A Thanksgiving Kishke


November 19th 2013

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There’s a romantic relationship we seem to have with food, even the simplest food. Kishke, the simple stuffed gut is an Eastern European dish that I assume came from the poverty stricken communities in Eastern Europe.

When it comes to tying traditions together, like Thanksgiving and Chanukah, we turn to that romance and come up with recipes and a menu that combines the best of both worlds and a Thanksgiving Kishke is simply delicious. I’d never suggest skipping an actual stuffing at the Thanksgiving table, but if you’re making Friday night dinner the next day, this might be a good way to go. It’s oh-so-simple and you can either bake it in the oven or slow cook it in a soup or stew.

When I came up with this recipe for the first time, I was amazed at how easy it all came together. I was surprised that I had never thought of it before, and I was surprised how well the seasonal vegetables and turkey broth married with the traditional kishke.

So this Thanksgivukkah, elevate that simple kishke and share it with the people you love.  Here is my recipe for Thanksgiving Kishke.


Chocolate Gelt For Grown Ups *Giveaway*


November 19th 2013

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Chocolate Gelt is all grown up and dressed up and it has plenty of places to go.

Veruca Chocolates is now making their specialty, hand crafted Hanukkah gelt with CRC kosher certification.  Veruca Chocolates was started by Heather Johnston, a pediatrician who got frustrated with the medical system and was looking to add some sweetness to her life.  She wandered into a chocolate making class and fell in love with the craft of the chocolatier.  Heather began creating high quality artisanal chocolates that seduce the eye as well as the palate.

Although only the chocolate gelt products are kosher certified at this time, Heather assures me it’s just a matter of time before all her incredible treats are under supervision. 

Last year, Heather began molding her fine chocolates after an actual Judean coin dating back to the 4th decade BCE, she then finishes them with edible gold or silver dust. No more foil packages!  These chocolates come in three varieties, 64% Dark with Cacao Nibs, 64% Dark with Sea Salt and a Milk Chocolate variety.  All are absolutely delicious and gorgeous.

Since getting these gelt I couldn’t help but use them in almost every holiday photo I have taken.  Dont’ they make any table look ready for Hanukkah? Take out your dreidel and get ready to play, this new Hanukkah gelt will have everyone rooting for gimel.

Don’t miss out and get your Hanukkah Sampler Pack today, Click Here.

***Giveaway***  Veruca is also giving you the chance to win a sampler pack!!!  Enter with Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Stuffing Latkes and Link Up


November 18th 2013

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In some circles (very small circles) I am known as the Stuffing Queen.  It’s not the kind of moniker you get etched into a gold necklace or printed on a tee, but from early September to late November every year, it makes me pretty popular.  When I first began hosting family for holidays, I served a wild mushroom stuffing on Rosh Hashanah and Thanksgiving that is now become an annual family tradition. 

On the days leading up to the holiday, I would buy a really nice loaf of bread (none of that pre-sliced stuff) and I would cut into medium sized cubes that I would leave out on the countertop for a day or two to go stale.  These nice big chunks of bread you can only get by cutting it yourself, so take out your battle axe or bread knife and start whacking.  After you think you have finished cooking the stuffing, either in the bird or separately in a pan, place the stuffing in the oven uncovered for about 15 minutes before serving to get the top layer nice and crispy.

Over time I adapted the recipe to take advantage of any kind of bread readily available (usually I go whole wheat, but rye or pumpernickel are great, too), other kinds of fruits or vegetables (like apples, celery and sage), and sometimes even an addition of a smoked or cured meat, like sausage or pastrami.  You really can’t go wrong with stuffing, by adding veggies and using multigrain bread, it can even be healthy.

When it came time to come up with a new recipe for Hanukkah this year, which just so happens to fall on Thanksgiving, I knew Stuffing Latkes would be my legacy.  You can make these delicious stuffing latkes with any stuffing recipe and they can be baked or fried.  You can save these for Friday night and remake your leftover Thanksgiving stuffing in the most delicious way!

Get my recipe for Apple Sage Stuffing Latkes here.



My New Favorite Turkey and Stuffing Recipes


November 18th 2013

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I will now share with you one of my absolutely NEW favorite recipes – Sour Mash Whiskey-Glazed Whole Roasted Turkey.  I love this recipe and picture so much that I wanted it to be the cover of my new cookbook JOY of KOSHER: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes (William Morrow/HarperCollins 2013).  (Please buy your copy and gift copies, now!  And if you already did – THANK YOU!)   I was out voted only because it said “Thanksgiving” and was not “universal” enough.  I get that – but still wanted it.

There is a story behind this bird that didn’t make the book – it was cut for space – but I am happy to have all the space in the world to share it here.

So it was Wednesday at around 12:40 P.M.

I Scooted out of my office…

on a day packed with meetings to grab my favorite lunch, Greek Salad (If you have the book I have a Fancy and Fresh Greek Pasta Salad with Creamy Feta dressing on page 135). And I’m waiting on line at the take-out counter, schmoozing on the phone with my friend Hadassah (you all remember “H” she used to work here at JoK). I tell her that I’m really worried. Hadassah wouldn’t pry, but let’s say she prodded me gently, and I blurted out emotionally and rather loudly that I just don’t know what to do with my brisket! Okay, so a few people turned to look at me and sort of edged away.

Listen, when you write cookbooks, that’s a serious, troubling question. I had already done the wine thing, the beer thing, the broth thing, and lots of other things.

“Try bourbon,” she piped.

“Bourbon! Of course!” I shouted. And more people kinda shuffled away from me.

So when I got home, I tried bourbon on that brisket, and while it was good, I thought it would be better on a turkey. Hubby got in on the action, and the result was downright perfect. We called Hadassah. She came over just to confirm what we already knew, and we now had three adults lickin’ their fingers just like little kids.


This fabulously versatile recipe can be Dressed Down for a weeknight dinner by pouring the same Sour Mash Whiskey-Glaze over turkey or chicken wings and drumsticks.

Now a Turkey ain’t complete without a little stuffing.  This is another one of my favorite recipes.  (Is it possible to have 200 new favorites?), Cranberry Chestnut and Challah Stuffing.  I make tons and tons and tons of stuffing both in the bird and on the side baked up in a casserole dish.  The secret to this stuffing is the Challah and Gefen’s Whole Roasted & Peeled Chestnuts.  They are everywhere now.  When I was in Philly last week I saw them at both Whole Foods and Giant Supermarket and they are avail on amazon in addition to all the kosher stores.

And watch this how-to-make, where-have-you-been-all-my-life, Challah Stuffing.  Hadassah and Tamar helped me here. 

And exclusively in the book and now excerpted online here my Dress It Up Stuffed Baked Onions.  This beauty of a recipe is perfect for all your entertaining occasions.

 stuffed baked onions

• Stuffed Baked Onions •
Serve the stuffing in baked onions.
Peel 5 medium red onions and 5 medium yellow onions and trim the bottoms so the onions can stand upright. Trim about ½ inch from the top and scoop out all but 2 or 3 layers from the inside using a melon baller or small paring knife. Bake the onions at 440°F, covered, in a baking dish with ½ inch water for 30 minutes. While the onions are baking, prepare the stuffing as on page 80. When the onions are done, pour out the water from the pan, then lightly spray it with cooking spray. Fill each onion with about 3 heaping tablespoons of stuffing, mounding it on top a bit. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake, uncovered, until heated through and golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. While the onions are baking, spoon the remaining stuffing into a greased casserole dish. Cover and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. After the stuffing has been cooked and cooled, you can freeze it in a tightly sealed container. To serve, thaw and bring to room temperature before warming in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes. If you want to prepare only enough stuffing for the 10 onions, quarter the main stuffing recipe.

If you tried these recipes and loved them or tried and loved any new divine dishes from my new cookbook JOY of KOSHER: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes (William Morrow/HarperCollins 2013) please let me know in the comments.


My Upcoming Live and TV Appearance Schedule


November 15th 2013

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So here you will find the 411 on what I am up to next week in New York. Come see me in person – I would love to sign your book and hug you!  If you live too far away or can’t make it, please tune into to watch me on TV!!  (or at least set your DVR!)

The Business of Wisdom with with Dr. Alvin Augustus Jones

Monday November 18, 2013


Broadcast WCBQ-AM 1340 -WHNC-AM 890 and Dralvin.com


Tuesday November 19, 2013


Chabad Jewish Center of NW Bergen County

Call for address and details: 201.848.0449


I’ll be demoing tons of my new recipes and signing books. Watch and learn as I prepare dishes such as …

Eggplant Caviar Crostini

Scallion Cornbread Muffins

Cranberry Couscous Squash Bowls


Wednesday November 20th


CBS New York: The Couch

I’ll be making some holiday and every day recipes from my new cookbook.

Shalom America with Phil Fink

Wednesday November 20, 2013

1:30pm – get more info here

The Too Jewish Radio Show

Wednesday November 20, 2013

2:oo pm

This show i syndicated throughout Arizona and podcast on the web through iTunes and at www.TooJewishRadio.com

The More Music Morning Show with Al Gordon

Thursday November 21, 2013


Wednesday November 27th

FOX 5: Good Day New York

I’ll be cooking up some holiday favorites.

Monday November 25th


Grand & Essex Market

89 New Bridge Rd, Bergenfield, NJ 07621


I’ll be demoing and signing books.  Join me as I prepare recipes such as..

Lemon Lovers Hummus and Tricolor Hummus Trifles

Pistachio, Almond and Sea Salt Chocolate Bark and Kiddie Candy Bark

And mark your calendars now.  My full Hanukkah special will be airing around the country around the country on Create and local PBS stations.  Create will air the show on 11/30 at 11:30AM & 11:30PM, and 12/1 at 5:30PM.  For PBS air dates and times check your local listings.  Click play above for a preview.


Edible Holiday Gift Ideas


November 14th 2013

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I love presents! I love giving presents. I love figuring out the perfect present. I love seeing the smile on peoples face when they receive the present. Perhaps that is why I make giftware for a living!

It is truly better to give than to receive. And so whenever I am invited to be someone’s guest, I feel it is appropriate to show up with gift in hand. Living in a large, hospitable community I have ample opportunities to exercise my gift giving passion. But frequency comes with a price. And although I specialize in giftware, I am like the shoemaker whose children go shoeless. I rarely feel comfortable just giving my own creations.  So what is an appreciative guest to do?

I have always liked being a bit different. To come up with something unique can be a challenge.

I no longer ask what I can buy, but what I can make. Especially when an invitation is to a Shabbat meal, not everyone has time to make elaborate gifts, but there are plenty of easy and unique edible gifts that are quick.

I was recently treating myself to a manicure erev Rosh Hashana, (I hardly ever do my nails, because I work with my hands all day!) When my 22 year old daughter’s, second grade teacher had the same idea.  As we were catching up on life and children, she mentioned to me that she has always remembered that my daughter gave her homemade treats for a teacher’s present. She commented that she had just had a conversation with a mom who complained that she didn’t have enough money to buy all the teachers gifts, and this former 2nd grade teacher informed the mom, that one of her favorite gifts were from a student, (my daughter), who baked her own edible treats herself and added a beautiful thank you note.

While you can’t always know what will compliment the host’s efforts, usually a sweet treat is a safe and appreciated option. A close friend of mine in New York first introduced me to this, no cook, no mess, hassle free, yummy treat. I have added craisins to this free measuring recipe. There are never leftovers! And I am always asked for the recipe. Wrap these babies in a cellophane bag with a ribbon or on a glass platter and you have the perfect edible gift!  These are great for teacher and co-worker gifts during the holidays.

Try my favorite, go to recipe for White Chocolate Pretzel Chunks.  Served on my favorite Swirl Design Platter and it really is the perfect gift.  Now for a limited time I am offering you 20% Off your entire Swirl order so you can get all the gifts on your list.  Visit www.swirlgifts.com place your order and enter joyofkosher in the coupon box.  Offer expires 11/21.

In last year’s Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Hanukkah Magazine they shared another great edible gift idea.  Hand out small jars of sugar or salt for guests to take home as a party favor.

 Sugar & Spice

Lemon Kissed Salt



A Brunch Hanukkah Party Menu


November 13th 2013

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We have shared tons of recipes for Hanukkah, new recipes for Thanksgivukkah and tons of Hanukkah menus and table ideas.  The other day, someone on facebook asked for menu ideas for a day time party.  She said they were having a family get together the Sunday after Thanksgiving and were going to be having lunch, what did we suggest.  I realized that we never shared a menu for people to use during the day.  Most people stay together for a Hanukkah party so they can light candles together, but that doesn’t work for everyone and some people need to get their kids home and to bed early (I remember those days).  Some people might even call everyone over for a lunch and then family can stay through to light candles and still get home for dinner.   So, let’s thank our Facebook friend for reminding me to share this menu.  My feeling is that most of the daytime parties will be on Sunday, which means brunch goes all day.  And since latkes are always in order, a brunch menu is perfect.  Latkes go so well with eggs and/or smoked salmon, the possibilities are endless.

Honestly, I can’t decide, so here are a couple options…

Menu 1

This is a latin inspired meal combining the influences of Spain and Mexico, I would lay out a platter of tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole.  Maybe some plantain chips if desired and if you can even add on cheese or fake meat empanadas if desired.  Then serve..

Potato Pancakes with Guacamole and Poached Eggs

Potato Pancakes with Guacamole and Poached Eggs

Tilapia Ceviche with Mango

Tilapia Ceviche with Mango

Cucumber And Black Bean Salsa Salad

Cucumber And Black Bean Salsa Salad

Don’t leave out the festive drink – this one can be made without alcohol too.

Sparkling Mango Strawberry Sangria

Sparkling Mango Strawberry Sangria

And for a twist on traditional doughnuts, try the Churro.


Churros with Chocolate Dip

Menu 2

This menu is a more classic brunch stepped up a bit.  You could easily just serve your favorite potato latke with smoked salmon on top.  If you haven’t had it before, you will wonder what took you so long.  For this menu you could leave out a platter of crudites, some nice vegetables with dip, like this Blue Cheese Dip.  Maybe some olives and pickles too or even a hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip with french bread.

Herb Potato Fritters with Smoked Atlantic Salmon & Watercress

Herb Potato Fritters with Smoked Atlantic Salmon & Watercress


Egg White Frittata with Tomatoes, Spinach, and Mushrooms

Go with a simple mimosa for the beverage of choice with this meal.



Make sure to put on a rich pot of coffee and serve with these sweet doughnuts.

Peanut Chew Doughnut

Peanut Chew Doughnut

Have a very happy Hanukkah!!!




Day in Jerusalem – Hanukkagiving


November 13th 2013

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A new phrase has been “coined” this year “Thanksgivukkah” as a way of describing the rare occurrence of Hanukka and Thanksgiving falling out on the same weekend. Considering that Hanukka begins first and lasts longer, I have decided to refer to it as Hanukkagiving.  So you might think this would have been a great time to post about Volunteer Opportunities and ways to “give” but we took care of that last month in our post called Volunteer Tourism.  The Thanksgiving activities in Jerusalem are scarce and the days of Norman’s Thanksgiving Feast on Emek Refaim are long gone so to celebrate Thanksgiving, I recommend a nice family turkey dinner at home.

Let’s focus on some unique ways to celebrate Hanukkah in Jerusalem.

How often are you given the opportunity to stand in the center of history? To experience a holiday in the exact location where the miracle originally occurred? It’s truly a privilege to be able to choose from a variety of activities in Jerusalem, as a way of celebrating Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. I’ve chosen to share my four favorite holiday activities.

Old City of Jerusalem

  • “Light Up The City Family Tour”:  This unique candle lit tour takes you through the Old City of Jerusalem. Follow the lights of the Hanukkiot lit in the streets, the windows and most beautifully within the stone walls of the alleyways in the Old City. This family focused tour entertains kids and adults with stories, puzzles and riddles about the Old City and the history of this miraculous holiday. The grand finale of the tour is a view of the Kotel “Western Wall” with the large Hanukkiah lit on the Kotel Plaza.

Reservations: info@funinjerusalem.com


Israel Museum

The overwhelming beauty of the Jewish Art & Life Gallery at the Israel Museum takes on a special meaning during Hanukkah. My favorite exhibit is the one room devoted to Hanukkiot from different time periods and different communities.

  • SketchBook Tour of the Israel Museum: I love to make things interactive when it comes to entertaining the family. I would suggest taking a Sketchbook Tour in this special gallery led by Polly, a Fulbright Scholar and artist. Polly teaches kids and adults to look for the details, find the pieces that inspire them and then to capture that inspiration in their own sketchbooks. Reservations: sketchbook@funinjerusalem.com

Jerusalem’s Diverse Neighborhoods One of the beauties of Jerusalem is the diversity of her inhabitants. As you walk down the block, the neighborhoods change, the communities differ and the people can tell you a different story. Jerusalem’s inhabitants love to share and the stories are worth hearing especially when you can learn about Jews from different backgrounds and how we all celebrate the same holidays with our own spices and flavors.

  • Mekor Baruch Home Encounter: Join locals and tourists as you are led around one of Jerusalem’s oldest neighborhoods. You will be welcomed into Ahuva’s home for coffee, tea and cookies as she explains to you about the Haredi lifestyle specifically for Hasidim from Gur, what it is like to live in her neighborhood and how she became the “Savta Cholent Champion” of Jerusalem. The tour ends with a Challah Baking workshop led by Ahuva, including some great Hanukka ideas for challah shapes.
  • Ein Kerem Home Encounter: Experience Yemenite hospitality when Kinneret invites you into her home; the home where her family has lived since 1948. Learn about her unique Yemenite culture and the story of her Saba Shalom who bravely convinced his family to settle in Ein Kerem. Kinneret will share special Hanukka memories with you. The tour includes Yemenite music and dance as well as a tour of the local artists in the beautiful neighborhood of Ein Kerem.         Reservations: Encounters@funinjerusalem.com

Gourmet Sufganiyot When suggesting my favorite Hanukkah activities to do in Jerusalem, I have saved the best one for last or at least the sweetest one. For kids (and adults like me who are willing to admit it) one of the highlights of the Hanukkah season is when the Roladin Bakery announces its sufganiyot menu. Roladin, a chain of high end bakeries throughout Israel, prides itself on its unique flavors and I have included the menu below and some pictures which can speak louder than words. Yes its worth planning your next trip to Israel for Hanukkah!

Traditional Flavors

  • Traditional Strawberry
  • Traditional Caramel

Gourmet Collection

  • Belgian Chocolate & Cream
  • White Chocolate Caramel
  • Pistachio Cherry Mania
  • Chocolate Chocolate
  • Candy Covered Chocolate
  • Halva & White Chocolate
  • Biscuit: Oreo Streusel

Specialty Chasers: includes a chaser of alcohol inserted into the sufganiya

    • Malabi
    • Bianco Chocolate
    • Praline

Stay tuned for next month’s Day in Jerusalem…”Entertaining the Teens”.



Thanksgiving Pie Fries


November 12th 2013

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner it is firmly pie season. Sure, I make pies all year round, but there is no one-day of the year that screams “pie” like Thanksgiving. (Ok, maybe March 14th does as well, but only among the slightly nerdy circles I run in.) The challenge of Thanksgiving pies for me is that people expect the traditional flavors, leaving me much less freedom to innovate and play around with the dessert than I usually have. It is rare for me to serve the same dessert twice for Shabbat or holidays, but for Thanksgiving people expect the classics.

That is what makes these pie fries so much fun. They have the traditional Thanksgiving pie flavors of pumpkin and cranberry apple served up in a fun new shape. I had seen apple versions of pie fries all over the web, so when I was given the challenge of turning them into more Thanksgiving like treats I jumped at the opportunity. Although they are baked and not really fried, pie “fries” are the perfect Thanksgivukkah treat.

Since I would never dream of serving French fries without some kind of dipping sauce, it was clear that these fries needed a sweet dipping sauce of their own. I always serve cinnamon ice cream with my Thanksgiving pies so I decided to use that same flavor paring here. This creamy and slightly spicy pastry cream is the perfect dip for the pie fries, if you can keep yourself from just eating it with a spoon.

Click through these links for the full recipes for:

Pumpkin Pie Fries

Cranberry Apple Pie Fries

Cinnamon Pastry Cream


How My Creamy Baked Ziti Saved the Day


November 12th 2013

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It’s easy when you live in Israel to forget.  Halloween came and went without a word.  It’s November 7th and a warm 81 degrees F, gone are the long New York winters.  And Sandy – while big news here last year, was not commemorated in any major way at the one-year anniversary mark.

But while in New York 2 weeks ago – it was impossible to forget.  News programs were flooded with “1 Year Later” stories, specials and features.  And everywhere you went someone told their tale.  Tamar and I were out to dinner with our dear friend – Brigitte Mizrahi, the fabulous French woman behind the Natural & Kosher, Les Petites Fermieres, and Sincerely Brigitte line of cheeses.  Her story was intense and inspiring and shocking even one year later.

As we were walking around Kosherfest we were stopped by a bunch of great gals from Jersey – one of them grabbed me and said “do I have a story for you.”  I wasn’t expecting a Sandy story from a perfect stranger on the floor of the largest industry trade show.  But like I said everywhere you went someone had something to share.

Here we are with the Great Gals from Jersey.

Susan told me that together with her neighborhood friends she made 30+ trays of my Creamy Baked Ziti for an uplifting Thanksgiving day lunch held for residents of Union Beach hit by Super Storm Sandy.  I couldn’t believe it – I was so unbelievably touched.  She kept saying “your ziti Jamie!  Your ziti!”.

When you write a recipe you think about lots of things.  Is it easy?  Is it fast? Is it good?  Is it good enough? Is it kid food? Adult food? Family food? Dinner food? Can it be made ahead?  Does it freeze well?  How long will it stay fresh?  Does it need special instructions for re-heating?  And on and on and on.  You never think “can this be made times 30 and served as a hot meal to lift the spirits of someone who has lost and somehow foster a sense of community spirit, strength and perseverance?”.

Make no mistake; I know my ziti didn’t do all that.  But to know that it was part of that effort – and helped Susan and her friends achieve those end goals made me feel this story was worth re-telling.  For no other reason than to share the message that the beautiful ripple effects of your actions and efforts both professionally and personally should never be underestimated.  We love to Spread the Joy here and you know what, Susan Spread the Joy right back when she told me this story.  Thank you Susan – in that moment I felt so happy and so special and so very thankful.

Please take a moment to share your uplifting Sandy stories or any Spread the Joy ideas.  I love to get the good vibes going.


In the JOK Kitchen with Chef David From The Prime...


November 11th 2013

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The Prime Grill is the premier kosher restaurant in New York.  In 2000, Joey Allaham, a Syrian Jewish immigrant born to a family of butchers, saw a gap in the marketplace for a kosher steakhouse that could rival the best steakhouses in New York City.  Opening in midtown Manhattan, Joey took a gamble that really paid off.  Hiring Chef David Kolotkin early, the two pioneers of upscale kosher cuisine brought kosher dining to a higher level.  With the publication of their first cookbook, we can now try to recreate some of their most popular recipes at home.  I probably need to get started on my dry-aging room…

The cookbook shares the personal stories of Joey and Chef David and what motivated them to create The Prime Grill.  There are pictures of the staff, kitchen and dining areas of the original Prime Grill restaurant space.  The Prime Grill moved to a new location just this year and I love the way this book pays homage to its recent past even as the restaurant team looks to its future.

Everyone at Joy of Kosher are big fans of Chef David Kolotkin and loved watching him compete with Chef Kami from Prime KO at our Holiday Chef Wars a few years ago.  We were lucky to be able to grab a few minutes with Chef David musing about the new cookbook and his experience at The Prime Grill.

corn and honey blinis with kosher caviar


How would you describe your cooking philosophy?

To make kosher food taste non kosher. :)

How has your culinary style changed from working at a kosher restaurant?

I like to cook American food with local seasonal ingredients.  I believe in using simple, high quality ingredients and making them taste great, the only thing that changed when I moved to a kosher restaurant was the mindset.  I still had a goal to make the best steak, not the best kosher steak.

Prime Grill Porcini Burgers

Prime Grill Porcini Burgers

What do you find to be the greatest challenge?

I have been doing this so long I am numb to the challenges of kosher.  The hardest part of my job is juggling the multiple location.  It is also challenging when we have events on Shabbat where everything has to be prepared ahead of time and don’t get me started on opening up after Shabbat. We have to choose dishes that will sit well or can be prepared and cooked quickly.

Are all the recipes in the book available at the restaurant?

We opened the new location with most of the recipes from the book. Some of them were on the menu before, but many are new or altered.  I have a smoked salmon fritter recipe in the book that I made at the old location, now I have a meat fryer so I have changed it to a beef bacon fritter.

Prime Grill Mustard and Garlic Confit Fillet

Mustard and Garlic Confit Fillet

When you are not behind the stove, what do you like to eat?

I love junk.  I love pizza and Chinese food. I don’t like fancy stuff, I think all this fusion food has just led to confusion.  I like to know what I am eating.

What is your earliest memory of cooking?

In the book I talked about how I was churning my own ice cream in the garage when I was 12, but even before that I used to go to my friends house to bake cookies.  My mom was a health nut and she never bought us things like that, so we would just make them.

When I was in 7th grade I switched schools and was able to choose classes, so I picked Home Ec, figured I would meet some nice girls and get to cook.  I ended up getting sick for a couple of weeks and when I returned they were sewing, switched to word working after that.  However, I did get to make one Chinese chicken dish that taught me about marinading.  Like so many great finds in cooking it happened by accident.  I prepared the dish with all the sauce and just before I was going to cook it, the bell rang, so I put it in the fridge and came back to cook it the next day.  It was so good that I went home and tried making it for my Father, but it wasn’t quite the same.  Only then did I realize that letting it sit overnight made all the difference.

Prime Grill Potato Cake

Potato Cake with Sweet Shallot Jam and Thyme

Here are a few recipes from the book as a preview:

Corn and Honey Blinis Topped with Bowfin Caviar

Porcini Mushroom Burgers

Mustard and Garlic Confit Filet

Potato Cake with Sweet Shallot Jam and Thyme


***Giveaway***  Thanks to Chef David for talking with us and for giving us a book for one of you to win!!!  All you have to do is leave a comment below and enter with the rafflecopter options for your chance to win in The Prime Grill Cookbook Giveaway.

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Joy of Israel – Holy City of Hebron and...


November 8th 2013

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You have been asking, you have been patiently waiting and now here it is.

With gratitude to G-d, my production partners at 12 Tribe Films and Chizuk Now we present Joy of Israel with Jamie Geller Episode #3: Hebron and the Southern Hebron Hills.

For a behind-the-scenes look at how this episode came to be, read on.

I had been to Israel about 10 times before making aliyah.  And I lived here for over a year before making my way to Hebron for the first time in my entire life.  For whatever reason it was just never on the itinerary of the synagogue trip, school sponsored semester abroad or mission I was part of.

When Chizuk Now contacted us about sponsoring this 3rd episode of Joy of Israel with Jamie Geller they had only one mission.  They tasked us with filming a food and travel show set in Hebron to ensure this sacred city is both top of mind and a destination place for every tourist and resident of Israel.

Well I wasn’t sure what to do.  I mean I had never been to the place, didn’t know what to expect.  I began my research by taking my family on a tour with the famed Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum.  He is known as Mr. Hebron.  Literally everyone I called and spoke to said one name Rav Simcha and since all roads led to Rav Simcha I signed up for his weekly tour sponsored by the Hebron Fund.

The Hebron Fund raises money for the improvement of daily life of the approximately 90 families living in Hebron, it is because of the incredible sacrifice and determination of these 90 families that we are able to freely visit this 2nd holiest city in the world.

The Fund’s support extends to funding for all parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, after-school programs, libraries, and summer youth activities; as well as sponsorship of public cultural and educational events in Hebron. In addition the Fund aids the maintenance and development of the synagogues in the Machpela Cave, the ancient Avraham Avinu Synagogue and other religious institutions in the area.

The hope of both the Hebron Fund and our video is to revive and expand the ancient Jewish custom of pilgrimage to this holy site.

Our tour with Rav Simcha was otherworldly.  We were moved to tears in prayer and awe as he spoke about the past, present, and future of this small piece of real estate, the first piece of real estate bought by Abraham in Israel.

Hebron is intense and I have experienced my most incredible prayers since moving here at MaArat HaMachpela, The Tomb of the Patriarchs.

So it was clear that the sacred site, the MaArah would be the travel destination of our show, but what of the food?  Hebron has a lovely little pizza shop where I enjoyed one of the BIGGEST and best cheese bourekas (my absolute weakness) but it felt like an insult to the holy city to hold a recipe tutorial in the shadow of the MaArah.

So I spent a day with my new and dear friend Eve Harrow a licensed Israeli Tour Guide who took me deep into the Southern Hills of Hebron on a scouting trip.

Listening to Eve was like listening to the most knowledgeable friend.  She delivered incredible amounts of information in the most warm and friendly manner and taught me things with the excitement of a school girl experiencing it for the first time yet with the knowledge of an accomplished historian.  Eve will show you parts of Israel you never knew existed.  She will take you off the beaten path and let you discover the hidden treasures of our home.

After no less than 3 locations and a briefing on many others Eve helped me settle on the culinary guests featured in this episode; Holy Cacao, an artisanal bean to bar chocolate factory situated just 20 minutes south of Hebron and makers of my new sweet obsession.

I now yearn for Hebron on a regular basis and have been back no less than 4 times in the last few months.  It’s magical, it’s special, it’s important.

Watch a little behind the scenes clip here:

Thank you Chizuk Now, Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum, Rabbi Dan Rosensetin and The Hebron Fund, Eve Harow and Holy Cacao for sharing your time, knowledge, story and expertise in the making of this episode.

To Donate To Chizuk Now click here.

To Book a Tour of Hebron click here.

To Book a Tour with Eve Harow email eve.harow@gmail.com

To Order Holy Cacao Chocolate click here.


Let’s Have a Chanukah Party


November 8th 2013

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Hosting a Chanukah party?

We have 3 gourmet menus suggested by premiere caterer, Esprit Caterers.  Get some ideas, try some of the recipes and use them for your party.

heirloom tomato salad, sea bass ceviche cucumber cups, root vegetables, tri-color potato latkes, blood orange beet salad
menu 1 – rack of lamb, black lentils, jerusalem artichokes, apricot sauce
menu 2 – red mountain trout, forbidden rice, parsnip puree
menu 3 – cornish hen, veloute sauce, fava beans
doughnuts with multiple toppings

Now that we have the food let’s make a gorgeous table.  Make your own Menorah centerpiece.  Mix water and blue food coloring in large glass cups, place tea lights in cups and light the candles for a menorah-like centerpiece.

Craft these dreidels with these no fail instructions: DREIDELINSTRUCTIONS

This article was originally published in Joy of Kosher Magazine Winter 2012, order your copy to get all the recipes in the menus above.  Here are few of them to whet your appetite.

cornish hen with veloute sauce
Cornish Hen with Velouté Sauce

blood orange and beet salad
Blood-Orange & Beet Salad

ceviche in cucumber cups
Sea Bass Ceviche in Cucumber Cups

Blue Potato Latkes


Table Design & Production:
SWANK Productions
Esprit Caterers
212 207 3888
Menorah, Hamsas, Candle Sticks, Dreidels, Kiddush Cups:
All courtesy of Pickman Museum Shop at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC


Recipe courtesy of Esprit Caterers www.espritevents.com 212 207 3888

This article was originally published in Joy of Kosher Magazine (Winter 2012) – Subscribe Now!


How To Make Kosher Paella Without a Paella Pan


November 7th 2013

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Paella is one hearty dish! Typically filled to the paella-pan brim with rice, chicken, seafood, spices, vegetables and more. There is no minimum and no maximum to how many ingredients are combined to make a Paella. Since I keep kosher, my paella was a little more tamed. Seafood- outta the dish! In place of the “shrimp” I used incredible sausage. By sautéing the sausage first, my Paella base of flavor was born. Salty, briny and meaty sausage flavor; I’m a fan of that!

Before I continue with the plethora of aromatic ingredients, let me begin by how to cook a paella. Sadly, I do not own a paella pan. I even asked for an extension to write this article so I could buy cute mini paella pans for individually served dishes. Tamar, the wonderful editor at Joy Of Kosher told me “You don’t need to buy a paella pan… how many people will have this in their kitchen’s already? Just use a wok, or a deep frying pan.” Thanks to Tamar, I saved some money, and realized that my good ol’ giant meat frying pan would do the job.

kosher paella

The key to a great paella is the layering of flavors. That takes us back to how I made the fabulous paella.

I began by sauteing the sausage. Once crispy, I removed from the pan and placed in a bowl. Next, I sauteed my dark meat chicken cutlets. Feel free to use regular white meat, but if you have tasted dark meat “pargiot” chicken I shouldn’t have to explain how succulent…and AMAZING they are. Again, once cooked through, add to sausage bowl. Rice time. I chose sushi rice because it cooks very quickly. Saute the rice in the leftover fat from the sausage and chicken. Instead of water, I used chicken broth to cook the rice for added flavor. Add in garlic and spices. If your rice seems dry, add more broth. I used an entire box of chicken broth with 1.5 cups of rice. Gave a beautiful risotto texture. Once rice is cooked, toss in chicken and sausage to heat through. It is nice to keep some chicken and sausage separate to garnish the dish at the end.

I hope you enjoy making Paella, get the full recipe here! It is easy, not expensive, and a nice update on “chicken and rice.”

Have you ever made Paella before? Let me know in the comments below.


Joy of Kosher Cookbook Clubs


November 6th 2013

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In anticipation of the release of the new Joy of Kosher Cookbook we arranged for 10 cookbook clubs around the country.  We asked and you volunteered.  The volunteers that were randomly selected from our Host a Joy of Kosher Cookbook Club were tasked with inviting at least 5 friends to talk, cook and eat from the new book.  Here is a recap from some of there parties and we hope they inspire you to host one of your own.

Becky Romanoff shared:

We had a fantastic ladies night dinner here in Elizabeth, NJ. It was an evening of great food, wine and friends. Our feast included appetizers, entrees, and desserts from Jamie’s cookbook so we were able to get a well-rounded taste of the recipes throughout the book. Each of the 13 participants selected a recipe in advance and brought their dish over on the night of the dinner. We set up the dinner buffet style with little signs next to each dish identifying the recipe. Everyone was able to try the different items and each one was a true hit. Throughout the meal people commented on how easy the recipes were to follow. A few of the delicious foods we got to sample were “Tropical Fruit Guacamole”, “Anita’s Lachmajine”,  “Chunky Red Chili”, “Sweet and Sticky Chicken Drumsticks”, and “Sweet Potato Cake”. We all had a terrific evening and were so glad to be able to take part in this beautiful and scrumptious event!

Kari Alterman from Detroit shared:
On Monday, October 28, 12 of us got together and enjoyed many of the recipes from The Joy of Kosher Cookbook.  When I learned I won the ‘contest,’ I was so excited since I love cooking, love my friends, and love new recipes!  The challenge for my friends was my gluten-free diet.  Since I was diagnosed with Celiac in February, I’ve had at least one meal in each of these friend’s homes and they’ve been troopers at learning how to substitute to make it all work.
So, I went through the cookbook, and picked about 25 recipes that could easily be made gluten-free (or were GF naturally).  I made the two main dishes and a dessert.  I then texted each friend 2 recipes, so they could pick what they wanted.  We ended up with a great dairy dinner!  We had: Lemon Lovers Hummus, Waldorf Salad, Cilantro Corn Cakes, Rice Salad, Brussel Sprouts, Green Beans, Teriyaki Trout, Mac n’Cheese, Cornbread….and for dessert, Orange Cheesecake, Brownies, Pistachio bark and Caramel Apples.  (Did I mention that EVERYTHING was Gluten Free?) Honestly, everything was delicious.  I wish I could say we went around and introduced each dish, but with a dozen working moms out on a ‘school night,’ we were so excited to just sit, talk and eat good food that we didn’t get around to it! We did commit to trying this again, with other cookbooks (hopefully from Jamie!).
Rachel Fryman from NY:
We had a Thanksgiving themed dinner. Sorry, we missed a picture of the Turkey :-(
With a group of good friends we had an early Thanksgiving feast in Washington Heights, NY. During supper we passed around a copy of the new Joy of Kosher cookbook. Everyone introduced their own dish and described the recipe and preparation process.
The winter citrus salad was beautiful and a wonderful fresh start to the meal. We gobbled up the moist turkey, savory rice salad and creamy sweet potato pie. The green beans were a hit with a bit of kick (too much for some and many agreed to omit the chili pepper next time)!
For dessert, the autumn theme continued with the parve pumpkin mousse and cardamom scented cookies. Good quality chocolate and sea salt was key to making the Salted Almond & Pistachio Bark. Thank you and looking forward to cooking again for the Joy of Kosher.

Thank you to Rachel Jonas for taking such beautiful pictures of all your delicious creations.

Liath Bricks from Virginia:

Our Joy of Kosher Cookbook party was on October 27th.  We had four moms and their kids at our home for a lovely brunch.  We picked a morning time frame so that the kids would all be happy playing together, and picked recipes from the cookbook that would make a great veggie/dairy lunch with leftovers to take home.

I had coffee and the sweet potato cake ready for everyone when they arrived.  The Sweet Potato cake received rave reviews!  It is easy, delicious, and everyone kept eating more and more until we had a small end piece left (which my husband promptly wrapped up to take to work the next day).  Needless to say, everyone was paging through the book to find that recipe!
One of the moms had brought the Veggie Chopped Liver, and again, everyone was thumbing through the book to find the recipe since it was so unbelievably good!  Every person I have met always mentioned some weird frozen peas recipe for veggie chopped liver, and this was definitely not it!  This dish rivaled my Romanian-Israeli Savta’s recipe for chopped liver, it was really that good!
So here we were munching away on addictive Sweet Potato Cake and delicious veggie chopped liver and we had to force ourselves to stop munching and start cooking :)
I had started the Spinach, White Bean and Tomato soup earlier that morning, to allow the flavors to become established, and we finished it off with the spinach before lunch.  Since I completely forgot to buy puff pastry dough, I just made parmesan crisps on the Silpat in the oven for an easy and totally addictive garnish.   We also made the beautiful and refreshing Winter Citrus Salad.  The salad, the soup and the Cranberry-Rosemary Challah were our delicious lunch.  Lastly, we let the kids make their own individual chocolate candy bark while the adults indulged in sinful Olive Oil Chocolate Mousse (which, had we not known it was non-dairy, we would never have guessed!).  All in all it was a very successful little party.
Hubby and I have recently relocated from Atlanta, GA to Richmond, VA and this was a great opportunity to meet new friends.  Since the Richmond community is very observant, having a kosher cookbook party was the ideal “Siba L’Mesibah” (as they say in Israel).  I have found my ideal Chanukah gift!
Loren Puterman in California:
I was so excited to be asked to host a cookbook club party for Jamie’s new cookbook, not only because I am a huge fan of hers, but also because I too went from a bride who knew nothing to an accomplished home cook. The moment the book arrived my kids and I poured over the recipes, deciding exactly what the best menu was for  my friends. The recipes all looked so fabulous that I decided that I would cook everything and that I would assign each friend a wine, that Jamie recommended, that went with the dish. We decided on Avocado and mock crab salad with butter lettuce and lemon dressing to start, which was delicious. For the main course I made the Moroccan roasted chicken, which was definitely the highlight of the night, Easy cranberry and pine nut couscous… which was easy and tasty, mushrooms with herbs and wine in phyllo cups, which I cannot wait to make again and pour over a steak…., and then colorful mustard string beans, which looked as good on the platter as they tasted. To end off the meal, my friend Rachel, made the Nutty caramel brownies, which we all agreed were worth every extra calories!
What I loved most about this cookbook, and I find consistent with Jamie’s recipes, is that I was able to cook the entire menu that day and did not stand in the kitchen for hours!!
My friends and I had a wonderful evening full of delicious food, wine tasting and friendship. I am looking forward to trying many more of the recipes.
Here are pictures from Bryna Roth’s Party.

Now that you see how it is done, when are you going to host your own Joy of Kosher cookbook club party?

If you attended one of these parties, add your comments below.  Check out more pictures from all these parties and tag yourselves in our facebook album here.

Order your copy and/or leave a review of the cookbook on amazon for The Joy of Kosher Cookbook.