New Recipes for Spring

I’ve created and/or adapted some existing recipes lately that are worth sharing with you.

The first is a light and crunchy Asian-inspired salad that would be wonderful with the addition of some grilled chicken, shrimp, or seasoned tofu.

Napa Cabbage Salad

Sliced very thin Raw Napa Cabbage, 8 cup (one medium head, bottom core removed)
Green Onion – 4 medium sliced very thin (green and white parts)
2 Medium Carrots, shredded
Bell Pepper, Red, Small – sliced thin in strips
4 tbsp Canola Oil
2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
3 tbsp Nakano – Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1/2-1 tsp Simply Asia – Sweet Ginger Garlic Seasoning
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted briefly in a nonstick skillet or in the oven

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients and pour over salad just before serving. Toss to coat. Sprinkle almonds on top.

Chocolate Pumpkin Crunch Cake

This is a variation of this recipe from Duncan Hines. I use chocolate cake mix and cut down the sugar and butter and like it better. I would like to try it with spice or carrot cake mix, too.

1 (16 oz.) can solid pack pumpkin
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk (I used fat-free)
3 large eggs (or 2 XL or Jumbo)
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice OR make your own as follows (2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp each: cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg)
½ tsp. salt
1 package Chocolate Cake Mix (the darker the chocolate, the better)
1 (generous) cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
whipped topping (completely optional – I prefer the dessert as-is)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of 13″x 9″ pan.

Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in large bowl. Stir until well blended. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans. Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake at 350°F 50 to 55 minutes or until golden. Cool completely. Serve with whipped topping if desired.

Refrigerate leftovers (if you have any!)

Passover 2013

My Hybrid Charoset

Well, better late than never, I say. We’re having first Seder at my friend Debbie’s, but will have 18 for second Seder at our house.

Here’s the menu:

  • Wine
  • Matzo
  • Gefilte Fish, Horseradish
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Saltwater
  • Charoset
  • Relish Tray
  • Jon’s Chicken Soup & Matzo balls
  • Roast Chicken
  • Crispy onion potato kugel (from The Gefilte Variations)
  • Fresh broccoli salad
  • Frozen lemon torte
  • Mocha pudding cake
  • Passover Strudel Roll (from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking)
  • Decaf Coffee

Most of you know that my charoset recipe was featured in the Tallahassee Democrat last year. For those of you that don’t have a copy of the recipe, I’ve added it below:

Barbara’s Hybrid Charoset

A food processor is very helpful for preparation. Make at least 1 day in advance.

  • 10 oz package pitted dates, chopped fine
  • 6 oz (or similar) package dried apricots, chopped fine
  • 6 oz (or simiar) dried figs (remove any stems)
  • 10 oz pitted dried plums, chopped fine
  • 1 cup baking or jumbo red flame raisins, chopped
  • 3 small or 2 medium apples, cored and chopped fine
  • 1 cup pecans (or other nut of choice), chopped fine
  • 1 can dark sweet cherries, drained and rinsed (Oregon brand uses no corn syrup and therefore is safe for Passover)
  • juice and grated rind of one large orange
  • 1/4 tupelo honey
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup white passover wine or grape juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, dried ginger, coriander, cardamon

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Taste and adjust spices to suit. Refrigerate for a day or overnight. Check moisture level the next morning, adding more wine, grape juice or orange juice if mixture seems too dry.

Post-Seder uses for this haroset:

  • Serve with mazto brei and sour cream
  • Spread Passover cream cheese and haroset on matzo or a Passover ‘roll’ for a delicious lunch
  • Mix with cream cheese and stuff celery sticks
  • Great on Passover pancakes
  • Mix with coconut and Passover cookie crumbs and form into ‘truffles’


Butterscotch Pecan Bars

Butterscotch Pecan Bars

Adapted from the classic magic cookie / 5 layer bars recipe.


  • 1 1/2 cups cornflake crumbs
  • 1/4 light brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter melted (salted or unsalted, your choice)
  • 1 12 oz package butterscotch chips
  • 1 small package flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk


  • 9×13 cake pan, bottom lined with parchment paper, with overhang. Spray exposed pan lightly with no-stick spray
  • Measuring cups
  • Bowl
  • Rubber spatula/scraper
  • ‘Church Key’ can opener
  • Firm plastic (or other non-stick) spatula
  • Heavy knife or baker’s bench knife (my fave tool)


Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a bowl combine cornflake crumbs and brown sugar, mix thoroughly to evenly distribute sugar. Add melted butter and stir to combine. Pour crumb mixture into the prepared pan and using the rubber spatula, press into an even layer to form the bottom crust.

In order, layer these ingredients evenly over the crust: chips, coconut, chopped pecans.

Open the can of sweetened condensed milk with the opener – one small hole and one big hole. Drizzle the milk over the entire pan of ‘stuff’. You should be able to completely cover every bit with the milk.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is set and the top is barely golden.

Let cool on a rack for about 15 minutes. Using the firm spatula, loosen the sides of the cookie from the exposed sides of the pan. Leave in the pan until completely cooled.

If necessary, use the firm spatula to make sure the cookie hasn’t reattached itself to the pan. Using the overhang of parchment paper, lift the cooled cookie out of the pan.

Cut into 1 to 1 1/2″ squares.

Next time, I might sprinkle these with a teensy bit of kosher salt for that salt-caramel ‘thing’. If you try that, let me know!