Kosher Wine for Sukkot


October 3rd 2014

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This year we enjoy a mid-October Sukkot.  The stars are coming out a little earlier, there is a chill in the air, leaves are starting to change color and the bees and mosquitoes are (hopefully) gone for the season.  Sukkot is also my most favorite holiday, there is nothing quite like al fresco dining and drinking.

Living in an apartment in the city our family relies on the kindness of friends and family during Sukkot, so we’re frequently visiting others with a bottle of wine in hand and thankfulness in our hearts.  Here are some of the wines we’ll be sharing this week.

Borgo Reale Prosecco (Italy); $19.

It is a slightly fruity and dry sparkling wine. A perfect alternative to expensive Champagne and a great way to celebrate the New Year or under the Sukkah.  Best served chilled.

2010 Carmel Sumaka Cabernet Sauvignon (Israel); $31.

A dark purple color, this medium to full bodied red wine has soft, round tannins and a pleasant finish. Pairs well with grilled meats or stews 

2012 Mt. Tabor Merlot (Israel); $15.

Classic aromas of red cherry and currants with hints of black pepper. The wine has a dark red color, well balanced acidity with a medium body and is ready to drink.

2013 Dalton Alma White (Israel); $25.

This wine is a blend of Chardonnay (34%) and Viognier (66%). The Viognier was fermented with wild yeast and then blended with the Chardonnay, where they were allowed to marry for 4 months in small French oak.  A delicate medium-bodied wine with notes of peach, summer flowers, and honey. Pairs well with dairy meals or alongside brunch.

2010 Kadesh Barnea Negev (Israel); $19.
This wine matured for 10 months in oak barrels.  Full bodied with soft tannins and flavors of red fruit, toasted herbs, black olives, and dark chocolate.  Learn more about this unique winery set in the South of Israel here.

2012 Herzog Late Harvest Lodi Zinfandel (California); $21.
This late harvest wine has a rich texture and a luscious sweet berry fruit finish. A wonderful choice to enjoy after dinner under the stars or with dessert.

What’s on your Sukkot sip list?  Let us know in the comments below…


A Menu That Is Easily Brought Outside For Sukkot


October 3rd 2014

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When it comes to Succot, I think it’s really important to choose a menu that is a simple as possible. The tradition and fun of eating in a Succah is best highlighted by fill in your table with easily transported dishes and foods that taste best at room temperature. By removing the stress of serving hot foods and finding adequate space to place it, you can enjoy your family and friends and focus on what the holidays are really about!

The recipes below can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature- what more can you ask for?

Marinated Vegetable Salad

The longer this salad marinates, the more flavorful it is. It’s my go-to summer Sunday night salad; I make enough to last for the week!


Tequila Marinated London Broil

London broil, otherwise known as “sliced steak,” usually refers to the preparation of flank steak: marinated, grilled, or broiled, and then cut against the grain into thin slices. It is a great way to prepare steak because it cooks quickly and makes perfect sandwiches—if there happens to be any left over. This recipe is one that I often serve to my family at home during the week, but just as often offer up to a large crowd at a weekend dinner party. It’s simple but sophisticated.

Salmon en Croute

This is the ultimate company dish, not only because it is so delicious but because the presentation will give the impression that you spent hours and hours cooking the meal. A side of salmon, along with miso-flavored mushrooms and spinach, is enclosed in a golden cloak of puff pastry.

Plum Crumb Cake with Star Anise

This wonderfully simple plum cake recipe was given to me by a good friend. Wanting to spice it up a bit, I added star anise for its mysterious licorice flavor. I love experimenting with unusual flavors and like to think that the star anise adds a bit of sophistication. That said, the cake can surely be made without the star anise, and the plums can simply be replaced with any fresh stone fruit, such as peaches or apricots.



Cooking With Joy: Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash


October 2nd 2014

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Don’t know why I have never made this before- it is AMAZING!!!!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I used to not be a fan of eggs. I still don’t love eggs, but recently have started liking them more and more. Maybe it’s because I watch lots of cooking shows that show a runny egg being sliced open on top of a dish, or maybe it’s since Facon came out and Hubs started frying eggs in it and I just had to give it a try- whatever the reason- I’ve really started to like eggs!

When I showed Hubs the picture of this in the cookbook, he simply answered “YES!” So I got to work. I wouldn’t recommend making this dish when you need to get the meal on the table fast. This dish took about 40 minutes to prep and cook. When I come home from work the last thing I want to do is peel and dice potatoes, and then stand sautéing at the stove. Don’t get me wrong, the dish was great and I will surely make it again, just not after a whole day of work.
I used Jacks Bratwurst, and left out the green pepper (I don’t like green pepper). I overcooked the eggs a little (out of fear of undercooking them), but Hubs said it worked to our benefit, since the kids probably wouldn’t have eaten it as eagerly if there was runny egg all over. Maybe they will become egg people later in life- like their Mommy.

Chicken Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash with Baked Eggs page 145
DRESS IT UP Pastrami and Sweet Potato Hash Cups

Even though this hash is a meal by itself – I “made it a meal” with a side of crunchy coleslaw for a great way to cut the richness and add a little texture. Next time I make this, I will try not to overcook the eggs and will cut in another potato, we needed to stretch the dish a little more since it was just THAT good!


30 Stuffed Foods for Sukkot


October 1st 2014

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In terms of the sheer number of holidays (not talking about amount of work…nissan has that one covered!) Tishrei is simply stuffed!  This year’s three-day-long chagim require a lot of advanced cooking and with that comes a lot of eating.  While we all look forward to enjoying certain traditional foods at Rosh Hashanah and (pre/post) Yom Kippur, Sukkos leaves a lot of room for culinary creativity.  A great way to exercise the foodie in all of us is by finding different ways to pack as many (read: pleasant) flavors into your dishes, the most literal manner of doing this is by cooking meats and vegetables that are literally quite literally stuffed with vegetables or dairy, respectively.  Here are 30 stuffed foods to try this sukkos.



These two fish recipes are both delicious ways to prepare stuffed fish. I would serve the flounder during a meal which will have either red meat, or  chicken with a dark sauce, it’s just a personal preference to keep either the color or flavor theme similar.  The Avocado Stuffed Salmon is great for a holiday lunch or when you are serving a lighter main course.

Asian Vegetable Stuffed Flounder

Avocado Stuffed Salmon with Wild Rice


Many people have different minhagim when it comes to serving meat versus dairy meals during the holidays, but no matter when you serve these dairy stuffed creations they are sure to be a big hit!

Stuffed Asiago-Basil Mushrooms

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Sundried Tomato and Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

Cream Cheese Stuffed Plums


Gorgonzola and Walnut Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Fingerling Potatoes with Caviar and Creme Fresh

Salmon and Green Goddess Stuffed Latkes

Cranberry Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini


Stuffed vegetables pack double the nutrition and double the flavor.  Also, there’s a lot of versatility when it comes to serving them as appetizers or part of the main course, and generally they are easy to reheat to serve the next day.

Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms

Stuffed Peppers

Salad Stuffed Grilled Portobellos

Quinoa Stuffed Grape Leaves


Raisin-Apple Stuffed Squash

Curried Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Vegetable Stuffed Tomatoes

Quinoa-Stuffed Tomatoes


These meat recipes are really special to serve at the holidays.  The stuffing not only tastes great, but it also makes the holiday meal special because of the extra thought that goes into preparing and serving such an elegant dish.

Stuffed Turkey Breast

Brisket and Veggies Stuffed Acorn Squash

Kurdish Stuffed Vegetables

Duck Breast Stuffed with Dried Fruits

Chicken with Spiced Mango Rice

Grape Leaves Stuffed with Herbed Lamb and Rice

Stuffed Roll of Beef

Check out more “stuffed” recipes here and more sukkos ideas here!





The Search For The Real Yerushalmi Kugel


October 1st 2014

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I thought I knew what Yerushalmi Kugel was, a thin noodle kugel that was kind of peppery.  I am not a fan of the more classic sweet noodle kugel, but I have always liked this salty, peppery version.  I even made my version a while back with soba noodles, Soba Noodle Kugel.  This past Summer I was lucky to spend a few weeks in Israel and on my first Shabbat in Jerusalem I discovered the real Yerushalmi Kugel.

It was a remarkable site.  The kugel was maybe 2 feet in diameter and 2 feet high.  It was sliced up in layers and served piping hot.  It was a dark brown color and so I had to try it.  This kugel was sweet, but not too sweet in that it was more caramelized with a peppery accent.  It was really good and for the rest of the trip I wondered how to bring this recipe back to New York.

I can’t even find a picture online to do the kugel I had justice, but this one from David Liebowitz from his trip to Tel Aviv, is pretty close – see it here.

Later on that Summer I brought it up at a Shabbat lunch whereupon I received instructions from a soldier who was staying with our hosts on how he makes the best Yerushalmi kugel (who would have thought).  Too bad it was Shabbat and I couldn’t write it down, but it starts with a special deep pot, he recommended a tin pot with a lid, called a Jachnun pot, which is a yemenit food, but I am told any pot will work.   For home cooks we are not going to make it 3 feet in diameter but you do need the height.  It also has lots of margarine and sugar and the secret is in the caramelization.

As I began to look for a recipe to share I reached out to my new friend Meir, who recently started an Israel digital food magazine, called Iton Ochel.  He didn’t have a traditional recipe of the kugel, but had a couple other Jewish classic to share.


This is his version of a Sweet Noodle Kugel complete with apples, pineapple and the essential black pepper, but it is not Yerushalmi kugel.

He also shared his recipe for Cholent Kugel, he says it is like a kishke, but made without the casing and cooked right in the cholent pot.

As for the real Yerushalmi Kugel, we got one of those from a community member on the site, check out this recipe for Easy Yerushalmi Kugel.

Jamie also shared her version in the Joy of Kosher Cookbook, the main image above is her dressed up version with raising and made in a tube pan.

The closest thing I have found for a recipe like the ones in Israel, I found here on, they give really good instruction on making the caramel and note that it is the trickiest part, who is willing to give it a try?  If you make it please send in a picture!!

Just note that this is by far not the healthiest of kugels, one of the reasons I have not made it yet, but  if you can make it right, it is worth the splurge now and again as long as you serve fruit for dessert.






What Are Boerewors? *Giveaway*


September 30th 2014

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Boerewors are a type of sausage popular in South Africa made from minced beef and spices in a sausage casing. These sausages are preserved with salt and vinegar and are nitrate free. In South Africa, Boerewors are often made on the grill (they call it the Braai) and traditionally formed in a continuous spiral or cut up in 5 inch pieces.

Over the years, the traditions and recipes have been passed down from generations with several claiming the best Boerewors in South Africa. In the United States, the options are much more limiting especially if you keep kosher. David Libesman came to the US, the son of a South African butcher and searched everywhere to satisfy his craving for a taste of Boerewors. When he came up short, he decided to make his own and that was the beginning of Joburg Kosher.

Joburg Kosher offers three flavors of Boerewors, Traditional, Garlic and Spicy Peri-Peri. From the first time I tasted these sausages I was won over. I love that they are fresh meat sausages and the spices of toasted coriander seed, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves and allspice are distinctive. They are also wonderful on the grill!  In fact Joburg offers the only kosher sausages with an edible beef casing that can be left on during cooking and gives it a wonderful taste and texture.

You may have noticed many non-kosher recipes call for sausage browned after removing the casing. Using Boerewors in this way opens up a wide range of possibilities for the kosher cook, like this delicious new recipe: Boerewors, Apple and Sage Stuffed Portobellos, but you can also keep things easy and leave the casing on in this recipe or any other.

I removed the casing and the meat browned beautifully. I sautéed onion, apples and celery in the oil leftover from browning the meat. I mixed it all with some bread and broth to create the most flavorful stuffing topping for a Portobello mushroom, although it would make an amazing standalone stuffing, too!

South Africans seem to have their own creative ways to serve their Boerwors like this recipe for Glazed “Pap and Wors” that our friend Sharon Lurie, from South Africa, has shared. I know my recipe isn’t as authentic, but it’s okay to change things up at least here in America – don’t you think?

Here is my recipe for Sausage, Apple and Sage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Jorburg Kosher is giving away a $75 package sampler of their products, the package will include:
- 1 Traditional Boerewor coil
- 1 Garlic Boerewor Links
- 1 Peri Boerewor Links
- 1 Old World Salami – Dried
- 1 Old World Salami – Fresh

Enter to win by leaving a comment or question below and entering with Rafflecopter
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Post and giveaway is sponsored by Joburg Kosher, find their products in stores near you or order online, here.


Yom Kippur Pre Fast Meal


September 30th 2014

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Just before Yom Kippur, it’s important to eat foods that make fasting easier – in fact it’s a mitzvah. First, you want to minimize salt and spices that may induce thirst. But that doesn’t mean the pre-Yom Kippur feast must be bland or boring. This menu is simple and satisfying and can mostly be made in advance.

Italian Wedding Soup. A meal unto itself if you want to keep things light you can start here and skip right to dessert. I recommend using a low sodium chicken broth pre Yom Kippur. The soup freezes perfectly and can be made weeks ahead of time. Add spinach and orzo when warming just before serving.

Minute Roast with Pan Drippings. Also, here I suggest reduced sodium chicken or beef broth. As for the Montreal Steak Seasoning use a light hand right before the fast.

Pureed Parsnips. This side will leave you feeling lighter than a serving of mashed potatoes, perfect for pre-fast, add salt just to taste. The Pureed Parsnips will hold nicely for a day or two in the fridge.

Braised Carrots. I favor Earth Balance as my pareve margarine of choice and when I run out of it I use olive oil. Earth Balance has salt so most often I don’t need to add extra especially Erev Yom Kippur. Like the parsnips these can be made in advance and rewarmed. Toss with additional margarine and fresh dill just before serving.

Chocolate Pretzel Crust Tart

Chocolate Pretzel Crust Tart. A rich and rewarding end to your meal just a small sliver will do. Pre Yom Kippur I suggest salt free pretzels.

Wishing you all an easy and meaningful fast and a Gmar Chatima Tova (Literally: A good final sealing. Meaning: May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for Good!). Can I get an AMEN?!


A Modern Break The Fast For Yom Kippur


September 30th 2014

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Lately, it seems everyone is really into either nostalgia or modern.  Either we want to make our traditional Jewish foods, like gefilte fish and kugel or we want to change it up and go modern.   Both have their merits, for me nostalgia often brings to mind the break fast I had growing up which I shared with you a few years ago, see that menu here.  I know Jamie has gone more modern lately looking for healthier foods and she shared some of her favorites last year, in her Yom Kippur Break The Fast Recipes post here.   This year I offer a simple modern menu for those looking for something a little different, but still true to our roots.

Pastrami Gravlax

Don’t just serve smoked salmon, make your own Gravlax!! Once you make your own and realize the cost savings and the amazing flavors you can make, you won’t need the smoked stuff any longer.  This recipe is for pastrami flavor, but you can stick with the regular dill and lemon if you prefer.

Cream Cheese Dips

Dress up your cream cheese with these ideas from Jamie, I love to mix in sun dried tomatoes and rosemary for my cream cheese.


Instead of baked ziti, try this spaetzl recipe, frozen peas will work fine, or just serve with an herbed butter sauce.  You can make it head and reheat it before serving.

Inside Out Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Inside Out Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Enjoy these creamy spinach dips inside the artichoke bottoms, hot and delicious for after a fast.

Butternut Squash Gratin

Butternut Squash Gratin

If you feel you need one more dish, go ahead and try this gratin, it is healthy and delicious and leftovers are wonderful too.

quick dark chocolate brownies

Quick Dark Chocolate Brownies

For dessert, go for your favorite brownies and maybe cookies or you could try these bite sized cheesecakes or go ahead and offer ice cream sundaes.


What do you like to serve for Break the Fast?


Easy Overnight Apple Date Danish


September 29th 2014

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Posted 09/29/2014 by Aviv Harkov
New Year, old classic; well that doesn't sounds right. An apple danish is standard all over the world, including Israel. In just about every bakery, coffee shop, and mini market you can get some version of this beloved dessert. When you think about an apple danish, you picture the crisp pastry and light and sweet filling. Often the ones we find at our corner coffee shop fall short of our expectations and we convince ourselves that we can't do better. But we can, and quite easily. You can make the dough and filling the night before and set up the cake after the fast ends or bake the day before. Either way, this is a delicious and impressive looking dessert. We don't have to tell anyone how easy this beautiful dessert is to make. 

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Watch and Make Your Own Lemon Lovers Hummus


September 29th 2014

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I have already told you more than once that I’m a sucker for hummus, on EVERYTHING – my eggs, my salads, my burgers, my bagels, my gefilte, my roasted veg and my falafel, of course! Sometimes I schmear it, sometimes I dip it. Sometimes I serve it with tahini and schug, sometimes with za’atar chickpeas, and sometimes with roasted red peppers. But most always I serve it with a dusting of sumac or paprika, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of fresh torn parsley or coriander leaves.

It’s my new working theory that every self-respecting Israeli should know how to make homemade hummus. So this is my beloved Lemon Lovers Hummus recipe from my new book JOY of KOSHER Fast Fresh Family Recipes for which you can see reviews around the web, here and here.  And here you can watch my video for how-to-make-hummus in 3:37.

I use canned chickpeas and a nice amount of good quality extra virgin olive oil for a quick, smooth, and creamy, exquisite tasting hummus. Tamar uses dried chickpeas that she soaks and cooks for that creamy taste without the added fat. Of course that’s an extra few steps – but certainly an option. Alternatively you can also swap water for some or all of the oil in my recipe.

I love hummus with loads of lemon, garlic, and enough cumin that I can taste it. How do you like yours?


10 Soup and Salad Combinations for the Break Fast


September 24th 2014

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This year Yom Kippur falls on shabbos, which is making me double down on the “ease factor” in my pre and post break fast cooking.  For the most part I fast pretty well, but post fast is always an issue because it is only too easy to overeat.  I prefer to have a meat meal, but usually soup and salad make up the majority of the meal  with the meat dish as a small but filling factor.  Below are 5 soups which can be made way in advance of the fast that pair well with 5 salads that are quick to prepare post fast.



Green Vegetable Soup and Chickpea Millet Salad: If you don’t fast well, this could be the perfect post fast meal for you.  The green salad is filling but light, and is packed with a bunch of nutrients to replenish your body.  The chickpea millet salad is also packed with veggies and very satisfying.


5 Ingredient Leek and Potato Soup and Smoked Salmon Waldorf Salad: I made a large batch of leek soup to freeze last week, I had a bowl last night and was very happy to find that the soup tasted even better than before.  This is a great make-ahead soup, and the salmon waldorf salad is elegant and a one bowl meal.


Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup with Savoy Cabbage and Cashew Slaw:  This soup will definitely wake you up motzie shabbos and give you a post fast boost.  The slaw is offsets the spice of the soup and is really a cinch to prepare.


Escarole and Chicken Meatball Soup and Arugula Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette:  Some people have a minhag, a custom, to have a meat meal after the fast, which makes this soup a perfect choice.  The meatballs are incredibly satisfying while the escarole gives you a quick punch of nutrition.  The Arugula Salad is a beautiful mixture of flavors topped with a light vinaigrette.


Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup and Fennel Caesar Salad:  This is a great meal to serve with a meat, dairy or pareve meal!  If you live in an area where the supermarkets have (kosher) pre-chopped butternut squash, then this meal could not be easier.  Either way, the soup and the dressing can be prepared ahead of time, keep your post-fast task list to a minimum.


Have an easy fast!  Check out more pre and post fast Yom Kippur ideas here!



Picking Apples In Season and Apple Honey Cake


September 24th 2014

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Fall is all about apples: from apple picking (straight off the tree) to using them in everything you make — salads, appetizers, main dishes and of course, dessert. Apples epitomize fall and are a significant symbol of the upcoming holiday. The humble apple is a really unique food, being full of nutrition, affordable and versatile all at once. What better way to celebrate the season so redolent of apples than with apples themselves!

Apple Picking, The Ultimate Family Trip

When people inquire about family activities for the fall season that will entertain toddlers and teenagers alike, the top destination on my list is always a trip to the apple orchard. Not only is apple-picking cheap and healthy, it is also a great memorable event for the family.

Apple picking is inexpensive:
Thanks in large part to Johnny Appleseed* who populated the United States with apples in the early 1800s, there is an apple orchard within driving distance of most locations in the United States. This translates to relatively inexpensive transportation costs, and the orchard itself is easier on the pocketbook than other family excursions might be. A quarter peck of apples in my small New England community is about $10-$15 and yields about 10 pounds of apples. No matter how tight the family budget, apple picking is one activity that can be afforded.

Apple picking is healthy:
It gets your family outdoors in the fresh air for exercise. It requires cooperation (very few small kids can reach the top of a tree without a lift from Mom or Dad). It teaches kids that food actually grows on trees and not in the stores (some orchards even feature educational programs for families). And it infuses the family with a sense of creativity: nothing inspires a family to go home and bake an apple pie or make caramel-covered apples like a trip to the orchard.

Apple picking creates memories:
Take a camera on your trip and have the kids create an apple- picking journal when you get home. A trip to the apple orchard symbolizes the beginning of fall and the change of seasons. Photograph the animals and the other plants in the orchard. Signs of fall are everywhere. Done annually, it can become a simple family ritual that will be remembered for years to come.

Health Benefits of Apples
One medium apple contains about 80 calories.
Apples contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol and are a good source of fiber.
One medium apple with skin on provides 5 grams of fiber. Apple skins are especially rich in polyphenols and antioxidants. Apples are thirst quenching because they contain about 85% water.
They are a perfect snack food because their natural sugars provide quick energy, while the bulky pulp makes the eater feel full.

Now that we have all our apples it’s time to cook and bake, try these recipes:

Apple Honey Cake

Poached Apples

Apple Compote

Find a place to pick your own on

*Johnny Appleseed was the nickname for John Chapman, a kind and generous American pioneer born in 1774 who planted apple seeds in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. For more information and resources on apples:


As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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Watch Me On The Today Show For Rosh Hashanah


September 23rd 2014

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So exciting to be back on the TODAY Show! Kathie Lee and Hoda were sooooooo nice as usual. Really, they are kind and warm and welcoming and funny!

Check out our Rosh Hashanah cooking segment featuring 2 fabulous fall recipes perfect for the upcoming holiday season (and warm weeknight dinners).

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Recipe Links
Apple Parsnip Soup
Chicken with Roasted Fall Fruits

K’Siva, V’Chasima, Tova!


Shana Tova


September 23rd 2014

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In the coming year, may all of your meals be cooked to perfection — nothing burns, nothing sogs, nothing falls apart. May it be a year of culinary delights and taste-bud adventures!

And may you and your loved ones eat in good health, happiness, sweetness and peace.

May we do our part to help you in this endeavor, here are a few posts you don’t want to miss:

The Curious Case of Pomegranate Wine

Simanim Inspired Menu From Jamie Geller

10 Recipes That Want To Celebrate Rosh Hashanah With You

DIY Hostess Gift

Healthy Recipes for the High Holidays

Rosh Hashanah Articles from 2013

Rosh Hashanah Wishes from the past


K’siva V’chasima Tova – may you be written and inscribed in the Book of Life.


My Middle Eastern Menu


September 23rd 2014

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My sister and I were brainstorming recipe ideas when she described an incredible meal she had recently made, featuring lamb turnovers. I was immediately fired up to create my own version of her delicious turnovers, incorporating sweet cinnamon and spicy cumin; the Middle Eastern spices of fall.

My inspiration for Middle Eastern fare filtered even further into the side dishes, resulting in a beautiful, plated meal filled with golden yellow turmeric, green arugula, sweet mint and crunchy red pomegranate seeds; simply the perfect menu to celebrate the New Year.

Lamb Turnovers

Arugula Salad With Tahini Vinaigrette

Turmeric Rice


As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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