Quick & Kosher Cooking

 

Spiced Chicken with Lentil Soup

 

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Slightly spicy, with a hint of sweetness from cinnamon and sweet potatoes, this Spiced Chicken and Lentil Soup is a hearty meal in one – especially when you add garlic toast. I learned the trick of rubbing cloves of garlic on hot toast from, Giada. Must be how they do it in Italy.

Back home in Philly, I used to watch my grandfather from Transylvania eat whole garlic cloves, with a glass of milk to wash it down. Grandpa lived to 96, in addition to the grace of G-d we credit garlic. The next generation in our family tempered the garlic tradition by substituting fresh sliced garlic on toast, drizzling it with olive oil and salt (or butter instead of olive oil). I remember my dad buttering his bread with a layer so thick it held the garlic like glue.


 

Italian Vegetable Soup with Cheese Bread

 

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Imagine it’s a cold winter night. At least I have to imagine, ‘cuz here in NY it’s a ridiculous 60+ degrees, people are sauntering outside in T-shirts, and I’m shvitzing in my black turtleneck sweater. (It’s the only thing that fits since I had the baby. I was really counting on cold weather.) Ok, so let’s imagine that there’s frost on the windowpane and that Hubby just built a cozy fire in the fireplace. (As long as I’m imagining, let’s really go for it.)

Since we’re pretending, we might as well cook up a hearty winter meal. Italian Vegetable Soup (spiked with orzo and pesto) and served with cheese bread is the perfect tomato-ey comfort food for a cold winter’s eve, and even for an annoyingly warm November day. Soup is one of my favorite foods, and the Italian Veggie soup is what I fix when I’m “watching” what I eat: that’s when I hold the orzo and the cheese bread. To tell the truth, since I had a baby so recently, I’m not really watching – just closing my eyes and savoring. I think “watching” should wait a while, till I’m back to normal. Let’s say, four or five years.


 

Balsamic London Broil with Roasted Onions

 

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Tamar asked me for more roasts that she can use when planning our JoK Shabbat menus. I had the brilliant idea to give her a brisket for every day of the week, but apparently we already have that, so I was forced to go out of my comfort zone. Fanfare, please: I now present you with Balsamic London Broil.

So what part of the cow is “London broil?” Technically, it’s not a cut of meat, but a method of preparing it by marinating it and then pan-frying (or broiling) it to medium rare. Wanna hear a good one? “London broil” is unknown in England. It was devised by Americans to tenderize flank steak, a meat that is normally quite tough; it morphed into “London broil” as a “cut” in butcher shops later on. True flank steak is from the wrong part of the cow for kosher consumers, but our kosher butchers cheerfully label just about any cut of meat that is lean (and not naturally tender) as “London broil.” So don’t ask what part of the cow it comes from. The answers will only confuse you. Suffice it to say that you can take this relatively inexpensive meat and give it the royal treatment.


 

Pick a Pumpkin Recipe Winner!!

 

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Finally, after much, difficulty, could even call it agony – and I am not exaggerating – we have our 2 nominees. The pumpkin recipes submitted this month were beyond amazing, creative, and diverse. I kept saying to myself, “This month we can’t pick just two finalists. Maybe we need to to change the rules so we can have more finalists.” I couldn’t even choose which recipes to make.

I almost had a fight with Tamar over our first finalist’s recipe – Melinda’s Pumpkin Fritters. I had a gut feeling they would be delish and I wanted to make them, but Tamar chose them before I could! Then I was hoping she wouldn’t have time to make them before her trip to Italy, but alas, she did and she loved them as much as I knew I would. She loved ‘em, her kids loved ‘em, and she was barely able to put one away for her hubby.


 

Beer Braised Brisket

 

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OK, let’s have a show of hands. How many of you have ever cooked a fantastic, expensive cut of meat to perfection, then watched helplessly as it overcooked when you reheated it? You splurged on a beauty – probably for Shabbos or Yom Tov – and now you have a leathery, unappetizing chunk.

I’ll be the first to admit it has happened to me, and more than once. And that’s why brisket is my favorite cut! You can’t mess up when you braise a brisket. A top of the rib roast is equally foolproof, just treat it like a brisket and the meat will become softer the longer you cook it.


 

Pumpkin Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and...

 

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Just because I love pumpkins,
and because I love you, dear readers,
and because there can never be too many pumpkin recipes in this world,
and because I am in a sweet mood,
here’s another perfectly pumpkin treat:
Pumpkin Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

If I were Maria, my Sound of Music moment would go a little something like this:


 

Eight Great Recipes for Thanksgiving

 

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So turkey day is almost here. Ain’t such a big deal for kosher cooks – after all, we’re used to cooking 130 feasts per year, when you combine holidays and Shabbos. So what’s one more? Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving in your family, the flavors are classically fall. In my life, turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie don’t have to be reserved for the last Thursday of November, with football playing in the background.

Cranberry Mustard Sauce


 

Thank You for Your Support

 

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There’s something about the Thanksgiving season that stimulates a reflex: we start to enumerate our blessings. I have an incredible list of personal thanks to G-d for all that I have. And as I write to you now, I feel so thankful for the JoK family we have built here together. Every person who visits this site deserves credit for building this family. As in every family, each person is different, each has a different voice. Every recipe and every comment you bring makes us stronger, for you offer your unique perspective, opinion, kitchen tip or words of encouragement. With G-d’s help, we have created this kosher cooking kitchen universe together and I am so appreciative.

It’s important that this virtual kitchen we’ve built together has all the bells and whistles of your dream kitchen, and that requires solid communication lines. So for your last chance to win a free turkey let us know in the comments below what you want to see more of, what you like, what you want, what you wish we had, what you’d like us to feature. The sky is the limit, my friends. Give us your ideas about the site’s functionality, recipes, topics we cover… anything that you want to see on JoK.com in the coming year, anything you want us to expand. We are here and we hear you. Please also add a note to let us know if you have bought my latest book, Quick & Kosher Meals in Minutes, and/or subscribed to “Joy of Kosher” magazine. Please be assured that our winners are picked at random and purchase is absolutely NOT required to be eligible to win. It just makes us feel good to know that you want to support this enterprise, and we hope it will encourage others to support us as well.


 

Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Whipped Cream

 

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The trees don’t have to be all shades of orange, yellow, and red for me to crave pumpkin pie. After I graduated high school, my family moved to hot, humid Miami. I dreamed of returning north and consoled myself all summer by eating loads of pumpkin pies, like it was my job.

Yes, I freely admit my love of food. It seems that my standards of food categories and portion size are not exactly like everyone else’s; and that point was brought home to me by my agent who is working with me on a proposal for my next cookbook. I was considering including a pastrami-layered potato kugel, and I put it into the chapter on side dishes. She took one look at it and said, “Jamie, you misplaced this recipe. It should go into the chapter on mains.” It was an “aha!” moment. Hubby and I got a good kick out of it. “Oh, so that’s our problem? Eating ‘mains’ as ‘sides’!” And too many pies.


 

Win a Mauviel Wok!! $341 Value!

 

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Do you want to have a chance to win this phenomenal wok? It will certainly add class to your kitchen!

Jamie’s newest cookbook is on sale for a great price, and everyone who purchases it this week will be entered to win this Wok from Mauviel, plus a One Year Subscription to the Joy of Kosher Magazine with Jamie Geller. How can you pass this up?!


 

Sweet Potato Casserole

 

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I’ve been kvetching a lot about Hubby’s turkey day favorites. And yes, I dutifully plan to recreate all of his childhood memories, even serving up his beloved jellied cranberry sauce from a can. But at my house, the feast was quite different. I’m not saying superior. I’m just saying different.

Back home, my gourmet chef grandparents made the most exquisite Thanksgiving meal – with a strong focus on turkey stuffing and gravy. Everything in the stuffing was finely minced by hand and it was loaded with onions and mushrooms. Absolutely superb! (Um, guess who doesn’t like mushrooms.) Though we were gathered for a real American feast, there was no cornbread, and no sweet potato or green bean casseroles. They were dedicated citizens, but those were lines these immigrant cooks wouldn’t cross. And it would never occur to them to bake with marshmallows. It took my very American aunt –who had married into the family – to bring the pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Without her, we would have missed out on that quintessentially American dessert in favor of a Hungarian cake with an unpronounceable name.


 

Chive Biscuits

 

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Not sure if this happens only in my house, but Hubby really wants certain things exactly the way he grew up with them. His mother always served dinner rolls with Thanksgiving dinner. I want biscuits.

In marriage, compromise is everything. I will buy him his dinner rolls, since that’s what his mom did anyway, and I’ll bake my biscuits. This year, I’ll add chives to the biscuits. Hubby hates chives. But I can go wild: he’s not eating them anyway. Biscuits with chives for me, dinner rolls for Hubby and the kids. (Ever notice that baked goods with green things are more suited to the adult palate?) I know my mom-in-law will try them and she will love them because that’s how good a mom-in-law she is. As far as she’s concerned, everything I make is delicious, and it doesn’t matter that I’ve deviated from her tradition. Now if I could only get Hubby on board…


 

Cranberry Mustard Sauce

 

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OK – so I said I was going traditional this Thanksgiving. Here’s tradition with a hint of mustard. Cranberry Mustard Sauce is often served with the other white meat, a four-letter word that starts with P that shall not be referenced on a kosher site. But it’s also great with chicken and salmon, so I figured hey, how about with turkey?

I did a mix of cranberries and blueberries, and a mix of grainy and Dijon mustards, then added a nice helping of sugar to help the medicine go down. The sweetness of the blueberries, boosted by the sugar, cut the tartness in the cranberries. Voila – a full-flavored sauce with just a slight mustardy tang.


 

Black Pepper Gravy

 

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Question: How can you make delicious gravy without pan drippings? Answer: Black Pepper Gravy.

In place of pan drippings, use margarine, chicken stock and white wine for flavor, and add flour to thicken. It’s as simple as that. Oh yeah, of course, add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. What’s important here is the technique: you are whisking the entire time. That constant motion incorporates each ingredient and layer of flavor and helps prevent lumps, giving your gravy a nice, smooth consistency. As far as thickness goes, the longer you simmer it, the thicker it will get. You can also always add a little broth to thin it out, if you went a little overboard with your simmering.


 

Skillet Cornbread with Dried Cranberries and Sage

 

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I went super traditional with my Thanksgiving menu this year. Yeah, I took some twists and turns with the Southwestern Turkey and Green Chile Stuffing, but the rest of the menu is classic. Really. And it’s quick too, because you’ve got enough to juggle that day.

A slice of warm cornbread, dripping with butter (or margarine), is one of life’s indescribable pleasures. Corn muffins, corn bread, cornmeal cakes — I adore them all! In this Skillet Cornbread, the dried cranberries and sage complement each other like Fred & Ginger; Shrek & Fiona; Fred & Wilma, you get it I’m sure. Leave ‘em in if this sounds good to you (and, believe me, it’s not just good – it’s great!) Leave ‘em out if you want a more traditional, no frills, classic cornbread.