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Celebrate Israel with Traditional Israeli Food

 

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There are many ways to celebrate Israel here in the US on Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s independence day.  Most of the time it involves eating our favorite Israeli foods.  In Israel families pack large picnics and go out to BBQ and there is no reason we can’t do the same here.  Israeli food like Hummus and Zaatar has become increasingly popular among all people in the US over the past couple of years and it has become such a part of most of our homes that I rarely sit at a Shabbat table without being served hummus and often matbucha.  My favorite part is starting the meal with lots of little salads and spreads with some fresh pita.  Then you can grill up some chicken or kabobs or fry some falafel and your meal is complete.  Here is the menu I am thinking about this year, feel free to make your own spreads or take a little help from the store.

israeli style hummus

Israeli Style Hummus


 

4 Mother’s Day Brunch Menus

 

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This year the adage April Showers Bring May Flowers has proven to be quite true, and as May approaches so does Mother’s Day.  Brunch is a very special way to remind the special women in our lives that care.  Preparing brunch is a major task in and of itself, add to that the many delicious recipes out there, choosing your menu can at times be overwhelming.  Below are 4 menus to try this Mother’s Day.

 


 

A Spanish Seder Menu

 

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I love ethnic food. Well, okay, I love all food, but I have a special place in my heart for creating menu based on a specific international cuisine. So a few years ago when I found kosher for Passover soy sauce I created a Chinese Seder. It got rave reviews and has become a new family tradition. Last year, I had to host two Seders, so I was looking for something new and decided to try Spanish food and it worked beautifully!

saffron-matzo-ball-soup-with-sofrito

Saffron Matzo Ball Soup With Sofrito


 

5 Savory Hamantashen Inspired Menus

 

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Here at Joy of Kosher we have a plethora of hamantashen recipes!  Many of the recipes are quite versatile and can be served outside of a Purim party setting.  These menus are inspired by 5 savory hamantashen which work as appetizers, main meals, and of course, desserts.

Cardamom Scented Hamantaschen with Goat Cheese and Pear Filling


 

A Chinese Purim Seudah Menu

 

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Looking through all the Purim menus we have shared over the years, Italian, Mexican and the ever popular Persian, I was struck by the absence of a Chinese menu. How could I have let that happen!! Not only do I love to cook and eat Chinese to the point that I make a Passover Chinese Seder that is on permanent repeat from my guests requests, but also because I spent every Seudah growing up at the local Kosher Chinese place.  We didn’t go out to eat very often when I was little, mostly because there were very few kosher restaurants near where I lived in Florida.  Hard to believe I grew up near Boca, which now has an abundant of kosher options.  So, those special meals out for Birthdays or for Purim are fond memories and now that I live in New York I wouldn’t even consider going out to a restaurant for Purim.  I much prefer cooking for my family, maybe a few friends and celebrating in the quiet of our home rather than an overcrowded restaurant.  I can’t wait to share my memories with my kids with this easy to make at home Chinese menu.

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup


 

Swingin’ Sixties Seudah – A Hippie...

 

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Maybe it’s all the hype over the anniversary of the Beatles arrival in America. But suddenly I’m nostalgic over an era I never even lived through! I love the music, the handmade clothes, the beads and the spirit. And this year, we’re going back to the garden!

Coconut Ambrosia Hamantashen

Coconut Ambrosia Hamantashen


 

A Cowboy Themed Menu

 

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Irony of all ironies, the year before we made Aliyah we were dressed like Israelis (don’t ask) and delivered mishloach manot full of pitas and hummus.   Then when I got to Israel I went for a cowboy and cowgirl costume for the family and made a down home all-American meal. Now, I’m not all that creative, and not all that country, I just stole a page out of my friend Aliza’s playbook. A few years ago she hosted a food-from-the-frontier shindig and together we created a menu similar to the one you see here. I’m not embarrassed to admit it because, on this side of the pond, I’ve got a whole new crew to share it with. These recipes already had a test run, and I know this meal is going to make y’all scream yeehaw (or at least yummy!).

sweet spicy chili

Sweet and Spicy Chili


 

An Oscar Night Menu

 

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Every year I love to plan a special menu for watching the Oscars.  It is so much fun to try and incorporate something from all the best picture nominations into our party.  This year with 10 nominations it is not going to be easy to get them all in, but I will try.  I also got a real kick out of the Oscar Matzos that Wolfgaang Puck will be serving this year, albeit with some beluga cavair, who would have though that matzo of any kind would make it to the awards.

Here is my take on an Oscar night menu for 2014 based on the best picture nominees: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyer’s Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena,12 Years As A Slave, and The Wolf of Wall Street.


 

Romantic Dinner For Two

 

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It has been a cold snowy winter for most of us.  Everyone is staying home more than usual.  The silver lining is finding the perfect menu to make a romantic dinner for two.  Whatever the occasion, a first date, a first anniversary or just a night without any kids here is a heart warming menu that can be served on a table filled with roses and candles.

Creamy Hot Tomato Soup

Creamy Hot Tomato Soup


 

Spice Up Your Super Bowl

 

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This year we want to spice things up.  I just love the little bit of heat and flavor that comes from adding just a bit of horseradish to almost any dish.  The most popular foods to serve for the Super Bowl are wings, chili, pizza and guacamole.  The main idea is to serve food that is easy to eat in front of the television.  And easy to snack and enjoy as the game goes on.

 Veal-Sliders-with-Red-Slaw.

Veal Sliders with Red Slaw


 

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.


 

Brunch with An Asian Kick

 

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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.


 

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…


 

An Early Fall Menu

 

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Now that the craziness of the holidays are behind us and Summer is officially over, it is time to get back to normal, every day life.  Of course, that doesn’t mean we are going to stop planning and cooking and celebrating with food.  I know you all like to browse through my interesting menu ideas and so here is one specially made for you to use right now.  Whether you use it for Shabbat or maybe you are having the girls over for a fun night in, this menu is seasonal, flavorful and ready to be savored and enjoyed by family or friends.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup