Monthly Archives: February 2012

To Subway Nosh, or Not

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My mother always used to say that one of her favorite qualities of New Yorkers was that they ate everywhere: walking around on the sidewalk, on the subway, in cabs – wherever! But there are some who don’t find this NYC trait charming, and there are even those who have grossly abused this privilege (spaghetti dinner on the subway!?).

In a new effort to curb subway mealtimes in order to reduce rats, New Yorkers could be fined $250 for taking their meals in transit. It’s not an outright ban, but its still a hefty sum.

Now, while I have never ventured to eat a spaghetti dinner while riding the 1 train, I am certainly prone to noshing on the go. Is this the healthiest choice? Clearly not. And is it a particularly Jewish choice? Well, probably not either.

When we juxtapose, let’s say, a relaxed, friends and family-focused Friday night Shabbat dinner, with a grab-and-go mealtime, there is a stark contrast in the approach towards food: sustenance vs. pleasure. But thats the point of Shabbat, right? A pause from the rest of our harried lives!

Is eating on the go inherently un-Jewish? Or is it an expression of our passion for food? I’d love to hear what you think on this – to subway nosh, or not to subway nosh?

Posted on February 8, 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

Tu Bishvat Foods Roundup

Happy Tu Bishvat! Today we celebrate the birthday of the trees by eating fruit, nuts, grains, and other things that grow from the ground. Some people like to plant a tree on Tu Bishvat, but personally, I just like to eat cake. For instance, this morning I had a piece of our scandalously delicious Banana Cake for Tu Bishvat. As some people have pointed out, bananas don’t grow on trees, but this cake is also packed with nuts, dates, figs and raisins, and I added some chocolate to my version, too. I cannot stress enough how unbelievably good this is. Definitely the best Tu Bishvat dish I’ve ever made.

But if you’re still looking, we have a lemon lavender cake I can recommend, and a lemon and almond semolina cake that will knock your socks off. Combine any of these with a hot cup of tea and you are guaranteed a sweet and happy Tu Bishvat.

Perhaps you’re one of the lucky people who went to a Tu Bishvat seder last night, where you drank delicious wine and sangria, maybe got to eat fruit salad, orange and maple baked tofu, granola, Israeli salad, or persimmon cupcakes, all which are yummy Tu Bishvat foods. There’s still time to make any of these recipes today if you missed them yesterday.

Or if you’re looking for a very low maintenance way to celebrate, how about just stopping by your local grocery and picking up a nice bag of trail mix. As you enjoy the dried fruits and nuts, you can think about all of the great things trees bring to your life. L’chaim! To trees!

Posted on February 8, 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

Jewish Valentines Day?

Like other mainstream American holidays, Valentines Day always seem to spark a conversation on whether Jews should celebrate it or not, and if so – how? I won’t touch this debate, but if you are interested you can read Rabbi Mike Uram’s “To Send or Not to Send – Is That the Question?

According to The Today Show’s Kathie Lee and Hoda, what most people want more than anything for V-Day is a good meal! Well, Jews are pretty good at that, so I say – why not whip up some romantic treats for your special someone.

I am loving this Heart-Shaped Challah from Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Hadassah. Pretty easy to make – and so cute! A perfect combination of Jewish comfort food and hearts.

Last year I made this unctuous Chicken Mole for my husband, and he loved it. What better way to show your love than through a rich, slow cooked chicken dish made with dark chocolate. I served the Mole with warm tortillas, and an arugula and blood orange salad.

But what about dessert, arguably the best part of a Valentines Day meal!?

You can opt for some classic chocolate covered strawberries paired with sparkling wine, or chocolate mousse, which is light enough not to weigh you down but rich enough to serve as a sweet ending.

I also love these S’mores Brownie Bites from Overtime Cook, which you can easily make using brownie mix, and can be pareve! S’mores also evokes sitting around a campfire or next to a cozy fire, which is pretty darn romantic to me.

Don’t feel like baking? Order your someone a sweet n salty treat from Salt of the Earth Bakery, who specializes in kosher sweets that use sea salt to bring out the flavor of their brownies, cookies and caramel.

Another easy option for dessert? A selection of chocolates from the Whole Foods chocolate counter. I particularly love their variety of chocolate covered pretzels, which is a guaranteed way into my heart!

And hey – if all else fails, a dozen roses and a can of whipped cream never hurt anyone either.

Posted on February 7, 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

Best Pareve Frostings

Yield:
Frosting for 2 dozen cupcakes


A friend on Facebook recently asked her fellow baking buddies to share their best pareve frosting recipes. This is an area of baking I have spent a lot of time experimenting with, and so it quickly inspired me to put together a few of my own favorite pareve frosting combos.

My favorite, most versatile frosting particularly for cupcakess is Martha Stewart’s Seven Minute Frosting recipe. The directions might seem a little daunting at first, but I promise it seems more complicated than it actually is to make. I love this frosting especially when I want to do a lot of decorating – the taste is simple and sweet, and its perfect for making different colored frosting.

You can also try making a variation of this Marshmallow Frosting, by replacing the butter with margarine. Combine this frosting with chocolate cake, and some graham cracker crumbs,  and you have the perfect pareve “s’mores” cupcakes.

But I think my favorite cupcake and frosting combo are chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. Not only do chocolate and peanut butter pair perfectly together, but the natural richness from the peanut butter allows for a good quality, rich pareve frosting. I liked adding chopped,  chocolate covered peanuts as garnish.

You can also use this peanut butter frosting recipe to make a “PB & J” cupcake: make vanilla/white cake cupcakes, cut out the middle and fill with the jelly of your choice. Finish by topping with pareve peanut butter frosting.

Happy (pareve) baking!

 

Pareve Peanut Butter Frosting

Ingredients

1 cup creamy (not natural) peanut butter

1 cup sifted confectioners sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) pareve margarine, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

Directions

In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine peanut butter, margarine, vanilla and salt on medium speed.  Slowly add sugar until smooth, light and lump-free, scraping down with spatula as you mix.

Posted on February 6, 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

Game Day Snacks: Kosher Stuffed Potato Skins


The perfect Superbowl snack doesn’t need to be meat – there are also some great dairy options for your game day noshing.

Loaded potato skins are a bar favorite, but they are almost always topped with bacon, and so off limits at least for this kosher-style eater. My version packs a “meaty” and satisfying punch by adding veggie chili instead of actual meat. This recipe is inspired by Rachel Ray’s version of Sinfully Stuffed Potato Skins.

Ingredients

  • 20 small to medium sized yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetarian chili
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped jalapenos

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pierce the potatoes with a fork and roast on a baking sheet for around 40 to 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Let stand until cool enough to handle.

Halve the potatoes and scoop out most of the flesh into a bowl. Return the potato skins to the baking sheet. Mash the potato flesh in the bowl and stir in 1 cup of cheese, sour cream, and veggie chili. Sprinkle the insides of the skins with 1/2 teaspoon salt and stuff each with the potato-cheese mixture. Sprinkle tops of the potatoes with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.

Bake the stuffed potato skins until golden-brown on top, around 15 to 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with scallions and jalapenos and serve with an extra dollop of sour cream.

Posted on February 2, 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

Shabbat Recipe Round-Up

Its the Shabbat before the Superbowl, and it’s probably time to make sure you get in a few extra servings of veggies before the snackfast on Sunday. This week I put together some recipe ideas that are chock full of colorful vegetables so that at least you get some vitamins in before the chili dogs and nachos.

Blood oranges, one of my favorite fruits, are still in season right now, and so I jumped when I saw this Blood Orange Salsa, with avocado and cilantro. I would serve this with some tortilla chips and cut up veggies as a refreshing and satisfying starter.

In the mood for a little spice? Try this Mushroom Pea Curry from Not Derby Pie.

I am loving this recipe for Baked Chicken with Cannellini Beans from The Food Yenta! Not only is it super easy, but it uses my favorite type of beans, plus fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes. This is a perfect, throw-together dish for an easy Shabbat entree.

Well, you have to eat something for dessert, so why not finish the meal with a healthy dose of apples. I like this simple recipe for an Apple Gallette, as the author describes, the “no fear apple pie.” Just swap out the butter in the crust for margarine, or use your dough of choice.

Shabbat Shalom, and happy cooking!

 

 

Posted on February 1, 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

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