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Edible Holiday Gift Ideas

 

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I love presents! I love giving presents. I love figuring out the perfect present. I love seeing the smile on peoples face when they receive the present. Perhaps that is why I make giftware for a living!

It is truly better to give than to receive. And so whenever I am invited to be someone’s guest, I feel it is appropriate to show up with gift in hand. Living in a large, hospitable community I have ample opportunities to exercise my gift giving passion. But frequency comes with a price. And although I specialize in giftware, I am like the shoemaker whose children go shoeless. I rarely feel comfortable just giving my own creations.  So what is an appreciative guest to do?


 

A Brunch Hanukkah Party Menu

 

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We have shared tons of recipes for Hanukkah, new recipes for Thanksgivukkah and tons of Hanukkah menus and table ideas.  The other day, someone on facebook asked for menu ideas for a day time party.  She said they were having a family get together the Sunday after Thanksgiving and were going to be having lunch, what did we suggest.  I realized that we never shared a menu for people to use during the day.  Most people stay together for a Hanukkah party so they can light candles together, but that doesn’t work for everyone and some people need to get their kids home and to bed early (I remember those days).  Some people might even call everyone over for a lunch and then family can stay through to light candles and still get home for dinner.   So, let’s thank our Facebook friend for reminding me to share this menu.  My feeling is that most of the daytime parties will be on Sunday, which means brunch goes all day.  And since latkes are always in order, a brunch menu is perfect.  Latkes go so well with eggs and/or smoked salmon, the possibilities are endless.

Honestly, I can’t decide, so here are a couple options…


 

Day in Jerusalem – Hanukkagiving

 

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A new phrase has been “coined” this year “Thanksgivukkah” as a way of describing the rare occurrence of Hanukka and Thanksgiving falling out on the same weekend. Considering that Hanukka begins first and lasts longer, I have decided to refer to it as Hanukkagiving.  So you might think this would have been a great time to post about Volunteer Opportunities and ways to “give” but we took care of that last month in our post called Volunteer Tourism.  The Thanksgiving activities in Jerusalem are scarce and the days of Norman’s Thanksgiving Feast on Emek Refaim are long gone so to celebrate Thanksgiving, I recommend a nice family turkey dinner at home.

Let’s focus on some unique ways to celebrate Hanukkah in Jerusalem.


 

Thanksgiving Pie Fries

 

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner it is firmly pie season. Sure, I make pies all year round, but there is no one-day of the year that screams “pie” like Thanksgiving. (Ok, maybe March 14th does as well, but only among the slightly nerdy circles I run in.) The challenge of Thanksgiving pies for me is that people expect the traditional flavors, leaving me much less freedom to innovate and play around with the dessert than I usually have. It is rare for me to serve the same dessert twice for Shabbat or holidays, but for Thanksgiving people expect the classics.

That is what makes these pie fries so much fun. They have the traditional Thanksgiving pie flavors of pumpkin and cranberry apple served up in a fun new shape. I had seen apple versions of pie fries all over the web, so when I was given the challenge of turning them into more Thanksgiving like treats I jumped at the opportunity. Although they are baked and not really fried, pie “fries” are the perfect Thanksgivukkah treat.


 

How My Creamy Baked Ziti Saved the Day

 

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It’s easy when you live in Israel to forget.  Halloween came and went without a word.  It’s November 7th and a warm 81 degrees F, gone are the long New York winters.  And Sandy – while big news here last year, was not commemorated in any major way at the one-year anniversary mark.

But while in New York 2 weeks ago – it was impossible to forget.  News programs were flooded with “1 Year Later” stories, specials and features.  And everywhere you went someone told their tale.  Tamar and I were out to dinner with our dear friend – Brigitte Mizrahi, the fabulous French woman behind the Natural & Kosher, Les Petites Fermieres, and Sincerely Brigitte line of cheeses.  Her story was intense and inspiring and shocking even one year later.


 

In the JOK Kitchen with Chef David From The Prime...

 

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The Prime Grill is the premier kosher restaurant in New York.  In 2000, Joey Allaham, a Syrian Jewish immigrant born to a family of butchers, saw a gap in the marketplace for a kosher steakhouse that could rival the best steakhouses in New York City.  Opening in midtown Manhattan, Joey took a gamble that really paid off.  Hiring Chef David Kolotkin early, the two pioneers of upscale kosher cuisine brought kosher dining to a higher level.  With the publication of their first cookbook, we can now try to recreate some of their most popular recipes at home.  I probably need to get started on my dry-aging room…


 

Joy of Israel – Holy City of Hebron and...

 

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You have been asking, you have been patiently waiting and now here it is.

With gratitude to G-d, my production partners at 12 Tribe Films and Chizuk Now we present Joy of Israel with Jamie Geller Episode #3: Hebron and the Southern Hebron Hills.


 

Let’s Have a Chanukah Party

 

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Hosting a Chanukah party?

We have 3 gourmet menus suggested by premiere caterer, Esprit Caterers.  Get some ideas, try some of the recipes and use them for your party.


 

How To Make Kosher Paella Without a Paella Pan

 

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Paella is one hearty dish! Typically filled to the paella-pan brim with rice, chicken, seafood, spices, vegetables and more. There is no minimum and no maximum to how many ingredients are combined to make a Paella. Since I keep kosher, my paella was a little more tamed. Seafood- outta the dish! In place of the “shrimp” I used incredible sausage. By sautéing the sausage first, my Paella base of flavor was born. Salty, briny and meaty sausage flavor; I’m a fan of that!

Before I continue with the plethora of aromatic ingredients, let me begin by how to cook a paella. Sadly, I do not own a paella pan. I even asked for an extension to write this article so I could buy cute mini paella pans for individually served dishes. Tamar, the wonderful editor at Joy Of Kosher told me “You don’t need to buy a paella pan… how many people will have this in their kitchen’s already? Just use a wok, or a deep frying pan.” Thanks to Tamar, I saved some money, and realized that my good ol’ giant meat frying pan would do the job.


 

Joy of Kosher Cookbook Clubs

 

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In anticipation of the release of the new Joy of Kosher Cookbook we arranged for 10 cookbook clubs around the country.  We asked and you volunteered.  The volunteers that were randomly selected from our Host a Joy of Kosher Cookbook Club were tasked with inviting at least 5 friends to talk, cook and eat from the new book.  Here is a recap from some of there parties and we hope they inspire you to host one of your own.


 

Thanksgivukkah Tablescape Ideas *Giveaway*

 

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If you have checked your “American” calendar ,  you will have noticed that Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah fall (no pun intended) on the same day this year. According to Steven Colbert, Thanksgiving is actually under attack!! But wait Steven isn’t it Hanukkah that actually must share the limelight, or wait, aren’t we just killing two birds with one stone. Sorry for the last comment, maybe that wasn’t appropriate….

Anyways… if you were wondering how to decorate your Thanksgivukkah table this year, I have a few easy and fun ideas I would like to share. These ideas are meant for the entire family, not just for Mom, so I hope the kids are following.


 

How To Create a Dessert Table for Hanukkah ...

 

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Well I have certainly made a lot of friends since moving to Israel.  My newest pals are a sister team of event designers from the city of Modiin.  Nesia and Daphna run A La Mode Designer Desserts, Designer Parties.  And I tapped them to create a vibrant, modern, unexpected Chanukah dessert table.  Watch this video and learn how to recreate this thing of beauty step-by-step.  It’s also filled with lot’s of little take-away ideas for gifts, sweets, and snacks that can be incorporated into any party.


 

Hanukkah Gift Guide

 

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This year Hanukkah begins on Wednesday night November 27, 2013.  I can’t remember the last time Hanukkah was even in November.  And who can miss all the excitement over the convergence of the first day of Hanukkah with Thanksgiving, now coined Thanksgivukkah.  Unless you are my mother in law who buys all her holiday presents before Summer is over, you are probably feeling a bit behind schedule this year.  Here is our foodie gift guide, filled with sweets and treats and more to liven up your holiday table.

Let’s start off with my Hanukkah Chocolate Gift Guide:


 

Sneak Peek Of the New Issue

 

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Consider this issue gift wrapped! It’s our great big special Chanukah gift to you, filled with fresh ideas for your Chanukah parties and enough inspiration to last and last through the winter.  This issue is loaded with the season’s coziest customs like
latke making, doughnut decorating and gift giving. Featuring perfect potato latkes, including classic and cauliflower (page 53); ice cream stuffed doughnuts, sushi doughnuts, doughnut ‘kebobs,’ fillings and glazes galore, oh, my! (page 72); and tips
on how to turn your doughnut designs into a DIY moment for you and your guests with stenciled doughnut decorations that are an exquisite piece of art almost too beautiful to eat (page 76)!

Plus party platters (page 64) and party punches (page 62) both adult- and kid-friendly.  Ahem, and may I suggest the perfect Chanukah gift for just about everyone on your list? My NEW Cookbook, Joy of Kosher: Fast Fresh Family Recipes. These recipes are versatile beyond words. I show you how to dress them up for entertaining and dress them down for everyday. On page 42 I take you behind the scenes and give you a taste of what it really takes to cook up a cookbook.


 

Best Uses for Leftover Candy

 

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Can there ever be such a thing as too much candy?  I guess it depends on who you are talking to, but if you find yourself with bags of open candies we have lots of great uses that go beyond popping them in your mouth.  You can separate the candy, make a pretty plate or container to bring over as a hostess gift.  You can serve the candy to your Shabbat guests. The best uses for lots of candy is turning them into fantastic dessert recipe creations.  Here we have 10 recipes to make the best use of your leftover candy.

Mike and Ike Bejeweled Sugar Cookies

Mike and Ike Bejeweled Sugar Cookies