20 Summer BBQ Recipes


August 6th 2014

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Everyone seems to have their own summer barbecue traditions, right down to the way they spell it out their invitations (barbecue or BBQ–which to choose!).  Whether you like to keep things simple or love spending time by the grill, below are 20 recipes to please all grill masters alike.


Short ribs are dangerously delicious and incredibly versatile.  Enjoy classic Boneless Short Ribs or you can try the Sticky Cola Ribs, Korean BBQ Short Ribs, or Sticky Ginger and Honey Basted Lamb Ribs.

Garlic Honey Brisket

Although brisket needs to be prepared far in advance of the barbecue, once it’s cooked it fits right in with the rest of your barbecue favorites.  I first came across the Garlic Honey Brisket in Jamie’s latest cookbook, and since then there’s been no going back.  Brisket is a tough meat but is so versatile, from the Barbecued Brisket to the Cuban Creole Stew Braised Beef Brisket.



Prime Grill Porcini Burgers


When it comes to burgers there are so many ways to prepare it from the Classic Beef Burger loaded with toppings such as Special Sauce, Spicy Fried Onions, Corn and Avocado Relish, and the Grilled Hawaiian Burger, to meatless burgers like the Fresh Salmon Burger, Porcini Burgers and California Tempeh Burger.



There are so many ways to prepare fish, and grilling happens to be on of the best of them.  Grill Salmon on Wine-Soaked Plank or enjoy it raw in Salmon Ceviche.  Try Whole Roasted Turbot or Roasted Branzino with Citrus and Caramelized Fennel, both of which can be wrapped in silver foil and roasted on the grill.  Or keep things simple with Fish Tacos with Avocado Slaw.

Check out more BBQ recipes here!


DIY Cake Decorating


August 6th 2014

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I’m not an artist by any stretch of the imagination. Yes you can call me creative, however I am creative in a theoretical sense. But when it comes to hands-on artistry I cannot be relied on to do much more than color in the lines. I never took a course (or even a class) in cake decorating nor do I own my own set of pastry bags and tips. I always borrow from my kind and patient neighbor Robin. She is patient because sometimes it takes me days to return her cake decorating equipment and she is kind because she never says anything about it.

When it comes to my kids’ birthday cakes, I feel so much pressure. People can’t wait to see what I turn out. They expect cakes of grandeur and beauty, cakes that are whimsical and delicious and most of all professional looking. But I wasn’t trained for this. Suddenly you become a mom and you’re expected to be able to do something fun with frosting. But because I am creative in the theoretical sense, I’ve figured out a way to make my kids and myself look good. Now with no skill or fancy equipment (other than an offset spatula) you can too!

Before we get to the DIY tutorials, here are a few tips:

CHILL IN THE FREEZER: Place your cakes in the freezer for about 30 to 45 minutes to firm them up so you have fewer crumbs when you frost.

A crumb coat is just a thin layer of frosting (the same color you intend to frost the cake with) applied with an offset spatula to help hide crumbs. Don’t worry if crumbs get into your crumb coat, the crumbs will become “glued” into the surface of the cake with the 2nd chill.

CHILL AGAIN THIS TIME IN THE FRIDGE: Once you have applied a crumb coat you will need to let it set. Place your cake in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight. Once set, the surface will be ready for a final frost and to decorate.

Here are a few easy to decorate cake ideas, click on the links to get the full instructions:

DIY Decorated Train Cake

Baseball and Basketball Cupcakes

Basic Rainbow Cake

Double Rainbow Cake


As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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Day In Jerusalem – Summer Activities


August 4th 2014

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This summer Israel has been in the news and I am sure it has been on your minds. While we pray for the safety of our soldiers, many of whom are our cousins, brothers, sisters, fathers, and friends, the incredible resilience of the Israeli people has kept the day to day life as close to normal as possible in Jerusalem. Summer camps have continued as usual with some changes to their itineraries due to security concerns.

The summer in Jerusalem is filled with festivals, special exhibits and even a beach. Instead of our traditional itinerary we would like to offer you lots of great suggestions for summer activities in Jerusalem.

Bambu: This incredible unique exhibit at the Israel Museum allows visitors (ages 6+) to climb through the interactive art installation in the Sculpture Garden. Made entirely of Bamboo and climbing rope this exhibit was created by the Starn brothers and allows you to climb up the steps and the paths and view the Jerusalem Hills and the top of the Israel Museum. This is an exhibit not to be missed! Separate tickets must be purchased for the exhibit and the museum is open for free for kids in August.

Jerusalem Has A Beach: Jerusalem has many attributes and many attractions but the one thing it did not have was a beach. In honor of summer, the First Station outdoor mall and entertainment center has created a beach with sand, umbrellas, beach volleyball, refreshments, kids activities and even outdoor showers. Later this month the simulated surf machine will open up to the public. The beach is free and activities are an additional fee.  During the day families can enjoy music, snacks and activities and then in the evening the beach is open to adults only.

Beach Bus: If you still prefer the real thing and want an easy way to go up to the Tel Aviv beach then you can take the Jerusalem Beach Bus. With pickups in Jerusalem’s Katamon, Rechavia and Bakaa neighborhoods, you can go straight to the beach on Fridays and be back before Shabbat, without the mess in your car or hassle of switching busses.

Ropes Course on Ammunition Hill: This summer take the Ropes Course Challenge in a truly unique location at Ammunition Hill. See the bunkers and learn about the history of the fight for Jerusalem as you learn to swing from the Rope swing and walk the rope ladder or slide down the Omega (zipline).  Activities can be customized for each group.

Israel National Parks: The summer is a great time to visit some of Israel’s most beautiful national parks. Water hikes, sound & light shows and historical tours are available at many of the parks. The closest parks to Jerusalem are Castel, Ein Hemed, Stalactite Caves and Ir David. Plan ahead and purchase an Israel National Parks Family Membership Card that lets you in to all the parks for free during the year.

August Summer Camps: It’s not too late to enjoy a special summer camp experience. Whether your kids want to learn how to surf, cook, train dogs, design fashion and more at Camp Kimama or want to experience a tech camp in the Start Up Nation at Big Idea, or learn to take care of horses and go horseback riding at King David Stables, there are so many choices for summer camps in Israel. To really get a sense of the options see our video blog of camps in Israel. When you are ready to plan for next summer take a look at our camps guide. Make next year a summer in Israel!

Festivals: Summer festivals in Jerusalem take place in July and August. They include the Jerusalem Film Festival, Hutzot Hayotzer Art Festival, Formula One Peace Road Show, International Puppet Festival and the Jerusalem Theater End of Summer Festival.

The best advice I have for tourists who have decided to come this summer during Operation Protective Edge (Tzok Eitan) is to be aware and plan ahead with our Red Alert Tips. Know where the safe rooms are and that if you are in Jerusalem you have 90 seconds to get there. You can still enjoy your summer in Israel.

I hope this blog post has given you the inspiration to spend your next summer in Jerusalem, especially with your family.  For more ideas of activities and events in Jerusalem for your family, contact joanna@funinjerusalem.com and I would be happy to give you some personalized recommendations.


Family Dinner, A Must


August 1st 2014

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My parents are European.  Which means lots of things, for instance, we yell a lot.  When I’d ask my dad “why are you and mommy and grandma and grandpa and Aunt Pat and Uncle Frankie and everyone always screaming at each other?”  “We’re not screaming” he’d answer loudly, “this is just how we talk.”  Apparently we’re a rowdy bunch.  My AMERICAN husband is always shushing me.   Making that lower-your-voice-waving-motion with his hand when I talk to him, on the phone, to the kids, I like to think I am just full of joie de vivre but I guess I do kinda come across as noisy.

I also inherited the old country habit of eating the day’s main meal EARLY.  On the weekends we always ate dinner (which was really lunch you see) at 2 o’clock and on the weekdays we ate dinner at 4.  Which means during the week we almost never ate together as a family, with my dad, cause he was ALWAYS at work.

I remember going to friends’ houses and starving (even with a snack) until their family + daddy dinner time at 6 or 7pm.  My stomach just couldn’t get bear the wait.

But I have come to really, really, really! believe in the dinner as a family concept.  I remember reading something Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff (our JoK Rabbi) wrote about Shabbos and the endurance of the Jewish people as a whole and the success of the family unit (in contrast to other religions and cultures) as due in part to our weekly, ritual, undistracted, family-focused, Shabbos meals.

My parents are now divorced.  For the second time.  From each other.  Yes, they divorced each other twice.  Which of course means they married each other twice.  Now I am not saying it’s because we didn’t keep Shabbos and didn’t eat dinner as a family.  I am just saying.

Coordinating dinner as a family is so complicated I know, between schedules, and jobs, and extracurricular activities.  But to the extent that you can make family dinner a priority, at least once during the work week, the investment in your family is priceless.

At our family dinners we have a ritual where we go around the table and ask everyone individually to talk about the best part of their day.  As we sit down and begin serving the food everyone (including the adults) starts to think and get excited for their turn.  This exercise helps us all frame our sometimes wonderful, sometimes exhausting, sometimes difficult day into one with a positive takeaway.  The happiest memory shines front and center as does the person sharing it with the family.  It’s a simple exercise in optimism, in positivity, in the sharing of happy experiences with one another as well as in confidence building and in public speaking.  We make it a point to all participate and even ask my 2 ½ year old about the best part of her day.  She can’t talk much yet but she always says or does something cute that makes us all laugh.  Hubby and I share too.  We are careful to go around the table in a different order at each meal so everyone has a chance to be first.

What do you think about family dinner?  How important is it?  Do you do it?  What do you do to get the dinner table conversation going?  Or how do you focus it?


Tuna, Trendy and Gluten Free


July 31st 2014

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Believe it or not, growing up I used to look forward to the 9 days. Not that I enjoyed the fact that we were in mourning and that we couldn’t go swimming and that Tisha Ba’av was the longest fast of the year, but I did look forward to a week without Shabbat leftovers. The 9 days and their prohibition against eating meat meant no Shabbat leftovers on Sunday, and no leftovers on Monday and no leftovers on Tuesday, not to mention the occasional spill over to Wednesday and even Thursday.

Leftovers were not how my early childhood started. Our dinner menus changed when my youngest brother was born. 16 years my junior, with no one in-between, my brother and his dairy and soy allergies revolutionized dinnertime. My brother was so allergic to dairy and the proteins in dairy that you could not even touch him if you were eating dairy or washing dairy dishes. So my mom would make enough chicken and meat on Shabbat to last the whole week! No joke! Dairy took a back seat in our home. Because of my brother’s allergies, our dinners became more routine – chicken – Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night, and if my memory serves me correctly probably Wednesday and Thursday night as well. Gone were the pizza and the lasagna, the eggplant Parmesan and my personal favorite — tuna casserole. Yet, once a year, in the heat of the summer, we stocked up on milk and cheese and feasted on my old dairy favorites. It was a dairy lover’s paradise for the whole family except my younger brother who still ate his chicken night after night.

As the years passed and I became a wife, a mother, and now a Savti, the 9 days have become a much more serious time for me, especially as I write this and the situation in Israel seems quite grave. I no longer have the levity I did as a child during these 9 days. I have a better and more mature understanding of what it all means. And, at the same time, I still love the milchig meals.

Tuna is one of my favorites. I used to love tuna casserole and would make it for my family regularly, until … I too had a child who could not tolerate a food group. This time it was gluten. When my daughter was diagnosed as gluten intolerant our dinners changed. Tuna casserole was no longer on the menu. There are gluten free noodles now, but they were not a big hit in our home and most cream of mushroom soup required for the recipe has gluten in them as well.

I was determined not to let my daughter’s allergy keep us from enjoying a family favorite. Fortunately I have found an even better option. My Aunt gave me a recipe for the most delicious gluten free tuna casserole. I tweaked it a bit for our family, and now the whole family categorically likes it even better than the traditional noodle tuna casserole. This Gluten Free tuna casserole is the best. I guarantee you will love this twist on the old favorite.

Here is the full recipe for my Gluten Free Tuna Casserole.

Order this decorative spoon and check out all my hand made designs when you visit me at SwirlGifts.com or on Facebook here.


Cooking with Joy: Easy Couscous Side


July 31st 2014

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I always notice people asking for quick and easy side dishes. Well this recipe might be exactly what those people are looking for. This recipe took about 7 minutes from start to finish NO JOKE!

While the water was boiling for the couscous I prepped the rest of the ingredients.

Hubs doesn’t like craisins, so I just added a few. I love the sweet tart flavor they add to most things I put them in. I also loved the combo of the cumin, parsley, lemon and pine nuts!

The couscous didn’t even hit our plates; we ate it right out of the bowl.

This is a no fail recipe- make your own! Double it or triple it, add more lemon or pine nuts or forget the craisins- whatever works for your crew!


10 Birthday Cakes All Grown-Up


July 30th 2014

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As a summer birthday girl myself, I have always been a fan of the ice cream cake.  For a long time I was never a fan of the traditional birthday cake, but after seeing so many sophisticated and delicious looking recipes here at Joy of Kosher, I’m starting to reconsider my position.  Here are 10 grown-up birthday cakes that will give ice cream cake and your go-to birthday cake a serious run for it’s money.



Summer Berry Chocolate Cake:  I’ve never been much of a cake love, except for ice cream cake, of course, but the idea is growing on me.  It’s hard to beat a classic chocolate cake, especially when it’s covered in icing and loaded with ripe summer berries.



Brazilian Style Coconut Truffle Cupcakes:  Don’t be intimidated by the ten-step process, with some planning it’s quite manageable; these cupcakes take a little extra work but are totally worth the effort.



Babka Bundt Cake

Babka Bundt Cake:  The alliteration in the title is only the beginning of the fun that this cake has in store.  It combines the comfort of both babka and the old-fashioned bundt in a way that breathes new life into these tried and true desserts.



Maple Walnut Chiffon Cake: The ingredients sound more suited to the fall or chillier weather, but this cake is delicate enough to serve for a summer birthday.



Frangipane Tart with Amaretto Honey Poached Pears

Frangipane Tart with Amaretto & Honey Poached Pears: Presentation is key here, the poached pears appear to be growing out of the cake in a surreal, and very appetizing manner.  Encourage some child-like giddiness with this fantastical cake.



Candied Orange Cheesecake: I can imagine serving this cake to compliment a lovely birthday meal of grilled fish and summer salads.  There is something so happy about this recipe that it begs to be enjoyed in conjunction with the sunny summer weather.



Traditional Jewish Seven Layer Cake: Traditional and impressive, this towering cake will be enough to feed even the most enthusiastic cake eaters.



strawberry shortcake with coconut frosting

Strawberry Shortcakes: Early summer is strawberry season where I live, so I’m going to substitute fresh berries for the frozen ones called for in the recipe.



Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake with Peanut Praline and Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake with Peanut Praline and Caramel Sauce: This cake seems to have every indulgent ingredient possible, but hey, it’s your birthday so enjoy!



Coffee Crêpe Cake

Coffee Crêpe Cake: This would be a lovely cake to serve at a birthday brunch.  This cake takes some time because of the crepe preparation, so it might be best to prep the cake the night before if you plan to serve it early in the day.


Hybrid Fruits: 3 Pluot Recipes


July 30th 2014

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Pluots are a hybrid of a plum and an apricot and only make an appearance during the summer.

We are thrilled to be presenting you with a true summer fruit and several ways to use it. There are many varieties of pluots, mostly origi- nating from California, and each farm gives their crop a unique name — ranging from Dinosaur Eggs, Flavor Grenade, Dapple Dandy and Flavorglo, just to name a few. Pluots are sweet and juicy with a pink/red interior. They are full of vitamins A and C, and about 40 to 80 calories. Use pluots as you would plums.


Grilled Pluot Salad

Grilled fruit is a recent phenomenon that works well on many fruits.  The grilled plots work especially well in a salad to start or even be a meal.

Pluot Tart

Tarts are easy when using puff pastry dough, just choose a favorite jam and get your pluots ready for the quickest Summer dessert you can offer.

Macerated Pluots

Macerated fruit is the process of of breaking down the fruit usually just using sugar to bring out the fruits natural juices.  The fruits become softer, easier to chew and digest. This version uses a little citrus zest and juice to add more flavor and is wonderful served alone or top of a cake or yogurt.

How do you like to eat Pluots?

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


A Gourmet Break Fast Worth Starving For


July 29th 2014

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Summer is a great time to lighten up your food and to take advantage of gorgeous produce. Take pleasure and savor summer. Cooking meals during the 9 days or at any point in the summer should be a reflection of what is going on outdoors.

Summer dishes should taste like sunshine and a meadow. I want my family to fresh flavors and to enjoy them slowly and fully.

Summer Vegetable Tian

This easy to make Summer Inspiration from the Farmer’s market takes advantage of the season. The layered vegetable casserole is a snap to put together and simply delicious. This Provencal style dish is perfect for a light supper, a delicious side for fish and as a luncheon item.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

The container of ricotta from the grocery store doesn’t begin to compare to the rich and creamy texture of homemade cheese. easy to make and long on flavor, making simple cheeses is a great family project.

Summer Vegetable and Ricotta Pasta

I call this MY DINNER IN A BAG. I park next to the Farmer’s market, grab my basket and pick whatever vegetables look good to me. Race home, boil water and 15 minutes later I have a healthy and homemade dinner. You can vary this dish by using whatever vegetables are in season.
The creamy and rich homemade cheese all gooey and folded into the pasta is simply heavenly and is a perfect way to end the day.

Cherry and Almond Galette

I wait all season for the tart cherries. They are brightly flavored and taste like …a cherry! The sweeter cherries just don’t have the oomph that the tart variety does. While not great for eating out of hand, tart cherries are amazing and complex in baked items and in ice cream and jams.



The Day Before a Fast


July 28th 2014

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The day before a fast it is important to keep your body hydrated, well nourished and away from caffeine and alcohol.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but it is just that important to get lots of water the entire day before the fast, not just the last hour.  You should also eat throughout the day well balanced meals and snacks.  I suggest starting with 1-2 eggs, a slice of whole grain toast and a banana.  Then try a small yogurt with a few nuts or granola for a mid morning snack.  For lunch have a vegetable and pasta salad with a scoop of tuna or cottage cheese.  Throw in a fruit and some nuts or hummus if you like before getting ready for the main pre fast meal.

Before Tisha B’Av the last meal will actually be the Seudah Hamafseket, read more about that here, but before that you should fill your tummy with a solid meal just like this one:

Salmon with Pomegranate and Lentil Couscous

This salmon recipe can be your entire meal, it is filling and nutritious and perfect before a fast when combined with rice and lentils too.

Asparagus with Walnut Gremolata

You could stop with the salmon dish, but we are heading into a fast, so a little asparagus with lemon and walnuts steps it up a notch.

Madgooga (Date Balls)

Madgooga (Date Balls)

End your meal with a little something sweet made from dates.  Dates are high in potassium which is good for you before a fast.  If you don’t like Date Balls, try Date Pinwheels, Dates with Almond Paste, or Raw Date Brownies.

Wishing you an easy fast.



Challah Onion Pockets


July 28th 2014

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You can find the recipe here and make your own onion pockets – or even apple pockets!


RSVP For #StopTheBurn Twitter Party and WIN


July 25th 2014

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You’re invited to join our #StopTheBurn Twitter chat!
Hosted by @JoyofKosher and sponsored by Burn Jel Plus®.

win a weber grill

Ready to stop the burn?  No matter how hard we try, getting burned in the kitchen is a rite of passage for the seasoned cook and an inevitability for the novice as well.

Join our Twitter party and find out how to #StopTheBurn.  Get your burning questions answered and learn the best way to treat a burn.


Thursday August 7th from 8:30 – 9:30 pm EST


@JoyofKosher @JoyofKosherMag @KosherFoodBloggers @TamarGenger @JamieGeller

Moderator @MommyBlogExpert

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

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

Follow us here


Let us know you are coming to the party in the comments below to be entered to win 1 of 25 prize packs and make sure to include your twitter handle.  Then go over and enter our WIN a GRILL contest here.

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A Light Pasta To Break A Fast


July 25th 2014

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People think of pasta as heavy – but it can be light. Ok so you probably already knew that but until recently I always preferred super heavy, creamy, cheesy, saucy, pasta dishes. So whenever I thought pasta I thought about an off-the-diet, carb and cream laden, comma-inducing feast. Always one to overdo things I would roll out of a pasta meal feeling like I never ever wanted to eat again.

Now that I am trying to take an overall healthier approach to food and not just completely cutting the carbs when I am being “good” and subsisting solely on carbs when I am being “bad” I have started to change the whole house over to whole grains and have begun to enjoy lighter, whole-wheat, summer pasta dishes.

My Whole Wheat Spaghetti (use angel hair if you can find it) and Goat Cheese Crumble, loaded with julienned sweet potatoes, red onions and zucchini (you can also cut the squash into paper thin coins if you like). Tossed with extra virgin olive oil, thyme, crushed garlic, chopped walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese it feels indulgent, it looks beautiful, its tastes decadent but is decidedly not a “bad girl” dish. Wonderful and perfect for a break-fast meal when you need some substance but don’t want to be left feeling like you’re ready to roll.


Cooking with Joy: Challah Kugel


July 24th 2014

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Bread pudding isn’t usually on our repertoire. Hubs doesn’t like sweet sides. He grew up with savory lukshen and potato kugel as standard sides. I grew up with sweet lukshen with fruit and sugar. My mom put raisins in basically everything; his mom doesn’t put raisins in oatmeal (raisin) cookies.

So far I am very happy with the results of my Cooking with Joy expedition. I have gotten to taste new flavors and have learnt that lots of things that you would think are a patchke, take barely any time at all.

This bread pudding was very quick and easy to make. I was kind of expecting it to be super sweet and sticky, but it didn’t come out that way at all. I followed the recipe to a tee, the only difference was I used whole wheat challah.

The pudding was good, just to me lacked the sticky sweetness I was hoping for. As I read on, I saw there was a recipe for a glaze. BINGO that’s just what it needed. The glaze gave the pudding what I was looking for. I had a few portions and Hubs ate the rest!

Spice Apple Challah Kugel
DRESS IT UP Apple Challah Kugel Towers with Apricot Honey Glaze page 96


6 Pre-fast Menus for Tisha B’Av


July 23rd 2014

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Fasting is no easy task, even less so at the height of the summer. My physical preparations for the fast involve a 48-hour hydration binge in which my water bottle never leaves my side.  As for food, during those 48-hours I try to increase my intake of fruits and vegetables that are high in water. I save my fish, egg or dairy intake for erev Tisha B’Av, the day before the fast, in order to prevent bloating and increase my overall nutrient intake.  Below are three menus– dairy, fish, and vegan– to help you plan out your pre-fast meal.



Dairy Menu 1:

Greek Wheat Berry Salad

Tabouli Feta Salad

Pasta Roulade with Ricotta and Spinach


Dipped Straweberries or Chocolate Bread Pudding



Pappardelle with roasted pepper sauce

Dairy Menu 2:

Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans

Greek Yogurt Caesar Salad

Pappardelle Pasta with Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

Roasted Tomato Cream Gnochi

Goat Cheese Cheesecake




Fish Menu 1:

Corn and Wild Rice Kugel

Almond Olive Sole

Avocado Cream Pasta

Light Corn Salsa

Almond Pot au Creme



Pecan Crusted Salmon


Fish Menu 2:

Nectarine and Tomato Salad

Pecan Crusted Honey Mustard Salmon

Polenta Portobellos

Warm Fingerling Potato Salad

Almond and Olive Oil Cake


Vegan Menu 1:

Linguini Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad

Lentil Rice with Carrots

Easy Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Coleslaw with Crispy Tofu

Chocolate Avocado Mousse


Vegan Menu 2:

Sweet Daikon Salad with Sesame Citrus Dressing

Zucchini Spaghetti Salad

Tofu and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

Curried Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Raw Date Brownies


Check out more Tisha B’Av pre- and post-fast ideas here.