Caramel Apple Halva Babka

1 frozen raw challah, thawed (or enough challah dough for 1 challah) 
2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla 
1 tbsp cornstarch 
3 tbsp brown sugar 
1/2 cup halva 
1/2 cup chopped pecans 
1-2 tbsp maple flakes (optional)
1/4 cup caramel (I used leftover date caramel from my previously posted chocolate caramel cups)

Preheat oven to 350°F. 
In a saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Mix in maple syrup and let it start to bubble. Once it bubbles, mix in apples, cinnamon and vanilla. Allow to cook for about 5-8 minutes, until apples begin to soften. Mix cornstarch with 1 tbsp water until it has dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture to saucepan. Cook for another few minutes until it has thickened. Allow to cook. 
In the meantime, on a floured work surface, roll out challah dough into a large rectangle. Sprinkle brown sugar over dough, then spread on cooled apple mixture, then spread on halva and pecans. Sprinkle on maple flakes if desired. 
Roll up and then cut in half to form 2 skinnier rolls with insides exposed. Twist the 2 rolls together and place into a greased loaf pan. 
Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with caramel. Bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Note: this recipe is likely delicious without the caramel – you can just brush with egg and sprinkle with some brown sugar and cinnamon.

Seared Tuna Sushi Bowls

The tuna in this recipe is inspired by @bowlofdelicious seared tuna.

1 lb tuna, butterflied (can I use that term for fish?) if necessary so tuna is no more than 1.5” thick 
2 tbsp soy sauce 
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
1-2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper 
Sesame seeds (~ 1/2 cup)
2 green onions

Sushi salad:
1.5 cups uncooked sushi rice, cooked according to package directions 
1/4 cup rice vinegar 
3 tbsp sugar 
1 tsp salt 
Grated carrots 
Grated purple cabbage 
Edamame beans 
1 green onion, sliced
Pickled ginger 
1-2 avocados 
1 sheet nori
1 cup Rice Krispies 
Spicy mayo (aka mayo mixed with sriracha hot sauce)
Hoisin sauce

Mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Pour over tuna and allow to marinate for about an hour. 
In the meantime, prepare sushi rice. Bring vinegar to a boil with sugar and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and pour over rice. Mix in carrots, cabbage, edamame, green onions and pickled ginger to cooked rice. 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast Rice Krispies in the oven for about 5 minutes, until golden. Set aside. 
Remove fish from marinade and coat generously in sesame seeds (I place the sesame seeds in a bowl and dipped the tuna into the seeds on both sides). Top with green onions. 
Heat oil over medium high heat. Sear tuna for 1.5-2.5 minutes per side, depending on desired doneness. 
Allow tuna to cool for a few minutes and slice. 
In the meantime, mix Rice Krispies with a small amount of spicy mayo. 
Top sushi rice with tuna, Rice Krispies, avocado, additional spicy mayo and hoisin. 

Salted Chocolate Caramel Tahini Cups

1 cup medjool dates (the softer the better)
2 tbsp tahini 
6 tbsp almond milk (you can likely use coconut cream or soy milk or even the water you use to plump up the dates)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt plus additional to sprinkle on top
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp honey

Prepare muffin tins with liners – this recipe yielded 12 regular and 12 small chocolates. I imagine that it would make 15-16 regular sized chocolates.

Cover dates with warm water and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes to plump up. 
In a food processor, process dates, tahini, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. Use a rubber spatula to push down mixture that goes up the sides. Keep processing until smooth and creamy – this may take a few minutes. 
In the meantime, place chocolate in a heat safe bowl. Place bowl over pot filled with about 1-2 inches of water (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Melt chocolate by bringing water in pot to a simmer. (Don’t allow chocolate to get wet!)
Once chocolate is smooth and melted, remove from heat and mix in honey. 
Spread about 1 tbsp of chocolate mixture at the bottom of each muffin cup. Next, drop approximately 1/2 tbsp of date caramel into the center of the chocolate. 
Top each with 1 tbsp of chocolate. Give the pan a gentle shake to try to even out the chocolate. 
Sprinkle a drop of sea salt (preferably coarse) over each chocolate. 
Refrigerate until set. 
This can be stored in an airtight container on the counter. I’m fairly certain it’ll freeze well (although I never tried).

Homemade Baked Falafel

Although this recipe is baked, it tastes fried because of the way the oil is heated up! Best of both worlds!

1 can chickpeas (540ml)
3 cloves garlic
1 shallot
1/2 tbsp cumin 
1/2 cup parsley
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp baking powder
3-4 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Lay on a kitchen towel to completely dry. 
In the meantime, add garlic and shallot to food processor. Pulse to mince. 
Next add in remaining ingredients, except for oil. Pulse – do not let it become a paste. It should look crumbly but you should be able to squish it in your hands to form a patty and it should maintain the shape. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour. 
Preheat oven to 375°F. 
Pour oil onto a baking sheet and carefully place into oven while oven is preheating (preferably on a rack that slides out). Once preheated, wait an additional 5 minutes before adding the patties to the pan. 
In the meantime, form falafel mixture into individual patties (using about 2 tbsp per patty). Very carefully, open the oven and slide rack out. Drop patties into oil and return to oven. 
Bake for 15 minutes and then flip for an additional 15 minutes.

Miso Broccoli and Tofu Stir Fry

I first made this recipe just with broccoli as a side dish and it was so delicious, I figured I should make as an entire meal. While I haven’t tried it, I imagine this would work beautifully with boneless chicken as well.

1 block firm tofu
3 tbsp miso paste
3 tbsp soy sauce or GF tamari 
1-2 tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp almond milk (alternatively use regular milk or water)
Oil to fry (I used grapeseed)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 head broccoli, washed and cut into florets 
Handful (or more) sugar snap peas, trimmed
Drizzle of honey

Cut tofu block into 3 lengthwise. Place each block onto a kitchen towel and wrap. Put a plate on top, in order to squeeze out liquid. Let sit for about half an hour. 
Cut tofu into cubes. Mix together 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp miso and some fresh ginger. Use mixture to coat tofu. Let marinate for an hour. Remove any excess marinade from tofu. 
Dissolve cornstarch in almond milk and pour over tofu, coating well. 
Heat about 2-3 tbsp oil over medium high heat on a large pan. Add tofu to pan and allow to crisp up before turning. 
Once tofu is crisp on at least 2 sides, remove from pan. 
Next add broccoli to the pan. When color starts to brighten, add 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp miso and remaining ginger. Mix well, allowing miso to coat all of broccoli. 
Add snap peas and sauté for another minute or two. 
Finally, add tofu back to the pan, along with remaining miso and soy sauce. Mix to incorporate and until miso is coated over everything. Drizzle with a tiny bit of honey and sesame oil. 
Serve with rice. 

Spicy Harissa Olives

3 tbsp olive oil, divided 
1 clove garlic
2 cups green olives 
1/4-1/2 cup harissa 
1 tbsp pickled jalapeños or 1/2 regular jalapeño (seeds removed), chopped into tiny pieces 
1 preserved lemon, seeds removed, chopped into tiny pieces 
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Sauté garlic in 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add in olives and harissa. Mix well and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add jalapeño and lemon. Mix well to incorporate. Remove from heat. Once cooled, mix in parsley. 

Halva Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup crumbled halva
3 tbsp halva spread
2 tsp cinnamon 
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans 
1-2 tsp vanilla
1 puff pastry rectangle
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350°F 
Mix together all ingredients except puff pastry and egg. 
Roll out puff pastry to form a large rectangle. 
Spread halva mixture over puff pastry, leaving 1 inch of pastry at the far end of the sheet so it’ll adhere better. 
Roll up and refrigerate for about an hour. 
Remove from fridge and use a serrated knife to slice into 1” rounds. 
Place rounds on parchment lined baking sheet. 
Brush puff pastry with egg. 
Bake for about 30 minutes, until browned. 
Serve warm or room temp (but warm is best).

Zaatar Marinated Eggplant

Pictured centre with olive dip and garlic confit

1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt, divided
Zest 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp zaatar (I used @peregnaturalwhich is klp)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper

Mix together 2 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper. Use it to coat eggplant.
Place eggplant in a single layer on a large, greased baking sheet.
Broil on top rack for 2-3 minutes per side. I turn the light on in my oven and watch carefully – every oven is different. It should not burn but should get lightly browned. (Do not use parchment, it could easily burn)
Mix together remaining ingredients. Pour mixture over eggplant and refrigerate for a few hours or up to 4 days.

Marbled Chocolate Pecan Meringues

Not everything goes as planned. These meringues were inspired by the “hazelnut chocolate meringue cake” recipe from @foodandwine (which looks incredible and i highly recommend you making it if you have the ingredients) – I was going to make a coconut whip cream as topping, but the coconut cream had a bad taste. I next tried making vanilla pudding with coconut milk and it wouldn’t whip up. They’re still delicious without the topping though so we’re just going to enjoy them as is. Our Seder also is not going to be what we expected and we’ll miss our extended family around our table. But we will make the best of it and enjoy our intimate Seder and hope that next year, we are surrounded by a busy table with our loved ones. Wishing everyone who celebrates a happy and healthy Passover .
1.5 cups pecans
3/4 cup chocolate chips 
6 egg whites, at room temperature 
Pinch of salt
1.5 cups white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1 tsp vinegar .
Preheat oven to 350°F. 
Place a large metal mixing bowl and metal beaters from electric whisk into freezer. 
Roast pecans for 10 minutes. Removed from oven, reduce oven temperature to 225°F and chop into small pieces (I pulsed in a food processor). In the meantime, melt chocolate chips in double boiler. 
While chocolate is melting, remove bowl and whisk from freezer. Place egg whites in bowl and start beating at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar, while continuing to beat until peaks get stiff. Next add vanilla and vinegar, continuing to beat. 
Stop beating and gently fold in nuts and melted chocolate (pour down the sides of the bowl). Fill meringue mixture gently into a ziploc bag and pipe into individual meringues onto parchment lined baking sheet. In this picture, the meringues don’t have high peaks because I wanted to fill them but since that didn’t work, I would try to make them nice and tall! 
Bake for 1.5 hours. Turn off oven and leave them for a few hours (I left them overnight) without opening the oven. .
Tips for meringues ** make sure bowl and whisks are perfectly clean and cold
** not even a drop of yolk should be in the white

Sweet Potato and Dried Cranberry Quinoa

1 onion 
1 tbsp avocado oil
2 tbsp white wine 
1 cup quinoa 
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, cubed (potato could be peeled or not)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided 
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
3/4 tsp sea salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper 
1/2 cup craisins
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped 
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp honey

In a medium sized pot/pan with a lid, sauté onion in avocado oil over medium heat until onions are translucent and turning golden brown. Add wine and deglaze pan. Add quinoa and mix well with onions. Add 2 cups water and cook quinoa according bro package directions. 
In the meantime, preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp oil, salt, pepper and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, until soft. 
Mix together remaining oil, lemon zest, remaining cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, honey, garlic and pepper. 
Assemble quinoa – mix quinoa with sweet potatoes, cranberries, parsley and chopped pecans. Top with dressing.