Monthly Archives: September 2012

Amy’s “Bissel” Apple Cake

60-80 minutes

1 9" cake

This cake falls into the “bissel” category for a few reasons: first, it is one of those recipes that is more about look and feel than it is about exactness; and secondly, expanding on the first point, it’s also one of those recipes that allows for a lot of tweaking– a pinch of that, a variation of that, a bissel of orange this time, let’s say– and it always just works.

It also keeps nicely, is a perfectly hospitable option for gluten-free guests (see the flour options part), and it doesn’t take a ton of effort to make it look “wow.”

Let’s do this:

In addition to the ingredients below, you’re also going to need 3-4 Granny Smith apples.

I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Granny Smiths are so tart! I like such-and-such.” Yes. I know. but, for baking, Granny Smiths are sturdy so they don’t turn to a lump of mush and they sweeten up as you cook ‘em.

Amy's "Bissel" Apple cake


Caramel ingredients:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus a little extra to grease the pan
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
water (maybe a ¼ c or less-- it’ll depend on weather, altitude, blah blah blah. So just add a little at a time until you have it like you like)
pinch of kosher salt
Batter ingredients:
For the batter there are options, depending on the type of flours with which you prefer baking.
1/4 cup chestnut flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup flax meal
½ cup almond flour 
(If you can’t find chestnut flour, make up for it with an extra ¼ cup of almond flour--again, this is a really flexible cake-- but finding chestnut flour is worth the effort, simply because it adds a nice buttery flavor to the cake)
OR 3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda (a bissel a more if you went the non-flour route)
1 teaspoon salt (not quite a full teaspoon)
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon fresh lemon zest (orange is ok in a pinch)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
½ cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil, in a pinch)
1 almost-over-ripe banana
⅓ c. orange juice (the fresher the better)
½ c. water, added slowly, if needed (Your batter should be like oatmeal or thick-ish pancake batter. Add this water slowly as you need it. On humid days and/or low altitude, you might not need it at all. No biggie.)


Grease deep 9-inch cake pan (I use a Springform for less drama later). Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start your caramel. Okay, listen: Caramel goes haywire fast, but just be conservative with the heat and it’s nothing to be afraid of. Cook up your sugar and the water over medium-high heat, stirring minimally and occasionally, until your sugar dissolves and the mixture darkens a bit. (It’ll probably take you about 7 to 9 minutes.) Then, reduce your heat to medium, add your butter and salt. Stir until it’s all combined and smooth (about 2-3 minutes). Set aside.

Drizzle a little of your caramel in the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside, at least a half hour or so at room temperature.

Chop apples: core the apples and slice (aim for about 10-12 snack size segments-- not too thick but not too thin, either.). Arrange about half of the apples on top of caramel in prepared pan, overlapping them slightly, to desired presentation style (they’ll be visible once the cake is ready and inverted, so take a minute and fan them around nicely). Set remaining apple slices aside.

Create batter: Combine dry ingredients in a mixer at low-medium speed. When incorporated, add lemon zest, followed by coconut oil, banana, then remaining wet ingredients.

Pour half the batter over the apple arrangement. Arrange remaining half of sliced apples (for whatever reason, I like to reverse the direction of them, but that may be more of my own weird little quirk than it is a strengthening measure. Then again... maybe not.) drizzle with a small amount of your caramel, and top with remaining batter. Bake on center rack for one hour to one hour and 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean from center. (Note: the top is going to darken a little. Don’t panic. If it is really a big issue, lightly drape a piece of foil across the top towards the end of the baking time, taking care not to seal edges.) Also: you might want to put a tray or foil below to catch oozing caramel.

Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack at least 15 minutes. Run small knife around edge of cake pan to loosen cake, then invert onto a flat plate. (If any apple slices stick to pan, gently replace on top of cake. No biggie; very easily fixed.)

For variations, you can switch the lemon zest or orange zest, and if you are feeling adventurous, add a pinch of chili powder to the batter. Again, this is the kind of cake to take and make into your very own.

Before serving, soften the reserved caramel in a microwave by zapping for 15 seconds, stirring thoroughly, zapping another 15 seconds, and so on. Drizzle over the finished cake and/or over individual slices before serving.

Posted on September 11, 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

Gluten-Free Apple Kugel

gf-apple-kugel-eletterI love apple kugel, and have come to realize that making kugels gluten-free is actually really simple if you have the right ingredients. I keep an all-purpose gluten-free flour on hand that has xanthan gum already included in it (brands like Bob’s Red Mill and Better Batter). Buy yours online and in bulk for the best prices.

Gluten-Free Apple Kugel


3 golden delicious apples
1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 eggs
¼ cup honey
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 ½ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 baking dish.

Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Toss with lemon juice and spread evenly into the baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together two eggs. Add honey, lemon zest, vanilla, oil, and applesauce, whisking to combine.

Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, stirring until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour batter evenly over apples.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until the edges are browned and the top is firm.

Posted on September 10, 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

Crockpot Sweet and Sour Brisket

Growing up Rosh Hashanah always meant a trip to grandma’s house. Ten kids running around, 8 adults, games, music, naps on the living room floor after temple and of course a whole lot of food.

Grandma always had a spread. Matzo ball soup, brisket, chicken, kasha, roasted vegetables, salads, potatoes. Every year grandma out did herself. Her meals evolved and as the ten of us got older, there seemed to be more and more food (and no leftovers the following day).

crockpot brisket

As we all got older, got married, moved, had lots of kids, joined different temples, our traditions changed. Grandma now comes to our houses. For a change, we finally get to feed her and she gets to sit back and enjoy as we did when we were children.

Figuring out how grandma made her brisket was always a challenge. If you have ever seen the show “Everyone Loves Raymond” you kind of get the idea of where this is going. She might have given you the recipe but it never tastes the same. I tried for years. Maybe it was the love she put into it, maybe she left out an ingredient, I will never know, but now it was up to me to figure it out.

One of my favorite things about cooking now for the holidays is I get to take all these traditional foods that grandma once made and put a nice modern twist on it. Her chicken liver that made all the kids cringe, now we make it vegetarian and it’s gone within seconds, the potatoes that were smothered in mushrooms and onions, now are plain and simple. The brisket that she made, you know the one that sat in the oven all day, now is made in a crock pot. I still cook with the love, but with a modern twist, easy, simple, throw together in the morning and come home from temple and serve.

Crockpot Sweet and Sour Brisket


3 pounds of brisket

2 large onions

6 carrots cut into matchsticks

5 stalks of celery chopped (plus leaves if you have some)

6 cloves garlic chopped

1/4 cup of dried cranberries

6 Tbsp of cider vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup ketchup

3/4 cup stock (I used chicken)

3/4 cup red wine

A handful of fresh cut herbs (I used parsley and tarragon)


Heat up a large skillet and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Spinkle all sides of your brisket with a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Add brisket to the sauté pan and brown on both sides (about 5 minutes per side). When brisket is browned, add to crock pot.

In same skillet, add a touch more oil and sauté onions, celery, carrots and garlic for about 5-10 minutes, cooking the vegetables just a touch.

Meanwhile in measuring cup add wine, stock, brown sugar, ketchup and vinegar. Whisk and set aside.

When vegetables are done add cranberries and cook for another minute. Pour in the wine mixture and add herbs, bring to a boil.

Carefully pour vegetables and sauce over brisket, cook high 4-6 hours or on low 8-10 hours.

When done, take out meat, let cool for 5 minutes or until easy to handle, cut, plate and spoon some vegetables over with a touch of gravy.

I like to serve the brisket on a large plate with a little gravy and all the vegetables surrounding the cut up brisket. I put the rest of the gravy in a serving bowl or serving container so my guests can enjoy some extra gravy on the side.


note on brisket: this dish can also be frozen if you wanted to prepare ahead. I would recommend using one of those throw away tins (which makes for easy clean up). Place meat into tin, pour over sauce and when cool freeze. The morning of your dinner, take out to thaw and heat up in the oven till warm.

Posted on September 10, 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

Apple & Calvados Chicken Liver Pate

A universal symbol of love, health and wisdom, the apple is especially prominent at Rosh Hashanah. What exactly is it about the apple that makes it key to a sweet New Year?

One answer might be found in Song of Songs 8:5 which begins with “Beneath the apple tree I aroused you.” Symbolically alluding to the love relationship between G-d and the Jewish people, this poem has been interpreted to suggest that the apples we eat at Rosh Hashana, which remind us of that special relationship with G-d, are what give us the strength to repent and improve ourselves.

Conversely, it could be argued that apples feature prominently at Rosh Hashana simply because the time of year coincides with the bounty of the apple harvest.

Regardless of why we eat them, apples are a delicious and nutritious addition to the holiday kitchen. With more than 7,500 varieties worldwide, their crisp exterior and juicy interior provide infinite options for apple-focused dishes.

This Rosh Hashana, I hope you’ll try my Apple & Calvados Chicken Liver Pate. A more elegant spin on the familiar Chopped Liver, this dish highlights the mystique of the apple by adding complementary layers of flavor that balance the apple’s sweetness and acidity.

Enjoy this recipe. And more importantly, remember to enjoy this time for evaluation, self-renewal and, ultimately, sweet transformation.


Food aficionado and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Joy Dawn Prevor is the creator of, an interactive learning experience focused on ingredients and techniques that empower food-lovers to make their own recipes. Joy’s culinary repertoire includes Cooking Classes, Freelance Writing, Specialty Catering, Recipe Development, Culinary Demos and National Food & Wine Events. Please visit her at My Culinary Joy.

Apple & Calvados Chicken Liver Pate


4 Tbsp margarine

1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and sliced

1 tsp sugar

3 shallots, sliced

1 lb chicken livers, cleaned and dried off with paper towel

Salt and pepper to taste

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

½ cup Calvados apple brandy (ok to substitute with regular brandy)

½ tsp lemon juice


Melt half the margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mix together the apples and sugar and place them in the skillet. Allow the apples to begin caramelizing - do not stir for the first few minutes

Once the apples are soft and brown, place them in a bowl and set aside.

Melt the other half of the margarine in the skillet and add the shallots, with a pinch of salt and pepper – cook until they are soft and translucent.

Add the chicken livers, season with salt and pepper and allow them to cook for a few minutes until the outside is firm but the interior is still red.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the Calvados (please be very careful and keep the skillet away from your face as the alcohol may flame up).

Return the skillet to the stove and scrape the bottom of the pan to lift the flavor from any brown bits. Add the cayenne and lemon juice and continue to cook the livers through until the liquid reduces and the interior of the livers is slightly pink (use a scissor or knife to cut a piece open to check).

Pour all the contents of the skillet into a blender, allow to cool.

Add the apples to the blender and puree the mixture until it is completely smooth. Taste the mixture and, if needed, adjust the seasonings (i.e. add salt and pepper, add cayenne if you like it spicier, add more Calvados if you’d like it a little sweeter and add more lemon juice to balance the acidity).

Store the mixture in your serving bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight to allow the mixture to firm up and develop its flavors.

Serve at room temperature with toasted slices of baguette or crackers. If you like spicy foods, sprinkle with cayenne for an extra kick.

Posted on September 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

Shabbat Recipe Roundup

The High Holidays quickly approach, and with it, lots of cooking! The last thing you probably want to be doing as you gear up for family-filled dinners is more cooking…but alas, its time for Shabbat!

This week I put together some easy, simple recipes that won’t have you slaving over a hot stove for too long.

Fruit still abounds, so why not start your meal with this refreshing Fruity Salad with Raspberry Zinger from The Overtime Cook.

I love a good, simple roasted chicken recipe. Put it together, throw it into the oven, and 45 minutes to an hour later you have a perfect, juicy main attraction. Try The Shiksa‘s recipe this week for Honey Herb Roasted Chicken.

What does lemon plus oregano plus potatoes equal? Potato side dish perfection! Try this Martha recipe for Greek Lemon Roasted Potatoes to go alongside that beautiful herb roasted chicken.

And what could be quicker or easier than this Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake. Serve with some fresh berries, and maybe even some soy ice cream!

Happy cooking and Shabbat Shalom!



Posted on September 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

Vegan Honey Cake

Vegan Honey Cake


2 egg equivalents (I use Ener-G egg replacer)
3/4 cup agave
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cocoa
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups sifted flour
1 cup strong coffee (I use Turkish)


Combine egg replacer, agave, sugar and oil.

Mix in dry ingredients, alternating with coffee. Beat 5 minutes.

Pour into greased pan (I like 9” round) - (usually makes enough batter for two 8-inch round)

Bake at 375 degrees until done. I generally check it after 20 minutes, then every 10 minutes until a pick inserted in the middle comes out clean – roughly 40 minutes.

Posted on September 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

Pomegranate Brisket with Cranberry Succotash

30 minutes

3-3 1/2 hours

4 servings

Rosh Hoshanah is one of my favorite Jewish holidays to cook for. Each year I look forward to the Fall smells, sense of renewal, traditions and of course eating lots of apples and honey. Now that I live in Texas, I sadly do not always get to spend the New Year with my family back east. But I do always take the opportunity to dream up a new version of my favorite main dish – brisket. In Texas, brisket is BBQ king.

Slowly smoked until it nearly falls apart and then smothered in a sweet and tangy sauce. I, of course, braise my brisket and enjoy feeding it to doubtful locals who are always won over by the tender meat and sweeter accompanying sauce. Plus, no special equipment besides an oven required!

I have wanted to try to create a pomegranate brisket for some time as a nod to the Rosh Hoshanah tradition to eat fruit that has just recently come into season. The pomegranate is often used for this purpose! Pomegranates are a little tricky to find in Texas, but the juice is plentiful and makes a perfect braising liquid. Served with pan juices and a crunchy, fresh succotash, this brisket is a new spin on an old favorite. If you have access to pomegranates, feel free to replace the dried cranberries with fresh pomegranate arils. This recipe can be doubled to feed a crowd, but remember the cooking time will be longer too.

Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her grandmother’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.

Pomegranate Brisket with Cranberry Succotash


4-pound brisket
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 medium white onions, chopped into large pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups pomegranate juice
½ cup dry red wine
1-2 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs rosemary
2 springs thyme
2 ears corn, shucked and removed from the cob
1 cup dried cranberries (or fresh pomegranate arils)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 tsp red wine vinegar
¼ cup cilantro, minced
Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Season brisket on all sides with salt and pepper.

In a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot, heat the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat and brown the brisket on all sides, or about 5 minutes per side.

Remove the brisket to rest, and add in onions and garlic. Sauté until browned, about 5 minutes.

Add brisket back in over the vegetables fat side down and cover with pomegranate juice, red wine, and enough chicken broth so the brisket is covered about ¾ of the way. Add in rosemary and thyme.

Cover the brisket and braise in the pre-heated oven for 3- 3.5 hours or until fork tender.

Once cooked, remove brisket to rest and heat pan juices over medium- high heat until reduced by at least half and sauce is thickened. Strain and add salt and pepper if needed.

In a bowl, combine corn and cranberries.

In a separate bowl, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, honey, and red wine vinegar. Toss with corn mixture and add in cilantro and salt to taste.

Once brisket has cooled, sliced against the grain and top with sauce and succotash. It is best reheated in a 200 degree F oven covered in its sauce to retain moisture. Enjoy!

Posted on September 5, 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

Bye Summer, Hello Holidays!

Summer is officially over and there is no rest for the weary because the High Holidays are right around the corner. Rosh Hoshanah, the Jewish New Year, begins on Sunday night September 16th and here at The Nosher we’ve been preparing for weeks already!

Stay tuned later this week – we have some fantastic brisket, kugel and apple cake recipes perfect for your family dinners as well as complete Rosh Hoshanah dinner menus to help take the pressure off of planning.

And don’t forget to enter our “Best Brisket Recipe Contest” – the deadline to send us your favorite recipe is tomorrow!

Happy High Holiday planning!

Posted on September 4, 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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