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Old Recipes with New Shortening
an unscientific experiment

Categories: Cookies | No Comments

Yesterday a new product arrived on the shelves here at ECM.  Nutiva shortening.  It’s made with a creamy blend of palm and coconut oils.  That means it has 100% less cholesterol than butter and has NO trans fat.  It’s also organic, fair trade and non GMO.

I decided to take this new shortening and use it to make some old recipes.    (Click on the cookie name for the recipe.)

My sister’s chocolate chip cookies  (I used 1/2 butter and 1/2 Nutiva shortening)

My mom’s sugar cookies (I replaced 100% of the butter with Nutiva shortening)

Then I decided to hand them out to my co-workers and get their feedback on the flavor and texture.  I asked them:

• Do you taste any coconut flavor?  The answer was unanimous: NO

• Would you make these cookies at home using the same ingredients?  Again, unanimous: YES

• Does my family have A. Mazing cookie recipes or what?  :)  Yeah, sometimes I go fishing for compliments.

• Other unsolicited feedback:  Great flavor!

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Barley Risotto
with Zucchini and Walnuts


We’ve taken poetic license here in calling this dish a risotto, but aside from barley instead of rice, it has all the components of a risotto and makes a wonderful accompaniment to hearty stews and roasted poultry. As a nice bridge between winter and spring, feel free to add asparagus, peas, Swiss chard, kale, spinach, mushrooms, carrots, and a myriad of vegetables you might have on hand. It is a decadent dish but the barley makes it fiber rich, the walnuts are a super food, and parmesan cheese makes everything alright with the world. My daughter loves this dish which is just a nutrient rich version of mac and cheese. Enjoy.

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butter has been misunderstood and vilified for the last few decades. however, butter is probably one of the healthiest fats you can eat. and if i am honest, its health factors mean nil to me. the sharp smell; the depth of flavor; and the creaminess….hot damn! frankly, i can eat it by the spoonful.

many traditional cultures held butter up to be a sacred food. many cultures have found butter to be a sign of divinity. for example, isolated Swiss villagers used to place a bowl of butter on their church altars, set a wick in it, and let it burn throughout the year as a sign of divinity in the butter. and indeed, butter made from the milk of grass fed cows is indeed sacred; which is why when i make butter i assure i use full fat milk made from grass fed cows (which can be found at natural food markets, farmer’s markets or from the farms directly). do not fret, you can use any full fat milk and the results will be the same. once you make and taste homemade butter, you can never go back to store bought butter. you may in fact create an altar in your home, stick a wick in your homemade butter and kneel before your butter and chant praises.


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Cardamom-Rosewater Cookies

Categories: Cookies | No Comments
cardamom rosewater cookie

who doesn’t love the beautiful velvety petals of roses? who doesn’t plunge their nose deep into the body of a rose an inhale its sultry perfume? roses are used to express love in friendship. we place roses in delicate vases to brighten up our homes and offices. but did you know the rose can be used to create rosewater, which in turn adds delicateness to desserts? during the Victorian ages, desserts that had rosewater in them were called flowers of the orient.

you can make your own rosewater, however i purchase mine at the Indian supermarket. rosewater can also be found in some supermarkets, natural food stores, and specialty stores. rosewater can be used in recipes for light puddings and custards,  ice cream, frosting….my favorite use of rosewater is in shortbread cookies. the lightness of the shortbread marries magnificently with the tender floral flavor of the rosewater.

you will see that this recipe calls for rice flour. this may seem odd but rice flour has long been the secret of many a baker’s deliciously sandy shortbread cookies. i buy my rice flour at the Indian supermarket as well, for a whopping $1.79. if you do not have the inclination to head to the Indian supermarket, use the same amount of regular flour; but i suggest you sift it twice.


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Blue Cheese Grapes

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People love blue cheese.  People love grapes.  But blue cheese and grapes?  Yeah, it sounds pretty weird.  I’ve convinced thousands (not kidding) people to try them anyway… and guess what?  They LOVE them!

I’ve heard: “This is the BEST thing I’ve ever eaten!”  ”How did you think of this?  You’re a genius!”  ”Will you marry me?” “Wow!!! So good!”

Try this recipe for your next party.  The perfect little bite.  A delicious appetizer.  And you can be a hero too!  :)

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A Collection of Passover Recipes
from the Greater New Haven Jewish Community Center

RECIPES: Favorites, Holiday | By:
Categories: Kosher, Pareve | No Comments

“The celebration of holidays and festivals is a reminder that as a Jewish culture, we are strongly connected to our sophisticated palates.”  I’d like to add, that regardless of background, these are recipes are yum-my and will be enjoyed by all members of your family!

Pareve- classification of food in kashrut/ food that contains neither dairy nor meat ingredients
Dairy- the meal has only dairy components
What is kashrut/kosher? A set of Jewish dietary laws
Why does it matter? Most of the basic laws of kashrut are derived from the Torah‘s Books of Vayikra/Leviticus and Devarim/Deuteronomy.   Details and practical application are set down by Oral Laws.  Laws include abstaining from consumption of unclean animals(such as porkshellfish (both Mollusca and Crustacea) and most insects, with the exception of certain species of kosher locusts), mixtures of meat and milk, and the commandment to slaughter mammals and birds according to a process known as shechita. There are also laws regarding agricultural produce that might impact on the suitability of food for consumption.

For more information, visit
For more Pesach/Passover recipes and tastes of these recipes, stop by Elm City Market on Thursday 4/10 to purchase your very own Jewish Community Center cook book/enter a raffle to win a free copy!

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Pomegranate Molasses

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“pomegranates are like little explosions of awesome in your mouth.”

 the pomegranate is an ancient gem, originating somewhere between Iran and the Himalayas of northern India. it has been grown and cultivated since ancient times. ancient Egyptian mythology art features the pomegranate. this red luscious fruit is mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible and the Babylonian Talmud. the pomeganate has been cultivated throughout India, China, Egypt and the Middle East.

pomegranate was commonly planted in the Caribbean during the exploration of the New World. the tree has been recorded growing in Bermuda since 1621. it is also frequently grown in Mexico. it was introduced to the United States in the late 1700’s by Spaniards. pomegranate trees were planted in California and Arizona where they continue to grow.

because the pomegranate has hundreds of seeds, it is regarded as a symbol of fertility, prosperity, abundance and generosity.  it has numerous health benefits: pomegranate juice destroys breast cancer cells and leaves the healthy cells alone; it has anti-inflammatory properties; prevents, and may help fight cardiovascular disease. the pomegranate is loaded with folic acid, b vitamins and potassium.

fresh pomegranates are typically only available in the United States between September and December, you can get the same health benefits from pomegranate juice and seeds, and both are available in grocery stores and specialty markets.

and good god, the pomegranate is sweet and tart and juicy; just an explosion of flavors  in your mouth. i keep a supply of pomegranate molasses in my refrigerator at all times so i can get my pomegranate flavor fix whenever my tummy is calling for such. pomegranate molasses works well in sweet and savory dishes. you can use it as a dipping sauce (my boyfriend loves dipping his Bell and Evans chicken nuggets in pomegranate molasses). you can use it as glaze or marinade for meats and roasted veggies. i frequently begin my day with plain greek yogurt, fresh fruit and a dollop of pomegranate molasses.  the possibilities for the use of pomegranate molasses are endless.

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Categories: kale | 1 Comment

Although I am of Irish heritage, I was first introduced to this dish by a good friend and cookbook author, Diane Sheya.  Traditionally made with cabbage, I’ve only had it with kale.  (The first time I had it was when Diane made it for a TV news cooking segment at the organic market where I was the marketing director.)

I’ve since made it for family, friends and many, many customers.  Most recently for our member-owner after hours party on March 9th.  For this party I used baby kale.  Easy because I didn’t have to chop or cut it; delicious because it’s milder and more tender than it’s full grown counterpart.

Is this recipe good?  Well, I served it with chocolate cake everyone was raving about, yet more people came back asking for extra servings of the Colcannon.  So, I guess what I’m saying is that not only is it good – it beats chocolate cake!  :)

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