Author Archives: Shannon Sarna

Shannon Sarna

About Shannon Sarna

Shannon Sarna is an avid baker, blogger and all around food-lover. Born to an Italian mother who loved to bake, a Jewish father who loved to experiment, and a food chemist grandfather, loving and experimenting with diverse foods is simply in her blood. When she isn't tweeting, eating, or tweeting what she's eating, Shannon spends her time in Jersey City, NJ with her daughter, her husband, and her rescue dog, Otis.

Bulgur Salad with Chicken, Roasted Corn and Tomatoes

Yield:
2 servings

Earlier this spring I was reading through my copy of the cookbook Jerusalem and came across a recipe for bulgur-stuffed eggplant with raisins, pine nuts and parsley. Sounded delicious, except for one thing: I had never cooked bulgur before. In fact, I barely knew what bulgar was.

Bulgur Salad with chicken roasted corn and cherry tomatoes

I walked the few short blocks to my nearest neighborhood store and picked up a bag, ready to recreate the delicious-sounding recipe. Well, bulgur turns out to be super easy to make (the same as rice) and incredibly satisfying. Nevertheless, I stuffed the bag away in my cabinet after making the recipe and sort of forgot about the grain.

Bulgur Salad with chicken roasted corn and cherry tomatoes

Just last week I was looking through my cabinets for some cooking inspiration, and rediscovered the bulgur. And it was one of those moments where I just decided to throw together a bunch of stuff I had in the fridge and it turned out delicious: leftover roasted chicken, fresh roasted corn, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and fresh herbs. It was delicious, hearty while still being a fresh and light summer dinner.

Want to make this dish vegetarian? Swap out the chicken for some chickpeas instead.

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Bulgur Salad with Chicken, Roasted Corn and Tomatoes

Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
1 cup water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 ears fresh corn
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed and chopped
3/4 cup chopped chicken breast
fresh parsley
salt and pepper

Directions

Cook bulgur according to directions and add 1 Tbsp olive oil plus 1/2 tsp salt to cooking water. After bulgur is finished cooking (around 20 minutes) fluff with a fork and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove corn kernals from the cob and spread out in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until just starting to brown.

In a large bowl combine bulgur, roasted corn, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chicken and 2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

Posted on August 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

Perfect Kale Chips

When I was pregnant with my daughter I discovered the wonder of kale chips. I was craving leafy greens, and making kale chips was a fun way to satisfy my urge. I would roast up 2 or 3 bags of kale at a time, and then stand shoveling it into my happy, pregnant mouth.

kale-chips-1

Fast forward, and I haven’t lost my taste for kale chips. And much to my delight, they are one of my daughter’s favorite snacks.

I want to be honest about the kale chip making endeavor: it can actually be a bit complicated. And whenever I mention kale chips among friends and family members, they always ask “how do you make yours? Mine always turn out soggy/burnt…”

kale-chips-2So here are my tips:

  • Make sure you spread kale out in a single layer. If the leaves overlap, they won’t crisp and cook properly.
  • Evenly coat the kale with olive oil. You can do this either by using a salad dressing mister, or simply massaging the kale before you bake it to make sure it is coated.
  • Start the kale at a lower temperature, and then raise it only at the end to get a good crisp – but don’t let them burn.
  • Watch the kale chips carefully at the end, and remove as they become done.

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Perfect Kale Chips

Ingredients

1 large head fresh kale
olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Break kale into even pieces and spread out in a single layer on lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Using your hands, massage kale to ensure olive oil coats leaves as evenly as possibly.

Bake for 20 minutes and turn leaves over on baking sheet. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, removing pieces of kale as they look done.

Serve as a snack.

Posted on August 21, 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

Spinach Goat Cheese Tart with Herb Butter Crust

Yield:
6-8 servings

At least several times a year I am privy to a conversation about the downfalls of social media. And how no one talks to one another anymore. As someone who uses social media professionally, I generally disagree citing countless examples of how social media has allowed me to stay in touch with friends across the world; keep up with news in real-time; and learn new things.

foodie potluck food

And two weeks ago, on a beautiful summer evening, the wonders of social came together to allow myself and a group of kosher food bloggers to take the fun of our online personalities and meet one another, share a meal and talk food in person.

Cookbook author and teacher Kim Kushner hosted the lovely outdoor evening, called #kosherfoodiepotluck, where each one of us brought a kosher, dairy dish and a sat around a large, expertly decorated table to what else: eat and talk.

foodie potluck outside

There were so many delicious dishes (especially some homemade cronuts by Chef Chaya), but my favorite part was getting the chance to meet so many other bloggers that I have known and followed for years. Here’s me meeting Melinda Strauss of Kitchen Tested for the first time. I am a hugger, thankfully she didn’t seem to mind. And on the right is me with Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me and Miriam Pascal of Overtime Cook.

foodie potluck people

You might be wondering, soooo….what did YOU make? I wanted to bring one of my husband’s favorite dishes, and I didn’t want to start creating a crazy new item for the first time. I also wanted to bring something that would transport easily, could use seasonal ingredients and could be served room temperature.

My goat cheese and spinach quiche with herb butter crust was just the thing. It’s also perfect for a Shabbat lunch, Sunday picnic or even Yom Kippur break-fast.Two notes about this recipe: first, it is inspired by my absolute favorite Julia Child, and resembles one of her recipes for an open-face tart. The second thing to note is that you can add any combination of fresh herbs that you like in the crust: sage, tarragon, mint or even cilantro. Get creative and enjoy.

spinach goat cheese tart

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Goat Cheese and Spinach Quiche with Herb Butter Crust

Ingredients

For the crust:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
6 ounces chilled butter
4 Tbsp chilled vegetable shortening
a scant half cup ice water, or more as needed
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

For the filling:
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 oz goat cheese, crumbled into pieces
2 shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cups blanched spinach, water squeezed out
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg

Special equipment: springform pan

Directions

In a food processor fitted with a blade, add all crust ingredients except for water. Pulse a few times to mix. Begin adding water just until a ball of dough begins to form. Do not over-pulse.

Remove dough and work on a lightly floured surface until you can shape the dough into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and place in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out crust on a lightly floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Carefully roll the crust onto your rolling pin and lay on top of spring form pan. Gently push the crust into the pan using tips of fingers and thumbs. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork all over, You can get fancy with the edges of the crust, or just leave for a rustic look. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Whisk together eggs, cream, goat cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Heat a pan over medium heat and add butter and olive oil. Saute the shallots and garlic for just 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the spinach and stir for several minutes to remove any excess water. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Add spinach and shallot mixture to the egg mixture. Pour into prepared quiche crust.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

Posted on August 19, 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

Best of Summer Ice Pops

Even though Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah seem like they are just around the corner, summer isn’t quite over yet and so there are still plenty of cool treats to enjoy.

Forget ice cream – ice pops are definitely the new ‘it’ treat. Like ice cream, the flavor combinations are endless. But unlike ice cream, it’s much simpler to make a quality ice pop than to make ice cream with great flavor and the right consistency.

All you need is an ice pop mold, a great recipe and just a little patience. Try any one of these beautiful, delicious ice pop recipes and take your summer up a notch, that is, before it really is over.

iced coffee ice pops

Iced Coffee Ice Pops from Sheri Silver

Root Beer Float Pops from Sheri Silver

strawberru coconut pops

Strawberry Coconut Pops from Gluten-Flee

Homemade Fudge Pops from Brown Eyed Baker

halva-popsicles-8

Halva Popsicles from Molly Yeh

Watermelon Ice Pops from Jeanne Benedict

Strawberry Lemonade Greek Yogurt Pops from Naomi Sugar

pops-1

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Posted on August 14, 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

Summer Brunchin’

Yield:
4 servings

Summertime and brunch don’t always go together. Summer picnic. Summer cocktails. Summer barbecue. Yes, we hear those a lot. But a summer brunch can be truly delightful, especially when Shabbat ends so late on Saturday making it difficult to see friends over the weekend.

So skip expensive dinner Saturday night, and stay in for a light, and delicious summer brunch instead. With minimal cooking you can throw together a colorful and completely delightful meal for friends or family.

brunch-4

Now that peaches are in season it’s time to make your own bellinis. Last summer I used Ina Garten’s recipe and it was delightful and easy. And check out that gorgeous color. Pop open some prosecco and get sippin’.

Fluffy Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Scones from Food52 are also a perfect summer treat. Swing by your local farmer’s market for fresh blueberries to make this brunch sweet extra special. I like serving them with a homemade compound butter like Vanilla Bean Whipped Honey Butter, though any high quality, salted butter will do just fine.

scones

One of my summer favorites is a sweet and salty watermelon feta salad like this one from The Kitchn. And I don’t know anyone who ever complained about being served up a rich and creamy blintz souffle like this one from Nosher contributor Tamar Fox.

brunch-1

And last but not least, try my Tomato Caprese Salad with Roasted Corn as a fresh update on the Italian classic.

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Tomato Caprese Salad with Roasted Corn

Ingredients

2 ripe tomatoes on the vine

6 ounces fresh mozzarella

2 ears fresh corn

olive oil

salt and pepper

fresh basil

arugula or fresh spinach (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove corn kernals from cob by using a knife or a corn stripper.

Spread corn kernels in an even layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Slice tomatoes 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Slice mozzarella to same thickness.

Alternate layers of tomato and mozzarella. If desired place on top of a bed of arugula or fresh spinach leaves.

Spoon corn kernels on top of tomato and mozzarella. Drizzle with good quality olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil leaves.

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Posted on August 7, 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

Kosher Barbecue in the News

Tisha B’Av is over. The nine days have passed. Welcome back, meat!

Now’s is a good time to talk about how much kosher barbecue has been all over the news recently. It is summer after all. But even beyond that, it seems kosher barbecue is having a moment, and personally, I couldn’t be happier to see meat being elevated beyond hamburgers and hot dogs.  

kc bbq festival 2013

On August 17th the Kansas City Kosher Barbecue Festival will make it’s return. This festival is actually the only kosher barbecue festival officially sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society. Who even know there was such a thing, but hey, go Kansas City. An addition to this year’s festivities? A panel of chefs and food critics that will publicly judge the entries including The Food Network’s Simon Majumdar, who is a judge on Cutthroat Kitchen, Iron Chef and Chopped. Fellow food blogger Yosef Silver is a proud committee member of the festival.

Speaking of festivals, Wandering Que, the barbecue pop-up, will be participating next week in the post Tisha b’Av Fleishfest. I think the fact that this is billed as a Guys’ Night out is pretty sexist, not to mention the ridiculous nature of the name ‘fleishfest’ but I will leave the remainder of my snarky commentary aside.

cholesterol

Another fellow food blogger Liz Rueven shared that she will be a guest judge in the first annual Southern New England BBQ Championship and Festival on September 7th. Dani Klein of YeahThatsKosher has a fuller list of kosher BBQ festivals so check it out to see if there’s one in your area.

milt

Just last week I saw that a new kosher food truck is hitting the streets of Chicago. Milt’s Barbecue for the Perplexed food truck will be making its debut the first week of August, featuring mostly sandwiches like brisket and pulled chicken. I do wonder how a food truck will fare in the colder, windier months of Chicago, but I suppose some barbecue might be just the thing to warm up a frigid Midwest day.

But no need to book a flight to Chicago. You can stay home and try our delicious kosher Korean BBQ on your own grill.

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Posted on August 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

Peach and Arugula Pizza

Yield:
3-4 servings

When summer peaches arrive at my local farmer’s market I am just overjoyed. I love slicing them up for an afternoon snack, adding them on top of frozen yogurt and what else: coming up with delicious new recipes.

I made fresh bellinis, cobbler and array of salads last summer with my local New Jersey peaches. But the standout peach dish of the summer was my Peach and Arugula Pizza. It’s a nontraditional combination, but absolutely delicious. The salty, creamy mozzarella pairs really nicely with the sweet brightness of the peaches.

peach-pizza

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Peach and Arugula Pizza

Ingredients

1 store-bought pizza dough

6 ounces mozzarella, shredded

1 ripe peach, sliced

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 1/2 cups fresh arugula

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Special equipment: pizza stone and pastry brush

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place pizza stone in oven to heat up.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface.

When oven has heated, remove pizza stone from oven and place dough on stone. Lightly brush olive oil over dough using a pastry brush or your fingers.

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella evenly over dough, leaving 1/2 inch border all around for crust. Spread out peaches and red onions on top of cheese.

Cook pizza for around 10-12 minutes, or until crust is just starting to turn golden.

Remove from oven. Top pizza with arugula, salt and pepper to taste and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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Posted on August 4, 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

Zucchini Noodles Two Ways

Yield:
4 servings

I am a total carb-oholic. I love cake, freshly baked bread and I would rather eat a bowl of pasta with butter more than anything in the world. I proudly roll my eyes at any food trends advocated by the paleo, gluten-free and carb-free lovers.

And despite my skepticism for gluten-free trends, it is my obsession with pasta that led me to invest in a spiralizer and try out the zucchini noodle craze. I must admit: zucchini noodles are tasty and satisfying. And with both these zucchini noodle recipes below, I never once felt deprived that my carbs had been stolen away.

zucchini-noodles-2

Like regular pasta, zucchini noodles lend themselves to multiple flavors and interpretations. And they can be an easy go-to, even on a weeknight. Last Monday my dad, my daughter and I strolled to our local farmers market to see what was fresh from the farm. I picked up zucchini, corn, tomatoes and fresh ricotta. We went home, threw them all together. And a new dish was born.

zucchini-noodles-3

My zucchini noodle bolognese was actually a dish I made during Passover. We loved it so much my husband and I both ate two enormous servings. The only thing missing? A large hunk of garlic bread.

Zucchini Noodles with Corn, Tomatoes and Fresh Ricotta, Makes 3-4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

4 medium zucchini

olive oil

salt and pepper

2 ears of fresh corn

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove corn kernals from cob and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 10 minutes.

Spiralize zucchini into noodles.

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute zucchini noodles in 3-4 batches for around 4-6 minutes each, or until noodles are soft but still have a bite. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a colander to drain off any excess water that the zucchini released.

Add butter to another large pan over medium heat and melt. Add corn, cherry tomatoes, cream and salt and pepper. Cook until cream has reduced slightly. Add zucchini noodles and toss to coat.

Serve with fresh ricotta and fresh basil if desired.

zucchini-noodles-1

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Zucchini Noodle Bolognese

Ingredients

4 medium-large zucchini

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 Tbsp dried basil

1 Tbsp tomato paste

2 lbs ground beef

2 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup dry red wine

fresh basil

Directions

Spiralize zucchini noodles. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and saute until they become soft, around 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and dried basil and cook another 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, breaking up as you go until all paste is dissolved into the onions and garlic.

Raise heat to medium-high and add the ground beef. Saute beef, stirring and breaking up meat into small, even chunks. There shouldn't be any large lumps. Cook until meat is longer pink, about 8-10 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes and red wine and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In another large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute zucchini noodles in 3-4 batches for around 4-6 minutes each, or until noodles are soft but still have a bite. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve bolognese sauce over noodles. Garnish with fresh basil.

Note: this bolognese recipe will make more sauce than needed for this dish. Place remainder in an air-tight container and store in refrigerator or freezer.

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Posted on July 31, 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

Dairy Made Easy: Pomegranate Apple Salad with Parmesan Dressing

Yield:
4 servings

I really love salads, especially this time of year. It’s hot, produce is in abundance and it’s a lot easier to throw together a salad rather than stand over a hot oven.

Pomegrante&AppleSalad-1

Which is why I was delighted the folks from Dairy Made Easy were happy to send over one of their recipes, perfect for lighter fare and the nine days, when traditional Jews are abstaining from eating meat.

Personally I would swap out the grapefruit and apple in this salad for something more seasonal and local like peaches and raspberries, but that’s the great thing about salads: you can always change up ingredients and add your own spin. Another great addition to this salad? Some slivered almonds or sunflower seeds for crunch.

dairy-made-easy

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Pomegranate Apple Salad with Creamy Parmesan Dressing

Ingredients

For the salad:

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped

1 apple, diced or sliced

½ cup pomegranate seeds

1 grapefruit, cut into sections

2 Tbsp finely diced red onion

For the dressing:

¼ cup light mayonnaise

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

pinch coarse black pepper

2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, apple, pomegranate seeds, grapefruit, and red onion.

Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Toss dressing with salad.

Posted on July 29, 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

Dairy Made Easy: Hasselback Baguette

Yield:
3-4 servings

We are currently in the midst of “The Three Weeks,” a time of grieving for Jews in remembrance of the destruction of the first and second Temples. Among the observances of these three weeks includes not consuming meat for the last 9 days. The three weeks ends on Tisha B’Av, which is observed traditionally as a fast day.

While going vegetarian for 9 days isn’t a big deal to me, I know for some it can seem like a challenge.

Hasselback BaguetteWe are so lucky this week and next to share two vegetarian recipes from Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek’s newest cookbook, Dairy Made Easy.

Hasselback potatoes have been all the rage this year, with beautiful (delicious) recipes from even the likes of Martha Stewart. I just drool over dishes like this. Dairy Made Easy‘s version swaps out the potatoes for an even more carb-rific option: a baguette. With melted cheese on top and fresh herbs – who wouldn’t love that.

Eller-053014-Dairy-Made-Easy-Cover

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Dairy Made Easy: Hasselback Baguette

Ingredients

2 Tbsp oil

1 small red onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

½ tsp dried basil

¼ tsp kosher salt

pinch coarse black pepper

1 (24-in) baguette

shredded cheese

Special equipment: 3 long wooden skewers

Directions

Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add pepper and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Season with basil, salt, and pepper.

Cut off the ends of the baguette; discard ends or reserve for another purpose. Slice baguette into 1 ½ inch thick slices (you should have about 15 slices). Slit each slice through the top, leaving the lower end uncut.

Thread each skewer through uncut (lower) part of 5 slices. Add vegetable mixture and cheese into each slit. Place skewers onto prepared baking sheet, cheese side up.

Place baking sheet on upper oven rack (top quarter of oven) and bake for 4-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and top of bread is slightly browned.

Remove skewers and serve mini sandwiches alongside a salad and dipping sauces.

Posted on July 24, 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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