When I was in high school, I had the most wonderful English teacher (that’s you, Mr. Scanlon!) who quoted Emerson, roughly, saying that we all contradict ourselves.
I often feel like I am the epitome of contradiction where eating and cooking is concerned. I strive to keep a mostly vegetarian diet, but sometimes I can’t help it. I relish making something fatty and delicious using red meat. And my Pastrami Sandwich Challah fits this bill precisely.
Stuffing my challah with meat all began with my famous challah dogs (stay tuned for that recipe!). But recently I had a hankering to stuff my challah with something else. Ground beef? Seemed messy. Chicken? So dry. But then I thought of the North American classic deli roll—a dish I did not grow up with, and which I find both disgusting and delicious. And the idea for this crazy new challah began to take shape.
If you have a local butcher as an option, please please please go get freshly sliced pastrami. Thin is best—a thick-cut pastrami will not result in the same consistency.
Make sure not to spread the Russian dressing on too thick, or you could end up with a leaky challah. I know that sounds delicious, but it might not make for such a pretty-looking challah.
Let us know if you try this. I’d love to hear modifications!
5 cups of all purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
½ Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp onion powder
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
1 Tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 eggs plus one egg yolk
1/8-1/4 lb thinly sliced pastrami
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp mayo
Dried minced onion
Thick sea salt (optional)
Proof yeast by placing yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water in a small bowl. Stir gently just once or twice. Allow to sit around 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.
In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, onion powder and 1/2 cup sugar. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil. Mix thoroughly.
Add another cup of flour and 2 eggs until smooth (save extra egg yolk for later). Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.
Add another 1 1/2 cups flour and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 10 minutes (or however long your hands will last).
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 3-4 hours.
After dough has risen, roll out dough using a rolling pin until it is about ½ inch thick. Mix ketchup and mayo in a small bowl and spread a thin layer all over the dough.
Lay pastrami down in a single layer overlapping pieces only slightly.
Working quickly, start rolling up the dough towards you. Try and keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Pinch the end when you finish.
Create a pinwheel shaped-challah by snaking the dough around and around in a circle around itself. When finished, tuck the end under the challah neatly and pinch lightly. This doesn't have to be perfect - remember, as long as it tastes good, almost no one will care what it looks like.
Allow challah to rise another hour. This extra rise will ensure fluffy challah.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush challah with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seeds, dried onion and a touch of thick sea salt (optional). Bake challah for 27-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
The Super Bowl is a week away, so the men in my life tell me. I am not much for subscribing to traditional gender roles, but I admit freely: I hate football. But I do love cooking up snacks for football-viewing especially spicy chicken wings and beef-stuffed knishes.
Looking for some kosher snack ideas for the football fans in your life? We have some great dairy, meat, pareve and gluten free ideas from our recipe archives and our favorite bloggers.
What will you be cooking up? Share below!
Roasted Garlic Hummus (pareve)
Beet Chips with Spicy Honey Mayo (pareve)
Spinach and Cheese Borekas (dairy)
Classic Hot Wings (meat)
Sweet and Spicy Asian Wings (meat)
Love challah? Love Chinese food? You can’t believe the luck you’re in: Challah with a Chinese Twist!
Hold onto your challah covers, Noshers!
Molly Yeh, a rocking young Chinese-American Jew and world-class baker just came up with an incredible recipe that celebrates her mixed heritage. And we’re so glad she did!
Find her gloriously easy and delicious recipe here. “Inspired by the scallion pancake,” she writes.
We’re in food-love!
Hello Nosher readers! I’m so honored to have a recipe on this lovely site. I’ve been a long-time reader of MyJewishLearning.com so am extra honored to be featured.
Now, about this recipe. Lately, I’ve been on a mad “one-pot” meal frenzy.
I’ve got several full time jobs, including one with health insurance benefits and one with hugs-and-kisses benefits, both of which take up a lot of time. When it comes to cooking for Shabbat (or any meal), I try to keep it simple. This little side dish would be perfect with some grilled lemon salmon or any baked fish, really. And, if bread crumbs are omitted or almond flour is substituted, it’s grain-free and gluten-free friendly, which also means Passover-friendly. I hope you enjoy!
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (or almond flour if gluten-free)
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the tomatoes, cauliflower, garlic and olive oil in an 9x13-inch baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower are browning, about 25 - 30 minutes. After 25 - 30 minutes, you might notice that the casserole has become a bit watery.
Note: you might want to spoon out some of that moisture to help the cauliflower keep its crispness.
Combine the panko breadcumbs and the butter, then sprinkle over the tomatoes. Next, sprinkle the Parmesan over the casserole. Broil for 30 - 45 seconds, then sprinkle the basil over the top. Serve.
I have been following Whitney Fisch, aka Jewhungry, for the past 6 months on instagram, and eventually started reading her blog as well. I love her fresh, kosher recipes and the stories she shares about being a mom and a middle school counselor at a day school in Miami. So when she and I finally got to catch up on the phone last week I was absolutely thrilled. Read more below to hear how she got into cooking (hint: it all started in Jerusalem!) and about an exciting Passover cookbook she has in the works.
Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging about three years ago, initially with my friend Jeremy, mostly about cultural Jewish stuff and some food. I was working all the time and I really needed an outlet that allowed me some escape from my busy work life. It didn’t start as a food blog, and I actually took some time off from blogging all together while I was pregnant because the smell of all food made me nauseous.
After my pregnancy, Jeremy and I, though still very close friends, decided he would focus on other writing opportunities so I ended up taking over the blog, and it organically took on a new direction: parenting stories, stories about being a social worker and a counselor as well as stories about growing up in the South and living in Miami. And of course, I was writing about what I was cooking and eating.
Have you always loved cooking?
No not even a little bit!
I tried so hard to cook after college. And I had some tragic mishaps along the way. For example, when I was 22 I tried to make potato salad, but it didn’t dawn on me that I had to boil the potatoes first. I tried to serve it at a backyard picnic…well, it was not successful.
It wasn’t until I moved to Jerusalem and I was a stone throw’s away from the shuk that I started experimenting with cooking. It happened that I also met my future husband at that time and he let me use him as a guinea pig for my cooking. There was actually one time he made roasted potatoes with onion soup mix – how “Ashkenazi mom” of him – and I thought it was a culinary revelation. This shows you how much I was food illiterate.
It was through being in Jerusalem, having the time to cook in the evenings and being so close such amazing, fresh food that I really started cooking.
Has living in Miami influenced your cooking?
Absolutely! I am influenced both in terms of taste and visually. The colors that I choose, props I use on the blog – everything. I use lime and cilantro in at least half my dishes – those flavors are so prevalent here.
And the weather here really influences my cooking. I am not making cholent, stews or heavy meats. It’s 85 degrees! So I want to eat fresh.
You didn’t always keep kosher. Is there anything you miss?
I wouldn’t say there is anything I miss per say. It is more about foods I am curious about that I have never eaten. For example, I want to try full-on French food. I read all of Julia Child’s books. And then I read all of Ruth Reichl’s books. So it’s more about what I am curious about eating more so that any single food that I miss.
What have you learned from blogging?
Early on I was advised by someone who told me I should write less, and I am glad I ignored that advice. I get amazing letters from people that read and really enjoy the stories I share.
So while I have continued writing, at some point I stopped doing complicated recipes and starting cooking more simple things, because that’s what I had time for and also those are popular with people. Sometimes people just want a good veggie chili recipe, etc.
What has been the best thing that has happened as a result of blogging?
Definitely the connections between people – the friends I have made online, especially with other bloggers. For example, I had a google hangout this morning with Amy Kritzer, Liz Rueven and The Patchke Princess talking about the Passover cookbook we are working on! I feel like we are supportive of one another, not competitive.
I have made so many friends through the internet and blogging including unexpected friends like The Rural Roost, who is neither kosher nor Jewish. But how exciting is it to connect with someone from Montana who I may not have ever met otherwise!
What advice do you have for someone else who wants to start a food blog?
Make sure you figure out your voice and where you want to go with blogging. Once you figure out your voice, you need to make sure you are connecting with other bloggers who share a similar focus as you. It helps build a community through like-minded bloggers.
What’s on the horizon for Jewhungry?
A lot!I am moving to Los Angeles where, among other things, I will be doing recipes and parent blogging for JkidLA. I am also working on a redesign for the blog and of course the Passover cookbook I mentioned.
A lot of my friends have fond memories of their grandmother’s chicken soup or their mom’s amazing brisket. Sadly, I don’t have these sacred food memories. My Jewish grandmother (who I love dearly) is not such a great cook. Her kugel is always dried-out, her soup is too fatty and still needs salt, and she serves jarred gefilte fish at holidays, which more closely resembles lint from a dryer than something edible.
But one of the dishes she makes that I do enjoy is her marinated cucumber salad. It’s a dish that she learned to make from her grandmother (my great-great grandmother) who lived most of her life in Russia.
I updated her recipe just a bit, using seedless English cucumbers instead of regular cucumber, and adding a bit of spice with just a pinch of red pepper. I also love serving my salad in mason jars – definitely a modern twist.
This quick salad is a cinch to whip up, keeps for several days in the fridge and is a real crowd-pleaser. My young daughter devours it, and even my father-in-law approves – truly the ultimate compliment.
1 large seedless English cucumber
1 onion, thinly sliced
6 Tbsp white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp water
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
Slice cucumber 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and dill.
Add thinly sliced cucumbers and onions to bowl and mix until liquid coats all the cucumbers and onions.
Place salad into container and allow to chill several hours or overnight.
Tu Bishvat is the perfect holiday for locavores, school kids and home cooks, alike. It’s a fruit-focsued holiday with plenty of room for creative cooking and connecting more deeply with the land as Spring approaches.
School kids love the field trips to plant trees while home cooks and chefs dream up new ideas for integrating the seven edible species mentioned in the Torah:
When M. returned from a quick trip to visit his parents in Israel, he brought back a tightly wrapped disc of plump, moist figs in his backpack. I immediately turned to Mollie Katzen’s latest vegetarian book The Heart of the Plate for inspiration on how to integrate these beauties into a dish where figs would be the stars while I stay true to eating within the growing season here in the Northeast.
5-6 ripe figs (dried are fine)
1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime
3 ounces parmesan cheese
1 loaf ciabatta or sourdough baguette (fresh or day-old)
1 large or 2 small bunches lacinato kale (1/2 pound total)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, cut in half and then into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
lemon or lime wedges
Stem the figs and slice them lengthwise into about 5 wedges apiece. Place them in a medium dish and sprinkle with lemon or line juice. Toss gently to coat and set aside.
Shave strips of parmesan from the block of cheese, using a sturdy vegetable peeler. Lovely cheese ribbons will ensue. Set aside.
Slice the bread into approximately a dozen thin (as in almost see-through) slices. Larger slices from ciabatta can be halved for easier handling and consumption. Set aside.
Hold each kale leaf by the stem and use a very sharp knife to release the leaf from the stem (it's OK to leave the narrow part of the stem that blends into the leaf farther up).
Make a pile of leaves, roll them tightly, and cut crosswise into thin strips. Transfer to a large bowl of cold water and swish around to clean. Spin very dry and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.
Place a large deep skillet over medium heat for about a minute. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the onion and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt.
Cook, stirring and/or shaking the pan a little, for 2-3 minutes, until the onion becomes shiny and is still this side of tender.
Transfer the hot onion to the kale in the bowl and stir everything around for a bit, then return the entire bowlful of kale-plus-onion to the pan. Stir-fry quickly - for just a minute or so - over medium-high heat until the kale turns an even deeper shade of green and wilts slightly.
Return it all to the bowl, tossing in the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. You can add some of the parmesan ribbons at this point, if you like them to melt in slightly.
Remove the pan from the heat, wait a minute or two, then add the vinegar to the pan (stand back - it will sizzle), swirl it around, and pour what's left of it onto the kale. (It will most likely evaporate.)
Without bothering to clean the pan, return it to the stove over medium heat. Wait another minute, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.
Add the bread slices in a single layer and grill on each side until lightly golden and perfectly crisp.
Transfer the toasts to the kale, along with the figs and all their juice.
Toss quickly (no need to get things uniform), adding the remaining cheese and walnuts as you go.
Serve right away, passing a pepper mill over the salad and offering wedges of lemon or lime to be squeezed over the figs.
Yes, yes it’s COLD. We all got the memo. So instead of just kvetching about it, how about warming up with some homemade soup.
I love a hearty soup with a piece of crusty bread for lunch or paired along side a chopped salad for dinner. Soup is a great way to use leftovers, and also a great way to get in some extra veggies.
So while you’re bundled up avoiding the polar vortex, try your hand at one of these satisfying soups that is sure to make you forget that it’s actually -4 degrees outside.
Hearty Lentil Soup from Liz Rueven
Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Soup from Martha Stewart
Cumin Spiced Tomato Soup with Wild Rice from Aviv Harkov
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Weekday dinnertime, sigh. You’re tired, you’re hungry and you just want to sit down with a glass of wine and unwind from the day.
Before you reach for those takeout menus, you may want to rummage around in your fridge to see what ingredients you have on hand that can easily be thrown together. That’s exactly what I did last week while looking for something quick, easy (but delicious) to have for dinner after a long day at work.
Because you cook the broccoli with the pasta, this pasta dish is really a cinch to whip up, even on those nights when cooking is the last thing you want to do. No chickpeas? You could replace them with cannellini beans. Extra chicken lying around? Leave out the ricotta and add in some grilled chicken pieces instead.
The lemon zest in this dish goes a long way, packing a strong punch of flavor with such a small step. Do you have a lemon zester as part of your kitchen arsenal? If not make sure to get one immediately! I have one on hand all the time, and even have a separate one for Passover. Here’s the one I love using.
1 cup penne pasta
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup chickpeas
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta as directed. For the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add broccoli florets to water.
Drain pasta and broccoli.
Add pasta and broccoli to a large bowl and coat with olive oil. Add chickpeas and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Add ricotta on top and serve.
Okay everyone, it’s a new year, and so it’s time for a new salad!
Kale is everywhere, and I must admit – I long ago hopped onto the kale train. I love making roasted kale as a salty, crispy snack. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I would make my way through three entire bags of kale in a single week. I just love kale and I know I am not the only one. There’s even a cookbook called Fifty Shades of Kale dedicated to the leafy green!
Recently I’ve had a few different kinds of salad using raw kale as the base, instead of spinach or other mixed greens. It was hearty and really satisfying, so I decided I would move on from roasting or sauteing the kale, and go right for a chopped kale salad.
You can dress this salad up to your liking by adding some chopped cucumber, red onion or some feta cheese. Want to make this this salad into a full meal? Add grilled chicken on top for a hearty lunch or dinner.
3 cups chopped fresh kale
2 medium beets
1/2 apple, diced
1/4 cup chopped candied walnuts
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the beets. Place in tin foil and roast in oven for 45-60 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool. Remove the outer peel of beets using hands or a vegetable peeler.
Cut beets into bite-sized pieces.
Place chopped kale in a large salad bowl. Add beets, apple, candied walnuts and dried cherries or cranberries. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or salad dressing of your choosing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.