Quick & Kosher Cooking

 

8 Perfect Pumpkin Recipes

 

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11 years ago this January I met my husband for the first time.  It was a blind date.  Two weeks later we were engaged and spent our first Shabbos together at Uncle Morse and Aunt Judy’s.  I don’t remember exactly what Aunt Judy served but it prompted met to blurt out “Oh I just LOVE orange food!” really, really loudly and dramatically. (Did you just hear the record player screech?)  As it turns out I do love all things orange – sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkins, oranges… but it came out kinda flakey and ditzy sounding.  To this day whenever I think about it and even now as I write about it my shoulders hunch and I physically cower in embarrassment.  I am sure Aunt Judy doesn’t remember it – unless of course, she does.

So in honor of the season and my love for all foods orange – especially pumpkins which top the list – here are my favorite pumpkin recipes.


 

A Simchat Torah Mexican Menu

 

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On Simchas Torah and Shemini Atzeres, it’s time to push your culinary daring to the limits. Consider the fact that we’ve just come through Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkos, not to mention a Shabbos or two. Everyone at your table is thinking, “If I see one more potato kugel…” So have fun with the menu and try my simple recipes for Butternut Squash and Black Bean Stuffed Poblanos (a mild chili pepper) and Mexican Brisket, a fab twist on traditional recipes.


 

The Best Stuffed Peppers With Variations

 

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Present a tray of multi colored stuffed peppers for an easy holiday dish that will surely elicit oohs and aahs. I am going to give you a few variations on this recipe that’s ready in 40 minutes: from start to serve.

Colors: Don’t stress on the colors – it’s just for presentation. Of course a green bell pepper is not as sweet as yellow, orange and red but after that consideration buy what’s on sale, available or pleasing to your eye.


 

Yom Kippur Pre Fast Meal

 

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Just before Yom Kippur, it’s important to eat foods that make fasting easier – in fact it’s a mitzvah. First, you want to minimize salt and spices that may induce thirst. But that doesn’t mean the pre-Yom Kippur feast must be bland or boring. This menu is simple and satisfying and can mostly be made in advance.


 

Watch and Make Your Own Lemon Lovers Hummus

 

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I have already told you more than once that I’m a sucker for hummus, on EVERYTHING – my eggs, my salads, my burgers, my bagels, my gefilte, my roasted veg and my falafel, of course! Sometimes I schmear it, sometimes I dip it. Sometimes I serve it with tahini and schug, sometimes with za’atar chickpeas, and sometimes with roasted red peppers. But most always I serve it with a dusting of sumac or paprika, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of fresh torn parsley or coriander leaves.


 

A Simanim Inspired Rosh Hashanah Menu

 

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Simanim are so my thing. Now of course I know that on Rosh Hashanah they are everyone’s thing, but in addition to holding a Rosh Hashanah Seder where all the simanim make an appearance (even that fish head!)

I let them inspire my menu. This fish course features no less than 9 simanim (fish, honey, spinach, carrots, cabbage, pomegranate, apples, leeks and dates). I am nothing if not efficient. And all recipes are kissed with honey… well more than kissed. I call for generous measurements because why shouldn’t our cup runneth over with sweetness this new year?!


 

Brown Bag Lunch Ideas

 

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A while back I went looking for brown bags in Israel, not for lunches for a project that I can’t even recall now, and guess what?  I’m still looking.  So if anyone knows where I can find some just say so in the comments.  Maybe by then I’ll remember why I needed them.

But in terms of interesting “brown bag” lunch ideas for our linkup this month we always have dribs and drabs of leftovers in small little cute Snapwear containers in our fridge.  Not enough to feed the whole family for dinner (again) but just enough for one or two lucky customers.


 

The Best Way To Use Leftover Chicken

 

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My husband has this thing he’s always saying. Ready for it?

He’s always telling me to “eat the house”. It really drives me nutso. It just sounds so barbaric. When we were younger my sister always said “busted” when I was caught with my hand in the cookie jar. I always thought “busted” especially the way she delivered it sounded kind of truck driver-ish. And I pretty much thought nothing could annoy me more than her “busted”. Comes along hubby with “eat the house” and I almost forgot about “busted” until now.


 

DIY Cake Decorating

 

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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!


 

A Light Pasta To Break A Fast

 

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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.


 

Smoked Salmon Salad *Smokey Linkup*

 

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For those of you that have been paying attention you know we do monthly, theme based, recipe link ups with bloggers from around the world.  This month’s theme is smoky.  I decided to ditch the obvious BBQ direction in favor of a light summer salad featuring smoked salmon – that counts, right?!

I am going to breakdown the salad ingredients here and give you the “WHY” of each:


 

Fruit and Cheese Quesadillas

 

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It’s hot.  Like really, really, really hot.  I wouldn’t call the heat oppressive, because I simply don’t like that word when describing Israel but yeah, it is hot.  The summer heat brings with it this need to feel lighter.  This naturally sweet and savory recipe is a perfect summer treat when a heavy sandwich can feel, well, heavy.

My Blueberry and Cheese Quesadillas make for a lovely summer lunch.  Filled with blueberries, sliced peaches, goat cheese, red onion and thyme you can savor them warm or at room temp.   In Israel (or anywhere else for that matter) you can skip the blueberries and instead add sliced plums, strawberries or event pitted cherries.  I also like using soft whole wheat flour tortillas for this recipe.  We are actually now, after 10 years of marriage, making the switch to whole wheat (everything) in our home (YAY – only took me a decade to convince Hubby!).


 

Brisket Is Best When…

 

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…overcooked.  Really!  If you want that tender, soft, melt-in-your-mouth, fork tender, cuts like “butter” beef then brisket is your best friend, your baby, your #1.  Although in Israel it’s designated by the number #3 but that’s neither here nor there.  Most often we cookbook authors will end a brisket recipe with instructions to let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving.  But really, there is a better way to do that and so much more.  Listen very closely to what I am writing and you are reading here:  No matter what the recipe tells you, mine included brisket is best when…


 

Mexican Burgers

 

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Since moving to Israel I now eat hummus and tehina and schug with everything.  Everything.  My eggs, my salads, my burgers.  Growing up in the good ‘ol USA I loaded my burgers with the usual, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, plus lots of ketchup – nestled in the expected sesame bun sandwich.  One of the cool culinary perks of moving across the ocean is the exposure to a whole new world of flavors and food traditions.  I’ve become a lot more adventurous in the kitchen.  It goes without saying that regional foods have become staples but I am also exercising and opening up my palate in lots of new ways.


 

Morad Winery Fruit Wines and Liqueurs *Giveaway*

 

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Nestled at the foothills of Israel’s fertile Carmel Mountains Morad Winery is famous for their distinctive fruit wines and liqueurs made from nature’s harvest.