Quick & Kosher Cooking

 

Thank You for Your Support

 

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There’s something about the Thanksgiving season that stimulates a reflex: we start to enumerate our blessings. I have an incredible list of personal thanks to G-d for all that I have. And as I write to you now, I feel so thankful for the JoK family we have built here together. Every person who visits this site deserves credit for building this family. As in every family, each person is different, each has a different voice. Every recipe and every comment you bring makes us stronger, for you offer your unique perspective, opinion, kitchen tip or words of encouragement. With G-d’s help, we have created this kosher cooking kitchen universe together and I am so appreciative.

It’s important that this virtual kitchen we’ve built together has all the bells and whistles of your dream kitchen, and that requires solid communication lines. So for your last chance to win a free turkey let us know in the comments below what you want to see more of, what you like, what you want, what you wish we had, what you’d like us to feature. The sky is the limit, my friends. Give us your ideas about the site’s functionality, recipes, topics we cover… anything that you want to see on JoK.com in the coming year, anything you want us to expand. We are here and we hear you. Please also add a note to let us know if you have bought my latest book, Quick & Kosher Meals in Minutes, and/or subscribed to “Joy of Kosher” magazine. Please be assured that our winners are picked at random and purchase is absolutely NOT required to be eligible to win. It just makes us feel good to know that you want to support this enterprise, and we hope it will encourage others to support us as well.


 

Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Whipped Cream

 

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The trees don’t have to be all shades of orange, yellow, and red for me to crave pumpkin pie. After I graduated high school, my family moved to hot, humid Miami. I dreamed of returning north and consoled myself all summer by eating loads of pumpkin pies, like it was my job.

Yes, I freely admit my love of food. It seems that my standards of food categories and portion size are not exactly like everyone else’s; and that point was brought home to me by my agent who is working with me on a proposal for my next cookbook. I was considering including a pastrami-layered potato kugel, and I put it into the chapter on side dishes. She took one look at it and said, “Jamie, you misplaced this recipe. It should go into the chapter on mains.” It was an “aha!” moment. Hubby and I got a good kick out of it. “Oh, so that’s our problem? Eating ‘mains’ as ‘sides’!” And too many pies.


 

Win a Mauviel Wok!! $341 Value!

 

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Do you want to have a chance to win this phenomenal wok? It will certainly add class to your kitchen!

Jamie’s newest cookbook is on sale for a great price, and everyone who purchases it this week will be entered to win this Wok from Mauviel, plus a One Year Subscription to the Joy of Kosher Magazine with Jamie Geller. How can you pass this up?!


 

Sweet Potato Casserole

 

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I’ve been kvetching a lot about Hubby’s turkey day favorites. And yes, I dutifully plan to recreate all of his childhood memories, even serving up his beloved jellied cranberry sauce from a can. But at my house, the feast was quite different. I’m not saying superior. I’m just saying different.

Back home, my gourmet chef grandparents made the most exquisite Thanksgiving meal – with a strong focus on turkey stuffing and gravy. Everything in the stuffing was finely minced by hand and it was loaded with onions and mushrooms. Absolutely superb! (Um, guess who doesn’t like mushrooms.) Though we were gathered for a real American feast, there was no cornbread, and no sweet potato or green bean casseroles. They were dedicated citizens, but those were lines these immigrant cooks wouldn’t cross. And it would never occur to them to bake with marshmallows. It took my very American aunt –who had married into the family – to bring the pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Without her, we would have missed out on that quintessentially American dessert in favor of a Hungarian cake with an unpronounceable name.


 

Chive Biscuits

 

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Not sure if this happens only in my house, but Hubby really wants certain things exactly the way he grew up with them. His mother always served dinner rolls with Thanksgiving dinner. I want biscuits.

In marriage, compromise is everything. I will buy him his dinner rolls, since that’s what his mom did anyway, and I’ll bake my biscuits. This year, I’ll add chives to the biscuits. Hubby hates chives. But I can go wild: he’s not eating them anyway. Biscuits with chives for me, dinner rolls for Hubby and the kids. (Ever notice that baked goods with green things are more suited to the adult palate?) I know my mom-in-law will try them and she will love them because that’s how good a mom-in-law she is. As far as she’s concerned, everything I make is delicious, and it doesn’t matter that I’ve deviated from her tradition. Now if I could only get Hubby on board…


 

Cranberry Mustard Sauce

 

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OK – so I said I was going traditional this Thanksgiving. Here’s tradition with a hint of mustard. Cranberry Mustard Sauce is often served with the other white meat, a four-letter word that starts with P that shall not be referenced on a kosher site. But it’s also great with chicken and salmon, so I figured hey, how about with turkey?

I did a mix of cranberries and blueberries, and a mix of grainy and Dijon mustards, then added a nice helping of sugar to help the medicine go down. The sweetness of the blueberries, boosted by the sugar, cut the tartness in the cranberries. Voila – a full-flavored sauce with just a slight mustardy tang.


 

Black Pepper Gravy

 

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Question: How can you make delicious gravy without pan drippings? Answer: Black Pepper Gravy.

In place of pan drippings, use margarine, chicken stock and white wine for flavor, and add flour to thicken. It’s as simple as that. Oh yeah, of course, add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. What’s important here is the technique: you are whisking the entire time. That constant motion incorporates each ingredient and layer of flavor and helps prevent lumps, giving your gravy a nice, smooth consistency. As far as thickness goes, the longer you simmer it, the thicker it will get. You can also always add a little broth to thin it out, if you went a little overboard with your simmering.


 

Skillet Cornbread with Dried Cranberries and Sage

 

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I went super traditional with my Thanksgiving menu this year. Yeah, I took some twists and turns with the Southwestern Turkey and Green Chile Stuffing, but the rest of the menu is classic. Really. And it’s quick too, because you’ve got enough to juggle that day.

A slice of warm cornbread, dripping with butter (or margarine), is one of life’s indescribable pleasures. Corn muffins, corn bread, cornmeal cakes — I adore them all! In this Skillet Cornbread, the dried cranberries and sage complement each other like Fred & Ginger; Shrek & Fiona; Fred & Wilma, you get it I’m sure. Leave ‘em in if this sounds good to you (and, believe me, it’s not just good – it’s great!) Leave ‘em out if you want a more traditional, no frills, classic cornbread.


 

Southwestern Turkey Breast with Green Chile...

 

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I’m starting our grand Thanksgiving feast recipes with its star… the bird. Everyone and their Grandma will be doing a BIG bird and we have tons of recipes for BIG birdies here on our site. But I figured that since we all fight over the white meat (at least in my family), I devised a quick-prep, quick-cook, easy boneless, skinless, turkey breast recipe: Southwestern Turkey Breast with Green Chile Stuffing. Southwestern cuisine is a fusion of Spanish colonial, cowboy, Native American and Mexican style food – a “melting pot” concoction that is true Americana. It’s a cool flavor profile to introduce to your friends, family and T-day table.

Of course, if you want to make the biggest bird on the block, you can still use this southwestern spice rub; you just need to convert the measurements. For a 10-pound whole turkey, use 2 teaspoons each of chili powder, mustard powder, kosher salt, dried oregano, and ground coriander; and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste). The cayenne is optional, depending on how much heat you can handle. For every additional 2 pounds of turkey, increase the spices by a ½ teaspoon and the cayenne by a ¼ teaspoon (or to taste). Bake whole turkeys according to this how to roast a perfect kosher turkey chart.


 

One-Skillet Recipe: Vegetarian Quinoa Dish

 

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The Big Q – What is Quinoa?

Everyone wants to know: Is it a grain? How do you use it? How do you pronounce it? Is it good for you? Is it kosher for Passover?


 

One-Skillet Recipe: Steak

 

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I once thought skirt steak got its name because it was favored by chicks, like mushy movies. Ladies will love it, guys will fall asleep. Apparently, I wasn’t far off. Turns out, skirt steak comes from around the cow’s belly, the place where a skirt would be worn (if cows wore skirts, that is). A boneless, relatively inexpensive cut, it’s prized more for its flavor than tenderness. To minimize toughness, it can be marinated and/or grilled, or pan seared very quickly (think stir-fry) or braised very slowly. Slice thinly against the grain to maximize tenderness.

“Slice against the grain.” You see that instruction all the time and nobody bothers to explain it. I hear you. So let me translate this bit of chef lingo. Skirt steak (much like brisket and London broil) has long fibers running through it. You will see these distinct lines in the meat: these babies are tough. When you use your knife, instead of your teeth, to cut through those fibers, eating goes from “oy” to “ah.” So we cut “against” or “across” the grain: that means don’t slice parallel to those lines, but rather across those lines, ideally at a 45 degree angle. You’re cutting those long fibers into short ones to make it easier to chew. You don’t have to be a super chef to notice that cutting against the grain or cutting along the fibers spells the difference between meat that melts in your mouth and meat that’s tougher than your high school physics teacher. By the way, you can slice these meats before or after cooking, but if you cut after cooking, let the meat rest a bit. Everything behaves better when it’s rested.


 

One-Skillet Recipe: Chicken

 

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The all-purpose (extra-large if you need it) stovetop to oven skillet is a kitchen essential. Mine works overtime and never lets me down. My skillet and a pair of tongs (which I would take with me if I was stranded on a dessert island – assuming that dessert island had a cooktop) turn out delicious dinners for my family. In the upcoming Chanukah issue of Joy of Kosher Magazine I have a week’s worth of 1-Skillet Meals in Minutes and this week at JoK.com I am sharing 3 special skillet suppers with you all.

Today we have Chicken Thighs with Roasted Winter Fruit. The wonderful thing about skillet chicken is the crisp golden brown skin you get when searing for about 8-10 minutes on each side and then finishing off in the oven. Searing also lock in those juices so you have nice, moist, flavorful, did I say moist! chicken.


 

Let Them Eat Cake – Contest Winner!!

 

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Anybody out there who doesn’t love cake?

I don’t believe you. Well, if it’s true, I guess you’re lucky ‘cuz you’ll never hear a cake calling you into the kitchen in the middle of the night. I think I can speak for the other 99% of humanity when I say that if there’s a really good cake, I can eat the whole thing myself. Even a not so good cake. I don’t need anyone else at my one-woman party – I actually prefer it that way. I can cut a slice, and another and one more sliver, without eyebrows going up all around me.


 

Seasoned Lamb Skewers with Couscous

 

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Confession time.  The Geller family is not big into lamb. But I know there are people out there who are,   so I developed this recipe for Seasoned Lamb Skewers with Couscous especially for you lamb lovers! It’s fun, fantastically seasoned, and it’s ready in under an hour. (Just between us, you can substitute beef for the lamb, which is what I do.)

If you plan to use wooden skewers, don’t forget to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before using.


 

Quick Dinners for Any Day of the Week

 

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Quick dinners, quick dinners, we desperately need quick dinners.  The best way for me to develop something for you is to think of what I need. We’re all in the same boat.

So I can’t get enough recipes for quick weeknight dinners. Of course, I could just make the same four or five dishes, rotating them on a weekly basis – but that’s so boring!  I love serving something new; an easy meal I can fix with my kids’ help, or just let them mill around me as they settle in from school. One minute we’re just chatting and throwing a few things together and then – abracadabra – something hot and fresh hits the table and we all dig in!  It’s not really magic, just a good, quick and easy recipe.