What is a Balaboosta?
Balaboosta (n.)(bah-lah-b00-sta) A Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook, and gracious hostess. She does it all and does it well.
I make simple food with easy recipes and I like to try new things. My family and friends love my cooking and always ask me to share, with them, what I know about food, flavor, and technique.

I'm not a professional chef and I've had no formal culinary training. What I know and do in the kitchen comes from three women...Nana, Grandma Della, and Rose, my mom. Each one of them knew more about putting a meal on the table than any fancy chef in a white hat. They were the ultimate Balaboostas.

What I offer you is a lifetime of experience in the kitchen with my compliments and theirs. I hope they'd be proud. I will bring you my recipes as I make them with photos of the actual food I'm preparing. I'm no professional photographer either but I promise, my food will speak for itself in every picture.

The food on my table isn't stacked in a trendy tower.
Instead, my food is stacked with flavor and full of my passion for cooking. So please come in, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy.

To see amazing detail in any photo just click on it!
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Disclaimer: While most of my recipes are "Jewish Style", I do sometimes cook with pork. This might have been a great disappointment to some but my grandmothers knew that I live in modern world. I light Shabbos candles religiously but I have to admit...I do not keep a Kosher home.

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Mandel Bread - Mandelbrot - Jewish Biscotti

Who doesn't love a good cookie?  This one is 'twice baked'! Mandel Bread is sometimes referred to as Jewish Biscotti because of it's shape but the texture is different.  Biscotti is generally light and crispy, whereas mandel bread is dense.  This recipe includes fruit & nuts but you can easily leave them out or substitute with your favorites like semi-sweet chocolate chips, raisins, dried cherries, pistachios, or even M & M's.  I use sliced almonds because they had strength to the cookie as straw does for mud when building a hut. (weird analogy, I know). Mandel Bread can be frozen for months and stores well in an air tight container.

Ingredients...
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 3½ cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar (you can substitute with Splenda Sugar Blend)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (or your favorite bits of dried fruit - any combination)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • Extra Cinnamon and sugar mix for coating (1/4 cup sugar together with a 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon)
Here's how you do it...
  1. With your mixer, blend the oil and sugar.
  2. Blend in the vanilla (or almond) extract.
  3. Add the eggs (break them first into a separate small dish to ensure no shells get in the batter).
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
  6. Stir in the sliced almonds & dried fruit.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight).
  8. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  9. Line a cookie sheet with parchment OR grease well.
  10. Form the dough into three logs, about 1¼-inch thick, on cookie sheets.
  11. Sprinkle the tops of the logs with the cinnamon and sugar mix.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden on top.
  13. Remove from oven and carefully, on the diagonal, cut 1" slices.
  14. Lay the slices on their side, sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar mix and bake 5 minutes.
  15. Turn the pieces over, sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar mix, and bake 5 minutes.
  16. Allow to cool on rack. Delicious served warm. Freezes well.

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