DIY – Baked Root Vegetable Chips

 

April 2nd 2014

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

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

This Passover you should make a huge batch and offer them to your kids with Sabra babaganoush for the perfect dipping experience.  You can also impress your guests with this as a fancy appetizer they will love.

Here is my recipe for Baked Root Vegetable Chips

These root chips also make a unique topping for salads and side dishes. They add a lovely crunch and a hint of natural sweetness.


 

9 Favorite Seder Mains – Chicken and Beef...

 

April 1st 2014

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ONLY 3 DAYS LEFT TO GET THE JOY OF KOSHER COOKBOOK WITH 70 PASSOVER RECIPES FOR 40% OFF – USE COUPON CODE JOK40 AND ORDER NOW!

Here go my favorite Seder Mains

but first…

some advice

followed by…

some tradition

and then finally…

some recipes

Keep it Simple
If you follow the Passover Seder traditionally and meticulously by the time you arrive at the main meal, called Shulchan Orech in the Haggadah, people will be far from starving. They may not even be entirely hungry. So don’t overdo your menu.

Roasted Meats on Passover

During Passovers of long ago, the Jewish people would bring the Passover sacrifice to the Beit Hamikdash, and then roast and eat the meat for the Seder meal. Today, many refrain from roasting meat at the Seder so no one should think we are trying to replace the Pesach sacrifice. For this reason my favorite Seder mains are cooked with additional liquid or sauce.

I’ve kept my comments brief so you can get to planning, shopping and cooking quickly.

Chicken

Passover Seder Lemon and Wine Poached Chicken

Lemon Wine Poached Chicken
Refreshing and Light

Orange Chicken with Beets and Sweets

Orange Chicken Thighs with Beets and Sweets
Pretty and Sweet

speedy-coq-au-vin-130
Speedy Coq Au Vin
Earthy and Warm

cold-poached-spinach-and-walnut-pesto-chicken-124
Cold Poached Spinach and Walnut Pesto Chicken
Cool and Springy

chicken-cacciatore-132
Chicken Cacciatore
Cozy and Savory

Duck Sauce Chicken joyofkosher

Duck Sauce Chicken
Classic and Simple

Meat

Brisket in Wine Sauce
Expected

pomegranate braised brisket
Pomegranate Braised Brisket
A Twist

Ropa Vieja
Ropa Vieja
Unexpected

Chag Kasher V’Sameach, A Zissin Pesach, Happy Passover!


 

RSVP for #ShareSabra Passover Twitter Party and...

 

April 1st 2014

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You’re invited to join our #ShareSabra Passover Twitter chat!
Hosted by @JoyofKosher and sponsored by Sabra.

On the agenda

Lots of Questions and lots of Afikomen Prizes – Win 1 of 5 copies of the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine for Passover just by RSVPing below, then Retweet and engage during the chat to win 1 of 2 $25, 1 $50 and 1 $100 Amex cards.

We will be talking about: The Mediterranean Diet on Passover, Healthy and Low Carb Recipe Ideas, Passover Memories, Seder Favorites, and more.  Ask your questions, share your memories and get ready for Passover.

When

Monday April 7th from 8-9pm EST

Who

@JoyofKosher @JoyofKosherMag @KosherFoodBloggers @TamarGenger @JamieGeller

Moderator @MommyBlogExpert

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

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

Follow us here

RSVP

Let us know you are coming to the party in the comments below to be entered to win and make sure to include your twitter handle.


 

Keeping It Simple On Passover

 

April 1st 2014

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Sometimes when I think about Pesach I get overwhelmed. It doesn’t help that the local food store has already set up their Pesach aisles before it was even Purim. Nor does it help to hear about my super efficient friends and their cleaning schedules, and, most of all, it is nearly paralyzing to see all the posts for Pesach recipes on Facebook, when I’m still deciding what to give for Shaloch Manot!

When I was younger, my whole family would turn over the kitchen the night before Pesach. We would have to take a little break to do bedekat chametz and then continue on our Pesach mission. My brothers were in charge of bringing up the Pesach boxes from the basement and my sister and I were in charge of covering the counters and tables with some sort of plastic tablecloth-that always had the smell of Pesach. I have two distinct smells from my childhood; one as I mentioned in the past– fresh brewing coffee, and the other– the smell of the plastic as we got ready for Pesach.

The night before Pesach we would kasher the kitchen and get it prepared for cooking the next day. There would be excitement in the air. There were no weeks or days of preparations; We prepared for the seders on erev chag. My grandmother would make her famous meatballs and her mashed potato kugel, which we only had on Pesach. And of course my mother would make gribiness. (for the record…I never liked it, even before I knew how unhealthy it is for you!) And we all pitched in, making it truly a family affair.

I look back fondly on those times and those memories– and that is the way that I want my kids to embrace the holiday of our freedom, with excitement and great memories.

For the past few years I have been consciously preparing for Pesach in a simplistic manner. I don’t believe Pesach needs to be a time of stress. Pesach can be done in a more relaxed, down to Earth fashion, while still remaining meaningful and producing great memories. I try to keep it simple and stick to the basics. I view the one-week of not having leavened bread as a challenge of sorts to make yummy and scrumptious food without the need to go overboard. (Granted I have the excuse of a daughter who is gluten free so I don’t have the pressure to come up with fancy matzo/cake meal gourmet delicious menus.) I stick to the basic recipes and enjoy serving them on our beautiful Pesach dishes. What I find is most important is the fact that when the Seder night comes, not only is the food delicious, but the family is happy. My goal is to be cognizant of the true meaning of the chag. I thank God for our freedom and our ability to remember and discuss the Exodus of Egypt as a family. This is not always an easy task, yet I feel that as I grow in my spiritual self, and from the wisdom of my past, this is how I want my family Pesach to be experienced.

With that in mind, here is a recipe for Easy Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges.

Author’s note: Another way to enjoy the chag is with a thought provoking Haggadah. My husband, Stan Lebovic, an artist and writer just came out with a new Passover Haggadah, Escape velocity. You can check it out on Amazon.

Chag Sameach!


 

Spotlight: A Passover Seder Activity Book

 

March 31st 2014

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There are so many fantastic hagadot available for people of all ages and all backgrounds.  The new Passover activity book by Ann Kofsky is a companion book that goes along with any hagadah to keep your kids engaged throughout the Seder.  Ann has illustrated and authored over 30 books for children. She is an elementary school art teacher, a public speaker, and a teacher of drawing and illustration at her alma mater, Yeshiva University. She blogs and shares artwork at www.annkoffsky.com.

The book begins with crafts to create before the seder.  Keep your kids busy while you’re cooking in the kitchen with these crafts that they can then use at the seder like this jumping frog.  Last year we came up with a whole slew of ideas for edible ten plagues, this year try crafts.

The book is filled with ideas to keep your kids busy at every point of the seder.  Let them make shapes with their matzah is just one example shown above.

The whole books is based on the Frogs in the Bed song by Shirley Cohen Steinberg and published by Behrman House. Every kid comes home from nusery school knowing this song until it gets stuck in all our heads!!  The book takes you through the song and the seder.  Find out more and order yours here on Amazon.

You can also get this free ipad app – Frogs in Your Bed with froggy games and more, here.


 

Reclining At The Seder In Style

 

March 28th 2014

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Put Some “Seder” to your Seder!

It is a Mitzvah to lean by the Seder as stated in the words of the ” Mah Nishtana. This is part of the general theme of “Cheirut” – Freedom as we celebrate our freedom from the Egyptians and act by the Seder in a most royal and regal manner.  And for the most part, we play our roles beautifully. The Seder Table is adorned with a pristine white table cloth, the freshly polished silver glistens, everyone stands around in their new Yom Tov finery – and then there are the pillow cases! From the boys room the brown and blue Scooby Doo, from the girls room the pink floral, from the guestroom the old camp line; you get the idea!

Before

Attempting to give my Seder a little more of a royal “feel”, I looked around to see what there was to address this issue. Sure I found out  there was a concept of Seder pillow cases, but they were all high end intended strictly for the use of the head of the Seder, keeping the rest of the participants leaning on Hello Kitty and off color plaids.

Enter EstherO Seder Pillowcases. Now in its fifth year, I have been manufacturing a classy, yet affordable pillowcase that’s perfect for all of your Seder participants. These pillowcases wash beautifully, and are sure to become part of your Seder decor year after year! (Not to mention they make a great gift too!)

Make a purchase between now and April 10th and receive a special Joy of Kosher 10% discount – use coupon code JOK10OFF here plus get free shipping.

 

 

 


 

Tips and Tricks for Cooking With Kids

 

March 28th 2014

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Pesach is a time we focus on 3 specific themes: Traditions, Children, and Food. With all the time spent in the kitchen preparing food for the plethora of meals consumed over this week, now is a great time to begin the tradition of getting kids involved with food preparation. Not only is it a great way to teach family and religious customs, but there are so many more benefits to be gained, such as:

  • Learning math, science, and language skills
  • Learning about nutrition, food skills, and social skills involved with working together and sharing space and equipment
  • Being more likely to eat with family resulting in: making better food choices, having better nutrient intake, healthier weight, reduced risk of developing eating disorders, improved social interactions with peers, and better school performance
  • Better intake of fruits and vegetables with decreased intake of fats, soda and fried food

While you may be wary of including children in food preparation as you can do it so much faster and neater without their involvement, cooking with your children can be a positive and fun experience. These tips make it a fun and safe way to reconnect after a long day, or just relax together with a shared activity.

  • Keep them safe with constant supervision (the kitchen has many potential hazards!)
  • Keep it simple. Choose recipes that your children can help with (now is not the time for a complicated soufflé)
  • Allow more time than you would normally need, and don’t rush
  • Give children specific tasks; they’ll learn more from hands-on experience than from watching. If they seem to be struggling, ask if they want help
  • Involve kids with clean-up as well; don’t do it for them
  • Don’t expect your children to eat what they made. They’ll be more interested in cooking if they know there’s no pressure to eat everything they make
  • Make the kitchen kid-friendly so they’ll want to, and be able to, cook more frequently (with supervision)

See the following chart for specific tasks children of different ages can do to become involved in food preparation. Habits and skills learned in the kitchen when young can have an impact on children’s later years, so get in the kitchen together and get cooking!!

 

Age of Children Age appropriate tasks
2-3
  • Wash fruits and vegetables
  • Add premeasured items to dishes
  • Smell food and herbs
  • Help find ingredients
3-4
  • Peel hardboiled eggs
  • Pour from measuring cups
  • Make a simple sandwich from prepared ingredients
  • Describe colour, shape and taste of food
4-6
  • Stir ingredients together
  • Slice soft-cooked vegetables, soft fruit, cheese, or  tofu with plastic knife
  • Crack and beat egg
  • Cook with friends for a fun play-date
6-8
  • Use simple kitchen equipment (grater, toaster, blender, can-opener)
  • Toss salad ingredients together with dressing
  • Write a list of healthy snacks they like to eat
  • Write a grocery list
  • Make a simple breakfast (cereal & milk; canned fruit & yogurt)
8-11
  • Use a knife with easy-to-cut foods (cooked meats, cheese, tofu, bread)
  • Use microwave with help
  • Make their own school lunch
  • Make a fresh fruit platter to go with dinner
  • Use the stove with supervision for simple foods (omelettes, quesadillas, soup, grilled cheese)



 

Cooking A Whole Brisket Overnight Is Perfection

 

March 27th 2014

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It took me a long time to love brisket. It’s the kind of meat that can be dry, stringy and hard-to-chew if you don’t cook it right.

My mother-in-law changed my mind. Unlike my mom, who insisted on using the first-cut portion, my mother-in-law clued me in to the second cut, which is more flavorful. Yes, it has a lot of fat but most of it melts away during cooking. Besides, it’s the fat that softens and enriches the meat as it cooks.

After years of never making brisket for my family, I started experimenting. It took a while before I got the dish right.

Here’s what I learned: a whole brisket (first plus second cut) is my best bet because it serves so many and it also satisfies the people who prefer the leaner portions. It’s festive looking too, which makes it suitable for extended family holiday meals (although I should say that I also make this large piece throughout the year and freeze smaller portions for those nights when I get home late and don’t feel like cooking from scratch). Besides, the whole brisket includes that awesome tasting top, the deckle – that so-called “inferior” second cut that some restaurants now prepare and offer at some spectacularly high prices.

Despite the usual arguments about whether brisket should be cooked in the oven or on top of the stove, the real key is to cook it at very low temperatures for a very long time (using either method). I set it up just before I go to sleep in a 225 degree oven. The most delicious and fragrant alarm clock in the world – braised brisket perfume – wakes me up in the morning. This works for smaller cuts too but decrease the time of course.

I don’t use a lot of seasoning – for us, meat flavor is paramount. I also don’t add any liquids, but I do include water-loaded vegetables such as onions (and sometimes tomatoes and celery), which baste the brisket beautifully and provide lots of intensely flavored pan juices.

Like all good braised dishes, brisket tastes better a day or so after you cook it. I separate the meat, pan juices and vegetables. That allows me to scoop off the fat easily.

Although most people I know slice the meat and put the gravy and vegetables back on top (or puree the pan fluids with the vegetables), I don’t. It’s fine that way, but our family prefers the gravy over mashed potatoes.

The brisket? I slice it, slather it with homemade barbecue sauce and give it a roast on high heat to caramelize the surface (or broil or grill it). Either way, it’s good eats on Passover or any other time. Juicy, tender, flavorful. And the leftovers are good too.

Click here for the full recipe of my Whole Brisket with Homemade BBQ Sauce.


 

A Spanish Seder Menu

 

March 27th 2014

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I love ethnic food. Well, okay, I love all food, but I have a special place in my heart for creating menu based on a specific international cuisine. So a few years ago when I found kosher for Passover soy sauce I created a Chinese Seder. It got rave reviews and has become a new family tradition. Last year, I had to host two Seders, so I was looking for something new and decided to try Spanish food and it worked beautifully!

saffron-matzo-ball-soup-with-sofrito

Saffron Matzo Ball Soup With Sofrito

It all starts with the soup. Chicken Soup with Sofrito and Saffron Matzo Balls is flavorful and comforting. You can keep all the parts separate, if some of the little ones don’t want sofrito (a Spanish vegetable saute) you can leave it out.

spanish eggplant stuffed artichoke bottoms

Spanish Eggplant Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms

Then you can fill the meal with an assortment of tapas, like this easy appetizer using frozen artichoke bottoms filled with Sabra Spanish Eggplant.  You can’t get much easier and they are really tasty too, served hot or cold.

tortilla espanolla

Tortilla Espanolla

This classic Spanish tapas recipe of egg and potatoes in an omelet can be served hot or cold, which is perfect for a Passover seder where your oven will already be overflowing. Instead of hard boiled eggs around the table, pass around little slices of this scrumptious treat.

quinoa paella

Paella is traditionally made with rice and seafood and meat, but for Passover I made it with quinoa, sausage and chicken.

Grilled Asparagus with Romesco Sauce

Grilled Asparagus with Romesco Sauce

I love Romesco sauce on everything so make a big batch and use throughout Passover.  Either follow the recipe with the asparagus and sub out matzo for bread or use this Romesco Recipe, which is my favorite.

Pesach Fingers

Pesach Fingers

For dessert, I suggest a few small sweets.  Chocolate Covered Strawberries are always a winner as our these ridiculously easy cookies, Pesach Fingers (made from your favorite kind of nut), and of course Macaroons or Meringues.

Dress the table with vibrant colors this year enjoy some of the flavors of Spain at your Seder.

Note: A few of these recipes use Saffron which some consider to be kitniyot (The OU says it is not kitniyot but may require special checking), these dishes can be made without Saffron if desired.

 

 


 

15 Healthy Passover Chicken Recipes

 

March 26th 2014

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Passover would probably be at the top of the list of healthiest Jewish holidays.  Sometimes, though, because of the many restricted ingredients, we may find ourselves adding a little extra oil and salt than is necessary.  These 15 kosher for Passover chicken recipes are easy, healthy, and full flavor.

 

Orange Chicken with Beets and Sweets

1.  Orange Chicken Thighs with Beets and Sweets: This refreshing chicken recipe is perfect for a spring holiday.  After some initial vegetable peeling, this meal practically cooks itself.

 

Caramelized Onion Chicken

2.  Caramelized Onion Chicken:  On pesach, I really appreciate recipes which minimize ingredients yet maximize flavor.  Better yet this meal is totally hands-off, put the chicken in the oven to slow cook for two hour and return to a fragrant kitchen and a delicious dinner.

 

Chicken with Zucchini and Wine Stuffing

3.  Chicken with Zucchini and Wine Stuffing: This is a great dish for the seder!  While you’re running around making last minute preparations erev pesach, leave this on stove and rest assured that this chicken is simmering to perfection.

 

Chicken with Olives, Tomatoes & Onions

4.  Chicken with Olives, Tomatoes, and Onions: Another wonderful option during a seder, this chicken recipe is reminiscent of mediterranean flavors which will delight your guests.  Plus, this is a perfect recipe to repurpose for lunch the next day.

 

Date Glazed Roast Chicken

5.  Date Glazed Roast Chicken: The aromatic combination of dates, orange juice and spices compose this sweet and savory chicken dish.  Take care to ensure that your vinegar is kosher for Passover.

 

Chicken Ratatouille

6.  Chicken Ratatouille: If your custom is to peel all of your vegetables during pesach, then this is a great option.  The flavors of the tomatoes and zucchinis pair richly with the chicken, the vegetables compliment this dish so well even if they are peeled.

 

Passover Seder Lemon and Wine Poached Chicken

7.  Passover Seder Lemon Wine Poached Chicken: Lemons and wine are a classic, crowd-pleasing combination.  The flavors enhance the delicate flavors of the chicken.

 

Lemon Rosemary Roast Chicken with Potatoes

8.  Lemon Rosemary Roast Chicken and Potatoes: Yet another recipe to demonstrate the power of lemon in a chicken dish.  Rosemary, lemon, garlic and white wine are the star ingredients of this delicious dish.

 

Grilled Chicken Legs with Peach Salsa

9.  Grilled Chicken Legs with Peach Salsa: Here in the Northeast, we are finally seeing glimpses of warm weather.  If you are lucky enough to live in a warmer area, I would recommend serving this grilled chicken dish for lunch or dinner during chol ha’moed.

 

Classic Jewish Deli Chicken Salad

10.  Classic Jewish Deli Chicken Salad: A great way to repurpose leftover chicken, serve the chicken salad with sides or on top of a hearty green salad.

 

Roasted Chicken in Dry Spice Rub

11.  Roasted Chicken in a Dry Spice Rub: This is a roast chicken that is not at all lacking in flavor.  Alter the dry rub as needed, if you can’t find certain spices that are kosher for Passover simply double up on the ones you do have.

 

Chicken and Veggie Skewers

12.  Chicken and Veggie Skewers: These are very kid friendly and a great way to spread a small amount of chicken into a satisfying meal.  You can switch things up by customizing each persons’ skewer with the vegetables of their choice.

 

Grilled Chicken Mango Salad

13.  Grilled Mango Chicken Salad: Another great Passover lunch recipe, this salad has a very simple dressing and refreshing ingredients.

 

Kishke Stuffed Orange Chicken

14.  Kishke Stuffed Orange Chicken: A modern take on a classic Jewish ingredient, your guests will be impressed and surprised by the combination of kishke and citrus in this delicious chicken dish.

 

Easy Roasted Chicken

15.  Easy Roasted Chicken: It wouldn’t be Passover without a classic, roasted chicken dish.  Whether it’s served at the seders or during chol ha’moed, this dish evokes comforting memories of tradition.


 

Shortcut Matbucha Shakshuka Video *Giveaway*

 

March 26th 2014

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I’m kind of a connoisseur when it comes to Shakshuka.  The fact that I have ordered it in most every restaurant that serves it should certainly qualify me as an expert of some sort, dontchya think?

I have had Spinach and Cream Shakshuka at Café Rimon in Mamilla, an open air mall outside the Old City of Jerusalem.  I have had Leek and Eggplant Shakshuka at Gavna an outdoor cafe overlooking the Judean Hills in the Gush and I have had the traditional tomato and pepper Shakshuka at café chains across the country and at Ikea’s kosher cafeteria in Rishon L’Ziyon.  I have eaten Shakshuka both with and without both  Feta and Bulgarian cheeses, both with runny and firm yolks and both spicy hot and not spicy enough.  I love it.  In truth, I just adore it still, this after 18 months of making it my mission to try every Shakshuka in Israel.

The ultimate Israeli one pan breakfast or anytime meal, Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached or baked in a sauce of tomatoes, peppers and onions spiced with cumin, believed to be of Tunisian origin.  It’s actually super simple to make.  But you know me; super simple is sometimes not simple enough.  Inspired by Sabra’s kosher for Passover Moroccan Matbucha (a cooked dish of tomatoes, peppers and garlic) I have created a super duper Shakshuka shortcut.  No knife, no cutting board, just one pan to both cook and serve in qualifies this as fast, fearless, fabulous Shakshuka both for the un-initiated and the connoisseurs in the crowd.  Seriously, on set when we shot this How-To Shortcut Shakshuka video I served my Israeli crew the very Shakshuka I made on camera for lunch and they LOVED! LOVED! LOVED!  So this is tested, tasted and approved by the natives.

And just to alleviate your concerns I have indeed officially taste tested Shakshuka for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner so I can assure you that it works well for all times and meals.  Great for a crowd (because it kinda feels exotic – think of it like eggs dressed up in a slightly spicy sauce) it can be “beefed” up by adding feta, spinach and/or sautéed eggplant.  Serve hot, straight out of the pan with fresh bread and salad for a literal meal in minutes.  Great idea for Passover too (just serve it with Matzah)!  For a printable version of the recipe click here for Shortcut Shakshuka.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Now you can also enter to win a $100 Amex card in honor of our partnership with Sabra. Enter here with Rafflecopter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway



 

Passover Gift Guide – Seder Plates and...

 

March 25th 2014

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Whether you are looking for a new gift idea to bring your hosts this Passover or looking to upgrade your Judaica here are a few of our new favorite Haggadahs and Seder Plates.

Some people use the same Haggadah year after year and work to make sure everyone at their table has the same one and some enjoy adding a new one to their collection every year.  Even if you don’t use it at the Seder, every haggadah is unique and offers new insights to help you plan your seder.

The Bronfman Haggadah was published last year by the renowned philanthropist and Jewish Leader, Edgar Bronfman.  This haggadah is beautifully illustrated and is meant for people of all ages and all backgrounds.  This year they have added on a companion Haggadah app to help people prepare for the seder.  Children can listen to the story of the Exodus and learn the songs of the seder.  You can watch videos and learn in a more interactive way.

This new haggadah is hot off the presses and comes to us by Stanely Lebovic the writer and illustrator who happens to be the husband to Linda Lebovic, one of our regular contributors.  The book is a large heirloom edition with over 60 full color illustrated pages and a 3 feet illustrated pull out.  This haggadah sets an example of how to bring one’s self to the Seder table and intertwine the richness inherent in each of us with the poetry and song found throughout the Haggadah.  Stanley aims to bring the stories of old to the people of today.  Get your copy on Amazon.

This new Haggadah, The Night That Unites, is the first one that combines the teachings of three modern Rabbis from the 20th Century.  Get stories from Rav Kook, songs from Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, and teachings from Rabbi Soloveitchik.  Don’t miss the questions to help engage your seder guests.

This one is not an actual haggadah, but can offer some new excitement to your seder.  Many people like to do games and skits to get the children involved and even keep the less inclined grown ups interested.  This book of plays and parodies will help get everyone engaged.

This Haggadah is a new modern looking, bright and lively book.  It might be a little harder to read some of the sections, but it is worth it for the illustrations and fun colors.

There are many kinds of Seder Plates.  Some like to have one with the three levels below the plate to hold the matzahs, some need an extra plate for the ever expanding family and some just want one for decoration, let’s check out a few below.

This modern colorful Lotus Seder Plate is a real beauty, maybe more for those looking for decoration, but it can be practical too.

Most of the tiered seder plates are either silver plated domes or gorgeous artsy ones that are very expensive.  This wooden tiered Seder plate has a less traditional shape, but is pretty and functional.  Emanuel Tiered Seder Plate.

For a more classic design and easily used and cleaned seder plate, consider this white porcelain pomegranate seder plate.


 

A Passover Tablescape

 

March 25th 2014

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Before I can sit down to plan my seder night menu (or maybe we should leave that one to Jamie), I like to design my tablesetting for the evening well in advance of Pesach, as let’s face it, who has time later. Make it fun and easy so the entire family will enjoy. All you need is some cardstock, scissors, corks for the placecards, a good craft store and dollar store (shekel shop for those of us living in Israel), a computer and a little imagination.

For the tablecloth I used a piece of crushed velvet and an overlay of burlap to create the desert look (get it Yetzias mitzrayim).

I’ve made pyramids (you can find instructions on youtube) out of matzah cardstock and parchment paper.

The leftover matzah paper was used to create the napkin rings and the placecards. Simply cut strips of paper, any width you like, and glue to create rings for your napkins.

Wine corks we used to hold the placecards. Cut the bottom of the corks to make a flat surface and then cut a slit in the corks to hold the placecards in place.

Camels and frogs add a fun element to the table. I found my little green friends at my favourite shekel shop, while the camels I downloaded from the internet. If you’ve visited Israel and had the chance to ride a camel, why not include some photos of family on camels, just for fun.  Add some flowers for colour and perhaps candles in lanterns for a touch of elegance, then sit back, relax and enjoy your exodus from Egypt.

 

Flowers were provided by Mookie Cohen ( Miss Gardenia Floral Event & Design)


 

Fresh, Fast and Fancy Passover Sides

 

March 25th 2014

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I had a blast tasting and testing these 7 sweet and savory Seder sides for Passover. All ingredients are easily accessible in both the U.S. and Israel, and all recipes are non-gebrochts. Watch these simple Seder side dishes become staples at your table year-round!

Salad with Pastrami Croutons

Spring Salad with Pastrami Croutons and Balsamic Reduction

This recipe is simple and springy, but you have to follow a few rules. Balsamic vinegar will sweeten when reduced and it will also intensify in flavor, so you want good-quality balsamic — not generic or cheap brands — for your balsamic reduction. Avoid using uncoated copper or aluminum pans which can alter the flavor of the vinegar. Remember that vinegar can thicken quickly, but you can always add water to bring it back to desired consistency.

Citrus Glazed Roasted Carrots

Citrus Glazed Roasted Carrots

There’s nothing sweeter than oven-roasted caramelized carrots. The citrus brightens this dish and pairs well with thyme, another favorite and uber versatile herb that I don’t leave home without. Use small, multi-colored baby carrots with the greens on top and add pearl onions to elevate this simple side to 5-star status.

 

Eggplant Tomato Stacks

Eggplant Tomato Stacks

These individual eggplant stacks are as beautiful as they are versatile – add ground beef to make them heartier (or shredded mozzarella for a dairy dinner). I’ve included a recipe for homemade tomato sauce as well!

Colored Cauliflower

Roasted Colored Cauliflower

Year round, I add my new obsession – cumin –to this dish. For Passover I retested this recipe without it, and the caulifl ower is still beautiful,
flavorful and irresistible, straight out of the oven!

Zucchini Fritters with Tomato Salsa

Zucchini Fritters with Tomato Salsa

My Grandma “Ma” always made chremslach, a.k.a potato pancakes. Latkes are great Passover fare. You can easily substitute
potato starch for breadcrumbs or matzo meal to make your favorite recipes non-gebrochts. I was inspired by her Old Country recipe but wanted a New Country twist so I adapted it to feature zucchini, which is “free” on my diet. The fresh tomato salsa is also great on fish or chicken, or served as part of your starter course.


 

In the JOK Kitchen with Let My Children Cook! ...

 

March 24th 2014

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Tamar Ansh, otherwise known as the challah queen (at least that is how I know her cause of her book, Taste of Challah), just came out with the perfect Passover coobook for you and your kids.  Let My Children Cook!, would be a fun book for anyone and can really help get your kids get involved in the kitchen his year.  She covers all the basics, like matzah balls and charoset as well as lots of new serving ideas and recipes for the whole family to enjoy.  She even throws in a few clever crafts.  I spoke with Tamar and learned a bit more about her.

1. What inspired you to write this cookbook for kids?

Inspiration for a book can come from many sources; with each book I’ve done, Hashem sent me the idea and the inspiration in a different way.

For this book, Let My Children Cook!, the inspiration actually came from a totally unexpected angle. A friend of mine mentioned the idea to me in a short email. I read it quickly and the idea just took off nearly immediately in my head. I sat there all that day and part of the next and by just thinking about it without interruptions, so many ideas got put down in my first outline. The best part about it – the title!! THAT ‘came to me’ almost instantaneously! Every time I see it again it makes me chuckle inside – the title was so perfect that I just had to see this book become a reality; and now, Baruch Hashem, it is…

 2. What ages do you think your book is best for?

As I wrote on the cover, this book is for “kids aged 8 – 108!” BUT, the truth is that it can really be used by nearly everybody. The recipes were written and geared towards food the average kid will enjoy and want to eat. And if they like to eat it, they will also like to try cooking it.  This book’s younger cook age is around 8-year-olds and above, just as I wrote on the cover, and kids aged 11-16 will find it easiest. However, I know that anyone making Passover will enjoy it, those new to their Passover kitchen, grandmothers with grandkids coming over to visit, kids who want to make something for their cousins and friends, or mothers who want something quick and easy that their kids will eat. Just about anyone, regardless of whether there are kids in your life or not, can have a good time with this book.

Passover Chocolate Sponge Cake

3. What do you like to cook with your kids?

My kids are actually very good cooks by now. They will make anything but their absolute favorite is making sponge cakes, brownies and ice creams – in other words, desserts! Last year my girls made the most amazing potato blintzes and Pesach egg noodles (sorry, those are in my other Pesach cookbook, Pesach – Anything’s Possible!), besides lots of salads and of course, nearly every single dessert we had. They are planning to do so again…I love working together with all of them in the kitchen; it really makes it feel like the holiday is coming and the smells and the enjoyment of having them with me together is very special.

We’ll leave out mention of how many dishes we have to wash every time!!

4. What is your earliest cooking memory?

Ahem…can’t say I have one! I wasn’t much of a cook when I was a kid! Matza pizza and matza and butter were all I really did on my own…my mother was and still is a great cook, though!

6. How did you decide to add some craft projects into this book too?

I used to be a pre-school teacher and every year we made the crafts you see me listing in Let My Children Cook! The kids loved making them, I enjoyed seeing the fun they had when taking them home on that last day of school before Pesach break, and so I decided, why not share them here? Plus, kids who can do them on their own or have their parent set them up to do it, will have something productive to do with themselves while the family is so busy getting ready for the holiday. Parents of younger children are sure to appreciate this bonus to this cookbook.  Try out this Passover Placemat Craft here.

Have a great, delicious and enjoyable Passover!

Try these two favorite recipes from the book: Passover Chocolate Brownies and Fluffy Matzah Balls and Chocolate Sponge Cake from Pesach Anything’s Possible.

***Giveaway***  Enter to win your copy of Let My Children Cook!!  Do you let your kids cook in the kitchen?

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