Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sweet Potato Latkes With Toasted Marshmallows

Yield:
12 latkes

When I was brainstorming my Thanksgivukkah menu I kept dwelling on one of my favorite childhood holiday dishes – what my family calls “Sweet Potato Yum Yum” (or what another family might call sweet potato casserole). You are probably familiar with the heavenly combination of pureed sweet potatoes, margarine, brown sugar and spices, topped with marshmallows and baked to sweet, melted perfection.

Combining the flavors from my family’s Sweet Potato Yum Yum into individual-sized sweet potato latkes topped with toast marshmallows seemed like the perfect crowd-pleasing dish to mark this once-in-a-lifetime holiday. And it is. Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Sweet Potato Latkes3

 

Reprinted courtesy of www.thebigfatjewishwedding.com

Sweet Potato Latkes With Toasted Marshmallows

Posted on November 25, 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

Mashed Potato, Turkey and Cranberry Knishes with Cranberry Mustard

Yield:
18 appetizer-sized knishes

Is there anything better than waking up the day after Thanksgiving and raiding the fridge full of leftovers while everyone else is elbowing one another at the mall?

My favorite Thanksgiving leftovers were always the excess crescent rolls slathered in butter next to some stuffing and a heaping pile of glazed sweet potatoes. A few carbs during the holidays never hurt anyone. But there comes a point sometime on the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving where you just can’t look at another plate of turkey and glazed sweet potatoes. You are craving something different, but ahhh – who wants to waste all those leftover?

Fret no more because I have your solution: bite-sized Thanksgiving knishes made with leftover mashed potatoes, turkey and cranberry sauce. Combine these mini treats with some cranberry mustard dipping sauce and leftovers never sounded so good!

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Other variations:

  • Substitute the mashed potatoes with leftover stuffing or mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Substitute the cranberry sauce inside the knishes for leftover gravy.

The possibilities are endless, or at least as endless as your leftovers.

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Mashed Potato, Turkey and Cranberry Knishes with Cranberry Mustard

Posted on November 24, 2013

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Cakey Crunch Sweet Potato Kugel

Yield:
16 servings

Most of my favorite recipes use wholesome, healthful ingredients that are local and seasonal. I don’t buy a lot of processed products or packaged snacks. I truly enjoy making things from scratch.

But once in awhile I find a recipe or a product that I simple cannot resist. Oreo cookies. Entenmanns’s Cheese Danish Twist. And most recently a sweet potato kugel my mother-in-law made last year using sweet potatoes, marshmallows and a box of cake mix.

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My sister-in-law and I sat at one end of the long kitchen table with two heaping platefuls of the addictive kugel, unable to prevent ourselves from eating yet another serving.

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Soon after the sweet potato kugel binge, I fell asleep with my daughter upstairs for a full hour and a half. Forget the turkey-induced snooze fest…my kugel nap was just divine.

I convinced my mother-in-law to hand over the recipe, and with just a few small tweaks, I share it with you all. But I warn you: there is no going back. Make this at your own risk. You may not be able to put down your fork.

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Cakey Crunch Sweet Potato Kugel

Posted on November 20, 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

Kibbitzing at Kosherfest

A few weeks ago I had the hysterical pleasure of attending the 25th annual Kosherfest, the world’s largest kosher-certified products trade show. It’s an event dedicated to the newest and wackiest kosher foods available, but it’s also a meeting place of diverse food-interested Jews.

The two-day event feels like a synagogue kiddush on steroids: everything from basic cakes and cookies to gourmet gelato, fine wines and upscale BBQ food and the pervasive shoving and jockeying for position that inevitably occurs when hungry Jews are presented with seemingly endless platters of free food.

kosherfest1

It was like a giant game of Jewish geography, where you’re likely to run into everyone from your old camp counselor to your great-aunt’s mahjong partner. After all the Jewish geography and elbowing, I was able to make my way through the booths and taste some of the food.

In the delicious category the award goes to Gelato Petrini’s chocolate hazelnut and tiramisu flavored gelato – they were rich, creamy and a real treat from the frozen yogurt I am accustomed to eating.

The Ice Cream House’s cute ice cream sushi roll and Dependable Foods’ pizza cones may not win any awards for taste, but certainly deserve points for creativity and cute factor.

Mikee Mac

Pareve macaroni and cheese and hot chocolate? May sound unappealing but Mikee Mac’s non-dairy instant mac and cheese Cuppa J Hot Chocolate both won me over despite the lack of dairy.

And while I am not a big meat eater, I was impressed by the Italian Sausage Burger from Jack’s Gourmet.

Chanukah-House-web

Hanukkah is just around the corner, and so I must make mention of some holiday-specific dishes including Dr. Praeger’s kale pancake, an instant new favorite. Manischewitz’s Chanukah Cookie House featured menorah and mezuzah sugar icing decorations. And Saba Habib’s extra virgin olive oil was distinctly smooth, with an almost fruity flavor; I sopped it up with a slice of baguette and felt positively Mediterranean, ready for the festival of lights and oil.

The food was eclectic and delicious, vendors vied desperately for passersby, and it was absolute Jewish food mayhem.

It was a great day, even with all the elbow-dodging and acid reflux. But on a more serious note, Kosherfest is one of the few events I attend where I see all different types of Jews, from Hasidic to the most unaffiliated to everything in between, represented both behind the booths and circling the floor. It’s kind of nice that we all come together in harmony for something, if only for our unabashed love of food. Until next year!

Posted on November 19, 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

Tostones for Hanukkah

Yield:
4-6 servings

The day I moved into my very first apartment was an important day for me. I was starting my senior year in college, and for what seemed like the first time, I was taking a leap towards independence. Sure, I moved halfway across the country to go to school where I knew only a couple people, but living on campus, there’s a certain safety net in place to catch (and comfort) the students if they fall.

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I remember taking great care to choose an apartment within my budget, and carefully selecting my roommates. We plotted and planned how we’d decorate, and made memories building our ready-to-assemble furniture from our favorite Swedish retailer. Not surprising, the part of apartment living I was most excited about was that I would finally have a kitchen of my own. While my roommates concentrated on finding art to decorate our walls and the perfect rug to tie the room together, I focused on stocking our kitchen with our favorite foods and the tools with which to cook them. I found mismatched sets of pots and pans at my local discount store, and piece by piece, built our little kitchen into a functional one our friends begged to come and borrow. It was nothing fancy, but it worked for us. Granted, we could never invite more than four people for dinner, because that was how many plates we had, but we made it work.

My mom noticed my efforts, and took it upon herself to stock our little kitchen with its crowning jewel: a tostonera. A tostonera is a device specifically designed to smash chunks of fried green plantains into crisp, golden coins, called tostones. And the fact that my mom was gifting me a tostonera was a really big deal, because this served as an informal invitation to join the culinary ranks of the matriarchs in the family.

Just about every Cuban person who cooks has a tostonera, and now, I did too. I was so excited to put my tostonera to use, and at the first Hanukkah party of the season, I surprised my friends with a new treat. I figured that in many ways, Cubans use plantain bananas the way Americans use potatoes, so swapping traditional potato latkes with savory tostones seemed like a natural choice.

Pressing Tostones

As my friends oohed and aahed while they crunched their way through the small plate of tostones, I smiled with delight, because I knew I was on my way to earning my culinary stripes. 

Tostones for Hanukkah

This Hanukkah, if you’re looking for something outside the traditional latke box, take a cue from the Cuban cookbook, and serve tostones alongside your festive meal. And if your mother hasn’t gifted you with a tostonera, fear not. You can achieve similar results with the bottom of a frying pan.

Tostones

Posted on November 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

Our 2013 Jewish Food Hanukkah Gift Guide

Noshers! Here are our Hanukkah gift picks for a happy and healthy holiday around the table.

You should also check out our Hanukkah 101 Shopping Guide“Shalom, Y’all!” Southern & Jewish Gift Guide, Gift Guide for Jewish Rainbow Pride, and our Gift Guide for your Favorite Camp Kid.

Quality olive oil is key to all tasty recipes—especially latkes! We love Baja Precious Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($9.99): it’s fragrant, beautiful, and BPA-free. Put that in your menorah and burn it.

baja

What is Hanukkah without gelt? Exactly! Get your gelt on with these Belgian Hanukkah Milk Chocolate Gold Gelt Coins ($21.99).

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For the DIY Nosher mom, this Zoku Mini Pops Mold ($17.99) lets you create 9 ice pops—banana milk, chocolate, Kedem Concord Grape Juice—you love it, you freeze it.

molds

Do you strive to be a balaboosta? (That’s Yiddish for “perfect homemaker.”) Well, the Balaboosta Cookbook features 140 delicious Mediterranean recipes and will put you well on your way!

bala

Are latkes and knishes ever in your hunger wishes? If so, this “Latkes & Knishes Are My Wishes” ($19.99) is adorable and all black, so you can get it as oil-drenched as you’d like!

latkesnishes

This Star of David Bundt Pan ($28.27) makes a festive Hanukkah cake with limited effort!

bundt

You can’t be more prepared for serving up latkes this Hanukkah with this Stainless Steel Hanukkah Latke Server ($8.95).

latkeserver

Let’s Nosh! ($6.29) is the perfect book of easy and satisfying Jewish comfort foods, from bagels to latkes and everything in between. Your family will be very pleased with these snacks.

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You weren’t just going to line up those naked bottles of wine and call it a party, were you? We didn’t think so. These Happy Hanukkah Wine Charms ($35) look pretty cute around any (glass) neck.

winecharms

These Hanukkah Menorah Kitchen Towels ($9.40) come in sets of three and will bring some easy festivity to your home (and cleanup!).

towlettes

We hope this guide makes it easy for you to pick out all the gifts for the nosher in you and your family! Happy Thanksgivukkah 2013 to you!

Posted on November 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

Meatball, Egg, and Arugula Cheeseless Pizza

Yield:
3-4 servings

Every home cook has those go-to meals that their friends and family can’t get enough of. For me, it’s my Italian meatballs that I learned in the kitchen with my mother. While standing at my mother’s side, she would fry batch after batch of meatballs. But only after taste-testing the first one to make sure it was seasoned correctly.

I love carrying on this tradition, and relish sharing this special meal with my loved ones. When my close friends hear I am making spaghetti and meatballs for Sunday night dinner they will drop everything to come join us for dinner. The husband isn’t always so eager to share this coveted meal.

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Last week for the first time I served up spaghetti and meatballs for my pasta-loving daughter. She typically gobbles up pasta with sauce pretty quickly, but this time she voraciously ate 5 entire portions of chopped up spaghetti with bits of meatballs. I was a proud mama.

One of my favorite parts about whipping up a large batch of meatballs and sauce on a Sunday is having leftovers for the rest of the week. The husband and I often buy a crunchy loaf of fresh bread the next day and make meatball subs. It’s such an easy weeknight meal, especially when paired with a side salad or steamed broccoli.

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But even after heaping bowls of spaghetti and meatball subs there were still more meatballs to be had.  What to do with those last precious meatballs?

A light bulb went off and I thought: pizza! I have made non-dairy pizza with meatballs before, and it was good enough. But I wanted to make something really special. As I was mulling over what I had in my fridge and what might combine nicely with the meatballs I thought….eggs….arugula…and another great non-dairy pizza combination was born in my humble kitchen.

Tip: don’t skimp on the extra drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt – it really brings out the flavor of the unique pizza. And don’t worry if you don’t have a pizza stone – you can also use a baking sheet.

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Meatball, Egg and Arugula Cheeseless Pizza

Posted on November 13, 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

Bourbon Pecan and Chocolate Gelt Pie

Yield:
8 servings

Wondering what to do with all your leftover gelt after making the DIY Thanksgivukkah table runner? I’ve got the perfect pie recipe to use up those chocolates!

GeltPie

Both decadent and delicious, this Bourbon Pecan and Gelt Pie is the perfect way to end your Thanksgivukkah meal this holiday season. To create this recipe, I combined a classic pecan pie with some chocolate gelt candy and then added a touch of Bourbon for a little something extra.

Just like Thanksgivukkah itself, everyone is sure to love it!

BurbounPecanandGelt

 

Bourban Pecan and Chocolate Gelt Pie

Posted on November 10, 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

Cumin Spiced Tomato Soup with Wild Rice

Yield:
6 servings

The weather is starting to take a turn, and it’s debatable whether it’s for better or worse. There is a definite bright side, and it’s not the skies: it’s soup season. Right when you’ve started unrolling your blankets, and reminiscing about fire places, that’s the time to stick a pot on the stove top.

I think everyone has a memory of tomato soup warming them up from the inside out. Tomato soup is one of those comfort food classics, that like coke, doesn’t need a new formula.

Tomato soup + me + spoon = happy.

matbucha

That’s why I took the liberty with this recipe to not reinvent the wheel that’s been rolling smoothly; instead I played with it just a touch. While making this soup I couldn’t help but think about matbucha, the tomato based salad Jews have been drowning their challah in for generations throughout the Middle East. Its acidic touch of lemon and hint of cumin is what makes the salad so popular among noshers of all ages.

I added some lemon juice and spices similar to the ones found in matbucha, and some sweet peppers to give it a touch of unexpected flavor that’ll warm you up like an Indian summer.

tomato soup with wild rice

Cumin Spiced Tomato Soup with Wild Rice

Posted on November 6, 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

DIY Thanksgivukkah Tablescape Ideas

I am so excited Hanukkah and Thanksgiving decided to team up this year and give us the ultimate holiday: Thanksgivukkah! And since this holiday will not happen again for another 70,000 years, we decided to really do it up. We set up a beautiful table inspired by the traditions of both holidays, and gave you some DIY’s so you can bring this Thanksgivukkah spirit to your own home.

Thanksgivukkah Gelt Table Runner

DIY STEPS FOR HANUKKAH GELT TABLE RUNNER

1.& 2. Staple together cardstock to create a base. We used 3 pieces of 11×14 cardstock, but you can customize the size of the paper and the length of the base for your own table. Carefully unwrap all gelt – you will need both wrapper pieces intact.

3.Fold down all edges flat against the underside [silver side] of the wrapper.

4. Separate the designs into two piles, matching like with like. Using pieces from one pile, lay down a row of wrappers from edge to edge of cardstock. With a hot glue gun, attach the row to cardstock. Lay a second row over the first using pieces from the other pile.

5.Continue to scallop the rows, alternating designs.

6. Place along center of table, and voila! You have your very own gelt table runner.

 

GELTDIYalt

 

DIY STEPS FOR METALLIC FEATHER PLACE CARDS

1.Lay feathers out along bottom of a cardboard box. Using painter’s tape, cover about 2/3 of each feather completely. Tape just below the exposed feather tip at an angle for an artistic flair.

2. Coat the exposed tips of the feathers with metallic spray paint.

3. Allow to dry fully before gently peeling off painters tape.

4. Thread name cards* with craft wire, cut into approximately 6 inch pieces.

5.Align name card at base of feather.

6. Wrap entire length of wire around base to secure name card to feather, then place atop the dish or plate at each setting.

*We printed our name cards, but you can write guests’ names on cardstock of any size.

FEATHERDIY


Posted on November 4, 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

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