Israel Substituion Guide


July 25th 2013

Contributed by:


8 comments | Leave Comment


Editor’s intro:

`A couple weeks ago we posted a Call To Cooks in Israel to help us start this Israel Substitution Guide to help new and old olim adapt recipes with ingredients they can find in Israel.  We had some fantastic responses with lots of tips and advice already in the comments over there.  Based on the questions we got and some of our own, Dvora has compiled this guide to help others.

In addition, Dvora is helping us find and tag recipes that can be made without modification in Israel.  We call them Israeli Friendly Recipes and you can click on that link and bookmark that page to see continuous updates and as always we welcome your recipes and hope you will Submit Recipes also to add to the collection.  Please also feel free to ask questions and answer each other in the comments below on this post.

Creativity is the key to good ingredient substitution.  While a recipe that has an important ingredient replaced may not come out exactly as you expected, smart substitution can result in a still delicious end product.

One thing I have discovered is that Israel gets my Little House on the Prairie instinct going.  While I used to buy more prepared items, like marinara sauce and spice mixes, I make a lot more from scratch these days, and I am always surprised when they are easy and not at all time consuming to make.  The internet has a plethora of spice mix recipes, from pickling spice to taco seasoning, so search away and choose one you like.  It’s often worthwhile to make a large batch and store for future use.

Cheese – A word of caution – in the US, pizza cheese is usually a blend of natural cheeses, but in Israel, “Pizzarella” is a processed cheese product, much like American cheese.  That said, it melts very well, something that cannot always be said of yellow cheeses, such as Emek or Gilboa.

See below for my substitution chart. I hope that answers some of your questions, please comment below with any new or old questions and I will do my best to help.

In addition, Efrat, a friend of Jamie’s, passed along a few tips we thought you might enjoy:

Blueberries: are grown in Kedumim and are available only in May and June, contact Yaakov 052-567-3099 for information (He is a Hebrew speaker).   During the rest of the year, frozen blueberries work well in baked goods. You can get frozen fruits of all kinds at: Icetory in Yerushalayim (Ask for Kobi 02-622-2298).

Other berries: you can pick your own raspberries and blackberries in Gush Etzion in June and July (Moshe – is an English speaker! 054-670-0710)

Flanken: Matam Chafetz Chaim is a butcher shop in Yerushalayim, run by olim from Chicago – they know how Americans like their meat. They have packaged products in some butcher cases and can tell you where to get flanken or anything else in your area – phone: 02-624-3443

Don’t complain about missing Tropicana orange juice, get home delivery by Pomerantz.

The seasonality of produce is something to get used to – for example: strawberry season runs from Channuka to pesach (I always freeze 6 boxes at the end of the season!) and it becomes something to look forward to.

Ingredient Substitution
Egg Roll Wrappers Moroccan Cigar Leaves
Duck Sauce Plum Sauce (add sweet chili sauce for spice)
Cranberry Sauce Jelly or fruit spreads, flavor of choice
Fresh Cranberries Frozen red currants
Brisket Number 3
Shoulder Roast Number 4
Chicken or Beef Broth Tzir Bakar or Tzir Of – Paste diluted with water
Farmer’s cheese Tuv Taam or C’naan cheese or Tvorog (Russian)
Sour Cream Shamenet Chamutza
Fresh Blueberries and Raspberries Use Frozen
Packets of Active Dry Yeast Measure 2 1/4 teaspoons per envelope from a large jar


Summer White Wines For a Picnic


July 24th 2013

Contributed by:


0 comments | Leave Comment


I Went on a Picnic and I Brought a Bottle of…

I had my first summer picnic the other day at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.  Caramoor is a former estate near Katonah, New York about 50 miles north of New York City.  Presently, it’s a venue for classical music performances and an art museum.  It is a beautiful area of Westchester, where you see about as many horses as people when driving down the winding roads between Bedford and Katonah.  In predictable New York summertime weather, our planned picnic day was hot and humid.  Not exactly the kind of weather that has you thinking about a glass of wine.  More like mojitos and margaritas.

But it just so happens that I’ve had a few nice bottles lying around my “cellar” and a nice bottle is a terrible thing to waste.  So with a basket of cheeses, French bread, assorted olives, roast peppers and fresh cut fruit we braved 94 degree temperatures, found a nice spot in the shade and enjoyed our picnic lunch accompanied by butterflies and surrounded by bright flowers and well-trimmed hedges.

So what do you drink on a hot summer day?  A well-chilled white or rose is always in fashion and when you move away from heavy oak-laden whites you will discover a world of crisp, refreshing kosher wines that induce smiles, not sleep at under $20 a bottle.

2012 Goose Bay South Island Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) $18.  New Zealand’s South Island grapes possess a remarkable crispness and citrus qualities which really come through with this wine year after year.  It is a great picnic and party wine and pairs well with cheeses, salads and spreads.

2012 Dalton Safsufa Chardonnay Semillon Viognier (Galilee); $16.  My newest summertime fave, this is a light and highly drinkable young wine.   Crisp and aromatic with citrus, pineapple and tropical fruit notes.  Close your eyes and you can almost hear the sounds of the gentles waves of the Kinneret.

2012 Herzog Late Harvest Orange Muscat (California); $18.   A bold and aromatic dessert-style wine, offering notes of fresh pineapple and passion fruit.  At only 8.5% alcohol, this is a great kosher wine for the end of a hot summer day and will mix well with sparkling water and some chopped fresh stone fruit for a lovely White Sangria.  It would also work nicely to poach pears.

What are you bringing to your picnic?


How To Make Homemade Halva


July 24th 2013

Contributed by:


4 comments | Leave Comment


One of my favorite things to do when I am in Jerusalem is to go to the shuk. I love the bustle and energy of shopping there. The fresh produce, the spice shops, the fresh baked pita, all the stalls draw me in inviting me to purchase just a bit of this and a bit of that. But no display grabs me quite like the halvah stand. Huge slabs of halvah in every imaginable flavor, with the shopkeeper handing out samples so good you just can’t help but buy some. I always end up buying way too much, but no one seems to complain when I bring it home.

Since I don’t live in Jerusalem and don’t have the good fortune of regularly shopping at the shuk I wanted to try to recreate some of that amazing halvah in my own kitchen. It turns out that the flaky yet creamy texture that makes halvah so alluring it somewhat dependent on making industrial sized batches, which makes it a bit tricky to translate to the home kitchen. That being said, I have come up with a method that yields delicious halvah that is so much fresher and more delicious than any packaged halvah available for purchase. It is slightly less flaky than the halvah I remember from the shuk but it comes very close in texture and matches it in flavor.

Coffee Halvah

Coffee Halvah

The key to this halvah is cooking the sugar to the right temperature and not overbeating it. It sounds difficult but really it isn’t hard. Half an hour and some cooling time are all that stands between you and delicious homemade halvah.  The beauty of making homemade halvah is that you can adapt the flavor in all kinds of creative ways. The standard vanilla and marble are always popular, but I have to say one of my surprise favorites is coffee halvah. It sounds like a strange combination, I know, but the subtle coffee undertones and the crunch of the coffee beans are perfect with the sweet sesame flavor. These recipes are just jumping off points. Take the marble halvah recipe and swap out the chocolate for a couple of handfuls of pistachios, some chopped dried fruit, or some minced crystallized ginger. The sky is the limit when it comes to flavors, which really is the most fun part of making something at home.

Click to get the recipe for

Marble Halvah Recipe and Variations

Coffee Halvah Recipe


A Summer Party Menu


July 23rd 2013

Contributed by:


9 comments | Leave Comment


Later this Summer I will be heading to North Carolina to spend a week at the beach with my two siblings and their families.  I have never been to North Carolina and I haven’t shared a home with my brother and sister for almost 20 years (OMG, where did the time go?).  So I am excited to have this quality time, but a bit nervous and we have a lot of meals to plan for and we want every night to feel like a party.  The best part of renting a house together is we can put the kids to bed and enjoy quality grown up time with lots of food and drinks.

While I am planning I thought I would share some Summer menu ideas with all of you.  I hope you are all entertaining and enjoying company as much as you can in a more casual way then when the holidays come in, so here is my first Summer menu idea, let me know if you want me to share more in the comments below.  And if you have any tips on surviving (and enjoying) a week in a beach house with 13 people, 7 under the age of 10 let me know.


I love frozen drinks.  Although I am starting to get into traditional cocktails, Summer time heat is a lot more enjoyable with one of these in your hands.  This recipe for the Israeli Limonana can be served as is when the kids are around, but it is equally good with a shot or two of rum.  Swap the lemon for lime and you got a frozen mojito (my drink of choice).

Meat Kosher Antipasto Platter

Meat Antipasto Platter

My sister told me she wants us to have happy hour every night, so along with our frozen drinks we need some finger foods to snack on.  I love Italian Antipasto, it can be made meat or dairy (just swap salami for cheese).  If I stick to the veggies I can really indulge, I might also pick up some variety of pickled vegetables to whet our appetites, I am also recently obsessed with these Roasted Chickpeas Snack.

Grilled California Asparagus and Lamb with Mustard Aioli

Grilled California Asparagus and Lamb with Mustard Aioli

We are planning to grill most nights and since I don’t have a grill at home this is very exciting.  I really love asparagus on the grill and I love lamb, if I can’t find it at a good price though I would make this simple dish with beef.

I have always wanted to grill a whole butterflied chicken, but if I can’t pull it off for some reason, the herb and lemon sauce in this recipe would work perfectly on chicken pieces and I know the kids will want drum sticks.

We also have a not so strict vegetarian in the group so I think we can make these Grilled Pizza with Eggplant and leave out the ground beef. I can’t wait to grill some pizza.

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

For dessert I am thinking a different grilled fruit every night, pineapple, peaches, mangos and even watermelon and a batch of my favorite biscotti.  They are super easy to make, yield a large batch and don’t go bad.

Are you having any Summer parties?


Duck Sauce Kishka Chicken Roll Ups


July 23rd 2013

Contributed by:


8 comments | Leave Comment


I have a few “famous” recipes.  In no particular order, my Challah, Honey Chicken, Chulent, and Chicken Pastrami Rolls are all up there.  These recipes have received a nice number of comments and video views but more importantly they generate lots of in person discussion.  Meaning when I catch up with people on the street, or at a business meeting, or at a friend’s shabbos table – these are the recipes I hear about over and over and over again.

chicken pastrami rolls

Chicken Pastrami Rolls

So when it came time to develop a new Shabbos recipe featuring Gold’s Duck Sauce I thought about a riff on my Chicken Pastrami Rolls – which by the way also inspired the “Roller Derby” feature I penned in the Shavuos Issue of our magazine showcasing Chicken, Fish, Turkey and Beef Rolls.

This rendition is an oldie but goodie.  JoK friend and active member JKessler48 won our 2011 Best Chicken Recipe Contest with his Kishka Stuffed Chicken which reminded me of a similar dish I ate at my friend Tzippy’s house years ago, which reminded my that Hubby said he liked  it, which reminded me I should be a good wife and make it for him, which inspired this here version.

I love forgoing an egg “bath” in favor of flavorful duck sauce.  It’s a sweet little dish if you use Gold’s Cantonese Style Duck Sauce.  If you want something spicier add red pepper flakes or try Gold’s Szechuan Style Duck Sauce.

I think I’m on a roll here… (in case you couldn’t hear the cymbal crash


Watch Chicken Roll Ups with Kishksa


July 22nd 2013

Contributed by:


4 comments | Leave Comment


I love forgoing an egg “bath” in favor of flavorful duck sauce. It’s a sweet little dish if you use Gold’s Cantonese Style Duck Sauce. If you want something spicier add red pepper flakes or try Gold’s Szechuan Style Duck Sauce.
Get the full recipe to print Chicken Roll Ups with Kishka here.


Banana Oat Chocolate Muffin Top Cookies Link Up...


July 22nd 2013

Contributed by:


14 comments | Leave Comment


I love making muffins. They are quick and easy and a favorite “quick” breakfast. One of my favorite muffin recipes is for Multigrain Blueberry Muffins. I use this recipe as a base and often change the grains based on what I have around the house. It’s hard to mess this one up and it’s a healthy treat my kids love!

For this month’s Kosher Connection link up, we decided to do a blog swap. We were each anonymously assigned a different blogger and asked to make one of their recipes. I laughed when I was assigned to Lil Miss Cakes, a baking blog mostly showcasing my neighbor and friend, Melissa’s gorgeous cakes. As a Dietitian who likes to bake, I stick to cookies and bundt cakes, I knew that I was not going anywhere near those works of art. But when I stumbled on these muffin top cookies I knew I found my perfect recipe.

The kids couldn't wait

I made a couple of small modifications to her delicious recipe, by choosing whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, adding some dark chocolate chips and skipping the glaze, an extra step (and some extra sugar) I just didn’t need. The results were a hit!!! Keep in mind they are more muffin than cookie and crumble easily. But don’t worry, there won’t be many crumbs left on your plate.

Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Muffin Top Cookies


Ready for a fun giveaway to celebrate one year of Kosher Connection? We are giving away two prizes from Emile Henry. A Bread Cloche valued at $130 and a 4.2 qt Dutch Oven valued at $170! Use the Rafflecopter below to win- you can enter up to 23 ways! Two winners will be chosen at random. a Rafflecopter giveaway


A Shabbat Menu with Gold’s


July 19th 2013

Contributed by:


1 comment | Leave Comment


Sometimes all it takes for a perfect meal are a few great quality ingredients. Enjoy the summer weather with these quick and gourmet recipes for Shabbat and every day of the week.

Panko Crusted Salmon

Panko-Crusted Salmon

Mustard and salmon are an incredible combination. You can use Gold’s deli mustard, regular mustard or Dijon mustard for this crowd-pleasing recipe.

Barbecue Braised Beef Roast

Barbecued Braised Roast

This recipe takes five minutes to prepare and the results are spectacular. Gold’s barbecue sauce and duck sauce combine to make a savory, rich sauce that works really well with the tender, braised beef.

Horseradish Potato Kugel Muffins

The horseradish adds a unique tangy and earthy flavor to traditional potato kugel. It is an easy way to switch things up a bit and surprise your guests

Oven Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken

Oven Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken

Using Gold’s borscht is a creative and healthy way to make a quick Asian inspired sweet and sour sauce.

Roasted Summer Vegetables with Horseradish Aioli

Roasted Summer Vegetables with Horseradish Aioli

Roasted Summer Vegetables with Horseradish Aioli

Purple Eggplant
Beet horseradish adds a boost of flavor and color to the classic babaganoush


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

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post as part of a partnership with Gold’s. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


New Finds from 2013 Fancy Food Show


July 18th 2013

Contributed by:


7 comments | Leave Comment


It is so much fun to be able to attend the fancy food show and learn about the new products and new trends in the food industry. Then to read all the highlights of the show from other perspectives and find out all the things I missed at this huge food show. According to the Specialty Food Association who hosts the event the top 5 trends were, Reinvented Frozen Treats, Grains and Seeds in New Places, Global Meal Starter, Retro Mania Done New, and Be Your Own Mixologist. Look out for specialty foods across all these categories in stores near you and note some of the articles and recipes we will be sharing in the coming year follow these trends as well.

Last time I attended the show (Fancy Food Show 2011) I remember noticing many new loose leaf tea companies. This year I found that specialty salts were all the rage. Flavored, smoked, or blended, these salts were everywhere. Fortunately for us the company Salt Works has a line of smoked salts with OU certification and hopefully will continue to offer more flavored salts with certification, click here to see Salt Works Kosher certified salts.

I have always been a fan of sun dried tomatoes and Bella Sun Luci has made them even better. They sell bags or jars of sun dried tomatoes, plain or flavored with zesty peppers or oregano.  I have to admit to snacking on these treats right out of the bag.  With less than 250 calories to a whole bag, it is a pretty good deal.  Not to mention all the nutrients in these concentrated tomatoes.


Speaking of sun dried tomatoes, one of my favorite new finds was Traina Foods California Sun Dried tomato ketchup.  To be honest I am not a fan of ketchup.  When I was a kid I didn’t like tomato sauce of any kind including ketchup. As I matured and became the adventurous eater I am today I grew to love a great pasta sauce, but never came around to ketchup and since it is usually full of sugar I am not missing much.  But when I tasted this ketchup I found the one.  It has a much stronger tomato flavor almost like a tomato paste, but a little sweeter.  I am not sure I am ready to dip my fries in it yet (I actually like mustard for that), but I could see using it in sandwiches or for chicken or just about anything.

The craziest new product I found was the the savory teas from Numi.  With flavors like Carrot Curry, Broccoli Cilantro and Fennel Spice you know this is not your usual after dinner dessert tea and it will take some getting used to. The flavors are very good and I can even see using them as a base/broth for other recipes, but so far I can’t get myself in the mood to drink it.  They recommend treating it more like a broth to tide you over as an afternoon snack or when you are sick, but so far it has not worked for me.  If you are a savory snacker I think you will like it and you can check out their website for more info and tips on when to drink it. NumiTea.

I couldn’t leave the show without making sure to check out the new this year Israeli Pavillion.  I always love to support Israel and with products this good you will all want to support them too.  The highlight was OLIA .   They sell many varieties of oils and vinegars and a whole slew of other yummy foods, but from what I tasted my favorite is the Fig Vinaigrette.  They are based in Tel Aviv and all their products are kosher, if you live in Israel, don’t miss checking them out.  They even make a coffee olive oil, I could do a lot with that.

Harvest Song is another company that really impressed me.  Not just with their unique tasty product – these are fresh walnuts in their shell, cured and eaten whole, but with the fact that they are the first kosher certified product from Armenia.  Their products are very specialty, but really delicious and would be a very nice addition to your High Holiday table this year.

 Amoretti wowed me with their selection of products, their quality and their kosher certification.  They have almost 30 flavors of icing mostly parve that can work for everything from decorating a cake to a filling between cookies.  I could see a lot of my baking blogger friends having a field day with these.  I was a little more impressed by their olive oils and their Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar, I am looking forward to seeing more from Amoretti.

I also found new grain pastas abound.  I didn’t get to taste any, but I am interested in Pereg’s new Quinoa pasta and Al Dente’s new Chia pasta. Both high in fiber and protein.  I love roasted chick peas and saw a few companies selling them, Biena seems to be the only kosher certified one and they are the perfect snack for you and your kids, high in fiber, nut free, you can’t ask for more. Saffron Road offered shelf stable simmer sauces with flavors from Indian, Thai and Morocco.  Just add chicken, meat or tofu and dinner is ready.  (note – the simmer sauces are their only kosher certified product).  If you didn’t know that I love soft Italian Nougat you do now and while I enjoy making my own, it is nice to eat someone else’s sometimes.  Now, Daelias is making her own and we enjoy it along wit her Biscuits for Cheese, thin flavorful cookie crackers. I enjoyed the Kefir from Latta Kefir, the first I ever had one that wasn’t drinkable.  It was almost like a pudding/cheesecake, I could see enjoying this healthy treat for dessert.

If you have any favorite new products that you love, please tell us about them in the comments below.

Main Image: courtesy of Fancy Food Show

Product Images courtesy of the company.


New Recipes with Beets


July 18th 2013

Contributed by:


11 comments | Leave Comment


I’m embarrassed to admit that before Joy of Kosher’s #GoForTheGold’s campaign, I had never tried a Gold’s product. Surprising, yes. I knew they made horseradish, but since gefilte fish is a rarity in my cooking I never used it. Nevertheless, I was up for the challenge of using one of their many condiments in my cooking and I picked that purple jar of Borscht.

Borscht is a Jewish Eastern European soup, but I knew there were so many other things you can make with the beet mixture. In a simple jar you have flavorful bits of beets you don’t need to peel or cook. They made the perfect base for a savory appetizer and a sweet dessert.


Beet and Goat Cheese Crostini with Caramelized Onions and Chives 

One of my favorite flavor combinations is beets and goat cheese. The hint of sweetness from the beets complements the creamy, distinct flavor of the cheese. In this appetizer, I added the caramelized onions and hint of chives for a truly outstanding hors d’oeuvre.

Beet and Pineapple Granita

For a simple way to stay cool this summer, try a refreshing granita. It has a smooth, velvety texture similar to sorbet and packs a lot of flavor in each bite. Try this tropical combination with the lime and pineapple, you won’t even know there are beets inside!



Kosher Pasture Raised Meat With Grow & Behold


July 17th 2013

Contributed by:


8 comments | Leave Comment


One balmy June afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting Anna and Naftali Hanau. My goal was to learn more about pasture-raised beef as this is a fairly new concept to the kosher world. It was inspiring to hear Anna and Naftali share their story and give a tour of their backyard. We chatted over a BBQ feast they prepared, and the simple but truly mouthwatering food was an unexpected perk. We enjoyed Grow & Behold beef tartare (exceptional!), beef burgers, and marinated lamb chops with a salad of greens freshly picked that morning from the garden.

In the backyard of a Brooklyn brownstone, lies a chicken coop with an array of beautiful chickens, surrounded by a garden of herbs, greens and vegetables, and a true living-off-the-land experience: a compost (decayed organic material used as a plant fertilizer).

The owners of this backyard, Naftali and Anna Hanau truly practice what they preach. As the founders of Grow & Behold Foods, they believe in living a natural, sustainable lifestyle. When their dreams of owning a farm didn’t work with their Orthodox lifestyle, Naftali and Anna started Grow & Behold, a unique family-run business which provides high-quality OU-glatt kosher pasture-raised chicken, beef, sausages, beef bacon and lamb to kosher consumers throughout the United States.

grow and behold grilled lamb chops

Grow and Behold Grilled Lamb Chops with Rosemary Syrup

Grow & Behold started out in the summer of 2010 with just chickens and it took over a year to start beef production and another year to start lamb. There is tremendous thought and planning that goes into finding the right farms to raise the meat and they are focused on doing it right rather than doing it fast.  Customers loved the healthier alternative and swear by the difference in quality and taste.  The company quickly grew by word of mouth and in addition to retail consumers; Grow & Behold supplies products to many top kosher restaurants such as Pardes in Brooklyn, Citron and Rose in Philadelphia and the Amsterdam Burger Company on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Every part of the company has a unique story. The name Grow & Behold was chosen by the guests at the Hanau’s wedding, where they ran a contest to choose the name of what they thought would be their farm. Their famous chicken, titled Sara’s Spring Chicken was named by Naftali’s grandmother who upon eating the pasture-raised chicken immediately proclaimed, “This tastes like spring chicken…I haven’t had it since I was a child.” Sara’s comment defined their mission, and fans of Grow & Behold, like Naftali’s grandmother, taste the difference.

What is unique to Grow & Behold’s pastured meat and poultry? The animals are allowed to roam free, eat grass, critters and do what comes naturally to them. They eat mainly grass, are fed some grain as a supplement, and are given antibiotics only when they are sick.

Click here for Naftali and Anna’s recipes for Beef Tartar and Grilled Lamb Chops.

For more information and cooking tips visit

As seen in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine Summer 2013 – Subscribe Now.



Flavored Ice Cubes


July 15th 2013

Contributed by:


5 comments | Leave Comment


In the insane summer heat in Long Island, I pretty much drink everything ice-cold. But watered down drinks are a pet peeve of mine so I’ve been having some fun with the solution to that problem. By making my own flavored ice cubes, I have control over the flavors that keep my drinks cool and my kids love helping fill the ice cube trays with their favorite fruits and drinks! Here are my 6 favorite ice cube flavors but the options are endless! You can even make savory and spicy ice cubes for whiskey and tomato juice.

Strawberry and Blueberry Flavored Ice Cubes

When I’m looking for a refreshing kick to a simple glass of water, these berry flavored ice cubes are my first choice! The strawberry ice cube is just some cut up fresh strawberries and coconut water. As the ice melts in the water, you can taste the mild coconut flavor and sweet strawberry. And the best part is that you get to eat the strawberry when you finish your drink! The blueberry flavored ice cube is a bit more advanced since it’s actually made with sangria. I had leftover sangria in the fridge (can you believe it didn’t get finished?!?) so I poured it into ice cube trays so I could add a little kick to my next glass of water.

Coffee and Tea Flavored Ice Cubes

I enjoy drinking a cold cup of coffee but the ice always waters it down. That drives me absolutely crazy! My answer to this problem is to make ice cubes made with fresh brewed coffee. You just make your favorite flavor of coffee, add sugar and milk or cream and freeze in ice cube trays. As the coffee ice melts, it adds flavor to the coffee instead of diluting it. The same concept goes for iced tea. Just brew your favorite tea (I chose spicy chai), add sugar or honey and freeze.

Citrus Flavored Ice Cubes

You can basically add these citrus flavored ice cubes to anything…well, maybe not coffee. For a sweet and tart addition to your drinks, combine orange juice, lime juice and some lime zest. You can even pour this juice mixture into popsicle molds for a delicious treat on a hot day! For a spicy kick and flavored ice cube that is pleasing to the eye, add chopped mint (I used orange citrus mint) and fresh ginger to a mixture of water and lemon juice. It’s beautiful to look at and absolutely tasty!

What kind of flavored ice cubes will you be making this summer?


In case you missed them above, here are the recipes:

Citrus Flavored Ice Cubes

Coffee and Tea Flavored Ice Cubes

Strawberry and Blueberry Flavored Ice Cubes



Prefast Meal for Tisha B’av


July 12th 2013

Contributed by:


2 comments | Leave Comment


It is a very strong custom to refrain from eating meat and drinking alcohol during the 9 days leading up to Tisha B’av.  This year, Tisha B’av falls on July 16, 2013.  We have shared quite a few dairy menus and meal ideas for you over the past week and now I want to offer some tips for the fast including my menu suggestion.

To start with I always push hydration.  There is nothing as important during these hot days of Summer than staying hydrated.  During the three days leading up to the fast it is best to focus as much as possible on drinking more fluids, preferably water or herbal iced tea.

Those who are regular coffee or caffeinated cola drinkers may want to wean off by switching to decaf to avoid or at least delay the inevitable fast day headache.

Plan a filling, but not heavy meal for before the fast.  You don’t want to overdo anything in the couple hours before starting the fast. So many of use get scared by the idea o not being able to eat or drink for 24 hours that we stuff ourselves and get sick.  Here is a filling meatless menu that will hydrate and fill you with sustenance.  It will keep you cool and satisfied and will help get you through the fast.


Cold Vegan Corn Chowder

This corn chowder can be served warm, but it is best cold and the perfect start to this pre Tisha B’ Av meal.


Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato Farrotto

Any risotto is a nice idea for this meal, but I love that farro is whole grain and hearty and will stay in your system longer to keep you sated.

Salmon Fish Sticks

These crispy baked fish sticks made with salmon can be enjoyed on the side and they will make great leftovers for the kids to eat while you are fasting or would be delicious after the fast as well.

Grilled California Asparagus and Mushroom Salad with Shaved Parmesan

You don’t really need this extra dish or could easily just serve some grilled asparagus on the side of this meal, but it is really good salad, so I am just giving some extra options for you to choose from and between the vegetables and the cheese is somewhat hardy.

Strawberry Ice Cream

You dont’ need dessert either, but then again maybe you do and ice cream is a good choice.  It adds to your hydration and the fat is actually good for keeping you full longer.  Fresh fruit would also be great too.

I hope this menu and these tips give you some good ideas, if you have any tips to share we would love to hear them, just post them in the comments below.  Have an easy fast!




DIY Kosher – Delicious Summer Drinks for...


July 12th 2013

Contributed by:


0 comments | Leave Comment


Forget about those pre-packaged drink mixes and wow your guests with these fresh homemade iced tea and punch drink recipes.

Summer is my favorite season for entertaining on Shabbat. Since the afternoon lazily passes by, lunch becomes an unhurried affair full of good food and conversation—quite different from the winter rush when we barely finish dessert before the sky gets dark.

To augment the leisureliness of Shabbat lunch in the summer, I like to enhance the mood by serving a special beverage. While guests may have finished the challah and licked the cholent bowl clean, what they really love is a pitcher filled with a refreshingly cool homemade drink, as in something other than iced tea from a mix.

Gingered Fruit Punch

Surprisingly simple to prepare and easy to make in advance, the best beverages can be made from the comfort of the kitchen. My favorites include agua fresca, a Mexican watermelon spritzer; gingered fruit punch sweetened with honey and molasses; mint iced tea (brewed with real tea bags, of course); and lemonade that’s nothing more than freshly squeezed lemon juice, water, and sugar.

One morning amidst the July heat, I remembered that the guests due to arrive at my home were big soda fans. Sans anything other than grape juice and milk, I noticed a bag of lemons in the fridge whose image took me back to the thirst-quenching lemonade I used to drink at the state fair as a kid. With that memory in mind, I mixed one part lemon juice to three parts water and sweetened the mixture with a lot of sugar, topping it with tons of ice and thick slices of lemon rind. In less than five minutes, I prepared two pitchers of ice-cold lemonade which had my guests raving.

Iced Green Tea with Mint

Here are three recipes of cool drinks you can enjoy all summer.

Kosher agua fresca, gingered fruit punch, and iced green tea with mint can all be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge for up to two days.

Putting thought into the drinks you serve shows you pay attention to details; a trump card that will take your meal to a new level. And if you don’t have time to make a pitcher of something special before the candles are lit Friday night, do not fret. As long as you have lemons, there’s always lemonade.

Note: Making lemonade on Shabbat can be tricky, due to the prohibition of squeezing. Consult your local Rabbi for the proper method of preparation.


The Meal Before Tisha B’Av – Seudah...


July 11th 2013

Contributed by:


1 comment | Leave Comment


Tisha B’av (the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av) is the national day of mourning for the Jewish people.

The final meal before Tisha B’Av (“Seudah Mafseket”) is eaten in a state of “mourning”, sitting on the floor, eating a piece of bread and a hard boiled egg with some ashes.

Eating round foods such as eggs, beans or lentils as a sign of mourning is an ancient tradition. When Abraham died, his grandson Jacob was making red lentils for his father Isaac to eat. It was these lentils that Esau purchased from Jacob in exchange for his birthright. The reason such foods are eaten by mourners is to remind us that death and mourning is part the circle of life. Just as bad times come around in our lives, so too good times are sure to follow.

Also these foods are completely closed and have no openings. This reminds us that the mourner also has no “mouth” and is left to sit and mourn their loss without having to speak if they do not wish to.

The Seudah HaMafseket is not eaten as a communal meal. Everyone present sits apart on the floor, so not to cause them to say Birchat HaMazon (the blessing after the bread meal) as a group, which increases happiness, but rather alone.

When Erev Tisha B’Av is Shabbat, however, these practices do not apply since no mourning is allowed on Shabbat. A proper “Shabbat” meal should be eaten at Seudah Shlishit, and this meal may even include meat and wine.

May this be the last Tisha B’Av our nation must endure before the rebuilding of the third and final Temple in Jerusalem.