Friday, May 27, 2011


One of the things that people know about me is that I love to grill year round!  I can be seen in the middle of winter bundled up with the heat of the grill keeping me warm.  One of the other things that I love is spicy food!!  The hotter the better!  When I was younger and spent my “Year in Seminary in Israel", I didn’t bring along peanut butter, or some other “normal” staple – I brought along a supply of spicy barbeque sauce!  (Which turned out to be a good thing because most of the food there really needed it!)  On the special occasions that our family goes out to eat at a restaurant, you can be sure I’ll pick the spiciest thing on the menu. 

Super Spicy Grilled Chicken...
CAUTION - It's hot!!
This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend, when nearly every grill in America is being fired up and ready to grill that smokey, savory, flavorful beef, chicken, fish or vegetable!   So when I get to combine two of the things that I really love, and serve the result to my other love (my husband and family) I am a very happy camper!  The result - SUPER SPICY GRILLED CHICKEN.   Be warned, this chicken is really spicy.  Super spicy!  So delicious!!  

When I make grilled chicken, in the interest of a healthier family, I remove the skin from the chicken.  I pre-heat the grill until the grates are really hot, put the chicken on the grill, and then reduce the heat.  I don’t flip the chicken until it flips without sticking to the grates.  That’s how I get those pretty grill lines on the chicken.  In this recipe, because I “oil” the chicken before grilling, I don’t have to grease the grates…the chicken is “pre-greased”.  Once turned, I just let the chicken cook.  According to the USDA  cooked chicken is supposed to reach an internal temperature of 165° F to be done and safely eaten.  You can use a meat thermometer to determine if your chicken is done.  Be careful not to overcook it or it will be dry (on those rare occasions when distracted while grilling,  I conveniently introduce the spicy bbq sauce to cover up my blunder).

I can’t wait until Shabbat this week for my special chicken.  One last word of warning for those that dare to eat “killer spicy” foods – although you may be tempted to frantically reach for the cold water to wash away all the heat you just ate…don’t!  The liquid only spreads the heat around in your mouth…not what you intended at all!  The best thing to do is to eat a piece of bread, or Challah (convenient on Shabbat!) and it will take away some of the “oh my gosh, did I just really eat that” burn.

I plan on making standard barbecued chicken for the “wimpier” members of my family (LOL).  I hope that you will let me know if you tried this recipe and how it turned out – if you dare!!!

Note: This recipe is for Super Spicy Grilled Chicken.  For “Fire Breathing Dragon Hot” Grilled Chicken (my favorite!) double the spices but keep the amount of chicken the same.
2          whole               chickens, cut into 8ths, skin removed if desired
3          tablespoons      olive oil

1          teaspoon          garlic powder
2          teaspoons         onion powder
2          teaspoons         cayenne pepper
2          teaspoons         paprika
1          teaspoons         salt
½         teaspoon          white pepper
1          teaspoon          black pepper   
¼         teaspoon          ground cumin   
1          teaspoon          thyme

Turn grill onto high heat.

Combine all the spices into a bowl.  Set aside.  Coat chicken with olive oil, then rub the oil into the chicken to completely coat.  Sprinkle spices over chicken and rub in to evenly coat. 

Place the chicken on the grill, leaving space between the pieces.  Turn the grill down to medium heat, and let the chicken cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes (or more depending upon your grill), until the chicken can be easily flipped.  Cook covered for an additional 20-30 minutes (or more depending upon your grill) until the pieces register 165° F using a meat thermometer.  You may need to remove the smaller pieces before the larger ones – they cook more quickly.  Serve hot!

  1. Always use fresh spices.  Old spices loose their kick and won’t give you the heat you need for this recipe.
  2. After coating the chicken with the oil and spices and placing the chicken on the grill, you can reserve the remaining oil in the bowl to brush on the chicken while grilling for added flavor.

All the ingredients.  Note the
large spice bottles...there's
a reason for that!!
 All the spices mixed together.
 De-skin the chicken, oil the 
chicken, rub the spices into the it's ready to grill!!
 Make sure the grill is 
really hot before putting the
chicken on!
 Place the chicken on the
grill with some space between
the pieces.
 Only 123.4° F...not done yet!
Can't wait much longer....
Hooray!! 165° F -
Chicken's done...let's eat!!
(If you dare!)

In our family, everyone grills.  Sometimes we even have to arm wrestle each other to determine who gets to do the grilling.  This week, after grilling the SUPER SPICY GRILLED CHICKEN, I handed the grilling tools over to my kids to grill the rest of the chicken we needed for Shabbat.  At that point we realized that we didn’t have any store bought barbecue sauce in the house, so my kids went online and found a recipe that sounded good to them!  I’m happy to share with you the recipe that they found on  It is originally a barbecue sauce that is used on ribs, and is supposed to be cooked on the stove.  My kids skipped the cooking part and used it on chicken.  It tasted great (I shnookered a wing to “taste test” it)!  They did their Mom proud.
So proud!!

ST. LOUIS BARBECUE SAUCE – from St. Louis Barbecue Sauce
2          cups                 ketchup
½         cup                   water
⅓         cup                   apple cider vinegar
⅓         cup                   brown sugar
2          tablespoons      yellow mustard
1          tablespoon        onion powder
1          tablespoon        garlic powder
½         teaspoon          cayenne pepper

Matten version of the recipe:  combine all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Use to coat chicken while barbecuing! version:
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat. Stirring occasionally and simmer for 20 minutes. Sauce should be thin, but not watery. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. Sauce is better if allow to sit for a day.

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These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Flower Shaped Squash Kugel

"Ooh! Look at the pretty
flower shaped kugel!"
It’s that time of year again when, here in Chicago, we completely skip spring and go right into summer.  It’s like a great sports car - 0 to 60 in a blink of an eye.  In my current optimistic state, I’m going to imagine that the beautiful weather we are currently having will stay with us (I’m optimistic, not unrealistic!). 

I’m hoping to do some planting this weekend. My family gave me a lilac bush for Mother’s Day that they ordered online (Yes, that was in addition to writing my blog for me!).  I happen to love lilacs, and the photo showed this beautiful lilac bush that would bloom over and over again in the summer.  Perfect!  I’m also hoping to put up a few different varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and possibly a few other vegetables and herbs.  There is a garden center not too far from here that sells all different types of heirloom tomatoes.  We have grown purple, yellow and the standard red tomatoes.  Last year we planted so late that we ended up purchasing fully grown plants from the same center. They weren’t labeled and it was like a surprise party waiting to see what types of tomatoes we would grow!  We ended up with tons of amazing yellow grape and red cherry tomatoes that were incredibly sweet and juicy.

The "huge" Mother's Day
lilac bush...on my window sill!!
We also grow some flowers in the front of the house.  Unlike the protagonist in the book “The $64 Tomato”, we do have a budget.  I usually try to find the prettiest, least expensive, and heartiest plants.  My sister also taught me the trick to plant spicy, hot peppers in between the flower plants to keep the squirrels from noshing on our flowers.  It seems to have worked in the past, and we end up with a lot of fiery hot cayenne peppers throughout the summer. 

In honor of the spring planting, this Shabbat I’m making my famous Flower Shaped Squash Kugel, so named because I make it in this cute silicone flower shaped pan.  Every time I bring it out everyone always says “Oooh, look at the pretty flower shaped Kugel!” They really do!  It’s a family favorite, and everyone loves cutting off a petal sized serving.  I love it because it’s healthy (squash), and incredibly easy to make.  Using the silicone pan is a plus too because I don’t have to grease it (silicone is naturally non-stick), its easy to clean, and easy to store – I just roll it up and put it in a drawer.

Here’s hoping that the weather holds up this weekend…if not, then there’s always the fun of mystery gardening!!  I’ll keep you posted!!

2          10 ounce          packaged cooked winter squash, defrosted, drained
½         cup                   flour
½         cup                   sugar or Splenda
½         cup                   soy milk, preferably vanilla flavored
3          large                 eggs
                                    Non-stick vegetable spray (if using non-silicone pan)

Preheat oven to 350° F.  If not using a silicone pan, spray a 9” round pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
Place the squash in a large glass bowl.  Add the flour, sugar, and soy milk.  Whisk until smooth.  Add the eggs and blend until thoroughly combined.    Pour squash mixture into pan.  Bake for 45-60 minutes until completely set.  Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.  If using a nifty silicone flower shaped pan, invert onto serving dish and serve to amazed guests.

All the ingredients...
except the eggs!
 Defrosted, drained squash....
 Add all the ingredients...
except the eggs!
 Add the eggs & blend until smooth...
The "cool" silicone flower 
shaped pan...
 Pour it into the pan and
into the oven it goes! 
 Tra-la!! Squash Kugel...
in a pretty flower shape! 

I'd love to hear from you!! Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and recipes after each blog!!!  Don't forget to pass this blog on to your friends and family!!

Look for additional information about  Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Mother's Day Breakfast/Omelet Blog - Written by guest writers: The Matten Kids!

Happy Mothers Day!!

Today, in honor of Mother's Day, my kids (KIH) took over writing this blog!  I hope you enjoy what they've written as much as I did!  A little background information first:  For many years my sweet husband (KIH) would let me sleep in on Mother's Day and bring me breakfast in bed.  Two years ago, when my oldest daughter was 9, he came home from shul in the morning to find that my daughter the CIT (Chef in Training) had already made the most stunningly perfect and beautiful omelet that you have ever seen (and it didn't involve the smoke detector going off like the year before..." everything ok down there? The smoke detector is going off!!).  Anyway, my dearest husband was very happy to pass along the tradition to my kids, and I share with you my very special Mother's Day Blog - Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there!! Love, Sharon (and family!)


     Before I was born, my dad used to make my mother a breakfast in bed for Mother's Day. He used to make it extremely spicy and before he could serve it, it always turned into scrambled eggs. When you eat an omelet, you want it sort of spicy. Well, when my dad made it, it was like stuffing a whole jalapeño pepper in your mouth at once. It was not a good mix. But now I’m old enough to make the “Mother's Day Omelet” and my dad always tells me that I do it a whole lot better than he did. And now guess what?  For part of her mother’s day present, she has asked my sister Adina and I (Masha) to do her blog for this week.  The Mother’s Day Breakfast-in-Bed Omelet Blog!!!
     Before my sister (Masha to be precise) started to make the omelet and my dad did it, he sometimes made the smoke alarm go off. Then my mom would ask my dad “Why is the smoke alarm going off?" Now that my sister does it the alarm doesn’t go off anymore. So my mom can sleep peacefully without hearing AAAAAAAAAAAA… anymore on mothers day.


Mother’s Day is a day when people from all over the world attempt to make this day awesome for their mom or wife by making a special breakfast for them. This breakfast is most likely where the saying “it’s the thought that counts” was invented because the majority of time this breakfast is just plain awful or at least could use some improvement. The receiver of this omelet must think “how complicated is it to make a decent omelet?” Apparently, it is not that easy.  The main causes for making an omelet are most likely due to a person’s lack of smell, lack of taste, or no knowledge of how to cook altogether.
Being able to smell is important to being able to make a good omelet because without the ability to smell the omelet probably will become burnt because one won’t be able to notice the omelet burning.  This lack of smell could be due to one of two things; congestion or the person just doesn’t know how to smell.  A solution to removing congestion is to find the strongest jar of horseradish and take a big whiff. It is almost guaranteed that one’s congestion will be quickly removed. If the problem is that one doesn’t know how to smell the solution is probably to go see a doctor and get medical help.  Once this lack of smell is gone one can easily cook an omelet without burning it.  Once a person figures out how to smell again one can focus on learning how to taste food.
Taste is important in creating an omelet because it is important to know if the omelet had been properly made and no ingredients have been forgotten. Taste is much different to smell because it is difficult for one to change his acquired tastes while smell can be maximized to its best efficiency. What is most recommended to help improve taste is for one to not brush ones teeth before tasting the omelet for the toothpaste may leave a lingering taste that might affect ones perception of how the omelet actually tastes. Second,  it is encouraged that one eat something that is unappetizing before eating the omelet so that one truly appreciates the true taste of this magnificent omelet. Once one has figured out how to maximize ones tasting abilities one must focus on the key part of the Mother’s day omelet, how to cook it.

(By Masha Matten)
¼         cup       scallions, sliced
¾         cup       mushrooms, sliced
            shake   hot pepper flakes
¼         cup       red pepper, diced
½         cup       milk
2          large     eggs
½         cup       egg beaters
2          slices    american cheese, torn into pieces
                        PAM spray

Mix the milk, eggs and egg beaters in a large mixing cup.  Spray a large frying pan with PAM and turn the burner onto medium.  Sauté all the vegetables and pepper flakes until they are soft and browned.  Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables.  Cook the egg a few minutes then top the egg with the american cheese.  Cook for another minute, then fold the egg over .  Smush with the spatula to get some of the liquid out of the egg.  Cook another minute, then put on a large dinner plate.  Serve to Mom in Bed!!

Masha makes the omelet...
check out the diced scallions - 
SO proud of the knife skills!!
Everything goes in the pan....
Check out this GORGEOUS EGG!!
(Way to go Mash!)
Adina makes the Strawberry Parfait!
Cut the tops off of the strawberries...
Put them in a fancy dish....
Then the best, most fun part:
Time to have breakfast
That was SO YUMMY!!! Can't 
every day be Mother's Day?!!!

Thanks family...what a great day!!  I love you!!!

I'd love to hear from you!! Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and recipes after each blog!!!  Don't forget to pass this blog on to your friends and family!!

Look for additional information about  Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spinach Salad with Mangos and Strawberries & Coleslaw with Shredded Chicken

Spinach Salad with Mangos
& Strawberries - It even
looks fresh & healthy!!

Must have SALAD! After the eight straight days of nearly non-stop eating, with a LOT of matzoh, I am feeling the irrepressible need to eat a lot of vegetables and salad!!  In addition to the vast quantities of chicken and beef that I prepared for the meals, I really did try to include a significant number of healthy, vegetable based side dishes.  Even so, there were a lot of meals, a veritable non stop food fest!  Now that Pesach is over, we feel the need to do a menu reset.

These strawberries are HUGE!
My youngest daughter and I were in the mega fruit store this week and the strawberries were on sale for 59¢ a pound!!  These were the biggest, most beautiful strawberries we had ever seen!! At that price we brought home eight pounds of delicious ripe strawberries for us and two pounds for my parents.  That’s a significant amount of strawberries!  A few pounds were to be washed, and eaten whole as an after school mouthwatering, healthy snack.  Another two pounds were for Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce (so good it could be a dessert), and the rest for Shabbat salads & fruit trays.

One of our family’s favorite salads is the Spinach Salad with Mangos and Strawberries.  My youngest daughter begs for this salad with the sweet name “That Fruit Salad”.  It’s so easy to make, I try to indulge her as often as possible, especially now that strawberries are in season.  One of the best parts of making this salad is using one of my all time cool gadgets – my mango cutter.  I love a great gadget. The mango cutter solves the problem of cutting around the irregularly shaped mango seed.  Every time someone sees me use it they can’t believe how easily it cuts the seed out of the mango.  If you are having trouble believing me…I’ll show you how easy it is!!

The rest of the salad is easy to make too. It's made with a light dressing, washed fresh baby spinach, fresh, juicy, sliced strawberries, and all the diced mangos you cubed after using the cool mango cutter.   If you’re a little nutty you can top the salad with chopped walnuts, but the salad is great without them also.  I always make a lot of this salad because with it’s fresh taste it’s really popular!

My husband’s favorite salad is Cole Slaw with Shredded Chicken.  I discovered this recipe a few years ago when trying to make egg rolls for Pesach.  I had made a filling for the egg rolls and realized that the filling was great on it’s own!  A few minor modifications and this crunchy, flavorful, healthy salad became another family favorite.

We are all feeling the need to get back to a healthy eating rhythm - we’re literally counting the days until the next chag!

10        ounces              fresh baby spinach, washed & dried
2          large                 mangos, peeled and diced
1          pound               strawberries, thinly sliced
1          cup                   chopped walnuts (optional)

½         cup                   white vingar
½         cup                   Splenda (or sugar)
2          tablespoons      canola oil

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, splenda and canola oil.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, sliced strawberries, and diced mango.  Toss to combine.  Pour dressing over the salad.  Toss to coat.  Sprinkle the walnuts over the salad.  Serve chilled.

Note: When mangos aren't in season, or I don't have any handy, I use one or two snack sized containers of diced peaches.  The salad is still great and there isn't a big difference in taste!  How easy is that!
½         small                 green cabbage, shredded
2          stalks                celery, thinly sliced
½         medium            onion, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
2                                  chicken breast halves
2          tablespoons      canola oil
1          teaspoon          kosher salt
½         teaspoon          black pepper

Place the chicken breast halves in a medium saucepan.  Cover with water.  Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken from water and cool for 10 minutes.  Shred the chicken with a sharp knife.  Combine all the  ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss to evenly coat.  Allow to sit for 30 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

All the fresh, healthy ingredients...
 Toss 'em together - it's naked salad!
 Mix the dressing...
All dressed up...
Hooray!! It's "Fruit Salad"!!

Shredded cabbage, sliced onion, and celery.
 Cook the chicken, then shred it... 
 Fresh, crunchy (and the husband is happy...bonus!)

I'd love to hear from you!! Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and recipes after each blog!!!  Don't forget to pass this blog on to your friends and family!!

Look for additional information about  Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.