Rosh Hashanah Gift Ideas Everyone Can Enjoy


September 3rd 2014

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It’s always nice to bring a gift when someone invites you to a meal, but the typical red or white bottle of wine can get a little boring and cute little tchoktes take up space and are not appreciated by everyone.  I mean how many honey pots can a person break–er–I mean get as a gift.  Fine, if you are like me maybe you appreciate a new honey pot every year, and last year I shared some lovely new honey related gift ideas that go beyond the pot.  Those gifts inspired me to find more Rosh Hashanah gifts, but this time they are all edible.

My feeling is no one can have too much actual honey, did you know it doesn’t go bad?  And no one can have too much chocolate, olive oil, flavored liquors, teas etc.  The trick is choosing the right ones, the best ones, the food products that look like a gift.  Here are my suggestions.

Morad Pomegranate Wine is the wine of choice for Rosh Hashanah.  If you can’t go anywhere without a bottle of wine, then let’s make it seasonally appropriate and a more exciting gift.  You can drink this wine as is of course, but you can also use in cocktails and recipes to liven up your Rosh Hashanah.  Of course it is not grape based so you can’t say kiddish on it.  It lasts for a few weeks in the fridge and is incredibly versatile and flavorful.  - right now you can get it on sale online at

Mead is the oldest fermented beverage made from honey.  Often associated with Renaissance festivals and it’s cloyingly sweet taste, Maine Meade Works and Honey Run Winery have brought back the mead and are showing us how Mead can be enjoyed.  Both are certified kosher.

Another unique bottle gift is this Besamim Liqueur.  Besamim means spices and refers to the cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg like scents we usually smell at the end of Shabbat for Havdallah.  This new company, Sukkah Hill Spirits brings us the besamim in a bottle perfect for spiked cocktails or drizzled on desserts.  I would use it in a hot apple cider or over a an apple cobbler.

One last unique bottle option is this non dairy Nougat Liqueur by Heavens.  This sweet and creamy drink surprised me with a great flavor that can truly be enjoyed over ice alone, but once you taste it you won’t be able to stop dreaming of the perfect nougat flavored iced coffee or topping your vanilla ice cream or adding to your hot chocolate.  The flavor is great and the 17% alcohol makes it easy to enjoy.  Get a bottle of nougat liquor at SkyView.

There are many fantastic gift ideas from Savannah Bee Company – they have a whole gift section of their site with everything from their best honey to honey soap to t-shirts.  For a holiday where honey is central, Savannah Bee is a great resource.  I am showcasing here their raw honeycomb, it comes in an gorgeous box filled with straw, so that it can be given as a gift, but you will want to make sure you get one for yourself too.  Serving this honey at your Rosh Hashanah table will ensure you have a sweet new year. Order your honey comb here.

For some people it is not a gift, if it is not chocolate and for those I have to recommend this vegan (non-dairy) Hot Fudge.  There is so much you can do with this and the packaging is super cute, I can’t think of a person who wouldn’t love to have some hot melty chocolate that they can eat after any meal.  Find more about Coops here.

If you want something chocolatey that is a little fancier, this is one of our all time favorites, Dear Coco Truffles.  In September only they offer the Jewish New Year collection with Mediterranean Pomegranate and Argentine Honey.

For one stop shopping for all your foodie gift ideas, check out the new Kosher Artisinal website, where they have done all the work for you.  Find the best olive oils, honeys, chocolates, spices, teas and more all kosher and ready to order.  With fast, free delivery for orders over $75 you can get everything you need and you can’t go wrong, I guarantee your hosts will be thanking you.

What is the best gift you have ever given or received?  Any new foods out there you would recommend?



Free High Holiday #FreshNewYear ebook


September 3rd 2014

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RSVP for #FreshNewYear Twitter Party


September 2nd 2014

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You’re invited to join our #FreshNewYear Twitter chat!
Hosted by @JoyofKosher and sponsored by @WinnDixie.

We are gearing up for the High Holidays with Winn-Dixie by our side.  For every day and holidays Winn-Dixie has over 1,000 kosher products plus a kosher baked goods in most of their stores.

Join our party to get tips and recipes for your High Holiday meals, ask questions, answer questions as we all plan for a sweet and Fresh New Year.


Tuesday September 9th 9-10pm EST


@JoyofKosher @JoyofKosherMag @KosherFoodBloggers @TamarGenger @JamieGeller @WinnDixie

Moderator @MommyBlogExpert

How to participate
Use hashtag #FreshNewYear
Use Tweetchat for easy chatting.

Anyone can participate, but you must be following @JoyofKosher and @WinnDixie and RSVP here below to win prizes!

Follow us here


Let us know you are coming to the party in the comments below to be entered to win 1 of 4 $50 Gift Cards and 1 grand prize $100 gift card for Winn-Dixie and make sure to include your twitter handle.*  We will also be giving away 5 copies of our Fall 2014 issue of Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine. Then go over and enter our other Winn-Dixie sponsored contests here.


*Winners will be selected from those who live near a Winn-Dixie or Bi-Lo store.


A Healthy Rosh Hashanah Menu *Giveaway*


September 2nd 2014

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This year get all your kosher shopping done in one place. Winn-Dixie is committed to providing kosher foods and works to add more products every day.

Every year, Jamie and I along with our amazing contributors post tons of holiday menu ideas to get those creative kitchen juices flowing!  I always have health in mind when I share my menus, but sometimes, I give in to the “it’s only once a year” mentality — even though we have two nights, two days and Shabbat and then two more holidays coming up soon after!

This year, I hope to inspire healthy eating with a spectacular menu that doesn’t sacrifice on flavor.


Orange Date Challah 

Challah is basically the nutritional equivalent of cake, so it is hard to consider challah healthy, especially at the start of our meal.  So how do you keep you keep your challah from stuffing you?  Make your own and stuff it with dates (dates are high in several vitamins and minerals and fiber) or buy the delicious kosher Challah from Winn-Dixie, the trick is to stick to a sensible slice.


Matbucha and Zucchini Butter

I like to start with a few healthy spreads on the table, I try and pick ones with lots of vegetables, like my favorite Matbucha which is like a Middle Eastern salsa spread.  I also can’t get enough of this Zucchini Butter that you can enjoy with or without the bread and the Dukkah.


wild rice chicken soup

Wild Rice Chicken Soup

Sweet Potato Leek Soup or Wild Rice Chicken Soup

Serve a hearty, yet low calorie soup filled with vegetables.  It is officially fall when Rosh Hashanah begins, so a warm comforting soup with the flavors of fall is always welcome.  It is also a great way to feel satisfied and full without adding too many extra calories.


Rosemary Balsamic Chicken 

This yummy chicken dish smells so good the neighbors are always asking for leftovers.  It can be prepared ahead of time and reheats remarkably well, despite the fact that it uses chicken breast which can dry out easily.  You can also mix-in chicken thighs for the dark meat fans at your table. Any leftovers make the most delicious chicken salad or sandwich wraps.


Israeli Couscous with Roasted Vegetables

This family favorite adds colorful roasted vegetables to brighten up an otherwise dull side so you get lots of veggies and less carbs.


rosemary roasted cauliflower

Rosemary Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower 

Cauliflower is another versatile side that can pair well with Asian, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.  It’s better than potatoes and better for you!  I can’t get enough roasted cauliflower and neither can my kids.


Apple Pecan Crisp or Poached Pears


You can’t beat an apple crisp for Rosh Hashanah and it really doesn’t need too much sugar.  I always make it with oats and whole wheat flour.  For a little decadence, you can go ahead and serve it with some homemade (or store bought) non-dairy ice cream.  For an even lighter dessert go with Poached Pears, these are poached with Pomegranate Wine special for the season.

I hope I have inspired you to change up your menu this year with healthy new ideas that can really help you start your #FreshNewYear right.  You can find all the ingredients for these recipes at your neighborhood Winn-Dixie and now you can enter to win a $100 gift card to make your holiday just a little bit sweeter!

Share your traditional menu ideas below and I will give you some tips on how to make them even healthier then enter with rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post and giveaway is part of our paid High Holiday campaign with Winn-Dixie, all opinions are my own. See Jamie live in stores on September 11th and tweet live with the whole Joy of Kosher team on September 9th.


Buckwheat Honey Time


September 1st 2014

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A few months ago I was invited by the National Honey Board to a honey tasting.  Do I have a sweet job or what?  I learned everything I ever wanted to know about honey and discovered my new found love for buckwheat honey.

Buckwheat honey was the last variety we tried.  It is a dark honey with a very intense, malty flavor. It is amazing how the source of the pollination, in this case, buckwheat, can impart such a difference in taste and texture.  After licking my spoon dry, I noticed that about half the other people didn’t finish their sample.  The person leading the demonstration said, “you either love it or hate it.”  (Clearly I was in the love side of the spectrum)

Honey is good for your health for a variety of reasons, see more in link.

Buckwheat honey is a very dark honey, reminiscent of molasses, but much more enjoyable to eat by the spoonful… So I’ve heard :)   It is the honey that has been found to relieve coughs as good if not better than cough syrup. The dark color and robust flavor are all signs of the high antioxidant content. I can even vouch for it personally,  I stumbled upon a terrible cold right after I got this honey and sure did it come in handy!

So even if you are not ready to fall in love with buckwheat honey, now is the perfect time of year to find some fun ways to like it. You can’t substitute buckwheat honey for all varieties but it has proven a remarkable addition to some of the cakes and breads I’ve made recently, try my new favorite Spiced Honey Cake Recipe.

Rosh Hashanah is honey time. Our traditional call for sweet recipes for a sweet year and honey is served at every meal with challah and apples. I got my buckwheat honey from Bee Raw. All their honey is 100% raw and natural (so according to the Star-K does not need hashgacha). That means it is not filtered.  The honey may crystallize faster than other honey you might be used to, but don’t worry honey can never spoil.  You can also always warm the jar under hot water or in the microwave.

Try buckwheat honey this year and intensify your honey cake. Here is my recipe with a little more spice and a chocolate honey glaze that will really top things off at your table!


8 New Fruits For The New Year


August 29th 2014

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On Rosh Hashanah we have a custom to eat a new fruit on the second night of the holiday, the only holiday that is celebrated for two days even in Israel.   Some opinions are that the two days are really one long holiday.  Yet, because there are mixed opinions we still say the “shechiyanu” blessing on the second night, even though that blessing is only used when we are doing something new for the year.  Since there is doubt on whether this blessing should be said, we keep a new fruit on the table so that we cover our bases.

When I was growing up it was always a pomegranate.  A symbol of Israel and the holiday.  Nowadays, pomegranates are readily available all year long, so we have had to get more adventurous, which I love.  I love searching out the most outrageous fruits to introduce people to and this year I have passed that passion on to the next generation.  My son, Aryeh, has put together this list for you of new fruits.  He hasn’t tried all of them, but he hopes to and he has shared a bit about each one from his research online (I only edited a little – I was super impressed).  Some are easier to find than others based on where you live.  My recommendation is to search out your local asian market for the best selection of exotic fruits.

10 New Fruits You Don’t Want To Miss by Aryeh Genger

These are some tasty fruits that you may not have heard of before.   Surprise your guests at the Rosh Hashana table

Finger Limes are tart like a lime, but sweet too.   A great combo I hope you try it.

Durian is a stinky fruit, but it is tasty too.  If you can get past the smell, it is a tasty snack.


Jackfruit looks like durian from the outside but inside tastes like a scrumptious mulberry  a fabulous new fruit for this year.

Buddahs Hand looks, smells and tastes like a lemon with FINGERS!!!  A little crazy looking, might be better for haunted house, but it will keep the kids interested and can be used like a lemon.


Rambutan is similar to lichi, but a bit more zesty and sweet.  And it is a little larger with a scary skin.


Passion Fruit is sweet, succulent and sour.  Delicate, but crunchy.  So many flavors make this a delicious treat, just scoop it out and enjoy.  I have always loved Passion Fruit as a flavor, but only tried it for the first time this Summer in Israel at a friend’s house, it is now a new favorite.

Prickly Pears or Cactus fruit have a touch skin and are sweet and seedy on the inside.  These might not be as new to many of you especially if you live in Israel, where they grown all over the place.  I had some of these picked fresh from a neighbors cactus when I was there this Summer.  I don’t enjoy them as much, the seeds are too large, but some people can’t get enough and they are pretty easy to find.


Guava you’ve probably tasted it dried but fresh is just awesome!!!

If you have had any of these fruits before let us know which ones you like in the comments below.  I would love to hear from you.



Healthy Recipes for the High Holidays *Giveaway*


August 29th 2014

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Summer is almost over, school is about to begin and the High Holidays are approaching.  I look forward to all our Jewish holidays, even the “dreaded” three-day Yom Tov.  It helps that I work for a Jewish company so I am not missing any work, but I especially appreciate the family time without work or digital distractions. Connecting to a day of rest is one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies, but because we like to eat (a lot) on the Jewish holidays, we have to plan properly to stay healthy.

My goal at all Shabbat and holiday meals is to feature vegetables for two thirds of the menu (and my plate). Luckily, most of the simanim (symbolic foods) can help us out.  With carrots, leeks, cabbage, beets, and pumpkin among the foods that promise a year of health and wealth, there are some great choices at your local market.

Many Israeli grill restaurants offer small plates to start the meal, with yummy fresh salads.  This is fun to try at home and I frequently start my meals with spicy Moroccan Carrots, Cabbage Slaw, Cumin Dusted Beets, and Roasted Pumpkin.  Enjoy a small taste of challah dipped in honey, but go wild with the salads.  For the main course, find creative ways of incorporating vegetables, like these two  delicious new recipes made even easier with Manischewitz products you can find at most any grocery store.

Mushroom Chow Fun

This quick and easy Asian noodle dish can easily serve as a main course because of the hearty wild mushrooms.  I used whole grain egg noodles which hold up really well to reheating if you want to make it ahead.  You can add all sorts of vegetables or thin-sliced beef or chicken, it is very adaptable and easy too.


Veggie Chicken Sausage Cholent

Cholent is a go to easy Shabbat or holiday meal, but usually it is filled with fatty meat.  I tried vegetarian chicken apple sausage and it came out amazing, with spices and flavors that mimicked meat, without the fat.  Using the Mansichewitz 4 Bean Mix and Mansichewitz Vegetable Broth, it can’t get much easier!  If you prefer meat, you can use a real chicken apple sausage, either way it is much less fat and calories than regular beef cholent.

By highlighting vegetables throughout your holiday menu you can enjoy healthy eating all season long.


Now you can win a selection of Manischewitz products to make your holiday cooking easier.  Comment below with your tips for a healthier holiday or your favorite holiday vegetable recipes, enter with rafflecopter and get more chances to win with Facebook and twitter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post and giveaway is part of an ongoing partnership with Manischewitz, all opinions are my own.


It’s Okay To Hide The Veggies Sometimes


August 28th 2014

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Here’s a question for you: do you hide vegetables in your kids’ food?

As a Registered Dietitian parents often ask ‘is it OK for me to hide vegetables?’ or ‘my kids won’t eat anything green so I wind up hiding it where I can.’ While I am not going to offer parenting tips here [I’m just here talking about food!], I think this is a personal choice for a lot of families. And many parents hide fruits and vegetables until they feel their children are ready for them straight up. With that being said, I do feel compelled to stress the importance of a well balanced diet – and this includes getting a variety of healthy fats, whole grains, lean meats and of course, fruits and vegetables.

Eating colorfully is not only for sound nutrition [though it is very healthy!] but it also introduces kids to foods they may not have known they loved. Your daughter might love Brussels sprouts when they are roasted in the oven with olive oil and garlic, and your son might devour grilled asparagus with lemon and parmesan cheese. But, if parents hide these foods, children may take longer to be comfortable with them. Ultimately it’s a choice each family will make on their own. And in time, most kids grow to have a diverse palate. Just remember: it’s the long term habits that really affect people, not short-term, one-off instances.

OK – onto the fun stuff! I know you’re here for the food! This recipe is for a wheat-free brownie made with a secret ingredient: black beans! In this particular recipe, the black bean’s flavor is completely indistinguishable. But, its nutritional benefits are there in full force, namely protein and fiber! So grab a blender or food processor and get to work!

These Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies are rich and decadent with a fudge-like texture.  I’d love to hear from you if you make them at home.  Hope you enjoy!


Cooking with Joy: Healthy Pasta and Vegetables


August 28th 2014

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This week’s dishes are Greek Pasta Salad and Zucchini and Red Peppers. I was trying to figure out how to lend the zucchini side dish to make it a meal. More on that soon, but up first – Greek pasta salad.

Greek Pasta Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing page 135
DRESS IT UP: Fancy and Fresh Greek Pasta Salad 

Hubs loves olives, I love feta cheese and the kids love noodles- so this was a very family friendly dinner.
I knew the kids wouldn’t be so into the pasta dressed, so I made them a deconstructed pasta salad with the plain pasta and the cut up veggies on the side- and offered them the dressing as a dipping sauce.

Our 2 year old loved it and our 5 year old didn’t- I kind of knew that would happen.

I don’t usually like raw red onion or oregano, so I sliced it super thin and barely tasted the oregano since there were so many other great flavors to make everything taste great.  I used mini farfalle pasta since I had it in the pantry- I figured as long as the pasta had nooks and crannies to soak up the creamy dressing it would do just fine, and fine it did.

Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper Saute page 121
DRESS IT DOWN Zucchini Coins

For the zucchini and red peppers I was inspired by Jamie’s suggestion of making it a meal by topping the veggies with shaved parmesan. I took it one step further and boiled up some whole wheat angel hair pasta. This pasta/veggie dish topped with shaved parmesan cheese was so filling, so healthy and so delicious!

These simple light pasta dishes are a perfect quick dinner. Or if you are feeling a little more eager, can be a great side to roasted salmon. Maybe next time when I have time to be eager


5 Healthy High Holiday Main Courses


August 27th 2014

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I refuse to admit that the summer is quickly coming to a close, but instead I’m focusing on the upcoming simcha of the month of Tishrei to distract me from my end of summer blues.  While in Israel my waistline benefitted from the hills of Tzfat and the generally low-cal mediterranean diet.  I hope to continue this healthy trend back here in the states, and I have a strong feeling I’m not the only one looking for healthy, satisfying and holiday-worthy main courses.  See just five of our many holiday recipes below, and check out more ideas here and here.



Roasted Apple Brisket

Roasted Apple Brisket: The apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah represent our wishes to a sweet and lucrative new year.  Continue this wishful theme with the savory, yet free of heavy sauce, Roasted Apple Brisket.



Honey-Sesame Glazed Chicken

Honey-Sesame Glazed Chicken: This delicious chicken is simply spiced with white wine, garlic and honey, yet rich in flavor.  It will look spectacular on your yom tov table!



Salmon Roulade: A good friend of mine simply can’t stomach most animal products and for health reasons has to steer clear of them, even on shabbos and yontiff.  For her it is a special treat to have fish and really makes the holiday meal special, the Salmon Roulade is perfect choice because of its striking appearance and is cooked with almost no fat!



Stuffed Turkey Breast: A really lovely option if you’re having a small crowd over for a yom tov meal.  The ingredients and preparation are simple, I only emphasize small crowd because each turkey breast must stuffed individually which can be time consuming if you have many other courses to prepare.  If you have any quick tricks for preparing a dish like this, please leave a comment and let me know!



Chickpea Tagine: There’s an idea that one should honor the holiday by serving both fish and meat.  For a variety of dietary reasons or personal preferences not everyone chooses to serve both meat and fish by both lunch and dinner.  The Chickpea Tagine is an elegant and holiday appropriate vegetarian main course option.  Try serving it in festive colorful dishes to compliment the colorful stew.


What are your favorite yom tov dishes?  How do you eat healthy during the holidays?  Please share below!



A Kosher Adventure In a Lavender Distillery


August 27th 2014

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It was a hot day, the first hot day of our trip, in fact. We had been gifted with cool spring weather up until that point, unusual for July in France. I stared out into the lavender fields, watching the gently swaying purple stalks. The floating specks above the fields snapped me out of my momentary trance. Busy lavender bees pollinating fields reminded me of my own to-do list.

I walked back inside the lavender distillery where our guests were sitting down to lunch. It was a lovely meal, perfect for a high-end and kosher vacation. Kosher Culinary Adventures was serving grilled artichokes with aioli, fig tapenade, deli sandwiches, and more during a live private lavender distilling. Talk about getting to experience a hands on kosher France.

Once our group had departed from the distillery for their next activity, Avicam handed me a lavender bouquet to bring back to our team who was preparing dinner back at the hotel. I took one deep inhale before placing it down — I needed both hands to pack the car.

As Avicam and I bustled around the distillery collecting plates and folding tablecloths, an elderly gentleman was busy sweeping all the lavender on the floor from the distilling. I heard the dropping of a plate, and Avicam rushed to find a broom.

As both men stood sweeping, a heavily accented voice from the corner asked, “You have served in the IDF?”.

“Yes.” Avicam replied.

“And in what unit were you?”

I kept busy folding and packing, not wanting to disturb their conversation.

“I served in the armoured corps,” Avicam replied proudly.

“Eh,” the gentleman replied, clearly unimpressed.

The sudden silence let me know Avicam had stopped what he was doing. I glanced over, giving him a surprised look.

The stranger’s response could have been that of two 18 year old boys arguing which unit was more impressive — Tzanchanim or Nachal. How strange to meet an old Israeli man in a lavender distillery in a quiet small village in the South of France. Why would he wait so long to reveal himself? I looked him over, confused.

“You’ve been to Israel?” I asked.

“Sure,” he calmly replied.

I was waiting for more information, but he just kept sweeping. If he had not spoken, I would have never noticed him. Once he spoke, however, his presence took up the entire room. Avicam and I stood silently, waiting for more.

“I spent some time in the Golan,” he began slowly.

“Did you serve?” I asked, wanting to know if he was Israeli.

“No, I photographed,” he said, as he finally stopped sweeping.

I didn’t want to move, waiting as I was to hear his story, afraid he might resume his silent sweeping.

“I was a war photographer in Israel 1967 and 1973,” he said casually, like he was telling us about what he’d just eaten for lunch.

He folded his arms and rested them on top of his broom. His skin was dark, and his hands looked rough. He spoke slowly with deliberate words.

After a conversation about war and peace and everything in between, we asked him what he was doing working in a lavender distillery.

“War smells bad. It is not a pretty thing, and death? Death smells very bad. Lavender smells good. I’ve smelled too much war and the lavender fixes that smell for me. Yes. I would choose lavender over the smell of death.”

He stared off, and his eyes sparkled brightly. I wanted to grab my camera and photograph him, but didn’t want to risk breaking the moment. He looked like a man in his 70′s, and embodied both a stoic and warm presence perfectly.

When we were packed up and ready to leave, he walked us out and I didn’t quite want to say goodbye. He was quite magnetic. I kept wondering if I should ask him for photography tips but it seemed that so much more was being communicated in his silence. With the warmest of smiles, he pinched my cheek and handed me a second bouquet of lavender.

When I arrived home I researched him. He was the youngest photographer to cover the Vietnam War at the age of 17. In the strangest most delightful way possible, I’m glad I didn’t ask him a thing. It reminded me of the amazing depths human beings contain within them, and of the unlimited possibilities you have for discovering wonderfully unique things when travelling. Talk about a kosher adventure.

By Nechama Jacobson from Kosher Culinary Adventures.

For recipes using Lavender in your cooking click here.


Get Passionate About Passion Fruit Wine


August 26th 2014

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The first time we tried Morad Passion Fruit Wine, was a couple of years ago at our friend’s Sophie ‘s house. She had a small get to together with some friends and she cooked her Moroccan specialties, something everyone looks forward to eating at her house: meat and vegetable cigars, home made matbouja, chicken and olives, sweet and savory couscous, carrots salad, lamb tagine, mini meatballs with cumin and peas… We are so lucky we get to enjoy her delicious recipes often!

And as if the food was not enough, she also had a great selection of kosher wines. Everyone was talking about the passion fruit wine, so of course we had to try. It was just awesome. A really fruity but not too sweet wine with a great tropical taste.

When we were approached by JoyofKosher to develop some recipes using Morad wines, we immediately chose the passion fruit (honestly, because we couldn’t wait to taste it again!).

We immediately thought of a sangria. Because, really, is there a better summer drink than a fruity sangria?? Perfect for summer! We gave it a little twist by adding stone fruit, that pairs beautifully with the floral passion fruit taste.

Since we wanted the kids to be able to enjoy the wine as well, we made a mango passion fruit wine coulis (where the wine is reduced so the alcohol has evaporated) and used it as a filling for dark chocolate bonbons. Our kids devoured them as we were making them!

Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did.

Get the full recipes here:

Passion Fruit Bonbons

Passion Fruit Sangria

Get your bottles of Morad online and get #MoreFlavor in your life – Order from


This post is made possible by our partnership with Morad Wine, please support our advertisers so that we may continue to bring free content, all opinions are our own.



How To Store Wine At The Perfect Temperature


August 25th 2014

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“White should be chilled and red served at room temperature” – sounds simple, right?

Like anything to do with food and wine, it’s never that simple. The rule to drink what you enjoy still holds true, and in this case, drink it however you most enjoy it is perfectly acceptable as well. Having said that, I would not encourage sparkling wine at cellar temperature (about 55° – not cold enough), nor do I think red wine should be served off the wine rack you keep on your kitchen counter (too hot). I know, I know… there is already so much to know about wine, how can I expect you to serve it at a specific temperature as well?

Ok, i’ll make a confession… I too used to store my wine in a little wine rack in the kitchen. I mean, where else would you store wine…the bed- room? of course not. And I too have consumed red wines that were probably at a temperature of 80° or more. That Zinfandel at the BBQ last summer was definitely left out in the sun a bit too long, and come to think of it, it seemed a little alcoholic, right?

So, just as you are not always going to have access to the best wine glasses, you probably aren’t going to always be able to serve wine at the optimal temperature. But for those of you who want to try your wine at what some might say is a more optimal temperature I’ll give you five quick rules for 5 different styles of wine (two red and three white/rose’).

1 Robust Red Wine. This is the wine that we pull off our wine rack and serve at room temperature, right? Well, this “room temperature” rule seems to have come from the old country when it meant 60-65°, not the 70-75° of today’s centrally heated/cooled homes. Feel free to pop that Cab into the fridge for 15 minutes or so before opening. You may find you like it better. And as it warms up with the actual temperature of the room you will see the difference and can decide which way you prefer it.

2 Light Red Wine. This might be a Pinot noir or a Chianti. These lighter-bodied wines often have a more pronounced acidity to them and the lighter style makes them much more thirst quenching than their more robust brethren. Feel free to pop it into the fridge for half an hour and see if the alcohol is a bit less harsh and it seems more refreshing.

3 Full Bodied/Oak Aged White Wine. These wines should be chilled in a refrigerator and can be served straight from the fridge (at about 45°), but some of their aromas might be hidden. There are also those who believe these wines should be served closer to the 60-65° temperature.

4 Light Bodied, crisp/dry white/Rose’ wines. These wines should also be served well-chilled as that allows them to be at their most refreshing. But keep in mind that what you gain in crisp, refreshing acidity you may lose in aromas. If you feel the wine should be more aromatic feel free to let it warm up a bit – something you can do by holding the bowl of your glass and allowing the warmth of your hands (hopefully about 98.6°) to warm the wine up. As it warms up it should become more aromatic.

5 Sparkling and Dessert wines. I tend to like these wines most when they are very cold. Rich dessert wines can taste cloying or overly heavy when they become warm, but served ice cold they should have a nice balancing acidity and are refreshing and lighter. sparkling wines (such as cham- pagne) should also be served ice cold as this prevents bub- bles both from exploding out of the bottle when you open it, and from becoming too aggressive in your mouth as you sip, and the acidity helps it stay refreshing as well.

I hope this helps more than confuses you as you enjoy wines with your meals. Remember, wine should enhance your experience and make you feel good, not overwhelm you or make you feel intimidated. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions about serving temperature or any other wine-related issue.

By Gary Landsman

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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How To Spend The Rest Of Summer (For Israelis)


August 22nd 2014

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We are down to the home stretch before school starts here in Israel.  Most of the children fly the coop on September 1. Here are some activities to do if you have run out of ideas how to keep everyone happy.

Prepare for school:

(1) If you haven’t done so, now is the time to get school books and supplies. The school supplies sales this week are not heavily advertised- no Kravitz coupon this week, no ad for Idan 2000 or HaPirat HaAdom for example. Bank HaPoalim customers get cash back at Kfar Shaashuim- check out the deals on their web site. The Haredi yeshivas are all on vacation so the stores in those neighborhoods should be quieter during the day. Home Center is having a sale on school supplies as well as student desks and chairs- you can see the ad here. For tips on what and where to get school supplies, check out my post from last year.

Prepare for the Year:

(2) The תשע”ה – 5765 – school vacation schedule is online.  Go to your local crafts or office supply store to get a pad of big block paper and make a master family calendar.  Along with the school schedule, mark who is in charge of dinner each night, have them fill in their meal choice and start doing the shopping now.  I am a big believer of assigning children responsibility for dinner- it reduces the amount of “Icksa” complaints and encourages responsibility.  Let each child prepare according to their age level- from cutting up vegetables to grilling burgers- make it fun and simple with some basic rules (marshmallows cannot be a main course, each meal must have a vegetable) and you are on your way.

Start cooking:

(3) It is never too early to cook for the holidays.  Here is a list of TNT foods from a previous post that you and your kids can make together and freeze for the holidays:

  1. Cookies- you can freeze dough or baked cookies.  Make a batch of sugar cookies and let the kids “paint” them with a mixture of powdered sugar, food coloring, water, and vanilla extract.
  2. Cakes- there are lots of simple cake recipes- buy smaller “English cake” trays and have each kids make their own.  Don’t forget trifles for those not-so-perfect cakes!
  3. Challah- kids love rolling and shaping challah- why not have rolls instead of large challahs?  I know we always end up with lots of challah slices and nothing to do with them them.  Having lots of smaller challahs gives you enough for each bracha without a lot of waste.
  4. Chicken- you know the prices go up before the holidays, so get what you can now and freeze it.  Put the raw chicken in a marinade and then freeze it- it will make the chicken softer and more flavorful.  Or you can purchase Of Oz chicken which comes in thick vacuum packages which are great for freezing.
  5. Meatballs- spice them up and freeze them as individuals on a tray, then package them in bags, or cook them before freezing them.  This is not a job for the kids, though.
  6. Potato kugel- if you don’t have a “freezerable” recipe, there is one on my blog.
  7. Soup- it is never a bad time to make chicken soup.
  8. Meat boreka- brown ground beef, add spices/sauce, put it on a sheet of puff pastry dough and roll it up.  I cook this before I freeze it.  It is best sliced cold, before it goes on the plata.

***This year it is especially important to buy chicken early if you purchase fresh chicken.  The Muslim holiday, Eid ul Adha coincides with Yom Kippur and Sukkot this year.  Since Muslims are the primary, if not the only workers in Israeli slaughterhouses, the slaughterhouses will be closed for ten days and therefore not be able to provide fresh poultry.  It is a time to be especially aware not to purchase poultry from less than exemplary stores so that you won’t inadvertently purchase poultry that was defrosted and sold as fresh or is past its use by date.***   

(4) Clear out that smartphone and make a digital album at Albombom.  Right now they are offering 45% off each album until 31 Aug 2014.  They also have great deals on personalized calendars.  Lupa is also having a sale on photo calendars- buy one, get two free.


(5) If you are a former New Yorker, you remember Shakespeare in the Park. In Jerusalem you can have the same experience without waiting for tickets.  Theater in the Rough is performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream next week for free and in English. For more information, click here.


(6)  Once school starts, the parade of birthday parties will start as well.  Stock up with presents at Toys ‘R Us.  Use your Leumi card to purchase 300 shekels worth of merchandise and pay only 200 shekels!  You must pay with your Leumi card and there are no double sales.  For more details click here.  Expires 31 Aug 2014.

(7) The Chutzot HaYotzer festival started this week and ends the 23rd of August.  Discount tickets can be found at the Leumi card web site for 61 shekels each instead of 65 shekels.  Other discounts are available for Jerusalem residents, students, Bank Yahav customers and more- go to the festival’s web site for more information (Hebrew) (English).

חוצות היוצר 2014


(8) The holidays will be upon us before you know it and chances are you will be invited out for a meal or two.  Instead of the standard bottle of wine or flowers, go to a paint-it-yourself ceramic studio such as Kad V’Chomer in Jerusalem,  Keyad HaDimyon in Modiin, Rebecca in Moshav Yitzron or  Studio Nomi in Herzliya and create a unique gift for your hosts.

Post your ideas and suggestions as well!



Cocktails Of The Carribbean


August 21st 2014

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Generalizing about “Caribbean cuisine” is difficult once you recognize that the region is actually a mass of islands, most of which have been owned and occupied by various european countries. Over the years, these invaders have added their own flavors, spices and vegetation to the native landscape:

Rum, the undisputed regional spirit of choice, is distilled from the sugarcane that Christopher Columbus brought over to the new World. The spanish were also responsible for introducing the coconut and pineapple to the West Indies. When you look at things this way, the most famous island drink, The Pina Colada, really owes its origins to spain!

Coffee, an economic mainstay for many of the Caribbean islands, literally came over on a boat from France in the 1700’s. Captain Gabriel mathieu de Clieu , the maritime captain of martinique, is alleged to have stolen a seedling from France’s Jardins des Plantes. Once safely back at home, Clieu fervently tended to his coffee crop and began to share seeds with other countries in the area including Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Guadeloupe.

The Portuguese, dutch, danish, British and swedes all brought their own influences with them, including oranges, limes, and mangoes—key elements in Island fare and fauna, and critical accents in bringing Island drinks to life.  Even the African slaves the europeans brought with them contributed to the mix of flavors. Plantains, bananas and many of the well-known spices in Caribbean food and drink are of African origin.

Of course, the one beverage created uniquely to satisfy the Caribbean climate, is beer. While almost all Caribbean brews share a cool, smooth and easy drinkability, each island infuses its blend with a unique flavor profile. Taste them all before deciding which best pleases your palate.

The drinks below are all inspired by the mix and match of these various influences. Once you get a feel for the region and its native crops, you can mix up your own masterpieces!

Pina Banana
You can’t serve up Caribbean drinks without paying homage to the infamous PinaColada. But you don’t have to stick with the same-old-drink, either. Try this updated, fruit-forward smoothie that’s equally delicious with or without the “punch”!

Coffee Cotini
Whether you think of this next cock- tail as a morning “eye-opener” or a cool and creamy after-dinner drink, with or without the alcohol you are in for a treat!

The Merengue Mary 
Stir, sip and savor this creative Caribbean twist on the original Bloody Mary. (If you prefer, omit the rum and you will still have a drink worth dancing for!)

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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