Seasonal Cooking

 

DIY – Baked Root Vegetable Chips

 

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The first time I tried store bought vegetable chips I was smitten by the colorful, crispy vegetables that are the perfect balance between sweet and salty. They were hard to come by at the time but whenever I had a chance, I’d savor each bag (by myself!). Now that I figured out how to make them at home, I can enjoy these root chips any time, all year. They are very simple, really cheap and taste just as good, if not better. Also, I love dipping them in babaganoush for a healthy, fun snack on Passover or any time.

They key in this recipe is to use a mandoline slicer so the chips cook evenly and are uniform in size. The thinner they are sliced, the crispier and more delicate.  I baked them instead of frying them to keep them even healthier and if you leave the skin on the vegetables that is an extra nutrition boost too.  I used beets, turnips and yams, but you can use any root vegetables and make them this same way.


 

Two New Ways To Make Pot Pie

 

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Growing up, pot pie night was the highlight of my week, dinner-wise at least! The idea of getting my very own little dish, piping hot out of the oven, made me feel so special. My mom used to make the classic chicken pot pie, but I thought it was time to recreate my favorite childhood dish. The best part is that it’s a one pot meal which means easy clean up, and who doesn’t love that?

If you love pizza, this dish is for you! Served in an nontraditional way, and filled with a unique blend of vegetables, both adults and kids will be excited for dinner. Feel free to substitute your favorite vegetables for the ones in the recipe.


 

Hail To A Slaw

 

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To be quite candid, if I may, I never really celebrated Presidents’ Day. It’s not because I am not patriotic. On the contrary, I nationally still identify myself as an American; even from living overseas. While I may not be too pleased with the current administration governing the country, I appreciate what the country still represents: Freedom, Liberty, Equality and Justice for all. I am not denying that we had great leaders who made an impact on America for the greater good. Their overall dedication to establishing and building the country, creating a haven for the poor and persecuted deserves my utmost respect and honor. Even though I made Aliyah, I still appreciate the freedoms and opportunities I’ve had growing up in America. At day school, we would recite the Pledge of Allegiance before class.

While I grew up celebrating July 4th and Thanksgiving, I never saw Presidents’ Day as a cause for celebration. While it is an established national holiday, all it meant to me was having a day off from school or work. We did spend a lot of family quality time together. We either went to a museum, sports event, or a movie. We didn’t throw any swanky dinners or parties.


 

How A New Recipe Is Born

 

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Normally I would enter into my kitchen and if I don’t have anything specific in mind I’d open the refrigerator and look for the leftovers; then whatever I find I start making something out of it. Sometimes when I stuff vegetables or dough I use the remaining filling to spontaneously create a new dish. Normally in cases like this no one asks me for the recipes, so in general I don’t write them down.

Now I learned my lesson. I posted a picture of one of my food creations on Facebook and one of my fans asked for the recipe – what a catch. Well I have to be honest and say this was one of those recipes that I improvised without taking notes.


 

10 Healthy(ier) Snow Day Treats

 

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Being a New Englander I should not have been so surprised to see snow this winter, but it hasn’t been quite so cold and snowy around here for a few years.  When I was at home in Cambridge, MA for the first snow storm of the season I saw the local news covering the blizzard non-stop during the news broadcast.  That was when I realized that we are in for a long, cold winter which calls for warm, hearty meals and treats. For those of us who don’t spend our snow days shoveling snow or sledding (I wish!) for hours on end, here are 10 healthy(ier) snow day meals and treats.

 


 

How To Make The Best Stuffed French Toast

 

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I used to think French toast was made on the stove. Soak the bread, stick it in a skillet, and you’re done, right? Wrong. The thing is that when French toast only gets a few minutes of stove-top cooking, the insides don’t have a chance to properly bake. For truly perfect, cakey insides, you also need the oven. Try it this way and you’ll have a hard time going back!

To take French toast up yet another notch, you can get a stuffed effect by French toasting sandwiches instead of plain slices of bread. Here, I used a combo of  homemade cream cheese and date spread (you can also use store bought) in some and peanut butter and date spread in others. You can do this with basically any sandwich filling, savory included (but if you go that route, replace the sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon with a pinch of salt and pepper and some herbs).


 

Cooking With Fresh Mozzarella *Giveaway*

 

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Before I traveled to Rome for the first time a few years ago, I fantasized about all the amazingly delicious Italian food we were going to have. The fresh pasta, the authentic pizzas, the sweet gelatos, it was all going to be perfectly delicious. On our first night in the historic city, we strode into a bistro just outside the Jewish ghetto. There, I had the only thing still available from the menu, the most tasteless spaghetti in marinara.  It was quite disappointing. I should have known better when I heard the chef and waiter speaking to each other in Russian.   Thankfully, the rest of the trip was beautiful, but I didn’t leave with such fond memories of the food, save for a few exceptional restaurants in the Jewish Ghetto where ironically I ate Middle Eastern food.


 

Essential 6 Ingredient Soups

 

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When temperatures drop, nothing is more comforting than cozying up with a hot bowl of soup. As a personal chef, I find myself making these three recipes weekly for my clients, and who would ever guess they only require 6 ingredients? These soups take no time to prepare and freeze wonderfully for an easy, last minute dinner. Immersion blenders are essential here, creating a creamy consistency without the extra calories. Want to jazz them up for a special occasion? See starred comments on the recipes for some unique ideas that will impress your guests!

Minted Pea Soup


 

Make The Best Strata For Your Winter Brunch

 

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When winter sets in, we want heavy, soul-satisfying food. The days are shorter, and we may be feeling sluggish, so we don’t want to work too hard in the kitchen. That’s especially true of Sundays, when we don’t have to go anywhere and the day stretches before us unhurried and unpressured.

A strata is just the thing for a lazy winter brunch with friends. It’s gorgeous straight out of the oven, all golden and puffy, a real show-stopper. It’s basically a savory bread pudding. It’s called “strata” because the ingredients are layered like the stratosphere.


 

Pumpkin Hanukkah Recipes

 

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I love Pumpkin! It is one of the most versatile ingredients in my pantry and is a staple in my home. I use pumpkin in many recipes including: soups, risotto, breads, stews, ravioli filling, pie, and more.

One of the few canned foods I use is canned pumpkin puree. Canned pumpkin puree is a nutrient dense food. It is high in vitamins and antioxidants. To achieve the creaminess of canned pumpkin puree it would take hours and many pounds of pumpkin to result in several cups of puree. So now you know the secrets of this restaurant chef.


 

Cooking Israeli Food In America

 

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I just came back from New York City where I gave a few Israeli cooking classes. I always find that no matter where in the world I am, cooking with people is fun, creative and delicious, and passion for cooking crosses cultures and places. As a cook I like to learn and teach new recipes, cooking techniques and tips.

Two cooking classes were hosted by two of my dearest clients and friends Ada-Beth and Laurie, who took my cooking tour in Israel a while ago. The third one took place at Manhattan JCC. I so much appreciate the warm welcome and the opening of the kitchens for me.


 

An Updated Israeli Cabbage Salad

 

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A classic Israeli table is covered with about a dozen colorful salads from all over the Middle East. Once you’ve eaten in a typical Israeli restaurant, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Everything from hummus to babaganush gets served on endless small plates so that you can barely see the table. The collection of salads is a sign of the Israel bountifulness, and general generosity found all over the country.

One of Israel’s most famous salads, found in every falafel stand, is the red cabbage salad.


 

In Season Persimmon Recipes

 

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Persimmons are tropical-tasting fruit that come in various shades and textures; the most common being the Fuyu persimmon (firm, round and light orange) and the Hachiya persimmon (soft texture, oval and dark orange). The firm, pale orange persimmons are the most versatile and can be eaten both raw and cooked. The deep orange varieties are extremely soft and are best used in soups, purees or jams. Fuyu persimmons ripen after they are picked, while Hachiya do not. Make sure not to eat unripe (firm) Hachiya persimmons as they can leave an uncomfortable, dry feeling in your mouth.

Persimmon tart

Persimmon Tart


 

Versatile Kale Recipes

 

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Every once in a while my daughters, now grown up and married with children will ask, “how come we never ate [fill in the blank] when we were kids?”

The answers vary, of course, depending on the particular food.


 

Rethink Your Salad with These Creative Fall Salad...

 

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Salads refer to a whole category of dishes that include raw vegetables but can also include: cold, cooked vegetables, including grains and pasta; ones which add cold meat or seafood; sweet dishes made of cut-up fruit; and even warm dishes. Though the prototypical salad is light, a dinner salad can constitute a complete meal. These dishes are served dressed with vinaigrette.

Vinaigrettes are an emulsion of oils and vinegar sometimes flavored with herbs, spices and commonly used as a salad dressing or cold sauce. Salads are complex and vexing for most chefs who write menus. In America, the salad starts the meal and as a chef, I want my first impression to be a good one. In Europe, a salad ends the meal and the last impression should also be a good one. A salad can be exciting and palate stimulating. I urge all home cooks to rethink their salads. This can be a make-or break course and can become the course that everyone looks forward to.