Monthly Archives: February 2012

Best Hamantaschen Recipe


Confession: I do not love Hamantaschen. Most varieties are dry, crumbly and tasteless. But a few years ago I had a friend’s recipe and so now I have amended my original opinion and I can say: I only like Rachel’s Hamantachen!

Rachel and her mom graciously shared their Hamantaschen recipe with us so that we can all say buh-bye to dry Hamantaschen forever.

Best Hamantaschen Recipe

Posted on February 29, 2012

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Savory Hamentashen

A friend of mine posted a photo this weekend of mashed potato and spinach hamantaschen from a bakery in Tel Aviv, and I was completely floored. Potato and spinach hamantaschen!? I had never seen such a treat, nor tasted one.

Well as the New York Times reported last year unique flavors including savory varieties are all the rage when it comes to Hamantaschen in Israel currently.

I haven’t tried to make any yet, but it seems like I might have to soon!

If you want to go for an innovative Hamantaschen recipe you can try these Savory Hamantaschen with onions and feta cheese by Avigail Hurvitz-Prinz.

In my recipe browsing I also came across a recipe for Pumpkin filling Hamantaschen and onion and mushroom filling Hamantaschen.

Happy cooking!

 

 

 

Posted on February 27, 2012

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Purim Party Punches

Yield:
10-12 servings


Purim approaches and therefore so do Purim festivities. Put away that bottle of Bartenura Moscato you bought for your lady friends, and try one of these party punch ideas to wow you friends instead. All three of these recipes can be prepared ahead of time, leaving you more time to shake your grogger.

Try this citrusy Rum Punch garnished with pineapple wedges if you’re drink of choice is rum.

Or if you prefer wine or sangria try my super simple “Boxed Wine Sangria.

For a colorful and refreshing vodka drink to serve your guests, try the pomegranate punch recipe below. You can also leave the alcohol out entirely for a delightful virgin punch.

Happy celebrating!

Pomegranate Punch

Posted on February 26, 2012

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Desserts of New Orleans

New Orleans is one of the most exciting culinary cities in the U.S, and one of the most difficult if you are trying to keep some kind of kosher. Yes yes – Café Du Monde is certified kosher – fantastic. But other than that, the kosher options in New Orleans are limited, and eating kosher-style can be a real challenge.

Nevertheless, if you have a sweet tooth like me NOLA is a true dessert-lovers heaven. My husband and I just returned from celebrating Mardi Gras with some New Orleans natives, and I sure ate my weight in dessert.

Our first stop Friday morning, before the tourists really started pouring in was indeed the iconic Café Du Monde for café au lait and beignets, which followed closely with a second sweet breakfast of King Cake.

Our first King Cake of the Mardi Gras holiday was a goat cheese and pear King Cake from the Cake Cafe. I described the taste of this treat as “like, the best Entemanns ever!”  This particular King Cake was sweet, moist and a truly unique treat, far surpassing the rest of the King Cakes I sampled throughout our long weekend.

And if you’re wondering, what do the Jews do during Mardi Gras? Well they celebrate right alongside the rest of the city, and I had one of my many tastes of King Cake at a celebration hosted by Touro Synagogue in the heart of it all on St. Charles Avenue.

Our first dinner found us at the Uptown eatery, Boucherie, where the table sampled a variety of desserts including everyone’s favorite, the Krispy Kreme bread pudding – a dessert Paula Deen would surely squeal over. However, my personal favorite was the Thai Chili Chocolate Chess Pie – sweet and spicy without being overly saccharin.

I’m a notorious early riser, and Sunday morning found me parked at Laurel Street Bakery with a cup of coffee, magazine and a sweet cinnamon bun.

Lunchtime came, and it was time to visit Camellia Grill. Camelia Grill is best known for their omelets, hamburgers and the hilarious antics from the chefs and servers, but what I savored most at the legendary New Orleans-style diner was the Chocolate Freeze  – a chocolate milk shake, thick enough so you know its not good for you, but not too thick that you need a spoon to eat it. Another favorite at Camellia Grill is the chocolate cherry freeze.

Most visits to New Orleans finds me at the downtown Café Adelaide, where the white chocolate bread pudding is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. This visit I wasn’t able to make it, but I wouldn’t leave it off my list of my favorite desserts. If you make it to Cafe Adelaide, you must either try their signature Swizzle Stick drink, or their Bloody Mary, which is garnished with enough pickled okra, string beans and olives to qualify as its own meal.

While I didn’t get my usual white chocolate bread pudding, I did get to try the homemade pop tarts at Velvet Espresso Bar, a tiny coffee shop and café in Uptown New Orleans. I was lucky to snag the last pop tart on Monday morning and boy am I glad that I did – the pastry was absolutely perfection, with a strawberry filling and sugary glaze. Gourmet comfort food at its finest, Velvet is also pumping out homemade scones and “tea cakes.”

Our last stop this trip was Clancys, where the dessert menu sounded so tempting, I almost ordered three! We settled on the peppermint ice cream brownie sundae, and the biggest dessert winner of all, the Budino – a butterscotch bread pudding with caramel sauce, sea salt and fresh whipped cream.

I can’t wait for our next trip down and the culinary treats that await. Hope you can find yourself down there as well to taste, if nothing else, the sweetest parts of New Orleans.

Posted on February 23, 2012

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Shabbat Recipe Roundup

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We’re quickly approaching the end of Winter, and I can’t wait till some spring produce makes an appearance. But in the meantime, we still have a little more time for comfort food during our Shabbat meals.

This S’mores Challah from The Challah Blog could be served as a perfect sweet start or even a more perfect sweet finish at your Shabbat dinner.

As soon as I saw this recipe for Baked Parsnip Fries with Rosemary from Bon Apetit, I knew I wanted to try it. What a great alternative to regular potato fries or even sweet potato fries!

A good stuffed cabbage recipe is not easy to come by, which is why you might try Ina’s Stuffed Cabbage as the “perfect Jewish comfort food.”

Three of my favorite ingredients come together in this one side dish by the Kosher Foodies: Israeli Cous Cous with Brussel Sprouts and Chickpeas. Can’t wait to try this one!

Shabbat Shalom and happy cooking!

Posted on February 22, 2012

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Best of the Crockpot


Admittedly, I am not much of a crock pot user. The only time we break ours out is for cholent on Shabbat, but even that doesn’t happen so often. And yet we actually have not one but two crock pots!

There is something nice about throwing a grouping of ingredients into a pot, setting it on low or a timer, and coming home from work, (or from shul) to a delectable meal. In the spirit of ease, and the last of the Winter season, I’ve put together a few innovative and comforting crock pot dishes with the help of my friends and fellow foodies.

Thai BBQ Chicken is probably not something you would automatically think of for your crock pot cooking, but the Penny Pinching Epicure has an easy and tasty recipe

Parents Need to Eat Too has a fool-proof crock pot recipe for the perfect roast chicken – what a great way to prep a traditional Shabbat roast chicken, especially if you’re a busy working person like me!

The Food Yenta has a slew of crock pot recipes just waiting to be tried, but the one that I liked the most is her (crock pot) osso bucco! Osso Bucco is a traditional Italian veal stew which my husband and I love to make, but can be time consuming and a bit of a process. What an impressive meal to serve your family for an average weeknight or Shabbat dinner!

And lastly, I have it on good authority that Smitten Kitchen’s Southwestern Pulled Brisket crock pot recipe is a must-try!

We’re always on the lookout for a good recipe, so send us your favorite crock pot recipes to add to our repertoire.

Posted on February 21, 2012

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Shabbat Roundup: Mardi Gras Edition

Today I head to New Orleans to celebrate my first ever Mardi Gras in the vibrant city. In honor of the occasion and Louisiana cuisine, this week’s Shabbat Roundup features some tasty Southern classics.

If you haven’t ever tasted a fried pickle – the time has come! I love fried pickles, and its not just cause I am pregnant currently. Crunchy, briny and fried all  at the same time…this Beer Battered Fried Pickle recipe calls for serving with ranch dressing, but you can also serve with a spicy chipotle mayo dipping sauce.

Another great Southern classic is fried okra, and this recipe for Fried Pecan Okra takes an interesting twist on the dish by using a pecan coating.

But above all Louisiana is best known for Gumbo, and the Jew and the Carrot have thankfully already done the research and shared a kosher Gumbo recipe! No easy feat.

Two other great New Orleans-style dishes include Red Beans and Rice, and Stewed Okra and Tomatoes, both vegetarian and pretty easy to whip together.

Shabbat Shalom, happy cooking, and happy Mardi Gras!

 

 

Posted on February 17, 2012

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Deviled Eggs with Schmaltz and Gribenes

Yield:
1 dozen


Bon Apetit Magazine recently featured variations on deviled eggs that included a recipe for bacon deviled eggs which got me thinking about: how to make a more Jewish version!?

Shortly after reading through the recipes, I was munching on some crunchy gribenes from 2nd Avenue Deli in New York, and it came to me: deviled eggs with chicken fat and gribenes could be the perfect Jewey alternative!

So what is gribenes? I always describe this traditional Eastern European food as a “Jewish pork rind,” which Wikipedia agrees with. Never made it before? The Shiksa in the Kitchen has a great step-by-step schmaltz and gribenes guide.

Fried chicken skin not really your cup of tea? Bon Apetit also has a few other varieties to try including Anchovy Deviled Eggs, Chipotle Deviled Eggs and Sour Cream, Lemon and Herb Deviled Eggs.

Deviled Eggs with Schmaltz and Gribenes

Posted on February 15, 2012

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Taking Some Veggie Cues from Israel

This past week I was lucky enough to travel to Israel on behalf of my (other) work, for a short and productive trip. Of course, I had to get some eating done along the way…and after a few meals, I noticed a recurring theme: vegetables!

No sooner had we landed than I found myself at a meeting in a Tel Aviv Cafe where the menu was filled with interesting, and delectable looking veggie options. I happily ordered a rich mushroom soup served with a pesto toast point, and cauliflower cakes with tzatziki and cucumber salad.

After finishing this meal, I realized that I had not chosen my usual sandwich, or pasta – but two small dishes using a variety of veggies. And so I began to take more careful notice of my vegetable and fruit choices at each meal. The next morning came, and Israeli salads and fruits abounded at the breakfast buffet. For lunch, six difference salads and veggie filled sandwiches awaited me at another meeting.

After these series of meals, a light bulb sort of went off about Israeli cuisine, and the way Israelis are using produce in appealing and accessible ways. And I realized that here in the U.S. the influence of Israeli cuisine is also starting take hold, as I thought of two restaurants on the East coast where vegetables feature prominently and creatively on the menu.

Balaboosta in New York City is one of my new favorite eateries, and each time I go, I cannot get enough of the crispy cauliflower, and patatas bravas with zatar. When was the last time you ate a meal and said, “I need more of that cauliflower!”

I have yet to visit, but I hear from reliable culinary sources that Zahav in Philadelphia is a similar experience – the menu is filled with interesting vegetable dishes, including their own crispy cauliflower, as well as simple, traditionally prepared fishes and meats. I am thinking about a trip to Philly soon just so I can check it out!

So now that I’m back, I guess its time to start incorporating some more innovative veggie-centered dishes to my weekly repertoire. Would love to hear some suggestions for your tastiest, healthful veggie-focused dishes!

 

Posted on February 13, 2012

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Shabbat Menu Roundup—Comfort Food Edition

For me, February is prime comfort food month, so this Shabbat I’m thinking about yummy comfort foods I can serve to my guests.

Tomato soup is the consummate comfort food, but this recipe from Not Derby Pie looks exciting, even controversial. Can’t wait to try it.

I actually tried making this cheesy pull-apart bread from Beantown Baker last night for a friend and it was a huge success. I bet it would be amazing made with a challah and served with the soup.

Then I’m thinking this artichoke tart with polenta crust from the Wednesday chef, which looks decadent and divine.

For a side, I like these zucchini and carrot fritters I saw in The Kitchn. Like healthier latkes! And who doesn’t like latkes?

And then for dessert, these Dark Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Goat Cheese Swirl have stolen my heart, and I don’t think I’ll be able to recover until I make them and wallow in them for a nice long time. Amiright?

Happy cooking!

Posted on February 9, 2012

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy