Matzah Madness

How’s everyone’s Passover going so far?! This is the final stretch and wanted to share some classics with you in case you are in need of some inspiration or looking to try matzah recipes for that first time! It’s often my non Jewish friends who are most intrigued by matzah creations so I hope everyone will enjoy!

The assortment above is matzah crackers made with my friend Danielle who is always game for food styling with me. She invited me over for Grey’s Anatomy + matzah with goat cheese, pears, pistachios and honey! Yum. We added wine and played around with other combos including avocado matzah “toast” with tomatoes and everything but the bagel seasoning. Dessert was matzah chocolate and raspberries.

Nothing beats matzah pizza for a quick, versatile, and always delicious matzah meal. This is perfect for lunch or a snack or when you just need hot melted cheese (me all the time). The best matzah for this is classic salted or unsalted, manischevitz brand is my go to . Try to avoid egg matzah for this as it can get soggier which is not what you want for a crisp matzah pizza. Start with tomato sauce or pesto, any sauce will do! Then add your favorite shredded cheese and toppings. Some of my favorites include: mini peppers, Basil, three cheese blend, roasted tomatoes, and mushrooms! It’s a DIY canvas.

Matzah brei is a classic Passover breakfast that is delicious any time of year! You can make it savory or sweet. The sweet variety is sort of like a play on French toast. I love topping it with jam, cinnamon sugar, and a dollop of sour cream. Hoping to make a savory Mexican styled matzah brei migas this is weekend. For a classic matzah brei recipe you need: 1.5- 2 sheets of matzah, 2 eggs, a generous splash of milk, dash of vanilla or if you’re going sweet, add a pinch of salt. Break the matzah up in the egg and milk mixture and coat for about 1-2 minutes. Don’t let it sit longer! Heat up a skillet with butter and add the matzah brei mixture stirring quickly as if you were making scrambled eggs. Once eggs set to your desired consistency, serve immediately and top with your toppings of choice. This raspberry jam has been the real winner this Passover for me. I found it at the Blue Field Farmer’s market in Eado and am now hooked. Would order online too and easily say it’s the best raspberry jam I’ve tasted which can really elevate your breakfast!

If you only have 1 minute for breakfast, matzah with cream cheese and everything but the bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s is the answer. Could also skip cream cheese and do this with avocado, yum!

No Passover is complete without matzah crack! Basically matzah toffee that is seriously addictive. I’m partial to this Smitten Kitchen recipe, but you can’t go wrong with any Carmel chocolate combo on here. Warning, it gets sticky so use parchment paper plus foil!

Hope you enjoy! What are your favorite recipes with matzah?

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The Union Kitchen- Restaurant Review                   

It’s been a few weeks since I visited The Union Kitchen for an epic tasting experience and I can’t stop dreaming about their food! Life has been crazy with recent travels, but I’ve been dying to return to my new favorite restaurant in town for all occasions. The Union Kitchen offers a relaxing and delicious dining experience from start to finish. Their patio is a nice oasis from the city and it is temperature controlled during both the winter and summer, a Houston necessity. They have great wine deals throughout the week, nearly bottomless boozy brunches, and ridiculously sinful chocolate martinis… Need I say more?

Whether you are looking for a date night spot, have friends in town who want to enjoy some of the best Houston food beyond Tex-Mex, or want a place that can cater to a wide range of palettes, this should be your new go-to restaurant. We dined at their Bellaire location, but they have additional locations in Memorial and Kingwood. The staff couldn’t have been friendlier and we felt truly pampered.
I invited Zoe, my famous empanada making friend, to sample their menu. It was a special night for us as it was our last girls night in Houston, for now at least 😦 So proud of her as she’s off to an exciting new adventure in Florida, but going to miss my partner in crime. We decided we needed to go big and The Union Kitchen staff was so sweet and generous throughout our meal. It was the perfect farewell dinner and we were too full and distracted by the deliciousness to be tearful…phew!


Zoe and I enjoyed the beautiful outdoor patio and fountain. We felt like we were on vacation!

We started with a bottle of Ano Verde Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara. It had a medium body and fruity finish, perfect pairing for our diverse tasting. The Union Kitchen offers half off wine bottles on Monday nights…score!

First up in our food marathon were these glorious brussel sprouts.  We LOVE brussel sprouts and are always looking for the best ones in town and these are currently our #1 favorite. They are crispy, tangy, and perfectly charred. They are dressed with a homemade balsamic dijon sauce and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. You MUST order them!

Next up were sriracha Asian chicken lettuce wraps. They packed a punch but were not too spicy. The marinated chicken was especially flavorful, and I liked that it was served with crunchy cashews, water chestnuts, and fresh sprouts as toppings. Definitely a nice lighter appetizer option and it was a great portion too.

The appetizers kept coming out!

Pepper calamari with feta, green onions, and pepperoncini peppers were a delightful combination of unique flavors. I normally don’t eat calamari but these were quite addicting.

We had to take a pause to enjoy our wine and the weather before gearing up for our entrees…

First up was this melt in your mouth braised beef short rib. It was so tender you could eat it with chop sticks! It is braised slowly for 6-8 hours and served with a natural reduction over a creamy butternut squash puree. The flavors were well balanced and we both loved this dish. All of their sauces and marinades are made in house which makes a HUGE difference.

Our favorite entree was the Gulf Red Snapper served with a zesty lemon risotto, grilled asparagus, and a lemon butter sauce. It was incredibly fresh and flavorful and a very high quality fish. The lemon risotto was equally delicious and would even be tasty on its own. We had to box up some of the food to save room for dessert which we couldn’t miss out on!

Hello Beautiful

I can’t stop thinking about this chocolate dessert martini (yikes). Their in house mixologist surprised us with this concoction and it was my favorite part of the meal! It was made with Baileys Chocolate liquor and marshmallow fluff.  It was served with a decadent yet light chocolate mouse which we were convinced to eat because it was National Chocolate Mouse day and it would be rude not to celebrate…

While we were stuffed and already had our to-go boxes packed, their friendly manager told us we couldn’t leave without trying their banana bread pudding. It is made with their in house sourdough bread which is made fresh daily. It is then topped with boozy banana deliciousness.  Zoe who normally doesn’t even like bananas said “There are literally no words to describe how good this is.”

Special shout out to their incredible manager Rob. He was so personable and fun to chat with, his passion for their food and restaurant was contagious. Our waiter Marshall was also great and attentive. Zoe and I were both were blown away by the entire experience.

We decided our next girls date needed to be a workout, but we couldn’t have asked for a better celebratory dinner. I can’t wait to return!

Tasting at The Tuck Room at iPic theater 

Since when has Monday become the new best day of the week for foodie adventures? The past two Monday nights I’ve been wined and dined more than I ever have on a weekend. No complaints though because it’s a great way to fight the Monday blues. I was excited to score an invite through the Houston food blogger collective (HFBC) to attend a media preview dinner at The Tuck room at the new iPic theaters in the new River Oaks. I dined with other HFBC friends KimMorgan, and Onolicious.

I had no idea this area even existed right behind Highland Village and boy was it swanky! Lots of high end stores similar to Rodeo Drive plus a brand new Equinox- Houston’s first. Will be fun to come here for window shopping and dinner + a movie at iPic.

 


Now on to the important things…

Hello liquid nitrogen vodka bar. Where have you been all my life? This was like science class meets a trendy club and I loved that you could build your own cocktail. I had a gingerade type mimosa with plenty of mint and fresh fruit.  You can order this at your movie seat! Mind blown

Awesome lobby installation art built from used books!


  More passed cocktail deliciousness

 

These cod lettuce wraps were a tasty apetizer

Deconstructed Caesar salad was a cool concept and great flavor combo 

Filet sliders were OMG amazing

BBQ brisket sandwiches – table favorite. Seriously get these at your next movie date

Onion soup rings were a huge hit and creative concept. Another one of our favorites

Fish tacos were good but not my favorite. Then again I’m picky about fish tacos being a Southern CA native.  

Food kept on coming… We had no idea what to expect and were shocked by how many courses they served! Plus there were some pairings which each course which was also but also dangerous for a Monday night…

These chicken skewers, steak, and thick sweet potatoe fries were all a hit

Then we got to tour the movie theater. Look at these movie seats! Like your own personal nap pod complete with blankets and pillows and reclining  seats! You will never be at to go back to regular movie seats…

Getting to talk to chef Sherry Yard was a highlight. She was sweet and funny and is kind of a huge deal in the foodie world for winning 3 James Beard awards . After tasting her innovative food I can now totally see why

Next up dessert. We were stuffed but obviously couldn’t say no. Chocolate truffle grapes were a surprisingly addictive dessert. And hey basically eating fruit + antioxidants right?

And then this happened…  chocolate molten lava donuts were pure heaven and worth getting chocolate all over my face for

Can’t wait to return to iPic and the Tuck Room for a movie, cocktails, and more tasty treats. Date night in Houston has now reached a new level, go check it out. Stay tuned for my next Monday night review about Buff Burger! 🍔