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Brunch with An Asian Kick

 

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Curry, Caramel, Coconut and Chocolate Tart *Dear...

 

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Chocolate together with smoked chiles?  Chinese five spice?  Curry???  Well, yes, yes and yes!  But before we plunge into flavor adventures, let’s back up a bit.

As you know, there’s nothing else like chocolate.  It is great in both sweet and savory applications; it can be melted, chopped, grated and pulverized into nibs and powder for a multitude of uses; it can be used straight up and intense or blended with sugar and milk for a lighter taste.  And best of all, its deep, universally-loved essence blends beautifully with so many other flavors, each enhancing the other.


 

Wild Rice Recipes

 

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Wild Rice is actually the seed of a grass plant. The plant grows in shallow lakes and slow moving streams. Wild rice is native to America and China and is a staple of Ojibwa Native Americans.  Wild rice is endangered in many areas due to loss of habitat and it varies a lot in quality. The term wild does not accurately describe the growing environment and much of the rice we buy is cultivated and mechanically harvested.  True wild rice is river grown and hand harvested.

The perennial plants produce delicious and fragrant seeds each year. The seeds are very fragile and are susceptible to shattering which drives the price of the seeds up, that is why true wild rice is expensive, full flavored and elegant, but worth out.  Seek out a sustainable true wild rice that is hand harvested and you will be rewarded with a delicious and nutritious side dish. It is high in protein and dietary fiber so that is an added bonus.


 

Nominate Your Favorites – 2013 Best of...

 

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We’re Back.  We love to hear from you and learn about new and not so new chefs, wines, products, blogs etc.  Nominate yourself, nominate your friends and nominate your favorites.  The third annual  Best of Kosher awards are here!!!

This year we have a few changes including fun prizes to giveaway to all of you.


 

Gluten Free and Celebrating With a Potato Bar

 

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It’s that time of year, at least for me, Graduation. My 21-year-old daughter is graduating from college this month and starting graduate school next month! Time flies. I remember when she was born with that full head of brown hair, her first day of preschool, her siddur party and so many wonderful milestones. I also remember the countless stomachaches, the visits to the pediatrician, the numerous phone calls from school, informing me that my daughter is once again not feeling well. It took years for my daughter to be diagnosed with gluten intolerance.

It happened by chance one morning at the gym. I was exercising and this famous actress was on tv explaining her newly diagnosed health issue. As I was listening I remember thinking, she is describing my daughter, stomach as hard as a rock, always looking 3-months pregnant, constant undiagnosed stomach pains, fatigue and more. She then went on to explain her gluten allergy. That evening when my daughter came home from high school, (yes, high school, it took us that long to recognize her condition) I told her about the show and we decided she needs to get off gluten (granted we never even heard of this before).


 

The Best Chicken Liver Recipes

 

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Once upon a time…. and it wasn’t that long ago either, we had to grill and kosher liver at home. Today, thank goodness, we can order it form some butchers grilled and already koshered for us.

I remember my mother having to kosher her own meat. I can still see those koshering racks, chunks of salt and lumps of ‘something’ floating about in aluminum buckets under our kitchen table, but come dinnertime, thank goodness, it had miraculously evolved into a magnificent roast.


 

Eggplant 101 – Cooking and Freezing

 

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Over the summer, I had an opportunity to try different dishes at several new restaurants around the area. I was surprised at the many ways that eggplant can be prepared.  Once my children married, B”H, and left the nest, I am the only one in my family who will eat eggplant parmesan.  I didn’t want to bake it, then waste it since I couldn’t possible eat it all by myself in one meal!  I also didn’t want to eat it day after day.  So for all of you “empty nesters” who try not to overcook, here is my method for eating what you enjoy when you want to have it and not waste a morsel of it!

I bake it in 9 X 13 pan.  Afterwards, I divide it up into individual portions and flash freeze them in my Tupperware Freezermates container.  I layer it on parchment paper in the container for easier removal.  Anytime I would like to eat it for a Dairy meal, all I need to do is pop one portion out for myself, while making something else for my husband.  Both of us are happy and I do not waste any food.  These days, I use this method for many other recipes where I don’t miss out on favorites when there is no one else who will share it with me.


 

Family Game Night Menu

 

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It has been a really cold Winter so far and Winter hasn’t even started yet.  A friend told me that she heard this is going to be the snowiest winter in years and I can’t even begin to guess what the Jerusalem snow storm is supposed to tell us.  The lesson I am choosing to glean is to start planning some fun nights in.

Even without snow, when it starts to get really cold, people just want to cuddle up in their pajamas and stay warm.  That doesn’t mean the fun has to stop, instead, it is time to host a game night!!  Get the kids or your friends together and enjoy your winter at home.  You have to work a bit to prepare some fun food, but we will keep it easy so you don’t miss out on any of the action.


 

Comfort Me With White Bean Stew *Link Up*

 

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Years ago I made a random white bean side dish that I left on the hot plate to stay warm for Shabbat dinner.  When I was ready to serve the dish the liquid had mostly evaporated and I feared a disaster in front of a table full of hungry guests.  Turned out to be the best dish on the table.  I love happy accidents, they lead to the best recipes.

This recipe is  perfect on a cold winter night when all you want is something hot, soothing and full of flavor, this concentrated bean stew totally does the trick.   The secret is the sun-dried tomatoes.  The longer they sit the more they infuse the stew with a salty, umami rich flavor you will want to savor. And let’s face it, we can all use a bit of sun in December.


 

Comfort Comes In Many Forms

 

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In the Winter time no matter what the weather, we all enjoy some comfort.  So many foods make me feel comforted, whether for the memories associated or the flavors they provide, here are my favorite comforting foods.  What are yours?

SWEET:


 

Have You Got The X Factor?

 

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Have you got the cooking X factor?

One of my guests who participated in my cooking tour recently complained, “I get frustrated to invest so much time in cooking when the food is gone so quickly.” Can you imagine what I answered?


 

New Recipes Using Homemade Dried Falafel Mix

 

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It really doesn’t get any better than homemade falafel fresh out of the oil! But making falafel can be a bit of a pain and I find myself wanting to just go out and buy falafel or use that boxed mix to make them at home. Instead of using that sodium-filled falafel mix from a box, I’ve created my own easy recipe for homemade dried falafel mix using garbanzo bean flour. The falafel mix is filled with the flavors of cumin, parsley, paprika, garlic, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder and it tastes good on just about anything.

Falafel-Crusted Chicken with Tahini Sauce


 

Spread The Joy with Masbia and Get Cookbooks and...

 

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Masbia is a non profit soup kitchen and food pantry located in New York.  They have four locations around Brooklyn and Queens and work daily to bring hot, nutritious meals for hundreds of people in need.  Masbia works to not only feed the hungry, but to provide free, wholesome, and delicious meals for people in a restaurant-style environment, with volunteer waiters serving each person with respect and dignity.


 

A Hot Winter Drink From The Middle East

 

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The first time I encountered saklep (also known as sachlav, sahlab, sachlab, salep and several more) was about 15 years ago visiting Israel during my school break.  My boyfriend was studying abroad in Jerusalem at Hebrew University and I was visiting for a week.  We spent the entire week eating our way through Israel (not much has changed, I was a foodie even then).  I remember my first kosher Kentucky Fried Chicken and kosher McDonald’s plus hidden gems like The Waffle Lady, who would hand out hot Belgian waffles from a storefront in Jerusalem that was the size of a walk-in closet.  But one of my most interesting food experiences that trip was discovering a hole in the wall in the Old City on a cold February afternoon where I ordered a hot Saklep.  It was a memory I will never forget.  Aromatic and soothing and filling with texture and a rich creaminess that I can still picture 15 years later.


 

8 Different Ways to Cook Carrots

 

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Eh, What’s Up Doc?

Carrots are an under valued vegetable.   They are pretty much staples in most homes, everyone seems to have a bag of baby carrots in their fridge and they are an excellent, crunchy and healthy anytime snack.  They are high in Vitamin A and have a sweet taste most people enjoy.  Still, I never think of serving them as a side dish.  I use them in soup and I pack them in lunches, but I rarely serve them for dinner.