Monthly Archives: March 2014

Chopped Liver with Apple Reduction

Yield:
8 servings

Chopped liver is one of the most iconic Jewish dishes. It’s been consumed spread on top of challah and matzah for generations. But the Ashkenazi version doesn’t really do much to impress me, with only onions to add flavor, I find the taste bland.

liver-nosher

I wanted to create something that would enhance the naturally rich flavor of liver. So I looked for inspiration from more Middle Eastern flavors. Ironically, nothing is more Israeli than Turkish coffee. And perhaps also surprising is that the bitterness of the coffee really compliments the liver and apple flavors.

The result is a classic Jewish dish with an elegant twist and a really delicious taste.

 

Chopped Liver with Apple Reduction

Posted on March 30, 2014

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

Latke-Crusted Chicken Breasts

Yield:
4 servings

A few years ago my dear friend and fellow food-enthusiast Rachel traveled to the Czech Republic to explore her father’s family roots. While there she experienced some amazing native and Jewish-inspired food including a chicken schnitzel wrapped in potato pancakes.

STOP THE PRESSES.CHICKEN WRAPPED IN POTATO PANCAKES. YUM.

When I heard about latke-crusted chicken, I was enamored. In love. I had to recreate this masterpiece.

latke-chicken-3So as I was thinking about Passover and something new to make this year, it dawned on me that this chicken dish could easily be Passover-friendly. And while I don’t normally use matzo meal or potato starch in my Passover cooking, this recipe does require small amounts of both. But it’s so delicious, it’s worth it.

latke-chicken-1Flipping the chicken with the potato latke crust is probably the trickiest part, so just do it carefully using a good spatula and you will be fine.

Latke-Crusted Chicken Breasts

Posted on March 26, 2014

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

Passover Cookbook Roundup

There are no shortage of Jewish cookbooks out there these days, and Passover is no exception. With the holiday fast approaching, I am furiously recipe testing, menu planning and pouring over the stack of Passover cookbooks that has collected on my desk.

Here are a few of my favorites and a few new releases special for Passover 2014.

4 bloggers dish

4 Bloggers Dish, Amy Kritzer, Liz Rueven, Whitney Fisch, Sara Lasry

This e-book cookook exclusive is the collaborative effort of four prominent Jewish food bloggers including Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me; Amy Kritzer of What Jew Wanna Eat, Whitney Fisch of Jewhungry and Sara Lasry of The Patchke Princess. The photos are beautiful and the recipes are innovative. And at less than $5, you’re not likely to have buyer’s remorse.

Passover made easy

Passover Made Easy, Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek

The first thing I noticed about the Passover Made Easy cookbook was how beautiful it was. The second thing I noticed was that there is potato starch in nearly everything, which is not my my personal preference in how I approach Passover cooking.

I like some of the special touches in the cookbook such as a brief wine guide at the beginning, some pretty plating ideas for Seder dinners and a replacement index to provide alternatives to different ingredients. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of meatballs in blueberry sauce, which sounds like something my 2 year old might suggest for dinner, so I probably won’t be giving that one a try.

But the brisket egg rolls, citrus beet salad and potato flanken kugel sound like my cup of tea, so can’t wait to try them out.

No Potato Passover, Aviva Kanoff

Tired of potatoes during Passover? Aviva Kanoff was too which is why she wrote the No Potato Passover cookbook. The recipes are no frills, but simple enough for most cooks. The photos of Aviva’s recipes and travels are stunning. You can read more here about Aviva’s journey as a cookbook author and check out her recipe for Spaghetti Squash Kugel.

Taste of Pesach_dust jacket-2.inddA Taste of Pesach, multiple contributors

If your family loves meat and kugel, then this is the cookbook for you. There are so many kinds of roasts, steak and kugel in this cookbook, it will keep you busy all week long. The dessert selection features several mousse recipes, a personal favorite during Passover as well as an intriguing Tri-Color Sorbet Ring that is striking if only in appearance. And while many of the recipes seem like they could also have featured prominently in a Sisterhood Synagogue cookbook, there are also some surprising recipes like the White Velvet Soup with Honeyed Chestnut Garnish and Rhubarb Compote.

Posted on March 25, 2014

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Salt & Pepper Spaghetti Squash Kugel

While looking at cooked spaghetti squash one day and noticing its remarkable likeness to its namesake, spaghetti, I was inspired to experiment with a noodle kugel. I researched classic recipes for a “yerushalmi kugel” calling for caramelized sugar using 2 cups of oil and two cups of sugar, in addition to eggs. At first I attempted it, but seeing all that oil and sugar in the pan, I couldn’t bare to expose my beautiful and healthful squash to such a fatty fate and decided to experiment starting with just a teaspoon of sugar and a few tablespoons of oil. To my surprise and delight, the kugel came out light, fluffy and delicious.

spaghetti-squash-kugel-stam

To cook the spaghetti squash, follow these directions which I love. I hope you enjoy this healthy alternative!

Salt & Pepper Spaghetti Squash Kugel

Posted on March 20, 2014

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

Blogger Spotlight: Aviva Kanoff

Aviva Kanoff, author of No-Potato Passover, and I have “known” each other for years, but never actually met until last week. I had followed her career as a cookbook author the past few years, partially because I loved her approach to fresh cooking for Passover and her mouth-wateringly beautiful photography, and also because we have several mutual friends in common – such a small world!

We finally had the chance to sit down for coffee together last week so I could hear about her latest project, Gluten Free Around the World and talk all things Passover.

Aviva Kanoff1

Where did the idea for No-Potato Passover come from?

Several years ago I came up with the idea to do a no-potato Passover challenge with my family. I thought: what would happen if we didn’t use ANY potatoes this year during Passover!? And because I am the kind of person who likes to really do things full-force, this wasn’t going to be just a Passover with limited potatoes: it would be literally no potatoes. When I told my mom she had a heart attack. But finally she came around. I did let my family have a few potatoes for carpas.

When I went shopping for the no-potato Passover Seder, it was like I was seeing color for the first time: green brussel sprouts! Purple eggplants! Red beets! Prior to that year I had had potato tunnel vision.  I felt very excited at this challenge. It was like an adventure.

So how did the book come about?

no-potato-passover-coverI actually have a degree from the French Culinary Institute, but it wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to pursue professionally. At least not being a restaurant chef. But I also would never have pictured myself as a cookbook author. Now in hindsight it makes perfect sense; it seems so obvious. I love cooking, food, travel and photography. Writing a cookbook really combined all my passions.

After that first no-potato Passover with my family, I gave myself a year to write the book and said if I could get it done I would try to publish it myself.

How has the cookbook influenced you and your cooking?

I actually now want to be a food educator after writing these two cookbooks. I have realized that I love turning people on to new foods that they never would have tried otherwise. My family didn’t even eat brussel sprouts until two years ago, and now they love them!

Too many people think that healthy eating is expensive and time-consuming. I want to educate people about accessible, healthy eating. I think people don’t want to believe that healthy cooking is so simple because then they don’t have an excuse.

I mean, my dream is to swim around in a large pot of pappardelle pasta with butter. But who can do that?! Just because it’s yummy doesn’t mean it’s good for you. And I want people to choose more foods that are good for them.

How do you plan your Passover menu?

I always have a tentative menu, which I print out and put up on the front of the fridge. But even after I write it up, it varies. I will leave room for changes and improvising especially because I like to see what’s fresh at the supermarket. I will go shopping and get carried away with beautiful artichokes or purple cauliflower, and then suddenly we have an addition to the menu. I get distracted by beautiful produce like a kid in a candy shop.

I also like to make sure my menus are inclusive. I am sensitive towards special diets and preferences, so I always try to incorporate dishes that everyone can eat.

coconut chicken

What’s your favorite dish to make during Passover?

My coconut-crusted chicken with plum dipping sauce. I was always envious when I saw coconut-crusted shrimp and so I wanted to make a version I could eat. The plum dipping sauce is a great way to use up fruit that is starting to go bad so it doesn’t go to waste.

So what’s next in the world of Aviva Kanoff?

My next cookbook is coming out in June 2014 – Gluten Free Around the World. With this cookbook I wanted to create something beautiful for people with gluten free diets. But I didn’t want it to be negative. I wanted this to be a gluten free “adventure” instead of “dealing with your disease.”

Posted on March 18, 2014

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

Rainbow Hamantaschen

Have you seen the gorgeous rainbow hamantaschen making its way around the internet in time for Purim? I first noticed the beautiful and innovative hamantaschen on the instagram feed of Kitchen Tested and also featured them in my own round-up of Sweet, Savory & Booze-Inspired Hamantaschen. What a beautiful and creative labor of love.

Rainbow-Hamantaschen-finalAnd just this week one of our friends over at the Keshet blog decided to try her hand at making the colorful treats. Check out Jordyn’s version—not too shabby for a non-baker!

KeshetPurim-1-of-1-131What do you think: Are you daring enough to try your hand at this?

KeshetPurim-1-of-1-7Make sure to check out Jordyn’s adventures in rainbow hamantaschen-baking!

Posted on March 12, 2014

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

Coconut Cheesecake Hamantaschen

Yield:
2 dozen cookies

Some things don’t require a lengthy intro, and these hamantaschen are precisely that. I made them last year and was determined to recreate them this year in time for Purim. With only a few days until Purim, I got to work late last night and I am happy to share that they are as delicious as I remember!

coconut-cheesecake-haman-3The filling is creamy, with a hint of coconut inside, and the perfect amount of toasted coconut on top. Tip: note in the directions to chill the assembled cookies before baking them. This will ensure your filling doesn’t leak out and the cookie remains intact.

coconut-cheesecake-haman-2Want to take these totally over the top? Melt some dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and drizzle on top. Allow chocolate to cool and harden completely before serving and eating.

Coconut Cheesecake Hamantaschen

Posted on March 11, 2014

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

Adult-Approved, Kid-Friendly & Kosher

I love when friends and family send me baking or cooking questions – it always gets me excited! And just last week a friend on Facebook reached out to me seeking ideas for recipes that would satisfy both her daughter and her and her husband. I mean, isn’t that always the question for busy parents? What can I cook up quickly that my kid will eat and I can enjoy as well?

So to answer her question, here are a few of my favorite cookbooks, blogs and recipes that have proven crowd-pleasers for my family.

When my daughter was first born my friend Sara sent me a copy of Parents Need to Eat Too, from writer Debbie Koenig, Not only does this book contain a host of great recipes, it really got me thinking on how to cook things that could be adapted for both kids and parents. I loved reading through this book and highly recommend it as a great starting point for the busy parent who likes to cook.

ParentsNeedToEatToo-pb-c

Some of the ways this book got me thinking was around how to use one ingredient or dish several ways. For example, a simple roast chicken (bought or made) is one of the most versatile items you can cook weekly in order to satisfy all your family members. Chicken breasts can be sliced and put on top of a hearty salad, mixed in with veggies and pasta or made into chicken salad. And now that my daughter is almost 2, she loves getting her little hands on a drumstick. When she was younger we might mix up some finely diced chicken with rice for a yummy dinner.

Steamed broccoli and diced, roasted sweet potato pieces are another favorite to keep in the fridge. Broccoli gets eaten plain by our daughter, and we can use the broccoli to put on top of pizza or served alongside a weeknight entrée.

Weelicious is one of my favorite kid-focused blogs where I get inspired. And while I originally started making these Broccoli Cheese Patties for my daughter, my husband now covets the bite-sized morsels.

Broccoli-Cheese-PattiesI have also made their Green Macaroni and Cheese which I am happy to admit I could not stop eating it was so good. The site also features an entire section dedicated to Family Meals. Check it out!

Speaking of family-friendly macaroni and cheese, my Mac ‘n Sweet Potato Cheesy Sauce is another recipe I created specifically for my daughter, but it turned out so delicious that my husband, me and even my brother can’t help but dishing out a bowl of it for ourselves too.

Another blog I love that has family-friendly recipes is Two Peas and their Pod. Sure, they feature lots of cookies (who says that isn’t family friendly) but I also love their simple, healthful ideas for meals like Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich. Yum!

smashed-chickpea-avocado-salad-sandwich2Looking to get interactive with your kids in the kitchen? Then you may want to try Susie Fishbein’s Kosher by Design Kids in the Kitchen cookbook. I love involving my daughter in the kitchen with me, whether it’s “mixing” or rolling out dough, Ella loves standing next to me no matter what I am whipping up. So don’t be nervous – just pull up a kid-safe stool and let your kids help, even if they do make a mess.

mommy and Ella in the kitchenWe always want to hear from you – got some family-friendly recipes to share? Post below!

Posted on March 10, 2014

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

Manischewitz Smash Gin Cocktail

Yield:
1 cocktail

Ah, Manischewitz, The classic, sweet Jewish wine at the butt of so many jokes about Jews.

I am not really a fan of drinking it by itself, except of course for that time I drank it straight from the bottle with a straw. But otherwise. I think it makes a good base for sangria in a pinch. And I like to use it in my Tuscan-style chopped liver. But straight up in a glass? Probably not.

But recently I was asked to teach a cocktails-making session at Limmud, a conference dedicated to Jewish learning “without limts.” I wanted to bring some uniquely Jewish flavors to cocktails, and so I immediately began to think of how I could include Manischewitz as part of the fun.

Manischewitz-collage-stampWhile it may sound from the ingredients that this is a very sweet cocktail, its actually quite subtle. You can add more or less syrup according to your tastes so try it a few ways until you find the right balance for your taste buds.

Manischewitz Smash

Posted on March 6, 2014

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

Nosher Picks for Purim Prep!

Purim is less than two weeks away which means it is more than time to start planning for your festive celebrations and making sure you are ready for some hamantaschen baking. I always find that I look forward to baking much more when I have just the right gear, so I thought I’d share what’s been most useful to me in prepping for Purim.

I hate getting bits of flour and dough all over my counter when I am baking, so I love using one of these Jumbo pastry mats in order to roll out dough.

pastry mat

I doubted it at first, but I’ve actually found that a great rolling pin makes a difference. I love this silicone one. It’s really easy to clean and the dough almost never sticks to the surface.

rolling pin

I also want to highly recommend my absolute favorite Silpat. If you don’t already own one of these silicone baking mats, your baking life is about to improve forever. I love baking cookies and challah on these to ensure nothing sticks or burns and everything comes out perfect.

silpat

What to put inside those hamantaschen? My personal vote is for creamy, nutty, chocolatey Nutella. It’s easy, delicious but also a bit outside the bounds of traditional apricot or poppyseed.

nutella

 

Scientific fact: kids love to dress up. And maybe it will keep them quiet for 3 minutes while you finish your hamantachen baking. Well, we can hope. Get them this set of Purim masks.

Purim masks

But since adults love to dress up, too (at least, I do) I love this set of fancy feather masks perfect to distribute at a Purim party.

party masks

I also really love this silly but classic wooden Haman grogger! Forget using it as a noisemaker—I think it would make a great decorative accent for your Purim tablescape.

Haman grogger

Handing out hamantaschen or other treats to your friends and community? I love these brightly colored mini takeout boxes perfect for mishloach manot.

takeout boxes

And if your heart’s in the right place but you want someone else to do the baking for you, send a delicious basket like this one. (Use code AFPUR14 for 10% off orders over $50, before 3/16).

purim-tower

Hope these picks were fun for you. Happy Purim 2014!

Posted on March 5, 2014

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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