Post Passover Chametzfest Desserts


April 15th 2015

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I hear people groan about Passover food, particularly when it comes to desserts. But honestly, back in the day all we had was some aunt’s dry-as-dust sponge cake and two kinds of canned macaroons. In recent years there’s been much more, thanks to those wonderful cooks who created flourless chocolate tortes and mousse-filled Vacherins and so many other choices grandma never could have contemplated. Even the canned macaroons are better now and with many more flavors.

Still, when you can’t use regular flour or yeast, baking powder or cornstarch, our favorite desserts don’t taste the same as they do during the rest of the year. After a week of even the best of Passover sweets, most of us are ready to get back to normal eating. A post-Passover dessert chametzfest as it were.

Take brownies, for instance. Right after the holiday, wouldn’t it be swell to sink your teeth into a dark, sweet, chocolate-y brownie? That’s one of the first items on the list at our house. The grownups in my family like the brownies moist, fudgy and candy-like — the kind that horrifies the dentist. The grandkids like their brownies somewhat chewier because those are better for dunking into milk. My recipe is flexible enough to suit all of us, but to make it easier here is my recipe for my Fudgy Brownies and my Chewy Brownies (more flour plus baking powder).

Chocolate-Raisin-Nut Babka

Then, there’s Babka. There’s something magical about the fragrance of yeast cake baking after eight days without. But beyond the captivating perfume coming from the oven, babka’s crumb, tender on the tongue, is incomparable. For dessert or afternoon break or even breakfast, hot coffee and a slice of yeast babka – cinnamon or chocolate – is a most welcome treat after the holiday.

pudding cake

Pudding? Oh yes. Like grandma used to make from a box, but so much better homemade (and without all the additives and artificial ingredients). Or layered with graham crackers for Graham Cracker Pudding Cake.

I always make a fresh bunch of these Chocolate Chunk Grand Finale Cookies (nut free version) after the holiday because these are the absolute family favorites and my freezer is never without them, except during Passover! I also follow my grandma’s tradition to make something sweet using phyllo dough. She made apple strudel, but I like a sophisticated dessert such as Almond Phyllo Snails (M’Hencha), which are beautiful, so they’re a good bet if you’re having company over for dinner or coffee and …

Ah, Passover is so joyous. But when it comes to an end we sure love our Apple Pie and Fresh Ginger Cake, our Blueberry Muffins and Doughnuts. And all the rest!

Welcome back!


How To Make a Shlissel Key Shaped Challah


April 14th 2015

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Shlissel Challah, or Key Challah is customarily made the Shabbos after passover. It is said to be a Segula for livelihood and Parnasa (income). A key is placed into the Challah dough while being braided and some even shape their Challah like a key. Here is a step by step tutorial on how to shape your challah dough into a key using our favorite Challah Recipe (Jamie’s Geller’s famous dough).

Now, how to shape the key, check out our step by step instructions (using play dough for illustration purposes, but it is also fun to play with):

Step 1

Once your dough is risen and ready to use cut a small piece from the dough and roll out into  a long rope.

Step 2

Form the long rope into an upside down U shape.

Step 3

Cross the one side over the other at the top.

Step 4

Leaving the left side long, bring the bottom of the left rope through underneath the twist at the top as if making a knot, then either tuck the piece sticking out at the top over and under the challah (like the challah at the top) or bring the right side up the same way and then attach another rolled rope of dough to the top of the key shape.

Step 5

To finish up your key, take two small piece of dough (about the size of two quarters) and role them into small ropes, place them at the bottom the long rope like pictured above.   Place on a baking sheet, allow to rise and then bake as instructed in the challah recipe of choice.

Browse through all our challah recipes here.


key Challah



Cookbook Spotlight: Spiritual Kneading *Giveaway*


April 14th 2015

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Spiritual Kneading Through The Jewish Months is Dahlia Abraham-Klein’s newest cookbook. In it, she features an evocative collection of challah recipes, Jewish spiritual insights, and Torah study as it relates to each Jewish month. The separation of Challah, in addition to baking challah, is a a woman’s mitzvah (commandment) and Rosh Chodesh, the first of each Jewish month, is traditionally a women’s holiday. In Spiritual Kneading, Dahlia focuses on women’s spiritual growth via the tradition of challah baking while meditating upon the Jewish theme of the month.

The book covers all twelve months of the Jewish year, with specific Torah text for each month. The book also features  a specific challah that relates to the Torah theme for that month, such as a Spiral Challah with Apple and Silan for Tishrei, a  Rainbow Shaped Challah for Cheshvan, a Cheese Loaf  for Kislev and a Star of David Challah for Tevet. Dahlia believes that kneading is an action meditation and so she also includes a meditation guided through the kneading of the challah dough.

Spiritual Kneading is also the perfect book for a Rosh Chodesh group. Each chapter gives sources, ideas, and questions to be discussed by the group while the challah dough is rising. The purpose of baking challah in this particular way is to develop ones own personal spiritual growth within the context of a Rosh Chodesh group.

Here are two delicious recipes from Spiritual Kneading Through The Jewish Months cookbook:

Basic Challah

In her Basic Challah Recipe with Dry Yeast Dahlia includes details on how to knead the dough as well as  how to freeze the loaves to bake at a later date, which is extremely helpful for those new to challah baking. It also makes 8 loaves so you can make the full recipe and freeze the challahs for the upcoming weeks.


Her Pita (round pocket bread) recipe is the perfect recipe for the month of Nissan, for which it is is featured. The recipe yields 30 pitas, which is excellent if you are cooking for a crowd. You can also always freeze the pitas you don’t use up.  The cooking time is quick (only 3-4 minutes for each batch) and so your pitas will be ready in no time.

***Giveaway***  Win a copy of Spiritual Kneading Through The Jewish Months by commenting below and then getting more chances with rafflecopter below

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Shabbat Recipe: Shemini


April 13th 2015

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In this week’s parsha, Shemini, Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu offer a sacrifice to God, but bring “alien fire.” “Fire came forth from the Lord and consumed them: thus they died at the instance of the Lord” (Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz, Jewish Theological Seminary). After their deaths, Aaron was instructed by Moses, “you must distinguish between the sacred and the profane, and between the impure and pure; and you must teach the Israelites all the laws which the Lord has imparted to them through Moses” (Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz. Jewish Theological Seminary).

Commentary about the episode, notes, “Aaron is the gentle man of peace who never reprocess but only tries to bring people to God through love and kindness.’” (Reuven Hammer in The Classic Midrash, p. 189).  Being a disciple of Aaron is a daily challenge for each of us. Through our humble behaviors and speech, we can live in relationship with God as his vessels spreading the light of Torah to the darkest corners of the world.  Rabbi Brad Artson notes, “Our minds cannot master God, but the quest is essential nonetheless. . . . But to seek God, to yearn for holiness and to strive for righteousness, these orient our lives as a magnet positions the needle of a compass, providing us purpose, direction, and hope” (Rabbi Bradley Shavit ArtsonZiegler School of Rabbinic Studies).

The dish that I prepared for Shemini is about recognizing and integrating God into our lives. The dish includes two main ingredients: couscous and tomato stew. The couscous is symbolic of the Israelites while the tomato stew is the consuming fire. The two are blended together after presentation to represent the bringing of God into our daily lives. Rabbi Lazer Gurkow on comments that, “Aaron’s dominant trait was Chessed, kindness” (Rabbi Lazer Gurkow, The concentric circles of the ingredients are also symbolic of the idea of chessed (loving-kindness) and the envelopment one feels when it’s expressed in relationship with another.

Find My Shemini Couscous and Tomato Stew recipe here.

Coucous and Tomato Stew


Cooking With Joy: Garlic Honey Brisket


April 9th 2015

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Most people I work with are used to me talking about “The Blog” and what I have cooking up that week. One of the cool things about me doing this project is people asking me for recipes and cooking advice. It is a nice feeling for sure, but the nicer feeling is them giving me feedback saying that I was helpful. My go to recipe to offer people when they ask what’s good in the book is this Honey Garlic Brisket. I have told many people at work that this is a no fail recipe and everyone who has made it agrees. I am going to say that it is probably my favorite recipe in the cookbook so far!

I actually made this recipe twice with different variations, once for Pesach and once for a regular Shabbos. All of you who have cooked for Pesach know that almost everything that you need is available. One thing that is available for Pesach, but never ceases to gross me out, is Pesach mustard. I was very skeptical putting that yellow “stuff” on a beautiful piece of meat. Since the original recipe calls for Dijon, I knew that the Pesach stuff needed be tanged up a little. I figured I could add some white wine vinegar to achieve that flavor.  I marinated the brisket in the fridge overnight and cooked it in the morning. I was really pleasantly surprised with how the sauce came out even with this Pesach substitution. Of course, at that point, I had nothing to compare it to, I just knew that it came out delicious!

I really wanted to try the recipe again, but this time with the Dijon to see if it could get even better.  This time I forgot that I needed to marinade the brisket so it only ended up marinating for 2 hours. When Hubs came back from work he said he just followed the aroma home- it smelled so good. When I was slicing the meat I just couldn’t stop tasting it (What? It was amazing!!!!!) The brisket tasted out of this world- people at the Shabbos table went back for thirds!

Both times I left out the thyme and skipped the step of reducing the gravy on the stove. The au jus that filled the bottom of the pan was so scrumptious that we didn’t want to do anything to it! Hubs would have drank it straight had I let him. We served the brisket along with mashed potatoes smothered with sautéed onions and the sauce from the pan- my mouth just started watering. I will definitely be making this recipe again and again and again!

Honey Garlic Brisket

Garlic Honey Brisket page 198
DRESS IT DOWN Honey Brisket Pita Pockets

Note: This blog series, Cooking With Joy, is meant to be a companion to the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller cookbook.  Most of the full recipes are only available in the cookbook, but this one can be found here.


Simple Salmon In 10 Minutes Or Less


April 9th 2015

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The biggest mistake you can make when it comes to preparing salmon, or any fish for that matter, is overcooking. I learned (from a famed Long Island fish monger) when doing research for my first book that if your house starts to smell fishy that means you’ve gone too far. But when you don’t know the proper techniques or how to test for doneness with a degree of certainty, it’s almost impossible not to fall prey to the mistake that will leave you with the dried out, rubbery, tasteless fish (that cost you a pretty penny!).

So follow these flawless and fail proof Simple Salmon techniques for perfection on a plate. When you have the know-how you can then “Dress Up” your Simple Salmon dishes with glazes, sauces and flavorful poaching liquids. Although my grandfather (the gourmet chef I always talk about) taught me that if cooked right, salt (sometimes pepper) and lemon are all most fish need. After testing, tasting and mastering these techniques, I tend to agree.

Delicate and elegant, this technique yields juicy salmon that can be served warm or at room temperature.  Simple Poached Salmon with Scallion Wasabi Sauce.

Started skin-side down on the stovetop and finished off in the oven ensures thick fillets cook through evenly. This, my absolute favorite way to enjoy salmon, yields a crispy skin meant to be enjoyed along with the fish.  Pan Seared Salmon with Lemon and Herb Compound Butter.


The most common and widely used technique is hands-off and hands down the simplest of all. Often overcooked, you want to bake salmon until just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes is actually all you need.  Simple Baked Salmon with Savory Lemon Horseradish Sauce.


/RECIPE/ Loaded Baked Potatoes


April 8th 2015

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Pesach food of Pesach food. Potatoes and cream cheese! Gotta love creamy, dreamy carbs laced with just enough veggies to help you feel less guilty more healthy about this holiday. Yes this is a little beauty of a recipe.

It’s a simple and straightforward recipe. I did modify this recipe since I was REALLY short on time. So…. enters the microwave.

I followed the recipe to the T. The only alteration I made was to microwave it instead of bake it off in the oven. That worked out GREAT!

Good Pesach recipe and I’m thinking a good all around recipe too. ;)


Matzo Brei – A Passover Brunch Delight


April 8th 2015

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There are so many matzo brei recipes out there that choosing one can be overwhelming. Whether you make a basic traditional recipe, such as the one found here, or something more extravagant, with matzo brei you can rarely go wrong. My favorite is Jamie’s new Banana and Peach Matzo Brie Bake (see the video and recipe link below), but with any version you make you have to be sure not to over-soak the matzo or else your matzo brei will come out soggy. Don’t hesitate to try one or all of the recipes below as they are each different and have a unique take on matzo brei. EnJOY!

Matzo Brei Mac 'N Cheese

Matzo Brei Mac ‘N Cheese is the ultimate comfort food! Over Passover, if you’re a Mac ‘N Cheese kind of person you may be craving your favorite dish, but this recipe will allow you to have your fill without skipping a Passover beat.

Pizza Matzo Brei

Pizza Matzo Brei tastes as delicious as it looks. You can easily double or even quadruple the recipe and, believe me, you will probably be doing just that.


This Passover Migas recipe is a great way to use up your matzo farfel and leftover veggies. Migas are a mixture of eggs, veggies and a topping  of cheese with a crunchy element.  Usually the crunch comes from fried tortilla or broken tortilla chips, but on Passover matzo farfel is a great crunchy alternative.


Who would guess you could be eating French toast on Passover? Although not a traditional matzo brie, this French Toast Matzo with Dill Cream Cheese recipe is absolutely amazing for brunch or even breakfast for dinner. The French toast is 3 layers and uses fresh dill. With the elements  you can’t go wrong!!

Salami Matzo FrittataAgain not a traditional matzo brei, but Salami and Eggs Matzo Frittata is a fancier meat version of a matzo brei that you can whip up for brunch to impress your friends and family. This matzo brie is surprisingly easy to make, which is definitely good considering you will probably have to make doubles.

Last but not least, my favorite Banana and Peach Matzo Brie Bake. This matzo brei is sweet and delectable and with the help of the video you will be making it in no time!!

Try something new from these recipes or create your own. Mix it up and consider adding smoked salmon, pastrami, spinach, artichokes, various herbs or anything else that would go well with eggs. Let us know in the comments what worked well and how your recipes turned out.


Passover Dairy Lunch Mains


April 8th 2015

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Whether you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing a Passover hotel dairy lunch buffet or just heard about what it’s like in (great!) detail, you know that those chefs put out a spread like nobody’s business. I have been to quite a few in my day whether for work or as a guest and can tell you the recipes are so impressive, so creative and so delicious that everyone walks around exclaiming (to themselves, to each other or to anyone within earshot) “I can’t believe this is Passover food!”

So get away without going away and enJOY these luxurious, decadent, and EASY, Passover, dairy, lunch, entrees. These rich, creamy entrees wouldn’t be possible without my favorite PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, so glad it is kosher for Passover.  Invite some friends over to your homemade Passover buffet – believe me, you will be so proud of your creations you’ll want to show them off.

Butternut Squash Matzo Lasagna
An exquisitely creamy, warm, earthy year round recipe that we adapted for Passover with matzo sheets in place of lasagna noodles.

Eggplant Roll Ups
When I tested this recipe I ate 6 rolls all by my lonesome (no, not recommended!). PS you will want to fry EXTRA eggplant, so you can snack on it while filling, rolling and baking the dish.

Spinach Potato Torta
Creamy Spinach Torta in a Potato Crust
Too pretty for words this showstopper looks just as good as it tastes. Be sure to grab your camera to chronicle your creation before digging in and don’t forget to share it with us on Instagram with #Philly4Passover.

matzo mushroom pot pie
Mushroom Pot Pie
Meaty mushrooms and creamy sauce make this hearty, filling, satisfying and perfectly excellent for vegetarians.

Happy Passover!

We’re creating tons of new Passover recipes featuring PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese as part of our new partnership, see them all at


How To Use Up Your Seder Leftovers


April 7th 2015

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This year we are lucky to have a full 4 days of Chol Hamoed (5 if you live in Israel). With Passover Yom Tov on Saturday and Sunday we have the whole week to go on day trips with family and friends.  This gives you the opportunity to cook up some delicious dinners. In honor of the full 4 days of Chol Hamoed I have created a collection of recipes to use up your Seder leftovers for easy Chol Hamoed dinners.

I often make too much charoset for the Seder and I’m left with a ton of leftovers. Charoset is great to shmear on matzo, but this Charoset Stuffed Chicken Breast recipe is a creative way to use up the bulk of  your charoset in a main dinner course.

Seder Plate Frittata

Seder Plate Frittata is a nice starter, breakfast or lighter dinner main where you can use up the food from your Seder plate. The food on the Seder plate often goes to waste,  but this is your chance to turn those leftovers into a meal to remember, a delectable frittata.

Leftover Gefilte fish Salad

Gefilte fish is a classic starter at the Seder. Usually it is paired with spicy horseradish, but in this Leftover Gefilte Fish Quick and Yummy Salad you can pair your leftover gefilte fish with sweet mango in addition to avocado, dried cranberries and fennel, surprisingly good.

Join Shlomo on his upcoming food adventure as he leads Israel FoodSteps, a 10 day culinary tour of Israel from July 7-16 2015. In this unique experience guests can connect with the heart and soul of Israel’s vibrant culture through their palate.
Guests will get a chance to experience boutique hotels, hidden markets, cheese wine & tahini workshops, dining with leading chefs, shabbat in Jerusalem, private food tours, visiting historical sites… and much more!

For more information contact 347-490-7214 or visit his website here.


4 Passover Pack N Go Ideas


April 6th 2015

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This Passover we have four full days of Chol Hamoed. That means we have four whole days to keep the kids busy, entertained and well fed while on the go. Here are four great recipes that are easy to make and easy to take.  The PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese really amps up the flavor in all of them.  Pack them up and enjoy your day on the town.

spaghetti squash bites

Spaghetti Squash Bites

These elegant little treats can be packed up in a tupperware and carried along for an anytime snack or part of a healthy lunch. Since they are bite-sized, they can be easily eaten with your hands, which makes them perfect for enjoying at the movies, museums or amusement parks.

herbed frittata for passover

Herbed Frittata

Frittatas make great bite size snacks, too. Just slice to your desired size and place in a container and you have a vegetable and protein-filled food that everyone enjoys.

creamy crispy stuffed portobellos recipe

Breaded and Baked Cheesy Portobello Mushrooms

If you want something more substantial when you are out and about, try these Portobellos. They will require utensils, but taste great at room temp and would be perfect for a picnic.

creamy glazed carrots

Creamy Carrots

Try this creamy way to serve carrots and see everyone eat them at your table. Cream cheese and chives make the perfect dressing.  Pack it up and put in your cooler for a great veggie side while you are out.

We’re creating tons of new Passover recipes featuring PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese as part of our new partnership, see them all at


Shabbat Menu – The Last Day Of Passover


April 5th 2015

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I just realized that those living in Israel will have to keep the same 8 days of Pesach that we have here in the US.  The last day is on Shabbat and it is preceded by Yom Tov.  So everyone needs a really good, use up all my Passover ingredients Shabbat dinner this year.  So let’s join together for a Passover Shabbat dinner like no other.

Whole Wheat Spinach Matzo Balls

Make a different kind of matzo balls this week with some spinach mixed inside and serve in your favorite chicken soup recipe.

Roasted Chicken Thighs

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Grilled Eggplant and Olives


Herbed Veggie Matzo Farfel Stuffing


Lemon Roasted Asparagus


Chocolat Covered Matzo Bark

Chocolat Covered Matzo Bark


Happy Passover


April 3rd 2015

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You made it through our countdown, you clean, you planned, you shopped, you cooked (and are still cooking) and now we hope you have the most amazing holiday with family and friends and all your delicious food.  Wishing you all a happy, delicious, meaningful, sweet, kosher Passover. Lots of love from the entire JOY of KOSHER team.

In case you missed any of our countdown we had 25 days of tips, tricks and recipes to guide you through, go back and find your favorites here.

Browse all 1,100 Passover recipes on the site here.

Don’t miss all our articles and recipe roundups for Passover here.



Watch Me Share 4 Ways To Use Matzo On The Today...


April 2nd 2015

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It was so much fun to be on the Today Show again with Kathie Lee and Hoda!!  I showed them how to really enjoy matzo this Passover, see the pics, watch the clip and don’t forget to make the recipes.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Pear, Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese Matzo Pizza - It's like salad on a slice of matzo, serve in pieces to make it easier to eat, could be made on a flatbread too.

Pear, Tomato and Goat Cheese Matzo Pizza with Arugula is our fun more gourmet version of our favorite Passover lunch, matzo pizza.

Matzo Nachos as seen on the Today Show with Jamie Geller as a new fun Passover recipe.

These Matchos are the perfect blend of matzo and nachos!! Our fave new Passover snack.

Banana and Peach Matzo Brie Bake - easy to make ahead and have ready for all your guests the next morning

This matzo brie bake saves you from slaving over the stove, assemble the night before and pop it in the oven while you wait for everyone to wake up to the smell of this amazing fruity bake. Works for a dairy dessert too.

Chocolat Covered Matzo Bark - use your best chocolate, your favorite toppings and make this delicious bark for Passover

Love this Matzo Bark, which you can really make your own with all your favorite toppings, get the kids involved too.

Wishing you all a Happy Pesach!!