The Secret To Rich Chocolatey Desserts *Giveaway*


December 26th 2014

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Chocolate and coffee and go together like chocolate and vanilla.   Coffee highlights the chocolate deep, rich flavor without imparting flavor of its own. There are many ways to get the coffee flavor, but my new favorite way is this Double Espresso Liqeuer form Morad winery in Israel.  They just started bringing in the Doulbe Espresso, so look for it in your liquor store by you or ask them to get it for you.  It is wonderful to sip over ice or to mix with a dairy  milk based cocktail, but I am most excited about the way it pairs with chocolate.

Hot Chocolate With Double Espresso Liqueur

When I first tasted this liqueur I knew I had to mix it up in a hot drink and a rich and creamy hot chocolate was the perfect choice.  I made it with almond milk to keep it parve and keep the calories down a bit and topped with my homemade marshmallows for extra gooey goodness.  But the best part was the liqueur and don’t worry about drinking it too late in the night, my theory is the alcohol counteracts any caffeine their might be.

The real wow factor will come from these brownies.  When my husband was eating the leftovers a couple of days after we served these bad boys he couldn’t help but declare how great they were, even when they were starting to go stale.  I worked to keep the calories lighter here and even made them with whole wheat flour, although I think it would be a little less crumbly if you use regular all-purpose.  They are non dairy of course so yo can make them any time, just make sure to add the liqeuer it really enhances the chocolate flavor.

Now that you know my secret, I would love to hear yours? What do you like to use to enhance flavors in your foods?

Let me know in the comments below and enter to win a $50 gift card from Amazon.  Use the rafflecopter below.

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Cooking With Joy: Pretzel Chicken


December 25th 2014

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This recipe seemed like a great way to jazz up the common schnitzel or chicken nugget, and who doesn’t love a good dipping sauce? To me and Hubs our favorite thing about going to a schnitzel bar is getting to taste all the sauces and slathering them on sandwiches. So I was looking forward to tasting this herbed curried mustard.

It was a no brainer for me to opt for the dressed down version here- I knew better than to give my kids skewers. I knew how that would end- SWORD FIGHT!!!!!!!

Since like most of you, I need to get dinner on the table pretty quickly, I look for convenience when I can. Evergreen had chicken cutlets that were already cut into nuggets for a very similar price to the regular cutlets that I couldn’t pass them up!

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Skewers with Herbed Curry Mustard page 161
DRESS IT DOWN Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets

I prepped the sauce and set that aside for the flavors to come together. Then I crushed the pretzels and added the spices. I have mentioned before that I do not like standing at the stove after a long day at work, so I opted to bake the nuggets rather than fry them. This was to my detriment, these nuggets came out a little soggy, I really wish I would have been able to get them crispy- live and learn.

After letting them cool a bit I tried one sans the curried mustard, I found it needed salt and pepper. Then I tasted one dipped in the curried mustard- WOW that sauce packed a wonderful punch of flavor!


20 Healthy, Homemade Chinese Dinners


December 24th 2014

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There’s a certain day in December when an extraordinary number of Jews head out to their local Chinese restaurant to enjoy a healthy dose of delicious wok-fried foods.  If you don’t have a kosher Chinese place near you or you’re looking to make some healthy changes to your favorite Chinese restaurant worthy recipes, then have no fear below are 20 soup, appetizer, vegetarian, and main meals to help you get your fried fix.



My family always seems to order more soups than there are people because we each have our undisputed favorites.  Mine is hot sour, including this Vegetarian Hot and Sour.  Some other favorites include Wonton Soup and Egg Drop Soup, and this new Spicy Ginger Beef & Rice Soup with Lime.



Vegetable base options don’t exclude flavor when you’re using spices like garlic, hoisin, and ginger.  Enjoy Chinese inspired salads such as the Shanghai Cobb Salad (exclude meat to make it vegetarian) and  Celery and Tofu Salad with Scallion Oil.   The Vegetable Fried Quinoa and Tofu and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps make for great vegetarian main dishes or as side dishes.


Impress family and guests with restaurant mainstays such as Wontons and Dim Sum Baskets.  You would be surprised by how easy it is to make your own egg and spring rolls with ingredients you would find everyday in your kitchen, try the Fast and Easy Egg Rolls or the Chicken and Vegetable Spring Rolls.



peanut chicken

Enjoy the classics such as Vegetable Lo Mein, Orange Beef and Broccoli, Stir Fried Chicken or Kung Pao Chicken from the comfort of your own kitchen.  If you’re looking to dress things up try the Chicken with Lime, Garlic and Cashews, Kung Pao Gai Ding, Chinese Kebabs with Plum Sauce, and Chicken with Ginger and Cashews.


For more Chinese inspired recipe, click here!



The Sichuan Peppercorn Story


December 24th 2014

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Ever have Chinese food with a lot of spice, but more than the heat from the peppers, you feel a sort of tingling sensation in your mouth?  It doesn’t happen very often at kosher restaurants, but if you learn to cook your own you can make it spicy and tingly now that the ban on sichuan is over.

Sichuan peppercorns can be used or ground up into a spice blends.  It is commonly used whole in Szechuan cuisine and it is one of the classic ingredients in Chinese 5 spice powder, it provides and almost acidic flavor but most notable is the tingly sensation it leaves in your mouth that makes it ideal paired with hot spices.

Sichuan peppercorns were banned for import by US government in 1968 because they could carry a canker which destroys citrus trees.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t being sold or used around the country, supposedly it was pretty easy to find if you knew where to look, but in 2005 the peppercorn came back on the scene.  A technique was found to kill the canker by heating the peppercorns to 140 degrees. You can find them pretty easily these days in gourmet markets or Asian markets or even on Amazon.  Whole spices do not need hashgacha and I recommend you buy it whole.

You can use the whole spice in chicken recipes or to liven up any of your Chines cooking or you can grind up for spice blends.  It is really best paired with chili peppers or other hot spicy flavors.  My introduction to Sichuan peppercorns for you starts with this Kale Salad with Sichuan Peppercorn Dressing.  Make the dressing and use it for cucumber salad or carrot and celery salad.  Feel the tingly sensation and then go and explore.

In searching for more ideas I can’t wait to try this recipe for Sichuan Peppercorn Peanuts from Michael Natkin.

Let me know if you try out this new/old spice in your cooking.


Make Your Own Chinese Food


December 23rd 2014

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Chinese food and Jews go way back.  I don’t know when it started for everyone else, but in my family, it started when my Grandfather moved to Shanghai form Russia back in the 1930′s. To be honest I don’t know much more than that, but I do know that when I visited his sister in Israel when I was in College she cooked some mean Chinese food.  Maybe that is why I love the cuisine so much.

I know Jamie has been searching for great Chinese food in Israel, apparently the real connection for most Jews is New York.  Ever heard of the Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival that takes place on on the lower east side? It is a cross cultural celebration of the Jewish and Chinese communities.  And of course the well known tradition of many to go out for Chinese food on December 25th.  We here at Joy of Kosher like to recommend to make your own.  Make it healthier and make it tastier, try some of our favorite Chinese recipes.

Beef and Broccoli


Cashew Chicken


Sweet and Sour Chicken

Vegetable Lo Mein


Easy Egg Rolls

Wonton Soup

What are your favorite Chinese dishes, maybe we can work to recreate them for you?


Purple Latkes with Truffle Yogurt and Arugula ...


December 23rd 2014

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There is always room for one more latke recipe, right? I hope you said yes, because I can’t get enough!

I’m Amy, and I blog over at What Jew Wanna Eat. I take my Bubbe’s traditional Jewish recipes like brisket and kugel, and modernize them with new ingredients and techniques to make Bourbon and Coffee Braised Brisket with Cranberry Sauce and Caramel Apple Kugel. And latkes are no exception. When I first saw purple potatoes at my local supermarket, I knew they’d make the perfect fancy latke. But feel free to use sweet potatoes if you can’t find them. This recipe offers some tricks for the crispiest sweet potato latkes around! Topped off with a simple arugula and yogurt sauce. This certainly isn’t your Bubbe’s applesauce and sour cream!


Besides making fun recipes, I also have an Etsy store with fun Jewish inspired aprons, tea towels, baby onesies and greeting cards. And because it’s Hanukkah, and because you may have not received everything you wanted this year, I’m giving away one item from my store to one lucky winner! You get to choose the item. Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!


 Get my recipe for Purple Sweet Potato Latkes with Truffle Yogurt and Sautéed Arugula here.

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Italian Jewish Food For Hanukkah


December 22nd 2014

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Food. Italy. Jewish.

Put them all together and you’d be hard-pressed to come up with anything more mouthwateringly delectable. This recipe is my spin, Gnocco Fritto, a less well known classic of the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, where the famed gnocchi dumpling, rich in cheese and eggs and made with semolina flour (not potatoes), reigns supreme.

The dish is often made with lard, so I made this recipe quite differently than most, and headed to the mild sweetness of dairy to make a dough that was delicately sweet.  This recipe does make “a gracious plenty” of bread bites. If you only want to fry half of the recipe—since they do taste best when freshly made—try making the rest into a bread. I did. Then I actually baked off a second batch (in two loaf pans at 365°F for about 30 minutes), and the results were great for morning toast and an amazing French toast.

Traditionally, this simple fried dumpling is quite plain—and is typically split in half and filled with cold cuts. But it’s also eaten sweet—with a drizzle of honey, a dusting of powdered sugar or served with jams, which is how I prefer it. I serve this currant-or raisin-studded bite with an anise and honey dipping sauce—especially around Chanukah and Rosh Hashanah—but these deliciously crispy mini-breads are also a perfect match for Nutella or Soom’s Chocolate Sesame Butter for kids of every age, at any time of year.

Try my recipe for Sweet Gnocco Fritto (Fried Cinnamon Raisin Bread Bites) for a fun new Chanukah treat or any other time.



Party Platters In 20 Minutes Or Less


December 19th 2014

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Last year I judged a food competition at the Nachum Segal Network. We had a blast and it was a fun, food-oriented competition among the talented staff at the network. The competition was close. The winner of the Chopped-style competition beat his competitors simply because of ONE unique item he produced: he made the most incredible pickled shallots. It was that one component on his plate that put him in the lead. This reflects a secret of many chefs and party planners. You don’t need to spend lengthy amounts of time making every component. Use fresh, store-bought ingredients and focus your energy on that ONE amazing component and you will have immediate success and awesome feedback from your guests.

For instance, take seasonal and stunning fruit and concentrate your effort on a two-minute Greek-yogurt dipping sauce and your platter is done.

Similarly, our Mexican-inspired platter places emphasis on a jalapeno cheese sauce.

For the Thai platter I focused on the meat!!

And for the deli-inspired party I focused on really succulent five-minute sausages in-blanks.

For the most successful cheese platter I have ever served, I focused on creating complementary dishes such as apple endive cups and homemade cranberry jam.

For the Thai Inspired Platter, try our Beef Larb, Crunchy Wonton Skins and Sweet and Sour Sauce. The rest of the recipes can be found in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine Chanukah 2013.

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Chanukah 2013

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A Healthy Paleo Chanukah Menu


December 19th 2014

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There are lots of things I love about Chanuakah. I love spending time with family, watching the candles burn as we sing Chanukkah songs. I love watching how excited my kids get about playing dreidel. And of course, I love the food. 8 days of decadent fried treats, from the traditional latkes and sufganiot to the less traditional deep fried cookie dough and cheese bunuelos, I love it all. But if I am being totally honest, I don’t love the way I feel after indulging in so much fried heavy foods. I usually try to offset some of the grease by serving a big kale salad alongside all the fried dishes but even with that nod to something green the heaviness of the traditional Chanukkah treats is a bit much.

That’s why this year I decided to come up with a Chanukkah menu that celebrates the miracle of the oil in a healthier, less deep fried, way. Don’t worry, it is still totally delicious, but it has the advantage of not leaving you feeling weighed down and unable to move by the end of the holiday. In fact, this menu is paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free, but it tastes so good no one would ever suspect it is so healthy.

Since it wouldn’t be Chanukkah without latkes I start off the meal with Beet Latkes topped with Horseradish and Smoked Fish. They are crispy and just a bit sweet with a nice kick of spicy from the horseradish and smokiness from the fish. I discovered that using the sprializer to cut the beets yields the crispiest latkes, but if you don’t have a spiralizer, grated beets will work too.

The main dish, Olive Oil Poached Salmon, features olive oil in a bit of an unusual way. Salmon is poached, not in water, but in olive oil, which creates a wonderful silky texture in the cooked fish. The salmon comes out super moist and deliciously flavorful, truly a treat. Once the salmon is cooked the leftover oil is great as the base for a homemade Ceasar dressing. Serve the salmon along side any simply cooked vegetables or a large salad to complete the meal.

No meal would be complete without dessert, so I decided to finish off my menu with some Olive Oil Mandarin Chocolate Truffles. Olive oil might seem like a strange addition to a dessert, but the fruitiness of a good olive oil goes wonderfully with chocolate. It is not an assertive flavor, the mandarin flavor stands out more, but the olive oil rounds out the flavor so that the last lingering flavor from the truffles is a bit more interesting and enticing than your typical truffle. It also gives it a lush and creamy texture that just melts in your mouth.

With this healthy Chanukkah menu you can celebrate all that is wonderful about the miracle of the oil without that heavy feeling. That is something else to love this Chanukkah season.


/RECIPE/ Cinnamon Sugar Churros


December 18th 2014

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This AMAZING recipe can be found right over here.


Being Hanukkah and all I have a rapid fire style review for this recipe.


-Great recipe!

- I was originally fearful that they would not be sweet enough. Since there was no sugar in the actual dough. But once they were tossed in the cinnamon sugar mix they were perfect!

-The actual recipe itself needed to include the 1 C. of water in the ingredients list. When I got down to the directions I was trying to find where this “1 C. of water” came from. :)

-This recipe worked up so fast! No yeast, no baking soda/powder. It was great!

-They were gobbled up and loved by every one!!!! I’m thinking a few more batches will need to be made.

This is a fantastic treat to make for Hanukkah. Go ahead and try the churros this year. Who knows, they might even become a new family tradition.


Easy Fried Sweets For Chanukah


December 18th 2014

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Ah, Hanukkah! It’s all about the fried, right?

Well, of course it’s about much more meaningful events, but when it comes to the food part, it’s all about the fried, to commemorate the oil found by the victorious Maccabees when they went to rededicate the Temple.

Fried is one of our family’s favorite foods. Chicken, latkes, onion rings, you name it, we like it fried. Messy, labor-intensive, not-your-healthiest, makes-your-kitchen-smell-awful fried.

Of course we don’t have it very often, but on Hanukkah fried food is a must, and it makes our already joyous and festive freedom celebration that much more indulgent and enjoyable.

I make latkes, naturally. It wouldn’t be Hanukkah without those.

I make doughnuts too, but not the big ones. We prefer small doughnut “holes,” made with choux pastry, the kind you use to make cream puffs, gougeres and profiteroles, only instead of baking the dough as I do for those pastries, I fry it in small blobs. These Lemony Choux Doughnuts   go down easy, take minutes to make and don’t require waiting for yeast dough to rise or rolling out dough or anything involved like that.

We like plain doughnut holes. I add a hint of refreshing lemon peel to the dough and a coating of cinnamon-sugar or confectioners sugar on the crust. But you can add raisins, cranberries, chopped nuts and such to the dough if you wish.

This year I am adding another fried dessert to our menu – my mother’s Kichels. I haven’t made them in years. It’s time. They’ll give us yet another reason to remember Nana and her special ways and her special treats. And her recipe is very easy.

The big trick for fabulous Kichels is rolling the dough as thin as possible. It takes some time and patience, but the result — crispy, puffy, delightfully light cookies with just a sprinkle of sifted confectioners sugar – is so worth it.

Here’s a hint for all Hanukkah fry-chefs: make a homemade pot of potpourri and keep it going on the lowest flame. I crack 2-3 cinnamon sticks, add the peel of one orange, some whole cloves, allspice berries and cardamom pods, cover them with water, heat it up and keep it at a simmer for hours. That’s all there is to it. It not only gets rid of the fried smell, it adds a lovely, fragrant winter holiday fragrance to your house. You can keep adding water; potpourri will last for about a week.


Cooking With Joy: Salt and Pepper Chicken


December 18th 2014

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You may recognize this picture; it is after all on the cover of the cookbook! Aside from it looking pretty, I think it also says a lot about the recipes in the book. Jamie is giving delicious recipes for families to be able to prepare quickly (for the most part). This recipe is the epitome of that. The prep took minutes and the results were beyond words delicious!

Crispy Salt and Pepper Chicken with Caramelized Fennel and Shallots page 179
DRESS IT DOWN Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings 

After cleaning the chicken, I put it in a bag with flour, shook it around a little and placed the pieces of chicken and vegetables in a baking dish. I’m not gonna lie, Hubs and I were a little worried that this dish was not going to taste very good. How good could it possibly be with just flour, salt and pepper?

Since I skipped browning the chicken in the pan, after it was done cooking I broiled it for 5 minutes just to give it some color on top. The chicken came out AMAZING!!!!!!!! The caramelized fennel, shallot and garlic were divine! Our 6 year old finished his pulky and then helped himself to more chicken off of Hubs plate. He said “Mommy please make this again and again!” Score!!!! There is nothing that makes me happier then knowing that the food I cooked is enjoyed by my family. My personal favorite thing was the caramelized fennel covered in the juice from the chicken. Did I mention how juicy the chicken was? The chicken was moist beyond belief. I guess the trick is to coat it in flour to seal in the moisture. I will definitely be making this dish again!!


Classic Sufganiyot (Doughnut) Recipes to Make at...


December 17th 2014

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Baked or fried and glazed or filled, doughnuts are a Chanukah tradition and a favorite of probably everybody!  It’s easy to pick up doughnuts from your local kosher market, or at Winn-Dixie if you’re lucky enough to live by one! Or you can try your hand at frying or baking your own at home, leaving you with the freedom to adjust them to your taste.


Chanukah Donuts

You can’t go wrong with Sufganiyot, especially the classic jelly doughnut.  You can mix things up by filling the doughnuts with different jams that you find at your local supermarket and Winn Dixie, or make Whole Wheat Sufganiyot.  You can also try baking your doughnuts, I can’t admit to having tried this, but save some calories with Baked Jelly Doughnuts and Baked Mini Doughnuts.


Peanut Chew Doughnut

If you’re looking for even more of a treat, try Baked Molasses Doughnuts with Peanut Chews Filling or Pumpkin Doughnuts with Cinnamon Maple Glaze.  Both take the treat factor to the next level, but can be made without a trip to the gourmet shop.




For a fancy presentation, any of these doughnuts are a choice pick.  The Pistachio Apple Cake Doughnuts with a Cherry Jus, Zeppoles and Beignets make for elegant small bites for dessert, while the Cinnamon Sugar Churros and Sugar Sugar Doughnuts are a fun and refined treat for adults and kids alike.


Check out more doughnut recipes here!

This article is sponsored by Winn-Dixie, all opinions are my own.


Decorating Donuts


December 17th 2014

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No time to make homemade doughnuts but want to make a home run party??

Luckily, there are lots of ways to dress up store bought doughnuts.

Sushi Doughnuts - click for full instructions.
Try serving on a wooden sushi plate or in take-out sushi containers for extra Chanukah cheer!

Stenciled Doughnuts
Easily turn a run-of-the-mill, store-bought doughnut into a work of art!
All you need are glazed doughnuts, designed/lettered or Chanukah-themed stencils and colored powdered sugar*.
Place stencil flatly on doughnut and ever so gently sift colored powder over design.

Doughnut Hole Kebobs
The often overlooked doughnut hole receives an overdue upgrade with doughnut kebobs!
Simply add 5 doughnut holes to a skewer and gently sift colored powdered sugar* over doughnuts.
Traditionalists are welcome to substitute with cinnamon or cocoa powder.

Serve along with chocolate syrup, dulche de leche or fruit jam for dipping!

Ice Cream Sandwich Doughnut
Slice a doughnut in half and add a scoop of Klein’s ice cream for an original, memorable Chanukah treat. Klein’s ice cream is available in pareve and dairy in a variety of flavors. We used Klein’s vanilla frozen yogurt; the tanginess of the yogurt ice cream complemented the yeasty doughnut and rich chocolate sauce.

*Trick to making colored powdered sugar:
Powdered food coloring! It can be found at specialty food stores or baking supplies shops. (Be sure to look for a hechsher.) Very slowly add a few drops of food coloring to a few tablespoons of powdered sugar and mix well. Keep adding until you reach desired colors, bearing in mind that the colored powder will stay soft.

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Chanukah 2013

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5 Things You Never Knew About Latkes


December 16th 2014

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Dedicated to the life and works of Gil Marks who shared this article with us last Chanukah in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine, may his memory be a blessing.

Judah Maccabee never saw a latke or a potato (or doughnut)… nor did medieval Jews.

1. Pancakes are batters shallow-fried in a skillet or on a griddle. People were already cooking on hot stones and griddles since time immemorial. In the Temple, a minchat machavat was cooked on an oiled griddle. But with the fall of Rome, pancakes, along with many culinary techniques, disappeared from most of Europe. Pancakes reemerged (made from flour and fried in olive oil) in Italy after the First Crusades, then spread north (usually not fried in olive oil). The first record of the English word “pancake” was in 1430.

2. Sicilian Jews introduced ricotta pancakes to northern Italy, called cassola in Rome, as a Shavuot dish and later combin- ing two traditional Chanukah foods – fried and cheese. The association of dairy to Chanukah was first mentioned (c. 1360) by Rabbi Nissim ben Reuben (Ran) of Gerona.

3. The initial association between Chanukah and pancakes (and fried foods in general) was by Rabbi Kalonymus ben Kalonymus (c. 1286-1328) – raised in Provence, but spending his ca-reer in Italy — who mentioned pancakes in a poem about Chanukah.

4. Oil in northern Europe was rare and expensive, so the principal fat for frying was schmaltz – animal fat, being unacceptable for cooking with dairy. Rye and, later buckwheat, commonly substituted for cheese and wheat. The two most prominent Eastern Yiddish terms for pancake became chremsel (from the Western Yiddish vermesel from Latin vermiculos “little worms” – before you get all oooey, vermiculos is also the source of the pasta vermicelli) and latke, derived from the Ukrainian diminutive word for pancake/fritter, oladka (“little oily”), from the Latin oleum (“olive oil,” also the source of the English word “oil”) from the Greek elaion (olive oil).

5. When the white potato arrived in Europe around 1570 from its native Peru/Bolivia, it was considered poisonous, taking centuries to gain acceptance as food. By the end of the 1700s, Germans made pancakes from raw or cooked potatoes. Only with a series of crop failures in Ukraine and Poland in 1839 and 1840 were these tubers consumed there. Potatoes emerged as the staple of the Eastern European Jewish diet and most prominent type of latke.

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Chanukah 2013

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