Cook Thanksgiving in an Hour


November 19th 2014

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I’m not kidding, it is possible to spend Thanksgiving outside of the kitchen!  Each dish seems to add up to more and more hours in the kitchen, but with a good game plan and the recipes below you will be out of the kitchen and able to enjoy the day.  I’m no miracle worker though, sorry to say that there are no whole roasted turkey recipes here, those actually take a while to cook!  Instead there are plenty of elegant and alternative turkey based options which will make you wonder why you ever bothered cooking the whole bird anyway!



You can get close to the whole roasted bird with elegant options such as Maple and Cider Turkey Breast and Stuffed Turkey Breast, if you prefer chicken try the Roast Chicken with Chestnuts and Orange Yam Mash, and if you have two hours try the Spatchcocked Turkey which is basically a butterflied whole turkey.  Some fun, untraditional takes on the Thanksgiving turkey include Turkey Meatballs, Turkey Chili with Loaded Cornbread Muffins, Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping and Turkey Schnitzel.


Pie and cornbread are all feasible tasks in under an hour.  My game plan is usually to conquer the baked goods and the meat in successive order.  Skillet Cornbread with Dried Cranberries & Sage and Pareve Cornbread Muffins take five minutes or less in prep time and yield delicious results.  Enjoy a classic Pumpkin Pie or even Pumpkin Brittle and Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread.


There’s even time for starches like potatoes, sweet potato kugels and stuffing!  Creamy Smashed Potatoes with Chives (sub in earth balance and vegan sour cream to keep it pareve), Sweet Potato Casserole with Honey, Butternut Squash Kugel, Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples, and Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans all take about 45 minutes in the oven and will fill your kitchen with the most delightful of fall smells.  Stuffing can be a quick feat with Whole Wheat Challah Stuffing with Dried Cranberries, Simple Gluten Free Stuffing, and Simple Harvest Stuffing.


Spicy Sauted Leeks and Spinach

Last but not least are the quickest parts of the meal: the greens and the cranberry sauce.  The quickest cranberry sauce is just one can opener away, but making your own can take only about 10 minutes with the Zinfull Cranberry Relish and classic Cranberry Relish.  Some quick and healthy greens include the Pareve Creamed Spinach, Sautéed Garlickey Kale, Green Beans Almondine, and Spicy Sautéed Leeks and Spinach.


Looking for more Thanksgiving ideas?  Check out last week’s 50 Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup here!



The Chanukah Issue Makes The Perfect Gift


November 18th 2014

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This winter issue is all about Chanukah. Get healthy frying tips and tons of latke recipes. Don’t miss our Doughnut Cookies and gifts for every budget. We go crazy for olive oil and celebrate with a Chanukah party!!  Order 2 subscriptions and get the Joy of Kosher Cookbook as a FREE gift!!


Winn-Dixie Kosher Stores Within A Store *Giveaway*


November 18th 2014

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Check out this video as Jamie takes us through the Kosher Winn-Dixie grocery store in South Florida.

HEYYYYYYYYYY! Watch my #WinnDixieKosher store-within-a-store tour in South Florida. I shopped till I dropped and after eating fresh hot pizza and sushi I capped it all off with a 250+ person demo and book signing in the midst of one of those notorious Floridian torrential downpours!

I had so much fun I am heading back to Florida next month. This time I’ll visit Winn Dixie Orlando and Winn Dixie Jacksonville for Chanukah Demos on December 10th and 11th (more details coming soon).

To celebrate this delicious partnership you can win a copy of my new Joy of Kosher Cookbook and a $50 Winn-Dixie Gift Card. To enter share something, anything about Winn Dixie (a haiku, a memory, a Winn Dixie wish) in the comments below and share this post on social media with the hashtag #WinnDixieKosher. See the rafflecopter form for more details.
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British Savory Pies and Pasties For Thanksgiving


November 17th 2014

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Anglo-Jewish history dates back at least a millennium and it is rife with complex twists and turns that are still debated. There are a few things we know for certain: After being (sort of) welcomed in by Norman and Plantagenet rulers in feudal times, significant persecution of Jews began around the late 12th century. They were branded with yellow stars and taxed extensively. They were expelled altogether in the 13th century in a time of religious fervor under the fury of Blood Libels. From then until 1609, there is historical uncertainty about Jews in England, with reports of a few—such as a crypto-Jew (one who had converted and practiced in secret) serving as physician to Henry VIII.  In a twist we certainly didn’t hear about as kids during the telling of the Thanksgiving story, many Puritans were punished for seeming to be “jew-ized” and distinctly pro- Old Testament. The Pilgrim landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620.

But pressure from (mostly Jewish) Spanish and Portuguese traders, the work of  Sephardic Dutch Rabbinical leader Menasseh Ben Israel (who advocated for opening of lands closed to Jews), and the practical politics of the English ruler Oliver Cromwell, led to an invitation for Jews  to return by 1664.  From the Restoration to the Enlightenment and beyond, life became rich for Jews—and not just in London and its environs.

So, for Thanksgiving this year, I decided to take a look at some U.S.–Anglo–Jewish culinary traditions. By and large, English food (notwithstanding Chef Jamie Oliver and Jewish TV chef Nigella Lawson) has always been thought of as bland. Plebeian. And when I lived there, I can tell you that I ate more than my fair share of butter and cucumber sandwiches and egg and chips (aka French fries). The folks at Lutece weren’t worried. But I did have some curious little handheld vegetable pot pies. Those pasties (pronounced PAHS-tees, rhyming with “last” or “past”—not “paste”—with “ease” at the end), were soul warming and easy to eat and carry along.
This little pie is not exactly seen as a Jewish food, no doubt, but it’s a fun—and freezable—meal. Once you get the hang of the dough, you can stuff it with almost any stew—and it’s great for leftovers. Freeze them stuffed but unbaked and you’ve got a treat waiting to happen.
Pasties, by the way, originated in Cornwall, England, and are believed to have been created for miners who worked under harsh conditions for many hours a day and wanted and needed a meal that would be easy to carry and tidy up. Original pasties featured an inedible dough—so tough that it protected the stew. And it only ever, ever contained beef, turnips, potatoes, and onions. This is such a deep-seated traditional food that, I kid you not, there is a Cornish Pasty Association and it sets rules about this little hand pie.

The rules notwithstanding, I’ve come up with a very American version that takes advantage of turkey, dressing and leftover greens. Keep calm and make hand pies.

For more on the fascinating story of Menasseh Ben Israel and England visit
Get the full recipes:


Just A Pie Full Of Sugar Helps The Medicine Go...


November 17th 2014

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The Kosher Connection decided to dedicate this month’s link up to our longtime friend and distinguished Jewish food historian, Gil Marks. Gil has been sick for a while and we want to wish him a refuah shleimah (complete healing). I am sharing my recipe for these mini pies (full of sugar) in hopes to add a little sweetness during this otherwise difficult time. Gil has been an inspiration and a true pioneer. We thank Gil for all his amazing books, writing and teachings over the years and look forward to many more.

I made this recipe as an adaptation to Momofuku’s famous crack pie, I read about online. It is supposed to be so good, that you can’t stop eating it.  I first discovered Momofuku’s recipes when I attempted a new recipe for chocolate cookies that just didn’t really hold together and I ended up with a bunch of chocolate cookie crumbs.  I was able to use those crumbs to make these Chocolate Chocolate Cookies with Cookie Crumbs, which turned out absolutely amazing.  I learned that one of Momofuku’s specialties was using cookie crumbs and cake crumbs in the cookies and cakes.  So, when I found myself with graham cracker crumbs that wouldn’t hold together I knew where to turn.

This time I was attempting Einat Admony‘s recipe for the Israeli treat, Krembo.   The graham cracker crumbs were supposed to be mixed with butter, so I subbed coconut oil.  I am not sure if that was the problem or if it was just me, but the crumbs didn’t bake up into a cookie crust.  I could have just thrown them away, but they tasted so good.  I mixed some into the marshmallowy krembo filling, covered with some with chocolate and stuck them in the freezer.  Luckily it was just my in laws and my brother’s family so I still served them and while they could not get enough, it is not a recipe I would share or try and replicate.  I saved the rest of the crumbs and found Momofuko’s crack pie as my inspiration for this recipe.

The original crust is made from oat cookies and I am sure that would taste different, but this is a bit easier and made non dairy.  They are far from the healthiest thing you can make, so that is why I made them miniature.  Just keep them out of site or save them for a special occasion, because they too can be addictive.

Get Well Gil.

Here is the full recipe for Mini Sugar Pies.


JOK Tester!


November 16th 2014

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Here we go! Let’s test the Joy of Kosher recipes. Its almost like cooking through Julia Childs Mastering the Art of French Cooking but kosher style!


Planning Your Thanksgiving Menu


November 14th 2014

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Most other food and recipe websites are doing countdowns to Thanksgiving, we save ours for Passover (you can sign up for Passover countdown here).  For everyone else in the world, Thanksgiving, celebrated with a multi-course extravagant meal, is a big to do and requires lots of planning.  For most of us, Thanksgiving is a piece of cake (or maybe pie).  After three day yom tov holidays all throughout October and the cleaning and prepping it takes to celebrate 2 Passover seders, we (I) revel in a day where we can actually cook food the day of serving.

Sure it is still nice to make somethings ahead and sure it is still helpful to plan, but to all you Jewish hosts and hostesses out there, I just want to say,


For the last several years, I have had the pleasure to take Thanksgiving off.  My sister in law has taken it on and I just get to bring something.  So that leaves me itching to help others.  Here are some planning tips and recipe ideas for the whole Thanksgiving meal.

In my family there are usually several family members traveling in, so we start early with snacks and apps.  You can read about my sister in law’s early dairy traditions, in this article Recipe Ideas for a Thanksgiving Pre-Party.  For something simpler, I recommend a vegetable platter with some fun flavorful dips.  It is easy, healthy and a great way to tide people over while the turkey is cooking.  Try a Walnut Spinach Pesto combined with the miso dip you can find in this  Lavash Chips and Dips.  For ease you can always just set out pita and hummus, chips and salsa and guacamole, it’s okay to head to your neighborhood supermarket, like Winn-Dixie for help and save the heavy lifting for the meal.

It is hard to imagine a Thanksgiving without a turkey, Jamie shares here recipe for Sour Mash Whiskey Glazed Whole Roasted Turkey from the Joy of Kosher Cookbook.  Get tips for cooking a turkey in our Turkey Roasting Guide. Now that we have the turkey out of the way it is time to get started on sides.  For some people Thanksgiving is all about the sides, you probably have a few standbys, but even those can be jazzed up if you so desire.  For the stuffing, mix in wild mushrooms, apples, and/or kosher sausage. For the mashed potatoes try using coconut milk or mixing in some roasted garlic. For the cranberry sauce, use fresh cranberries and mix in some nuts and orange zest.

non dairy beet green casserole

Then move on to some new side dishes.  Try Honey Pumpkin for a healthy, easy, colorful side dish.  Try this Non Dairy Beet Green Casserole for a variation on green bean casserole and use the beets to make Wild Rice with Carrots and Beets.

I also like to suggest a nice big salad is always great too, try Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing and Toasted.  Any salad will do, just gives you something healthy to snack on during a long meal.

Caramel Pear Lattice Pie

Caramel Pear Lattice Pie

Finally for dessert, make a big batch of pie dough or buy frozen shells and you can easily throw together a variety of pies.  We have a ton of recipes, consider Caramel Pear Lattice PiePecan PiePumpkin Pie or even these fun Pumpkin Pie Fries.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you need any more tips or advice, I am here to help, just post your questions in the comments below.

This post is part of a partnership with Winn-Dixie and their support for the kosher community.  Visit to find a store near you.




Cooking With Joy: Latkes


November 13th 2014

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“Mommy is it Chanuka”? “Nope, no it is not. Mommy is cooking her way through a cookbook, so we might be having things a little out of season from now on”. I totally see how that could confuse a 2 year old ☺.

Let me start off my saying something about my food processor. I have a really great quality Cuisinart that we use for so many things; the one thing it does not have is a “Kugel Blade”.  So our Potato Kugel comes out looking like a Lukshen Kugel, now we don’t mind at all, everything tastes great, I just wanted to give you a heads up as to why my latkes look the way they do.

This recipe is similar to my usual latke recipe, I mean seriously how many variations could there be, right? I usually put matzah meal in mine, so this cornmeal added a nice textural change. Hubs and the kids love any form of fried potato, so getting the family to enjoy these fresh from the pan was not hard at all! We had the Latkes with a choice of sour cream or apple sauce to keep things traditional. All in all another enjoyable meal!

Latkes with Caviar and Cream page 127
DRESS IT DOWN Sweet Cinnamon Latkes


50 Thanksgiving Recipes


November 12th 2014

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Thanksgiving always seems to sneak up and send me running to the kitchen for a marathon of cooking.  Despite all of the holiday themed blog posts and downright delectable pins on pinterest, I never seem to be prepared.  When I started becoming religious Thanksgiving was one of those days where I could say to my family “See, I’m still like you”!  I treat the day as an excuse to overeat (did I really just admit that?!) and a chance to spend extra time with the family.  Below are 50 Thanksgiving recipes to help streamline your menu planning.




Turkey, the crown of the Thanksgiving meal, is a bird that always take a little more planning and care than your normal weekday or shabbos chicken.  A little extra seasoning or some unexpected seasoning goes a long way in ensuring a well dressed bird and avoiding days of (unwanted) leftover turkey creations.

Harvest Turkey

Herb Roasted Turkey

Honey Glazed Roasted Turkey with Butternut-Shiitake Stuffing

Southern Roast Turkey with Bourbon Peach Glaze

Sour Mash Whiskey Glazed Whole Roasted Turkey

Honey and Spice Glazed Turkey

Classic Roasted Turkey

Maple and Cider Turkey Breast

Spatchcocked Turkey

Turkey Chili with Loaded Cornbread Muffins


Whole Wheat Challah Stuffing with Dried Cranberries and Sage

Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving dish!  My family makes my grandmother’s chicken liver stuffing each year.  I might have to make two types of stuffing this year because the recipes here at Joy of Kosher are seriously mouth watering!

Cornbread Stuffing with Sage and Sausage

Pumpernickel, Apples and Onion Stuffing

Gluten Free Stuffing

Chicken Liver Stuffing

Whole Wheat Challah Stuffing with Dried Cranberries and Sage

Herbed Vegetable Stuffing

Simply Gluten Free Stuffing

Cornbread and Dried Fruit Stuffing

Smart Harvest Stuffing

Simple Gluten Free Stuffing


Mashed Potatoes and Cranberry Sauce are two Thanksgiving staples which vary widely in their popularity.  Who doesn’t like mashed potatoes?  It’s really hard to have a negative opinion on these, but cranberry on the other hand, is probably my least favorite food, ever.  That fresh-out-of-the-can cranberry texture gets me every time, so this year no cans allowed.  I’m on board for a more chutney or jam-like preparation of cranberry sauce, how about you?

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Smashed Potatoes with Chives- substitute with pareve butter of your choice

Classic Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Honey

Creamy Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Cardamom

Mashed Potatoes and Kale Latkes

Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Mustard Sauce

Cranberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Zinfull Cranberry Relish

Guiltless Apricot Cranberry Sauce 


The Thanksgiving starches (potatoes count as a vegetable in this meal!) of cornbread and pie really test my “don’t go back for seconds” diet rule.  I mean, how can one resist fluffy cornbread and sweet fruit pie, let’s be honest.

Milt’s Cornbread

Skillet Cornbread with Dried Cranberries and Sage

Whole Wheat Corn Bread

Cornbread Muffins

Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie

Gluten Free Pie Crust

Mom’s Apple Pie

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie


Braised and Raw Kale

Let’s end this post on a healthy note so we won’t (mostly me) feel 5 pounds heavier after looking at these recipes!  Greens are a necessary part of the Thanksgiving meal because they provide respite from the starches and, in their own right, are a  delicious part of the meal.  Make the most of your green side dishes by keeping the sauces to a minimum and choosing quick and easy recipes.

Braised and Raw Kale with Pine Nuts

Pareve Creamed Spinach

Black Eyed Peas and Green Beans

Wilted Spinach and Crispy Garlic

Creamy Kale Salad with Capers and Hazelnuts

Braised Kale Kenny

Spicy Sautéed Leeks and Spinach

Asian Green Beans

Green Beans Almondine

Sautéed Garlicky Kale


We haves tons of other Thanksgiving recipes! Check them out here & here for more ideas!



Recipes Meant For Sharing


November 12th 2014

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Those in the know say that family dinner is an adhesive bonding experience between family members. Whenever you can, you should make a point to bring the whole family together for dinner at least once per week. A fun and pleasant meal will give everyone quality family time.

It is also wonderful to have friends over when you have extra time. Make a big meal, invite some friends, relax and enjoy. The kids will keep each other busy and away from the television and the adults can all enjoy the food.

Here are some favorite recipes, perfect for making ahead and great for sharing with family and friends.

Spring Cabbage Rolls

This recipe idea for Spring Cabbage Rolls  was born after watching a television program, which told of the culinary benefits of spring roll. They are easy to prepare, ingredients are easy to find and they can even be made with children.  They are nutritious, healthy and more and more. Then came the idea, why not make them even healthier and make them with cabbage leaves?

This herb and beet salad is a great first course or light supper.

If you can still get some fresh mangos you will love this Tropical Salad, but frozen mangos will work in a pinch.  The bright colors and contrasting textures will liven any meal.

The Farmer’s Salad salad consists of a variety of fresh vegetables, roots and herbs.  The beauty is in the simplicity and feel free to make it your own, add something else or take something away, anything goes.   The secret is in the romesco sauce.

These fried fish fillets are made with a coconut milk marinade to give it a unique flavor profile that still goes amazing with ice cold beer.


In The Joy of Kosher Kitchen With Rabbi Lawrence


November 11th 2014

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It has been a while since we have heard from him, but some of you might remember our Joy of Kosher Rabbi, Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff.  He has answered quite a few of our burning food and holiday Jewish questions and you can see them all in our Ask The Rabbi blog.  Rabbi Lawrence loves to answer question and has had plenty of practice over the past 13 years working as a Rabbi and as the director of the Jewish Enrichment Center in NYC.  In his first book, Rabbi Lawrence puts it all out there for us and he goes well beyond food, Jew Got Questions?

Jamie and Rabbi Lawrence go way back and in fact, his wife Anita is the source for one of the recipes in the Joy of Kosher Cookbook.  In honor of the Rabbi’s new book, we are sharing Anita’s Lachmagine recipe as written in the cookbook.  I have heard Anita’s name mentioned in many conversations with Jamie and I know she has inspired her cooking in many ways.  Specifically for this recipe Jamie appreciates the shortcuts Anita allows, like using prune butter and tomato paste instead of temerhindi and prepared pizza rounds instead of making your own.

When we invited the Rabbi into our kitchen, Anita said, “Rabbi in the kitchen – Not!!”  The Rabbi admits to not being much of a cook, the joke in their house goes “what does daddy make for dinner? Reservations!”  It seems to me his wife makes up for his lack of kitchen know how, but she has learned a thing or two in the kitchen from her Persian mother in law.  Rabbi Lawrence says, “on an average Shabbat in my home we have a choresh bodem jon (meat and eggplant stew – delicious) and a potato kugel (which I never saw till my 20s) on the table together! Plus plenty of rice, especially on Pesach, when we sephardim do eat rice, and now my wife is permitted to eat as well!”

Since we usually share recipes in our kitchen, Anita has graciously provided a recipe she learned from her mother in law.  A recipe with a Persian flavor, made like a turkey stew, the Rabbi prefers this dish reheated the next day, so make extra. Get the full recipe for Robele here.

Even though the Rabbi has answered more than 300 pages worth of questions, I have to ask a few more.

What is your earliest food memory?

I have many food memories from my childhood, the ones that stand out are Holiday related. On Rosh Hashana my mother would make large platters of head meats. We had tongue (which I’m sure is delicious but I still can’t bring myself to eat) and an actual lamb’s head on the table. And rice! So much rice! White rice, green rice (made with dill) yellow rice (made with saffron) and then for dessert…rice pudding!

How did you decide which questions to put in this book?

I truly get asked many questions. For the most part I am dealing with unaffiliated Jewish men and women in their college years then 20s and 30s, I get asked every type of question. When I wrote the book I decided to pick the topics I get asked about the most. I would say I spend most of my time answering questions on dating, marriage and shalom bayit. People are interested in spirituality and Kabbalah, so I had to include a chapter on that, dealing with red strings, evil eyes, reincarnation and what Kabbalah is really all about.

Leading trips to Israel and Poland a few times a year and working for the Alumni community of Birthright Israel in NY I am posed many questions about Israel and the Jewish connection to it. And the Poland trip led to every asking about “why bad things happen to good people” which as you can imagine is the hardest question to deal with. That is probably the longest answer I had to answer in the book. Second to that question is why Jewish men and women should marry Jewish. With intermarriage rates at over 50% here in America I have to deal with inter-dating couples all the time. That question was very challenging yet important to answer.

Rabbi Lawrence’s book was inspired by unaffiliated Jews, but everyone will enjoy reading this book. You will likely learn something you didn’t know before and have better answers for questions people might ask you. Right now you can win a copy of Jew Got Question signed by Rabbi Lawrence!! All you have to do is post a comment or question (maybe yours can be featured in the next book) in the comments below and enter with Rafflecopter.

Get a glimpse of the Rabbi and even Anita in some of our cooking videos.

California Avocado Salad
Challah Kugel
How to Make A Watermelon Baby Carriage
How to Cut and Plate a Melon


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8 Perfect Pumpkin Recipes


November 11th 2014

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11 years ago this January I met my husband for the first time.  It was a blind date.  Two weeks later we were engaged and spent our first Shabbos together at Uncle Morse and Aunt Judy’s.  I don’t remember exactly what Aunt Judy served but it prompted met to blurt out “Oh I just LOVE orange food!” really, really loudly and dramatically. (Did you just hear the record player screech?)  As it turns out I do love all things orange – sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkins, oranges… but it came out kinda flakey and ditzy sounding.  To this day whenever I think about it and even now as I write about it my shoulders hunch and I physically cower in embarrassment.  I am sure Aunt Judy doesn’t remember it – unless of course, she does.

So in honor of the season and my love for all foods orange – especially pumpkins which top the list – here are my favorite pumpkin recipes.


Pumpkin Walnut and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Because the only thing better than a chocolate chip cookie is a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Pumpkin Sponge Cake

Pumpkin Sponge Cake

Pumpkin Sponge Cake

Cause it reminds me of my Grandma Martha’s recipe and cause Chef Laura is a master.


creamy pumpkin soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Again cause I trust Chef Laura with my taste buds any day!

 pumpkin sage baked penne

Baked Pumpkin Penne

Because honestly, for a pumpkin lover there are few things in the world better than this.  Although my Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage in the Joy of Kosher Cookbook (BUY IT NOW!) is one of those things that just might be better than this.  Simply because there are few things in the world better than brown butter.

 Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Whipped Cream

Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Whipped Cream

Because pumpkin pie and whipped cream is one thing.  But Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Whipped Cream in a chocolate graham cracker crust is another thing entirely.


 Chicken with Pumpkin Figs and Honey

Cause I love Kim Kushner’s cooking style!

 pumpkin chai cupcakes

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Cause Lil’ Miss Cakes knows her way around a dessert.  And because I have a little obsession with DIY Chai

pumpkin pizza with caramelized onion

Roasted Pumpkin Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Ricotta

Cause this recipe won our pumpkin contest.  And because I ate the whole thing by my lonesome.

For a full listing of our 121 pumpkin recipes take your cute little finger and click on this cute little link.


Everything Is Better with Tahini


November 10th 2014

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When I was growing up, we stayed far away from tahini.  My dad has a sesame allergy and I didn’t really know what I was missing.  After all, tahini was still largely overlooked as a mainstream product in the U.S.  I remember once trying some packaged halva and I didn’t care to try that again.  I also remember having a can of tahini that blended the sesame paste with lemon and water already for you, and it tasted about as bad as it sounds describing it now.

It has only been the last several years that I have come to LOVE tahini (sorry Abba) and I expect more and more people will be jumping on the tasty tahini bandwagon soon.

This summer in Israel I saw the future of tahini.  At the shuk, not only was there the most amazing halva on display, but they even had tastings of different kinds and flavors of freshly ground, sweet and savory tahini.  Walking through the shuk I was reminded of the people offering free fudge samples near the beach.  Halva is like fudge, all grown up.

Tahini, also called Tahina, is a paste made from ground sesame seeds.  It resembles natural peanut butter in texture and the way the oil separates out on top.  It can actually be used as a substitute for peanut butter which opens up possibilities for those who are allergic to nuts.

The nutrition profile of tahini is something worth noting as well.  Tahini contains “unsaturated fat and healthful doses of magnesium and iron. Sesame seeds also contain sesamin and sesamol, two unique lignans shown to lower cholesterol,” according to Today’s Dietitian.  The seeds are more easily digested when ground up, and have also shown anti-cancer properties.


When I decided to write an article about my newly discovered love of tahini, I adapted a recipe for coated kale chips using tahini.  When my son couldn’t get enough, he said to me, “Everything is better with tahini”.  Where can I find the t-shirt?


I realized my son was right and I used tahini to make a cold sesame noodles, but in place of noodles I used carrots!!  The cold sesame carrot salad was a big hit.


Roasted Eggplant with Tahini

I always have a container of pure tahini in the house to mix with lemon juice, water, parsley and sometimes even jalapeno or schug for a tasty spread.  I also use tahini to make all sorts of varieties of homemade hummus. A 16 oz. container of tahini used to last me months, but now I’m going through it in just a few weeks.

Halva Spread

In addition to the many savory uses for tahini, tahini is the main ingredient in halva, a sweet Middle East and Mediterranean dessert that just happens to be naturally gluten free.  Far removed from the packaged stuff I remembered as a child, halva has gone gourmet. My friend Shoshana shared a few recipes to try and duplicate what we see in Israel and you can get those recipes here.  For me it is a little too much work, so I went for a halva spread.  All you need to do is add a little honey to the sesame paste and you won’t believe how easy and delicious this spread is atop toast, pancakes or waffles.  Top with nuts, chocolate chips, coconut flakes or dried fruit and you too will be seduced by the the sesame.


I then took my spread a little further and turned it into a drink.  You can’t go wrong with a name like, Tahini Martini.   If you’re looking to sip your sesame, try mixing my halva spread with some vodka and sweet liqueur for the sweetest treat of all.

What do you like to do with Tahini?


Drinking In Fall Colors


November 7th 2014

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Use colors and flavors to infuse fall into your beverages.  The following cocktails look the part; they play on our fall sensibilities by playing off the harvest season in terms of their tastes, colors and connections to our traditions. They can be made into mocktails by leaving out the alcohol and increasing the amount of the mixer so everyone can lift a glass together.

All cocktails make one serving. To make multiple shots for a group and save yourself a lot of time, increase the proportions accordingly and make a bunch at once. Just make sure to shake long enough to chill the entire mixture down.

Enjoy my Fall Cocktails, click the links below for full recipes.

Good For Whatever “Ales” You

Apples 2 Apples

Almonds In The Dark




As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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Cooking With Joy: Yerushalmi Kugel


November 6th 2014

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This was my first time making Yerushalmi Kugel.

I can’t say that I was nervous, although there was a lot of pressure on me for cooking this dish. Hubs spent a few years in Israel and has a strong idea of what this classic kugel is supposed to taste like. It was fairly easy to prepare so that was definitely an added bonus. The finished product could not have come out any better!

The kugel had just the right amount of sweetness. Incredibly crispy on the outside and delightfully soft on the inside, I could not stop picking at the crispy noodles off the top (it is always a good sign that something tastes good when people can’t stop picking at it!) Hubs said it tasted great, just needed to be served with an Israeli pickle to be truly authentic (luckily we had some in the fridge).

Yerushalmi Kugel page 118
DRESS IT UP Yerushalmi Raisin Kugel