Cooking With Joy: Latkes

 

November 13th 2014

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“Mommy is it Chanuka”? “Nope, no it is not. Mommy is cooking her way through a cookbook, so we might be having things a little out of season from now on”. I totally see how that could confuse a 2 year old ☺.

Let me start off my saying something about my food processor. I have a really great quality Cuisinart that we use for so many things; the one thing it does not have is a “Kugel Blade”.  So our Potato Kugel comes out looking like a Lukshen Kugel, now we don’t mind at all, everything tastes great, I just wanted to give you a heads up as to why my latkes look the way they do.

This recipe is similar to my usual latke recipe, I mean seriously how many variations could there be, right? I usually put matzah meal in mine, so this cornmeal added a nice textural change. Hubs and the kids love any form of fried potato, so getting the family to enjoy these fresh from the pan was not hard at all! We had the Latkes with a choice of sour cream or apple sauce to keep things traditional. All in all another enjoyable meal!

Latkes with Caviar and Cream page 127
DRESS IT DOWN Sweet Cinnamon Latkes


 

50 Thanksgiving Recipes

 

November 12th 2014

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Thanksgiving always seems to sneak up and send me running to the kitchen for a marathon of cooking.  Despite all of the holiday themed blog posts and downright delectable pins on pinterest, I never seem to be prepared.  When I started becoming religious Thanksgiving was one of those days where I could say to my family “See, I’m still like you”!  I treat the day as an excuse to overeat (did I really just admit that?!) and a chance to spend extra time with the family.  Below are 50 Thanksgiving recipes to help streamline your menu planning.

 

 

Bourbon_GLAZED_TURKEY

Turkey, the crown of the Thanksgiving meal, is a bird that always take a little more planning and care than your normal weekday or shabbos chicken.  A little extra seasoning or some unexpected seasoning goes a long way in ensuring a well dressed bird and avoiding days of (unwanted) leftover turkey creations.

Harvest Turkey

Herb Roasted Turkey

Honey Glazed Roasted Turkey with Butternut-Shiitake Stuffing

Southern Roast Turkey with Bourbon Peach Glaze

Sour Mash Whiskey Glazed Whole Roasted Turkey

Honey and Spice Glazed Turkey

Classic Roasted Turkey

Maple and Cider Turkey Breast

Spatchcocked Turkey

Turkey Chili with Loaded Cornbread Muffins

 

Whole Wheat Challah Stuffing with Dried Cranberries and Sage

Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving dish!  My family makes my grandmother’s chicken liver stuffing each year.  I might have to make two types of stuffing this year because the recipes here at Joy of Kosher are seriously mouth watering!

Cornbread Stuffing with Sage and Sausage

Pumpernickel, Apples and Onion Stuffing

Gluten Free Stuffing

Chicken Liver Stuffing

Whole Wheat Challah Stuffing with Dried Cranberries and Sage

Herbed Vegetable Stuffing

Simply Gluten Free Stuffing

Cornbread and Dried Fruit Stuffing

Smart Harvest Stuffing

Simple Gluten Free Stuffing

 

Mashed Potatoes and Cranberry Sauce are two Thanksgiving staples which vary widely in their popularity.  Who doesn’t like mashed potatoes?  It’s really hard to have a negative opinion on these, but cranberry on the other hand, is probably my least favorite food, ever.  That fresh-out-of-the-can cranberry texture gets me every time, so this year no cans allowed.  I’m on board for a more chutney or jam-like preparation of cranberry sauce, how about you?

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Smashed Potatoes with Chives- substitute with pareve butter of your choice

Classic Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Honey

Creamy Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Cardamom

Mashed Potatoes and Kale Latkes

Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Mustard Sauce

Cranberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Zinfull Cranberry Relish

Guiltless Apricot Cranberry Sauce 

 

The Thanksgiving starches (potatoes count as a vegetable in this meal!) of cornbread and pie really test my “don’t go back for seconds” diet rule.  I mean, how can one resist fluffy cornbread and sweet fruit pie, let’s be honest.

Milt’s Cornbread

Skillet Cornbread with Dried Cranberries and Sage

Whole Wheat Corn Bread

Cornbread Muffins

Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie

Gluten Free Pie Crust

Mom’s Apple Pie

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

 

Braised and Raw Kale

Let’s end this post on a healthy note so we won’t (mostly me) feel 5 pounds heavier after looking at these recipes!  Greens are a necessary part of the Thanksgiving meal because they provide respite from the starches and, in their own right, are a  delicious part of the meal.  Make the most of your green side dishes by keeping the sauces to a minimum and choosing quick and easy recipes.

Braised and Raw Kale with Pine Nuts

Pareve Creamed Spinach

Black Eyed Peas and Green Beans

Wilted Spinach and Crispy Garlic

Creamy Kale Salad with Capers and Hazelnuts

Braised Kale Kenny

Spicy Sautéed Leeks and Spinach

Asian Green Beans

Green Beans Almondine

Sautéed Garlicky Kale

 

We haves tons of other Thanksgiving recipes! Check them out here & here for more ideas!

 


 

Recipes Meant For Sharing

 

November 12th 2014

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Those in the know say that family dinner is an adhesive bonding experience between family members. Whenever you can, you should make a point to bring the whole family together for dinner at least once per week. A fun and pleasant meal will give everyone quality family time.

It is also wonderful to have friends over when you have extra time. Make a big meal, invite some friends, relax and enjoy. The kids will keep each other busy and away from the television and the adults can all enjoy the food.

Here are some favorite recipes, perfect for making ahead and great for sharing with family and friends.

Spring Cabbage Rolls

This recipe idea for Spring Cabbage Rolls  was born after watching a television program, which told of the culinary benefits of spring roll. They are easy to prepare, ingredients are easy to find and they can even be made with children.  They are nutritious, healthy and more and more. Then came the idea, why not make them even healthier and make them with cabbage leaves?

This herb and beet salad is a great first course or light supper.

If you can still get some fresh mangos you will love this Tropical Salad, but frozen mangos will work in a pinch.  The bright colors and contrasting textures will liven any meal.

The Farmer’s Salad salad consists of a variety of fresh vegetables, roots and herbs.  The beauty is in the simplicity and feel free to make it your own, add something else or take something away, anything goes.   The secret is in the romesco sauce.

These fried fish fillets are made with a coconut milk marinade to give it a unique flavor profile that still goes amazing with ice cold beer.


 

In The Joy of Kosher Kitchen With Rabbi Lawrence

 

November 11th 2014

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It has been a while since we have heard from him, but some of you might remember our Joy of Kosher Rabbi, Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff.  He has answered quite a few of our burning food and holiday Jewish questions and you can see them all in our Ask The Rabbi blog.  Rabbi Lawrence loves to answer question and has had plenty of practice over the past 13 years working as a Rabbi and as the director of the Jewish Enrichment Center in NYC.  In his first book, Rabbi Lawrence puts it all out there for us and he goes well beyond food, Jew Got Questions?

Jamie and Rabbi Lawrence go way back and in fact, his wife Anita is the source for one of the recipes in the Joy of Kosher Cookbook.  In honor of the Rabbi’s new book, we are sharing Anita’s Lachmagine recipe as written in the cookbook.  I have heard Anita’s name mentioned in many conversations with Jamie and I know she has inspired her cooking in many ways.  Specifically for this recipe Jamie appreciates the shortcuts Anita allows, like using prune butter and tomato paste instead of temerhindi and prepared pizza rounds instead of making your own.

When we invited the Rabbi into our kitchen, Anita said, “Rabbi in the kitchen – Not!!”  The Rabbi admits to not being much of a cook, the joke in their house goes “what does daddy make for dinner? Reservations!”  It seems to me his wife makes up for his lack of kitchen know how, but she has learned a thing or two in the kitchen from her Persian mother in law.  Rabbi Lawrence says, “on an average Shabbat in my home we have a choresh bodem jon (meat and eggplant stew – delicious) and a potato kugel (which I never saw till my 20s) on the table together! Plus plenty of rice, especially on Pesach, when we sephardim do eat rice, and now my wife is permitted to eat as well!”

Since we usually share recipes in our kitchen, Anita has graciously provided a recipe she learned from her mother in law.  A recipe with a Persian flavor, made like a turkey stew, the Rabbi prefers this dish reheated the next day, so make extra. Get the full recipe for Robele here.

Even though the Rabbi has answered more than 300 pages worth of questions, I have to ask a few more.

What is your earliest food memory?

I have many food memories from my childhood, the ones that stand out are Holiday related. On Rosh Hashana my mother would make large platters of head meats. We had tongue (which I’m sure is delicious but I still can’t bring myself to eat) and an actual lamb’s head on the table. And rice! So much rice! White rice, green rice (made with dill) yellow rice (made with saffron) and then for dessert…rice pudding!

How did you decide which questions to put in this book?

I truly get asked many questions. For the most part I am dealing with unaffiliated Jewish men and women in their college years then 20s and 30s, I get asked every type of question. When I wrote the book I decided to pick the topics I get asked about the most. I would say I spend most of my time answering questions on dating, marriage and shalom bayit. People are interested in spirituality and Kabbalah, so I had to include a chapter on that, dealing with red strings, evil eyes, reincarnation and what Kabbalah is really all about.

Leading trips to Israel and Poland a few times a year and working for the Alumni community of Birthright Israel in NY I am posed many questions about Israel and the Jewish connection to it. And the Poland trip led to every asking about “why bad things happen to good people” which as you can imagine is the hardest question to deal with. That is probably the longest answer I had to answer in the book. Second to that question is why Jewish men and women should marry Jewish. With intermarriage rates at over 50% here in America I have to deal with inter-dating couples all the time. That question was very challenging yet important to answer.

Rabbi Lawrence’s book was inspired by unaffiliated Jews, but everyone will enjoy reading this book. You will likely learn something you didn’t know before and have better answers for questions people might ask you. Right now you can win a copy of Jew Got Question signed by Rabbi Lawrence!! All you have to do is post a comment or question (maybe yours can be featured in the next book) in the comments below and enter with Rafflecopter.

Get a glimpse of the Rabbi and even Anita in some of our cooking videos.

California Avocado Salad
Challah Kugel
How to Make A Watermelon Baby Carriage
How to Cut and Plate a Melon

 

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8 Perfect Pumpkin Recipes

 

November 11th 2014

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11 years ago this January I met my husband for the first time.  It was a blind date.  Two weeks later we were engaged and spent our first Shabbos together at Uncle Morse and Aunt Judy’s.  I don’t remember exactly what Aunt Judy served but it prompted met to blurt out “Oh I just LOVE orange food!” really, really loudly and dramatically. (Did you just hear the record player screech?)  As it turns out I do love all things orange – sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkins, oranges… but it came out kinda flakey and ditzy sounding.  To this day whenever I think about it and even now as I write about it my shoulders hunch and I physically cower in embarrassment.  I am sure Aunt Judy doesn’t remember it – unless of course, she does.

So in honor of the season and my love for all foods orange – especially pumpkins which top the list – here are my favorite pumpkin recipes.

 

Pumpkin Walnut and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Because the only thing better than a chocolate chip cookie is a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Pumpkin Sponge Cake

Pumpkin Sponge Cake

Pumpkin Sponge Cake

Cause it reminds me of my Grandma Martha’s recipe and cause Chef Laura is a master.

 

creamy pumpkin soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Again cause I trust Chef Laura with my taste buds any day!

 pumpkin sage baked penne

Baked Pumpkin Penne

Because honestly, for a pumpkin lover there are few things in the world better than this.  Although my Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage in the Joy of Kosher Cookbook (BUY IT NOW!) is one of those things that just might be better than this.  Simply because there are few things in the world better than brown butter.

 Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Whipped Cream

Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Whipped Cream

Because pumpkin pie and whipped cream is one thing.  But Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Whipped Cream in a chocolate graham cracker crust is another thing entirely.

 chicken-with-pumpkin-figs-and-honey/

 Chicken with Pumpkin Figs and Honey

Cause I love Kim Kushner’s cooking style!

 pumpkin chai cupcakes

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Cause Lil’ Miss Cakes knows her way around a dessert.  And because I have a little obsession with DIY Chai

pumpkin pizza with caramelized onion

Roasted Pumpkin Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Ricotta

Cause this recipe won our pumpkin contest.  And because I ate the whole thing by my lonesome.

For a full listing of our 121 pumpkin recipes take your cute little finger and click on this cute little link.


 

Everything Is Better with Tahini

 

November 10th 2014

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When I was growing up, we stayed far away from tahini.  My dad has a sesame allergy and I didn’t really know what I was missing.  After all, tahini was still largely overlooked as a mainstream product in the U.S.  I remember once trying some packaged halva and I didn’t care to try that again.  I also remember having a can of tahini that blended the sesame paste with lemon and water already for you, and it tasted about as bad as it sounds describing it now.

It has only been the last several years that I have come to LOVE tahini (sorry Abba) and I expect more and more people will be jumping on the tasty tahini bandwagon soon.

This summer in Israel I saw the future of tahini.  At the shuk, not only was there the most amazing halva on display, but they even had tastings of different kinds and flavors of freshly ground, sweet and savory tahini.  Walking through the shuk I was reminded of the people offering free fudge samples near the beach.  Halva is like fudge, all grown up.

Tahini, also called Tahina, is a paste made from ground sesame seeds.  It resembles natural peanut butter in texture and the way the oil separates out on top.  It can actually be used as a substitute for peanut butter which opens up possibilities for those who are allergic to nuts.

The nutrition profile of tahini is something worth noting as well.  Tahini contains “unsaturated fat and healthful doses of magnesium and iron. Sesame seeds also contain sesamin and sesamol, two unique lignans shown to lower cholesterol,” according to Today’s Dietitian.  The seeds are more easily digested when ground up, and have also shown anti-cancer properties.

 

When I decided to write an article about my newly discovered love of tahini, I adapted a recipe for coated kale chips using tahini.  When my son couldn’t get enough, he said to me, “Everything is better with tahini”.  Where can I find the t-shirt?

 

I realized my son was right and I used tahini to make a cold sesame noodles, but in place of noodles I used carrots!!  The cold sesame carrot salad was a big hit.

 

Roasted Eggplant with Tahini

I always have a container of pure tahini in the house to mix with lemon juice, water, parsley and sometimes even jalapeno or schug for a tasty spread.  I also use tahini to make all sorts of varieties of homemade hummus. A 16 oz. container of tahini used to last me months, but now I’m going through it in just a few weeks.

Halva Spread

In addition to the many savory uses for tahini, tahini is the main ingredient in halva, a sweet Middle East and Mediterranean dessert that just happens to be naturally gluten free.  Far removed from the packaged stuff I remembered as a child, halva has gone gourmet. My friend Shoshana shared a few recipes to try and duplicate what we see in Israel and you can get those recipes here.  For me it is a little too much work, so I went for a halva spread.  All you need to do is add a little honey to the sesame paste and you won’t believe how easy and delicious this spread is atop toast, pancakes or waffles.  Top with nuts, chocolate chips, coconut flakes or dried fruit and you too will be seduced by the the sesame.

 

I then took my spread a little further and turned it into a drink.  You can’t go wrong with a name like, Tahini Martini.   If you’re looking to sip your sesame, try mixing my halva spread with some vodka and sweet liqueur for the sweetest treat of all.

What do you like to do with Tahini?


 

Drinking In Fall Colors

 

November 7th 2014

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Use colors and flavors to infuse fall into your beverages.  The following cocktails look the part; they play on our fall sensibilities by playing off the harvest season in terms of their tastes, colors and connections to our traditions. They can be made into mocktails by leaving out the alcohol and increasing the amount of the mixer so everyone can lift a glass together.

All cocktails make one serving. To make multiple shots for a group and save yourself a lot of time, increase the proportions accordingly and make a bunch at once. Just make sure to shake long enough to chill the entire mixture down.

Enjoy my Fall Cocktails, click the links below for full recipes.

Good For Whatever “Ales” You

Apples 2 Apples

Almonds In The Dark

 

 

 

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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Cooking With Joy: Yerushalmi Kugel

 

November 6th 2014

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This was my first time making Yerushalmi Kugel.

I can’t say that I was nervous, although there was a lot of pressure on me for cooking this dish. Hubs spent a few years in Israel and has a strong idea of what this classic kugel is supposed to taste like. It was fairly easy to prepare so that was definitely an added bonus. The finished product could not have come out any better!

The kugel had just the right amount of sweetness. Incredibly crispy on the outside and delightfully soft on the inside, I could not stop picking at the crispy noodles off the top (it is always a good sign that something tastes good when people can’t stop picking at it!) Hubs said it tasted great, just needed to be served with an Israeli pickle to be truly authentic (luckily we had some in the fridge).

Yerushalmi Kugel page 118
DRESS IT UP Yerushalmi Raisin Kugel


 

15 Recipes to Make this November

 

November 5th 2014

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November tends to be a rather dismal month, but so far the weather has just been beautiful!  It’s only just started, but I’m really looking forward to the coming month.  Seeing that November, similar to Mar Cheshvan, can be a bit bleak it is a great time to break out colorful comfort foods.  Warm soups and stews that are still lighter than their winter counterparts, leafy salads and plenty of root vegetables are on this month’s menu.  Below are 15 warming recipes to try this November.

 

 

Baked Eggs with Sweet potato hash

 

1.  Baked Eggs with Sausage & Sweet Potato Hash: Nothing says comfort better than breakfast for dinner.  This Americanized take on shakshuka is a bit heavier than the Israeli version and features sweet, rather than spicy flavors.  For a little kick, sprinkle a little cayenne or paprika on top.

 

2.  Tuscan Vegetable Soup with Boerewors:  An traditional South African food, Boerewors are dinner sausages that spice up just about any meal.  This is a one-pot meal, just serve rice or potatoes alongside for a perfect dinner.  If you can’t find Boerewors, use your sausage of choice or substitute with spicy meatballs.

 

3.  Kale Salad with Sichuan Peppercorn Dressing: This colorful, Asian inspired salad will brighten up your dinner table.  The peppercorn dressing adds a kick of heat that brings out the mix of lettuces.

 

4.  Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup:  Serve this alongside the kale salad for a great meal.  This soup is a healthier version of the hot and sour soup you might get from your favorite chinese restaurant.  If anyone has a recipe for those crunchy noodles, let me know, they would be great alongside this soup!

 

5.  Rice Noodle Chicken Bowl: Another great Asian-inspired recipe, this one-bowl meal is satisfying and makes clean-up a breeze!

 

6.  DIY Pierogies:  Very much a kid-friendly recipe, this would make for a great rainy day activity or for a weeknight dinner when the kids (or hubby) are in the mood to help.

 

7.  Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Goat Cheese Crumble:  This healthy and elegant take on a typical spaghetti dinner makes it worthy for a weeknight dinner party.  Whether you serve it to family or guests, you are sure to get a number of requests for seconds.  Make a large batch and save some to eat cold as an office-friendly lunch the next day.

 

8.  Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Herb Butter:  Brussel sprouts officially come into season after the first frost!  These are my favorite fall vegetables, the herb butter elevates an already spectacular side dish.  Serve it alongside fish for an easy and refined dinner.

 

9.  Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans:  A recipe to keep in mind for Thanksgiving, sweet potatoes are one of the most reliable “toss in the oven” vegetables.  A little maple and a sprinkling of pecans brings these veggies to life.

 

Curried Cauliflower

10.  Crunchy Curry Cauliflower with Tahini and Pomegranate:  Channel the holy land with this tahini and pomegranate cauliflower recipe.  It is really quite versatile, cook up a large batch to have for lunch or dinner, and even as a cold side dish for shabbos lunch.

 

Sweet Paul - Chicken with Olives & Capers

11.  Chicken with Olives and Capers:  Possibly the easiest chicken recipe, this Mediterranean inspired dish is pulled together in a snap.  Serve with fresh, crusty bread to allow small and big hands alike a chance to sop up the delicious sauce.

 

12.  Baked Root Vegetable Chips with Babaganoush:  It’s root vegetable season!  A healthy alternative to potato chips and a super easy snack, try packing these as a snack to bring to the office or to serve as hors d’oeuvres.

 

Carrot Apple Mini Cupcakes with Non-Dairy Cream Cheese Icing

13.  Carrot Apple Mini Cupcakes with Non-Dairy Cream Cheese Icing:  Not quite as healthy as the previous recipe, but this will satisfy any sweet tooth.  The mini cupcakes provide for a perfectly sized bite to quench that after dinner craving.

 

14.  Roasted Apple Slices with Date Honey:  This was a favorite Rosh Hashanah recipe this year, but it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to use it!  A healthy, 5 minute dessert that is great for weeknights and formal enough for shabbos dinner.

 

15.  Almond Lace Cookies:   It takes less than 20 minutes to prep and cook these elegant cookies.  Make them in a large batch because they will disappear before you can take them off the cooling rack!

 

 


 

Vegetarian Monte Cristo Sandwich

 

November 5th 2014

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A Monte Cristo sandwcih is like a stuffed, savory french toast. Similar to a Croque Madame, these sandwiches are typically filled with ham and cheese and then dipped in an egg batter before being pan fried. To make a kosher version, you can just leave out the ham and make a glorified grilled cheese, but I wanted to take that a step further and add in apple slices.

Everyone knows apples work well with cheddar, in my recipe I actually used a Blue Marble cheese from Sincerely Brigitte, but a cheddar would work well too. The apple didn’t really get soft and I really enjoyed the crunch that it provided in this sandwich. While preparing this sandwich I learned that it is customary to serve a Monte Cristo sandwich with a sweet sauce, so I served mine with a Plum and Fennel Chutney I got from Kosher Artisanal. It went perfectly.

Here’s my recipe for Apple and Cheddar Monte Cristo


 

A New Very Flavorful Chicken Salad

 

November 4th 2014

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Making a fun mayonnaise is an easy way to perk up an old standby like chicken salad. Piri piri, sometimes called the African birdseye chili, is a chili pepper from the southern part of that continent and proud member of the hotter-than-heck family of peppers. My version is toned down considerably, with roasted poblanos. The dish offers a crunch from peanuts, often used in southern and central African cuisine, and a sweet bite of golden raisins, showing off a pinch of the complexity found in pan-Indian curries. And it’s all tucked in one delicious little sandwich.

Get my full recipe here.


 

Avocado Egg Salad

 

November 3rd 2014

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As a Registered Dietitian, I always suggest that my clients eat whole foods, whenever possible. Not only are whole foods more nutritious and packed with more healthful vitamins and minerals than their processed counterparts, but they are also naturally delicious.

Eggs are am excellent example of a whole food and are good source of protein, rich in vitamin D, biotin and choline. Eggs are also inexpensive and widely available.

Clients often ask me if they should omit the yolk in favor of the pure-protein fat-free egg whites. In moderation, egg yolks are hugely nutritious and filled with delicious flavor and richness. I suggest my clients consume no more than two eggs per day, and do not eat them everyday. But constantly ditching the yolk is entirely unnecessary.

Did you know, eggs are also a great fertility food for women who are trying to conceive? The choline found in egg yolks has been linked to fetal brain development.  Healthy diets, healthy babies!

This recipe uses both whole eggs and egg whites, and swaps traditional mayonnaise for guacamole.  The combination of healthy fats and protein, this is sure to be a filling lunch or light dinner.  Serve with crackers or make a sandwich with bread or in a lettuce wrap and enjoy.

Get the full recipe for my Avocado Egg Salad.


 

The Evolution of Kosher Offerings at Winn-Dixie

 

October 31st 2014

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I grew up in South Florida and I am very familiar with Winn-Dixie, but since I left at the age of 18 for college, I never knew about their commitment to kosher.  This year we have teamed up with Winn-Dixie to help spread the word about their unbelievable selection of kosher offerings across the Sunshine State.   Last month, before Rosh Hashanah, Jamie visited the Winn-Dixie Tamarac store.  She shared some her favorite recipes as part of a live food demonstration, handed out Joy of Kosher magazines and signed books for a crowd of 250 people.  Thanks to all the fans that came out, even in the pouring rain!!  (see photos from the event on our Facebook page)

Winn-Dixie has been highlighting kosher products and the Jewish foods for years.    They boast over 1,000 kosher Winn-Dixie brand items on store shelves.   Winn-Dixie  also has three full-service kosher markets within their stores with delis, meat cutting rooms, prepared foods, catering, sushi, pizza, fried chicken and more, all under the ORB.

 Ahron Scharman started with Winn-Dixie as a mashgiach in the Aventura store back in 2011.  At that time they had just finished renovating their store including an expansion of their kosher offerings.  The Aventura store originally had a small kosher deli with rotisserie chicken and sliced meat, but when they opened the new concept, a one-stop shop, “making it convenient for the kosher community that worked with their busy schedules”,  explained Ahron.  They continued to grow the kosher offerings, and before they knew it, Friday became one of the busiest days of the week.

Over the last few years, with the success of Aventura, Winn-Dixie has begun to dramatically grow the selection of kosher products at their Tamarac and Boca Raton locations.  Last year, Boca got the full kosher “store within a store” to service the large Orthodox and kosher community there.

In addition, Winn-Dixie  has 600 stores showcasing specialty kosher dry goods offerings.  You won’t just see borscht and gefilte fish in the kosher section, Winn-Dixie is promoting healthy, innovative, organic products for kosher consumers to choose.  They have 16 bakery products from challah to rugelach at 120 stores.  Many stores offer their Grab n Go prepared foods, double wrapped and easy to eat wherever you go.

Winn-Dixie has found that consumers are excited about the kosher offerings from affordable store own brand products to full service kosher stores within stores.  Especially around major holidays, Winn-Dixie  sees a surge of interest in finding unique kosher products easily available.  Ahron says, “the kosher product availability at Winn-Dixie stores encourages the growth of local Jewish communities so the community and the stores grow together.”

Ahron rose from store Mashgiach to Category Manager for Kosher and Ethnic Foods and is now working at the corporate headquarters in Jacksonville where he is working to further the company’s growth in serving the kosher community.   And in case you were wondering,  his favorite Winn-Dixie kosher product is the fried chicken!


 

Cucumber Sandwiches

 

October 31st 2014

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Oh how we Israelis love our cucumbers.

 

Year round we are blessed with the perfect lovely crop, that special variety often referred to as Lebanese or Israeli or Persian cucumbers in North America. This variety is small and firm, lacking excess water or bitter skin. We eat them whole, sliced, most classically chopped along with our other national vegetable treasure, the tomato, lightly dressed with a splash of good quality olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Uniquely, cucumbers here in Israel are are regular if not expected addition to most sandwiches. An on the go grab from any bakery or cafe, classic tuna, egg, cheese and such, will likely include cucumber slices, often replacing leafy greens adding special crunch and flavor.

Working equally well as a featured ingredient and as an accent to other flavor profiles, the humble cucumber can be elevated to its highest form in easy to prepare elegant sandwich combinations ideal for a festive brunch or even a light dinner.

 

My lovely and talented friend and food photographer gave a definitive eyebrow raise when I told her we would be doing a cucumber sandwich shoot. From England originally she had visions of watery, tasteless unappealing sandwiches with the crust cut off. I assured her I would do everything possible to enliven this traditional high tea finger food.

Here I have prepared two such options, one using cucumbers as a featured ingredient in a unique Middle Eastern combination, the other a crunchy garnish to a more rustic filling rusk.

Get the full recipes here:

Druze Laffa with Preserved Lemons, Cucumber and Labneh Cheese

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Rusks with Creamy Mustard and Dill Sauce

 

Photos by: Photoli Photography by Andrea Brownstein - www.photoli.net


 

Cooking With Joy: Orange Chicken

 

October 30th 2014

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5 comments | Leave Comment

 

This sweet and sticky glaze lives up to it’s name. Just from the prep of this marinade alone the stickiness comes through. From cutting up the lemons and limes to scraping the orange marmalade out of the jar, the stickiness was everywhere! I opted to use a whole chicken cut in eighths rather then the drumsticks alone since our family likes tops and bottoms.

I am usually not one to obsess over wings. But let me tell you- the glaze on the wings is INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!! It was great on the rest of the chicken too. The crispiness of the skin of these wings made me want to keep eating them.

Sweet and Sticky Citrus Drumsticks page 165
DRESS IT UP Sweet and Sticky Stuffed Cornish Hens

I was so sad there were only two wings on the whole chicken, so I decided to repeat this recipe the next week with a family pack of wings. This time there was plenty for everyone to enjoy. I let the wings marinade in the fridge for a few hours and then baked at 400 for 25 minutes. Then I transferred the wings to a cooking tray and broiled them on high for five minutes on each side to get them nice and crispy. Before serving I dunked the wings back in the marinade to coat, and boy did they taste good! After a brief wing eating tutorial our 6 year old got in on the action too. It is such a nice feeling making a meal that the whole family enjoys!