15 No Cook Recipes


July 9th 2014

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It’s difficult to not love the summer with it’s long sunny days and the abundance of ripe produce begging to eaten raw.  The summer heat is a welcome treat to those of us who live in colder climates and enjoying the great weather is reason alone to minimize your time in the kitchen, not to mention those blistering hot days when standing by the stove or oven can be very uncomfortable.  Below are 15 no-cook recipes to keep you out of the kitchen and enjoying the ever too short summer.



Raw Vegan Corn Chowder

There are certain summer days when a hot meal, let alone a hot bowl of soup, is simply unimaginable.  After spending a long day in the heat it’s important to give your body the nutrient it needs and soup is a convenient and tasty way to accomplish this goal.  Enter the summer gazpacho, such as the No Cook Tomato Soup with Cucumbers and Vegan Corn Chowder; all the flavor and nutrients you want minus the time spent by the stove.


In the summer there always seems to be a new fruit or vegetable popping up at the farmers market throughout the summer.  Incorporate both into salads that are satisfying enough to serve as a meal.  For example, there’s the Nectarine Tomato Salad, Simple Salad with Tehina and Yogurt Dressing, and the Alaskan Salmon Salad.



If you have access to high quality fish try serving it raw.  A rice cooker makes sushi is an hassle-free recipe that is easily customizable for all family members or guests.  Two other great options are the Ceviche with Pickled Beets or the Tuna Tartare with Avocado. There may not be fish in this recipe, yet the Summer Rolls would go great with both the ceviche and the tuna tartare.  If you’re not a fan of raw fish, enjoy a revitalized take on a classic with the Chunky Tuna Sandwiches.



Use fruit to help you stay hydrated this summer in a number of delightful ways.  The Fruit Skewers with Yogurt Dip are a fun way to serve fruit salad and are a great way to get the kids excited to enjoy a healthy snack.  Enjoy some guilt-free sweets by using greek yogurt to make Frozen Strawberry Yogurt or Mango Yogurt Parfaits.



blueberry lemon tarts

Raw fruit makes for a great summer dessert, but you can still enjoy pies and tarts without turning on the oven.  The No-Cook Key-Lime Pie and and Mini Blueberry Lemon Tarts take only minutes to prepare.  Chocolate lovers should try the Bittersweet Chocolate Agave Shots, which are great for a quiet dinner or are fancy enough to serve to guests.


Check out more No Cook recipes here!



5 Ways to Cook With Ground Turkey


July 9th 2014

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Ask Us: We just started buying more ground turkey. Any ideas? I’ve already done a few varieties of turkey meat balls.


Most recipes that call for ground beef can be made with ground turkey instead and anything that calls for ground chicken can be made with ground turkey.  Just be aware that it is leaner, especially if you are using white meat only there is very little to no fat in the meat, so some foods will be drier.  Therefore I like try recipes that are filled with texture and flavor and/or sauce.

Curry Turkey Burgers

Curry Turkey Burgers

Years ago I made my first turkey burger after watching this recipe on Rachael Ray.  I found that adding veggies, like peppers and green onions helped to keep the leaner turkey burger moist.  The addition of curry spices added a really nice flavor and using mango chutney instead of ketchup on top was the perfect match.

We have another 13 recipes for all kinds of Turkey Burgers including Jamie’s Spinach Turkey Burger pictured in the main image.   In general you will see they tend to have more flavor and more veggies added than traditional beef burgers.

Turkey Spinach Meatloaf with Tomato Sauce

Turkey Spinach Meatloaf with Tomato Sauce

Turkey meatloaf is another great way to cook with ground turkey that is also great to make ahead.  This recipe above is even made in the slow cooker and is incredibly moist with the addition of the tomato sauce.  Most meatloaf recipes will work with turkey or a blend of turkey and beef is also an option, but again make sure to keep it flavorful and add veggies for more texture.

Five Spice Turkey Eggrolls

Five Spice Turkey Eggrolls

Another use for ground turkey is to make egg rolls or even wontons for soup.  Both of these can be made ahead and frozen too, which can be really nice.

Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs with turkey are a no brainer.  Use your favorite recipe or anything nice and saucy and just sub in the turkey or follow the recipe above for either meatballs or light and healthy lettuce wraps.


Turkey Sheppard Pie

You can also make all kinds of casseroles, stews, chili and even Mexican burritos using ground turkey instead of beef.  Here Susie Fishbein makes a Turkey Sheppard Pie with a sweet potato topping.

What do you like to do with ground turkey?


Brisket Is Best When…


July 8th 2014

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…overcooked.  Really!  If you want that tender, soft, melt-in-your-mouth, fork tender, cuts like “butter” beef then brisket is your best friend, your baby, your #1.  Although in Israel it’s designated by the number #3 but that’s neither here nor there.  Most often we cookbook authors will end a brisket recipe with instructions to let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving.  But really, there is a better way to do that and so much more.  Listen very closely to what I am writing and you are reading here:  No matter what the recipe tells you, mine included brisket is best when…

Rubbed and Seared.  If the recipe doesn’t call for a spice rub then do this with a little kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.  Sear a few minutes per side in a hot oiled pan or Dutch oven set over high heat.  Contrary to the oft repeated food myth that searing will lock in moisture it’s still an extra step worth the extra effort.  The caramelized surface of the meat will add an incredible depth of flavor to your brisket enhancing both the meat and braising liquid with layers of complex flavor.  The contrast in taste and texture to meat with a seared crust and soft interior makes the food more pleasing to the palate.  Brisket and meat dishes in general that have not been seared can taste flat and boring.

Braised Low and Slow.  This hands off method is a G-dsend for (busy) home cooks.  Heat + time + moisture breaks down the tough connective tissue making it an ideal way to cook tougher cuts like brisket.

Ideally between 250 – 350 degrees F is where you want to braise your brisket, about 1 hour per pound.   I like to braise my brisket at 325 – 350 degrees F.  Best braised in a Dutch oven or tightly covered pan/roasting dish, liquid (usually something acidic – tomatoes, beer, wine, vinegar + water or stock) should not cover the meat entirely (that’s called boiling) but rather reach no further than 2/3rds of the way up the side of your brisket.  Tightly covered and cooked at a low temperature will yield fork tender brisket.  The braising liquid will become your sauce or gravy.

Made the Night Before at the very least. You can even make it several days or weeks or even months in advance.  Refrigerating or freezing sliced brisket in sauce and rewarming it will only further soften the meat.

Sliced Cold against the grain.  Far better than letting your brisket sit for a minimum of 15 minutes is refrigerating it overnight and slicing it cold.  This will produce beautiful thin slices in a way that slicing the ever-so-slightly-rested, semi-warm, soft brisket never can – if not sliced cold brisket often shreds.  Further, its little sleepover in the fridge makes removing the fat (that has congealed at the top) super easy – resulting in a far richer, more pleasant, full bodied sauce or gravy.

Submerged and Rewarmed.  Once sliced submerge into the pan sauce and cover.  Refrigerate overnight or for a few days or freeze for up to a few months.  Rewarm covered in a 250 – 300 degrees F oven.  No need to thaw completely before rewarming if you don’t have time.  (Brisket can take a lot!  It’s a resilient, tough eventually tender cut that can handle the oven to fridge to oven to table business well.)

Served with Gold’s Horseradish – really! In the food traditions of Ashkenazi Jews (such as myself) it would be considered something short of sacrilegious to serve gefilte fish without horseradish.  But what about with brisket?  My parents are from the old country (Transylvania) and until married I had always witnessed the horseradish come on and off the table with the fish course.  But about 10 years ago my new mother-in-law, born on Long Island, sweetly asked me to bring back the horseradish with the main.  She asks everything sweetly (she is the bestest!!!) but really insisted (sweetly).  She loves horseradish with brisket or flanken or roast beef or steak and now we do too.  It doesn’t matter the recipe or preparation the pungent, sinus clearing horseradish is spectacular with red meat, especially melt-in-your-mouth brisket.  And you already know I think Gold’s Horseradish is the BEST on the market by far with no competition.  Make sure to bring the bottle to the table, open it only to serve and immediately close it tightly after each use to preserve its strength.

My Brisket Recipes:

This post is sponsored by Gold’s, check out all our recipes using Gold’s products here, all opinions are my own.


My Radio Interview with Malkah Fleisher


July 7th 2014

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Listen to my radio interview (from my garden, post our first summer BBQ) with my dear friend Malkah Fleisher wife of the great Yishai Fleisher Host of The Yishai Fleisher Show, Galey Yisrael,106.5FM.


Click here to listen to the full interview.


Mexican Burgers


July 7th 2014

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Since moving to Israel I now eat hummus and tehina and schug with everything.  Everything.  My eggs, my salads, my burgers.  Growing up in the good ‘ol USA I loaded my burgers with the usual, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, plus lots of ketchup – nestled in the expected sesame bun sandwich.  One of the cool culinary perks of moving across the ocean is the exposure to a whole new world of flavors and food traditions.  I’ve become a lot more adventurous in the kitchen.  It goes without saying that regional foods have become staples but I am also exercising and opening up my palate in lots of new ways.

Here are my turkey ktzitzot before and after – a riff on my beef ktzitzot from p.33 of my new JOY of KOSHER Cookbook.   Loaded with onions, garlic and fresh parsley, spiced with sumac, cumin and cinnamon, and served with (you guessed it!) hummus, tehina, and schug.

My Mexican inspired burgers are filled with black beans and ancho chili powder and topped with guacamole and chili peppers.  Serve your burgers with warm flour tortillas, fresh lime wedges and rice with corn and peppers.  Spicy hot is the one new sensation I love adding to wake up lots of dishes.  So in my opinion hot sauce is a MUST here.  But then that’s only my opinion.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy a burger?

Get my Mexican Burger Recipe here.


Morad Winery Fruit Wines and Liqueurs *Giveaway*


July 4th 2014

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Nestled at the foothills of Israel’s fertile Carmel Mountains Morad Winery is famous for their distinctive fruit wines and liqueurs made from nature’s harvest.

I met the owners Ellen and Gershon Bodner at Kosherfest this past year and we really hit it off — some might even call it a LOVE fest!  So then I tasted their Pomegranate Wine and LOVED, after which I tasted their Passion Fruit Wine and LOVED EVEN MORE, after which they invited me to visit the winery and meet Yaakov Morad a 4th generation wine maker and the artist behind this boutique winery’s unique fruit flavors.

In an instant we agreed to shoot the next episode of JOY of ISRAEL at the winery and make a signature summer cocktail together.  I then met, what we call in my house, the ganse mishpocha (that translates to the WHOLE FAMILIA!).   Ellen and Gershon’s son, Ari, Amir and Orit Bodner, Gershon’s brother and sister in law, Ettie, Yakov Morad’s wife and more Morad friends and family.

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at our shoot.

This is what we call guerrilla filmmaking. Brian our cinematographer (and editor) is fastening a camera to the ceiling to catch overhead angles of our cocktail demo.

This is Tomer Narkis, from Duvdevan Events. He’s full of fun and personality and taught me how to make a Summer Breeze THE drink for summer entertaining!

This is Tomer again and Sivan from Morad Winery. Crazy story: I made sure to tell everyone more than once to dress nicely for the cameras. When we arrived and unloaded the car after our almost 2 hour drive I realized I had left my clothes and “jewels” at home. I was wearing a sporty north face zip up and Sivan literally took the clothes off her back. My blue wrap is hers. My earrings are hers I wanted to ask her for her bracelet (she was SO stylish) but I thought that would be a bit too much. Thanks Sivan!!!


Learn the whole story and get an amazing cocktail recipe when you watch the video here:

To purchase your favorite Morad wines go to Jwines.com.

Please click here to donate to JOY of ISRAEL so we can make more great shows.

***Giveaway*** As part of our partnership with Morad Winery,  Jwines.com is offering you a chance to win a $100 gift card for your next Morad wine purchase on Jwines.

To enter:

  • Watch the video
  • Share the video
  • Comment below, What flavor wine or liquor are you most interested in trying (can be one that already exists or suggest your own)
  • Then enter with rafflecopter and get more chances to win.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Summer Magazine 2014 Sneak Peek


July 3rd 2014

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Everything you need this Summer can be found right in the pages of the latest issue of our magazine. BBQ with the experts, picnic for Shabbat and any time, salads, slaws and more vegetarian foods. Don’t miss our Ice Cream S’mores, Blended drinks and Melon cake for our favorite Summer time treats.

Subscribe Now!!!


Cooking with Joy: Potatoes


July 3rd 2014

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I say Potato, you say Potato

These recipes elevate the humble potato to great heights! No more simple baked potatoes here, have your pick- sweet, savory or my favorite cheesy! Since I made three potato recipes, I decided to change things up a little. I “dressed” one up, dressed one down and combined one. I find that most of the recipes in this book lend themselves nicely to combining.

Red Hasselback Potatoes
DRESS IT DOWN Roasted Red Potatoes page 98

First for my “dressed up” dish. I made Red Hasselback Potatoes. I have seen this in many pictures, but have never made or tasted them. I have to admit, it did take a little longer then 15 minutes to prep- undoubtedly due to my inexperience with the “not slicing all the way through” technique. I loaded up on the garlic, stuffing it into every crevice (Hubs and I really like garlic). They turned out very nice, we just needed to add a little salt.

Baked Sweet Potato Chips
DRESS IT UP Purple, Orange and White Chips page 66

I switched things up for dressed up/down I made the Baked Sweet Potato chips. Homemade chips is something I have been doing for a years. The slices remind me of the “chips” from Burgers Bar in Israel- they were my inspiration for making them at home with regular potatoes. So here to combine the two versions I used sweet potatoes and Yukon gold. I whipped up some of the honey mustard sauce in no time using equal parts honey and mustard I already had at home. This was really yummy- our 2 year old was very happily dipping away. Interactive food is just the best, isn’t it?!

Smashed Red Potato Nachoes
DRESS IT UP Nacho Potato Bites page 70

Finally, the Smashed Nachos. This is such a great idea, its like a riff on a classic baked potato with toppings! When I saw the picture of the dressed up version, I said “No Way”. Although I do have a melon baller, there was no way that I would be standing there prepping each one. They would still turn out delicious if I dressed it down. I love melted cheese on anything, and love guacamole almost as much. This was pretty easy to make and turned out really yummy!



Cooking for Two: Two Days of Meals in 30 Minutes


July 2nd 2014

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As I prepare to leave for the summer (Israel here I come!), I can’t help but think about how it can be difficult to switch gears when it comes to preparing food for fewer people.  As you can well imagine, I’m a big fan of food and therefore of cooking.  When I’m home my family’s fridge is happily stocked with meals to feed our family, if not a few more people.  If your kids are leaving for the summer, really take advantage of spending less time cooking by not only having to prepare for less people, but also by making meals which are quick and can easily be repurposed.  Below you’ll find 30 minute meals that can truly go the distance.


While this stir-fry is a one pan meal, the tuna is cooked in two batches allowing you to serve one batch in this flavorful Tuna Stir-Fry Over Whole-Wheat Vermecelli and save the other for tomorrow’s Fresh Tuna Nicoise Salad.


Portobello Mushrooms are seriously satisfying!  Their “meaty” texture and deep flavor add complexity to any dish, which is great when you’re looking for a quick meal with minimal prep time.  In both recipes, the portobello strikes a balance between stand-out star and supporting actor.  For dinner, try the Baked Portobello Shakshuka and for lunch, or as a side at dinner, try the Salad Stuffed Grilled Portobellos.



A great trick to breathe new life into your meatball recipe is to try a new sauce and grain such as the Sweet Meatballs made with duck sauce served up with Vegetable Fried Quinoa.  Repurpose left over meatballs by serving them as sliders with mini buns and toppings such as Spicy Fried Onions and sweet chili mayo (1:1 ratio of mayo to chili sauce).


If your supermarket sells rotisserie chicken, then these two recipes will be even easier.  If you’re like me and don’t live near a powerhouse kosher supermarket, pick up some chicken breasts for two easy meals that are  great for both lunch and dinner.  Plan to make the Grilled Chicken and Olive Panini first, since you’ll need to cook the chicken, but put some aside to use in the Thai Chicken Salad.




Joy of Israel 4 – A Fruit Cocktail at Morad...


July 2nd 2014

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Get the recipe for the cocktail here: Morad Cocktail.

To purchase your favorite Morad wines go to Jwines.com.


Summer 2014


July 2nd 2014

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Everything you need this Summer can be found right in the pages of the latest issue of our magazine. BBQ with the experts, picnic for Shabbat and any time, salads, slaws and more vegetarian foods. Don’t miss our Ice Cream S’mores, Blended drinks and Melon cake for our favorite Summer time treats.


Summer Barbecue 101: Planning a Healthy Cookout


July 2nd 2014

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Summertime is the time when many of our spouses love to don their chef’s apron and light up the barbecue grill to cook outdoors.  Personally, I love it!  I do prepare the foods in the house, the marinades, salads etc.   I set up everything in individual Tupperware containers with seals, so they stay bug-free outdoors, than I let “hubbie” take over!  I am free to enjoy my guests without worrying about the cooking. All the men also love to congregate around the barbecue grill sharing their opinions.

Grilling is a favorite summer cooking technique that enhances the flavor of many dishes, including lean meat, skinless chicken breasts, fish, veggies, and even fruits. Whether you’re already a grill master — or aspiring to become one — you’ll still benefit from using the right grilling utensils. If you are a“newbie”, make sure you have the following equipment on hand before you get started. (clicking on the links will take you to our Amazon store page)

  1. Long-handled metal tongs: A pair of extra-long tongs is essential for picking up and turning pieces of food on the grill. Metal tongs won’t burn, and long ones will keep your hands at a safe distance from the heat. That said, many people like to wear a heatproof grilling glove as an extra precaution.
  2. Long-handled two-prong fork: Like the tongs, a long fork is good for flipping large pieces of lean meat or poultry.
  3. Metal spatula: This tool is especially helpful when flipping chicken breasts or fish steaks or fillets. Unlike tongs, a spatula will keep delicate food intact.
  4. Basting brush: Use this tool to mop, or baste, foods with marinades. Look for a brush with heat-resistant silicone bristles that won’t shed. Since your brush may come into contact with raw meat or poultry, make sure you clean it well with soap and hot water before you baste veggies, fruits, or other foods that you may be cooking along with, or after, the meat or poultry.  Tupperware just came out with a Clip-N-Click Silicone Brush. It’s great for spreading sauces over BBQ foods, decorate bakery goods or glaze fruit quickly and completely. The brush head folds away inside the handle for safe storage. It is dishwasher safe.
  5. Instant-read thermometer: This important tool works just as well in the backyard as it does in the kitchen. Use it to determine when your meat is cooked to perfection.
  6. Grill racks and baskets: Perforated nonstick grill racks (also called grill toppers), grill baskets, or shaped fish baskets can be used to grill small or delicate vegetables and fruits, whole fish, and more, ensuring that the food won’t slip through the grates or stick to the grill.

Once you have all your tools assembled, you are ready to grill!

When hosting a cookout, there’s no need to miss out on your favorite eats just because you’re following a healthier food plan. Grilled burgers, dogs, and veggies, and grilled fruits, can all be enjoyed on your plan. We love grilling because it’s a healthy way to cook, and you won’t be slaving over a hot stove.

Here are some great ways to make traditional cookout food with an emphasis on healthier eating.

Hot-Dog with Peppers and Onions

Hot-Dog with Peppers and Onions

Hamburgers and Hot Dogs
When cooking up burgers, choose lean ground round or ground sirloin, ground turkey or chicken breast. Ground salmon and tuna also make great patties.  When on a healthier food plan, you can occasionally enjoy hot dogs made with beef, poultry, or soy, as long as they are at least 97 percent fat-free (3 to 6 g fat per serving). Aaron’s Best makes these amazing frankfurters that taste like fleishig but are made from karp!  They are Pareve and delicious!  They were just introduced to the market at Kosherfest this past October.   It is an Asian recipe, with omega-3, a healthier food indeed!  Shelf life on the product is 90 days, and yes, it can be frozen. They looked AND tasted like a good frankfurter!  I served these at our family Chanukah party, and no one could tell the difference!

Serve the burgers or hot dogs on 100% whole-grain or whole-wheat buns.  Last time I grilled hamburgers, I wrapped them in lettuce leaves and sliced tomatoes.  . You can also use romaine lettuce leaves, or portobello mushroom caps as your “bun.” When it comes to toppings, skip sugary condiments and go for Dijon mustard, sugar-free ketchup and sliced tomatoes, and onions. Or prepare your own healthy topping: Try a sun-dried tomato mayonnaise or jalapeño salsa as an alternative.

Chicken and Veggie Skewers

Vegetable Skewers

Veggies on the grill
Grilled or steamed corn is a cookout favorite that is rich in vitamins and fiber, but because of its natural sugars, it is recommended you stick to 1/2 ear and eat it only on occasion. For a nutritious and delicious alternative, prepare grilled vegetable kebabs. (Soak the wooden skewers in water for several hours beforehand to prevent them from burning.)  Marinate chopped pieces of zucchini or other summer squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bell peppers, in a mixture of fresh lemon juice, chopped garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil. Place the veggies on skewers, in a grilling basket, or on a grill topper so they won’t fall through the grates. Try making grilled sweet potato fries with olive oil and some salt.

Grilled Plums with Kale Salad

Fruit on the grill

Summer fruit favorites like watermelon and pineapple should be avoided when first planning your healthier menus.  Because these fruit contain a high concentration of natural sugars that can affect blood-sugar levels and cause cravings, there are many other delicious fruits that can still be enjoyed on most food plans. Try making fruit kebabs with peaches, plums, nectarines, and/or mangoes, and grill over medium heat. Keep an eye on the fruit and turn frequently so it doesn’t burn. If you like, melt dark chocolate for a delicious fruit fondue.  Some dieters must avoid fruit but can enjoy a sugar-free frozen fruit-flavored pop as a sweet summer treat.

gorgeous mushroom salad

Umeboshi Mushroom Salad

Summer Salads

My nutritionist recommended I should stick with a fresh green salad or a mixed bean (or other legume) salad when starting on my food plan. I add to it a variety of vegetables, like chopped bell peppers, kirbies, onions, zucchini, and tomatoes. I also add whole-wheat or whole-grain elbow or penne pasta instead of the white-flour varieties for macaroni salad. Be sure to stick with 2 tablespoons of light mayonnaise per serving when you’re making the dressing — for Pareve or use low-fat or nonfat plain Greek yogurt (Dairy) or vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Roasted bell peppers are also a nice addition. For a healthier diet-friendly potato salad, use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, and mix with nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt, scallions, chopped fresh basil, red-wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt for a tasty dressing.

Get my recipe for Hawaiian Chicken 







In Loving Memory of our Beloved Boys Eyal, Gilad...


July 2nd 2014

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In Loving Memory of our Beloved Boys
Eyal, Gilad and Naftali HY”D

I am not equipped to eloquently comment on the tragic loss of our boys Eyal, Gilad and Naftali HY”D. I won’t pretend that I have the words. Instead I will now share two exceptional pieces I read with you here today.

This first piece from the desk of Rabbi Yakov Harowitz of Project YES and KosherJewishParenting.com is a source of strength for both children and adults and is especially insightful when it comes to explaining the inexplicable to our children.

One from Rabbi Yakov Harowitz is here.

This 2nd piece from the desk of Rabbi Milston of Midreshet HaRova is a more personal account which I found moving.

May the families be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim.  May we never know of such sorrow and sadness.


The Kitchen Is Closed


July 1st 2014

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Growing up it was just the two of us girls, my younger sister and I.  My sister, always the pickiest of eaters never really ate at dinner time (she inconveniently was never hungry for what we were all eating when we were all eating it), but was always hungry for something other than dinner later in the evening, prompting one of my mom’s famous lines…


I just now realized I do the same thing, kinda, sorta.  I don’t announce loudly that “the kitchen is closed” to all within earshot, I don’t hang a “sorry we’re closed” sign on the front door, but what I do, is turn off the lights.  At a certain point in the evening it’s lights out in that part of the house.  Signaling to all that undoubtedly, unequivocally, and assuredly the kitchen is closed.  Save for a cup of water should someone be thirsty.  I am VERY into hydration.

Do you treat your kids and kitchen like a 24-hour diner? Or do you have your own throw in the towel kitchen is closed routine?


Cooking with Flowers


June 30th 2014

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It is fascinating to eat a plant in every stage, from a micro plant, to a blossom and then finally to a fruit. Each step of the way, the plant is giving its all, and we can enjoy it, every bite of it!

I remember as a kid, my father told me that the huge Tiger Lilies growing by the side of my childhood home were edible. I was fascinated
as we stood together watering the huge garden of the showy, bright blossoms. I was spellbound as I watched my dad pluck a petal off one flower and pop it into his mouth. Immediately I was hooked.

That summer, I was eager to show off my edible garden to neighbors, relatives and anyone who came to the house during the prolonged Tiger Lily season. Each summer after that, I would impatiently wait for the blooms to appear. I still smile every time I see the dramatic flowers. It was a magical time in my childhood and so much of what I do daily has everything to do with my father and his enjoyment of all things gustatory.

Flowers are not just intended to look lovely in a vase; many are delicious to eat, and add an extra depth of flavor to food.  Edible flowers are classified as herbs. Flowers have enjoyed a prominent place in culinary history and are in fact referred to in the torah. Eating blossoms has also been a part of almost every culture. Mediterranean countries enjoyed eating capers which are the flowering buds of an evergreen shrub. Romans used violets, mallow and roses in many dishes, the Chinese use Lilies and Chrysanthemums in their kitchens and the Victorians used Borage, Violets, Primroses and other blossoms for their salads.

While eating and cooking with flowers is common in many parts of the world, the practice seems to go in and out of fashion in America. Though, recently as the organic food movement has gained momentum and farmers’ markets are common shopping destinations, flowers and flower recipes are popping up on chefs’ menus and in home kitchens as well. Americans have renewed interest in growing and consuming local and homegrown produce instead of nutritionally- empty fast or prepared foods. Flowers are part of that movement and with big flavor and visual interest; I would say flowers are here to stay.

Notes for eating flowers:

  • Be sure to use flowers that have not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.  (I freak out when brides want to decorate their wedding cakes with flowers from the florist. Those blossoms have been heavily sprayed and should not be anywhere near FOOD!)
  • Fresh flowers are delicate in texture and flavor, but dried flowers are more assertive and a little can go a long way.   You can always add more, but you can’t take out what has already been added. Go easy until you are familiar with the flavors.
  • Not all flowers are dibble; in fact some are toxic.  Be sure to check with a reliable source before you add blossoms to your recipes.
  • Flowers are not just garnishes. They add flavor and texture to dishes. Have fun with them and turn your food into a botanical masterpiece.
  • Plant an edible garden with your kids.  Even small city apartments can grow a window box. Your kids will benefit from seeing their seeds turn into delicious homegrown food.
  • Edible flowers are east to check for bugs and are different from any other herb.  Check with your rabbinical authorities for exact procedures.
  • Home cooks can have the same quality of amazing edible flowers and micro plants that chefs enjoy.   The most amazing selection comes from my friend Farmer Lee Jones. www. farmerjonesfarm. com

Here are some recipes to try with fresh flowers:

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Bloomin Salad with Lavender Honey Dressing

Potato Salad with Chive Garlic Blossoms

Hibiscus Sangria

For more recipes like Rose Granita, Salmon with Hibiscus Cream Sauce and Lavender Vanilla Bean Cupcakes subscribe to our Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine.


Fried Zucchini Blossoms

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

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