In the Joy of Kosher Kitchen with Balaboosta


October 14th 2013

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I know what you are thinking, aren’t we all balaboosta? Or maybe you are thinking I am in a no way a balaboosta or what is a balaboosta? A balaboosta is the Yiddish term for the perfect housewife. The dream of little girls long ago was to be a balaboosta just like their mothers.

Some of that changed with the feminist movement, but just as women have evolved, Einat Admony believes that the term “balaboosta” is to be embraced not embarrassed. A twenty-first century balaboosta navigates the pitfalls of life with courageous heart, a head filled with determination, and a spirit of risk and adventure. The modern balaboosta can be anyone, young or old, male or female, religious or not who lives with gusto, shuns fear and relies on instinct over precision.

Einat was born and raised in Israel, she is now a wife, mother of two and successful owner of three busy New York City restaurants. She is also the winner of a Throwdown with Bobby Flay (according to Bobby Flay) for her take on falafel. In this new cookbook Einat Admony shares 140 of her favorite recipes. Most recipes are the same she cooks for her family at home with a few fancy ones thrown in for special occasions.

Although Einat talks about her intuitive cooking style, she does put measurements and helpful instruction in her recipes. If you like Israeli food you will love her cookbook!

Note: Einat’s restaurants are not all kosher and the cookbook does have a few non-kosher recipes. Taim, her Israeli falafel shack in the West Village, is certified kosher by UKS.

We asked and Einat answered:

I love all the little anecdotes before each section and recipe, how do you feel about sharing so much of yourself in this cookbook?

It was not hard for me, I am not a reserved person and I have no secrets. The hardest part was talking about the way I met my husband, there was a lot of emotion, but it is part of my life and I had to share it.

Why did you separate chapters based on types of food, grown-ups versus kids, quick versus slow rather than appetizer, main, side and dessert?

I thought that this division was more fun and more me.  It gave me the opportunity to write about myself and my many moods.  Sometimes I am with my kids and in the mood to cook kid food, sometimes I am alone with my husband and I want to cook more for romance.  Sometimes I want to cook slow and sometimes I want to cook fast.  I also like the idea of occasions and specific foods for each one.  People can take a recipe from each section to make their own meals of course.

Can you tell me a bit about your Israeli upbringing and how that influenced your cooking?

In my restaurants, Balaboosta, I cook a lot of Mediterranean, including a little Spanish, French etc. and even sometimes infusions of flavor from my travels, like Thailand, where I have visited 9 times.  My core is Israeli style, but I like to collaborate and connect flavors from other places and bring them into my Israeli soul.

I grew up in Bnei Brak surrounded by many different Jewish cultures.  My parents became religious when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade.  I never really liked the religious school and all the laws, but I have tremendous respect for Judaism and I love the culture and traditions.  I still do Shabbat dinner with challah every Friday night.  I really appreciate the Jewish values and the family and we celebrate all the Jewish holidays.

What is your earliest memory in the kitchen?

I really have so many crazy memories, many are in the book, but mostly I recall being a slave in the kitchen every Friday.  From 8 am until the time Shabbat started I was cleaning and cooking like crazy with my mom and then if I was finished early with my neighbor.  I loved going to my neighbor and learning her Moroccon style of cooking, that is when I learned to make real couscous, the kind that takes 3 hours instead of 5 minutes.

What do you think about the rise in popularity of Israeli cusine?

I know people have asked me about this trend, and I say, it is not a trend, it is here to stay.  Israeli food is really more about culture, about bringing beautiful food from all different cultures together.

Black Olive Falafel from Taim

Thank you so much for talking with us and for sharing your these recipes.  I am so excited to try out your famous falafel, any tips?

I tested the recipe with a food processor and it works well, if you have a meat grinder, that is even better.  I use olives in my classic falafel instead of cilantro and herbs, but you can really swap in anything, I also love using harissa instead of olives for my spicy version, I make that at Taim too.  Play around with it and make it your own, you cant’ go wrong.



I actually made your hamin recipe last week, everyone loved it, but I was unsure the best way to serve it, any suggestions?

I like to place the bags on a big tray and cut them open for people to spoon out what they want.  Just make sure to leave enough space when tying the bags, the beans and barley do expand.

I can’t wait to try your Homemade Kit Kat recipe, but I would love to make it parve for after a Shabbat meat meal, any thoughts?

The beauty of this recipe is how easy and delicious it is.  Sure you can try making your own nutella and maybe substituting coconut oil instead of butter, but I haven’t tried it and it takes away from the simplicity.

You are well known for your TV appearances, winning twice on Chopped and appeared on throwdown with Bobby Flay. Would you ever want your own cooking show?

Who doesn’t? But I would want something fun, not in a set teaching recipes, I need people, doing something fun.  Maybe one day.  And you should know I didn’t actually win the throwdown, the judges picked Bobby’s falafel, but later he came out and said my falafel was the best and officially declared me the winner.

Now that we learned all about Einat and Balaboosta it is your chance to win a copy of this cookbook. 

Leave a comment below to win and get more chances with Rafflecopter.  Tell us what you think of when you hear balaboosta, do you think you are a balaboosta, do you want to be?

Don’t miss Einat’s recipes for


Homemade Kit Kat


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Tips To Dress Up Your Table *Giveaway*


October 11th 2013

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Malky is the founder of the Silverspoon store and website Born from a passion for entertaining, the Silver Spoon first opened the doors of its boutique in 2000. Malky had a desire to offer fine quality tabletop at the most competitive prices available. It soon became obvious that more than a few shared her appreciation for beautiful tableware and her passion for stunning presentation.  Malky shares her tips and recommendations to help you create a one-of-a-kind table setting. Malky and her staff are always available to assist you with any of your tabletop needs.

  1. Salt and pepper cellars or grinders scattered around the table make them easy to reach.
  2. Make homemade place cards. Use lady apples or small pears, insert a toothpick with your guests’ names in each one for an innovative place card or card holder, adding an element of interest to the table.
  3. Use stamps to mark cardstock with pretty designs for an instant place card solution.
  4. Don’t be intimidated by white china; white china is now trending and looks good with everything.
  5. Emerald green is the color of the year.
  6. Use inexpensive large leaves as chargers.
  7. Use random material like burlap to wrap flatware or silverware and bring a new dimension to any table setting.
  8. Napkin rings add a wow factor.
  9. Use placemats orrunnerseven though you have a tablecloth; it adds another dimension of color, texture and level of design to your table.
  10. Accent color plates create an instant upgrade to any china or dinnerware set; great to use with a basic white set.
  11. Use an elegant bowl filled with seasonal apples as a surprisingly easy, yet show-stopping centerpiece.Placement:
    The napkin is lightly starched, pressed, folded — and placed to the left of the plate.
    Glassware is at the top right of the plate: water glass in front, white wine glass for first course next, then the red wine glass.

***Giveaway*** Silver Spoon Store is giving away a set of 12 Lady Anne Signature By Gorham Iced Beverage Glasses (retail value $120)!!  Share your tips or ask your questions for setting the perfect table below, Like Silver Spoon on Facebook, and Tweet about this giveaway to be entered to WIN!


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This article appeared in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine (Fall 2013) – Subscribe Now.


Light the Menurkey and Celebrate Thanksgivukkah


October 11th 2013

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If you haven’t heard or realized it yet, Hanukkah is really early this year.  So early, that the first day of Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving here in America.  While the anomalies of the Jewish calendar never fail to amaze the casual observer, the confluence of one of America’s most popular secular holidays with one of the best known Jewish holidays occurring on the same day in a happenstance that will not happen again for over 70,000 years* has led to a feathered flurry of holiday mashups.

In the spirit of gobbling good fun, here are some of our favorite Hanukkah/Thanksgiving articles, products and recipe ideas.

Have you heard about the Menurkey?  A Menurkey is a mash-up of a menorah and a turkey.  There is a song about it and here you see a turkey menorah that you can actually buy – did anyone get one yet? Find out more at


BuzzFeed shared a whole menu with recipes and pictures for How To Celebrate Thanksgivukkah.  Not sure why they had to put butter on their turkey, but they did include some fun table decorations and many recipes that are kosher.

Modern Tribe is selling this shirt and similar posters for your November gathering.

If you are too cool for a tee or miffed about the Menurkey, sharpen your #2 pencils, crack open your calculator and join Jonathan Mizrahi for an explanation of the past, present and future of the Thanksgiving and  Hanukkah holiday calendar at:

Not to be outdone (or overdone) Jamie worked on some recipes for you, too.  We’re still working on the pictures, but check out these yummy ideas….  Individual Sweet Potato Pies with Tam Tam CrustCaramelized Corn, Thyme, and Onion Donut HolesCranberry LatkesTurkey Latkes with Black Pepper Gravy, and Jumbo Potato Pancake with Sage.

*Note that the first night of Hanukkah will coincide with the night of Thanksgiving Day slightly more frequently, but still not for another 60 years or so.


Versatile Kale Recipes


October 10th 2013

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Every once in a while my daughters, now grown up and married with children will ask, “how come we never ate [fill in the blank] when we were kids?”

The answers vary, of course, depending on the particular food.

Items such as soy nut butter didn’t exist.

Quinoa existed, but only natives in the far reaches of Chile and Peru knew about it.

Coconut oil? It was considered unhealthy at the time.

Kale. Ah, there’s a biggie. I’d heard of it back in the day but don’t recall it ever being in the produce section. If it was, I passed it by, unthinking.

That’s all changed. I cook kale all the time, and so, it seems, does everyone else. Kale is so popular now that, like so many American products, it shows up almost everywhere and in almost everything. Kids even take kale chips to school as a snack.

Kale ice cream anyone?

The truth is, kale has captured our attention for lots of important reasons. Without getting too scientific, let me simply say: it’s healthy; one of those nutrient-dense “superfoods” loaded with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant flavonoids, calcium, Vitamins A, C and K. It has both anti-cancer and cholesterol lowering properties.


kale egg salad

Kale Egg Salad

For those of us who love to cook, there’s this: kale is versatile and easy to use. Most of the time I cut the leaves and stir-fry them in olive oil and in 5-6 minutes I have a side dish. Kale is slightly chewy this way, which is nice with dishes like salmon or other fish.

Kale and Potatoes


If I have more time I braise the leaves. The liquid adds flavor and softens the vegetable so it is particularly good if I’m serving meatier roasts or poultry.

I also find it easy to add an ingredient here and there to change basic kale into something with more character, like garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, golden raisins, pignoli nuts. It all goes.

One of kale’s best qualities is that it keeps, which makes it suitable for people like me who usually cook for two people. I keep some separate and chop it into a salad, which we enjoy when we’re in the mood for something light. I cook what’s left, use some as a side dish and use the leftovers in other recipes during the week: for a frittata or omelet or with pasta or any whole grain. I’ve mixed it into mashed potatoes, added it to vegetable soup.

There are two popular varieties of kale, curly leaf and Lacinato (sometimes called black, Tuscan or Dinosaur kale, with darker, flat leaves and thinner stems). Curly kale is somewhat stronger tasting than Lacinato and may take a minute or so longer to cook. Before you cook with kale, wash each leaf carefully, discard thick stems and cut the leaves into julienne strips.

I think the kale trend is here to stay for a long time. Jump on board!

What’s your favorite way to eat kale?


Best Rice Cookers to Buy


October 9th 2013

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From my experience it doesn’t really matter which one you buy, all rice cookers make good rice, it is really more about you.  No matter what, getting a rice cooker will change your life.  Sure you might say, I make great rice on my stove top or in my microwave, what do I need another gadget for.  If you only make rice once in a while then sure you are right. If you only make rice out of a box with a mix of flavors then you probably don’t need it either.  However, if you like rice regularly, a rice cooker is a valuable gadget and doesn’t even have to cost a lot of money.

Here is a pretty basic rice cooker that only costs $16!!!  The Aroma rice cooker even includes a little steamer basket on top so you can have your rice and eat your vegetables too. This cooker even has a stay warm feature perfect for Shabbat night.  This one only fits up to 6 cups cooked rice and it doesn’t have any special settings for cooking different types of rice.  (The larger model is only $24.99)

Here we have the Zojirushi rice cooker.  This one has all the bells and whistles and is the king of all rice cookers.  Zojirushi has been known for quality products for years, the only catch is the price.  This one is $173 on Amazon.  It has all the settings so you can get perfect sushi rice versus brown rice, versus sticky rice.  There is a timer so you can have perfectly cooked rice, hot and fresh when you get home from work.  And it makes up to 10 cups of cooked rice.  This is the rice cooker I have, but I don’t remember spending quite so much money on it.  Still I have to say it is worth it.

If you want a slightly larger rice cooker that is more mid-priced, try this Aroma model.  It cooks 16 cups of rice, has a timer and clocks in at $49.95.

Whichever model you choose, I know you will enjoy it.  Good quality plain rice comes out steaming hot and fluffy, you won’t need anything else, but if you end up with lots of leftover rice like I do getting so excited by how easy it is to make then check out my 4 Easy Meals Using Leftover Rice.




4 Easy Dinner Recipes Using Leftover Rice


October 9th 2013

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Do you ever wonder how rice seems to multiply.  Maybe it is just me, but I can never make the right amount of rice, there is always too much.  Don’t get me started on leftover Chinese take out.  Luckily for you and me I discovered that leftover rice is actually like a surprise present.  You can even stick it in the freezer and take it out later to turn into a whole new dish that practically begs for day old (or even weeks old) rice.

Mushroom Fried Rice

Mushroom Fried Rice

Chinese fried rice is nothing new, that is for sure what those take out places do with their extras.  The difference is you can get much more creative when you are home, no peas and carrots for my rice.  Try this Mushroom Fried Rice with a little egg and some tofu it is a full meal.

Mexican Fried Rice

Mexican Fried Rice

Now, consider this, you don’t have to stop with Asian cuisine.  All flavor profiles go with rice.  When I realized that all flavor profiles go with rice, that opened an even larger world for fried rice.  Start with this Mexican Fried Rice with beans and peppers and move on to your favorite flavor combinations.

Get inspired by 8 Fried Rice Recipes.

bean and rice fritters

Rice and Bean Fritters

Use your leftover rice in another way and turn it into fritters.  Again there are many ways to go here flavor wise.  In this recipe I was inspired by a veggie burger, but I found them to be more like fritters then a burger.  Still filling enough to be a meal, I just wouldn’t want to put them on a bun.

vegetable biryani

Vegetable Biryani

My latest find is this Indian specialty,Biryani.  From what I could find online, this is not an authentic recipe and you are not supposed to use leftover rice, but it tastes authentically delicious so I am okay with it, hope you are too.  The best thing about this rice is that the longer it sits the better it tastes, so it is perfect for these early Shabbat Friday night dinners we will be preparing for soon.

Note: all these recipes can be made with white or brown rice.

If you love rice I highly recommend getting a rice cooker, check out the Best Rice Cookers to buy and treat yourself.

How do you use your leftover rice?


RSVP For The #ChosenCandy Twitter Chat and Win


October 8th 2013

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You’re invited to join our  Twitter chat!
Hosted by @JoyofKosher and sponsored by Mike and Ike and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews

On the agenda

Fun questions and lots of Prizes – Win 1 of 5 copies of the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine for Hanukkah just by RSVPing below, then Retweet during the chat to win 1 of 2 $25 candy prize packages and 1 of 2 copies of the new Joy of Kosher Cookbook.

We will be talking about our favorite ChosenCandy!!  Reminiscing about Peanut Chews, discussing the Mike and Ike breakup and return with new flavors.  Bring your sweet tooth and get ready to talk candy.  Recipe suggestions, crafting and gift ideas to come too.


Thursday October 10 from 1-2pm EST


@JoyofKosher @Bitayavon @KosherFoodBloggers @KitchenTested

Moderator @TamarGenger

How to participate
Use hashtag #ChosenCandy
Use Twubs for easy chatting.

Anyone can participate, but you must be following @JoyofKosher and RSVP before the chat in order to win!

Follow us here


Let us know you are coming to the party in the comments below to be entered to win 1 of 5 copies of the Hanukkah issue of Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine, make sure to include your twitter handle.


The Joy of Kosher Cookbook, It’s Personal…...


October 8th 2013

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You’ll hear people say my new Joy of Kosher is not exactly a cookbook – what they really mean is it’s not just a cookbook with the yummiest most delicious, most glorious food – it’s a book about life, my life.  Literally. I ripped pages out of my diary and swiped pictures of my family and put them into this book.  Nearly 400 pages of food, family, life and love.

You’ll want to hug this book.  I do.  I really wrote it for you ‘cuz I want to hug you.  You have no way of knowing how YOU keep me going, keep me writing, keep me honest and keep me cooking.  Without your cheering and support I would have thrown in the towel a long, long, long time ago.

I revel in the applause, comments like “my kids started saying, ‘more please, Mommy’”; “I cried all through your aliyah video”; “Thank you for this brisket recipe: it changed my life.”  And believe me if anyone knows, I know just how, exactly, a brisket can change one’s life!

This book is my most deeply felt, heart-baring, honest collection of recipes and stories.  I cook the way I do because of who I am: my background (didn’t grow up kosher); my journey (pampered kid, TV producer, workaholic); my evolving story (becoming religious); my mom (allergic to the kitchen but my biggest fan); my husband (a kitchen natural with an incredible sense of humor); my grandparents (gourmet chefs who loved us to pieces with food instead of words); my kids (my absolute life and the inexplicable cause of all those happy tears); and, of course, my kitchen (so I don’t have a dishwasher yet, I’ll manage).

This book is where all that love, life and laughter converge. Not to mention the food. Mmm, that fabulous food. It’s one, precious, happy, deliciously big book. ENJOY! I wrote it with every fiber of my being for you – yes you!

So please, please, please if you haven’t already done so pre-order your copies of the book NOW for just $18 so you have them in time for Chanukah and before the first printing sells out!

And to celebrate all this goodness we have a giveaway from one of my favorite condiments and book party sponsor French’s (click here for more recipes using French’s) ! In my new book I use mustard, mustard and more mustard. Dijon, Honey Dijon, Spicy Brown, Yellow – I use ’em all! So French’s has graciously offered a HUMUNGO prize package valued at $125 just for JoK readers featuring:

A French’s Prize Pack Valued at $125

  • 5-piece stainless steel grilling tool kit
  • 2 French’s pot holder mitts
  • Aan assortment of French’s mustard certified OU Kosher (Classic Yellow, Spicy Brown, Honey, Honey Dijon, Horseradish, Dijon with Chardonnay Wine)

Here’s How To Enter To Win

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Make a Healthier Pot Pie


October 7th 2013

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Hi, I’m Rena! I recently started blogging over at my No Way That’s Healthy! where I give ideas on how to live a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing time and taste. I’m all about easy and delicious foods. We shouldn’t have to deprive ourselves of the foods we once loved. We just need to make healthier versions which can be enjoyed without the guilt. With a husband who is your typical “meat and potatoes” type of guy and kids who we all know can be picky, I need to be sure the food is good. Luckily, they all seem to love what I make and don’t ask for anything else. On my blog I also share tips to making healthy eating easier and ways to make exercise doable for our busy lives.

Today, I decided to share with you a classic American comfort dish, but this recipe comes without any guilt.

Chicken pot pie is one of those recipes that I call “comfort food.” But it is usually packed with more calories than an average person should eat in a whole day.  This version has been changed to give you the comfort and yummy taste you want, but without the heavy feeling and unhealthy ingredients.

I have two options for the cream sauce and lots of recommendations, but the choice is yours to make it your own.  Don’t get overwhelmed by the long recipe, it’s just to give you lots of options and it is really very quick to pull off. You’ll be glad you made it!

Here’s my recipe for a Healthy Chicken Pot Pie.



An Early Fall Menu


October 4th 2013

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Now that the craziness of the holidays are behind us and Summer is officially over, it is time to get back to normal, every day life.  Of course, that doesn’t mean we are going to stop planning and cooking and celebrating with food.  I know you all like to browse through my interesting menu ideas and so here is one specially made for you to use right now.  Whether you use it for Shabbat or maybe you are having the girls over for a fun night in, this menu is seasonal, flavorful and ready to be savored and enjoyed by family or friends.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

When I think of October, I think of pumpkin.  I mean everyone is doing it, have you seen those new Dunkin’ Donuts commercials?  We don’t need them to get our pumpkin on.  Pumpkin is filled with vitamins and a great source of fiber too.  Let’s leave out the sugar and enjoy this quick to make, hearty Pumpkin Black Bean Soup.


Pan Seared Salmon with Soy Sour Cream and Zaatar

I like to keep my main courses simple, with fresh and high quality ingredients and nothing does it better than salmon.  If you are not a fish person, try my simple Rosemary Balsamic Chicken.

Garlicky Kale

All my kids eat kale these days, so it has become our go to side.  Have you tried it?

You could serve anything as a starchy side here, a simple pasta, some orzo or rice, but when possible it is best to get in some whole grains.  I would suggest this Bulgur with Carrots, Nuts and Dates and if you don’t like dates or don’t have any, just substitute to make it your way.

Healthy Apple Pecan Crisp

Comfort Me With Apples is not just the name of one of my favorite books by Ruth Reichl, but is also how this dish will make you feel.  We didn’t use any pumpkin spice up in the soup, so let’s get some of those fall flavors in this apple crisp.  Serve this dessert piping hot and feel the comfort.

Have a fantastic fall!!


Surprising Dishes with Pomegranates


October 4th 2013

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Did you know that pomegranate seeds can complement so many dishes? You’ll find it surprising that just 2 spoons of pomegranate seeds will enrich even a simple Israeli salad.

When it comes to Israel, especially at this time of year, New-Year pomegranates flood the markets with their beautiful shapes and colors.  So, before I share some recipes from my ‘Cook in Israel’ cookbook  I’d like to share with you a little more about these wonderful fruits.

Do you know that there are about 400 types of pomegranates around the world?

They differ in color, size and taste.  Some are very sweet, while others are sweet and sour or just sour and tart. Sometimes you find the pale seeds are actually sweeter and the dark red end up sour. In Carmel market in Tel Aviv, where I feel at home and host all my guests, you can taste the seeds before buying them or sometimes just trust your vendor as I do :) .

Along our food tours of the markets in Israel we find several species of these amazing fruits. Having a pomegranate turned into fresh squeezed juice right in front of us is one of the highlights of my food tour in Israel.

Pomegranates symbolize abundance and I assure you that by adding pomegranate seeds to your food you will enrich it and make it look amazing on the table.

Cauliflower with Tahini and Silan

The cauliflower with tahini and silan (recipe from ‘Cook in Israel’ cookbook p.84) is one of the very popular dishes in my cooking classes. It looks beautiful and tastes delicious. It is always a successful dish, see what Ada Beth wrote me: “I think the cauliflower with pomegranate seeds is a good one (big hit at RH lunch)”.

Also, try my President’s Salad made with pomegranate seeds and pictured above.

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments on pomegranates.



Photos by Katherine martinelli


8 Ways to Enjoy Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews ...


October 3rd 2013

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I’m a Philly girl – born and raised.  But y’all know that already.  What you didn’t know is that Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews are from Philly too. At the time, I didn’t know that they were being made in my backyard.

Peanut Chews were developed by the Goldenberg Candy Company, which was founded by Romanian immigrant, David Goldenberg in 1890.  My parents are also Romanian immigrants.  (Oooooh the plot thickens!)  That peanut-molasses chocolate-coated delight is a major throwback to my childhood – a real old school thing!

I thought this revelation (about how we’re both from Philly, and both children of Romanian immigrants, aren’t you listening?) was kinda cute and funky, so I decided to celebrate this little-known factoid by fessing up to 8 ways I like to eat my GPCs.  (That’s shorthand for Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. I feel like I can call them GPCs since we’re practically like twins separated at birth).  Why 8? ‘Cause there are 8 peanut chews in a package and I wear a size 8. Um, wore a size 8, once, I think.

Anyway here are 8 ways to enjoy ‘em:

  1. Standing at the kitchen counter prepping dinner
  2. Curled up on the couch with a good book
  3. One at a time
  4. All 8 at once
  5. When the kids are asleep and I don’t have to share
  6. When the kids catch me and I do have to share
  7. Dipped in warm milk
  8. Baked into Peanut Chew Vanilla Cake made by my friend Amy.  If you don’t know Amy, you can bake your own.

I’m gonna share Amy’s top secret recipe with you now ‘cause that’s what you do with sweet treats – you spread the love, share the wealth, bake up a batch and put a smile on someone’s face.   Ok, so it’s not really top secret. I just like saying that. But it is an important recipe that I know you’ll treasure.  So we’ll call it Amy’s (formerly) Top Secret Famous Peanut Chew Vanilla Cake.  I think it takes longer to say it than to make it.

***Giveaway*** Win a $25 Mike and Ike and Goldenberg’s Prize Package to satisfy all your sweeties!!  Share any of your memories with peanut chews and how you enjoy them.  Enter below with rafflecopter.

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KosherFeast Honors Chef Laura Frankel


October 2nd 2013

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The third annual kosher social media dinner that precedes Kosherfest will be held on October 28th at the J Soho restaurant.  Tons of food bloggers, writers and personalities head to NY for Kosherfest.  The dinner is a time for them to get together, socialize and learn about some of the new products even before the show.  It follows our day long, Kosher Food Bloggers Conference, an event for food bloggers and professionals to openly discus, learn and network together.  This year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Kosherfest, they are honoring some of the kosher food pioneers, Susie Fishbein, Chef Laura Frankel, Norene Gilletz, Gil Marks, Levana Kirschenbaum, Menachem Lubinsky, Joan Nathan and several more.

Chef Laura contributes regularly to our site (click here to see all her article and recipes) and our magazine and we are so happy for her recognition along with so many other of our talented foodie friends, all of whom have paved the way for the rest of us.

A little bit about Chef Laura: LAURA FRANKEL is the Executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering at the Spertus Institute for Jewish studies in Chicago. She is the author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons (Wiley) and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes (Wiley).  Chef Laura is an avid farmer’s market supporter, giving demos and teaching classes all over the country featuring market produce.  Chef Laura is the former chef and founder of the Shallots restaurants. She has training and extensive experience in both savory and pastry kitchens. After Frankel had a family and began maintaining a kosher home she found that there was nowhere in Chicago serving the quality of food that she knew she could offer. She opened her first restaurant in 1999, offering kosher fine dining with a produce-driven menu. Frankel opened Shallots NY in 2000 in midtown Manhattan. In 2004, she moved her Chicago restaurant to Skokie, (a suburb with a large Jewish population outside of Chicago) and created Shallots Bistro.

Chef Laura has cooked for many dignitaries, including: Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Joseph and Hadassah Lieberman, Presidential Candidate Al Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Steven Spielberg, Senator Hillary Clinton, Ivanka Trump, and many more.

Before committing herself to her culinary passion, she played and taught both alto and baritone saxophones professionally. Frankel has three children: Zachary (24), Ari (21) and Jonah (17), who all love to cook and eat great food.

Her website is Follow her on Twitter: @cheflaura1

The KosherFeast dinner is brought to us by Esti Berkowitz ( and Roberta Scher from And a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a kosher food bank.



How To Cook and Eat an Artichoke


October 2nd 2013

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Growing up in the 70’s, my mom always tried new dishes, from, sweet breads, tongue, calf’s heart, caviar, and liver. My family had a sophisticated palate. I on the other hand would complain if I tasted pepper. Although, my taste buds were not as sophisticated as the rest of my family, I was pretty sure I was exposed to a cultivated selection of food choice.

I was wrong!

Fast forward a bunch of years – I met my husband, a native Californian, 4 years my senior. After dating for a year, he invited me to come to sunny California to show me his turf.

I was a nervous young 20 year old girl who had never been to the West Coast. After stepping off the plane and being thrilled by the huge palm trees and luxurious homes. I settled in at my future in laws modest house. Looking out their dining room window, beyond their pool, was the view from LA LAW.

My future husband gave me a tour of his house and his backyard. Besides, the standard California pool, there were orange, lemon and fig trees, Birds of Paradise and stunning tropical flowers. As Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz said, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.” That is exactly what I was feeling; this was not the Atlantic Seaboard.

That week, I was your typical tourist, Rodeo Drive, Universal Studio, NBC Studio, Disney Land, Hollywood Stars, you name it.

Yet, what made me realize, that I was not as savvy as I thought, was not the avant-garde attitude of the West Coast, but what my future mother in law served at dinner, sitting on my plate was this bulky green flower. I had never seen this green pedaled bowl of food before. Everyone started peeling the leaves, dipping, scraping and discarding what appeared to be the whole piece. What was this leafy dish? My new prospective family was stunned that I had never eaten an artichoke before. I felt like the unsophisticated girl from the other side of the country. The Irony was that these people were the ones eating like animals. They were eating their food with their fingers and chucking their leftovers on their plate. And picking what appeared to be hair out of the bottom of the vegetable, and then proceeding to eat the base. Yet, I was the one to feel inexperienced and unrefined. What was going on?

27 Years ago, it was almost impossible to find artichokes at a super market on the East Coast. Before visiting California, I never had seen such a food. I came back home, and told my family and many others about this exotic vegetable native to the Mediterranean. Hardly anyone had heard or tasted it before. It is amazing how something so rare, over time has now become a weekly staple at our Shabbat table.

It took years for the artichoke to arrive in Maryland. When it finally did, one could only purchase this expensive edible bud in May at certain health food markets. In more recent years, artichokes are found at almost all super markets, at reasonable prices. I purchase them year round at Trader Joes for $2.99 for 4 artichokes. Although, it is a popular food in our home, I still find myself teaching many of our guests how to eat this thorny vegetable.

I am so thankful that 27 years ago I was introduced to this green plant. It is one of my favorite foods to eat. I am always trying new dips and usually go back to old favorites. Sophisticated or not, I found my prized fare on the pacific coast.

How to cook an artichoke

  1. Slice ¼ inch to ½ inch off top of artichoke.
  2. Wash artichoke well.
  3. Fill a large pot with 4-5 inches of water.
  4. Squeeze lemon over artichokes and water.
  5. Place a small plate over the artichokes, so the artichokes will stand up straight, cover pot.
  6. Cook for 25-45 minutes until outside leaf is easy to pull off. Remove from water.

Favorite dips:

  1. Mayonnaise, soy sauce, pickle juice, lemon juice and mustard.
  2. Sour cream and a bit of salt.
  3. Melted butter and salt

When was the first time you had an artichoke?

Note: Many halachic authorities do not allow the consumption of fresh artichokes due to the difficulty in checking for bugs.  Please speak to your local Rabbi if you have any questions in this matter.  If you don’t eat fresh artichokes you can buy frozen artichoke bottoms and here you can browse through artichoke recipes.


Joy of Kosher by Jamie Geller Cookbook Trailer


October 1st 2013

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