Healthy Recipe Ideas You Will Love –...

 

March 19th 2014

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It’s become a healthy habit I can’t break — starting a meal with lots of Mediterranean spreads. With a crowd of hungry guests, a table set with an assortment of appetizing spreads and salads, along with the requisite items for dipping keeps the hungry wolves at bay while I’m busy in the kitchen finalizing the rest of the meal.

During Passover, when every meal starts with matzo, you really need something extra to make it special. Cream cheese and butter are nice, but they are dairy, lack nutrients and add extra fat and calories that we definitely don’t need on the holidays. That’s why the Mediterranean diet is so popular with nutritionists and dietitians everywhere. Eggplants, peppers and tomatoes are in abundance and the spreads are tasty, low-fat and healthy.

Tomatoes hit the antioxidant jackpot. They are very high in Lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to cancer prevention. Tomatoes are also high in Vitamin A and C and vitamins that help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Eggplants are excellent sources of iron, calcium and fiber. Eggplant also contains important phytonutrients with antioxidant activity. Eggplant have been found to improve circulation, prevent cancer and lower bad cholesterol.

You can get all these health benefits with Sabra Mediterranean Salads including Spanish Eggplant, Turkish Salad, Matbucha, Babaganoush, Vegetarian Liver, Caponata, Roasted Eggplant, and Grilled Eggplant.

Stuffed Mushrooms and Artichokes

Stuffed Mushrooms and Artichokes

Don’t stop at just topping your matzo either. For a fantastic appetizer idea, you can create platters of veggies filled with spreads like I did here and keep your carbs down too. I also made amazingly easy Stuffed Mushrooms with Veggie Liver and Spanish Eggplant Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms.

I found these dips so flavorful and easy to dress up any vegetable.  Don’t miss our amazing Sabra contest.

Disclaimer:  This post was sponsored as part of an ongoing relationship with Sabra, all opinions are my own.

 


 

Israel Joy of Kosher Cookbook Parties

 

March 19th 2014

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With the success of our Joy of Kosher Cookbook Parties in the US, we decided to do them in Israel too.  We had over 100 people from throughout Israel volunteer to host, we selected 12 participants spread out around the country and each host invited friends to share in a fun night surrounded by food. Here is a recap from some of our hosts with pictures so you can see how much fun it is, we encourage you all to host your own!!

Bracha Goldman from Beer Sheva

We had a great time sharing recipes, and trying out all the food that everyone made. I divided up the work, which made it easy and fun for everyone. We enjoyed trying out the recipes from Joy of Kosher. Our dozen participants ranged in age from 31 to 87, and from a brand-new bride (who LOVES Jamie Geller’s cookbooks) to a talented cook of over 60 years experience. All the recipes were a great hit, especially the challah, the raw root vegetables and the rice salad. Both chicken recipes were fabulous. Good friends, good food, good wine, Rosh Chodesh WOW!

Tziona Rand from the Golan

Thanks to Jamie Geller and Joy of Kosher, women from four communities in the Golan enjoyed an intimate dinner together on Thursday, complete with local wine and candlelight. Each of the participants chose a recipe (or two or four) to prepare for the gathering via the Facebook event that I set up. Since we are spread out, I sent the recipes in PDF format to the cooks. During the evening, we tasted from a three course meal consisting of appetizers, mains, sides and desserts. Conversation flowed freely (as did the wine) and besides talking about our kids and lives, we discussed the recipes and how to adapt them to the Israeli kitchen as we don’t have access to many American products in our local groceries. The evening was a great success and many of the woman have already prepared Joy of Kosher recipes from the evening for their families.


Beth Saar from Raanana

On March 3rd 2014 nine Raanana ladies got together to host a Joy of Kosher Cookbook dinner. The theme was dairy vegetarian based on recipes from the cookbooks. Appetizers were tri-color Hummus Trifle with wholewheat pita chips, veggie liver pâté, avocado and cucumber cream soup and nacho potato bites. The main courses were baked pumpkin penne, mock crab salad, rice salad with apples, walnuts and grapes, spiced apple challa kugel. Dessert consisted of black and white ice cream bomb and nutty caramel brownies served with home-made sangria. All in all we had a great time with great food.

Sara Mor – Beit Shemesh

The party was at my house on in Beit Shemesh with 10 women.  I assigned recipes from both Quick & Kosher and Joy of Kosher cookbooks.

We ate and discussed and critiqued and had a lot of fun! People explained if they made any changes (and what they changed) or followed recipe to a tee. The biggest hit was the ktzitzot. After the party I created a whatsapp group and we all discuss our weeknight dinners and other various food related stuff.

Esther Soltani from Tel Aviv

The first thing I did was to look for the right guests and as an olah chadasha (new to Israel) I relied on my good friend from London Erifyli to find real foodies among her friends. Ben, Vicky and Michael were ideal. They jumped on the opportunity to contribute to the meal and were enthusiastic critics.

My flatmate Fina also helped. We’re both passionate about food, especially how to cook healthy and tasty food, which looks good.
As soon as I received the book in the post I read it from cover to cover – yes, Jamie, there are people out there who actually do read a recipe book that way. I have to admit I have never done it in the past but I was so taken by the personal stories, the vivid descriptions of how each recipe came into being and the great concept of dressing down or up the dish that I read it like a memoir with some fantastic recipes thrown in.

I opted for a Mediterranean/oriental theme for the food and knew almost straight away the Moroccan Chicken would be the main course.

The starter was the Lemon Lover’s Hummus dressed up as the  Tricolor Hummus trifle.  I made the mistake of wanting to get a darker green layer than the one on the picture and used a bit too much spinach which made the base of the trifle a bit too liquid. Still it was polished off by everyone and we all agreed it was a fabulous idea of presentation. So simple and yet so effective.

Michael made the Eggplant Caviar which was delish. He said that he had replaced the kosher salt with sea salt and instead of coriander which was on the banned food list used mint. He went for the dress down option as we had already agreed to have pitas for starter.

Being a lover of all things Moroccan, I instantly loved the roasted chicken recipe which features spices I had at home. To make things easier, I prepared this one on ahead in the slow cooker and reheated for dinner.  I didn’t put raisins (banned) but dates and instead of honey used date syrup.  I used green jasmine tea instead of chicken stock and didn’t put the pine nuts since there was already some in the Easy Cranberry Pine Nut Couscous which I wanted to make as a side.

Fina loves cooking vegetables and made the Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper Saute following the recipe but replacing the kosher salt with my Pink Himalayan salt.  It looked and tasted great.

Erifyli had told me Vicky was a wonderful cook and baker – she proved it with her amazing rendering of the brownies recipe which we all agree we’d be like Jamie and wake up at night to have an extra piece of given the chance.  She also made the chocolate chip cookies and with both she used whole wheat flour with very good results.

We talked about food a lot, our general aversion to all types of syrup and ready made stocks, food TV programmes, how to cook a chicken and how black tea makes a great stock for French onion soup among other foodie tips. The book was passed around and much praised. Vicky particularly loved the suggested Shabbat and Yom Tov menus and we all thought the dress down/dress up options were brilliant.
So this dinner was the occasion to make new friends, sample great food and find out the secret of the perfect British fish and chips.

Hadassah Levy

Thanks to the Israel Postal Service, our cookbook club took place much later than originally planned, but we still had a great time. There’s nothing like an excuse to get together with friends, schmooze and eat good food. Our entire meal was vegan, in deference to one of our friends. We started with garlic knots, made from a vegan challah recipe and topped with Joy of Kosher’s garlic spread. Along with the rolls, we had tomato bean soup, although our cook didn’t find fresh spinach and used frozen. We had a couscous salad which looked exactly like the picture in Joy of Kosher. The cook of the pepper and zucchini saute suggested that Israelis use fresh peppers instead of canned, since the canned ones sold here come in vinegar and even after washing they retained a bit of tartness. We passed the cookbook around and discussed what dishes we might incorporate into our own repertoires and I promised to share the recipes from the party with everyone who came.


 

9 Recipes To Use Up Your Chametz

 

March 18th 2014

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Chametzfest has become the common name for the parties before and after Passover when we all go carb crazy.  Before Passover it is typically any meal where we try to get rid of all our chametz.  We still have about 4 weeks to go, but the purge begins.  First we have to eat up all the candy and junk food we got over Purim, I always wonder why these holidays are so close to each other.  Then we have to clear our our freezers and our pantries.  After my last trip to the store stocking up on just enough granola bars for kids lunches I vowed that would be the last time I buy anything except for fresh product in the coming weeks.  The way to stick to that promise is that I have to use up all the pantry staples now.  So here goes ten recipes for our virtual chametzfest.

whole-wheat-tuna-casarole

Whole Wheat Tuna Casserole with Spinach

1. Tuna Casseroles are a no brainer, easy, prep ahead meal that can be made with any kind of pasta you have laying around, canned tuna or even canned salmon would work and throw in some frozen veggies or fresh spinach.

Shiitake Beef and Barley Soup

Shiitake Beef and Barley Soup

2. Barley Soups – any kind of barley soup will do, or you can go for a salad or a spring risotto, all of them will help you use up that bag of barley while getting some veggie in you too.

no knead olive bread

No Knead Olive Bread

3. Bake homemade bread – if you don’t have time for challah or you want a change or you want have so much flour to use you can make a bread a day, go ahead and learn the no knead method and have bakery like bread every day.

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

4. Oatmeal – Use up your oats with a baked oatmeal like this one or make overnight oats, apple crisp, or granola.

Orzo with Chicken

5. Orzo – Make this one pot meal to use up orzo and a can of chickpeas.  Can be served hot or cold and is versatile enough to be made with any grain, rice or Israeli cous cous would work too.

challah kugel

Challah Kugel

6. Challah  – use up leftover challah that you have been stashing away in the freezer making this kugel, bread pudding, stuffing or french toast.

spinach-ricotta-quiche

Spinach Ricotta Quiche

7. Frozen Crust – can be used to make pie or a more practical solution is your favorite kind of quiche.  Use fresh or frozen vegetable and whatever cheese you have on hand.

Pot Pie

8. Puff Pastry – can be used for so many things, from empanadas, to pigs in a blanket to pot pie.

Fried Asparagus Rolls

9. Wonton wrappers are always in my freezer and since asparagus are in season this is a favorite recipe to enjoy them.  The kids fight over them.

I hope these help you clean out your fridge and pantry over the next few weeks.  What are your tips and fave recipes?

 


 

Skirt Steak Recipes

 

March 18th 2014

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I don’t eat meat often. Mostly I save it as a treat for Shabbat, when I can splurge a bit more on the price and the calories.  The trick is finding quality cuts of meat and great recipes that can be made ahead.

I found a winner a winner with skirt steak.

Skirt steak is a thin cut of steak that is prized for its flavor and tenderness, but you have to be careful because it can be very salty.  Most kosher meat is salty, but I still usually sprinkle a little coarsely ground salt and ground pepper before searing to help the meat get a nice char, but leave out the salt with skirt steak.  Instead just use black pepper or a salt-free spice rub.

grilled skirt steak

Skirt Steak with Smokey Pepper Sauce

The best part about skirt steak is its versatility.  It can be seared quickly  and served with any of your favorite sauces, this time I tried a smoky almond sauce. Delicious! You can try a chimichurri or just slice thin on top of a green salad.  Skirt steak works really well in steak fajitas or a steak sandwich.  Make extra for amazing leftovers!

stuffed rolled steak

Stuffed Rolled Steak (Braciole)

Ciao bella!  You have got to try this rolled Italian steak recipe for braciole.  A few years ago I saw a favorite chef on the Food Network make this rolled steak filled with spinach and cheese and it looked amazing.  When I got the Skirt Steak from Grow & Behold it was thin and wide and I knew I had to finally make this dish.

I wasn’t sure whether it would work without the cheese or how it would sit for a Friday night.  It was a huge success!  This recipe is pure comfort food and can even be made with matzah meal for Passover.  You can prepare in a slow cooker or keep on low in the oven for a few hours so it’s perfect for Friday night dinner.

You do have to pound the meat, but it’s a quick and easy step for an incredible dinner.

Bahn Mi Taco

Last, but not least, try this Bahn Mi Taco.  A lower carb version of the classic Vietnamese sandwich typically served on a baguette.  Prepare all the ingredients about 1 hour before dinner.  When dinner time comes, grill or broil the meat and serve.  These tacos work particularly well as an appetizer or as a side to a large salad or soup.

***Giveaway***

Win a free 4 lb. package of skirt steak (enough to make both of these recipes) from Grow & Behold. To enter, send an email to FreeSteak@growandbehold.com with your name and address – contest open until March 20th, at 5pm EST. US residents only over 18 years of age.

This article was sponsored by Grow & Behold Kosher Pastured Meat, all opinions are my own.

 

 


 

Beef and Green Bean Stir Fry

 

March 17th 2014

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Watch Jamie Geller show you how easy it is to make her Beef and Green Bean Stir Fry.


 

Baked Horseradish Gefilte Fish

 

March 17th 2014

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This month we are highlighting horseradish for our Kosher Connection Link Up to get us all in the mood to start preparing for Passover. I’ve made many recipes with horseradish over the last year so be sure to read my article about the healthy horseradish.  I became a huge fan of how horseradish adds a nice kick to so many dishes and the health benefits is a bonus.

When I think about horseradish for Passover I immediately thought about gefilte fish. To be honest, I don’t even usually put horseradish on top my gefilte fish, but the idea of putting it inside seemed too good to not try.

I generally prefer to bake the frozen gefilte fish loafs instead of boiling. It’s less messy and doesn’t stink up the kitchen. One of my favorite recipes for gefilte fish is my baked Spinach Gefilte Fish. For this recipe, I took a similar approach, defrosted the loaf, mixed with horseradish and chopped carrots for some zing I coated it in horseradish and parsley and baked it to a gorgeous golden brown! Enjoy!

Get the full recipe for Horseradish Crusted Gefilte Fish



 

Shabbat Menu – Purity and The Red Heiffer

 

March 14th 2014

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From the rejuvenating waters of the mikvah, to the memory of Miriam’s triumphant dancing after the splitting of the In this week’s Parsha Shmini we read of the purifying power of water and it is the first time we read in specific detail the kosher dietary laws concerning what animals are permissible and prohibited, the criteria for kosher fish and birds and a list of kosher insects (yuck!). This week is also called Shabbat Parah, the Shabbat of the red heifer, which describes the ways in which we purified ourselves to being to prepare for Passover. These days we are purifying our homes by purging them of chametz and so we will eat a chametz filled menu featuring the Red Heiffer.

vegetable barley soup

Vegetable Barley Soup

stuffed roll of beef

Stuffed Roll of Beef

 green-beans-almondine

Green Beans Almondine

chickpeas and chard

Chickpeas and Chard

Chocolate Turkish Coffee Cake

Chocolate Turkish Coffee Cake


 

Scent of a Moscow Mule

 

March 14th 2014

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A couple of months ago a cocktail-loving friend of mine mentioned the Moscow Mule. The name didn’t sound the least bit appealing to me, but I have to admit I was intrigued when he explained how he was going to a bar that serves the drink the old-fashioned way — out of a copper mug. Just like when you discover a new word and then hear it everywhere, over the past few weeks I’ve been followed by the Moscow Mule – in signs, news articles and bar menus so I had to try it myself and share it with you.

The Moscow Mule is made from vodka, ginger beer and lime. It was created in the 1940′s to help sell more vodka in the U.S. It was served in the iconic copper mug as a marketing gimmick. People would see others get a cool looking different drink and ask for the same thing. Today, with the resurgence in popularity of this classic cocktail bars are discovering customers walking away with the copper mug as a souvenir, says the Wall Street Journal. People love the drink and want to recreate it at home with the right vessel, but there is a way to do this without committing a felony .

The copper mugs are not cheap, this set of 4 runs $75 on Amazon, but if you are a true connoisseur it is worth it. The nice thing about this drink is how easy it is to make. All you need is some quality ginger beer. The basic recipe can be found here, DIY Moscow Mule, I used a beer mug and found it served me well.

 

This recipe using lime juice, vodka and ginger beer is the classic version, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own. Add some biters, use lemon instead of lime, swap bourbon or whiskey in place of vodka. No matter what you do and whether you have a copper mug or not, this drink is an easy and crowd-pleasing cocktail.

If you like this drink as much as me and you like it spicy, you can save a few dollars by creating your own ginger beer.  The easiest way I have found to do it is by making a ginger concentrate and mixing it with seltzer.  Here is my recipe for a Ginger Concentrate that can be used whenever you want to spice up your life.


 

Uses For Leftover Hamantashen Filling

 

March 13th 2014

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You have been diligently preparing for Purim making many Hamantashen with many different fillings. Your Shalach Manos baskets need to be filled with assorted treats and your Hamantashen are anticipated additions in your baskets.

Most religious institutions, when preparing for Purim festivities, enlist cadres of cooks to assemble scores of dozens of Hamantashen for their holiday carnivals. Along with the traditional prune (lekvar) and poppy seed (mohn) fillings, apricot, almond, chocolate, strawberry and other fruit flavors have become favorites.  When preparing hundreds or even thousands of Hamantashen at a time, bakers can easily use many different flavors and have no leftovers.

Day After Purim Chocolate Cake

Day After Purim Chocolate Cake

However, when baking in your own home, the multitude of flavors can cause a problem. Even if you narrow your family’s choices down to three or four, and you make dozens of Hamantashen, you will still find yourself left with half a can of one flavor and some of another.

This has been my experience more than I care to remember. So what was I to do? I knew that the fillings shouldn’t be left in the can because the acid in the fillings would react with the metal can and negatively change their taste. The leftovers could be stored in the refrigerator for a few days in plastic or glass containers but eventually I needed to find a use for them and making more Hamantashen wasn’t the answer!

almond poppy seed bundt cake

Almond Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

The following recipes use four different fillings to make two different cakes.  One cake is poppy seed (mohn)/almond in a dairy pound cake and the other uses leftover prune and apricot filling to make a chocolate cake that is not only pareve, it is also fat free.  Since most prepared fillings for cookies or pies are pareve you can interchange the flavors for either cake. However, I would not suggest prune filling for the butter/yogurt cake since it would alter its golden color.

These recipes are designed to be used with commercial fillings not jelly or jam as they contain less binding agents and more moisture than fillings and will alter the consistency and flavor of the cakes.  In general, I also recommend that jelly or jam never be used to fill Hamantashen as they melt when the cookies are baked and often cause the sealed sides of the dough pockets to open.

Eat in Good Health!


 

10 Add On Gift Ideas

 

March 12th 2014

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One of the mitzvahs of Purim is to give mishloach manot comprised of at least two different types of food.  In addition to a food basket, consider giving loved ones an extra little gift to enjoy along with their hamantashen.  Below are gift ideas for the ten “personalities” you might encounter among your friends and acquaintances.

 

Colorful Clip Table Holders

1.  Teacher: Thank your children’s teachers with this great hands-free Colorful Clip on Table Holder.  They can clip it to their desk while in class or to a picnic table during recess.

 

Joy of Kosher

2.  Chef: For the culinary inspired friend, give the gift of the latest Joy of Kosher cookbook.

 

Correspondence Cards

3.  Writer: Encourage your writer-friend to take up a different medium: letter writing.  It’s also a subtle way to tell them to stay in touch!

 

Aristotles Puzzle

4.  Science Nerd: For the philosophically or scientifically inclined, Aristotle’s puzzle is a great gift which push them to test their logical sensibilities.

 

Shany Cosmetics

5.  Aspiring Make-up Artist: A make-up lover can never have too many brushes!  These bamboo brushes from Shany Cosmetics are sophisticated and designed in America.

 

Kindle Cover

6.  The Avid Reader: For the reader with shelves full of books and a fully stocked Kindle, consider sending them a beautiful cover for their Kindle.

 

Trakdot Luggage Tracker

 

7.  The World Traveler: Your friends will be super impressed by Trakdot Luggage Traveler.  It is designed to provide a specific location for your luggage which can be tracked from your cellphone.

 

HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton

8.  Politician: The new Hilary Clinton biography, HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton, traces the evolution of Hilary from First Lady to Presidential candidate.

 

Oster My-Blend Blender

 

9.  Health Nut: The Oster sport bottle blender is a great gift for the health conscious people in your life.  They can blend their favorite smoothie in their sports bottle, no extra dishes to worry about during the morning rush!

 

Holga Lens Filter

 

10.  Instagram Enthusiast: We all have that friend who documents most of her life on Instagram.  Why not give her more filters to choose from, with the Holga Lens Filter she can filter her photos as she takes them.


 

Sweet and Spicy Sambusak For Purim

 

March 12th 2014

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Curry leaves, fenugreek, and multi-colored mustard seeds aren’t part of every day Ashkenazi fare. Integral to Indian foods, they are all part of the vast sweep of Jewish cuisine that includes distinct Indian- Jewish communities.

Kolkata (Calcutta), Cochin and Mumbai (Bombay) were home to the largest Jewish communities for centuries, and yet were relatively unknown to the West. There were smaller Jewish communities dotted throughout the Indian subcontinent. They developed foodways deeply influenced by their neighbors, from spices to techniques.

The communities, all located in different states, arrived at different times.

In Cochin, Jews settled over a thousand years ago. Calcutta’s original community arrived as merchants in the 17th century but in the 19th century there was a consequential influx of Jews from Baghdad and other countries of the Middle East. The foods they ate remain distinct from one another. The Baghdadi Jews strongly influenced the food of all of their neighbors of every faith.

The Benei Israel of Mumbai left ancient Judea in the time of King Solomon, on a merchant ship. The boat was shipwreck on the shore. The survivors set upon creating a new life, isolated from all Jewish contact. Yet, they continued to observe the Sabbath, eat no pork or shellfish and follow ancient traditions to the curiosity of their neighbors. There was great doubt that they were truly “Jewish” but DNA testing proved they were indeed exactly what the claimed- to be from the line of Judah.

Today, Jewish style dishes often crop up at family meals and at Indian restaurants.

Indian-spiced Apricot and Mango stuffed Sambusak Purim Cookies are a new kind of Purim treat. They are a cross between Purim’s traditional hamantaschen, the savory filled empanada-like pastry known as Sambusak, and the malpua, a sweet stuffed pancake enjoyed by the Bene Israel, India’s Jewish community. The traditional malpua is a sweet stuffed pancake made with pineapple, almonds and other fruits and nuts. This version also incorporates Silk Road flavors into its yummy filling. It’s a delicious way to introduce some new flavors–and to learn about a Jewish community with a storied past that is unfamiliar to most Jews. Be sure to allow 1 hour (or up to 1 day) for the dough to chill before you fill and bake. These will keep in a covered container at room temperature about for 2 days, but they are best the day they are made.

Get the full recipe.


 

Kosher Shrimp Cocktail Recipes

 

March 11th 2014

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Whether you keep kosher of have any other kind of dietary restrictions, chances are, at some point in your life, you’ve heard comments like: “What? You’ve never had bacon??” or “You can’t eat lobster? You have no idea what you’re missing!”. And it’s true, I don’t.

Because missing something you’ve never had, is pretty much impossible. It would be sort of like missing a person you’ve never met, right?
In fact, I think not being able to eat certain foods is a good thing. It means I can be perfectly happy eating the “fake” stuff, like soy bacon, or veggie burgers, or imitation crab or shrimp. Recreating traditional flavors can be fairly easy, really. Especially when you have a good selection of seasonings and condiments to choose from. After all, those are the ingredients that will mostly infuse the food with flavor!

tropical shrimp cocktail

Tropical Shrimp Cocktail Terrine

We loved using Gold’s Cocktail sauce for these “shrimp” dishes. The combination of sweet and tangy flavors with a little kick from the horseradish was just the perfect addition for both of them. But then again, being the ketchup and horseradish addict that I am, I could eat this stuff with a spoon right out of the bottle (can’t say I haven’t done that with their horseradish with beets before). Hope you enjoy it!

Get the recipes for

Tropical Shrimp Cocktail Terrine

Baked Coconut Shrimp

This post was sponsored by Gold’s, all opinions are our own.


 

In the JOK Kitchen with Meatless All Day *Giveaway...

 

March 11th 2014

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Don’t let the name fool you, this book is not just for vegetarians.  For our health and our environment all of us should be eating less meat and this is easier for some than others.  Meatless All Day aims at helping anyone out there trying to incorporate more vegetarian food into their diet with lots of flavorful recipes.  While some of the recipes are vegan even more can be adapted and most of them are perfect for a kosher lifestyle as well.Dina gives tips on how to make your meatless meal more robust/meaty so that even the meat lovers won’t notice.  Give it a shot, we have three recipes to start with that Dina is sharing, read on.

When and why did you become a vegetarian?

I’m actually not a vegetarian; however, most of the meals I eat are meatless. I love cooking and eating vegetarian for many reasons. Among them, I try to eat healthfully and am passionate about designing meals around gorgeous, fresh fruits and vegetables. Plus, I absolutely love beans and lentils and global cuisine (and so many amazing dishes worldwide are vegetarian). Furthermore, meatless cooking is super-convenient, in that I don’t need to constantly run out to the store for fresh meat or fish. It’s also extremely economical. Finally, I feel good that I’m doing my small part towards the health of the planet.

Does your whole family eat meatless all the time? 

No, my family sometimes eats meat or fish. But, like me, most of the meals they eat are vegetarian. Even though my kids are the sons of a cookbook author, their favorite meals are quesadillas, pizza, macaroni and cheese, PB&J, and pasta. My husband tries to watch his cholesterol and eats black bean soup or chili for lunch nearly every day.

What is your earliest memory of cooking?

It’s a toss-up between my creating a chocolate banana smoothie recipe for a school newsletter in the fifth grade and my ransacking my childhood home’s pantry for any sweet ingredients I could find to make peanut butter or thumbprint cookies. I remember being frustrated by the bitter taste of a hunk of baking chocolate—I’d thought it would be as sweet as a candy bar!

Do you cook with your kids now?

Absolutely—whenever they’re up for it! I’m always trying to get them excited about food and to encourage healthy habits in the kitchen. A few of the recipes I make with them include Green Smoothies (a kale, frozen mango, and apple juice smoothie); chunky applesauce; brownies; banana bread; and quesadillas. Nothing too complicated—my boys are only 4 ½ and 6. But I can’t wait until they get older and can accomplish more complicated tasks.

Here’s the recipe for my Green Smoothie (it’s not from my book, so it is a bonus for you).

What is your favorite recipe in the book – can you share it with us? 

Truly, each recipe is like a baby. So it’s difficult to choose. Though, if I had to highlight one, I might say the Beet Wellington with Pinot Noir Sauce. It’s a play on Beef Wellington. My version includes roasted beets, mushrooms, and goat cheese—in a shell of puff pastry. Here’s the recipe  and you can see it pictured above.

For someone who is meatless averse, which recipe do you recommend starting with? 

I would recommend the Whole Wheat Spaghetti with White Bean Balls. The White Bean Balls are more delicious than true meatballs—truly! Your family won’t be able to tell they’re vegetarian. I’m getting hungry just thinking about that recipe! And it’s very easy and healthful!

Most Jewish holidays are traditionally a very meat heavy time, do you have any recommendations of how to limit the meat?

So true—brisket is a mainstay for my extended family. I would go for the Seaweed-Crusted Tofu with Remoulade Sauce.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Meatless All Day published by The Taunton Press in 2014.  Photography by  © 2014 by Kate Sears

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with White Bean Balls

Beet Wellington

Seaweed-Crusted Tofu with Remoulade Sauce

***Giveaway***
How often do you eat meat? Let us know and enter with rafflecopter for your chance to win a copy of Meatless All Day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Kosher Wine For Purim

 

March 10th 2014

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This year we celebrate the holiday of Purim on Saturday March 15, 2015.  As many of you know, the Sunday meal is a festive seudah celebrated with a delicious meal, songs and lots of drinking.  There is a tradition to drink until you can no longer distinguish between Arur Haman and Baruch Mordechai.  While that may be too much for most, it’s nice to know there are some wonderful kosher wines to share at your special meal with close friends and family.

Here are some of the wines we will be celebrating with this Purim:

Freixenet Excelencia Kosher Brut (Spain); $18.  This Spanish sparkling wine (Cava) is Freixenet’s first kosher offering available in the U.S.  Macabeo grapes are selected for this cuvee of delightful complexity, boasting aromas of ripe pear and green apple with crisp acidity on the palate, balancing long and elegant fruity and floral notes.

2011 Dalton Shiraz (Israel); $20.  One year of aging in America oak produced a highly concentrated wine that is dark in color, the nose is intense with black fruit, plums, berries, licorice, and pepper notes. The wine has soft integrated tannins and a long finish.

2010 Borgo Reale Maturo (Italy); $22.  The Borgo Reale Maturo is a red blend of 55% Primitivo and 45% Negroamaro grapes and is a perfect accompaniment to pasta, pizza and other saucy dishes. This makes this wine unique a wine which combines the opulent velvetiness of the great northern Italian wines with southern Italian warmth and earthiness.

Porto Quevedo Ruby Porto (Portugal); $21.  This sweet port wine is a young, deep ruby colored wine, with red fruits bouquet evocative of raspberry, blackberry, and redcurrant. Perfect to pair with chocolate mousse, apple tart, or dates.

 


 

Pockets Of Surprise – DIY Kreplach Recipes

 

March 10th 2014

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With hidden meanings, veiled faces and conspiracy as the theme for the holiday, it is easy to see why kreplach are a favorite food for Purim. Little purses stuff ed with surprise fillings are fun and delicious treats. While homemade kreplach require a bit of effort, they are worth the time spent. I like to use the kreplach in a variety of ways. They are most often served in soups. I also like to crisp them up and add them as “croutons” to salads and to serve them with dipping sauces as hors d’oeuvres.

Braised Short Rib Ravioli

Braised Short Rib Ravioli

To expedite the process of making the kreplach, I like to prepare my fillings in advance and freeze them. I put a lot of flavor into my fillings; I want them to have an assertive flavor. Think about it: a bland or neutral dough will “mask” the flavor a bit, so you need to start with bold spices and quality ingredients. Don’t skimp on browning the meats and fillings. That caramelization adds a layer of flavor that cannot be made up for in the final product.

DIY Cheese pierogies

Cheese and Potato Pierogies

Homemade kreplach dough is silky and easy to work with. But, in a pinch, I reach for wonton skins. They are a good substitute for homemade and freeze beautifully. While homemade kreplach are a bit of a potschke, they are a labor of love and a delicious part of the holiday.

Get my recipes:

Slow Cooked Beef Short Rib Kreplach

Coconut Chicken Curry Kreplach (Samosa)

Cheese and Potato Pierogies

Mishloach Manot Idea Pack two kreplach with dipping sauce in a mini lunch box container.

As seen in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine (Late Winter 2013) – Subscribe Now