Holiday Prep Tip #9 – Always Have Dressings,...

 

September 9th 2014

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

On any given day my fridge is filled with no less than 3 homemade dressings like this Carrot Ginger Dressing or this Caesar Dressing or this Asian Cabbage Salad Dressing or a Mustard Green Bean Dressing.   I make triple and quadruple batches of dressing, store in sealable containers so I am ready to toss at a moment’s notice.  Similarly there is always a bag of Homemade Whole Wheat Croutons (made from my leftover challah) and sliced sundried tomatoes in the fridge alongside sliced scallions and chopped herbs plus all manner of cut up veg (see #5) to ensure an exciting salad is always a possibility.  Also, my favorite spice rubs like this MSG Free Homemade Onion Soup Mix makes making chicken as easy as pie. (Which really is not as easy as making chicken, but you know what I mean.)

Phew OK so these were my top #9 tips for helping yourself with holiday cooking.  Now it’s your turn.  Share the love and post at least 1 tip with all of us in the comments below.



 

Holiday Prep Tip #8 – Time and Place For Day...

 

September 9th 2014

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

With all these prep ahead tips there are still dishes or elements of dishes that should be made day of.  Point here is to pre-prep the patchke stuff and leave the last minute cooking for dishes best served fresh and finishing touches.  I like to think of the day of work as assembly day.  I grab a my already cleaned and cut chicken, already in the baking dish, from the fridge, add a handful of already sliced onions, and rub with my ready-to go homemade rub (see tip #9).

Being organized like this including the essential step of having prepped your veg (ever notice how much longer a beautiful salad takes than a Brisket!) will save you from making each visit to the kitchen epic.

 



 

Holiday Prep Tip #7 – Label, Label, Label

 

September 9th 2014

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

When you freeze label with detail: the dish, the date, and how many it serves. If I know I am having 15 for one meal and 25 for another meal I write “Fricassee for 25” or “Creamy Coconut Carrot Soup for 15”. This way I don’t get confused and pull out Creamy Coconut Carrot Soup for 8 when I am expecting double the number of people.



 

Holiday Prep Post #6 – Cook Thematically

 

September 9th 2014

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

It’s good to organize your cooking and prep work by theme:

Day 1 wash and prep your veg

Day 2 make your soups and stews

Day 3 clean your chickens etc…

This keeps you from switching your cutting boards back and forth from fresh produce to salmonella laden raw animal proteins.  Of course if you are meticulous about cleaning you have nothing to worry about but I find when cooking in bulk, for larger crowds, it’s much easier to quickly rinse a cutting board between cukes and carrots then to have to clean (read scrub) when I am elbow deep in raw chicken.



 

Holiday Prep Tip #5 – Chop, Chop, Chop

 

September 9th 2014

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

Now is when you really earn your sous chef stripes.  (Say that 10 times fast!)  I chop, cut, slice, dice, ribbon, julienne and more about once a week.  I think about my menu and cut accordingly. I often have carrots 3-ways in my fridge: in coins (for roasting and snacking), julienned (for stir fries and starchy sides) and ribboned for salads.

I filet my bell peppers (includes washing and removing the seeds and ribs) and slice them into strips so I can easily grab a bunch and use them as is and/or quickly dice without having to wash and clean.

Fresh chopped parsley lasts in the fridge for at least a week if not 10 days (fab for cooking and garnishing!).  As do sliced onions.  I always have a container of red and container of yellow sliced onions ready and waiting.   Cucumbers in my fridge are both coined and in sticks (easy to dice from, if needed) and grape tomatoes of many colors are always washed and halved, lengthwise.

I keep all of the above in the fridge, separately, in sealable containers, because they each have different shelf lives and combining them only shortens their longevity.  More delicate herbs like basil I pre wash wrap in a damp towel before putting in a sealable container in the fridge.  Most everything should keep for about a week.

Use this tip not just for holiday cooking but for year round as well.  When you get home from shopping, wash, check, peel, cut, and prep all your veg.  Seal and store until you are ready to cook tomorrow, or later in the week.



 

Holiday Prep Tip #4 – Don’t Be Scared...

 

September 9th 2014

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

Now that I live in Israel most meat comes frozen. There are fresh butchers here and there but for the most part I buy my roasts, chop meat, and stew beef, frozen. Similarly whole sides of salmon and fish fillets come frozen. Fishmongers are harder to come by than butchers. And because year-round I don’t have time for a big shop more than once a week I buy lots of fresh chicken – on the bone, in cutlets, in strips, ground – and freeze that as well. This way, I can just shop from my freezer before cooking.



 

Holiday Prep Tip #3 – Organize Your Shopping...

 

September 9th 2014

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

Now that you know your menu, including intended repeats organize your list by shelf stable and fresh produce.  Have you ever noticed that stores start to run out of stuff as the end of the holiday draws to a close?  Of course this is most prevalent on Passover but it happens during the High Holiday season as well.  We usually do 1 BIG and by BIG I mean HUGE shop at the start and then fill in with perishables and last minute items throughout the month.  This way you have everything (or most things) you know you need at the ready.

When you organize your list though, be sure to include any perishables you need for bulk cooking within that first shop.

A well-stocked house is helpful for lots of reasons but I’ll give you two:

1. Should you find yourself with unexpected free time (it does happen!) you can get a jump on things.

2. Ingredients in house keep you from having to call an audible.  You know how we can all get.  As flexible as we wish we were when we have our heart set on making something we want to make THAT and only THAT.  Because not only is THAT important, in fact essential to our menu, but THIS side was reliant on THAT main and once we don’t have THAT we have to also change THIS and then, well you know, it’s just the beginning of the end.



 


 

Holiday Prep Tip #2 – Consider Encore...

 

September 9th 2014

Contributed by:

 

2 comments | Leave Comment

 

When planning your menu, consider your company and time between each holiday meal and don’t shy away from serving the same thing more than once over the course of the month.  Serve the same soup the first night of RH and the first night of Sukkot or the same brisket Shabbos of the 3-day Rosh Hashanah Yom Tov and Shabbos Chol Hamoed (Sukkos).  Point is, don’t make 3 soups, 5 briskets, or even 8 desserts.  Cook in bulk by doubling/tripling/quadrupling recipes that freeze well.

Freeze in portions the size of your crowd and pull from the freezer in advance of the meal.  This way you are not starting from scratch before each holiday.  Alternate your menu based on company (so you don’t repeat food with repeat guests – although that wouldn’t be the worst thing) and proximity of meals.

Click here for my tips on which foods freeze well:

Easy Food Preparations When You Freeze with Ease

Freezer Tips For Your Collection



 

Holiday Prep Tip #1 – Plan Your Menus Now

 

September 9th 2014

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

By now, I mean right now.  Tomorrow is ok (now is better!) but just don’t let it wait a week.  Plan your menu for the entire holiday season at once, the earlier the better, from the first Rosh Hashanah meal to the last Simchat Torah seudah.  Crazy Fact: There are at least 16 meals if you live in Israel and 20 meals if you live outside of Israel.

For help or inspiration (or both!) when it comes to High Holiday menu planning click on the following links:

A South African Rosh Hashanah Menu

A Rosh Hashanah Menu From Kim Kushner

Healthy Holiday Menus Under 600 Calories

Pre-Yom Kippur Menu: Hearty and Filling Foods

How to Break Your Fast

How To Have a Healthy Break The Fast

Mix and Match Sukkot Menus

A Sukkot Menu From Susie Fishbein – With Shopping List

Shemini Atzeret Menu

Simchat Torah Menu

 


 

Fall 2014 Magazine Sneak Peek

 

September 8th 2014

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 


 

DIY Rosh Hashanah Hostess Gift *Giveaway*

 

September 8th 2014

Contributed by:

 

48 comments | Leave Comment

 

Make your own hostess gift or centerpiece. Filled with candy this vase doubles as a gorgeous table decoration and a candy dish filled with edible goodies for the kids.

This year the first night of Rosh Hashanah falls on the night of September 24th, 2014.  A big relief after last year’s early holidays, we have time to plan and prepare.  Still, hopefully we will all get a little break and be invited out for at least one of the meals and that is when this amazing do it yourself hostess gift will come in handy.

This gift idea is so amazing for several reasons.  First, it is really affordable to make and looks absolutely stunning.  Second, it is incredibly easy.  Third, the gift includes flowers for the grown ups and candies for the kids (and grown ups too of course).  There is really something for everyone.

The idea behind this ingenious gift comes to us from Chavi Chase of Pret-a-Partee,  find her here on Facebook and on Instagram.   Here are the instructions:

You will need two glass vases, one that can fit inside the other.

Chavi was able to get a large vase similar to the one pictured here at Michael’s and then found a smaller bud vase at a dollar store!!!  If you are bargain shopper you can make this gift super cheap. For ease you can order this larger vase and this smaller vase both from Michaels.com.

1. Place a glue dot on the bottom of the bud vase.  Chavi used a tape dispenser that has sticky glue on it, called adhesive sticky glue dots and is available at Wal-Mart, Office Depot or any stationary store or online here.

2. Insert the bud vase into the wider vase.

3. Choose your Mike and Ike candies by color if desired, this is where to get the kids involved.  For the design pictured above Chavi chose the Cherry color because it made her think of pomegranates and the apple green color for apples on Rosh Hashanah.

4. Layer your chosen Mike and Ike candies alternating colors as desired, just eyeball, it does not have to be prefect.

5.  Fill the bud vase with water and fresh cut flowers.  Chavi chose these green hydrangeas and red roses to match the colors (Chavi got these beauties at the floral department of Shoprite).

6.  Deliver to your hostess before the holiday so everyone can enjoy the flowers and the candy throughout the holiday.

Instructions and design provided by Chavi Chase of Pret-a-Partee

Photos by Esti Photography

Make your New Year sweeter with this giveaway from Mike and Ike!! Enter to win a candy prize pack below, start by sharing your favorite hostess gift in the comments below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of an ongoing partnership with Mike and Ike.

 


 

Come See Me Demo At Winn-Dixie This Thursday

 

September 7th 2014

Contributed by:

 

5 comments | Leave Comment

 

I am so so so excited to be coming to Florida and to meet all my South Floridian friends.

Catch me on NBC 6 on Wednesday September 10th at 11:30am when I show morning show host Roxy Vargas how to fill and shape individual round challahs stuffed with a variety of sweet holiday treats. And even better, I am personally inviting you to join me LIVE at Winn-Dixie of Tamarac (7015 N. University Drive) on Thursday September 11th at 5:30pm for a demo, tastings and book signing.

I will help get you ready for Rosh Hashanah with a step-by-step demonstration of 4 of my favorite holiday recipes. Oh and I know I already mentioned it, but it’s worth repeating: THERE WILL BE SAMPLES FOR YOU ALL TO TASTE!

Come and learn how to make Apple and Honey-Stuffed Challah, Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs, Sweet Kugel with Dried Fruit, and Deconstructed Apple Pie – get all the recipes plus 16 more in our free downloadable #FreshNewYear eBook here.

BONUS, ALERT, PAY ATTENTION HERE FOLKS: There will be a FREE GIVEAWAY! All attendees will receive a FREE copy of the Rosh Hashanah issue of the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine filled with over 50 recipes including tons of Jewish classic comfort foods.

Can’t wait to see you. (And hug you. You already know I can’t keep myself from hugging.)

Together with the folks at Winn-Dixie we wish you a sweet new year filled with new memories!

Shana Tova.

XOXO.


 

Why You Should Add Leeks To Your Rosh Hashanah...

 

September 5th 2014

Contributed by:

 

2 comments | Leave Comment

 

Everyone knows that Rosh Hashanah is apples and honey time. But there’s a growing tradition to include other symbolic foods on the menu during the High Holiday season — foods that evoke our wishes for G-d to bless and protect us in the year ahead.

Leeks for instance.

Why leeks? Because the ancient Aramaic word for leeks (karsi) sounds like yikarsu, the word for “cut off” or destroy. In the prayer we say after eating leeks we ask for protection against our enemies, that they be “cut off” from us in the year ahead.

Leeks seem particularly significant this troubled, violent year.

And so, with hopes that 5775 will be a fortunate and peaceful one for Jews everywhere, our family will be eating leeks in some form or another at Rosh Hashanah.

Actually, we all love leeks, which are in the onion family, and I cook with them often. Unlike onions though, which I think of as a “seasoning” to add flavor to stocks, soups and sautéed food, I regard leeks as more of a vegetable. I always serve braised leeks at Passover. In the summer I char leeks on my outdoor grill. I make hot soup with leeks in winter, cold soup when the weather turns. I use them in omelets. Serve them as a side dish throughout the year. Mix them with potatoes for my Hanukkah latkes.

One dish that I know will be on my Rosh Hashanah menu is Imam Bayeldi, a Turkish specialty made of braised leeks, eggplant and tomatoes. It tastes wonderful and you can make it ahead and eat it hot, cool or at room temperature. I have even used the leftovers for sandwiches (either with feta cheese or grilled meat).

During the holidays I will also serve my easy 5-Ingredient Leek and Potato soup (one of the 5 ingredients is water!), which can be varied so many different ways that my family likes to guess what I’ve thrown into the pot. This soup can also easily go from pareve to dairy to meat.

Finally, there is sure to be a family favorite, Chicken with Leeks, Parsnips and Mushrooms, another simple, colorful, nourishing and delicious make-ahead entrée.


 

Cooking With Joy: Roasted Asian Veggies

 

September 4th 2014

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 


In late summer, I love to go to my local farmers market and buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of my favorites are beets, carrots, and radishes. The vibrant colors alone are reason enough, but we also really enjoy eating them!

We opted to dress this recipe down and roast the veggies while leaving off the nuts. We figured it would be more family-friendly, since our family is not so into nuts.

Beets and fennel are right up there with some of my favorite things to eat. And while hubs likes most vegetables, his best in this dish are the radishes.

Roasting and caramelizing any vegetable is a great way to bring out its natural sweetness.The addition of this sesame/soy marinade did a great job highlighting the flavors of each vegetable, too.

 Raw Root Vegetable Salad page 109
DRESS IT DOWN Asian Roasted Root Vegetables


 

15 Simanim Inspired Sides and Mains

 

September 3rd 2014

Contributed by:

 

1 comment | Leave Comment

 

When I sat down to write this post I had to take a few minutes to research the many simanim we eat by Rosh Hashanah.  I ended up spending quite a bit of time reading up about the reasons we eat these foods, they are foods we eat all year round but yet their incredible significance is truly seen around Rosh Hashanah.  Foods such as dates and leeks are connected to the destruction of our enemies, pomegranates for increasing our spiritual merit, and carrots for abundance, just to name a few.  Below are 15 sides and mains that prominently featured some of the most well known of the simanim– don’t worry, you won’t find any recipes for fish head or ram’s head below!

 

 

This Sweet Potato and Leek Soup puts leeks, a siman for destroying our enemies, front and center as does the Spicy Sauteed Leeks and Spinach.  If you’re looking for a tzimmes that is chock full of nutrients and is really easy to prepare, try the Sweet Potato and Carrot Bake, Beet Tzimmes or the Tzimmes Stuffed Butternut.  The Katz Tzimmes would make for a hearty and delicious main dish, it has all the traditional favorites including flanken, knaidelach (matzo ball) mix and kishke.

 

 

In Hebrew the word for beans relates to the words many and heart, some people have a tradition of saying a blessing over the beans during the seudah which asks that our spiritual merits be increased and that we will become empowered.  Many people serve black-eyed peas for this purpose, two great recipes are the Brazilian Onion and Garlic Rice with Black Eyed Peas and Black-Eyed Peas with Mustard Greens.

 

 

Similar to black-eyed peas, pomegranates are a siman for increasing spiritual merit.  Try the Pomegranate Glazed Carrots as a side or the Pomegranate Wine Osso Buco as satisfying main dish.  Other ideas include simanim packed sides with pomegranate dressings, such as the Simanim Salad with Pomegranate Balsamic Dressing or the Apple, Fennel & Roasted Beets with Pomegranate Vinaigrette.

 

 

Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs

In Hebrew the word for dates is a play on words which signifies “may our enemies be destroyed”.  Dates and date honey are a delicious and healthy way to add flavor to sides or mains.  Try the Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs, Bulgur with Carrots, Nuts, and Dates or the Roasted Apple Slices with Date Honey (if you don’t use margarine, substitute with coconut oil instead, but use a bit less oil than is called for).

 

Check out more Rosh Hashanah ideas here!