Holidays

 

Best Recipes for Shabbat Lunch

 

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The Shabbos lunch menu must feature make-ahead dishes that can withstand the oven-to-fridge-to-hot-plate-to-table cycle with leftovers returning right back to that revolving refrigerator door. Follows are a few of my secrets to Shabbos lunch success.

First thing’s first, the first course. I sometimes serve a bang it out starter akin to the last supper. You’d think that I think that we’re never gonna eat again. But I feel the first course is the most Shabbos lunch friendly and when done right allows to you to satiate the hungry humans around your table and simplify the main – which by all accounts is certainly the trickier of the two.


 

Why Are There Two Months of Adar and What is Purim...

 

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The Hebrew calendar allows us to track the Jewish year. Without that, we would not be able to celebrate the Jewish holidays at their correct time.

Unlike the other calendars in existence today, the Jewish calendar goes according to the moon. Once a month at Rosh Chodesh as the new moon appears, we restart counting the days in the month. The decision when to begin the new month used to be based upon the testimony of witnesses verifying they had seen the new moon in the sky. The Beis Din would light fires on mountains informing the people of the new moon. After a while the Sadducees began to light fake fires on mountains to confuse people and stop the information flowing from city to city. That is when they created a fixed calendar that we still use today.


 

A Healthy and Sweet Tu B’shvat Treat

 

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I grew up in a ‘healthy’ house. What is a ‘healthy’ house, you may ask? Well, my mother, a former nurse, believed that we were only to put food that was good for our body into our mouths. There was never candy or junk food to be found in our home. There was no sugar cereal in the cupboards. There was no soda or juice in the fridge.

If we were thirsty, we drank the same liquid we used to wash our hands with, bathe in, wash our clothes and fill the dog’s bowl with: H2O from the tap. Despite all the limitations on what we could eat, my mother was a good cook.


 

Favorite Tu B’Shevat Recipes

 

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This year Tu B’Shevat, translated as the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, begins in the evening on Wednesday January 15, 2014 and ends in the evening on Thursday January 16th, 2014.  This “New Year for the Trees” holiday marks the beginning of the slow process when the trees begin blossoming and flowering with new life and new fruit.  In our home we find it especially meaningful to eat something from all of the Shiv’at HaMinim, seven species of the land of Israel – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates – that have a special significance in Judaism.

So now that you know what’s what, I’m sharing my favorite recipes featuring each of the seven species.


 

Gluten Free and Natural on Tu B’Shevat

 

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It is customary to celebrate Tu B’Shevat by eating the Seven Species of fruit and grains which are native to the land of Israel. When I think of Tu B’Shevat I think of slicing open a pomegranate, eating the seeds over Greek yogurt and drizzling it with honey for breakfast, while for dinner I’d imagine Moroccan chicken marinated and then baked in olives and prunes.

Tu B’Shevat is a special day not only for celebrating trees but also for celebrating everything the earth provides for us; all of our fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, wheat and barley, etc. Tu B’Shevat is a day to celebrate our health and maybe even re-evaluate our eating habits.  The perfect time to introduce new fruits and vegetables into our daily meals.  After all Tu B’Shevat is a new year, and on New Years we make new resolutions.


 

Tu B’Shevat Celebration Menu

 

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One week from now is the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, beginning the evening of January 15th.  For many years in my life this holiday went unnoticed.  Of course, I remember the celebrations in school with the hard to chew boxer that you either loved or hated and the annual planting of trees (I grew up in Florida, so we could plant this time of year and not freeze to death), but in the years between my being in school and having kids, I will admit I didn’t do much celebrating.  Now, I realize that there many ways we can go about celebrating this holiday, whether it be the smallest gesture of making a seven species granola (thanks for the great idea in the comments here) or going all out with a Tu B’shevat Seder.

Tu B’Shevat literally means the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat.  It is the birthday of the trees in Israel.  The day that the trees begin their new fruit bearing cycle.  So we celebrate by eating the fruits of the trees.  Really any fruit counts, but it is tradition to eat the kinds that are mentioned in the Torah when praising the bounty of Israel: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.  Some go even further and like to include the full seven species of Israel which adds wheat and barley to the fruits.   There are also many kabalistic rituals around this holiday which have become more popular recently and is the reason many people hold a seder, get a guide to making your own seder from Hazon, here.


 

Bourbon Pine Nut Baked Camembert

 

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Bourbon Pine Nut Baked Camembert Posted 01/05/2014 by Melinda Strauss
This fancy French dish is actually much easier to make than you think! With pre-made pastry or crescent dough, a wheel of Les Petite Fermieres camembert cheese and just a few ingredients mixed together in a bowl, you can create this beautiful show-stopping appetizer.

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Make Your House Smell Amazing With A Healthy Treat

 

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On many a cold winter New York mornings I would drop my then 2-year old son off at his play group to the smell of hot, homemade granola.  It was intoxicating.  Sweet and syrupy the power of suggestion was enough to make me demand that his teacher let me taste, just a little, for research purposes of course.  Teacher Rivky as she was known ran the play group out of her home and was all too happy to cater to my “research”.  She was such a giving person and always sent me on my way with a granola care package big enough to feed me and the growing baby in my belly.

I love the simplicity of the recipe and the fact that almost any substitution works.  Instead of raisins use dried cherries, cranberries or blueberries.  Instead of almonds try walnuts, pecans or peanuts.  If you have the palate of a pregnant woman you can just add all of the above.  Warning – don’t burn that precious palate of yours – wait at least 15 minutes for your granola to cool before taste testing, for research purposes of course.


 

DIY – Homemade Bubbly Cocktails

 

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This time of year sparkling wine and champagne are in high demand.   We love to toast with champagne and we love to mix it up too.   Light and fruity wine cocktails are the perfect complement to any celebration. When you have some bubbles, a bit of spice, and some succulent fruit, you can’t go wrong.

How to choose good wines to use in cocktails?


 

Non-Dairy Cronots

 

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With the holiday of Chanukah upon us, now is the perfect time to explore the world of the deep fried cronot.  Cronots are a cross between a croissant and a doughnut. This fusion dessert is actually perfect for the fusion holiday of Thanksgiving and Chanukah!  Fried foods are all the rage this holiday, stemming from the miracle of the menorah oil lasting eight days instead of one.  There is no better way in my humble opinion, to celebrate the miracle of oil than deep frying dough.  Cronots are  essentially made by taking buttery croissant dough, cutting it into a doughnut shape, and frying it instead of baking.  They look just like a traditional doughnut until you bite into one.  Cronots are crispy, light, tender, and flaky.  They rise from the yeast in the dough, as well as from the layers and layers of fat that has been rolled and folded into the dough.  When you cut it open, you can see the beautiful layers that were created from all the folding of the dough.

I have seen cronots cut in half and filled with all sorts of fillings including pastry cream and topped with glazes and powdered sugar.  I’m sure they would be delicious if filled with your favorite fruit jam or jelly.  I like to keep my cronots simple by  rolling them in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, while they are still warm from the fryer.  The cinnamon sugar gives this delicious pastry extra texture and sweetness.


 

Using Up Leftover Turkey

 

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There are some people who can eat turkey for days and they look forward to Thanksgiving every year just so that they can eat turkey sandwiches the rest of the week.  Then there are some people who enjoy the fresh turkey on Thanksgiving, but would rather not see it again until next Thanksgiving.  The only problem is you can’t seem to get a small turkey anywhere and of course if you have a big crowd you want to make sure you have enough.  With all the sides, some people’s favorite part of the meal, there is inevitably turkey leftover.

If you are in the camp of people looking for new ways to serve up your turkey, here are a few suggestions.


 

Happy Thanksgivukkah

 

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Enjoy this once in a lifetime event!! Have fun with your family and eat lots of Thanksgivukkah treats.   The Joy of Kosher team sends you best wishes for a Happy Hanukkah and a Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are.

In case you missed any of our Thanksgivukkah recipes and need some last minute ideas, here are our holiday favorites from this year and year’s past.


 

Choosing The Right Types of Oil

 

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Chanukah may be the holiday of olive oil, but take a trip down your grocery aisle, and you’ll see as many different oils as there are colours of Chanukah candles. What is the difference between all of them and how is one to choose?

There are two main categories of fats; saturated fat and unsaturated fat.


 

Hanukkah Desserts

 

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We all love more dessert recipes and our friends in Montreal really know how to do them right.  We showcased the Montreal Hebrew Academy Cookbook, And Then There Was Cake and shared a few recipes last month.  Now, we get to sample a few more special for Hanukkah.


 

A Magical Hanukkah with Zucchini Latkes

 

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We are approaching Hanukkah which is known to be the holiday of miracles. Have you ever thought that cooking and baking is a sort of a miracle?

Every time you take raw ingredients and turn them into a delicious food that make all your senses so happy and content, you create magic!