Creamy Baked Ziti Video


August 18th 2014

Contributed by:


2 comments | Leave Comment


Get the full recipe for my Creamy Baked Ziti here.


Back To School Beans


August 18th 2014

Contributed by:


2 comments | Leave Comment


Some people get the back to school blues.  You know, the feelings of worry and nervousness before the first day.  The stress of getting back into or starting a new morning routine to get everyone off to school and work on time.  I like to beat the blues with beans.

Beans are one of the best sources of vegan protein.  They are also a carbohydrate that is packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your body and mind will benefit from.  Beans are satisfying and take longer to digest so they keep you full longer.  This way you won’t be distracted by hunger pains too early in the day.

The real trick to combatting the blues is being prepared and beans are an easy addition to any brown bag lunch.  My kids love plain canned chickpeas or black beans so I always keep cans in the pantry, just in case.   You can mix black beans with some leftover rice and send it in a thermos for an easy lunch idea.  Throw some beans and cheese in wrap.  Or mash up some beans and send it as a dip.  If you are up for a little more prep time then I have a new bean to share that comes to us from Greece.

Gigantes are a large Greek bean you can find in some specialty markets or online, dried.  They are almost double the size of lima beans and taste very different in my opinion.  They are a little pricier than regular beans, but when you think about it is a meal substitute for meat it is still affordable.  They are prepared very simply with tomatoes, garlic and onions.    Gigantes are perfect for school or work lunches because they are really good hot or cold. They are super filling on their own or can be served in a salad, with some bread or with some cheese.  They don’t spoil and everyone loves them.

Along with getting your kids to bed earlier for the whole week leading put to the first day of school, planning for breakfasts and lunches ahead of time and talking to your kids about their fears and nerves try this new recipes for Greek Baked Beans, Gigantes.


Brown Bag Lunch Ideas


August 18th 2014

Contributed by:


12 comments | Leave Comment


A while back I went looking for brown bags in Israel, not for lunches for a project that I can’t even recall now, and guess what?  I’m still looking.  So if anyone knows where I can find some just say so in the comments.  Maybe by then I’ll remember why I needed them.

But in terms of interesting “brown bag” lunch ideas for our linkup this month we always have dribs and drabs of leftovers in small little cute Snapwear containers in our fridge.  Not enough to feed the whole family for dinner (again) but just enough for one or two lucky customers.

Cream cheese on whole wheat bread is a lunch fave with the kiddies but I am always looking for ways to squeeze more veggies into their diets.  Mommas out there, I know you hear me.  I sometimes add sliced cukes (tomatoes just make the sandwich too soggy for school) but now I like adding leftover grilled veg from last night’s supper.  If you wrap it all up in a tortilla it makes it fun for the kids and feels slightly more gourmet than your standard sandwich cut on the diagonal (I do this when I’m feelin’ fancy).  Try a flavored herbed cream cheese or mix in your own herbs.  Whipped cream cheese makes making your own flavored cream cheese easy.  Check out this video for 3 creative flavored cream cheeses you can make at home including Orange Infused Cream Cheese, Tartar “Sauce” Cream Cheese, and Sundried Tomato and Herb Cream Cheese.

I almost always have washed and checked chopped parsley and scallions and fresh basil leaves in my fridge – all excellent mix-ins to perk up your cream cheese and wrap.  In addition to adding flavor bright green herbs are super healthful and I’ve taken to adding parsley and basil to all my salads.  You can add Creamy Coleslaw to the wrap or send it along in a small little cute Snapwear container (can you tell I love these little guys?!) for a fun “brown bag” lunch for the kids or anyone in your house eating on the road.

Get the full recipe for my Grilled Vegetable Wraps with Creamy Coleslaw here.



How To Buy Fruits and Vegetables In The Right...


August 15th 2014

Contributed by:


0 comments | Leave Comment


Every time I ask my kids what they want me to bring home from the supermarket, the answer is always the same- strawberries. My foreign (non-Israeli)-born kids are still ensconced in that high-speed microchip mentality; all you have to do is want it and it can appear in seconds. They haven’t learned that fruits and vegetables are produced only in certain times of the year, and that it is expensive enough to purchase them in season, much less have them imported from far away and pay even more out of season. They count the days until the start of strawberry season and I purchase several packages every week until the last morsel is gone from the store.

Of course, if you are a frugal shopper you don’t buy them the instant they appear in the supermarket- they are at their most expensive. You wait until the season is more established- then the price drops.

To help you (and my kids) understand what produce can be found in the market each month, I found some great charts from Agrexco that are too big to reprint here but you can get a copy from their web site. They have five versions that apply to Israel:  FRUITCITRUSVEGETABLES,FRESH HERBS, AND GENERAL and you can find Seasonality Charts for the USA Here. Post them in your kitchen and then nobody can complain because you didn’t bring home mango in March or strawberries in September.

I thought it would be very interesting to discuss the differences and/or similarities between the agricultural seasons in the Tanach and today but the information I found was either not from appropriate sources or required a PhD to understand. In the meantime, I found a great chart for planting all types of seeds in Israel- what season, how deep, how far apart, and so on. We haven’t got the garden we used to have in chutz l’aretz, but my husband is slowly expanding our agricultural repertoire. Ours is strictly a leftover garden-we have pineapple from planting the tops, passiflora from leftover seeds, potatoes that sat too long and more.

One of my fellow Israeli bloggers, Bishul Bezol, wrote up a great post about eating according to season. You can read about it  here in Hebrew if you like but she has graciously allowed me to translate it to English. If your Hebrew is strong, I highly recommend her blog. She has great recipes for frugal shoppers with beautiful pictures.

Here is a loose translation of her post- any mistakes are mine, any jokes are hers :)

It is easy to say “buy fruits and vegetables in season”; it isn’t so easy to do. Stores don’t come with a sign that says, “here are the cheap in-season produce”- just the opposite. Plus, just because it is in season, doesn’t mean it is cheap. Produce with a short season or is imported will be more expensive than the alternative. For example fresh pineapple, even when in season, will still be more expensive. When should you buy produce? The same as if you buy clothing- the end of the season will be the cheapest, but you can also buy in the middle of the season. Like clothing, if you see the sign that says “New Collection”- just translate it to “These are the products you pay more for.”

Where do you buy your produce? If for example you go to the local grocer with perfect looking pyramids of produce who peels your lichi fruit and seeds your pomegranate for you, you will pay more, no matter what the season.

So how do you shop? Firstly, LOOK AT THE PRICES. Try to figure out how much those three pitaya will actually cost. Don’t pick recipes unless you know what the prices are in the market. Be flexible. If you have your heart set on a cherry pie and you find that they cost 35 shekels a kilo, change your fruit or change your recipe. As previous stated, don’t buy the “first fruits”- they are the most expensive and since the producers are in competition to be the first in the stores, the taste is not always ideal.


Cooking With Joy: Cornbread


August 14th 2014

Contributed by:


1 comment | Leave Comment


After reading Jamie’s intro to this recipe I have my own corn muffin story to tell. When I was younger I would often go to work with my Mom. When I would get hungry my Mom would let me go down to the café that was in the building and get a snack. Well Im sure you figured, I would always get a corn muffin, cut in half and toasted, with a side of butter. It warmed me from the inside out, so good!

So when it came time to do this recipe, I decided to turn it into cornbread muffins! Our annual family Purim Seuda was around the corner, I figured that individual mini muffins would be an easier side then just making a big dish of it. I adjusted the cook time to 15 minutes, down from the original 25. And they came out perfectly!

Easy Scallion Cornbread page 112
DRESS IT UP Pretty Cornbread

When the first batch came out of the oven, I couldn’t help myself from diving in. Out came the margarine (had no butter), sliced one in half and devoured it! After eating two or three of them, I stopped to take the picture. The muffins were soft, with a tiny bite from the cornmeal- and oh so delicious.

The one complaint I have is that this recipe only made about 22 muffins. Hubs and I ate so many that I had to make 2 more batches to bring to the seuda! I didn’t mind, this is a labor of love. Everyone loved the muffins! A few people even asked for the recipe! Gee I wonder where I got it from ☺



8 Back To School Dairy Lunches


August 13th 2014

Contributed by:


1 comment | Leave Comment


It is time to start thinking about getting the kids back to school and transition for Summer fun/vacation to our normal busy lives.   One of the things I dread most with school starting is packing my kids lunches.  Sure my school actually offers a hot lunch program, but they are expensive and my kids won’t eat them.  One of my kids won’t really eat anything for lunch, the other makes it easy for me with a standard yogurt, granola bar and fruit and the third could probably eat pasta with cheese in a thermos every day if I let her.  With her and you all in mind I have compiled this list of 25 back to school lunch ideas, no nuts, no seeds and no meat.

Choose your bento box!! In this article we have bento boxes filled with ideas from Pizza party to Asian themes.

kids veggie sushi

Lila's Lunch Sushi

Sushi is a great lunch idea and you can get really creative with fillings.  All vegetables or use kosher fake crab and avocado, or even canned tuna or salmon mixed with mayo inside sushi with some sriracha if your kids like some spice.

Wraps filled with beans and rice, cheese, avocado, tomatoes made to order for your kids, will sit well in the fridge from the night before.

Bagel sandwiches are a common go to, whether you keep it simply spread with cream cheese or butter or get fancy with this Tuna Nicoise Bagel, they are filling.

Pasta – can be sent hot in a thermos with cheese or sauce or both or room temperature, most kids don’t mind. Try this recipe for a healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole, complete with spinach.

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

Send leftovers.  Make big pots of soup or chili heat and send in a thermos during the Winter, your kids will love having something hot during the day.  Don’t forget the cheese for this Vegetarian Chili.

passover mini quiche

Crustless Quiche with Asparagus and Oven Rosted Tomatoes

Eggs, frittatas and quiches are all wonderful school lunch ideas.  I love these mini quiches made with your kids favorite fillings for keeping the freezer and last minute lunches are made in seconds.

Mini Pizza Doughnuts

Mini Pizza Doughnuts

Savory doughnuts are another perfect lunchbox item that freezes well too.  Send along some carrot sticks and a fruit for a more complete meal.

What do you like to send for your kids lunches? Any new ideas I haven’t thought of yet?

The main image shows these lunchbox homemade granola bars.


Out Of The Dessert Box Grilling


August 13th 2014

Contributed by:


0 comments | Leave Comment


Grilled desserts are real showstoppers. The high heat oF the grill greatly amplifies the sweetness of summer fruits. In this recipe, grilled plums make a unique dessert salsa. If the jalapenos are too adventurous for you, use only one, or leave them out entirely– I find that it really punches up the flavor of the salsa. Any stone fruit can be substituted for the plums (apricots, peaches, nectarines).

This recipe uses the grill for 2 components: the plums for the salsa, and the pound cake. A medium-high grill is needed both times. If you make the salsa a day or two in advance, the flavor will only intensify.  To assemble the dessert:

Plate the warm pound cake slices. Cover with a gener- ous spoon of the salsa and a dollop of whipped topping. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.

Grilled Pound Cake Recipe
Grilled Plum Salsa Recipe

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

Subscribe Now


The Best Way To Use Leftover Chicken


August 12th 2014

Contributed by:


7 comments | Leave Comment


My husband has this thing he’s always saying. Ready for it?

He’s always telling me to “eat the house”. It really drives me nutso. It just sounds so barbaric. When we were younger my sister always said “busted” when I was caught with my hand in the cookie jar. I always thought “busted” especially the way she delivered it sounded kind of truck driver-ish. And I pretty much thought nothing could annoy me more than her “busted”. Comes along hubby with “eat the house” and I almost forgot about “busted” until now.

Anyone here have any clue what he means by “eat the house”?

“Eat the house” is Hubby’s way of saying “Jamie stop sending me food shopping for obscure expensive ingredients when we have plenty of good food in this house.” But what he is really saying is “Jamie I am not throwing out any more food. I don’t want to be the only one in this family eating leftovers. You also have to eat the leftovers again and again and again until there are no leftovers left. Then eat all those obscure and expensive ingredients you made me buy that are already right here in this house. Those things you had to have but have yet to use”. I know it’s a sin to throw out edible food but I can’t help but cook for an army and there are only so many times I can look at the same food. Right?

We used to have this great column years ago called right overs where we took leftovers and remade them into something new and improved and considerably different. That’s why I love this BBQ Chicken Sandwich. You can use leftover soup chicken and/or roast chicken and/or grilled chicken (even dried out chicken that doesn’t have much life left) from Shabbos or last night’s dinner and give it a makeover worthy of a before and after pict. I adore the color, texture and creamy taste of fresh sliced avocado with the sweet saucy shredded chicken. But of course feel free to stretch the meal even further (if you don’t have that much leftover chicken) by piling on lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, cucumbers or whatever other leftover fresh veg you have in the house.

When I come up with a creative way to “eat the house” I am super proud of myself and it makes hubby’s chorus a little less annoying. Not too much less annoying, but just a little.

What’s your favorite leftover makeover?

Here is the recipe for my Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich and here are a few more recipes you can make with leftover chicken:

Chicken Pot Pie

Cashew Ginger Stir Fried Vegetables With Egg Noodles

Chicken Salad

Chicken Bahn Mi Sandwich





3 Recipes For The Perfect Burger


August 11th 2014

Contributed by:


1 comment | Leave Comment


There is nothing like a juicy burger, all siz- zling and crackling right off the grill to get the appetite going. I love grilling season and will arm wrestle my husband to see who gets to do the honors.

The Perfect Burger

The Best Burger Beef Mix

This mix is my favorite. The beef chuck provides the rich, fatty beefy flavor and the brisket adds a heartiness and dense texture. You can try other beef mixes but be sure to look for well-marbled meat and fat.

The Best Veggie Burger


Sometimes a veggie burger just hits the spot, especially when you want a dairy dessert! I added curry spices to my veggie burger as they pair well with the mango-habanero ketchup. If you are not a curry fan, leave them out.

I am not sure why most ketchups have tomatoes in them. Ketchup is actually an ancient Chinese concoction of pickled fish and spices that evolved into the tomato version we all know. As a different topping for my vegetable burgers I thought I would explore other versions of ketchup. Peaches have a dense texture that lends well to a thick burger topping condiment. I love the floral flavor of mangoes and the layer of flavor they lend to the sauce.  I added a fruity habanero pepper to the mix. If you like spicy food, I urge you to try the habanero. Habanero peppers are definitely spicy but have a fruity-complex flavor and not heat.  If you are unsure, just use a sliver of the pepper to try it.

 Salmon Burger


Bahn Mi Salmon Burger

Banh mi sandwiches are a byproduct of French colonialism in Indochina, combining French and Vietnamese ingredients and flavors. Banh mi sandwiches are my favorite sandwich and I cannot get enough of the lip-smacking sweet- sour and savory deliciousness. This is my latest Banh mi variation.

I like to use a combination of fresh Wild salmon and smoked salmon (not lox) for my salmon burgers. The briny fresh salmon alone would be “blown away” by the hot smoky grill or even a hot grill pan, but in combination with a smoked salmon, the fresh flavor shines through the smoke and is a brightly flavored alternative to a beef burger.

I use an aioli to bind my ingredients. The fat, in this case the egg yolks and oil, keep the patty intact and add moisture to the mix. I do not use starchy binders like breadcrumbs or flour as the delicate salmon texture would be lost to the gummy starch.

I added lime and ginger to my aioli for my rendition of the classic Vietnamese/French sandwich. I like the bright and “sunshiny” flavors.





As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

Subscribe Now


Burgers 101


August 8th 2014

Contributed by:


0 comments | Leave Comment


For such a simple, classic sandwich, there are a surprising number of competing theories on how to make the perfect burger. Chef Mike Gershkovich insists that a true hamburger is made from 100% ground beef. But over at Pomegranate, Brooklyn’s most prestigious supermarket, “meatologist” Ari Heinemann disagrees. At Pomegranate, the most popular ground beef blend is the so-called Perfect Burger, a closely guarded secret recipe involving salt, onion powder, soy sauce and minced onions. And at Wolf & Lamb, Chef Daniel favors a simple mix of salt, pepper, garlic and onion— “seasonings that enhance the natural flavor of the meat, and don’t compete with it,” as Wuensch explained. Both Heinemann and Gershkovich recommend using ground chuck, an affordable and reliable choice.

At Wolf & Lamb, the chefs put aside scraps as they trim top-notch meat cuts like rib-eye and ribs, and then grind those scraps into their famous rib-eye burgers— Wuensch recommends home cooks try the same trick for an affordable way to have burgers made of top-quality meat.

Another point of disagreement between our panel of burger experts was the correct ratio of meat to fat
in the beef mixture. Wuensch advocated for a high fat percentage of 30%, while Chef Mike insisted that you need only 15% fat. In general, a good rule of thumb is that well-done burgers require more fat, while rare burg-
ers can be leaner. “In an all-beef burger,” Gershkovich explained, “the fat bastes the meat as it melts away, giving you a lot of flavor.”

The best way to know what is in your ground beef is to grind it yourself, but if this isn’t an option, find a real butcher shop where you can have your meat selected and ground to order. At Pomegranate, where fresh beef is ground daily, Heinemann recommends purchasing beef on the day you plan to use it, and notes that slight color changes on the surface of the meat is not a cause for concern. “Of course, if the meat starts to smell bad, you should start to worry,” he joked, cautioning that ground beef be kept cold at all times until it is cooked. While every chef we spoke to agreed that fresh meat is best, if that is not available in your area, you don’t have to feel deprived.

Jack’s Gourmet offers premium frozen burger patties in grocery stores nationwide. Look for Sweet Italian and Mexican Chorizo, modeled after the two most popular sausage flavors from the popular kosher meat brand, as well as a Facon Burger, made of premium chuck meat with bits of “Facon” beef bacon.

The Beef

Once your beef is ground, gently form it into patties and sprinkle generously with non-iodized salt and coarsely ground pepper. “Don’t over-handle it,” Gershkovich cautioned. “The more you roll and handle it, the tougher it gets.” A gentle touch will help the burger retain its flavor and texture—no additives necessary. A relatively thin patty, no more than 3⁄4 of an inch thick, will cook quickly and thoroughly, but if you want to make sure your burgers remain no more than medium-well on the inside, keep your patties about one inch thick. Pressing a dimple into the center of each patty will help prevent the burger from curling up into an unwieldy oval shape. Finally, patting the meat dry with a paper towel will help it sear properly.

The Cookout

Your next step? “Go outside and grill!” Heinemann and Wuensch both noted that most people prefer the grill, even though it is easier to get juicy, succulent burgers by using a skillet indoors. If you do grill directly over the flame, use a less fatty meat mixture and never, ever press burgers down onto the grates with your spatula. “Don’t try to flip the burger until it comes off the grates or the pan easily,” warned Wuensch. “Don’t play with it more than necessary.” Wait until it releases easily from the cooking surface, then flip, and wait until the other side is cooked thoroughly as well.

Doneness is a matter of personal preference, but for food safety reasons, the USDA recommends cooking ground beef to an internal temperature of 160°F.

Nowadays, the list of topping ideas for your burger stretches far beyond your basic ketchup, mustard, lettuce and tomato. There are aiolis, slaws, truffle oils, non-dairy cheese substitutes— enough options to last you until Labor Day. One particularly popular burger topping at kosher eateries is a fried egg—you can find a sunny- side-up perched on a hamburger at Amsterdam Burger Company, at Wolf & Lamb, and several other restaurants. “I think it’s because it has almost a dairy feeling to it,” explained Wuensch. He noted that after several attempts, Wolf & Lamb had decided against using non-dairy cheeses on their burgers, focusing instead on getting that creamy, melt-like sensation from eggs and egg-based sauces, like hollandaise sauce.

For the latest, trendiest and most decadent burger topping, try bacon. Or rather, its nearest kosher equivalent–Facon, from the Jack’s Gourmet line of meat products. We spoke to chef and Jack’s Gourmet founder Jack Silberstein about the wildly popular, and surprisingly authentic-tasting, kosher beef bacon, but he insisted that the authentic taste should come as no surprise at all. “Regular bacon is cured and smoked pork belly,” explained Silberstein. “The meat is dry-cured with salt and sugar, which pulls out moisture and concentrates the flavor, and then it’s smoked. Our facon is made of beef plate, the equivalent cut to pork belly on a steer. We cure it using the same dry-cure, and then cook it with smoke. There are no other tricks!” The result is satisfyingly crispy and smokey- tasting, making it a perfect burger topping–in fact, it is the brand used by Amsterdam Burger Company and many other restaurants. Jack Silberstein recommends the “ultimate breakfast” of a burger with Facon and a sunny-side-up egg, or suggests wrapping strips of Facon around small slider-size burgers for a unique appetizer.

Whether you choose to top your burgers with sauces and slaws, or stick to ketchup and mustard, make sure your toppings and buns are ready before the first burger hits the grill. “People wait for food; food doesn’t wait for people.” Chef Mike repeated this mantra several times, stressing that it is perfectly ok—even preferable—to have your guests wait and get their burgers one at a time as they come sizzling off the grill. “Good food is worth the wait,” he said with a smile. And when you hand your guests a burger so delicious and juicy that it will seem like a professional chef is hiding in the kitchen, they will be inclined to agree.

Read more from our chefs in A Better Burger.

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

Subscribe Now


A Better Burger – Talking With Chefs


August 8th 2014

Contributed by:


1 comment | Leave Comment


Picture yourself at a barbecue on a lazy summer afternoon. With one hand, you hold a frosty beer; with the other, you bite into a thick, juicy hamburger. Soft bun meets juicy tomato, crunchy pickle and savory, beefy burger in that one perfect bite — THE TASTE OF SUMMER…

That is, at least in theory. Far too often, the burgers I find at backyard barbecues are little more than crusty, blackened pucks of meat drowning in ketchup and mustard. Meanwhile, the humble hamburger is enjoying a haute-cuisine revival at kosher restaurants in New York and across the country.

Prime Grill Porcini Burgers

Prime Grill Porcini Burgers

Restaurants such as Rare in Miami, Shilohs and La Gandola in Los Angeles, and Shallots and Ken’s Diner & Grill in Chicago, create gourmet burger offerings that are worth trying out. At Amsterdam Burger Company, a new Manhattan restaurant run by Chef Mike Gershkovich, there are five variations on the classic beef burger, plus burgers made with tuna, chicken and lamb. At Pardes, in Downtown Brooklyn, a miniature burger is topped with a red wine onion jam, bacon and chicken liver. Midtown stalwart Wolf & Lamb serves burgers made of rib-eye steak. With this wave of popularity and reinvention, it seems like it’s the right time to take a second look at the homemade burger.

Our Favorite Burger From Wolf & Lamb

What is it about a burger that keeps us flipping them onto the grill every summer, and ordering them every time we eat out? “Burgers are nostalgic,” said Wolf & Lamb co-owner Zalman Wuensch. “Everyone remembers burgers from childhood — that Sunday afternoon barbecue, that family time. A satisfying burger takes you back to that—it’s more than just a meal.”

“We are living in a time where basic things, simple preparations, are valued,” said Chef Mike Gershkovich of Amsterdam Burger Company over lunch at his restaurant. “A hamburger is the definition of good eats.” Straight- forward as it may be, it takes skill, care, and a few secret tips to make a restaurant quality burger at home.

Amsterdam Burger

The secret, Gershkovich revealed, lies in simplicity and attention. “If your raw ingredients aren’t good, no additions or doctoring is going to make the final result taste good.” The key is starting with quality ingredients, handling them carefully, and paying close attention to even the smallest details. “Toppings are accessories,” he insisted. As for his own personal favorite burger topping? “A fresh cut slice of red onion. That’s it.”

Chef Daniel Espinoza, the chef at Wolf & Lamb agrees. It’s ironic, of course, that the head chefs at these two Manhattan eateries known for their creative burger toppings both insist that the best burger is a simple one, but it is a testament to their shared conviction in putting quality first.

Click here for more from our chef burger experts in our Burgers 101.

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

Subscribe Now


Cooking With Joy: Sweet Potato Casserole


August 7th 2014

Contributed by:


1 comment | Leave Comment


We have never really had sweet potato casserole in the 7 years we have been together. Some people are very familiar with it as a Thanksgiving staple- not us! Although, we do like sweet potatoes in general so this was not a dish that scared us off.

I know that Jamie thinks there is something wrong with people who don’t like marshmallows- I’m guilty- never said I was perfect! Hubs and the kids like marshmallows, but I felt that since we were all going to be enjoying this dish, it would be better sans the white goo.

I “varaitioned” up this recipe. In my opinion the variation notes on the recipes are there for the reader/cooker to love these recipes and make them their own (right Jamie?). I have done this with many of the recipes so far and probably will continue.

Hubs and I are anti putting nuts into (on top is different) things- like why would someone ruin a decadent fudgy brownie with a walnut? I know people are into it, just not us. Rather than putting the pecans in the casserole I put them on top. And for an added sweetness, I used honey glazed and put about ¼ cup brown sugar into the mix.

The casserole came out really great- even our 2 year old couldn’t get enough of it!


Sweet Potato Casserole page 110
DRESS IT UP Marshmallow-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole 


20 Summer BBQ Recipes


August 6th 2014

Contributed by:


0 comments | Leave Comment


Everyone seems to have their own summer barbecue traditions, right down to the way they spell it out their invitations (barbecue or BBQ–which to choose!).  Whether you like to keep things simple or love spending time by the grill, below are 20 recipes to please all grill masters alike.


Short ribs are dangerously delicious and incredibly versatile.  Enjoy classic Boneless Short Ribs or you can try the Sticky Cola Ribs, Korean BBQ Short Ribs, or Sticky Ginger and Honey Basted Lamb Ribs.

Garlic Honey Brisket

Although brisket needs to be prepared far in advance of the barbecue, once it’s cooked it fits right in with the rest of your barbecue favorites.  I first came across the Garlic Honey Brisket in Jamie’s latest cookbook, and since then there’s been no going back.  Brisket is a tough meat but is so versatile, from the Barbecued Brisket to the Cuban Creole Stew Braised Beef Brisket.



Prime Grill Porcini Burgers


When it comes to burgers there are so many ways to prepare it from the Classic Beef Burger loaded with toppings such as Special Sauce, Spicy Fried Onions, Corn and Avocado Relish, and the Grilled Hawaiian Burger, to meatless burgers like the Fresh Salmon Burger, Porcini Burgers and California Tempeh Burger.



There are so many ways to prepare fish, and grilling happens to be on of the best of them.  Grill Salmon on Wine-Soaked Plank or enjoy it raw in Salmon Ceviche.  Try Whole Roasted Turbot or Roasted Branzino with Citrus and Caramelized Fennel, both of which can be wrapped in silver foil and roasted on the grill.  Or keep things simple with Fish Tacos with Avocado Slaw.

Check out more BBQ recipes here!


DIY Cake Decorating


August 6th 2014

Contributed by:


2 comments | Leave Comment


I’m not an artist by any stretch of the imagination. Yes you can call me creative, however I am creative in a theoretical sense. But when it comes to hands-on artistry I cannot be relied on to do much more than color in the lines. I never took a course (or even a class) in cake decorating nor do I own my own set of pastry bags and tips. I always borrow from my kind and patient neighbor Robin. She is patient because sometimes it takes me days to return her cake decorating equipment and she is kind because she never says anything about it.

When it comes to my kids’ birthday cakes, I feel so much pressure. People can’t wait to see what I turn out. They expect cakes of grandeur and beauty, cakes that are whimsical and delicious and most of all professional looking. But I wasn’t trained for this. Suddenly you become a mom and you’re expected to be able to do something fun with frosting. But because I am creative in the theoretical sense, I’ve figured out a way to make my kids and myself look good. Now with no skill or fancy equipment (other than an offset spatula) you can too!

Before we get to the DIY tutorials, here are a few tips:

CHILL IN THE FREEZER: Place your cakes in the freezer for about 30 to 45 minutes to firm them up so you have fewer crumbs when you frost.

A crumb coat is just a thin layer of frosting (the same color you intend to frost the cake with) applied with an offset spatula to help hide crumbs. Don’t worry if crumbs get into your crumb coat, the crumbs will become “glued” into the surface of the cake with the 2nd chill.

CHILL AGAIN THIS TIME IN THE FRIDGE: Once you have applied a crumb coat you will need to let it set. Place your cake in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight. Once set, the surface will be ready for a final frost and to decorate.

Here are a few easy to decorate cake ideas, click on the links to get the full instructions:

DIY Decorated Train Cake

Baseball and Basketball Cupcakes

Basic Rainbow Cake

Double Rainbow Cake


As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

Subscribe Now


Day In Jerusalem – Summer Activities


August 4th 2014

Contributed by:


1 comment | Leave Comment


This summer Israel has been in the news and I am sure it has been on your minds. While we pray for the safety of our soldiers, many of whom are our cousins, brothers, sisters, fathers, and friends, the incredible resilience of the Israeli people has kept the day to day life as close to normal as possible in Jerusalem. Summer camps have continued as usual with some changes to their itineraries due to security concerns.

The summer in Jerusalem is filled with festivals, special exhibits and even a beach. Instead of our traditional itinerary we would like to offer you lots of great suggestions for summer activities in Jerusalem.

Bambu: This incredible unique exhibit at the Israel Museum allows visitors (ages 6+) to climb through the interactive art installation in the Sculpture Garden. Made entirely of Bamboo and climbing rope this exhibit was created by the Starn brothers and allows you to climb up the steps and the paths and view the Jerusalem Hills and the top of the Israel Museum. This is an exhibit not to be missed! Separate tickets must be purchased for the exhibit and the museum is open for free for kids in August.

Jerusalem Has A Beach: Jerusalem has many attributes and many attractions but the one thing it did not have was a beach. In honor of summer, the First Station outdoor mall and entertainment center has created a beach with sand, umbrellas, beach volleyball, refreshments, kids activities and even outdoor showers. Later this month the simulated surf machine will open up to the public. The beach is free and activities are an additional fee.  During the day families can enjoy music, snacks and activities and then in the evening the beach is open to adults only.

Beach Bus: If you still prefer the real thing and want an easy way to go up to the Tel Aviv beach then you can take the Jerusalem Beach Bus. With pickups in Jerusalem’s Katamon, Rechavia and Bakaa neighborhoods, you can go straight to the beach on Fridays and be back before Shabbat, without the mess in your car or hassle of switching busses.

Ropes Course on Ammunition Hill: This summer take the Ropes Course Challenge in a truly unique location at Ammunition Hill. See the bunkers and learn about the history of the fight for Jerusalem as you learn to swing from the Rope swing and walk the rope ladder or slide down the Omega (zipline).  Activities can be customized for each group.

Israel National Parks: The summer is a great time to visit some of Israel’s most beautiful national parks. Water hikes, sound & light shows and historical tours are available at many of the parks. The closest parks to Jerusalem are Castel, Ein Hemed, Stalactite Caves and Ir David. Plan ahead and purchase an Israel National Parks Family Membership Card that lets you in to all the parks for free during the year.

August Summer Camps: It’s not too late to enjoy a special summer camp experience. Whether your kids want to learn how to surf, cook, train dogs, design fashion and more at Camp Kimama or want to experience a tech camp in the Start Up Nation at Big Idea, or learn to take care of horses and go horseback riding at King David Stables, there are so many choices for summer camps in Israel. To really get a sense of the options see our video blog of camps in Israel. When you are ready to plan for next summer take a look at our camps guide. Make next year a summer in Israel!

Festivals: Summer festivals in Jerusalem take place in July and August. They include the Jerusalem Film Festival, Hutzot Hayotzer Art Festival, Formula One Peace Road Show, International Puppet Festival and the Jerusalem Theater End of Summer Festival.

The best advice I have for tourists who have decided to come this summer during Operation Protective Edge (Tzok Eitan) is to be aware and plan ahead with our Red Alert Tips. Know where the safe rooms are and that if you are in Jerusalem you have 90 seconds to get there. You can still enjoy your summer in Israel.

I hope this blog post has given you the inspiration to spend your next summer in Jerusalem, especially with your family.  For more ideas of activities and events in Jerusalem for your family, contact and I would be happy to give you some personalized recommendations.