A Passover Tablescape

 

March 25th 2014

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Before I can sit down to plan my seder night menu (or maybe we should leave that one to Jamie), I like to design my tablesetting for the evening well in advance of Pesach, as let’s face it, who has time later. Make it fun and easy so the entire family will enjoy. All you need is some cardstock, scissors, corks for the placecards, a good craft store and dollar store (shekel shop for those of us living in Israel), a computer and a little imagination.

For the tablecloth I used a piece of crushed velvet and an overlay of burlap to create the desert look (get it Yetzias mitzrayim).

I’ve made pyramids (you can find instructions on youtube) out of matzah cardstock and parchment paper.

The leftover matzah paper was used to create the napkin rings and the placecards. Simply cut strips of paper, any width you like, and glue to create rings for your napkins.

Wine corks we used to hold the placecards. Cut the bottom of the corks to make a flat surface and then cut a slit in the corks to hold the placecards in place.

Camels and frogs add a fun element to the table. I found my little green friends at my favourite shekel shop, while the camels I downloaded from the internet. If you’ve visited Israel and had the chance to ride a camel, why not include some photos of family on camels, just for fun.  Add some flowers for colour and perhaps candles in lanterns for a touch of elegance, then sit back, relax and enjoy your exodus from Egypt.

 

Flowers were provided by Mookie Cohen ( Miss Gardenia Floral Event & Design)


 

Fresh, Fast and Fancy Passover Sides

 

March 25th 2014

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I had a blast tasting and testing these 7 sweet and savory Seder sides for Passover. All ingredients are easily accessible in both the U.S. and Israel, and all recipes are non-gebrochts. Watch these simple Seder side dishes become staples at your table year-round!

Salad with Pastrami Croutons

Spring Salad with Pastrami Croutons and Balsamic Reduction

This recipe is simple and springy, but you have to follow a few rules. Balsamic vinegar will sweeten when reduced and it will also intensify in flavor, so you want good-quality balsamic — not generic or cheap brands — for your balsamic reduction. Avoid using uncoated copper or aluminum pans which can alter the flavor of the vinegar. Remember that vinegar can thicken quickly, but you can always add water to bring it back to desired consistency.

Citrus Glazed Roasted Carrots

Citrus Glazed Roasted Carrots

There’s nothing sweeter than oven-roasted caramelized carrots. The citrus brightens this dish and pairs well with thyme, another favorite and uber versatile herb that I don’t leave home without. Use small, multi-colored baby carrots with the greens on top and add pearl onions to elevate this simple side to 5-star status.

 

Eggplant Tomato Stacks

Eggplant Tomato Stacks

These individual eggplant stacks are as beautiful as they are versatile – add ground beef to make them heartier (or shredded mozzarella for a dairy dinner). I’ve included a recipe for homemade tomato sauce as well!

Colored Cauliflower

Roasted Colored Cauliflower

Year round, I add my new obsession – cumin –to this dish. For Passover I retested this recipe without it, and the caulifl ower is still beautiful,
flavorful and irresistible, straight out of the oven!

Zucchini Fritters with Tomato Salsa

Zucchini Fritters with Tomato Salsa

My Grandma “Ma” always made chremslach, a.k.a potato pancakes. Latkes are great Passover fare. You can easily substitute
potato starch for breadcrumbs or matzo meal to make your favorite recipes non-gebrochts. I was inspired by her Old Country recipe but wanted a New Country twist so I adapted it to feature zucchini, which is “free” on my diet. The fresh tomato salsa is also great on fish or chicken, or served as part of your starter course.


 

In the JOK Kitchen with Let My Children Cook! ...

 

March 24th 2014

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Tamar Ansh, otherwise known as the challah queen (at least that is how I know her cause of her book, Taste of Challah), just came out with the perfect Passover coobook for you and your kids.  Let My Children Cook!, would be a fun book for anyone and can really help get your kids get involved in the kitchen his year.  She covers all the basics, like matzah balls and charoset as well as lots of new serving ideas and recipes for the whole family to enjoy.  She even throws in a few clever crafts.  I spoke with Tamar and learned a bit more about her.

1. What inspired you to write this cookbook for kids?

Inspiration for a book can come from many sources; with each book I’ve done, Hashem sent me the idea and the inspiration in a different way.

For this book, Let My Children Cook!, the inspiration actually came from a totally unexpected angle. A friend of mine mentioned the idea to me in a short email. I read it quickly and the idea just took off nearly immediately in my head. I sat there all that day and part of the next and by just thinking about it without interruptions, so many ideas got put down in my first outline. The best part about it – the title!! THAT ‘came to me’ almost instantaneously! Every time I see it again it makes me chuckle inside – the title was so perfect that I just had to see this book become a reality; and now, Baruch Hashem, it is…

 2. What ages do you think your book is best for?

As I wrote on the cover, this book is for “kids aged 8 – 108!” BUT, the truth is that it can really be used by nearly everybody. The recipes were written and geared towards food the average kid will enjoy and want to eat. And if they like to eat it, they will also like to try cooking it.  This book’s younger cook age is around 8-year-olds and above, just as I wrote on the cover, and kids aged 11-16 will find it easiest. However, I know that anyone making Passover will enjoy it, those new to their Passover kitchen, grandmothers with grandkids coming over to visit, kids who want to make something for their cousins and friends, or mothers who want something quick and easy that their kids will eat. Just about anyone, regardless of whether there are kids in your life or not, can have a good time with this book.

Passover Chocolate Sponge Cake

3. What do you like to cook with your kids?

My kids are actually very good cooks by now. They will make anything but their absolute favorite is making sponge cakes, brownies and ice creams – in other words, desserts! Last year my girls made the most amazing potato blintzes and Pesach egg noodles (sorry, those are in my other Pesach cookbook, Pesach – Anything’s Possible!), besides lots of salads and of course, nearly every single dessert we had. They are planning to do so again…I love working together with all of them in the kitchen; it really makes it feel like the holiday is coming and the smells and the enjoyment of having them with me together is very special.

We’ll leave out mention of how many dishes we have to wash every time!!

4. What is your earliest cooking memory?

Ahem…can’t say I have one! I wasn’t much of a cook when I was a kid! Matza pizza and matza and butter were all I really did on my own…my mother was and still is a great cook, though!

6. How did you decide to add some craft projects into this book too?

I used to be a pre-school teacher and every year we made the crafts you see me listing in Let My Children Cook! The kids loved making them, I enjoyed seeing the fun they had when taking them home on that last day of school before Pesach break, and so I decided, why not share them here? Plus, kids who can do them on their own or have their parent set them up to do it, will have something productive to do with themselves while the family is so busy getting ready for the holiday. Parents of younger children are sure to appreciate this bonus to this cookbook.  Try out this Passover Placemat Craft here.

Have a great, delicious and enjoyable Passover!

Try these two favorite recipes from the book: Passover Chocolate Brownies and Fluffy Matzah Balls and Chocolate Sponge Cake from Pesach Anything’s Possible.

***Giveaway***  Enter to win your copy of Let My Children Cook!!  Do you let your kids cook in the kitchen?

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Share and Win $200

 

March 24th 2014

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Over the next month we want you to show us what you are eating and who you are eating with every day.

HOW TO ENTER:

  • Take pictures of your food, your family, and your friends
  • Submit pics below or on Twitter and Instagram with #ShareSabra
  • The more pictures you submit the more chances you have to win!

We will feature our favorite shares and select a winner on April 23rd.

 

Disclosure: This promotion is part of ongoing partnership with Sabra.


 

Passover Placemats Craft

 

March 24th 2014

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Supplies:

  • One sturdy, brightly colored piece of thicker construction paper, size
  • 8 X 11 (A4), per kid
  • One good photo of each kid who is making a placemat
  • Stickers for decorating the edges
  • Magic markers in various colors
  • Stencil for writing the letters of the name, optional

Instructions

1 Using the stencil, if you have it, write your name neatly near the top right half of the paper. You can do it in Hebrew or English letters.

2 Attach the photo to the other half of the paper.

3 Place stickers in any pattern you like all around the edges of the paper; this will be your border or frame.

4 Using the magic markers, color the name and the rest of the paper so it will be pretty. Those who know how to write can add a short love note to the person who will be receiving the placemat, such as, “Hi, Bubby, I love you! Happy Pesach!”

5 When you are done, take it to a store that does lamination and laminate it. Now your placemat is all ready for use! When it gets dirty, just give it a swipe with a damp rag, and it will be as good as new!

Excerpt from Let My Children Cook!


 

Shabbat Menu – A Clean New Year

 

March 23rd 2014

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This week in parsha Tazria we continue reading about the laws purity, but it also happens to be Shabbat Hachodesh.  The Shabbat before the first of Nissan, which is considered the first month of the Jewish calendar.  At the same time Spring is in the air and we are cleaning our homes and preparing for the holiday of Passover.  Let’s start the new year off with clean and homes and clean bodies.  This week’s menu features clean healthy foods that have no processed ingredients.

Indian Inspired Salmon Cakes

Creamy Broccoli Salad

Creamy Broccoli Salad

roasted moroccan spiced chicken breast

Roasted Moroccan Spiced Chicken Breast

Whole Wheat Israeli Couscous

Whole Wheat Israeli Couscous

Zucchini Pasta with Mushrooms and Oven Dried Tomatoes

Zucchini Pasta with Mushrooms and Oven Dried Tomatoes

Pine Apple Fruit Salad

Pine Apple Fruit Salad


 

How To Eat Pizza Like an Israeli

 

March 21st 2014

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A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Jamie Geller.  As the resident adviser to new (and not so new) olim, I get all kinds of questions about cooking and baking in Israel.  But this one made me realize, the questions are about eating in Israel, too!

Jamie wanted to know if I had a recipe for the delicious dipping sauce that frequently accompanies pizzas here in Israel, and while I was at it, if I knew how to make the tavlinim – spices – that come with every delivery.  It occurred to me that the way we eat pizza has changed since we made Aliyah. It used to be plain pizza, with a side of French fries.  Here, French fries are rarely available in pizza shops, and it is the condiments that make the meal.  Spices are sprinkled on top (green or the more spicy red combination), and sauce is drizzled over the top or on the side for dunking your slice.  But while I have a sufficient number of spice packets to cover a football field of pizzas, I would prefer to make my own spice mixes, leaving off the ubiquitous MSG and controlling the amount of salt, for a healthier result.  The same is true for dipping sauce – I can use lower fat and sugar ingredients, and minimize the sodium.

So, Jamie, after some fun experimenting (my kids say thanks!), here are recipes for sauce and spices, so you can DIY them too, and our friends outside of Israel can enjoy our way of eating the Italian specialty.

Here are my recipes for Tavlinim Spices and Rotev, Pizza Sauce.

By the way, the pizza pictured here is from Chashmonaim’s own Pizza Mia, where you can get some of the best New York style pizza in the country, as well as delicious dairy catering.

Editor’s note:

Thanks to the original questioner,  Miriam Cohen who sent us this email:

I wanted to know if you could help me out.  I lived in E”Y for 4 yrs.  and on the occasions that we went out to pizza they have that  yummy rotev that is spicy and that you eat with the pizza.  At one point my husband asked the guy he knew in Jerusalem pizza in geula how he made it and he told him but I can’t seem to remember where I wrote it down from ages ago.  Would it be possible you could help me out and post a recipe for the israeli pizza rotev (the one from Jerusalem pizza in geula was the best!).

We hope this helps Miriam and the rest of us recreate memories of pizza past.


 

Spring 2014 Sneak Peek

 

March 20th 2014

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This Pesach issue is 100% Gluten Free. Get decadent dessert recipes to fancify your Seder plus a vegan miracle mousse you won’t believe has only 2 ingredients. Learn everything you need to know about meat and salmon for the holiday and beyond is in this issue. Wineries, wine gadgets, and cooking with wine with tips and recipes. Goat cheese recipes for your health and lots of Spring time salads, soups and fruit recipes.  Take a look at our sneak peek below and then Subscribe Today!


 

Putting More Joy into Kosher: Our Best Restaurant...

 

March 20th 2014

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The voters have eaten. And the eaters have voted.

Why did fans come out in force when Milt’s Barbecue for the Perplexed (named for an off-beat uncle and Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed) was in the running for Joy of Kosher’s Best Restaurant of 2013?

“I think it goes beyond the pulled brisket, or even our smoked ribs and Milt burgers,” said award-winning executive chef Bryan Gryka. The Chicago hotspot’s Facebook page and website confirm his modest assertion. Beyond foodie fever, many Milt’s customers seem ecstatic to be doing double mitzvahs. When every bite is kosher and every dollar of profit goes to tzedakah, it’s hard not to feel the joy.

Yes, 100% of Milt’s profits go to charity. The Community Gift of the Month supports nonprofit organizations that help people with special needs or lifelong diseases, work to eradicate abuse and sexual assault, fight poverty, and enhance educational opportunities. Recently Milt’s joined a customer loyalty program, through which it lets diners redeem points as donated “meals” to local food banks and soup kitchens rather than discounted drinks or free appetizers. The new Milt’s Night Out program seeks out spare sports or cultural tickets, pairs them with a free dinner, and creates a memorable evening for people who are going through trying times.

Locals may not care that Milt’s is kosher. They may happen in because it’s a trendy restaurant that has received top marks from reviewers and was named a New Restaurant of the Year by UrbanSpoon. They come back to satisfy their appetite for barbecue and to read more perplexities and brain teasers, conveniently placed on each table and hung on magnetized walls. They also may reserve a spot for an upcoming lecture on history, politics, spirituality humor, and other subjects by an expert from anywhere in the world. Milt’s acts, as described on its website, “as a community center without the pool.” With a fourteen-person Community Table, large booths, and regular tables, Milt’s is a hub of conversation.

All of Milt’s programs and charitable giving are facilitated by the Jeffrey F. Kahan Memorial Fund, a donor-advised fund at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, which receives and distributes Milt’s profits as well as gifts from other donors. Milt’s owner and founder Jeff Aeder established the JKMF in memory of a cherished member of the community. “Jeff Kahan loved Israel,” said Aeder, “and he had strong sense of Jewish identity. That, along with his passion for a good debate, continually inspires our programming.”

Under strict CRC kashrut supervision, Milt’s hosts Shabbat dinners for private groups and also for nonprofit groups that aim to bring together Jewish young adults and give them – quite literally – a taste of tradition. The JKMF makes these dinners possible through a donation that is worth part of the cost, thus enabling them to attract more participants.

Besides thousands of Facebook “likes” and shares, and the near-perfect customer ratings, Milt’s fans sometimes take the time to post adoring comments. One such comment came at the unveiling of the Milt’s Night Out program. “So glad you exist,” wrote Tammy Klein Bergman. “You are amazing!!!”

To learn more about Milt’s, sign up for emails, and stay abreast of developments such as the first-ever Chicago barbecue competition and festival, visit www.miltsbbq.com.

Bring a little bit of Milt’s into your home with Executive Chef Bryan Gryka’s cornbread recipe.

Main image from GreatKosherRestaurants.com

Other images supplied by Milt’s.

Article contributed by Sari Steinberg.

 


 

Win The Spice And Spirit Passover Book Set

 

March 19th 2014

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The famous purple cookbook comes in a Passover version.  One for all year round and one just for Passover with tried and true recipes using no processed ingredients whatsoever.  Now you can win the cookbook and Passover planner!!

Find out more on Amazon.

Enter to win below:
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Win A Taste of Pesach

 

March 19th 2014

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The New Pesach Cookbook is compiled by the wildly popular mailing to benefit Yeshiva Me’on Hatorah and features over 160 recipes (many of which have never been published before!), each with a beautiful, full color image.  Best of all, over 140 of the recipes are gluten and gebrokts free!

Enter below to win your copy just in time for the holiday.

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15 Salad Recipes for Passover

 

March 19th 2014

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This is how it works isn’t it: as soon as Purim is over we all start planning (stressing over) our menus for Passover.  After indulging in hamantashen and other treats during Purim the last thing I want to do is think about food.  I can make an exception for salads because they are my go-to for passover and are currently a main feature of my post-purim cleanse!

Pesach (Passover) is probably my favorite holiday to cook for; despite all of the restrictions it a great learning experience because it forces you to transform basic ingredients into meals worthy of the holiday.  These 15 salads are kosher for pesach and are a nice way to balance some of the heavier seder meals, or to serve at lunch with leftover fish or meat from the night before.

Creamy Broccoli Salad

1.  Chopped Broccoli Salad:  This salad is creamy without being overly indulgent, because avocado is substituted for the traditional mayo-based dressing.

 

Shaved Mustard Green Salad

2.  Shaved Mustard Green Salad: Mustard Greens are high in nutrition and pack a punch when it comes to taste.  This salad is simple and refreshing.

 

 

Modern Millionaires Salad

3.  Modern Millionaire’s Salad: In ’60′s a salad made of hearts of palm and lettuces was very popular.  This updated version includes mango, avocado and a zesty citrus dressing.

 

 

Bella Topped Salad with Balsamic Reduction

4.  Bella Topped Salad with Balsamic Reduction: Portobello mushrooms are the star of this salad.  As a popular substitute for meat, portobello mushrooms are known for their hearty flavors which make this salad satisfying, but never heavy.

 

 

Balsamic Cucumber and Carrot  Ribbon Salad

5.  Balsamic Cucumber and Carrot Ribbon Salad: The ribbons of vegetables look beautiful on the plate, and taste even better.  This salad is less work than it looks, all you need is a vegetable peeler to cut the veggies into ribbons.

 

 

Waldorf Salad

6.  Waldorf Salad: The famous Waldorf Salad is actually quite simple to make!  A satisfying salad of butter lettuce, walnuts and grapes would pair perfectly with most meals.  The blue cheese in the recipe is optional, giving this salad an added degree of versatility.

 

 

Fennel and Cucumber Salad

7.  Fennel and Cucumber Salad: I’m dreaming of serving this salad for lunch with a zesty, beautifully prepared fish.  The fennel is crunchy yet sweet, and pairs well with the minty dressing.

 

 

Avocado Salad

8.  Avocado Salad: Think of this salad as guacamole with more texture.  Try adding mango and serving it alongside a beef entree.

 

 

Passover Egg and Avocado Salad

9.  Passover Avocado Egg Salad: All it takes is some creative plating and this salad is a winner in my book.  This is great for yom tov lunch, boil the eggs before the holiday and you’ll have a delicious salad ready in a minute.

 

 

Creamy Kale Salad with Capers and Hazelnuts

10.  Creamy Kale Salad with Capers and Hazelnuts: I’m a little behind when it comes to the kale trend.  I never thought I would be a fan of it, but it’s amazing how soft and creamy kale becomes when you massage a little dressing into it.

 

 

Tropical Slaw

11.  Tropical Slaw: Pineapples and mangos liven up a traditional slaw.  It would pair well with fish, especially tilapia or sea bass.

 

 

Cabbage Fennel Radish and Orange Salad

12.  Cabbage, Fennel, Radish and Orange Salad: While salads are naturally refreshing, I find that citrus dressings really pack a punch and wake up the senses.  The bright flavors of the cabbage and radish are complemented by the mild fennel and sweet orange.

 

 

Pomegranate Salad with Berry Vinaigrette

13.  Pomegranate Salad with Berry Vinaigrette: It’s no surprise that I dream about being in Israel during Passover.  The pomegranate seeds brings a bit of the holy land to my plate, alongside the Caribbean flavors of jicama and mango.

 

 

Red Cabbage Salad

14.  Red Cabbage Salad: The striking colors of this salad will brighten up your table and draw in hungry guests.  It pairs well with your choice of white fish or a citrus-flavored chicken dish.

 

 

15.  Fennel Orange Salad: This salad is gorgeous enough to serve at any holiday meal, but easy enough to prep ahead.

Check out more ideas for Passover here.


 

Healthy Recipe Ideas You Will Love –...

 

March 19th 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Stuffed Mushrooms and Artichokes

Stuffed Mushrooms and Artichokes

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

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

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

 


 

Israel Joy of Kosher Cookbook Parties

 

March 19th 2014

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

Bracha Goldman from Beer Sheva

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

Tziona Rand from the Golan

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


Beth Saar from Raanana

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

Sara Mor – Beit Shemesh

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

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

Esther Soltani from Tel Aviv

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hadassah Levy

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


 

9 Recipes To Use Up Your Chametz

 

March 18th 2014

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

whole-wheat-tuna-casarole

Whole Wheat Tuna Casserole with Spinach

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

Shiitake Beef and Barley Soup

Shiitake Beef and Barley Soup

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

no knead olive bread

No Knead Olive Bread

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

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

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

Orzo with Chicken

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

challah kugel

Challah Kugel

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

spinach-ricotta-quiche

Spinach Ricotta Quiche

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

Pot Pie

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

Fried Asparagus Rolls

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

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