Walnut Babka

Yield: 2 loaves

For the dough:

4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup, less one tablespoon milk or water

50g fresh yeast

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 egg

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

100g (3-1/2oz) butter, softened or margarine

For Date, Orange and Walnut Filling:

1 cup date filling

(if you can't buy pre-prepared date filling, see below)

Grated zest of 1 medium orange

1 cup chopped walnuts

For syrup (optional):

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Prepare the dough:

Place all of the ingredients except the butter in a mixer fitted with a kneading hook and knead for seven minutes or mix and knead by hand. Add butter and continue kneading for five minutes. The dough should be shiny and very soft. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise to twice the original size.

Meanwhile mix the date filling and grated zest together and set aside.

Prepare the cakes:

Divide the dough in half and roll one piece on a well-floured surface to 20x30cm (9x12 inches) rectangle. Spread half of date filling on the dough and then sprinkle half of the walnuts on top of the date filling.

Roll the dough into a tight log, pinching either end of the log. Slice the log lengthwise and braid the two pieces together. Line a loaf pan with baking paper and tuck in the ends of cake so it fits snugly into the pan. Repeat the process with the second piece of dough.

Allow to rise until doubled. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes until deep golden brown.

While the cakes are baking, bring the water and sugar to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes. Brush the hot cakes with the syrup. They will keep fresh wrapped in foil for 3-4 days or you can freeze them.

Date Filling

Yield: 1-1/2 cups

1 cup chopped, pitted dates

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine both ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat about five minutes or until thick. Let cool before using.

Winter Scent of Orange

I love the smell of oranges. They smell so fresh, sweet and crisp; they remind me of sunshine and happiness. Something that is a bit lacking here right now. For the past several years, I have made a panettone for Hannukah, but this year I decided I wanted to make something that would feature my favourite winter fruit, the orange. We are surrounded by so many orange trees, the smell is intoxicating and I guess I have been hypnotized by their fragrance. I had some low fat ricotta cheese begging me to do something with it, so I decided to make a yeast coffee cake with the rest of the candied orange I made the week before. I kept the sugar syrup that I used to candied the orange rind and used some of it to glaze the coffee cake with before and after it was baked. The sugar syrup had a lovely bitter orange flavour that helped cut the sweetness of the syrup. This is a very light and moist cake full of the orange flavour I was craving.

Mr. Baroness Tapuzina and I would like to wish you all a happy and much more peaceful 2009 than we are experiencing here now. We are safely away from the fighting and intend to stay that way.

Orange-Glazed Coffee Cake

Serving Size: 8 - 10

For the dough:

1 package active dry yeast or 25 g (1 ounce) fresh yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup warm milk

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

½ cup chopped candied orange rind

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

4 cups all-purpose flour

For the glaze:

Sugar syrup from candied orange or an egg wash

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir the warm milk, orange juice, sugar, ricotta cheese, orange zest, candied orange rind, salt and egg into the yeast mixture.

Using heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set on low speed, beat 2 cups flour into the yeast mixture until a wet dough forms. Beat in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a stiff dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, tuning to coat. Cover loosely with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.

Orange-Glazed Coffee Cake Rising

Grease a 22cm (9 inch) springform pan. Punch down the dough. turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 20-inch-long rope. Braid the ropes together. Coil braided dough in prepared pan; tuck ends under. Cover loosely with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 30 minutes.

Orange-Glazed Coffee Cake Risen

Preheat oven to 200C (400F) brush the dough with sugar syrup or with an egg wash. Bake until the top of cake is dark golden brown. 20 to 25 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool slightly.

Brush some more of the orange sugar syrup over the warm cake. Serve warm or a room temperature.

Wild, Wild Citrus

The much acclaimed Israeli oranges, grapefruit and lemons are finally appearing at the markets. I remember when my grandparents would buy a box of Jaffa oranges or receive them as a gift. Carefully boxed and individually wrapped in paper, I knew these oranges must be something special because Harry and David’s Fruit of the Month Club fruit that was wrapped in paper was the cream of the crop. They were the best oranges I had ever tasted. Don’t get me wrong, I also like Valencia and Sicilian citrus, but there is something special about Israeli citrus. Borrowing from a Florida citrus ad, “They are like sunshine in my mouth!”.

I am very fortunate to live in an area that is full of citrus groves. In fact, apart from the thousands of acres of cultivated citrus, there are wild trees lining the road to our moshav from which we can pick fruit freely without taking income away from our neighbors, and the fact that these trees don’t get any artificial irrigation actually makes the taste of fruit more concentrated, although they usually ripen later than the ones that are irrigated.

Mr. BT brought me a present of a couple of dozen oranges and grapefruits last week, which inspired me to make the following. I served it with roasted cauliflower and potatoes. I love this dish because it brings the wonderful aroma of citrus groves into your home.

Pollo Arrosto All'Arancia, Pompelmo, Limone e Zenzero

Serving Size: 4 to 6

(Roasted Chicken with Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon and Ginger) Adapted from Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen by Joyce Goldstein

1 lemon

1 roasting chicken, about 2kg (5 pounds)

Grated zest of 1 small grapefruit, then grapefruit cut into quarters

Grated zest of 1 orange, then orange cut into quarters

3 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger root

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons lemon juice

4 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

3 tablespoons honey

Orange sections for garnish

Preheat an oven to 180C (350F).

Cut the lemon into quarters. Rub the outside of the chicken with one of the lemon quarters, then discard. In a small bowl, stir together the lemon and orange zests and 1 tablespoon of the grated ginger. Rub this mixture evenly in the cavity. Put the lemon and orange quarters inside the bird. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

Combine the olive oil, lemon and orange juices, honey, and the remaining 2 tablespoons ginger in a small bowl. Mix well.

Place the chicken in the oven and roast, basting with the citrus juice mixture at least 4 times during cooking, until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

Transfer to a serving platter and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Carve the chicken. Garnish with orange sections.

Variation: Use 4 tablespoons pomegranate juice in place of the lemon juice.

Chag Purim Sameach – Happy Purim!

My first post on this blog was during the holiday of Purim and here we are one year later making Hamantaschen again. I decided to make three of the four fillings I made last year: Cranberry-Orange, Date-Walnut and Apricot Lekvar.

My family did not have a tradition of making Hamantaschen for Purim. My German grandmother made Haman’s Ears, which was dough that was rolled out and cut into strips, fried in oil and dusted with powdered sugar. I only started making this biscuits about 12 years ago when the little old lady that used to make them for our synagogue developed dementia and couldn’t make them anymore. She was not a member of our congregation, and so we used to drive 60 miles to Birmingham to buy them from her to serve at our congregation’s Purim party. One of the congregants went to pick up the 10 dozen Hamantaschen she had ordered and the little old lady didn’ t know why she was there and hadn’t made any biscuits. So, I received a frantic phone call asking if I could make them. I said I had never tried, but how hard could they be? I found a recipe and I have been making them ever since.

This year, I wanted to make another cookie in addition to the Hamantaschen because I had to make gifts to give to our landlords, who live about 100 yards away, and our new neighbors. It is Jewish law that on Purim one must send at least one Mishloach Manot (sending gifts of food) to a friend and also send Matanot La’evyonim (gifts to the poor). You are suppose to give two different types of ready-to-eat food, each of which require a different blessing. So, you can give two different cakes or biscuits or fruits, etc or mix them up.

I was looking at an Italian blog and found a link to a recipe for biscuits that are from the Jewish Ghetto in Venice. A friend of mine who is from Venice told me that he remembers going to a bakery in the Ghetto and buying these biscuits. They are called Impade and they are filled with an almond filling and rolled in icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar). Have a look at the link below for more pictures on how to make the cookies. If you speak Italian, then you can read the entire recipe. Here is a loose translation (I did a few things differently):


Yield: About 45 biscuits

Venetian Jewish Almond Cookies


500g all purpose flour

275g sugar

3 small or medium eggs

125 ml corn oil


250g whole blanched almonds

200g sugar

2 eggs

Zest of one lemon

Impade Dough

Mix the sugar and the flour together and create a well. Add the eggs and the oil and bring the flour-sugar mixture from the sides into the egg-oil mixture. Mix until you create a ball, similar to pie dough. It should be soft and elastic. Set aside and prepare the filling.

Impade Almond Filling

Grind the almonds and place in bowl. Add the sugar, lemon zest, the eggs and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).

Rolled dough

Take 1/3 of the dough and roll into a 2cm (4/5 inch) diameter snake. Cut the snake into 5cm (2 inch) pieces and roll each one flat into a rectangle.

Rolled out and filled

Put one teaspoon of almond filling in the middle of the rectangle and bring the long sides together over the filling and pinch together into a crest.

Impade Prebaked

Then shape the dough into the shape of the letter "S".


Bake the biscuits at 200C (400F) for 5 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 180C (350F) for an additional 15 minutes.

Roll them immediately in icing sugar (confectioner's sugar) and let them cool.

Orange You Glad It is Almost Spring?

I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. We have been unpacking like crazy, but we still have a little more to do. However, I did find time to take some pictures around my new village and make a cake for a friend’s birthday party on Saturday night.

Spring is rearing its beautiful bounty here in Israel. Here are a few pictures near my new home:

I really love my new house. It is so nice to have a garden. I can’t wait to take advantage of it. The citrus trees are in full bloom, so when a friend of mine asked me to bring something for her birthday party on Saturday night, I decided to make something citrusy. She said she wanted something with orange in it, so I made an orange curd cake. This is a variation of a Serena Bass recipe I have for her lemon curd cake. I added less sugar and I also added a little lemon juice to offset the sweetness of the oranges. It is an easy cake recipe and the curd can be prepared several days in advance. This is a very moist cake that will be a big hit at any meal or afternoon tea.

Orange Curd Cake

Serving Size: 10 to 12

For the orange curd:

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of kosher salt

Zest of 3 oranges, finely grated

1/2 cup orange juice

Juice of 1 lemon

4 extra-large egg yolks

2 extra-large whole eggs

100g (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

170g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1-1 /2 cups sugar

3 extra-large eggs

3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest

Orange Curd

For the orange curd:

In a medium-size nonstick or nonreactive saucepan, add the sugar, salt, and orange zest and juice, and whisk until smooth. Then add the egg yolks and whole eggs and quickly whisk well. Set over medium-low heat and cook, stirring pretty much constantly until the mixture starts to bubble around the edges (about 8 minutes). Then add the butter in little lumps, stirring after each addition, and simmer gently. (No boiling, as the molten mixture can cause quite a burn if it splats onto your hand.) Stir for about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens well. Transfer it to a small shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface while the mixture is still hot; set aside to cool. Once it's cool, you can use it immediately or transfer it to a plastic container, cover the surface as before, and store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

For the cake:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 22cm (9-inch) springform pan with vegetable oil.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. Using an electric mixer with the balloon whisk attachment, beat the butter until creamy and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. While the sugar is fluffing up, break the eggs into a bowl and whisk to blend. Gradually pour the eggs into the mixture and beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and base of the bowl a couple times to make sure everything is well incorporated.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, stir in the orange zest, add the dry ingredients, and fold in gently until just a little flour is still visible.

Spread half the cake batter on the bottom of the pan. Cover with half of the orange curd, keeping just shy of the perimeter. Spoon on the remaining batter somewhat randomly, then drop 3 large spoonfuls of the orange curd on top of the batter. Take a butter knife or blunt knife and make a figure eight motion in the batter to create a marbling effect.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean and the lemon curd on top has turned a rich golden brown. If the curd is browning too much, lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan.

Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Then run a small sharp knife around the circumference. Release and remove the sides of the springform. Run a large, sharp unserrated knife under the cake to loosen it. Then use the knife blade to help slide it onto a cake plate. You can either dust with confectioners' sugar or leave the cake plain so the orange curd shows.

Wedding Fit for a Baroness

I was married for the first time this past December. Originally the wedding was planned in the spring in Israel. It was going to be a beautiful garden affair in an old Arab villa, called the Green Villa, overlooking Tel Aviv. But, unfortunately we had to cancel this wedding and two long years later, we finally had an unexpected dream wedding.

Wedding planning can be quite stressful on a couple and we were certainly not devoid of this stress. After much deliberation, we decided that it was more important to have my family at the wedding and so we embarked on planning a wedding in my hometown in the US. It was a difficult decision because my husband wanted his friends at his wedding, but he had already been married once and he knew that since it was my first wedding, my family was more important.

My dress was made in Israel two years ago. I co-designed it with the dress designer I hired. It was made of gold duponi silk, with an embroidered ribbon on the bottom of the dress and topped off with a gold veil. The train was made of a slightly darker gold duponi silk with tiny embroidered flowers in the same color thread. It was two pieces cut like the sash of a Kimono and joined together with a small bow.

My parents asked the Rabbi that married them in 1963 to officiate the wedding. He is the current Rabbi at my hometown synagogue and he had met my husband twice before. Being married by the same Rabbi that married my parents 43 years before was a real added bonus to the special event.

Everyone in my family had been married under the huppah my great grandfather built for the synagogue, but unfortunately it finally fell apart several years ago and the synagogue had not purchased anything to replace it. I am from a small town, so you can’t just call up the local huppah company and rent something. I had to think of something creative. At first, I thought I could make my own huppah cover. I would buy a piece of silk and paint it, but that was going to be a lot of trouble and what if I messed it up? So, I started looking on the internet for ideas, but a ready made one cost a minimum of 400USD. Then, my husband suggested that since we couldn’t get married in Israel, how about getting married under the Israeli flag. So, I started looking for a huppah-size one and they cost a minimum of 300USD. It was way over our budget. Then, something drew me to checking on eBay. I had never bought anything on eBay before, but I searched for “Huppah” and ‘lo and behold…. there was my huppah cover up for bid. It had never been used and was simply beautiful. I bid immediately and on the final day was in a bidding war with another person. They contacted me by email and asked when I was getting married. I told him and he said if I won, would I sell it to him for the same price I bought it because he was getting married two weeks after me. I said sure. I won the bid and he received the huppah a few days after my wedding.

The week before the wedding we still had to get flowers and get the poles and decoration for the huppah. Because I got married between Christmas and New Years, there were no flower deliveries, so there were no flowers to be had. No problem, we went to Home Depot, bought tropical plants and the four poles for the huppah. My husband drilled holes in the poles and attached hooks to the poles to hold up the huppah cover. We bought ribbon at the fabric store and a cousin and my sister painstakingly decorated the poles.

My sister decorated the synagogue with the plants we bought and I had a spa day at the salon/spa that my cousin works at. She is a wonderful massage therapist and she gave me the spa day as a gift.

We rented a CD player and played a medley of classical baroque music for the wedding ceremony. It began with Jewish Baroque music, Monteverdi and Rameau pieces, then my grandmothers walked to Tres Morillas (Spanish Baroque music performed by El Cancionero de Palacio), then the huppah holders, the Groom, Rabbi and Cantor walked down the aisle to to La Bomba (Spanish Baroque music performed by Ensalada; not the Mexican song). I walked down the aisle with my parents to Monteverdi’s Orfeo Toccata and we closed the ceremony with Bach’s Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen.

The reception was at a event hall/restaurant called Classic on Noble that is owned by friends of my family.

The menu was simple, but elegant:

Blood Orange Caipirinha

Antipasti (seasonal grilled vegetables)

Spanikopita triangles

Salad with dried fruit, nuts and pears

Salmon with goat cheese grits and roasted baby vegetables

We decided to forgo the traditional wedding cake and decided to have a dessert table:

In honor of David’s Hungarian heritage and our love for chestnuts, I made two Gesztenyetorte (Chestnut Torte). This cake is three slices of walnut sponge cake with a delicate chestnut cream filling. Melts in your mouth.


Serving Size: 8 to 10

(Chestnut Torte) Recipe from George Lang's Cuisine of Hungary by George Lang

For the sponge cake:


10 egg whites

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup flour

½ cup finely ground walnuts

Butter and flour for pan

Chestnut filling (below)

Chocolate, grated or shaved

For the chestnut filling:

1kg chestnuts in shells or 450g canned Swiss or French chestnut puree

3 oz semi sweet chocolate

225g + 2 Tbs sweet butter

¾ cup vanilla sugar

1 whole egg

¼ cup light rum

For the sponge cake:

Preheat oven to 190. Add 1 tsp cold water and a pinch of salt to the egg whites. Whip egg whites until soft peak stage. Continue to beat and add the sugar, spoon by spoon until egg whites are very stiff. (A spoon should be able to stand up in the meringue if it is beaten stiffly enough.)

Gently add the flour, walnuts and another pinch of salt. Fold in, making sure you do no break the egg white foam.

Line a baking sheet 17 x 12 inches with wax paper. Butter paper lightly, sprinkle with flour and shake off excess.

Spread batter evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 min, until firm and golden brown on top.

Cool completely with wax paper over top to keep cake from getting crusty; then cut lengthwise into 3 pieces.

For the filling:

Cook the chestnuts, shell and skin them and puree while still warm. You should have about 1 lb of puree.

Soften the chocolate in the top part of a double boiler over hot water. Beat together the butter, vanilla sugar, egg and rum until the mixture is very light and foamy.

Add the softened chocolate and the chestnut puree, and beat until thoroughly mixed.

Fill cake layers with chestnut filling and cover sides and top with more of it. Decorate with grated or shaved chocolate. Chill in refrigerator for several hours before serving. Serve thin slices, this is a very rich cake.


This cake can be round, square or oblong. It is an easy cake to make and yet quite different from the run-of-the-mill torte. The layers have the texture of a moist sponge cake. Make smaller layers and have a torte with more than 3 layers if you prefer. If you bake the dough a little longer, you will get crisper layers.

And, I gave the restaurant the recipes for two other desserts:

Anacapri Tart – An orange mascarpone tart with a rosemary crust. A slice of heaven. This tart is an Italian confection and represents our love of anything Italian.

Anacapri Tart

Serving Size: 10

For the pastry:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tsp minced rosemary leaves

Grated zest of 1 orange

12 tbsp sweet butter, cubed

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 tbsp cointreau or grand marnier

For the filling:

1 1/4 cups orange juice

grated zest of 1 large orange

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup mascarpone, or similar sweet cheese

7 large eggs

3 tbsp cointreau or grand marnier

Confectioner’s sugar

For the pastry:

Place the flour, salt, sugar, rosemary, and the orange zest in a medium bowl and rub the cold butter into it with fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles very coarse crumbs. Combine the egg, the egg yolk and the liqueur and, with a fork, stir it all into the bowl with the flour mixture, forming a rough paste.

Turn it out onto a lightly flowered work space and, with a few short strokes, form the mixture into a dough. flatten the dough into a disc, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for 20 minutes. press the rested, chilled dough over the surfaces of a buttered 12- to 14-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. cover the pastry-lined tin in plastic wrap and chill it again, for twenty minutes, in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

With a fork, prick the chilled pastry over its surface and bake it for 10 minutes. lower the temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking the pastry for an additional 5 or 6 minutes or until it is firm and barely beginning to take on some color. Cool the pastry thoroughly on a rack. Proceed with the orange cream.

For the filling:

If the oven is not already hot, preheat it to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat together the orange juice, the zest, the sugar, and the mascarpone, amalgamating the ingredients as well. add the eggs, one at a time, beating vigorously, incorporating each before adding the next. add the liqueur and beat thoroughly.

Pour the orange cream into the prepared pastry and bake the tart for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cream is just firmed and has taken on patches of burnished skin and the crust is deeply golden.

Cool the tart on a rack for 15 minutes before removing its ring and permitting it to cool thoroughly. Thickly dust the tart with confectioner’s sugar. Serve the tart on the day it was baked; do not refrigerate.

Gâteau Surprise Chocolat Pistache (from the Chocolat & Zucchini blog) – A rich pistachio cake with a dark chocolate ganache. To remind us of our Mediterranean home. And, we both adore pistachios.

All in all the wedding was simple, elegant and beautiful as the title of this entry says, A Wedding Fit for a Baroness. I want to thank all of my family, especially my parents, my sister and my cousins Gil, Dionne, Allen and Heather, for making my special day very special. It was my dream wedding and more.

And especially to the love of my life, my beautiful husband David who works so hard to make our dreams come true. I love you baby!

Holy Smoke!

Sorry I didn’t get back to you right away, but I have been working hard at work.

I tried to get a decent bonfire picture for you, but the bonfire down the street was a bit pitiful. It looked more like a campfire than a bonfire. Actually, I am not so upset about this because it was one less bonfire to ruin our environment. Yes, I know it is a religious holiday, but I am concerned about the environment and global warming.

Lag B’Omer is a bit complicated to explain. Lag, which is spelled לג (Lamed Gimmel) in Hebrew is also the number 33 and, therefore Lag B’Omer means “the 33rd day of the Omer”. The Omer is the period of 49 days between Passover and Shavuot (Festival of Weeks); Shavuot is the harvest festival as well as the day on which according to tradition the Torah was given on Mount Sinai, and it was important to count the days accurately in order to bring in the harvest at the optimum time.

During the time of the Bar Kochva revolt against the Romans, a plague killed 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva during the counting of the Omer, but miraculously stopped on the 33rd day. Over the centuries, the Jewish people experienced more tragedies (massacres, pogroms, etc.) during this seven week period. To commemorate these tragedies, it has become customary to observe a period of semi-mourning during the Counting of the Omer. Weddings and other festivities are not held, music is not heard, and hair is not cut.

On Lag B’Omer, an interruption in the period of mourning is observed. Weddings, festivities, music, dancing and haircuts are allowed (many 3-year-old boys receive their first haircut called Upsherin). Many celebrate by lighting very large bonfires which symbolize the light of the Torah which was revealed by the Zohar (Radiance), Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who wrote the book of Kabbalah (not the type that Brittany and Madonna practice!).

In Israel, many travel to the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in the Upper Galilee moshav (cooperative village) of Meron.

Even though the bonfire pictures didn’t work out, the short ribs I made were delicious. You could taste the ginger and orange, but it was not overpowering. The meat was juicy and tender. I will definitely use this marinade again. It would be great on chicken, but I would not marinate the chicken overnight. I would probably marinate it for an hour or so. I served it with steamed artichokes and brown rice.

Orange-Ginger BBQ Short Ribs

Serving Size: 2 to 4

1.36kg (3lb) short ribs

1 cup orange juice

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup honey

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. fresh ginger peeled and grated

1 Tbsp. garlic peeled and minced

2 tsp. lemon zest grated

1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup brandy

Hot chili oil to taste

Trim excess fat from the short ribs. Combine all other ingredients. Mix well and pour over ribs. Cover and marinate in refrigerator overnight, but no longer than 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 220C (425F). Remove ribs from marinade. Reserve marinade in a saucepan. Place ribs on a rack over a pan of hot water in oven. Roast 1 hour, turning once halfway through the cooking until browned and crisp. Reduce marinade to a glaze-like consistency (about 1-1/2 cups). Reduce oven heat to 190C (375F). Brush ribs with glaze, roast 15 minutes, turn, brush with glaze and roast 15 minutes more.

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