5 Things To Do In NY With Your Family

 

June 13th 2014

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In today’s world, most of us find ourselves working all the time.  Cell phones or tablets in hand it is really hard to shut off.  I am thankful for Shabbat every week, but I still feel that I don’t give quite enough of my time and attention to my kids.  During the school year, everyone is running around, Sundays get filled up with extra curricular activities and my husband and I fight over time to work rather than time to take the kids out and have some fun.  Last Summer we decided we would devote our Sundays to our family.  We planned an outing each week where we all could be together, let go of our work and our digital devices explore our city and be together.  We called it Super Summer Sundays.

Whether you decide to follow in our stead or just want some ideas for those living or visiting NY, I thought I would share a few of our favorite things to do in NY with a family.

1. Queens Science Center – Did you know that you can get free admission to this museum on Sundays before 11:00am? It does not apply in July and August, so luckily we got it in the last week of June.  The museum was incredibly kid friendly even for the much younger set, it was very hands on and interactive.  Nearby, they also have a huge playground and carousel and mini golf and tons of kosher restaurants, this is a must visit.

2. Prospect Park Zoo – I live in the Bronx and we do love the Bronx Zoo, but it is really big and sometimes it is more manageable to go to a smaller zoo.  I had to be in Brooklyn for work anyways that day, but we didn’t want to miss a Sunday, so it was a good excuse and a great 2 hours.

3. Caramoor - Gorgeous setting for a picnic and music outing, get the kids interested in classical music in a child friendly way.  At Caramoor in Westchester, about 1 hour from the city they offer music concerts that you can listen to from the picnic grounds.  During the show we were even able to wander closer to see the stage for the few minutes of attention span my kids had.

4. New York Historical Society – this recently renovated museum has an unbelievable children’s floor, great for all ages, seriously I learned a lot too.   And if you have a Bank of America card they participate in free first Sundays, I highly recommend checking this place out, perfect for a hot or rainy day when you want air conditioning and make sure to check their schedule they sometimes have kids movies showing.

 

5. Tour of the Lower East Side and the Tenement Museum – it had been years since I had been down the LES and the whole neighborhood has completely changed.  Luckily they still have some of the old kosher stand bys, Kossars Bialy and The Pickle Guys, so we got to take home lots of treats.  But more importantly they still have the Tenement museum and a few gorgeous old synagogues.  At the tenement museum we went on a Meet the Resident tour that was geared for children and while I found it a bit pricey for a one hour tour, I really did enjoy it and so did the kids.   Then we were able to visit a few of the synagogues including The Eldridge Street Synagogue – with one of the most gorgeous stain glass work I have seen in this city.

There are so many more amazing sites in this city, we also did Liberty Island (thus the main image) and the Cloisters which were also fantastic and both had kid friendly Audio Guides for kids 5 and up it is really worth it.  I love that every week we create new memories with each other and I hope that I have inspired you to do the same.  What are your favorite sites and activities to do as a family?

 


 

Made With Love For Father’s Day

 

June 12th 2014

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Growing up, my father was a Commander in the U.S. Navy. His position meant nothing at home of course, where my mother had him out-ranked. Still, it was ‘civilian’ Dad who taught me one of the most important lessons I ever learned in the kitchen. He taught me how to cook with love.

My father was the Sunday morning chef. He taught my siblings and me how to make all-manner of eggs, French toast, waffles with ice cream, and the best sandwiches ever! He explained the difference between just throwing the ingredients together in a bowl and taking ownership and responsibility of what we make. He explained to us that it was not just about the right measurements or even using the best ingredients, what mattered most in the kitchen was what mattered most in life. The secret ingredient was an attitude. He taught us, the most important part of the process was making the food with love.

After years of his Sunday morning brunches, my Dad gave the reigns to my siblings and me. We were in charge of making the Sunday morning feasts. I remember every time I would place the cinnamon flavored French toast on my Dad’s plate, he would always say, “This is the best French toast I have ever had.” Every Sunday was the same, whether it was a scrambled egg, French toast, or a tuna fish sandwich; week after week he always said the same thing, “This is the best I ever had.” As a child, I was confused. I asked my father, how is it possible that every time I made him breakfast, it was the best ever? He explained that each week, as I made the morning meal with care and love, my creations were just the best.

I never bought it.

However, years later, when I became a parent, I found myself doing the same exact thing. I showed my kids how to toast the bread just right, how to spread the mayonnaise on the toast just so, squeezing the tuna fish from the can until there is no water left, placing the tuna in the bowl before the mayonnaise, mashing it until there are no lumps, placing just the perfect amount of tuna on the toast and of course placing just the right amount of lettuce on the bread, to make for a sandwich made with love. And of course I would tell my kids, “This is the best sandwich ever! “

And you know what? I meant it every time.

My father taught me well. It is not about how one adds just the perfect amount of cinnamon to the eggs for French toast or how much is the right amount of mayonnaise to spread on a sandwich. In fact, it is not about the measurements at all. It is about the love of a father, a love of a parent(s), being present in every generation that allows each and every one of us to taste the “best ever”.

 

Back in the day; soft boiled eggs on toast.

Just the other day, I was reminiscing about this old time favorite, not many people make it anymore because of the possibility of salmonella. Yet, it sure is yummy!

Here is my recipe for Soft Boiled Eggs on Toast.

 


 

Cooking With Joy: Shabbos Special

 

June 12th 2014

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This project is going pretty well and the more I work my way through the book the more encouraged I get. So far I have finished the Appetizers section and am heading towards sides. Not sure how I will continue from here, but this week I have focused on Shabbos food. We are having guests for shabbos lunch, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try these recipes out. Aside from my usual shabbos fair, I made the following things from the cookbook- Deep Dish Kugel, Garlic Ranch dip, Deli Salad, Gefilte fish and even made the Lemon Lovers Chummus again, because it was that good and easy!

Fancy Crudites with Garlic Ranch Dip page 61
DRESS IT DOWN 
Quick Crudites

Wednesday night- I made the dips since they can be kept in the fridge for longer than the rest of the food. I have never really tasted the “Ranch” flavor before, I really loved the flavor. Cool, Creamy, Tangy, Garlicky- that is how I would describe it. I plan on serving that along with the Chummus, challah and fish as the first course this shabbos lunch to our guests.

Baked Herbed Gefilte Fish page 58
DRESS IT UP Baked Carrots-Stuffed Gefilte Fish

Chilled Coconut Berry Soup page 63
DRESS IT UP Fruit, Flower, and Mint Ice Cubes

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

Triple Deli Pasta Salad with Creamy Italian Dressing page 77
DRESS IT UP Deconstructed Chef’s Salad

Daddy’s Deep Dish Potato Kigel/Kugel page 91
DRESS IT UP Pastrami Potato Kugel

Thursday night-I made the Kugel and the Gefilte fish. You may remember from previous post that Gefilte fish is one of those things that I don’t do. After reading Jamie’s intro to this recipe and tasting the finished product I realize why that is. The texture of boiled fish to me is GROSS! Don’t get me wrong, I am still not a fish fan, but this recipe was so much more palatable (I even picked at the onions from the bottom). The fish came out much firmer than the usual boiled type. The spices made it have a Sfardi like taste. Hubs said it would be great with Matbucha and Turkish Salad- maybe next time!

Our usual shabbos doesn’t have kugel. I like to save it for Yom Tov or guests, since its not so healthy. My usual recipe calls for half the eggs to potatoes. This recipe calls for one egg per potato- yikes, talk about cholesterol! But its special and I wont make it all that often, so once in a while its ok(ish). Hubs and I tasted the kugel once its cooled enough to cut. As promised by baking it in glass the crusts came out SO CRISPY and the center so soft and delicious!! As much as I would like to save the environment and not use disposables, I usually use disposable aluminum tins, just to make things easier. Even though I greased the glass as directed, it was still very hard to get every last bit out. Hubs said the crispy crust was worth scrubbing extra hard.

I made the salad dressing before shabbos, and made a sample plate for the picture. I decided not to have pasta as part of it, I am not a fan of pasta in my salad. We really didnt like the creamy italian dressing. Again the vinegar was front and center- in our opinion overpowered the rest of salad. But like Jamie writes at this recipe- make it your own- so we did! We dont like pasta in our veggie salad and we dont like lots of vinegar in our food. I ended up making a different dressing to serve for the meal.

Our guests DEVOURED the gefilte fish and dips and really enjoyed the kugel and salad, even though it had a different dressing. A very enjoyable shabbos meal had by all!

 


 

Father’s Day Comfort Food Redux

 

June 11th 2014

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Growing up, many summer Sunday nights were spent in the car traveling from Long Island back to Manhattan.  There was always one June weekend when we left unusually early in the day to beat post-barbecue Father’s Day traffic.   I learned two things, 1. Avoiding traffic is a game of strategy and 2. Barbecues are a popular Father’s Day minhag (custom/tradition).  As you can guess my family didn’t celebrate with a barbecue, because we were busy avoiding traffic, but you can’t help but love some of the classic foods served at summer barbecues.  That being said, many of those foods are served all year long and could use some revamping to help make the day special, below are 5 comfort foods perfect for a Father’s Day barbecue or just a quiet day with Dad.

 

Bison Sliders

Take your classic burger and turn up the volume.  Try a different meat such as lamb, veal or bison (or no meat: Black Bean Burgers with Avocado-Lime Mayonnaise)  and even change up the presentation by serving them as sliders as in our Bison Sliders.  Or stick with ground beef and play around with toppings like Corn and Avocado Relish, Spicy Fried Onions and Special Sauce.

 

What’s a burger without fries?  When it comes to french fries everyone is a judge, whether they prefer them cut thick or thin, and like them crispy or a bit soft.  Shake things up and enjoy indulging in a few extra of these healthy(ier) vegetable fries.  First up, there’s the Vegetable Fries which can be made with any root vegetable you have on hand.  Then there are the Eggplant French Fries which would be great served with hummus, roasted pine nuts and a sprinkling of zaa’tar. Finally, these may not be as crispy as your usual fries, but the Sweet Chili and Garlic Sweet Potatoes will not disappoint.

 

Buffalo wings will always have my loyalty, but when it comes to barbecue I like to change up the sauce so that it is more sweet and savory and less four-alarm spicy.  For example, good luck choosing between two finger-licking good preparations as in the Honey BBQ Sesame Wings or Sticky Ginger Wings.  If you’re not a fan, or just don’t want to watch your guests and children running around with barbecue-stained fingers, try the equally delicious Falafel-Crusted Chicken with Tahini Sauce.

 

If you’re a taco person, there are plenty of ways of change up this classic food.  Having lived in a small beach town on Long Island for a number of years, I’m partial to a good fish taco.  Take it to the next level by preparing your fish ceviche-style in the Ceviche Tacos with Black Bean and Corn Salsa.  Go vegan, or finally enjoy cheese on a taco, with the Vegan Portobello Tacos.  No matter what you choose to serve, enjoy spending the day celebrating those you love.

 

 

 

 


 

A Father’s Day Menu

 

June 11th 2014

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Mother’s Day bring brunch and breakfast in bed.  Father’s day usually means BBQ often with Dad doing all the work.  That’s okay, cause I think he likes it as long as he is only in charge of the meat.  Here is a menu that will let the Dad’s enjoy the grilling and the meat and  everyone else enjoy the celebration.

pina colada smoothie

Pina Colada

Start out with some refreshing Pina Colada.  This recipe is without alcohol, so you can just add Rum to those that want to be a little more relaxed.

Create a Hot Dog Toppings Bar

Let Dad grill the dogs or sausages and everyone else can chip in to make or set out the toppings.  We love Gold’s many varieties of mustards as a starting point for our dogs, then pile on the caramelized onions, baked beans, guacamole, favorite slaw or pickled vegetables.

Jerk Chicken

Try some flavorful Jerk Chicken and/or a Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce.

steak with chimichurri

Grilled Steak with Chimichurri

Prep ahead if you want to marinate the meat and make extra sauce, it goes great on everything.

Tangy Grilled Asparagus

I can’t get enough asparagus this year especially when hot off the grill.  Stay outside and keep on grilling. Throw on some peppers and/or zucchini and make extra for salads and sandwiches you can enjoy all week long.

Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Ice Cream

Now that you have had your fill and hopefully gave Dad some presents.  Make or buy some non dairy ice cream and serve with hot grilled peaches.

Wishing everyone a Happy Father’s Day, a wonderful excuse to spend quality time with the family.


 

No Food In The Car

 

June 10th 2014

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It’s a rule.  A real rule.  One we never break.  Mostly cause it’s a dad rule.

There’s always one (disciplinarian) in the family.  In this family it’s Hubby.  After selling our dirty-like-a-dumpster minivan Hubby instituted the no eating in the car rule when we got our new wheels.

The first time my then 1 year old cried all the way home from nursery as I held her snack hostage in the front seat was absolute torture.  That 2 minute and 20 second ride felt like an eternity and I was silently mad at Hubby and his over the top rule.  In fact I tried to give her the snack (cause she was a baby!) but all the other kids were screaming “NO!  Abba doesn’t let eating in the car!”  I couldn’t very well openly defy him and his rule.  Could I?

I would be even harder pressed to obey the rule (which really is like family law) if not for how nice and clean and beautiful smelling our year-old-but-feels-like-new minivan is.  And the immediate gratification every time I enter the car (which is like 10 times a day, at least) makes me think some rules are not made to be broken.  And the toddler tears only lasted a few trips.  Now she actually hands me the snack with a smile as she settles into her car seat, knowing she will get it back in exactly 2 minutes and 20 seconds.  When she gets home she pulls out her toddler booster high chair thingy climbs into it and waits for someone to attach her tray so she can eat.  (Cause that’s also a rule, we don’t eat walking around the house).  It’s all so civilized really.

This (sometimes) civilized no (food) mess life of ours reminds me that rules are good.  But I already told you I am not the natural born disciplinarian.  So when Hubby traveled to NY for 4 days he hung a huge sign that said “REMEMBER: There is NO!!!!! eating in the car.”  Now of course I remembered, how could I forget?  But you see in marriage (as with all relationships) one has to read between the lines.  Translation: “JAMIE GELLER, MOMMY, YEAH YOU! need to enforce this rule even in my absence”.

So on the mornings we were running late and the kids took breakfast in a bag (more on that in a minute) I dutifully said “Remember Abba doesn’t let eating in the car.” (Yes I know that’s grammatically incorrect but sometimes you just gots to speak to the kids in their language).  And guess what, that wasn’t good enough for Hubby!  He wanted to know why I had to blame him for the rule, make him the bad guy.  “It’s not fair” he said.  I said I invoked his name for the sake of adherence to the rule, so the kiddies would actually listen to me.  But if forced to dig down deep I actually most probably used his name in vain because if it were up to moi there would be no such rule.  WE would ALL be eating in an embarrassingly dirty car.

In our marriage, I love to jokingly take credit for Hubby’s successful ideas. Especially the ones I fought so hard against. When I finally come around to seeing the genius in his ideas, I say things like “see I told you so” (Hubby just loves when I say “I told you so”) or “thank G-d I (me, me, me, it’s all about me!) had the idea”. The first time I did it he was stunned, totally taken aback, “WHAT?!!!! YOU?????” he exclaimed. Now it’s so commonplace he usually just rolls his eyes, or giggles. Finally just the other day he gave into my obsession with being the hatcher of all good ideas in this household and said “when you’re right, you’re right!” And boy was I right on this one!

And if you have to give the kids breakfast in a bag try these homemade Sweet Peanut Butter Cereal Bars.

So tell me, do you all eat in the car?
 

 


 

In the JOK Kitchen with The Forest Feast *Giveaway...

 

June 9th 2014

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The Forest Feast is a new vegetarian cookbook written by Erin Gleeson from her cabin in the woods.  After years of city living, she and her (Rabbi) husband moved to California and chose to live in a cabin in the woods.  Erin is incredibly talented and enjoys the beauty of her outdoor surroundings.  The cookbook is filled with vibrant photos of her food in the gorgeous setting of her home.  She shares bonus pictures of her surroundings to make us all jealous and she even includes fanciful watercolor illustrations and hand lettering.  Her recipes are simple, all vegetarian and pleasing to all your senses. To purchase The Forest Feast click here.

You grew up vegetarian, did you ever go through a rebellious meat phase? 

About 4 years ago I decided to start eating meat, so I am actually not vegetarian anymore! I was working with all these amazing chefs in New York, photographing their beautiful food and just decided that I wanted to be able to try it sometimes when offered. My reason for remaining vegetarian all those years had much to do with issues surrounding sustainability. I felt like if I could eat meat sparingly and try to source it in a way that was responsible, I’d be okay with it. So that’s what I do now. I eat very little meat at home, and usually order vegetarian when out, but I like to have the option to try something if the opportunity arises.

Does your husband also eat mostly vegetarian?

We eat mostly vegetarian at home, but occasionally branch out. Since I didn’t grow up with it, my cooking knowledge of meat is limited, so Jonathan is the one who usually prepares meat if we have it­ he’s a great cook. If we cook meat, it’s usually during the summer for a BBQ or for a special holiday meal.

Now that you are settled in your little cabin, what do you miss about New York?

Walking everywhere! And friends and family. And bagels. Jonathan is from New York and most of his family is still there, so luckily we have many opportunities to go back.

What do you love best about your new home?

The outdoor space. The California weather is mild enough most of the year that we can spend a lot of time outdoors, which I love.

You share a lot about your early experiences as an artist, but what about food and cooking, What is your earliest memory of cooking?

I grew up in an apple orchard and I have vivid memories of cooking everything imaginable with apples each Fall. My grandmas and aunts would come visit and we’d set up an apple coring station in the kitchen, clamped to a table. We’d make apple pies, crisps, breads, butters, leathers­ you name it, we made it!

What is your favorite food?

Cheese!

Which recipe would you recommend to someone trying to eat more vegetarian meals?

 I’d recommend the Polenta Stuffed Portabellos. They are filling, “meaty” and pair well with a lot of sides.

Polenta Stuffed Portobellos

Polenta Stuffed Portobellos

Which recipe would be the most kid friendly?

I have fond memories of camping at the beach as a kid and eating Dipped Strawberries (in the sweets section of the book). You simply prepare a bowl of Greek Yogurt (or in my 1980s case, sour cream) and a bowl of brown sugar. Dip fresh strawberries first in the yogurt, then in the sugar, then eat immediately. It’s a fun interactive sweet treat.

You share a lot of salads, which I love, especially as the weather begins to heat up, which is the best Summertime salad?

I’d suggest the Nectarine Tomato Salad. It’s savory and sweet, and does well when made ahead for a crowd. Plus, it feels just a little different, and if you can get juicy ripe fruit from the farmers market, it’s so delicious.

 

***Giveaway***

Now is your turn to WIN a copy of this gorgeous vegetarian cookbook to add to your collection.  The Forest Feast retails for $35 and you be the lucky winner by entering with Rafflecopter below.  Start by sharing a comment on the gorgeous pictures you see in this article.

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How To Cook With Herbs

 

June 6th 2014

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Herb Guide To Cooking

Herb Guide To Cooking [Infographic] by the team at heitonbuckley

 


 

Cooking with Joy: Tropical Fruit Guacamole and...

 

June 3rd 2014

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Its funny, the Deconstructed Tropical Gaucamole is the “dressed up” version of the dish, but it actually takes less time to prep. So in no time at all you have an upscale fork and knife savory fruit salad! The olive oil with the salt really elevated the simple avacado, mango and pineapple. I piled each on top of eachother, cut through the layers and sopped up the extra salt and oil before hitting my mouth. Really simple and good.


Tropical Fruit Guacamole page 51

DRESS IT UP Deconstructed Tropical Guacamole


Uputzi’s Vegetarian Chopped “Liver” Pate page 53
DRESS IT UP Vegetarian Chopped “Liver” Pate Bread Cups

Totally expecting to hate this, I halved the recipe and made arrangement for my father in law to be the taste tester. Remember I mentioned there were things that I “don’t do”? Well this recipe calls for some of those things. Hard-boiled eggs- ick! Walnuts- double ick! The only redeeming factor to me was having some extra mushrooms in the house to roast up for dinner. I LOVE mushrooms- all types!

I followed the recipe exactly, except I left out the thyme. I don’t find the aroma pleasant at all, so whenever a recipe calls for it, I leave it out and never find the recipe to suffer at all. That’s just my thing, if you like it, use it!

I was not planning on tasting it, but as I was scooping it out the food processor it smelled SO GOOD! I licked my fingers and was shocked to find that you could barely taste the walnuts or eggs at all! It was just so creamy and good, all the flavors combined together so well. I really liked how the vinegar was a very apparent flavor- this time in a really welcomed way.

I’m gonna let my father in law know that his services are no longer needed :)


 

JOY of ISRAEL – the Seven Super Foods of the...

 

June 2nd 2014

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Join us live as we shoot our mega Rosh Hashanah episodes of JOY of ISRAEL, at the ancient City of David with beloved Israeli MasterChef Tom Franz!

JOY of ISRAEL with Jamie Geller, dedicated to showcasing the beauty of Israel to the world, is shooting new episodes in the heart of the City of David, and we’d like YOU to join us.

When: Thursday June 12, from 3:30pm to 07:00pm.

Where: The City of David, just outside the Old City of Jerusalem

What: Join Jamie Geller and Israel’s super-talented MasterChef Tom Franz as they showcase recipes inspired by the “seven species”, foods listed in the Bible as indigenous to the Land of Israel: wheat & barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. Foods also known as the seven superfoods of the Bible!

Who: You! We are having a live audience for this special BEHIND-the-SCENES shoot, and we are announcing a limited number (40) first-come first-serve complimentary tickets. Audience members will be required to register for tickets and will be called the night before to ensure attendance.

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

Reserve your spot NOW:

Image Credit: City of David


 

A Guide To Ancient Grains

 

June 2nd 2014

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You might notice a strange sensation the next time you are strolling down the aisle at your local supermarket.

A prehistoric flashback?
Caveman-like confusion?

Rice has gone retro. People are going gaga over ancient grains rich in protein and nutrients, minimally processed and cultivated from rare or obscure regional strains that hearken back to the dawn of creation.

Ancient grains are popping up in breakfast cereals, granola bars, soups, salads and sides. I had to see what all the fuss was about so I ventured down to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to see what’s new (which is actually quite old).  As if traveling back in time, I started to rediscover the foods that my ancestors used to eat.  I also learned how even common foods are getting more interesting with varietals that are healthier and better tasting than ever before. So where do you start?

Iif you are looking to stir up some creativity or conversation around the dinner table, reach beyond the white rice and dig for something ancient. You’ll discover a whole new world of whole grains and dozens of new ways to remake your favorite recipes. I think you will find, like I did, that a night with Uncle Ben isn’t going to cut it anymore.  Ever since I started playing with ancient grains, things have started to get pretty interesting on the side of my plate.

Here is a quick guide to the most common ancient grains available right now: (Click on the image to make it larger)

A couple of favorite ancient grain recipes:

Greek Wheat Berry Salad

Farroto With Wild Mushrooms

 

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

 


 

Cheesey Recipes For Shavuot

 

May 30th 2014

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This recipe for halibut comes from a fisherman we met many years ago in Alaska. We spent a wonderful day out on his boat halibut fishing, and we caught some huge fish. Since we knew we would be eating halibut from the freezer for months to come we asked the fisherman for his favorite halibut recipe. His answer surprised us. He told us to stuff it with cheese and roll it in bread crumbs.  It was a surprising answer. Up until that point I never would have thought to combine fish and cheese, but we figured that a halibut fisherman must know something about eating fish .  That night I made this cheesy fish in the cramped kitchen of our RV and it instantly became a favorite.  It isn’t an elegant dish, since the cheese oozes all over, but it is do delicious no one seems to mind.  I like to make the dish with halibut but any firm white fish will work just as well.

cheesy fish

Cheesey Fish

One nice thing about having fish for dinner is that you can have a dairy dessert. While I certainly never feel deprived when enjoying delicious parve desserts I have to admit there is nothing quite like a rich and creamy dairy cheesecake. I don’t make cheesecakes very often so when I do I want to make sure they are amazing. This cheesecake is rich and creamy, just like a good cheesecake should be, but its is a bit more interesting because it is made with goat cheese. The goat cheese adds a wonderful tang and earthiness that is perfectly complimented by the herby undertones of the thyme honey. This is one of those desserts where the leftovers will call to you from the refrigerator to come and get one more slice. It is the ultimate elegant cheesecake.   Get the full recipe here.

This post is sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese, all opinions are my own.


 

Kosher Wine for Shavuot

 

May 29th 2014

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This year at Shavuot, anticipating some serious dairy and the inevitable cheesecake I wanted to lighten things up with our kosher wine selections.  Let’s face it, if you’re going to be up late learning you probably don’t want to be staring across the table at a bottle of Cabernet.  So let’s throw our pretensions aside and enjoy a few “ready to drink right now” wines that are fun and easy to approach.

2013 Or Haganuz Amuka Rose (Israel); $20. Or Haganuz winery was founded in 2005 at the foot of Mount Meron.  A blend of Cabernet Franc (25%), Merlot (25%), Shiraz (25%) and Mourvedre (25%), this semi-dry rosé wine from the northern Galilee was blended from grapes from the Naburia plot in Amuka Vineyard.

2012 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand); $16.  Using grapes harvested in New Zealand’s South Island, this wine is a perennial crowd pleaser. The long, cool growing season and clay loam soils have contributed incredible citrus fruit flavors and a crisp texture to this wine. Serve alongside fish, cheeses, and freshly baked breads.

2013 Carmel Selected Riesling/Chenin Blanc (Israel); $10.
Semi sweet, tropical fruity flavors, and a cool, clean finish.  Easy on the pocketbook and to drink!  (If sweeter is not your thing, it works well for Sangria too)

2009 Terra di Setta Chianti Classico (Italy); $18.
Perfect accompaniment for pasta, pizza and most any Italian dishes, this ruby red wine is produced from grapes grown on a hill with a breathtaking view of Tuscany. A blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is smooth and elegant with a rich and fruity bouquet of cherries, wild berries and violet.  Did you know that Terra di Setta is the only fully kosher winery in Tuscany?

Have a happy Shavuot, what wine will you be drinking?

 


 

Blue Cheese Pizza with Buffalo “Chicken&...

 

May 29th 2014

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During the whole month of May we have been showcasing the new line of Sincerely Brigitte gourmet flavored cheeses.  Read all about the cheese and the varieties here and note there are more flavors coming.  We have also been giving away cheese samplers all month with the final winner just announced today.  We will continue to bring you more recipes showing the best ways to use these cheeses to liven up any meal on our Sincerely Brigitte recipe page and we hope all of you will share your own too, Submit Recipes here.  For today’s recipe I am sharing one of my new favorite pizzas, Blue Marble Buffalo “Chicken” Pizza.

I like getting creative with my toppings and I also like finding new ways to prepare seitan or other fake meats.  I often make a huge batch of homemade seitan and use it over a couple of weeks in different ways.  I recently tried it with Hot Sauce and butter to create vegetarian buffalo wings.  Sure you can make a version of buffalo wings without real butter as we all have done to make it kosher, but if you want to try the butter and hot sauce combo it works really well on seitan and you can even dip it in real blue cheese.

Since I wanted to put mine on a pizza I used the Sincerely Brigitte Blue Marble which melted well and gave a nice subtle blue flavor.  Sprinkle on some celery and a little extra sauce and this pizza is sure to wow even the meat eaters at your table.

Get the full recipe for Buffalo "Chicken" Blue Marble Pizza

This post was part of an ongoing partnership with Sincerely Brigitte, all opinions are my own.

 


 

Cooking with Joy: Cilantro Corn Cakes

 

May 29th 2014

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Today was a really busy day for me. We had errands that needed to be taken care of in the morning and then our 5 year old needed to be taken to his swimming lesson. I had exactly an hour in between and knew that the Cilantro Corn Cakes were on the agenda for today. In less then half an hour start to finish these were done!

Really simple recipe to follow- and if I wasn’t in a rush I probably would have even remembered the salt! All jokes aside, I realized that I forgot the salt after tasting the first batch. Luckily I had the rest of the batter waiting in nice little patties and was able to sprinkle some salt on top.

The cakes fried up in no time and stayed together very well. The texture was very nice, with a little crunch from the corn meal.

Hubs topped his cake with mascarpone cheese. As it melted into the warm cake, it made the whole combo so creamy and good.

I didn’t fry up all the cakes at once. I left them covered in the fridge for later in the day.

In my opinion the batter from the fridge actually had a better texture, but that could just be me.


Cilantro Corn Cakes page 49

DRESS IT UP Cilantro Corn Cakes with Avocado Aioli