Quick & Kosher Cooking

 

3 Purim Seudah Menus with a Global Taste

 

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Dressing up in costume, eating triangular shaped cookies called hamantaschen, and delivering gift baskets to our friends are all significant parts of the Purim holiday. And although there is no religious significance, a lot of us tend to go all out and match everything—our entire family’s costumes, our gift baskets, and our menu—to a theme.

I’m guilty! Last year, I went Mediterranean-inspired and my whole family dressed the part and delivered the chummos and pita-chip packages you see on Perfect Ideas for Mishloach Manot.   Since we love themes so, I’ve got three themed menus for you—Asian, Spanish, and Italian menus for every course, from starters to dessert. Pick one or mix and match. If you’re really adventurous, make the entire menu and serve the recipes in small tasting party dishes, allowing your guests to straddle the globe as they walk from one side of your dining room to the other.
Whether you’re sporting a sombrero or a kimono this Purim, you’re sure to savor something out-of-this-world.


 

The Salad Course – 4 New Recipes *Giveaway*

 

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I’m big into salads. Super salads. Some people go crazy with dessert buffets, but I let out all my creativity in creating my signature salad course. And why not? Salad is always the first thing to go, and guests don’t feel guilty eating it (but they hate you when you make them taste all the desserts!).
Anything can be called a salad nowadays, and it doesn’t have to start with lettuce. This Purim, I’m including these four new favorites on my table. You’ll love ‘em and no one can accuse you of the same ‘ol salad tricks.

WARM FINGERLING POTATO SALAD
You don’t usually serve potato salad because it looks like mush, right? I agree, but here’s the solution! Potato salad goes upscale with this very elegant version. Fingerlings are small, funny-shaped potatoes, but still manage to look exquisite. They’re tasty and the skin is as soft and
delicious as the tender flesh.


 

5 Double Duty Party Hits

 

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Even if there are no appetizers left over (there probably won’t be!), make these dishes again and enjoy them for a weekday meal.

I love dishes that do double duty—served as either a weekday meal, or dressed up as an appetizer with just a little tweak. It’s easy as pie to get
these recipes to work for you in lots of ways…now I just need to figure out how to eat pie as an entrée. We’ll leave that for another time. For now, enjoy these party hits even when the party’s over.


 

The Best Miniature Foods

 

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They became trendy a few years back but I just can’t get over them.  Pulled short ribs, quite like the cupcake, have stolen my heart.  I especially like them slathered in BBQ sauce and piled high on a bun topped with avocado slices or crunchy cabbage salad or crispy fried onions.  As you can see I am quite discriminating.  These mini sliders make me feel better about myself… cause mini foods are perfectly portioned and as my Grandma “Ma” a”h always said… “everything in moderation.”  She was one smart, special, skinny lady.  Although her tastes were more homemade kishka for shabbos and less sliders for the superbowl.   I think she’d be proud that I am turning out food not just eating it.  And come game day I usually care slightly more about the spread than the score BUT now I can save some cals cause the game is on in the middle of the night in Israel.  Guess I’ll have the sliders for breakfast while I read about the highlights.

Get the recipe for Short Rib Sliders.


 

Hearty “Meat” Hummus

 

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So there are some things that I have never before seen in my life that are just so commonplace here.  “Meat” Hummus is one of those things.  Made with ground turkey, chicken or beef my cousin Bracha served it and we all loved it.  Then my sister-in-law Devorah got the recipe from Bracha and she served it and we all loved it again.  Then we were at our friends’ Mordechai and Sara’s for Shalosh Seudos and they spoke about it and we reminisced once more about our love for this new interesting little dish.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and probably again) that everything is better with hummus.  And hummus is great on it’s own — just had a few spoonfulls while standing and staring into the fridge trying to decide what to make for lunch.  You can make your own hummus with this easy Roasted Garlic Hummus, this easier classic Hummus, and this fancy-schmancy Tri Colored Hummus.


 

Get Your Chocolate Fix

 

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My brother-in-law was ordered by the doc to cut out both white sugar and white flour from his diet.  My sister-in-law, who just had a baby was all too happy to jump on the bandwagon.  It’s so hard to watch what you eat on your own, to feel like you’re the only on in your house committed to healthy living while your better half is eating potato chips in bed (of course I am not at all speaking from experience so don’t read into this).  But when both you and your spouse are on the same page and under doctors orders no less it makes it all that much easier.

So we go to their house one night for din din and she serves popcorn for dessert.  I was like WHAAAAT?  I’m sorry I hear the no sugar thing but you are not serving me something salty for dessert.  I have a sweet tooth that must be satisfied.  Now if you invite me over to your house don’t worry I won’t be so bold and so rude but this is my sis in law – we are super close and I was nice about it and just said – “come on Devorah, talk to me, can this salty snack really satisfy your sweet tooth”?  It’s nosh, it’s snack, no doubt, and I love popcorn but on that day, like so many others (unfortunately) I needed chocolate.  (When I am being careful about my diet I always use this Soy Cinnamon Hot Cocoa as an after dinner trick.)  So she pulls out the food processor and starts to make me/us (really me) Agave Chocolate Shots.  She came up with this to help her and Hubby’s bro when popcorn just won’t cut it.  She had no measurements of course (why would my fabulous sisters’ in law have any complete recipes for me?) so when I tasted it, and I loved it, and dipped my popcorn in it, and told her I would steal it for my site she was so thankful because that would mean I would have to re-test it and come up with exact measurements for all of us.  Each time she made it, it came out different and now I was here to save the day.  See so it wasn’t all bad – she scratched my back and I scratched hers.


 

One Skillet Dinners

 

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Cozy, No-Fuss Family Meals… In One Pan!

To me, there’s nothing worse than having to wash every pot and pan you own after preparing a terrific meal. Give me a good one pan recipe, and I’m your BFF! These five savory recipes were designed to serve four hearty portions using only your average kitchen staple—a 12-inch skillet. Now here’s my little secret: I am the proud, doting owner of an extra-large 13½- x 3-inch (6-quart) sauté pan. This oversized darlin’ allows me to double these recipes so I can serve family and guests in half the time. One great pan = one great meal. Who needs the extra clean-up?


 

The Search For Chinese Food In Israel

 

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I have favorites just like everyone else — when it comes to food its avocados, caviar, cheese and dark chocolate.  When it comes to cooking I love roasting veggies, braising a brisket and frying just about anything.  5 building block ingredients I can’t live without are (Kosher) salt, (fresh cracked) black pepper, (good-quality) extra virgin olive oil and lots of onions and garlic.  Israeli fast food speaks to my soul.  I think everything is better with chummus, and amba, and wrapped in a laffa.  And all-in-all I have enjoyed great culinary satisfaction (my oven notwithstanding) in this country these past few months.

smoky chicken and sausage stew

Stir Fry


 

Zucchini Latkes with Tzatziki

 

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My recent obsession with zucchini knows NO bounds.  I make the Zucchini Spaghetti from the summer issue of the magazine almost weekly.  And for lunch, when I am in a rush (which I always am) I just julienne some Zucchini, quickly sauté it and top it with a little marinara and grated Parm.  It’s not unheard of that both my lunch and dinner, on any given day, feature this member of the squash family that looks like a cucumber’s cousin.

The infatuation all started with my commitment to eat right (zucchini is a “free” veg on most healthy eating plans) and my handheld julienne peeler.  I cried when we had to part ways for 6 weeks when I moved to Israel, Hubby put it on the lift, I wanted to bring it in my makeup case.


 

My (Not So) Tiny Gift of Life – Chanukah...

 

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The best Chanukah Gift I ever received weighed exactly 9 pounds, 7 ounces, and was 22 inches long. That was three years ago, when my son was born on the fifth night. We named him Avraham Yitzchak after both of my grandfathers, two strong, warm human beings—and both exceptional chefs! AY’s Chanukah/ first haircut/ Birthday Party will include festive delights that are kid-friendly, yet so elegant even my gourmet grandfathers would be impressed!

Join our family celebration with this Chanukah menu:


 

Savory & Fried – 4 Hanukkah Recipes ...

 

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It’s that time of year when deep frying is practically a mitzvah! So even if you usually avoid deep-fried foods, I say go with the flow and embrace the customs of the holiday.  You’ve got eight guilt-free nights to savor these sizzling delights—it would almost be a sin not to.

Caraway Noodle Pancake

Caraway Noodle Cakes with Red Cabbage


 

My Favorite Stuffing Recipes

 

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So I never heard of stuffing being called dressing until I met my mom-in law.  Granted I never cooked till then either.  Mom-in-law differentiates the two by explaining that stuffing is cooked in the bird and dressing on the side.  Further research (read google) shows that Joy of Cooking (with whom Joy of Kosher is NOT affiliated) confirms her definition but The Food Lover’s Companion, one of America’s best-selling culinary reference books, uses the terms interchangeably.  So being the peacemaker that I am, I like to satisfy both opinions by cooking my stuffing/dressing in the bird and extra dressing/stuffing in a casserole dish, on the side. Truth be told I do this more so I can load it up with tons of mushrooms, which Hubby and the kiddies don’t like.  Well at least we can all agree that we love the Thanksgiving meal, mushrooms notwithstanding.

You know it so happens that I am both genetically predisposed to my affinity for Turkey day and married into it.  On the DNA side, my immigrant mother loves Thanksgiving so much that when she was due with my sister within days of the big Thursday she insisted my grandparents make her the entire meal, earlier in the month, just in case.  Well who were they to argue with a lady in her 3rd trimester.  So they dutifully prepared the full on Thanksgiving spread for her.  My dear sister didn’t show up until the end of December (someone, somewhere calculated wrong… momma vehemently denies planning this) so in 1980 my mom had the special zchus of enjoying 2 Thanksgiving meals.  My immigrant grandparents really made the best Thanksgiving food I have ever had in my life.  And you know I have eaten my way around this world.  They completely embraced American culture and customs and had the added benefit of being born intuitively knowing how to cook.  I so desperately miss their food, their table, their gravy!!!!  And they ALWAYS had mushrooms in their stuffing.


 

Turkey Day in the Holy Land *Giveaway*

 

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My friend Rachel, a new oleh from Jersey, having made aliyah just weeks before us, emailed me with an idea.  She’s one of those types, so many great ideas, so little time.  Anyhoo Rachey emails me and writes, and I quote: “I have a project idea for you that I think would work NEXT year, but would be a great PR opportunity, which is “A Jamie Geller Thanksgiving” in Israel, for Americans living here. Think about it. Lots of Americans make Thanksgiving dinner just for fun.”

And I wonder why after all this time people don’t get that I want OUT of the kitchen.  I politely email Rachel back – as politely as one can type “there is no way in this world or any other that I want to turn myself into a caterer.”


 

My Soy Cinnamon Hot Cocoa Trick

 

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I have been stressed (did you read about my oven?).  And unfortunately I don’t have the gift of losing my appetite under such situations.  I just want to eat.  First savory then sweet, then savory again then back to sweet, you know the game I’m sure.  Between the holidays, the move and all the changes I have definitely gained a few unwanted pounds, in more than a few unwanted places.  I am really bummed about it but am trying to focus on bringing my life back under control this month including my eating.

A little trick I use is this hot cocoa.  When I want something sweet and need to tell my body “we are done eating” and it’s time to “stop and step away from the refrigerator” – I have always found this filling hot drink is my friend.


 

DIY – Make Your Own Greek Yogurt *Giveaway*

 

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Because we are new olim, Hubby started going to Ulpan. As you probably know, that’s a crash course in spoken Hebrew, but the immediate payoff is a circle of friends – people who are as clueless as you are about how to say in perfect Hebrew, “I think I’m on the wrong bus and I don’t want to go to Solomon’s Mines.”  At least, you’re supposed to learn how to say this fast enough to get off before the bus hurtles into the Negev.

A true Israeli, the Ulpan teacher has a habit of introducing inexplicable grammar rules with the preface “This is how it is; if you don’t like it, start a revolution.” Now of course this all goes down in Hebrew but the word for revolution she uses is “revolutzia.” That’s not one of my classic vocab words from 6th grade Hebrew class, but I love the sound of it.