Quick & Kosher Cooking

 

Comfort Food – Chinese Style!

 

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Is there any cuisine more traditionally American-Jewish than Chinese food? American Jews have embraced far eastern foods to such an extent that it seems just as natural to run to the Chinese takeout as the kosher deli. Once considered an exotic and rare alternative, today most cities with a significant Jewish population can boast at least one Chinese restaurant.

And why not? I, for one, was born with a penchant for Chinese food. There’s a reason, of course. Legend has it that when my mother was expecting me she had a crazy craving for Chinese food and my father would take her out to the Chinese place every night! It was my favorite food until I was 5; even after I was introduced to other cuisines it remained one of my childhood comfort foods.


 

Light Version of a Deli Roll

 

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Just like the color black, the classic shoe and cashmere – deli meat never goes out of style. Add mustard (or mayo, depending on your preference) and the deli craving is satisfied whether you go with rye or go bun-less.

To the best of my knowledge, the traditional deli roll is only traditional in a kosher kitchen, sort of like gefilte fish. G-d bless the balabusta who invented this little bit of heaven: take a bite of the layered deli meat rolled in flaky, savory puff pastry with a shmear of mustard – and you’ll know what I mean.


 

Fun Ethnic Recipes to Make with Your Kids

 

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Know what I love? I love that my kids love to cook. They love their personalized aprons; they beg to peel a potato. I met my first peeler at age 25, and that’s not even a joke.

They love the process — and the results too. They are so proud when they pass their own homemade dish around the table with their soft little round hands. And I admit to being a real kitchen stage mother. When everyone takes a bite and goes “ooh, yummy!” I’m not sure whose heart is fuller at that moment.


 

7 Recipes for Cooking with Mushrooms

 

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I love mushrooms. Really, I do.
And Hubby hates them. He really does.
And the kids are split.
I am working on them.

Mushrooms are a delicacy, I tell them, especially when prepared the right way. My grandfather, a”h, was an outstanding chef and he really knew what to do with a mushroom. Unfortunately, he passed away before I could learn the recipes for his mushroom masterpieces.


 

The Indulgence of Grilled Cheese

 

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So we were snowed in during the first blizzard of the season here in Rockland County, New York. I have to confess that when I see snow piling up like that, I’m suddenly ten years old again. Something inside me goes, “Gotta get out there!” So I got bundled up with my kiddies and we all went out together. We ran around, reveling in the joy of the first snow, making snow angels, building a snowman and ruining the pristine white blanket of snow with our bold boot tracks. We braved the wind and trekked all over – laughed, got cold, got wet and came inside giggling uncontrollably.

In the kitchen, I turned back into a Mommy and served up hot cocoa with whipped cream and grilled cheese for lunch. We love to see that gooey cheese ooze out when you cut the sandwiches in half. It’s so warm and comforting. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more, the kids or me.


 

A Shortcut for All-American Apple Pie

 

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Is there anything more quintessentially American than apple pie? Somehow it’s the perfect dessert, whether you serve it Thanksgiving, on the Fourth of July or anytime else.

My wonderful mother, who is clever in everything but cooking, used to make up for that little deficiency by cornering the market in organic frozen foods. And she knew how to make the most of them. She would bring home little individual apple pies, and we kids would heat them, unashamedly salivating as we pulled the flaky delicacy out of the oven. It was always piping hot, sweet and cinnamon-y. Just the thought of it takes me home.


 

December is Comfort Food Month

 

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In our world, I have inaugurated December as Comfort Food Month. The cold weather and my cravings have dictated this official announcement but you know I can’t do anything without a twist, not even comfort food.

The more I thought about standard comfort foods — apple pie, mac & cheese, tuna casserole, Chinese takeout – the louder my mental calorie alert sounded! Code red! Too much comfort food cannot be a good thing! So throughout December, I’m going to be giving you both traditional takes and lighter versions of those recipes, so you can indulge in authentic comfort foods just the way they were meant to be enjoyed and also have the option to enjoy the same classic tastes without the same classic calories. All the recipes will be Quick & Kosher and absolutely delicious, of course, but you’ll also have no-guilt options to grace your table, not your hips. Although guilt really has no place in my kitchen and shouldn’t in yours either.


 

Sweet Shabbos Side – Roasted Sweet Potatoes...

 

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Shabbos sides are typically loaded with fat and calories, which is what makes them so yummy, of course.  And we indulge, trying to forget about the guilt this one day of the week.  I’ve even heard people rationalize that since our tradition teaches that every Jew is given a second soul (neshamah yeserah) on Shabbos – presumably to absorb the holiness of the day – it’s ok eat double portions.  After all, we’re eating for two!  Some go so far as to say that the second soul even takes the extra weight away with it as it departs this world.

Somehow, my bathroom scale doesn’t agree.  So the ideal Shabbos side, as far as I’m concerned, is something sweet and luscious, very special for Shabbos, but not loaded with sugar or couched in a pie shell or puff pastry.  Folks, I now present you with the recipe that meets all my criteria and more!


 

Jamie Geller’s 8 Tips for a Fabulous Fall Picnic

 

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Beautiful autumn days are great for hiking, apple picking, visits to the pumpkin patch, and drives in heavily wooded areas to appreciate the magnificent colors of the fall foliage.  It’s the ideal time for a picnic lunch – so do it right!

Here are my 8 Tips for a Fabulous Fall Picnic!


 

Baked Sweet Potato Latkes and Gingered Sour Cream

 

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Contributed by: Quick & Kosher, JAMIE GELLER

Prep: 10 min
Total: 30 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings (16 latkes)


 

South of the Border Latkes with Black Bean Topping

 

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Contributed by: Quick & Kosher, JAMIE GELLER

For Black Bean Topping


 

Samosa Latkes

 

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Contributed by: Quick & Kosher, JAMIE GELLER

Prep: 10 min
Total: 40 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings (16 latkes)


 

Kosher Chilled Salmon with Dijon Dipping Sauce...

 

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Chilled Salmon with Dijon Dipping Sauce

Contributed by: Quick & Kosher, JAMIE GELLER

This dish comes from my good friend Anita. It’s part her invention, part adaptation from Spice and Spirit, the fabulous Lubavitch Women’s Cookbook by Esther Blau, Tzirrel Deitsch and Cherna Light.


 

Root Vegetables: 12 Fabulous Fall Recipes

 

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Today’s star veggies will take us back to the roots of good nutrition.  “Root vegetables” are simply the roots of plants that grow into the ground from the base of the plant stem.  They include potato, sunchoke, yam, beet, carrot, cassava, jicama (also called Mexican turnip, a cousin of the sweet potato), parsnip, radish, rutabaga, turnip, sweet potato, yucca, celeriac, water chestnuts, ginger, garlic, onion, and shallot.

Funny thing about these humble-looking vegetables: historically they were not considered appetizing enough for noble folk.  Only the poor, who would literally dig them out of the ground after other plants were harvested, would eat them.  Like most other things previously considered lower class – like sunshine, exercise, drinking plain water, and eating whole grain bread – we’ve come full circle to view them as the ingredients of a healthy lifestyle!


 

Quick & Kosher Cooking in Season: Autumn...

 

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Like many of you, dear readers, we took our family apple picking on Chol Hamoed Sukkos.  In fact, I’ve become quite the authority on family-friendly orchards in Rockland county.  We went to a special one called The Orchards of Concklin that also had a great number of blow up bouncy toys perfect for my kids’ ages.  Last year’s orchard experience was a bit different – no apple connoisseurs mingling with the natives at this farm.

But like last year, I find myself with a few too many apples.  So the question is how many apple recipes can one family eat?  Last year, I posted my recipe for yummy candy apples.  You can’t go wrong with that.  I plan to make them tonight with the kids when they get home from school.  It really makes you feel like Mom of the Year when you do something like that with the kiddies.  Maybe, like me, you happen to have a ton of apples on hand.