Why You Should Add Leeks To Your Rosh Hashanah...

 

September 5th 2014

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Everyone knows that Rosh Hashanah is apples and honey time. But there’s a growing tradition to include other symbolic foods on the menu during the High Holiday season — foods that evoke our wishes for G-d to bless and protect us in the year ahead.

Leeks for instance.

Why leeks? Because the ancient Aramaic word for leeks (karsi) sounds like yikarsu, the word for “cut off” or destroy. In the prayer we say after eating leeks we ask for protection against our enemies, that they be “cut off” from us in the year ahead.

Leeks seem particularly significant this troubled, violent year.

And so, with hopes that 5775 will be a fortunate and peaceful one for Jews everywhere, our family will be eating leeks in some form or another at Rosh Hashanah.

Actually, we all love leeks, which are in the onion family, and I cook with them often. Unlike onions though, which I think of as a “seasoning” to add flavor to stocks, soups and sautéed food, I regard leeks as more of a vegetable. I always serve braised leeks at Passover. In the summer I char leeks on my outdoor grill. I make hot soup with leeks in winter, cold soup when the weather turns. I use them in omelets. Serve them as a side dish throughout the year. Mix them with potatoes for my Hanukkah latkes.

One dish that I know will be on my Rosh Hashanah menu is Imam Bayeldi, a Turkish specialty made of braised leeks, eggplant and tomatoes. It tastes wonderful and you can make it ahead and eat it hot, cool or at room temperature. I have even used the leftovers for sandwiches (either with feta cheese or grilled meat).

During the holidays I will also serve my easy 5-Ingredient Leek and Potato soup (one of the 5 ingredients is water!), which can be varied so many different ways that my family likes to guess what I’ve thrown into the pot. This soup can also easily go from pareve to dairy to meat.

Finally, there is sure to be a family favorite, Chicken with Leeks, Parsnips and Mushrooms, another simple, colorful, nourishing and delicious make-ahead entrée.


 

Cooking With Joy: Roasted Asian Veggies

 

September 4th 2014

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In late summer, I love to go to my local farmers market and buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of my favorites are beets, carrots, and radishes. The vibrant colors alone are reason enough, but we also really enjoy eating them!

We opted to dress this recipe down and roast the veggies while leaving off the nuts. We figured it would be more family-friendly, since our family is not so into nuts.

Beets and fennel are right up there with some of my favorite things to eat. And while hubs likes most vegetables, his best in this dish are the radishes.

Roasting and caramelizing any vegetable is a great way to bring out its natural sweetness.The addition of this sesame/soy marinade did a great job highlighting the flavors of each vegetable, too.

 Raw Root Vegetable Salad page 109
DRESS IT DOWN Asian Roasted Root Vegetables


 

15 Simanim Inspired Sides and Mains

 

September 3rd 2014

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When I sat down to write this post I had to take a few minutes to research the many simanim we eat by Rosh Hashanah.  I ended up spending quite a bit of time reading up about the reasons we eat these foods, they are foods we eat all year round but yet their incredible significance is truly seen around Rosh Hashanah.  Foods such as dates and leeks are connected to the destruction of our enemies, pomegranates for increasing our spiritual merit, and carrots for abundance, just to name a few.  Below are 15 sides and mains that prominently featured some of the most well known of the simanim– don’t worry, you won’t find any recipes for fish head or ram’s head below!

 

 

This Sweet Potato and Leek Soup puts leeks, a siman for destroying our enemies, front and center as does the Spicy Sauteed Leeks and Spinach.  If you’re looking for a tzimmes that is chock full of nutrients and is really easy to prepare, try the Sweet Potato and Carrot Bake, Beet Tzimmes or the Tzimmes Stuffed Butternut.  The Katz Tzimmes would make for a hearty and delicious main dish, it has all the traditional favorites including flanken, knaidelach (matzo ball) mix and kishke.

 

 

In Hebrew the word for beans relates to the words many and heart, some people have a tradition of saying a blessing over the beans during the seudah which asks that our spiritual merits be increased and that we will become empowered.  Many people serve black-eyed peas for this purpose, two great recipes are the Brazilian Onion and Garlic Rice with Black Eyed Peas and Black-Eyed Peas with Mustard Greens.

 

 

Similar to black-eyed peas, pomegranates are a siman for increasing spiritual merit.  Try the Pomegranate Glazed Carrots as a side or the Pomegranate Wine Osso Buco as satisfying main dish.  Other ideas include simanim packed sides with pomegranate dressings, such as the Simanim Salad with Pomegranate Balsamic Dressing or the Apple, Fennel & Roasted Beets with Pomegranate Vinaigrette.

 

 

Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs

In Hebrew the word for dates is a play on words which signifies “may our enemies be destroyed”.  Dates and date honey are a delicious and healthy way to add flavor to sides or mains.  Try the Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs, Bulgur with Carrots, Nuts, and Dates or the Roasted Apple Slices with Date Honey (if you don’t use margarine, substitute with coconut oil instead, but use a bit less oil than is called for).

 

Check out more Rosh Hashanah ideas here!

 


 

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 SkyViewWines.com

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.

When

Tuesday September 9th 9-10pm EST

Who

@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

RSVP

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.

 roasted-vegetable-couscous.

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.

Giveaway***

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

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