Having Fun With The Mensch on a Bench *Giveaway*


December 2nd 2014

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What started as a small Kickstarter campaign has become the latest popular holiday gift for Jewish and interfaith families this holiday season.  The Mensch on a Bench, a 12” plush doll with an accompanying hardcover storybook, is the brainchild of Neal Hoffman, a former toy marketing executive turned entrepreneur.  The purpose is to introduce children to the story and traditions of Hanukkah, from the viewpoint of “Moshe” the Mensch.

In Hoffman’s fictional story, Moshe the Mensch, volunteered to watch over the Menorah in the Temple after the Maccabees victory.  During each of the eight nights, Moshe is inspired to continue to serve and witness the Hanukkah miracle.

Kids had fun with the Mensch as you will see below.


We also couldn’t resist wondering what trouble the Mensch would get into if he got lost in New York City…

Hoffman’s book includes the Hanukkah prayers and instructions on how to play dreidel.  There is even a page in the book for children to write down their favorite holiday memories.

If you’re looking for something cute for the holidays that are certain to put a smile on someone’s face, you will love The Mensch on a Bench.

The Mensch on a Bench is available for a limited time Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Michaels, Barnes & Noble, Toys”R”Us, and more, but Joy of Kosher readers can enjoy a special 10% discount by using the coupon code OYVEY at checkout here.


Now you can win a mensch of your own!! We are giving away 3 dolls – enter with rafflecopter for your chance.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A Clever Way To Turn Food Into Art


December 1st 2014

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When I was in Israel this Summer, Jamie and I had the most wonderful time meeting our new friend Meir Bulka.  Meir is one of those people who reminds you never to judge a book by it’s cover.  He is a big Israeli man probably in his late forties, married with grown kids and he is also the mastermind behind the new digital Israeli magazine, Itonochel.  When I first heard from Meir about his magazine I immediately thought I was talking (emailing) with a  woman.  When I saw his name I realized I must be wrong, so I figured he must be in his twenties.  When we met Meir he told us of a time when he was on a TV show for food bloggers he said, “when the producer asked me what my job was and I told him, he said he was sure that the person behind my blog and the magazine is none other than a young Tel Avivian girl, photographer and food freak. When he noticed that I was just the opposite (as is well known, I live in Samaria, I’m not a girl and I’m not so young), I saw his disappointment on his face but we both doubled over in laughter.” It turns out Meir has more tricks up his sleeve.

Meir started off his career as an X-ray technician, but some years back the industry was flooded and he decided to find something new.  While he was still working he began to take vacation time to take cooking classes and food photography classes and eventually changed careers and started ItonOchel, the first digital Hebrew food magazine. Now, through his work on the magazine and his work as a food photographer for Israeli chefs he learns a little something with each shoot.

In his first issue he also showed us how he has combined his x-ray skills with his food photography and I thought it was just amazing and wanted to showcase it here for all of you.

Here is what Meir has to say, “My food X-ray photography series, has been getting an amazing response and I really want to develop this technique to an unequaled high.  Following the publication of the photos in the magazine, I received a number of interesting offers to develop this technique in other directions but at this stage I focus only on food photography and I plan to do another series in the future to be even more exciting and more challenging to be presented in a large exhibition. I am currently looking for a sponsor who can help me in realizing this dream”.
I love the way Meir shows part of the food with the X-ray and part whole, so you can see the inside and the out in one shot .  Meir is graciously sharing many of the recipes from ItonOchel with us so over the next year as we work to translate them you will see many recipes from ItonOchel.  If you would like more information about Meir or are interested in ordering an X-ray photograph for yourself, go to ItonOchel.com.


Week {5} Recipes


November 30th 2014

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Here are my options for week 5 for the Joy of Kosher #testers project!

Stuffed Collard Greens

The Post Thanksgiving Hand Pie

Pomegranate Poached Pears

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

Polenta Portobellos

Cheesy Fish

Grilled California Asparagus and Mushroom Salad with Shaved Parmesan


There is one item I’ve been running into that I cannot acquire – Kosher Parmesan Cheese. Also – I could not find Kosher frozen Artichoke Bottoms {or any artichoke bottoms for that matter}  for one of last weeks recipes. So – there are some recipes that I have to alter because of the access that I have to kosher products. I can get a lot but not everything.


/RECIPE/ Persian Bean and Noodle Soup


November 30th 2014

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Go here for the recipe so you can make it!

This soup was amazing. And fun to make. I did end up using a short cut – canned beans. It was a great last minute supper adding the canned versus dry. I also cut out the Rice Flour and simply pulled the Rice Noodles out from the pot they were boiled in and then added the beans to that. Worked great!


I already love Dill, and this was a GREAT place for it to be used. The greens added a lot to the soup and I was originally worried they would turn out slimy. But they didn’t.


Between the noodles and seasonings the family pretty much liked it. There are some in my family who are not in love with beans, so it was not their favorite dish. But they still liked it. So its a winner just not as big of a winner as the Salmon was but it still is very good. However, I’m a bean fan so I LOVED IT!


Go ahead and try it, its a great recipe!


Prepare For Cyber Monday With Our Chanukah Gift...


November 30th 2014

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The timing of Chanukah every year really dictates which sales we are able to take advantage of. Last year with Thanksgivukkah the sales were not in our favor, but this year we have more than two weeks to go and still have Cyber Monday to enjoy tomorrow.  You can see my guide for last year’s Hanukkah gift guide here.  This year I have found some fun new foods that will make the perfect gift.

Instead of a bottle of wine, consider a bottle of Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur.  OU certified this liqueur will be appreciated by all.  I really love ginger and nothing is really strong enough for me, but this comes close.  It is sweet and flavorful and will elevate your bar.  Find more about Barrow’s here.

Over Rosh Hashanah I wanted to use Truffle Oil to enhance my polenta, but I couldn’t find anything near me.  I finally decided to search online and I found this truffle oil on Amazon certified by KLBD.  I have been warned that most truffle oil is just flavored and doesn’t really have truffles in it.  This brand actually has the truffles added to it and I want to bathe in it.  A little goes along way so the price isn’t that bad and it just makes everything taste amazing.  Get one as a gift and make sure to get one for yourself.  Order on Amazon here.

Now that I know how amazing truffles can be in home cooking I intend to get some of this Truffle Salt from Saltworks.  They also make kosher certified smoked salts, which add tremendous flavor to food. Find more about the OU certified salts from Salt Works here.

Looking for something cheaper, but still amazing!! Try the Sriracha Powder from the Spice House.  If you tell them you want your spices kosher they will send spices from their Milwaukee location which is certified by Kosher Supervisors of Wisconsin.  I buy all my spices from them, they are amazingly fresh and flavorful.  Mostly I get plain ground spices, but this blend intrigued me and I have had the best popcorn and sea weed snacks since this came.  Learn more about The Spice House here.

I really like the idea of “x” of the month clubs for gifts.  You can usually do them for as little as month or for the full year.  You can get so many things this way, such as tea,wine, chocolate, coffee, flowers, and fruits.  Just search for your product of choice and find the perfect gift for everyone.

And of course you won’t want to miss out on the very best gift, our Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine and Joy of Kosher cookbook. Order 2 subscriptions and get the book free!!  Order Now.



Disclosure: I was not paid for mentioning any of the products on this page, but I did receive some complimentary from the company.  All opinions are my own.


RSVP #WinnDixieKosher Chanukah Twitter Party


November 28th 2014

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You’re invited to join our #WinnDixieKosher Twitter chat!
Hosted by @JoyofKosher and sponsored by @WinnDixie.

We are cleaning our fryers and menorahs and getting ready to #CelebrateDelicious this Chanukah with Winn-Dixie by our side.   Winn-Dixie has over 1,000 kosher products plus many kosher baked goods in most of their stores and Jamie will be in Orlando and Jacksonville sharing latkes donuts with everyone who visits.

We are having a party online so can everyone can come.  Join our party to talk Chanukah memories, get tips, tricks and recipes for latkes and doughnuts.  Ask questions, share your tips and invite your friends cause we have lots of fun and lots of giveaaways.


Wednesday December 3rd at 8pm EST


@JoyofKosher @JoyofKosherMag @KosherFoodBloggers @TamarGenger @JamieGeller


Moderator @MommyBlogExpert

How to participate
Use hashtag #WinnDixieKosher
Use Tweetchat for easy chatting.

Anyone can participate, but you must be following @JoyofKosher and @WinnDixie and RSVP here below to win prizes!

Follow us here


Let us know you are coming to the party in the comments below to be entered to win 1 of 5 Winn-Dixie Gift Baskets including a signed Joy of Kosher Cookbook.  Make sure to include your twitter handle.


Free Magazine Subscription For Small Business...


November 27th 2014

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Take advantage of the Small Business Saturday (read Motzei Shabbos) Promotion from AMEX.

Register TODAY so you don’t miss out and SHOP THIS Saturday, November 29th (after Shabbos of course)! 

You can also use all 3 credits and have your subscription extended accordingly. Multiple orders can be added on to your existing subscription.

If you have an American Express Card you can get this subscription for free, One Day Only! Here’s how it works:

  1. Click here to enrollyour card TODAY.  Enrollment is limited.
  2. On Saturday, November 29th (after Shabbos) come back here and use your card to purchase a 6 month, 3 issue subscription to Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller.
  3. Get a one-time $10 statement credit for that transaction from American Express within 8 weeks.  Do this two more times and you can have a year and half free!!




Cooking With Joy: Veal Meatballs


November 27th 2014

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I have always kept away from veal. Not for any political reason, just texturally it was never something I was into. My mother has made it a few times, that is how I know it’s not something I like, I have never cooked it.

I made the dressed down version of this recipe since ground veal seemed more family friendly. The one thing I took away from this recipe was – stick to beef from now on! While I do enjoy being adventurous and tasting new things (that is why I am doing this project), I would rather keep cooking things that my entire family can enjoy. The kids knew right away that these were not our regular meatballs and wouldn’t take more than a bite. Good thing I served the meatballs with a side of spaghetti.
The veal meatballs came out painfully dry for my taste; thank goodness there was a sauce to moisten things up. The whole bite of meatballs and spaghetti with sauce was good though. The lemon brightened up everything. Since this was the dressed down family friendly version of the recipe, I subbed chicken stock for the white wine.

Stuffed Veal Rolls with Smoky Tomato Sauce
DRESS IT DOWN Veal Spaghetti and Meatballs page 181


A Week of Dinners that Make Good Lunches


November 26th 2014

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Is there a better week to discuss dinners that easily transform into the next day’s lunch? If you are in the midst of preparing for Thanksgiving, cooking for a large crowd, or just planning your weekly meal plan, double duty recipes are budget and life savers.  It makes for a streamlined grocery list and requires less time in the kitchen, plus it is an easy way to ensure that you are eating a real meal more than once a day.  Below are 7 recipes that are delicious for dinner and the next day’s lunch.



Quinoa with Zucchini and Spiced Skillet Chicken


Quinoa With Zucchini and Spiced Skillet Chicken: This dinner is ready in under 45 minutes and will leave the house simply fragrant.  It is a protein packed meal of chicken, quinoa and garbanzo beans seasoned with cumin, paprika and garlic.  Enjoy this salad cold or reheated as is for lunch the next day, if you have it cold through in quick iceberg salad with an easy oil and vinegar dressing for a well-rounded lunch.


Black Bean Salad: Enjoy 5 minute tacos (thinly slice meat and stir fry with onions, spices and hot sauce) topped with a healthy and refreshing black bean salad.  Save some of the meat, or alternative protein of choice, to add with shredded lettuce and even ripe mango to the black bean salad for lunch.


Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs: Jamie included many ingenious ways to transform meals by dressing them up or down in her last book Fast, Fresh Family Meals.  Take the same approach with these turkey meatballs by serving them warm with pasta or quinoa for dinner and the next for lunch as lettuce wraps.


Angel Wings Pasta: I would serve this alongside a hearty soup and a simple butter lettuce salad with an olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing for a filling dinner.  The pasta will be great cold the next day with a sprinkling of goat cheese.


Arugula Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette: This salad is a one bowl meal!  Throw in grilled chicken, tofu or seitan and enjoy for both lunch and dinner.  Another idea is to enjoy falafel and/or pita and hummus on the side.


Fried Brussels Sprouts and Lentils

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Lentils: It is finally brussels sprout season! Served warm this dish hits all the flavor bases, and tastes like a totally new meal when served cold.  Add brown rice, roasted potatoes, or even flat couscous for a lunch that will feel like a real treat.


chicken pastrami rolls

Chicken Pastrami Rolls: This recipe might change your life.  I tried it once, and will make again as soon as I have access to good kosher pastrami.  No, it’s not healthy, but there’s a reason we get an extra soul and probably an extra stomach on shabbos.  This is recipe is especially choice if you have any picky eaters, many children or teenagers to feed.  If you have space, in which case I will be extremely impressed, this will taste great alongside potatoes from the cholent or simply with salads and dips.


A Kosher KitchenSurfing Dinner To Remember


November 26th 2014

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Last month Joy of Kosher had the amazing opportunity to partner with KitchenSurfing to promote their new kosher section.  KitchenSurfing is an online service that pairs people with chefs.  Instead of going out to a fancy dinner you can bring the fancy dinner in and the chef can tailor the meal to your exact needs and wants.  The chef will shop, cook, serve and clean up and we got to experience it first hand last month with Chef David Egidio Donagrandi. We ran a contest and invited 5 winners plus guests to join the entire Joy of Kosher team for dinner in Brooklyn.

When we came in to the apartment, we had the chance to explore and schmooze and snack.  There were three pass around appetizers, including these pickled eggs with onions and balsamic marmalade, risotto cakes and lamb meatballs.

The food was paired with a vodka punch, citrusy and delicious.  We enjoyed the beautiful view and met all the guests.


Meanwhile the chef was preparing a feast.

We started with this Fresh Corn Chowder garnished with toasted farro and paprika oil.  I am so excited that Chef David agreed to share this incredibly tasty recipe with us, a very unique way to use farro.


The next course was a Cured Branzino with Beets, another recipe Chef David is sharing with us, get the recipe here. Perfect to prep ahead and different kind of fish appetizer.

We went on to enjoy small plates of Farenheit Turnip, Beef Steak Cruda, Roasted Prime Rib Chanterelle, and a Grapefruit and Orange Aspic.  Although there were many courses, he managed to fill us up without making us feel sick.  Using quality ingredients and lots of vegetables Chef David wowed us. Hire Chef David to make your next dinner from Kitchen Surfing.

Now, I challenge you to recreate some of the magic, Chef David shared two recipe with us,  Cured Branzini and Roasted Corn Soup.

Photos provided by Itzik Roytman/COLlive.com


Kosher Sausage Recipe Challenge: Vote and Submit


November 25th 2014

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In recent years, kosher sausage options have expanded tremendously, due to the diligent work of Chef Jack Silberstein and Dr. Alan Broner, co-founders of Jack’s Gourmet. In 2010, Jack Silberstein, a highly successful chef, introduced a variety of ethnic-flavored sausages to the kosher market. These included Sweet Italian, Hot Italian, Mexican-style Chorizo, Bratwurst and Boerewors. Through the years, Jack’s Gourmet has continued to revolutionize the kosher palate with gourmet offerings such as Facon, Spicy Italian-Style Salami, old-world Corned Beef and Pastrami, and a variety of nitrite-free sausage patties and burgers. The general philosophy of Jack’s Gourmet is to use quality ingredients and avoid gluten, MSG, fillers, byproducts, and artificial ingre- dients, which explains the loyal customers and many accolades the company receives. In line with their mission to continually introduce new flavors to the kosher con- sumer’s palate, Jack’s Gourmet has recently released an all-new flavor which premiered this fall: Beef Merguez Sausage.

Sausages are now a staple product in kosher kitchens across the country as they provide a substantial flavor base for many dishes and are a secret ingredient in many top chefs’ repertoires. Jack’s Sweet Italian Sausage is especially unique in that classic Italian sausage utilizes non-kosher meat and is a flavor that most kosher cooks were, until recently, unfamiliar with. The sweetness in the sausage comes from notes of sweet pepper, fennel, and fine herbs used to flavor the meat.

To celebrate this unique ingredient, we reached out to two top chefs who shared a recipe highlighting Sweet Italian Sausage. It’s up to you, our devoted readers, to vote on which dish appeals to you most.  Click through and try the recipes yourselves.  Share your own recipes with us and be entered to WIN!!

Sausage and Chicken Leg Rouladeby Chef Alex Reznik, a Top Chef alum and former chef of La Seine and FigOly, has recently opened Ditmas in Los Angeles, Ca., as an ode to Ditmas Avenue in Brooklyn, NY, where the chef grew up. Modern and classy dining atmosphere, and incredible kosher cuisine makes Ditmas a must-visit restaurant. Check out www.ditmasla.com.

Apple and Yellow Lentil Soup with Sweet Italian Sausage by Chef Valentin Bay of C&R Kitchen in Philadelphia, Pa.  Citron & Rose opened in 2012 and brought high-quality ko- sher dining to the Philadelphia community. Chef Valentin Bay currently heads C&R Kitchen, Citron & Rose’s gourmet casual concept restaurant, with a full bar of signature cocktails. Visit www.citronandrose.com for more information.

VOTE for your favorite recipe by commenting below for your chance to win a variety of prizes including a subscription to the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine.

*CHALLENGE THE CHEF: Share your favorite sausage recipe, which will be published in a special online post, and the winner will receive a variety of Jack’s Gourmet products including their very sought-after Jack’s Gourmet branded hat and apron, delivered right to your door!
The value of this prize is over $100.00. (Disclaimer: contest is open only to residents of the contiguous United States.)  - SUBMIT YOUR RECIPE HERE!


As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Chanukah 2014

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This post is sponsored by Jack’s Gourmet Kosher Sausage company.


/RECIPE/ Cranberry Walnut Salmon on a Bed of...


November 24th 2014

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You can find the recipe for Cranberry Walnut Salmon on a Bed of Spinach right here.

This recipe is a 3 pan meal but very much worth it. The melding of flavors was amazing. One flavor did not outbalance another. It was a beautiful harmony of taste! The recipe was very clear and easy to follow. However the was not enough “sauce” in the Cranberry topping. So I think next time I’ll double the amount of orange juice and honey. Leavening the cranberries and walnuts at the original amount.


I should mention that I forgot to let the Salmon Filets thaw. But I’m happy to report that the spice mixture still cooks up well even when the filets are frozen ;) Half way through the cooking I flipped each fillet to let the juices prevent the rub from drying out. And then flipped it again 2 min from the end of cooking to crisp up the top. They came out beautifully that way!

Everyone enjoyed this dish – even my none fish lovers!

The cranberries make this a wonderful fall season dish!

More to COME!


Week {4} Recipes


November 24th 2014

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Here are this weeks recipes to test!

Chocolate Bark Recipe

Butternut Squash and Wild Mushrooms Au Gratin

Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms

Persian Bean and Noodle Soup

This little experiment is really going to push me in some areas. Its going to get me to cook some recipes that I would not necessarily have picked out for myself. But, this is a good thing because I think we are going to get some family favorites from it!

More fun to come!


Betting On Winter Greens


November 24th 2014

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Wen I was studying to become a dietitian and cramming for an exam, I followed the mantra “bet on green” whenever I was unsure of an answer on a test. Packed with dozens of vitamins and minerals, it was hard to go wrong then, and even now, I still bet on green. With the winter approaching, most of the colorful tomatoes, corn and squashes begin to disappear off the supermarket shelves, replaced by bright leafy winter greens. Winter greens are green-leafed vegetables, hardy enough to thrive in the colder winter weather. They include chard, collards, mustard greens, escarole, kale and beet greens, among many others. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and phy- tonutrients, which may help prevent heart disease and cancer.

In 2009, The Center for Science in the Public Interest (a nationally recognized not-for-profit research organization where I used to work) ranked nearly 85 vegetables in order of highest to lowest nutrient content and found kale, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, and Swiss chard in the top five.

All are good sources of vitamins A, C and K, folate, iron, potassium and calcium. They are especially notable for their vitamin K and lutein content, nutrients that are less common in other foods. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and may boost bone density. Lutein, a relative of vitamin A, has been shown to be effective in preventing eye diseases.

Now that you know why we bet on green, let’s get in the kitchen! Winter greens are actually some of my favorite vegetables to cook. They are versatile and can add variety to your meals all winter long. Chard, beet greens and spinach are more tender and are best simply wilted or sautéed. Kale, collards, and mustard greens are heartier and are often braised with liquid to bring out the preferred taste and texture. These greens can also be eaten raw, massaged with an acidic dressing or vinaigrette and made into a flavorful winter salad.

To “wilt” tender greens, throw them in a preheated skillet and toss with tongs until they lose some of their firmness and gain some of their natural green color, you may need to add a small bit of water. Mix in a bit of garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and a light sprinkling of salt and you are good to go, or use the wilted greens in baked gratins, pasta fillings, quiches or tarts.

To braise heartier greens, wilt them first in a bit of garlic and oil, water or stock. Simmer until they reach the desired tex- ture. Cook off the excess liquid and serve as a side or add to pasta, rice, potatoes, beans or stew. Hearty greens go well with bold flavors. I like to use smoked salts or strong vinegars to flavor my greens.

Stuffed Collard Greens

Kale and Potato Hash

Maple Chard Salad

Beet Pepperoni Pizza with Beet Greens


As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Chanukah 2013

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/RECIPE/ Caramel Pear Lattice Pie


November 23rd 2014

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You can get the recipe for the Caramel Pear Lattice Pie right over here.

So Pear Pie was a first for me. I made many pies in my kitchen, dutch apple, pumpkin, pecan, cranberry streusel, and blueberry to name a few. But a pear one was missing from my repertoire. So this was a fun one!


During the preparation I tasted the pie in its different stages ;) like every good baker. The juice of 1 whole lemon had me scared. All I could envision was SOURness! And when I tasted it part of the way through it was pretty sour. But, I decided to go with it as written and make it one time just as the recipe called for. Then, if it didn’t turn out I would change the recipe. And boy did it ever turn out! It may have even been a tad sweet! But the taste and texture of the filling was perfect. The cardamom was an amazing spice for this pie! Deliciousness! The raw sugar was just what was needed for sprinkling on the top to give you a really beautiful finish. The larger granules give it the needed dimension and pop. I only really have one issue with the recipe – it says to reduce the oven hear to 375 degrees. But it never has a higher temp listed…. This one was a lot of fun and there is plenty more to come!