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.

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

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

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Halva Popsicles from Molly Yeh

Watermelon Ice Pops from Jeanne Benedict

Strawberry Lemonade Greek Yogurt Pops from Naomi Sugar

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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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond Gefilte Fish

When Americans talk about “Jewish” food, people think about Eastern European (Ashkenazi) classics like gefilte fish, matzo ball soup and even NYC-style deli sandwiches.  But the truth is there is a much larger, more diverse world of “Jewish food” out there, which is exactly what Natasha Cooper-Benisty discovered when she married a Moroccan-Israeli man.

moroc-salad2

Instead of cholent or cucumber salad, her family enjoys Moroccan dishes like carrot salad and chickpea pumpkin soup. You can read more here about Natasha’s Jewish culinary journey. including recipes for her family’s favorites.

moroc-salad-2

And if you are looking to expand your Jewish food repertoire check out a few non-Ashkenazi recipes:

Plov (Uzbeki rice pilaf)

Dafina (Moroccan cholent)

Masgouf (Iraqi fish)

Malabi (Middle Eastern pudding)

malabi

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Posted on July 23, 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

Tri-Color Melon Salad with Mint Syrup

Yield:
8-10 servings

Summer is the time for lightening up and taking advantage of all the fresh fruits and vegetables…but that doesn’t mean giving up on delicious treats.

This tri-color melon salad with mint simple syrup is possibly one of the healthiest “desserts” I have ever come up with, but on a hot summer evening nothing could be more refreshing or perfect.

melon-1

Like so many of my recipes, you can definitely improvise based on your own tastes. You don’t have to use honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon – you can use whatever fruits suit your own palette. And what if you don’t like mint?

Instead of mint you can make a basil lemon simple syrup, a hibiscus simple syrup or just serve plain. Serve it in individual cups, a large bowl or use the leftover melon shells as a festive bowl. I definitely recommend using a handy melon baller to make this salad extra pretty – for less than $10 it’s a little tool that makes a big difference. People will think your dessert is super fancy, but in truth, it’s super simple.

Not only is it sweet and fresh, but it’s nondairy too – perfect after an afternoon barbecue.

melon-3

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Tri-Color Melon Salad with Mint Syrup

Posted on July 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

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