Cooking With Joy: Israeli Appetizers


May 22nd 2014

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As promised I am continuing on with the Israeli recipes. This time I made it a meal by combining some very yummy recipes. Eggplant Caviar, Lemon Lovers Chummus and Falafel Poppers.

When we went to Israel this past winter, I fell in love with eggplant all over again. At every meal that I saw it, I would pile it high on my plate or add it to my schwarma, falafel, you name it. You know that fried brown eggplant yumminess? Just thinking about it makes me hungry.

We don’t bring eggplant into the house all that much because Hubs and the kids aren’t such big fans. So I wasn’t expecting this dish to go over so well. Hubs was pleasantly surprised. I guess it’s the Italian eggplant that is used in this recipe that makes the difference. It has a much milder flavor- dare I say better flavor. This recipe gave me a chance to work on my non existent knife skills- I wanted it to look pretty, even if it was just for us.

Then I made the Chummus. Hubs is a HUGE chummus guy. When he was in Yeshiva in Israel before we got married, he would buy a kilo (2.2 lbs) of chummus and a few pitot, and that would last him a good two days- yes you read correctly 2 days! We usually have a 32oz one in the house and it takes on average a week for us to finish (Hubs is no longer surviving on Yeshiva food). Our five year old has come to expect it at shabbos meals and gets upset if he cant make his turkey and chummus sandwich on shabbos day.

As expected the Chummus went over crazy well with my fam. Both kids and hubs devoured it even before we made our falafel sandwiches. I put some aside to bring to my extended family for shabbos and everyone loved it!

I don’t usually fry things (Chanukahs latkes don’t count), so I am not very aware of the rules of frying. After this rule was explained to me by Hubs, it actually is common sense. MAKE SURE YOUR PAN IS DRY BEFORE ADDING THE OIL. As the oil was heating up it started bubbling and crackling, then giant geysers of oil/water popped up from the pan, it was very dangerous. Anyway….. First batch went into the oil and immediately burnt, second batch came out just right and by the third batch the oil was cold and the falafel took a while to cook.

Eggplant Caviar page 40
DRESS IT UP Eggplant Caviar Crostini

Lemon Lover’s Hummus page 42
DRESS IT UP Tricolor Hummus Trifles

Falafel Poppers with Lemon Sesame Schug page 46
DRESS IT DOWN Falafel Sandwiches

We enjoyed a really tasty Israeli style lunch, all from scratch which made it taste even better!


15 Italian Recipes for Shavuot


May 21st 2014

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Dairy meals are traditionally served on Shavuot because of the connection between the life sustaining properties of the Torah and milk.  Blintzes and cheesecakes are often served along with the favorite, special occasion dairy dishes.  When it comes to choosing certain cuisines, often we are faced with following the dairy or meat versions of the recipes.  This can be a particularly difficult challenge when it comes to Italian cuisine, because dairy is such a central component.  Here are 15 Italian dairy recipes to try this Shavuot.



Caprese Latke

This would not be the time to hop on the 30-day paleo trend, considering that almost all of the following recipes have wheat (Herbed Focaccia and Zucchini Bruschetta) or dairy (Caprese Latkes) in them!  Start light with the Braised and Raw Kale with Pine Nuts or the classic caesar, either the Greek Yogurt Caesar Salad or Curly Endive Caesar.


Gnocchi Mac and Cheese

It’s finally time to put that pasta maker (that you got as a gift last Chanukah) to good use.  The Arugula Pesto looks beautiful on the plate, and tastes even better when you get a bite of salty parmesan, sharp garlic and creamy pine nuts.  Then there is the creamy Pappardelle Pasta with Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce inspired by a recipe from Ottimo restaurant in Lakewood.  Last, but certainly not least, Gnocchi Mac and Cheese, the name screams “cook me now”.



Of course, this meal would not be complete without pizza.  You could try the Classic Margherita Pizza, which is a sure-fire crowd pleaser, or shake things up with the Mediterranean Hummus Pizza.  The Plum and Goat Cheese Flatbreads are not technically pizza, but you’ll be running to wash and make ha’motzi to try these flatbreads.


For dessert there is cheesecake, of course, but after a potentially heavy meal enjoy these Mini Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecakes.  Another individually-sized dessert include the delicious Cannoli Cups with Chocolate Raspberry Drizzle or fight for a slice of Spongata (Double Crusted Honey Nut Pie).

Check out all of our Shavuot recipes here!





May 21st 2014

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Zucchini Egg Soup

Missing ingredient: 2 eggs


Kosher Traditional Brazilian Recipes


May 21st 2014

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Ask Us: Hi When I am going to see some Brazilian recipes in your magazine/website? I Would love to have a kosher version of feijoada, for example…


This was a tough one, but a fun one.  When I looked up Feijoada and found that is a black bean stew filled with all kinds of smoked and pickled meats usually of the pork variety I knew it was going to be a challenge to recreate.   And I didn’t want to stop at just one dish for all of you.  So I enlisted a friend, Chef Tami Weiser of The Weiser Kitchen to help create a full Kosher Brazilian feast.  I got the Feijoada, she got the sides and dessert.

Starting with the feijoada I researched and what I found was that anything goes with Feijoada.  Every one has their own version and it reminded me a lot of cholent.  I was initially going to try it for Shabbat lunch, but was nervous to have it cook quite so long for the first try and it is also good for a late Friday night when the food has to sit on a warmer for hours.  I read about many versions of the dish, the only constant was smokey meat and serving it with orange slices.

My version of Kosher Feijoada was made with Jack’s kosher chorizo, pickled corned beef, ribs and more.  It was filling, but not as heavy as cholent and very good served over rice with orange slices as it was recommended.  You are supposed to serve it with Collard greens, but I don’t love those greens and I couldn’t find them that day so I went with Sauteed Garlicky Kale, which was a perfect match.

When I shared my effort on Instagram, I got quite the response.  Looks like we got a lot of Brazilians over there.  I had read about Farofa and really want to try making it, but have yet to find the Manioc meal to make it, despite all the comments that it is easy to find kosher, so if any of you can share your recipe and a picture, submit it here.  They also recommended enjoying a Caipirinha, a Brazilian cocktail made with Cachaca, a sugar cane liquor somewhat like Rum, the drink is made with lime and sugar, but for me is just missing the mint (I am a mojito girl).

Brazilian style rice and black eyed peas

Tami made a special Brazilian Garlic and Onion Rice with Black Eyed Peas.  You can make it without the black eyed peas if serving with the Feijoda or with the beans for a complete vegetarian meal aside the collards.  Either way it is a traditional Brazilian recipe in it’s own right made with red palm oil, a staple in Brazilian cooking, but the real flavor comes from the garlic and onions.

slow cooked greens, brazilian style

She also shares here recipe for Slow Cooked Greens. This version uses a twist on refogato–a mixture of finely processed onions, garlic and peppers, Brazil’s version of the sofrito paste that is the hallmark of other Latino and Mediterranean cuisines, and in this dish, it’s truly yummy. This is what layering flavors is all about. It would be perfect alongside the feijoada.

 Brazilian coconut truffle cupcake

For dessert I had a lot of recommendations for fried bananas and those would be yummy any time, but Tami wanted to go all out and made these Brazilian Style Coconut Truffle Cupcakes.

We hope our Brazilian fans enjoy these recipes and encourage you all to comment and share your versions of these and other Brazilian dishes.  We also hope that we inspire others to try some Brazilian recipes, invite some friends and have a Carnaval anytime.

Click here to read about how one family is keeping kosher in Salvador, Brazil.



What Does All Natural Mean On A Food Label?


May 20th 2014

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Ask Us: I went to purchase an Osem consommé. And was pleased to find “all natural” on the jar front. When I looked at the ingredients, I found a GMO item listed. How can that product be considered all natural and are GMO items really considered kosher, and if so, how?


There is no standard definition nor any regulation for the term “natural” as found on a product as a health claim. While it can’t be used in the actual ingredient list (aside from “natural flavorings”), the USDA allows the term to be used on products that contain no added colors or artificial ingredients, and have only minimal processing. The FDA allows products to advertise as “natural” if they do not contain added color, artificial flavorings or synthetic substances. Using this definition it appears that genetically modified foods would not be considered “natural”. However, because there is no regulation of genetically modified foods, and terminology is so vague, many companies have been getting away with this very type of confusing labeling for a while. This has prompted citizen activism to promote labeling regulations and require GMO labeling, with lawsuits and their implications being decided sometime this year.

As for the Kashrus of genetically modified foods, there doesn’t seem to be a problem in that regard. Representatives of both the OU and COR responded that while GM foods may be a health issue, they leave that to the FDA and CFIA (in Canada) to decide. Once a food meets compliance with the FDA and USDA regulations, Kashrus certifiers will ensure only that the food meets kosher regulations.

You can learn more about GMO’s and their connection to Kosher in the following articles:

Are GMO’s Kosher –

Why GMO Foods Should Not Be Considered Kosher – Jewcology




Ricotta Recipes For Shavuot Link Up


May 19th 2014

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We only eat meat about once or twice a week in my house.  I am not sure when it happened, but over the years we just gravitated to a more vegetarian lifestyle.  We all like a good steak and we enjoy burgers and hot dogs and stews and roasts, we are true omnivores, we just limit our meat.  I think that keeping kosher actually pushes many of us in one direction or the other.  If we are eating pasta we tend to go dairy so we can have our Parmesan cheese, while non kosher keepers don’t think that way.  Plus I have a small kitchen and only one sink, so I prefer to just stay on the dairy side of things most of the time.

Now that it is time to start planning for Shavuot it should be easy for me, but I like to find new things, different foods, something elevated that I don’t cook all year.  That is how I ended up with these two dishes perfect for the holiday, both using ricotta cheese.


Butternut Squash Gratin

Butternut Squash Gratin

Ricotta, like all cheese is a great source of protein and calcium.  I used a small amount to add a rich creaminess to this Butternut Squash Gratin without as much fat as heavy cream.  Ricotta is high in fat and calories, but it is also filled with vitamins and nutrients and a little goes a long way.  For the gratin, the roasted squash and ricotta are a match made in heaven, but what really make this dish is the oyster mushrooms, get them at an Asian market for the best prices.


Chocolate Chip Mini Ricotta Cheese Cakes

I was actually never a real fan of ricotta until I found fresher and good quality ricotta first from Stew Leonards and then from Natural and Kosher.  The freshness makes a huge difference to the point that I would now eat it out of the container.  I am not really a cheesecake fan either, but these little bites are perfect for me.  They help with portion control and are low in sugar, especially if you go light or stay away from the extra chocolate.  Each one is less than 80 calories, a perfect way to end your Shavuot meal.



How To Bake Cookies Without Margarine


May 16th 2014

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Ask Us: I hate using margarine – do you have any cookie recipes using oil?


I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like, but being kosher, I’ve always had a hard time with cookie recipes that call for butter. I like to keep my cookies pareve (so I can eat them any time), but I don’t like to use margarine. I once read that margarine is molecularly equivalent to plastic – and I believe it! So what’s a kosher cookie-loving gal to do?

Well for one, lets start by understanding what butter contributes to the baking process. Many recipes require the “Creaming Method” where solid fat is creamed with the sugar before adding the other ingredients. This method incorporates the maximum amount of air bubbles into the recipe which causes the product to rise and gives it a lighter, tender crumb. Butter also enhances the flavor of the end product.

Recipes that call for liquid fat (such as oil or melted butter) require the “Muffin Method” where ingredients are mixed together until well combined. Less air is incorporated, resulting in a denser product.

When a pastry recipe is developed, the method of mixing is carefully chosen to result in a lighter or denser product. Therefore, recipes that require solid butter (the creaming method) are not interchangeable with recipes that require oil (the muffin method). So if a recipe calls for solid butter, you can only substitute with another solid fat, such as margarine (no thank you), shortening (I’ll pass), or coconut oil (my favorite!). On the other hand, if a recipe calls for melted butter, you may only substitute with another melted fat, such as a neutral flavored oil like canola, or melted coconut oil.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to butter or margarine, coconut oil is the way to go. It is similar to butter in that it can be used as a solid or melted fat. Since it can be used in recipes using both the creaming and the muffin methods, it is the most ideal healthy kosher substitute for butter in cookie recipes. While coconut oil does have a slight coconut flavor, I have not found it to be noticeable in baked goods. The only downside to using coconut oil is that it can be pricey.

Now that you understand the science behind the baking process, feel free to substitute solid coconut oil for butter in recipes that use the creaming method. If you’d prefer to make recipes that only require the quick and easy muffin method (no mixer needed!), then try out the following recipes that use melted fat:

Happy Baking!


Cheesey Jalapeno Corn Muffins Made Easy


May 15th 2014

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How do you take ordinary corn muffins and turn them into something extraordinary with only one extra ingredient? Use a Jalapeno Cilantro cheese from Sincerely Brigitte.

I want to disclose that this post and recipe is part of a partnership with Sincerely Brigitte, a new gourmet flavored cheese company.  If you missed my introduction and your first two chances to win a cheese sampler pack don’t worry, go here and enter there will still be two more winners, cause we are giving one away every Thursday in May.

Now that you know more about the cheese I want to share my new muffin recipe.  These muffins have just the right amount of kick for the whole family to enjoy.  They would go particularly well along side a vegetarian chili, but I also really like them for breakfast.  I used a mix of whole wheat flour and whole grain corn meal, they are low in sugar and can be made with any kind of healthy oil.

If you really like spice you can add even more fresh jalapeno, but the flavors of the cilantro and jalapeno that come through with the cheese was enough for all but my crazy 8 year old that can’t get enough of the hottest hot sauce and it means I didn’t have to get my fingers all spiced up chopping a jalapeno.

Here is my recipe for Whole Grain Cheesey Jalapeno Corn Muffins.

Jalapeno Cilantro Cheesey Corn Muffins



Cooking With Joy: Lachmagine (Moroccan Mini Meat...


May 15th 2014

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When staring into the freezer section of my local supermarket searching for frozen pizza rounds- I found so many I couldn’t decide so I bought two different packages. A six pack of 7 inch whole wheat pizza rounds (say that three times fast), and a package of 48 -3 inch regular white pizza rounds. That way I had options whenever the mood struck.  See these even say perfect for lachmagine, but you can also make your own doughs with this recipe for Lachmagine that includes a different meat recipes and the dough.

The only time I have had prune butter, it was referred to as Lekvar, and the only time I had ever heard of it being used was for filling Hamentaschen.  I decided I should taste it before mixing in with all the other ingredients. Boy was it pruny! If you are not into prunes you probably should just taste the finished product cuz it might throw you off a little. Luckily prunes are not one of those things I “don’t do”.

Some of the things that I “don’t do” are gefilte fish, hard boiled eggs, walnuts, fish that smells like fish, or ground poultry. Yeah you are probably thinking that I might have a problem with making some of the things in the book- you are probably correct.

That’s part of why I am doing this exercise of COOKING MY WAY THROUGH AN ENTIRE COOKBOOK (yikes)! It’s to experience foods (even just once) that I would otherwise not ever taste. Hubs says there is nothing not worth tasting once.

So enough with that tangent and back to the making of Lachmagine!

Anita’s Lachmagine (Miniature Ground Beef Pies) page 38
DRESS IT UP Pine Nut Lachmagine with Parsley Tahini

I combined the meat, tomato paste, prune butter, onions and salt in a bowl, then started squeezing the lemon into the bowl with a great little trick I learned- squeeze the lemon with the cut side up towards your fist so the pits don’t fall into the food. This is a great trick usually or maybe I was just too overeager- but the lemon juice decided to spray all over the counter and cookbook- Woo Hoo first stain on my new cookbook! May this be the first of many!

I decided to “make it a meal” and use the 7inch rounds. After shmearing the sweet meaty deliciousness on them I still had some left over, so I used six of the 3 inch rounds. Note to self : frozen pizza rounds are very cold!

They smelled spectacular while baking- I almost couldn’t hold myself back.

I ate 2 of the mini’s as soon as the steam subsided and man were they good! Hubs was out, but I decided to be nice and leave him some too. I thought for sure that the mini’s would go over great with the kiddos, but not so much.

Hubs and I ate the big ones for dinner with a simple light cucumber dill salad. I wouldn’t recommend using the whole wheat as it dried out. I know I wasn’t supposed to use whole wheat anyway- but hey, that’s the Nurse in me trying to be healthy.

Next up while still on this Sephardic binge is Eggplant Dip, Hummus and Falafel Poppers. See yah then!


15 Vegetarian Recipes for Memorial Day


May 14th 2014

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The newest issue of Joy of Kosher Magazine is out and it’s full of amazing vegetarian recipes.  Memorial Day is coming up, and taking a cue from this month’s issue, I was inspired to find some of our best vegetarian, yet barbecue appropriate recipes perfect for this national day of remembrance.  You’ll notice that every recipe carries the barbecue theme by roasting or grilling some aspect of the dish, providing those classic summer flavors with no need to serve meat.



Salad Stuff Portobellos

Grilling vegetables is a great way to re-imagine classic summer salads.  The portobellos in the Salad Stuffed Grilled Portobellos provide a deep, rich flavor and make a great substitute for meat.  You’ll love the bright pops of color that the Grilled Eggplant with Pomegranate Sauce and the Roasted Summer Vegetables with Horseradish Aioli bring to your table.  And for a heavier salad, try the Grilled Orzo Salad.


Craving those classic hamburger and hotdog buns? You can enjoy those beloved carbs in a variety of different ways whether its as the main focus of the dish in the Linguini Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad or the California-Style Grilled Pizzetta.  Or make vegetables the main focus  with Peas with Ricotta and Mint on Grilled Crostini or Vegan Portobello Tacos.


Grilled Salmon over Lentil Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

One of the simplest pleasures in life is beautifully prepared, fresh fish.  Grilling or roasting fish is a great way to focus on the freshness and quality of your main ingredient.  Take salmon to the next level with Grilled Salmon over Lentil Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette or turn a fish course into a whole meal with the Halibut Salad with Avocado, Tomato, Olives and Egg with Herb-Garlic Toasts.  Feeling adventurous–Try the Miso Glazed Black Cod or the Grilled Blackened Barramundi Sandwich.


Pavlova with Grilled Pineapple

For dessert, why not take advantage of in season fruit by throwing it on the grill and topping it with your favorite ice cream.  Choose your preferred fruit based on what’s available where you live, but a few ideas include Grilled Nectarines with Ginger Cream, Pavlova with Grilled Pineapple and Grilled Angel Food Cake with Peaches.


How To Cut a Pineapple – Step By Step...


May 14th 2014

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Ask Us:What is the best way to cut pineapple?


Pineapple is a sweet and juicy tropical fruit low in calories and rich in vitamin C, manganese and copper.  Additionally, pineapple has been shown to improve gum health and digestion and to decrease macular degeneration.  It is a beautiful fruit, but not the easiest to cut.  Here is my step by step guide to cut a pineapple.

1 sharp knife (serrated, chef or Santoku)
1 cutting board


1. Remove top and bottom of pineapple

2. Slowly remove the pineapple’s skin by running a knife down the edge

3. Find the core in the center of the fruit

4. Remove the flesh around the core in four large pieces

5. Dice or chop the flesh to your desired consistency

Now that you know how to cut a pineapple, and why it’s good for you, how will you eat it?  If you’re looking for a great new way to use pineapple, here’s a recipe for my favorite healthy green smoothie.

Click here for my recipe for Healthy Green Smoothie.


Homemade Graham Crackers Make The Best S’...


May 13th 2014

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It is finally warming up a bit, with warm days and cool nights, it is the perfect season to be outside and enjoy a nice bonfire.  Luckily, it is also going to be Lag Baomer next Sunday when bonfires are abundant.  Learn more about the history of Lag Baomer and ways to celebrate.  I know I like to celebrate with S’mores.  Nothing quite says Summer like toasted marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between sweet and crunchy graham crackers.  The only way to improve upon this camping staple is to make your own graham crackers.

Graham crackers have always been considered a more healthy type of cookie mostly because they are generally lower in sugar than most other cookies.  Originally they were made with graham flour which is a white flour that had bran and germ added back to it for flavor.  The original version had little or no sugar and was more like a cracker, but at some point sugar or honey was added.  Nowadays, most graham crackers are mostly made from white flour with some graham flour used, but if you make your own you will see that using 100% whole wheat flour actually improves the end result.

Once you make your own you will not want to go back to the store bought variety.  These are healthier and can be adjusted with your favorite flavors, like I have added cinnamon and nutmeg for a little zing.  You can roll them a little thicker if you want a chewier texture or thinner to get them more like the ones you are used to.  Either way, they will create the best S’mores you ever had, unless you want to try your hand at making your own marshmallows too!!

Get the full recipe for Homemade Whole Wheat Graham Crackers.


Shavuot Magazine Sneak Peek *Giveaways*


May 12th 2014

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It’s in the air — that intangible feeling that summer is just around the corner.  As I write I am counting down the days, literally, to Shavuos and to
the start of summer.  You’re gonna wanna count with me, I promise.

Shavuot literally means “weeks” and is the culmination of a 49-day countdown that began with Passover. On Shavuot we celebrate the gift of the Torah and of course we’ll help you enJOY in good taste with Fresh Fashion Pasta (p.37), an Indian Feast (p.51), Crepe Bar (p.64) and my personal favorite… Gourmet Grilled Cheese (p.76) (I am just so completely gaga over these flavor combos)!

After Shavuos we unofficially count the days until school lets out (it’s not a religious thing, just a family thing).  And when summer officially hits so does our Summer Subscriber Celebration.

Exclusive to magazine subscribers, during the months of July and August we will be raffling off thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes to our ever loyal
subscribers (YOU!) with surprise raffles (YAY!).  From brand-name cookware, Dutch ovens, cookbooks (MINE + MORE!), pizza stones, blenders,
pasta makers, gourmet food packages, and kitchen gadgets, surprise presents will be shipped to our lucky subscribers (YOU AGAIN!) all summer long. So take advantage of our super subscription specials, and don’t sleep on this.

I’d say it’s time to count and celebrate and count again, don’tcha think?!


Recipes with Swiss Chard


May 12th 2014

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We proclaimed chard to be the new kale and share the best Potato Chard Blintzes in the magazine.  Look here for more ways to use the healthy leafy green.


Gifts, Gadgets and Giveaways


May 12th 2014

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A selection of gadgets we used to make the recipes in the magazine. Versatile and unique and make great gifts for you or someone else.

Disclosure: Many of the links on this page are part of the amazon affiliate program, which means we make a small percentage if you buy something.  We only recommend products we believe in.

IMUSA PANINI PRESS The IMUSA Panini Press allows you to make restaurant-quality Panini – as well as grilled sandwiches, vegetables, and wraps! This Panini press is also a great travel companion for the kosher traveler. We  take it everywhere we go with a loaf of bread and some cheese, buy fresh vegetables on the road  and make gourmet feasts no matter where we are.  Check out the phenomenal grilled cheese bar on page 76.

***Giveaway***Win this  panini press!

Share your favorite grilled cheese or pressed sandwich with us. Email with your favorite combos to be entered  into the contest.

KITCHEN AID PASTA ATTACHMENTS Kitchen Aid has a range of pasta attachments which provide a surefire way to  make superb pasta at home. Simply feed  the pasta dough into the machine and out comes perfectly rolled pasta. Available  in a set of six pasta attachments, which includes a pasta roller, capellini cutter,  lasagna cutter, fettuccine cutter, spaghetti  cutter, and ravioli maker; you can also purchase each attachment separately to customize your needs. Check out page 36 for  a variety of homemade pasta flavors. Visit for more information.  

CUTCO CHEESE KNIFE CUTCO’s interpretation of the cheese knife  is designed to glide through a variety of cheeses. The blade perforations prevent the cheese from sticking and the rounded tip is great for spreading soft  cheese. Also handy for use beyond just cheese. Used in our mouthwatering grilled cheese bar pg. 76. Free knife sharpening. Call Cutco at 1-800-623-8323. 

KUHN RIKON VEGGIE PEELERS These fun, functional vegetable peelers look like the vegetables they’re designed to peel. Set includes a serrated tomato peeler, a straight-bladed potato peeler and a julienne-bladed carrot peeler. We used it for the fresh basil salad on page 42. 


Exclusive to Joy of Kosher magazine subscribers During the months of July & August we will be raffling off thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes to our loyal subscribers with surprise raffles. From brand-name cookware sets, Dutch ovens, cookbooks, pizza stones, blenders, pasta makers, gourmet food packages, and kitchen gadgets, surprise gifts will be shipped out to lucky subscribers of Joy of Kosher magazine throughout the summer. Take advantage of our subscription specials and sign up today to be part of this fun giveaway.