Gourmet & Kosher

 

Seder Tablescape

 

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Dear Joy of Kosher readers,

On Passover, we strive to whip up the perfect hametz-free gourmet menu which a huge feat right after we survive meticulously scrubbing of every inch of our homes. With just a little bit of planning and imagination, we can save some energy to create our own unique Passover seder tablescapes which serves as an elegant backdrop for our delicious Passover meals.


 

Carrot Dill Matzah Balls

 

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These are not your Bubbe’s matzah balls.

But they’re perfect.


 

EVOO is Kosher for Passover and All Year Round

 

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There is something really great that we can use for Passover. It is delicious, all natural and minimally processed. All Extra Virgin Olive Oil is kosher all year round and that includes Passover!! The savvy Passover shopper is buying great olive oil this year.

Olive oil is produced by grinding or crushing and extracting the oil. A green olive produces bitter oil and an overripe olive produces rancid oil. For great extra virgin olive oil it is essential to have olives that are perfectly ripened.


 

Ingredient Spotlight: Horseradish

 

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Whenever we approach “Maror” at the Passover Seder, I see my little cousins cringe at the prospect of having to eat the bitter herb to remind us of the bitter work the Egyptians forced on the enslaved Hebrews. The horseradish we consume can even bring tears to your eyes if you have too much. By the end of the two Seders, there is usually enough horseradish to last for 3 or 4 more Passovers or preserved to be used with gefilte fish for the whole year.  The sale of bottled horseradish began in the 1860′s, but there is nothing like making your own.  Here are 2 different methods for preserving.

Drying: 1. Set oven to the lowest possible temperature. 2. Either slice the horseradish into uniform thickness, or grate using a box grater (this is how my leftover horseradish usually is anyway) 3. Lay out the horseradish in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven to dry. Check occasionally, until they are brittle to the touch. (**note–I don’t know how long this actually is) 4. Once fully dried, store in a dark airtight container on a dark shelf. If you have a vacuum sealer, you can vacuum seal the horseradish and store in the freezer. Mark with the date and discard after 6 months. Grated: 1. Grate the horseradish with a box grater. Be careful not to put your head too close or you will feel a rush of the released horseradish oils that will make your eyes tear. 2. Take a small clean jar that can hold 1/2-1 cup. Fill halfway with quality red, white, or light balsamic vinegar (1/4-1/2 cup). 3. Spoon the grated horseradish into the jar. Gently swirl with a bamboo skewer to make sure all pieces have been coated with vinegar. 4. Seal and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks. Note: Homemade horseradish is usually stronger than store bought especially if you make it when it is very fresh and pungent. Here are some more ideas for how to use horseradish: -Sniff it when you have a cold–it will clear your sinuses right up! -Slice thinly using a mandolin and serve in salads. There are many varieties of horseradish, including a watermelon horseradish, which look beautiful when sliced and served this way. -Boil or steam the horseradish and eat it like you would a turnip or steamed carrots. The cooking process eliminates the pungent flavor of the horseradish, so for those who don’t like the flavor, this can be a great way to still benefit from the nutrition of the root vegetable, which is a great source of fiber.

Gefilte Fish Cakes with Horseradish Sauce


 

Salad of Bitter Greens and 4 Dressings

 

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When it came my turn to take over the family Seders I prepared the same dishes that my mother had always prepared, and her mother, my grandma, before her. But I’ve always been a tinkerer in the kitchen and like to tweak recipes and invent new ones and even serve them for holidays. An entirely new dinner would be unthinkable of course, but one or two dishes – side dish or salad or dessert – well, why not? If my family likes it we have it again sometime. If not, there’s plenty of other food to eat.

One year I decided to create a new, exciting and complex-tasting version of Haroset. We tasted a tidbit during the reading, as commanded, and everyone loved it so much they wanted more with their dinner. Unfortunately I had only made enough for the symbolic portions. But every Passover since then I make gobs of my spicy date-and-apricot Haroset to have with the dinner, like a relish or chutney.


 

Happy Purim!!

 

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Well, it’s been intense preparing for this holiday – but we have had so much bringing you all the Purim recipes and Seudah themes and ways to wrap your Mishloach Manot.

Here’s a round up of what we shared with you – bookmark this page to use again next year!


 

Purim Disguised Dishes-The Surprise is On The...

 

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One of the many commentaries discussed at Purim is that nothing was as it seemed.  The miraculous salvation of the Jews was concealed under the guises of nature, luck and coincidence.  I’ve read that Esther wasn’t the prettiest contestant in front of King Achashveiros, that Queen Vashti’s banishment was excessive even for a drunk king, and that Mordechai’s timing was more than coincidental in order for him to overhear Haman’s plot against the Jews.

Each one of these events is remarkable by themselves, and yet, they all happened with such precise timing to enable the events of Purim to take place.  Did these occurrences happen by luck, by coincidence, by timing alone?  Some say no.  Instead, it is believed that these acts were all maneuvered by a higher force.  And yet at the time, all these instances were disguised as ordinary occurrences.


 

Amalek Kugel for Parshat Zachor

 

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Yes, I was a bit confused to learn that there is a recipe called Amalek Kugel. Amalek? Isn’t his evil tribe our greatest historical enemy? Wasn’t the wicked Haman his grandson? Aren’t Hitler, the Hamas terrorists, the Hizbollah, Ahamdinjead said to be his descendents?

Naming a kugel after him sounded about as strange as naming an ice cream flavor after Hitler, except that it isn’t.


 

Mishloach Manot Ideas

 

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Truth be told, generally, when I think of Mishloach Manot, I always think hamantashen. I mean, they’re the best known Purim treat, once you get set up, it’s easy to produce a lot and they’re great for packing up and transporting. But there’s no law that says that hamantashen must be included.

You do need to include at least two different items, so if you feel you must include hamantashen, that’s OK, but here are a few suggestions for other treats. Include one of these with your hamantashen or skip the hamantashen this year and just send these!


 

The Ten Best Hamantaschen Recipes

 

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It’s that time of year, our sleeves are rolled up, the dough is rolled out, and we are making dozens of hamantaschen for inclusion in our Mishloach Manot.

Here are some wonderful suggestions for you for this year – from the classic to the decadent chocolate filled, you will find a hamantasch for everyone.


 

Purim Cake Pops

 

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I’ve totally jumped on the bandwagon. I am a huge fan of putting treats on sticks. I’m pretty sure that any treat, no matter how delicious, fun, cute or enticing can be made infinitely more exciting (at least in a child’s eyes!) when placed on a stick.

It’s not just me. Everywhere you go, everyone is making and serving cake pops. This trend is great all year long, but there is no better time on the Jewish calendar for fun treats like a cake pop than Purim, a day when treats are plentiful and fun is the order of the day. Want to be the coolest mom on the block? Make some purim themed cake pops with your kids, and then give them the amazing satisfaction of distributing them to friends in Mishloach Manot.


 

Purim Recipes – Treats Beyond Belief

 

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Purim for me elicits many colorful and joyful memories, but none as strong as the faces of happy children with their mishloach manot, “goodie” baskets traditionally given to friends and family for this holiday. In the Sephardic tradition, the delivery of mishloach manot by children parallels a custom in Chinese culture for Chinese new year; upon receiving their baskets, the recipients shower the lucky curriers with coins!

Depending on your family customs, Purim baskets may contain any number of different things. Halakha dictates that the items given must be portable, and that the package must contain two different types of food. Fruits and nuts are popular items, of course, but, these days, anything goes! Depending on your tradition (or your predisposition for culinary adventures), these mishloach manot can span the spectrum of simple to gourmet, and everything in between. An Ashkenazi must-have is Hamantaschen, filled, triangular cookies, while Sephardim enjoy baklava, Orejas de Haman, and even burekas. While it’s best to fill your baskets with your tried and true family favorites, it’s always fun to add a little zest of something new. Why not give some of these festive, non-traditional items a try?


 

8 Meatloaf Recipes

 

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Meatloaf – is there anything more comforting on a cold winter night? Served with a side of mashed potatoes, perhaps some green beans? At our house we like to make meatloaf sandwiches with the leftovers, and sometimes, I think it tastes even better between two slices of a crusty loaf!!

Here are some meatloaf recipes that will leave you salivating and heading to the kitchen to whip some up:


 

Cheap Recipe Ideas for Bluefish

 

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Not many people extol the virtues of bluefish, except maybe for sport fishermen, who know that bluefish are fighters and that spotting and reeling one in is like going after Moby Dick.

Few praise the fish as food though. People say it’s too “fishy,” which seems odd, because it is, well, fish.


 

Celebrate Tu B’Shvat

 

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In honor of the holiday of Tu B’Shvat we share with you some of our favorite Tu B’Shvat posts and recipes. Tu B’Shvat starts tonight, February 7 and continues through to sunset tomorrow Feb 8th.