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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!
Don't forget to SIGN MY GUEST BOOK at the bottom of this page and/or LEAVE A COMMENT (be sure to leave your email address if you'd like a response)

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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Broiled Fish Parmesan

D e l i c i o u s! ! ! For this recipe any white flaky fish will work.  I've used grouper, tilapia, and scallops.  You can use a variety of seafood in a shallow casserole and top it with this same rich and delicious topping.
  • 2 lbs fish  Washed and patted dry.
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 3 tbsp mayo
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (your choice)
  • salt & pepper to taste
Here's how you do it...
  1. Drizzle lemon juice on fish
  2. Broil 6-8 min.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the softened butter, mayo, cheese, hot sauce, salt & pepper until blended.
  4. Spread evenly on broiled fish.
  5. Return fish to broiler for 1 min or until bubbly and golden brown.

Baked Steelhead Trout

Steelhead Trout is the new salmon!  This is a variety of the better known Rainbow Trout but resembles salmon in color, texture, and flavor only more moist and delicious. It's no secret that this is one of the healthiest varieties of seafood available today. Steelhead trout is a lean protein, chock full of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.  According to the American Heart Association, eating two servings of this fish each week is a good path to a healthy heart.  Prepare this sauce for trout or salmon.  This recipe is worthy of company dinner, and will impress. I use thyme honey from Greece but your honey of choice will work just as well.  Of course, as with all the ingredients, use your favorites. Your guests will want to lick the plate.. it's that good!  Cooking the fish with the skin still on, holds the fish together and makes for a more moist fillet.  The baked fish will easily slide off the skin by sliding a spatula between the skin and flesh.
  • 1 pound Steelhead Trout
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy sauce
Here's how you do it...
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
  2. Stir in the garlic, honey, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and soy sauce until blended.
  3. On a baking sheet or pan, place the fish on a piece of foil twice the size you need so you can fold it over to create a packet.
  4. Pour the sauce over the fish.
  5. Close and seal the packet.
  6. Bake @ 400F for 20 minutes.
Serve with greens and a grain for a satisfying and simply scrumptious meal!!
This recipe feeds 2-3 people.
Grain suggestions:  Bulgar Wheat Pilaf  or  Israeli Cous Cous


Traditionally, the hamentashen is a filled cookie eaten on Purim, a holiday celebrating the Persian Jews victory over their enemy, Hamen.  The evil Hamen wore a tri-cornered hat which explains the cookie's shape.
Typically, hamentashen are filled with prune, apricot, and/or poppy (mun) filling. However, today I added a special pumpkin pie filling making this hamentashen a new Thanksgiving favorite.

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely ground almonds
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Best if you use parchment instead of greasing a cookie sheet pan.

Here's how you do it...
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In large bowl, Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the ground almonds, mix and set aside.
  4. Using your mixer in another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until  light and smooth.
  5. Add the eggs and extracts until blended thoroughly.
  6. Gradually, add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and blend until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the side of the bowl. 
  7. Knead on floured surface until no longer sticky.
  8. Divide the dough in 4 parts.
  9. Roll each part (one at a time) on a floured surface to 1/16" thin.
  10. Using a cup or 4" cookie cutter, cut rounds.
  11. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling on each round.
  12. Bring up the edges, pressing corners together, to form the triangular shape leaving a space in the center where the filling shows through.
  13. Arrange hamentashen on parchment lined cookie sheet.
  14. Brush each pastry with egg wash (recipe to follow).
  15. Place cookie sheet in preheated 375F oven for 15-18 min until lighly golden brown,
Allow to cool on rack before eating (though it will be difficult to wait) because the filling will be HOT.
Egg Wash (to brush over each pastry before baking for glaze):
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cream, or non dairy creamer, or milk.

Pumpkin:  Prepared pumpkin pie custard .
Apricot/Poppy/Prune: You can prepare your own or use canned filling to save some time. These filling recipes will post shortly.

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.

  • 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.

Choco Cream Cheese Cake Mix Cookies

Here's a super simple recipe that is 'semi-homemade' because it uses a cake mix (yes, out of a box) for the dry ingredients. This is a great 'make ahead' cookie. Make the batter tonight, bake them off tomorrow! All you have to do is add cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and a little love, and your crowd will be begging for more of these light and delicious chocolate treats. They are, melt in your mouth, delish! 

  • 1 (8-ounce) cream cheese (soft)
  • 1 stick butter (soft)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 18-ounce box chocolate cake mix
  •  Confection 10X sugar
  •  Optional:  3/4 cup chopped nuts and/or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Here's how you do it...
2" apart on parchment
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream together the butter and cream cheese.
  3. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Add and blend in the cake mix.
  5. If you are adding chips or nuts this would be the time to stir them in.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  7. Form or scoop 1" balls and roll them in the confection sugar.
  8. Bake 2" apart on un-greased or parchment lined cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes. .
  9. Cool and enjoy.

Carrot & Cranberry Oatmeal Pecan Cookie with Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 2/3 cup flour (I use 1/3 cup whole wheat and 1/3 cup white.)
  • 1 and 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar (I use 1/3 Cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend)
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I use 1/3 Cup Sugar and 1/3 Cup Splenda Sugar Substitute)
  • 1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (you could substitute with white raisins)
  • Parchment, cookie sheet, spatula, and oven preheated to 350 F.
  • Cream Cheese Recipe follows.
Here's how you do it...
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and oats. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer, cream the butter (or substitute) and the sugars. Scrape the bowl and beat for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on slow until blended.
  4. Fold in the dry flour mixture you set aside earlier..
  5. Stir in the carrots, dried cranberries and pecans.
  6. Spoon by teaspoonful onto parchment lined cookie sheet 3 inches apart. On a standard sheet I put 8 per sheet (do not overcrowd or they will melt together).
  7. Bake at 350F for 8-9 minutes. Watch the first batch to see how your oven bakes it. My oven has these finished at just under 9 minutes. Every oven is different. As always place the racks in the center of the oven to bake.
  8. Store in refrigerator for a crispier cookie.
Yield: 64 cookies

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups 10X Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract or Lemon Extract
Here's how you do it...
  1. Mix together Cream Cheese and Butter until smooth. 
  2. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the pure vanilla extract and blend until smooth.
  4. Put frosting into a plastic bag, squeeze to bottom, snip off a tiny corner of the bag and decorate your cookies any way you like.
  5. Store in refrigerator.
  6. Optional: sprinkle the icing with finely chopped pecans

Time Saving Tip...
While the first tray is in the oven, prepare another piece of parchment with the next batch ready to go in when the the one in the oven is done. Slide the parchment with the hot cookies onto your stove or other flat surface. Now slide the next parchment and batch right onto the hot cookie sheet and place it back in the oven to begin baking the next batch. Repeat until all the batter is used up.

Black Bean Soup "Chili"

I grew up in Miami where the Latino culture permeates.  I've also lived in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where black beans, rice, and plantains are daily staples.  Black beans are inexpensive, low in calories and fat, delicious, and chock full of nutrients.
For diets watching blood sugar levels, black beans are a good choice because of their high fiber concentration. Did you know that a single, 1-cup serving of black beans provides nearly 15 grams of fiber? That's impressive!
You've heard the rhyme "beans, beans, are good for your heart..."  Well, guess what?  It's true! Black beans ARE good for your heart. Eating black beans can actually minimize your risk of developing coronary artery disease.
This is another simple recipe.  Great for make ahead events. The ingredients are things I stock in my pantry so when the mood strikes, as it does from time to time, I'm ready!

Black Bean Soup "Chili"
  • 8 strips finely chopped Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon.  (I'm specific about the brand because it makes a difference. The flavor of this turkey bacon is in a league of it's own.)
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (this can be the seasoned type)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 cans black beans (drained, not rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped  cilantro
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Splash of fresh squeezed lime juice  (For fun, you can splash the soup with tequila too!)
Here's how you do it... 
  1. On medium heat, cook the finely chopped turkey bacon for 4 minutes, stirring.
  2. Add the chopped onion.  Cook until translucent for 2-4 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic, stirring for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, Chili Powder, and Cumin. Stir till blended.
  5. Gently stir in the drained black beans.
  6. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Add the splash of lime juice and serve.
I like to serve this black bean soup with brown rice but, be creative, use what you like. Try a garnish of finely sliced green onions, or a dollop of salsa and/or sour cream.

Succulent Short Ribs

This recipe, takes the short rib to the moon with flavor. I've prepared short ribs in a variety of ways but this recipe is my family's favorite by far.  Finger licking good!    I serve it with Roasted Spaghetti Squash. You can serve with Israeli Cous Cous, Bulgar Wheat Pilaf, or rice though I lean towards using the squash option to lower the carb and calorie count of this meal.
I like to make these ribs a day ahead.  After they have been refrigerated overnight I like to scrape the fat off before reheating and serving.
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2.5 pounds beef short ribs
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or a 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend) 
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Here's how you do it....

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, and ground pepper in a bag.
  3. Add the short ribs and shake until coated.
  4. Heat a large skillet to medium and add the butter.
  5. Brown the ribs on all sides.
  6. Place the browned ribs in a roasting pan or casserole. Do not wash the skillet.
  7. Into the, still hot, skillet put the remaining ingredients: chopped onion, beef broth, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, chili sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, minced garlic, and chili powder.
  8. Stir and bring to a boil.
  9. Pour over ribs.
  10. Cover, put in the hot oven, and reduce the temperature to 225 F.
  11. Allow to braise for at least 3.5 hours or longer.  Time permitting I usually go at least 5 hrs.

Pumpkin Chip, Fruit & Nut Drop Cookies

Happy Thanksgiving!!!  These tender pumpkin cookies are full of fiber and natural sweetness.  Pumpkin, like Squash, is rich in vitamins and iron.  You can prepare this recipe with or without nuts. This is a great make ahead cookie.  Bring a platter to your hostess and be sure to bring the recipe along.  They'll want it.
These cookies freeze well so you can enjoy them all year. 
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I use 3/4 cup granulated Splenda with 3/4 cup white sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of pure pumpkin (NOT PIE FILLING) 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (you can do half whole wheat with half white)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped nuts 

Here's how you do it...
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment or spray
  3. In a medium bowl blend the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In your mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla.
  6. Gradually add the mixed dry ingredients you set aside earlier.
  7. Scrape the bowl and mix another 15 seconds
  8. Using a spatula fold in the chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and dried cranberries.
  9. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto the cookie sheets 1/2" apart.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
  11. Remove from oven and cool on rack.

Store in airtight container and freezes well.

Pumpkin Date Nut Bars - Low Sugar

There are many date nut bar recipes out there.  They all claim to be the best one.  I'm sure they're good but they cannot top the flavor or texture of this one.  My Pumpkin Date Nut Bars are perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert table and an ideal bring along when you've been invited for turkey dinner.
Dates are chock full of natural fiber and it makes this sweet fruit beneficial to our health.
They are rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, oil, phosphorous, potassium, and sulfur which are all advantageous for good health.  And I must mention that dates help to keep you regular and fight constipation (just a bonus).  Also known as one of nature's candy, dried dates make a wonderfully sweet ingredient to many baked goods as well as being a great snack on their own.

This recipe for Pumpkin Date Nut Bars is modified from my Grandma Della's collection.

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (OR white flour, or a combination)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine (OR butter) (1 and 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup Splenda Sugar Substitute (OR granulated white sugar )
  • 1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (OR 1 cup packed brown sugar)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup pitted chopped dates
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Here's how you do it...
  1. Line a 9" x 13" baking pan with parchment. I allow for a couple of extra inches of parchment so a tail sticks out making it easy to slide the cake out of the pan and onto the cooling rack.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt...set aside. If you are chopping the dates yourself, sprinkle some of the flour mixture on the chopped dates and toss until they are coated.
  4. Cream together the margarine (or butter) and both Splendas ( OR White and Brown Sugars) until smooth, fluffy, and pale.
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  6. Add the pumpkin and blend.
  7. Scrape the bowl and beat another 10 seconds, then
  8. Beat in the flour mixture gradually.
  9. Stir in (by hand) the chopped dates and walnuts.
  10. Pour the batter to the lined and greased pan.
  11. Place the pan in the center of your oven and now reduce the heat to 300F.
  12. Bake for 40-50 minutes.
  13. Cook on a rack before attempting to remove it from the pan.
  14. Cut into desired shapes.
  15. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Be Creative...
  • Reduce the dates to 3/4 cup and add 1/2 cup white raisins.
  • Choose your favorite nut.
  • You can replace 1/2 the margarine with unsweetened apple sauce.