A Simchat Torah Mexican Menu


October 13th 2014

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On Simchas Torah and Shemini Atzeres, it’s time to push your culinary daring to the limits. Consider the fact that we’ve just come through Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkos, not to mention a Shabbos or two. Everyone at your table is thinking, “If I see one more potato kugel…” So have fun with the menu and try my simple recipes for Butternut Squash and Black Bean Stuffed Poblanos (a mild chili pepper) and Mexican Brisket, a fab twist on traditional recipes.

For your main serve: Corn Salad (topped with lime juice and served in a lettuce cup), Mexican Brisket (love this spice rub!!!!), Stuffed Poblanos (use bell peppers if you can’t find poblanos) and Mexican Pasta (follow this fab technique for all sorts of pasta dishes). Pair the Mexican themed meal with Ramon Cardova Rioja a fruity Spanish red wine.

Finish with individual Banana Chocolate Parfaits topped with dark chocolate shavings. Uhm, honestly, doesn’t this menu sound different and divine? Can I get an olé?


Is Grass Fed Beef Better? *Giveaway*


October 13th 2014

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If I were to ask you where your steak comes from and your first answer is the supermarket, we need to talk. Long before a trimmed, perfectly portioned rib eye finds its way onto your grill or your plate, it starts with a cow and a cattle rancher. The Farm to Table Movement has caused many of us to think more about where our food comes from. Although I don’t yet (and can’t afford to fully) practice what I preach, our family is starting to eat more sustainable and natural foods, including grass-fed beef.

Some kosher consumers feel that eating animals raised in captivity challenges our goal for having greater sensitivity to the natural world. I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced by this argument, but grass-fed meat and pastured poultry seeks to find a thoughtful balance between the ethical and the practical.

According to the American Grassfed Association, an organization representing U.S. producers, food service industry personnel and consumer interest representatives, grass-fed animals “have eaten nothing but grass and forage from weaning to harvest, have not been raised in confinement, and have never been fed antibiotics or growth hormones.” In moderation, grass-fed meat is also healthy.

In addition to lower overall fat content, research published in Nutrition Journalsuggests that grass-based diets can significantly improve the fatty acid (FA) composition of beef, especially conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (C18:2) isomers, trans vaccenic acid (TVA) (C18:1 t11), a precursor to CLA, and omega-3 (n-3). In addition, “cattle fed primarily grass significantly increased the omega-3 content of the meat and also produced a more favorable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio than grain-fed beef.” Grass-fed beef is also higher in precursors for Vitamin A and E and cancer fighting antioxidants, researchers say. Beef is also nutrient-rich, with eight times more vitamin B12, six times more zinc, and three times more iron than skinless chicken breast, according to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board.

Brisket In a Pot with Garlic

Now I want to be up front here, grain-fed beef is filling a need. We’ve got a big population to feed and modern agriculture and science is allowing us to serve the bellies of the many, but it’s nice to know that there are alternatives to the mass-produced grain-fed meat. Grass-fed meat is leaner and has a delicious, natural taste that I think you will really enjoy.

KOL Foods, founded by Devora Kimelman-Block, is reshaping today’s kosher diet with great-tasting sustainable, grass-fed meat and pastured poultry that is available to order online with affordable shipping anywhere in the United States.

Our family could not get enough of KOL Foods this holiday season – it definitely beat waiting in line at the butcher and I was able to create some amazing recipes that you will definitely want to try at home!

Try my recipes, leave your comments and enter the giveaway:

Brisket in a Pot with lots of Garlic

Thai Flavored London Broil

***Giveaway***  Now’s your chance to give KOL Foods meat a try with their meat giveaway valued at $250!!

To enter the giveaway go here to the KOL Foods Contest NOW through October 27, 2014!!



5 Menus for Shemini Atzeres, Simchas Torah, &...


October 8th 2014

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Ok, I admit it, I am guilty of calling every holiday “my favorite holdiay”.  Another confession, I don’t feel all that guilty– I really love everything about the holidays (minus the limits on showering, but let’s not discuss that).  Sukkos is this incredibly festive, yet humbling holiday.   Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah fall right at the end of Sukkos, after Hoshana Rabbah, and are literally, truly, just straight up days of rejoicing.  In gashmius, materialistic, terms: bring on the food!  These 5 menus will leave you full, feeling festive (you may also need a nap) and will motivate you to dance all night (and work off all those calories…sort of kidding!) by Simchas Torah.


Flavors of Fall

I’m not talking pumpkin spice lattes here, but the real hearty flavors of fall.  Start with the Marinated Vegetable Salad and the classic-with-a-twist Baked Horseradish Gelfite Fish.  Then enjoy the Fall Harvest Soup, which is loaded with parsnips, gala apples, leeks and sweet potatoes. For the main course chose your pick of  Sauerbraten- Classic Roast Beef with Apples and Raisins and/or Sautéed Chicken With Leeks, Carrots, Parsnips and Mushrooms, alongside the Roasted Pumpkin and Asparagus and the Apple Rice Salad.  At this point, your guests will be pretty stuffed (and seriously impressed), so keep it simple by dessert with Apple Compote and maybe a scoop of parve vanilla ice cream on top.



Garlic Honey Brisket

Holiday Worthy Comfort Foods

How can you top a first course of Salmon en Croute, Israeli Salad of Oranges and Black Olives, and 5 Ingredient Leek and Potato Soup? By serving, any of the following amazing dishes or sides of course!  Depending on cost or availability, try the Pomegranate Wine Osso Bucco or Garlic Honey Brisket, if you prefer poultry then the Chicken with Prunes in Apple Butter Wine Sauce just can’t be beat.  The elegant Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cake makes for an excellent end to a very delicious meal.



“Finger Foods”

If you have a lot of guests visiting or a busy holiday planned, then easy to serve, individually portioned foods make for a delicious and hassle-free meal; they are especially great by lunch.  Easy Zucchini Soup isn’t a finger food per-se, but as the name says it is a cinch to make and great to keep warm on the stove for a quick bite.  Baked Salmon Croquettes, Savory Curried-Coriander Pumpkin Latkes, and Colorful Cauliflower make for a great fish course.  For the main, try the Cabbage Leaves Spring Rolls, Sausage, Apple and Sage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, Leek Onion Noodle Cups, and Savoy Cabbage and Cashew Slaw.  For dessert try either the Carrot Apple Mini Cupcakes with Non-Dairy Cream Cheese Icing or the Pumpkin Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Walnuts.



Lighter Menu

This is probably the overall healthiest menu of the bunch, but everything in moderation right?  Start with the Honey Sesame Side of SalmonKale, Avocado and Farro Salad, and the Cabbage and Persimmon Salad with Sweet and Sour Dressing (use pears if persimmons aren’t available), followed by the Sweet Potato Leek Soup. Then enjoy the Easy Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges, Tumeric Rice and Chicken with Olive and Capers.  And for dessert, drumroll please, the Chocolate Pretzel Crust Tart or the Four “C” Tart With Gluten Free Crust.



Shabbos Day

You survived the third three-day yontiff of the year, mazel tov! Let’s be real, there’s only enough energy, and clean pots, for one or two new dishes to be made on Friday.  For shabbos day, enjoy some leftovers starting with the Baked Horseradish Gefilte Fish or Honey Sesame Side of Salmon, and the Kale, Avocado and Farro Salad.  For the main enjoy the  Sweet Noodle Kugel and Colorful Cauliflower alongside a piping hot bowl of  Vegetarian Chicken Apple Sausage Cholent (which can be made vegetarian or fleishig).  For dessert, if there are any leftover, enjoy the Pumpkin Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Walnuts or the Chocolate Pretzel Crust Tart.


For Sukkos Recipe or Shemini Atzers/Simchas Torah recipes click here or here!  Looking for kugel recipes?  Check out my 10 Favorite Kugels post here!




Fresh Fig, Carrot, Fennel and Kale Salad


October 8th 2014

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Posted 10/08/2014 by Chef Tami Weiser
An all purpose fall and winter dish is always welcome in my home kitchen. This salad makes use of so many of the treasures of the fall and it’s great for the High Holidays, Sukkot and even Chanukah. If you are serving vegans, substitute 2 teaspoons grade B maple syrup for the honey- it tastes different, but it’s equally delicious and will pair with wonderfully with turkey.

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Join Us For The Shabbos Project


October 7th 2014

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Last year The Shabbos Project took South Africa by storm with a weekend dedicated to getting as many people as they could to keep Shabbat from sundown to stars out.  The weekend kicked off with a mass challah baking lead by our dear friend and regular contributor, The Kosher Butcher’s Wife, Sharon Lurie.

The Great Challah Bake

Sharon told me all about The Great Street Challah Bake, where they blocked off a whole street in the center of Johannesburg, and more than 3,000 women came together to prepare challah for their Shabbat.  The Shabbos project far exceeded expectations with around 90% of the synagogues in South Africa participating.

The Shabbos project urged people to take a break from daily life and digital devices and keep Shabbat the traditional way.  Many people took the challenge and observed Shabbat for the first time ever.

This year the Shabbos project is going global.  Communities around the world are coming together to encourage everyone to keep Shabbat on October 24-25, 2014.  Even Paula Abdul is getting involved and along with other celebrities is working to get everyone to celebrate Shabbat.

To help spread the word and get everyone to sign up, Sharon has shared with us two of her favorite challah recipes.

Get Sharon’s challah recipe used at the Great Challah Bake and set up your own challah bake!! So that no one should be left out, Sharon has created a gluten free challah she really loves.

The Shabbos Project has tons of resources to help anyone who wants to keep the day and may not have the resources.  From setting people up for Shabbat meals (you can also go to volunteer to host), to resources on cooking your own (easy rundown of the laws of Shabbat).

We will be sharing recipes and ideas on our site too to keep everyone excited and involved.




In the JOK Kitchen with Ronnie Fein *Giveaway*


October 7th 2014

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I am thrilled to finally invite long time Joy of Kosher contributor, Ronnie Fein, into our kitchen.  Well known for her first cookbook, Hip Kosher, Ronnie is a former lawyer who turned her passion for food into a blooming career in food writing and teaching.  Ronnie has been writing about food since 1980, when kosher food was not so hip and she has helped to shape the modern kosher food we all enjoy in our books at our tables.  Nothing Ronnie makes is ever purely traditional, there is always some sort of Ronnie twist, just browse through the more than 120 recipes she has already contributed to our site!!  You can bet each one is written well, tested and delicious.

Ronnie’s latest venture, The Modern Kosher Kitchen Cookbook, brings healthy tasty food to the forefront of the kosher kitchen.  With a foreword, by our very own Jamie Geller, who wrote, “I know her work, I know her recipes, and I know that Ronnie knows good food.”  Ronnie has created a new cookbook for anyone that is looking to try something new and delicious and modern.

You can learn more about Ronnie from our interview spotlight about her blog, Kitchen Vignettes, but today I wanted to learn more about the new book.

How did your life change after writing Hip Kosher?

I’ve been in the food writing business for years and I always enjoyed getting together with people who shared my interest in cooking and creating new recipes, but after Hip Kosher I began to meet more friends who shared a deeper commitment to Jewish life, whose families shared similar traditions and memories, especially when it came to celebrating holidays. I feel a special relationship with these “friends,” even though I haven’t even met some of them! The other thing is, after Hip Kosher I’ve been busier than ever, writing, doing cooking demonstrations, speaking about how we can bring kosher cooking into the 21st century and keep it healthy and delicious.

Chicken Fried Steak Portobello

How is the new Modern Kosher Kitchen Cookbook different than Hip Kosher?

My mission has always been the same as my ancestors — adapt the surrounding food culture to kashruth. So I cook “American” food, but make it kosher, just as my grandmother adapted Romanian food, because that is where she came from. Although I love the old traditional dishes, they are not what I cook on a daily basis or even for company. There are so many kosher products available today that kosher cooks can cook almost everything that every other American cooks.

The biggest difference between The Modern Kosher Kitchen and Hip Kosher is that my new book has chapters that weren’t covered and that my readers have asked for specifically: chapters on Hors d’oeuvre, Passover dishes, Budget-minded meals. There’s also more vegetarian and whole grain recipes, more parve salads and a few slow-cooked foods. Also, although the recipes are modern, I did include my recipe for challah. It is the most requested of my recipes and everyone who has tasted it told me I had to put it into The Modern Kosher Kitchen. It is essentially my grandma’s recipe, and was an award winner for her.

Kale Farro Salad

What makes recipes modern?

The recipes are modern in the sense that they are not traditional Jewish foods. I use seasonings, ingredients and methods that are globally influenced, that may be relatively “new” to kosher cooks — things my grandmother probably never heard of. They are modern also in that I have cut down on meat and use more healthy ingredients, less salt and sugar, more greens and grains. I also like to innovate and experiment on my family by using almost every new product or ingredient I hear about and also try to mimic some classic American dishes but “kosherize” them. So, for example, I created the Kale, Avocado and Farro Salad with Marcona Almonds. It’s kosher, it’s tasty, it’s healthy, it’s attractive too. And Chicken Fried Portobello Steak and Chive Eggs — it’s a riff on Chicken Fried Steak, a specialty in the American south, but this version is vegetarian, perfect for a dairy, parve or meat meal. I’ve served that one for brunch and it got rave reviews!


What inspires your recipes?

I look around and see what’s available, what’s fresh, what’s new. At farm stands, at supermarkets, bakeries, everywhere. I think, hmmmm, how would that taste with that? I read food blogs, magazines, restaurant menus, health newsletters. And I do what my Mom called “patchke in the kitchen.” I experiment a lot. What can go wrong? Dinner might not be great every night — I’ve had lots of failures and some recipes didn’t work, but my family is game and there’s always eggs in the house (I also keep a supply of This and That Soup — the recipe is in the book — in the freezer, for emergencies). At this point, I’ve cooked like this for so many years I have an inkling of what flavors will blend and which ones won’t. It gets easier as you get older and more experienced.

Thanks to Ronnie for everything plus these three new recipes as a sample of what is in the book:

Pan Seared Hanger Steak with Peppers and Onions

Kale, Avocado, and Farro Salad

Chicken Fried Steak Portobello with Chive Eggs

***Giveaway*** Now you can win a copy of The Modern Kosher Kitchen by Ronnie Fein – comment below and enter with Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



The Best Stuffed Peppers With Variations


October 6th 2014

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Present a tray of multi colored stuffed peppers for an easy holiday dish that will surely elicit oohs and aahs. I am going to give you a few variations on this recipe that’s ready in 40 minutes: from start to serve.

Colors: Don’t stress on the colors – it’s just for presentation. Of course a green bell pepper is not as sweet as yellow, orange and red but after that consideration buy what’s on sale, available or pleasing to your eye.

Cut the Cooking Time: Filling the peppers with boiling water is a little trick to cut the cooking time and keep the stuffing from drying out in the oven. If you are still concerned about dry stuffing see the Tomatoes on Top note below.

Rice: Stuff with either white or brown rice or even cous cous, quinoa, barley, bulgur, orzo, or even broken (slightly undercooked) spaghetti. This is a really versatile, grab what you got for bulk, stuffing.

Tomatoes on Top: Use a can of chopped tomatoes like the recipes says or even a jar of marinara sauce. If you are going to make this in advance and reheat for the holiday or are simply a tomato or sauce-y fan, also mix in a cup or more of your tomato based product with the rice and meat before stuffing you peppers.

Portions: If you plan to plate this as part of a larger meal create smaller portions by cutting the tops off the peppers (careful to keep them in tact) and then cutting the peppers in half. Keep the bottom half for stuffing and serving and dice the top half for mixing with the meat and rice. Use the pepper tops as lids and serve them closed or slightly askew for a pretty presentation.

Get the full recipe for my Stuffed Peppers here.


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 About.com, 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?