You might still be thinking about summer tomatoes, peach pie, and drinks by the pool, but we are thinking about honey cake and apple desserts since Rosh Hashanah will be upon us in just two weeks!
Apple and honey cakes are traditional, sweet New Year desserts but they can definitely get a bit stale. The honey cake from my childhood? My Great Aunt Ruth would make honey cake sometime around June, cut it into slices, freeze it, and then defrost it in the fall to serve at my grandma’s house for Rosh Hashanah. Is it any wonder honey cake is far from my favorite dessert!?
So I set out to find the freshest, traditional and non-traditional, super scrumptious apples & honey desserts perfect for your Jewish New Year celebrations. Please note: Great Aunt Ruth’s version is not included.
Got a great recipe? Post below and let us know!
Have you heard of the cronut, a donut-croissant hybrid that is all the rage currently in NYC? On any given morning I log in to Facebook and at least one of my friends has been standing on line (sometimes in the rain) since 6:00 am in order to procure one of Dominque Ansel’s much-coveted cronuts. Well, the cronut craze has officially landed in Israel! The Forward reported earlier this week that Lenchner bakery in Tel Aviv has made the first kosher version; and now other bakeries in Israel are coming up with their own versions. Will the cronut be the new cupcake? It doesn’t have my vote yet, but then again, I have yet to wait online at 6:00 am to actually taste one. Looks pretty tempting though, eh?
On Chosen Eats this week Mari Levine presents us with the results of a kosher hot dog taste test “throwdown.” Many of the hot dog brands are ones I haven’t even heard of including International Beef Frankfurters and the winner, Shor Harbor Beef Franks. My own favorite from the list? Abeles & Heyman! What’s your preferred kosher hot dog brand – we want to know!
Are you a fan of the Food TV show ‘Chopped’? If not then you might have missed Chef Katsuji Tanabe, the chef of kosher restaurant Mexikosher in Los Angeles, take the win last week! The Jewish Journal has a full write-up of the chef and his TV appearance, including his tips for winning – don’t drink the coffee!
In other kosher restaurant-related news, The Prime Grill Cookbook is coming out in mid-September. The new cookbook by Chefs David Kolotkin (a Nosher contributor!) and Joey Allaham, takes you inside Prime Grill and will include some of the restaurant’s signature dishes including Smoked BBQ Short Ribs, Texas Style Rib Eye, Chicken & Waffle Nuggets with Maple Syrup Dip, Quinoa Cake “Latkes,” among many more.
Last but certainly not least, did you hear about our Rosh Hashanah Ingredient Challenge?! Our own version of Top Chef, High Holiday Edition, we are asking our favorite contributors and YOU, our readers, to submit your best Rosh Hashanah recipe and photos. Your mission – use two of the following traditional New Year ingredients and send us the recipe by August 23rd: pomegranate, honey, apples, dates, gourds, beets, fenugreek and black eyed peas. More info here.
It may seem that Rosh Hashanah is a lifetime away, but in fact, it is a mere three weeks away! And the month of Elul is already upon us, so I am hyper focused on preparing for the New Year, if you can believe it. Elul is actually one of my favorite times during the Jewish year. I love the spiritual gear-up for the High Holy Days; taking time to reflect on the year that has passed, and hopes and goals for the year ahead.
I also love trying new recipes, and preparing desserts, challah and other dishes for the New Year. It always goes back to food for me.
And in the spirit of trying new things for the New Year, here at The Nosher we decided to try something a bit different this holiday season – our first ever Rosh Hoshanah Ingredient Challenge!
We reached out to some of our favorite contributors and told them their mission, should they choose to accept it, is to create a delicious, beautiful Rosh Hashanah recipe using 2 of the following traditional New Year ingredients: pomegranate, honey, apples, dates, gourds, beets, fenugreek and black eyed peas. They will get extra points if the dish created is ROUND! Stay tuned over the next few weeks to see their amazing creations.
But we want to see what kind of Rosh Hashanah recipes YOU can come up with so we are extending the ingredient challenge to our readers too! Send us your best recipes using two of the above ingredients and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will feature the best recipe as part of our High Holiday menus, so get cooking! Entries need to be received by Friday, August 23rd and must include a description of the dish, ingredients, directions and at least one photo.
Wishing everyone a meaningful Elul full of reflection and maybe some recipe-creation too.
Most cookbooks leave me a bit bored and uninspired. I am admittedly very picky about where I procure recipes from, and which cookbooks occupy the precious counter space in my kitchen. But it was a delightful day last week when my copy of the Balaboosta cookbook by Chef Einat Admony arrived.
I have eaten several times at Balaboosta in NYC. And by several I mean, so many times I probably cannot count. Never once did I leave disappointed. When a friend tells me they are going to eat at Balaboosta, I always reply “make sure to order the cauliflower – it is the best cauliflower you will ever eat!” For those that haven’t yet tasted the cauliflower, they always look at me a bit strange. I mean, how life-changing could a cauliflower dish really be? Well, it is.
And to my supreme happiness, Einat’s recipe for salty, sweet tangy “Cauliflower Everyone Loves” is included in the cookbook.
Balaboosta’s menu is deeply rooted in Mediterranean flavors, although I would really call it Israeli fare – not kosher, but inspired by Einat’s Persian Jewish roots: grind your own hummus at the table and then relish eating it up with fluffy pita. Fried olives with labne. And whole grilled fish, just to name a few of my favorite dishes.
The cookbook itself is a more of a hybrid, featuring the Mediterranean flavors of Balaboosta the restaurant, while also including some of Einat’s kids-friendly food ideas (bourekas, veggie chips and schnitzel fingers), romantic meals (coconut milk french toast, lamb chops with Persian lime sauce) and also her favorite healthy cooking options (butternut squash and saffron soup, pavlova with berry coulis). It also has an entire section dedicated to traditional, Israeli foods. Like the restaurant, not all the recipes are kosher, but there are so few dishes that include shellfish that I would recommend this cookbook to those who keep kosher (and don’t) without hesitation.
I expected to love the recipes in the Balaboosta cookbook. I didn’t expect to LOVE Einat’s stories about her family and food. For me a cookbook is about the recipes, not about the author. But I find myself unable to tear myself away from the authentic narrative sprinkled throughout her recipes.
Perhaps my favorite quote from Einat is her explanation of the Yiddish word ‘balaboosta’ and what it means to her:
Like my mom, my aunt Chana and the generations of balaboostas before then, I cook from the gut: no measuring cups, no scales. But unlike them, I see being a balaboosta not just a way to run a home but as a means of navigating the pitfalls of life with a courageous heart, a head filled with determination and a spirit of risk and adventure.
Every cookbook should have great recipes, and stories, that inspire even beyond the kitchen. So Chef Einat, thank you!
Balaboosta is available for pre-order on Amazon now and will be available on September 3rd. Will be a tad too late for Rosh Hashanah inspiration, but hopefully you can snag your copy in time for the remainder of the Jewish holidays this Fall and beyond.
Earlier this week I wrote about a recipe for Chicken Gribenes N Waffles Cupcakes. It was a recipe I had researched. Considered. Carefully planned. And it came out…ok. Not quite as mind blowing as I had hoped. But fun to execute and I remain proud all the same. I mean, who else can say they made a delicious pareve cupcake topped with fried chicken skin!?
I had planned to make grilled chicken breasts with a farmers market-fresh peach salsa for dinner this past Monday evening. I picked up all the ingredients I would need for the fruity salsa. My daughter kept me company at the counter while I carefully diced and mixed. It’s such a great feeling when you feel like your meals are well-planned, healthful and then actually executed, right!?
And then my husband, who was bringing home the chicken breasts, got held up at work. What to do with the my salsa!?
Looking in the fridge I spotted some fresh spinach, and a small piece of steak leftover from dinner the previous evening. Hmmm….could these things go together? The answer was a resounding yes.
I added some fresh corn, cucumber, slivered almonds and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Wow- what a winning recipe! My husband and I devoured the leftovers-inspired salad. Who cares if my big plans for grilled chicken breasts with mango peach salsa didn’t work out – the salad that emerged is even better. It was a great reminder to myself that sometimes the best things happen when you don’t plan, both in and out of the kitchen.
I hope you enjoy this hearty salad recipe, and I wish you happy improvising!
For mango peach salsa:
1 mango, diced
2 small-medium sized peaches, diced
1 cup chopped tomatoes
½ red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup finely diced red onion
2 Tbsp finely diced jalapeno
1 Tbsp olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
For grilled steak:
1 pound skirt steak
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 bag washed spinach
½ English cucumber, diced
1 cup fresh corn
¼ cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Heat grill pan on medium-high heat.
Pat steak dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add olive oil and rub each side. Oil grill pan and grill steak turning once, 4-6 minutes for medium-rare.
When steak is done, remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Let sit loosely covered with foil another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, assemble the salad and mango salsa.
For the mango peach salsa: in a small bowl combine mango, peach, tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze half a lemon on top. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and mix.
For the salad: place spinach leaves on a large plate. Add chopped cucumber, corn and almonds. Top with around 1 cup of mango peach salsa.
After the steak has rested for 5 minutes, slice the steak diagonally across the grain. Place steak on top of salad.
Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Don’t get me wrong: I love fresh fruits and veggies. But I also love schmaltz. Not everyday. Not in large doses. But when it’s appropriate, I enjoy taking that fatty, liquid gold and using it for good, not evil.
But you know what I also love? Chicken skin. That is, gribenes. (Yes, me and your grandmother both.) I am always trying to find new uses, including these Deviled Eggs with Schmaltz and Gribenes and my Ultimate Kosher Burger with Grilled Pastrami and Gribenes. Gribenes will never be bacon. But it’s not a bad substitute for something salty and greasy in kosher cooking.
So when I came across this recipe for Chicken N Waffles Cupcake, I was inspired: breakfast + dessert, sweet + savory, all wrapped up in a cupcake. How could I make this kosher?
And then I realized: I shouldn’t just make this cupcake kosher. I should make it Jewish. Really Jewish. And that’s how it was born: My pareve maple gribenes cupcake.
So when my husband came home from the butcher with 2 huge, free* bags of chicken skin I got straight to work. And I must admit, we were a bit frightened by the results.
The cupcake and the frosting are SO good and moist they don’t taste “pareve” at all. But I’ve got to be honest, while the gribenes looked very pretty, we couldn’t decide if we really loved it on top of a cupcake. But novelty wins the day, and this photo makes it all worthwhile:
I am so happy to have a great new pareve dessert recipe to come out of one my slightly nutty gribenes-inspired ideas. You can choose to include the gribenes, or leave it off all together, but either way, happy cupcake making!
Meanwhile, my quest to use gribenes continues!
How to make your own gribenes? Cut chicken skin into medium size strips. I don’t like cutting them too small, I like a larger piece of skin to crunch on. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add a scant tsp of oil or chicken fat (schmaltz) into the pan. Add chicken skin and saute 20-25 minutes, scraping frequently with spatula or wooden spoon to avoid the skin sticking or burning.
When skin is a deep brown and appears crispy, remove with slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel. Sprinkle with a smidge of salt.
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp maple syrup
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup almond milk mixed with 1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp maple syrup
pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place liners in a muffin tin and spray with non-stick spray.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. In another larger bowl, beat egg, sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and oil until combined.
Alternate adding flour mixture and milk mixture to the wet ingredients.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 way full and turn oven down to 325 degrees right before placing the pan into the oven. Bake the cupcakes around 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
To make the frosting, beat together shortening, sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and salt in a stand mixture until smooth.
When cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe or spoon frosting as desired.
Garnish with gribenes if desired and an extra drizzle of maple syrup.
*TIP: butchers often throw out all that chicken skin, so if you are hankering to make your own gribenes, you probably can do it for free. It's also a great way to render your own chicken fat.
For anyone who has been following me on Instagram you know I’ve been a tad obsessed with cooking whatever is fresh at my local Jersey City farmer’s markets. Not too bad, right!?
It’s like my own Top Chef-Chopped challenge every week – what is at the farmer’s market today, what do I have in my fridge, and what can I whip up for dinner? Which mostly means, we have been eating a lot of salads, pasta, and more salads over the past few weeks, much to my meat-preferring husband’s chagrin. I am happy to report that he seems to be surviving.
I have made countless salad combinations with my fresh finds the past few weeks, but my Orecchiette with Kale Basil Walnut Pesto has been the real recipe winner to result from my farmers market shopping. Orecchiette is a great pasta when you want to really taste the sauce because the little “ears” really get coated, making a super flavorful pasta.
I like to leave pesto without cheese in it so that if I decide to marinate some chicken breasts or steak, I still have that option. And this batch of pesto makes enough for another pasta dinner, for some grilled veggies or for a quick chicken dinner.
1/2 pound orecchette pasta (or pasta of your choice)
2 cups fresh kale
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
reserved pasta cooking water
parmesan cheese (optional)
In a saute pan on low-medium heat, slowly toast walnuts until just fragrant, around 4-5 minutes. Make sure they do not burn.
In a food processor fitted with a blade, add kale, basil, walnuts, garlic and a few Tbsp of the olive oil. Begin to pulse. Slowly add the remaining olive oil until smooth. You might want to add a touch more olive oil depending on your preference.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions. Reserve one cup of pasta cooking water.
Drain pasta and set aside. Return pot to low-medium heat on the stove, and add half the pesto to the pot. Add a few Tbsp of cooking water and stir.
Put drained pasta back into pot and mix until pasta is completely covered. Add more pasta water to loosen sauce if needed.
Serve with parmesan cheese and fresh basil for garnish.
When my siblings and I were little, my mom used to grab our chubby arms and pretend to munch on them. She would take a few “bites” then tell us it needed some salt, and maybe some pepper too. Then proceed to munch a bit more. We loved this game and it always resulted in us erupting into giggles at her antics.
I’ve noticed during the past year the frequency which Jews (in particular) love to call my daughter ‘delicious,’ and I must confess that I am guilty of using this phrase to describe adorable children as well. Jews also use the Yiddish word “pulkies” to describe my daughter’s chunky (adorable) thighs, which is always said with tremendous affection. I only wish someone would describe my chunky thighs as adorable and edible. I am still waiting. But I digress.
But how did it come about to equate cuteness with edible-ness? In the case of the Jewish use of “pulkies,” which also means chicken legs, there is clearly a direct link between food and adorableness. Jews love food (doesn’t everyone!?), Jews love babies. I guess it makes sense. Thesaurus.com even has an entry for delicious, stating the synonyms for delicious as “cute; loveable.” Well babies are definitely those things, or at least, most of the time.
I am hardly the first person who has posed this oh-so-important question relating to babies and the etymology of adorable edibleness. In fact, this dad writes not that it is a Jewish phenomena, but that is a way women one-up one another in describing just how cute a child is. There’s also an actual scientific phenomena called “cute aggression,” but I am not gonna touch that concept.
By saying that a child is so cute that we want to eat them, or taste them, we are really paying tasty food the highest compliment: there is nothing better than eating something yummy. I guess a close second is cute baby.
I would still love to know if there is any actual Yiddish connection to describing children as ‘delicious,’ so if you know of one please comment below and let us know!
In the meantime, happy baby nibbling. But not really (we hope)!
Making fresh sangria is one of my favorite year-round drinks to mix up at home.The thing I love about sangria (or shangria as we like to call it in my home) are the endless combination of flavors you can create depending on your tastes, mood and what’s in season.
Last week a dear friend of mine was coming over for a long-overdue catch up. We had discussed going out for drinks and a bite to eat with my daughter, but as my eyes fell onto a bowl of peaches that were just slightly over-ripe, I decided we should stay in and I would whip up a batch of shangria instead.
Some might say you should be picky with the wines you choose for sangria. But I say: use whatever you have on hand! And in this case, I had a bottle of Baron Herzog Sauvignon Blanc leftover from a recent Shabbat dinner. It turned out to be a perfect base for a light, Summery sangria. Add some strawberries, a bit of orange-flavored liqueur and club soda or ginger ale, and you are ready with a light, fruity and slightly fizzy drink.
Want some inspiration to create your own perfect pairing? Here are a few recipes that caught my eye:
Need the perfect serving set for your sangria? I love this super affordable 7 piece set which includes glasses for all your friends too. Sangria isn’t meant to be enjoyed alone, after all.
Cheers! Or rather, l’chaim!
1 bottle dry white wine, such as Baron Herzog Sauvignon Blanc
¼ cup orange flavored liqueur or orange flavored vodka
2 Tbsp sugar
2 peaches, cut into slices or pieces
1 cup strawberries, sliced
8 ounces ginger ale or club soda
Small bunch of fresh mint leaves, around 2-3 Tbsp
In a small container combine orange-flavored liqueur, sugar, peach slices and strawberries. Put in fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve pour the fruit mixture into a pitcher. Add wine and soda.
Garnish with fresh mint.
Last week I told you about the first pop-up Shabbat, “Shabubbe” which I had the privilege to provide challah and dessert for. But everyone has been asking me this week: “what the heck is a pop-up Shabbat!?”
Pop-up Shabbat is the beautiful brainchild of Danya Cheskis-Gold, and to understand a bit about Danya is to understand how pop-up Shabbat was born. Danya is a natural community-builder and social connector with a warm smile a mile-wide. She’s been a national recruiter at Teach For America, a founding employee at Skillshare, a consultant for early stage startups, and is now the Director of Community at Spark Capital. In New York, she joined the boards of Jewish non-profits, tested out synagogues in Brooklyn and the Upper West Side, but above all the “Jewish stuff” she did, hosting potluck Shabbat dinners for friends was the most fun and meaningful. And so, this is how the idea for pop-up Shabbat came about.
Pop-up Shabbat will be taking place a few times throughout the year, each with its own name (this time – ShaBubbe) , theme and location. The Shabbat dinner-evening-experience is designed particularly for connecting and is “Jewishly sourced,” which Danya defines as “inspired by Jewish culture but can be enjoyed by all.”
When guests first arrived, they were greeted by the music offerings of the Jewbadours, as well as a kvass, gin and orange bitters cocktail made by the talented folks from Gefilteria. And then Danya officially kicked off the evening with words of welcome, a dvar torah and Kiddush.
The first part of the meal itself were some small bites also from the Gefilteria, including pickled watermelon rinds and pickled string beans, as well as their traditional beet borscht.
Chef Melanie Shurka served a variety of Persian flavor-inspired dishes, including two stand-outs: “kuku sabzi,” fritters of fresh parsley, cilantro, tarragon and celery served with labneh yogurt and onions stuffed with ground beef, lentils, rice, herbs, tomato and lime.
The evening took place in the Brooklyn space of Kitchen Surfing. I might have gotten lost once trying to get there, but thanks to my iPhone and a helpful cab driver, I made it in one piece, albeit a bit sweaty.
And of course, challah and dessert was provided by yours truly: rosemary and garlic challah rolls, “everything bagel” challah rolls, and a selection of macaroons. I would like to think they were enjoyed by all, at least from the generous compliments I received from those in attendance. Perhaps my biggest fan of all was the evening’s artful photographer Cait Oppermann who I noticed kept sneaking roll after roll. Thanks Cait!
This was first taste of what I hope will be many other Jewishly inspired Shabbat dinners with new flavors and new friends to meet. In the meantime, if you are interested in hearing more about pop-up Shabbat make sure to like the Facebook page for updates or learn more on the website.
I will share that the most exciting part about this first pop-up Shabbat wasn’t even the food – it was celebrating Shabbat in a new way with a group of Jews I had never met before. Somehow we were all connected, either through a shared love of quality Jewish food, or through a social connection. But we were all connected.
For me personally, it’s nice to be out and about with people and my baked goods, as opposed to my usual role here: behind the keyboard. So while I love to connect online, it also feels good to have the chance to meet people, taste delicious, new food and collaborate with other like-minded Jewish-food lovers.