Monthly Archives: October 2013

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

Yield:
12 cupcakes

Everyone loves cakes and bread made with pumpkin this time of year (especially me). But have you ever tried sweet potato cake? It is not nearly as popular but it is just as delicious as its pumpkin counterpart, if not more so.

The great thing about making dessert with vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potato, butternut squash and zucchini is that due to the vegetables’ water content the recipe will likely call for vegetable oil instead of butter. And therefore these delicious cakes are also perfect pareve dessert choices. No need to scramble to alter the recipe for a meat meal.

cupcakes2

I have been making this recipe for sweet potato cake for years and people are always shocked when I share that the recipe is dairy-free. And now it’s your turn to wow guests with this sweet treat.

When paired with Martha Stewart’s simple Marshmallow Frosting Recipe it makes the perfect Fall dessert. And hey, this totally counts as a serving of vegetables, so have two.

sweet potato cupcakes

 

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

Posted on October 30, 2013

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Eight Crazy Nights of Latkes

Is there anything more enticing than a perfectly fried, crispy potato latke? Served with apple sauce, sour cream or my own favorite combo: creme fraiche and smoked salmon. Look at these crispy, golden gems. Makes me drool a little just thinking about breaking out the oil.

SONY DSCBut there is so much more than the basic latke, as delicious as it may be. So if you have been hankering for something different to serve for your Hanukkah (or even Thanksgivukkah) celebration next month, I’ve got you covered.

I have been scouring the internet and other blogs for the most creative, crazy latke combos that exist. And here they are in all their awesome glory. You’re welcome.

eight crazy latkes

Coconut Latkes with Cranberry Applesauce & Cardamom Mascarpone from What Jew Wanna Eat

Latke Crusted Apple Stuffing

Leftover Mashed Potato Latkes from Andrea’s Garden Cooking

Parsnip Sweet Potato Latkes

Apple and Cheese Stuffed Latkes from The Kitchn

Potato Latke Sandwiches with Smoked Salmon

Carrot Rosemary Potato Latkes

Sweet Potato Latkes with Brown Sugar Syrup & Candied Pecans from The Shiksa
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Posted on October 29, 2013

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

Israeli Salad with Chickpeas, Feta & Fresh Mint

Yield:
4 servings

In our home there is a clear division of labor when it comes to the kinds of meals we both cook. The husband is in charge of meat and fish. I am in charge of soups, sauces and salads. (And dessert too of course). .

Salads are really so much fun to throw together. I love experimenting with seasonal ingredients I find at my local farmer’s market and also using ingredients I have hanging around in my house. And above all about salads: I love that you can improvise.

The salad calls for arugula but all you have is spinach? Just substitute! Have some apples in the house that you want to use before they go bad? Chop them up and throw them in! This is actually how some of my best salad creations came about in the first place including one of my favorites, this Spinach, Blueberry & Goat Cheese Salad with edamame and cucumbers. It was literally what I had in my fridge and it happened to combine together for a delightful and delicious result.

Israeli salad with chickpeas and feta

 

I have found that traditional Israel salad is just the kind of salad that can be made into multiple variations, each one slightly different. For a little more spice you can add a pinch or two of sumac. You can leave out the peppers, leave out the cucumbers, or even add a few things, like chickpeas, feta and mint.

This salad came about like so many of my other favorite salad combinations. It was Saturday afternoon, my daughter was playing at the park with her dad and I was given a few moments to enjoy lunch by myself – glorious. Wine might have also been involved. I looked in the fridge, and threw together what I had: tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, chickpeas and feta!

And by adding chickpeas and feta, this classic side salad becomes a light but hearty main dish packed with protein, fiber and most importantly, flavor.

 

Israeli Salad with Chickpeas, Feta & Fresh Mint

Posted on October 24, 2013

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Orange Cranberry Thanksgivukah Jelly Doughnuts

Yield:
12-15 doughnuts

Thanksgivukah is taking over: the menurkey (turkey + menorah) is the coveted item of the season and the interwebs are exploding with recipes, decorating ideas and kitschy paraphernalia to celebrate this “once in an eternity” event.

Not being one to turn up my nose at a Jewish fad, I set out to come up with my own perfect Thanksgivukah recipe.

I didn’t want to come up with some turkey-topped latke or cranberry Manischewitz sangria (although those are good ideas too). I wanted to think a bit sweet, since dessert is always my go-to. Pumpkin pie is my favorite traditional Thanksgiving dessert. But yet again, my mind kept straying to something slightly different. I thought…jelly doughnut…cranberry relish…it seemed almost too obvious.

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Cranberry relish-filled sufganiyot might not be the right dessert to serve right after a big Thanksgiving meal, since they really need to be fried fresh. But they are a perfect Thanksgiving brunch option. Or even a great activity for your family the day after since you can use up that leftover cranberry relish!

If you make a chunky relish like this

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then just puree the leftovers to use as the doughnut filling. If your relish is already smooth, then one less step!

Another tip: when filling the doughnuts it might seem like you are over-stuffing with relish, but you will want to make sure you are not skimping on the filling. When you insert the wooden skewer, wiggle it around a bit in the middle to create a relish-ready cavern. And don’t try to be too delicate with the piping bag – get it in there and squeeze away.

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Orange Cranberry Relish Sufganiyot

Posted on October 22, 2013

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Food Trending: The Ramen Burger

Have you heard of the ramen burger, well more accurately, a hamburger placed on a ramen noodle “bun”? I hadn’t either until yesterday when I saw a photo on Instagram and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Crazy! Genius! Delicious! Where has this been all my life? Where have I been all its life? The answer, of course is: Brooklyn, where all wacky but brilliant food ideas originate.

ramen burger

But perhaps the best part of the ramen burger is that it is 100% kosher-friendly. As this Buzzfeed article explains, all you need to recreate your own ramen burger is to use a packet of cooked ramen noodles, an egg and a little patience to make the ramen patties. Fantastic.

Rest assured: the crazy burger combos continue. While perusing Facebook earlier this week, I came across yet another wacky Brooklyn-born burger: the KUGEL burger by whimsical Jewish-inspired eatery Scharf & Zoyer. That’s right: a burger sandwiched between two slices of crispy, savory noodle kugel.

kugel burgerThis got me thinking: What other kosher-friendly, Jewish-inspired burger combinations could a food-obsessed fat kid like me dream up? Here are my answers:

Challah French Toast Breakfast Burger

Slice leftover challah into thick pieces around 1/2 inch thick. In a baking dish or shallow bowl whisk two eggs with 1/2 cup almond or soy milk. Dip challah slices in egg and milk mixture until completely coated, but not too soggy.

Heat a pan on medium heat and coat with 1 Tbsp vegetable oil.

Cook slices of challah on each side until golden brown, around 3-4 minutes.

Prepare hamburgers to your liking. Place hamburger patty on top of french toast slices. Top with fried egg, ketchup, maple syrup or other toppings of your choice. Place second slice of french toast on top.

Latke Burger

Prepare small batch of traditional potato latkes.

Prepare hamburgers to your liking. Place hamburger patty on top of latke.

Top with tomato, caramelized onions or other toppings of your choice. Place second latke on top.

Enjoy.

Posted on October 17, 2013

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

White Pumpkin Cheddar Ale Soup

Yield:
8-10 servings

Have you ever taken a trip to your local farmer’s market and seen some pumpkins or squash like this:

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And you thought, “I must have one of those!” Then you brought it home, sat it down on the counter, scratched your head and said – “ok, now what the heck do I do with this!?”

I felt this way recentlywhite pumpkin about a beautiful white pumpkin from a nearby farm. It was so pretty and round, I just had to have it.

But then I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.

Pasta? Nah.Too much work.

Pie? Seemed liked a waste.

Combine with beer and cheese for a rich and warming soup? Ding ding ding!

Most surprising thing about the white pumpkin was actually the color – the flesh is slightly yellow inside, not the same white of the outside. And when roasted, the flesh becomes even darker, resembling a cheese pumpkin puree.

So please welcome to the world my White Pumpkin Cheddar Ale Soup. Pair this was a big hunk of crusty bread, green salad and a cold pumpkin beer for a well-rounded and happy meal.

white pumpkin cheddar ale soup

White Pumpkin Cheddar Ale Soup

Posted on October 15, 2013

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

Pumpkin Flan

Yield:
12 servings

I am a sucker for fall spices – I just love the warmth they bring to any dish. But pumpkin pie, in particular, with its creamy pumpkin custard speckled with warm cinnamon and nutmeg, encased in a flaky crust and dolloped with fresh whipped cream? Well, that is a can’t-miss dish for me, and I can’t imagine ending a festive fall meal without it. It’s no wonder that for generations, pumpkin pie has been the go-to dessert for American families.

pumpkin flan

That’s all about to change.

Several years ago, during one of our many get-togethers, my mom pulled a fast one on the family, and replaced our much beloved pumpkin pie with the less traditional pumpkin flan. And while there were many skeptics in the bunch (myself included), once they had a single taste of the creamy, rich flavor and burst of spice from a little orange-tinged bite of the pumpkin flan, there was simply no going back. The verdict was in. We had a new fall dessert! Since then, serious jeers abound if we get together in the fall and there is no pumpkin flan in sight.

slice pumpkin flan

I understand that flan, in general, is a polarizing dish. Trust me, I’ve tasted my fair share of egg-y, rock solid, just plain bad flan. But if you’ve never tried Cuban-style flan, you’re doing yourself a disservice, as its thick, creamy custard with sweet caramel sauce oozing down the sides, is more akin to a crust-less cheesecake than anything else.

And when you combine that with the distinct flavors of fall that can only be found in a pumpkin pie, what results is an undeniably can’t-miss dish. It’s truly a perfect ending to any fall festive meal, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Shabbat, or in this year’s case, even Hanukkah. Promise.

Pumpkin Flan

Posted on October 10, 2013

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Home Cooking, Israeli-Style

Whereas the much acclaimed cookbook Jerusalem by Yotem Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi feature stunning recipes that sound delectable but require 27 stCook in Israeleps and a chef’s degree to execute properly, Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration by Orly Ziv is a new cookbook featuring basic Israeli fare for the home cook. And that’s a good thing.

Everyone loves the variety of salads, or “salatim,” that traditional Israeli cuisine offers, and Cook in Israel dedicates its first three sections to eggplant and tomatoes, salads and vegetables. Included are simple classics like baba ghanoush, hummus and Moroccan carrot salad. But there are also some innovative twists on tradition like Israeli salad with pomegranate and avocado and shakshuka with eggplant.

I also like the Holiday section which includes recipes for several kinds of latkes, honey cake and apple jam among others. Top on my list of recipes to try? The chocolate and halva babka. Delish.

Orly ZivOne of my few culinary turn-offs is fish baked in any kind of tomato sauce. This cookbook has four. But I won’t hold it against Ziv.

The ingredient list for the recipes is refreshingly short, and there is nothing that seems daunting.The book is truly filled with everyday, accessible recipes for the cook who loves to bring the flavors and warmth of Israel into their kitchen.

Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration, Orly Ziv

Posted on October 9, 2013

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Creamy Roasted Beet Soup

Yield:
4 servings

Before there was a baby or bills there were lots of vacations and other more frivolous ways that the husband and I spent our time and money.

shan in Vail

One Summer before we were married we went to Vail for a beautiful, outdoors-centric long weekend. I expected great hiking and scenic mountain views, but I didn’t expect such an exciting food scene: outdoor farmers markets, gourmet mountainside dinners and jalapenos roasted before my eyes, among other highlights.

 

roasted jalapenos

But the absolute culinary highlight from our time in Vail was a Sunday evening dinner at Kelly Liken, from acclaimed chef Kelly Liken. Little did we know, the restaurant throws its menu out the window on Sundays and cooks a completely new menu based on whatever is fresh at the farmers market that morning. I don’t remember everything we ate, but I do remember that it was outstanding.As our appetizer that evening we ordered a roasted beet soup that was unlike anything I had ever tasted before. I was so enamored with the soup that the husband, in true Jewish New Yorker form, asked the waiter if he could get the recipe for us to take home.

I was mildly embarrassed at his pushy request, but a few minutes later the waiter came back with the recipe jotted down in pen on a paper napkin. I don’t have that napkin anymore, but I have made the recipe enough times that it is forever engrained in my memory. Not to mention it was a pretty exciting moment to get the recipe for such a special soup straight from the chef. I may have made a few adjustments along the way, but no matter – it still turns out great.

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This soup can be served hot or cold, although I prefer it served warm with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt. The soup definitely requires patience since it has many steps to make it. But the result is so delicious it is worth the effort.

Note: you will need a fine mesh sieve or a food mill to make this soup. 

Creamy Roasted Beet Soup

Posted on October 7, 2013

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Pumpkin and Israeli Couscous Soup

I don’t know about you but I am just thrilled that September is over and we have moved past the chagim and into a new month. Beyond the happiness I feel for the chaos of the holidays being behind us, like many others I am so happy that it is officially fall and that everywhere I look there are pumpkins! While the temperatures where I live in Boston have remained in the 70’s it is still fall and therefore time for soup.

A few years ago, my husband and I went to New Orleans to visit friends. The wife, who is a fantastic cook, is always trying new recipes and she made us a delicious pumpkin soup.  It was a fall version of minestrone soup with totally different flavors than I had tasted before. I happily received the recipe from her, and have been experimenting with her version ever since. Anything with pumpkin is a must try and anything that is easily brought as lunch the next day is also a winner, and I promise, this make a great lunch!

pumpkin israeli couscous soup1

For this recipe, I toast the pumpkin seeds with salt and cayenne pepper to top the soup. It adds extra crunch and flavor.

Posted on October 3, 2013

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