Have you ever taken a trip to your local farmer’s market and seen some pumpkins or squash like this:
And you thought, “I must have one of those!” Then you brought it home, sat it down on the counter, scratched your head and said – “ok, now what the heck do I do with this!?”
But then I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.
Pasta? Nah.Too much work.
Pie? Seemed liked a waste.
Combine with beer and cheese for a rich and warming soup? Ding ding ding!
Most surprising thing about the white pumpkin was actually the color – the flesh is slightly yellow inside, not the same white of the outside. And when roasted, the flesh becomes even darker, resembling a cheese pumpkin puree.
So please welcome to the world my White Pumpkin Cheddar Ale Soup. Pair this was a big hunk of crusty bread, green salad and a cold pumpkin beer for a well-rounded and happy meal.
1 medium sized white pumpkin
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese
1 bottle pumpkin ale or other seasonal ale
½ cup heavy cream
¼ tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Pepitas or dried pumpkin seeds
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pumpkin in halves or quarters and spread on a baking sheet. Season inside of pumpkin with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast until flesh is fork tender and juices are released, around 45-60 minutes.
Allow pumpkin to cool.
Scoop pumpkin flesh and place in food processor fitted with blade. Puree pumpkin in batches until smooth. You can add a cup of stock if it makes this part easier.
Remove pumpkin puree and place into large pot along with half the vegetable stock. Heat through on medium-high heat.
Add butter and cheddar, whisking until melted. Add remaining vegetable stock.
Add beer, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to simmer and cook for another 10 minutes on low-medium heat.
Garnish with pepitas or pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil. You can even add a dollop of creme fraiche if you're feeling extra fancy.
I am a sucker for fall spices – I just love the warmth they bring to any dish. But pumpkin pie, in particular, with its creamy pumpkin custard speckled with warm cinnamon and nutmeg, encased in a flaky crust and dolloped with fresh whipped cream? Well, that is a can’t-miss dish for me, and I can’t imagine ending a festive fall meal without it. It’s no wonder that for generations, pumpkin pie has been the go-to dessert for American families.
That’s all about to change.
Several years ago, during one of our many get-togethers, my mom pulled a fast one on the family, and replaced our much beloved pumpkin pie with the less traditional pumpkin flan. And while there were many skeptics in the bunch (myself included), once they had a single taste of the creamy, rich flavor and burst of spice from a little orange-tinged bite of the pumpkin flan, there was simply no going back. The verdict was in. We had a new fall dessert! Since then, serious jeers abound if we get together in the fall and there is no pumpkin flan in sight.
I understand that flan, in general, is a polarizing dish. Trust me, I’ve tasted my fair share of egg-y, rock solid, just plain bad flan. But if you’ve never tried Cuban-style flan, you’re doing yourself a disservice, as its thick, creamy custard with sweet caramel sauce oozing down the sides, is more akin to a crust-less cheesecake than anything else.
And when you combine that with the distinct flavors of fall that can only be found in a pumpkin pie, what results is an undeniably can’t-miss dish. It’s truly a perfect ending to any fall festive meal, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Shabbat, or in this year’s case, even Hanukkah. Promise.
1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
½ can coconut milk
½ can pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and add empty pan in the oven to warm. Note: it's best to use a 9 inch cake pan.
Mix first seven ingredients in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
In a saucepan, cook the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar becomes a deep amber color (about 15 minutes).
Working quickly, remove the empty pan from the oven, and pour in the melted sugar. Swirl the pan around, so the sugar covers the entire bottom of the pan. Pour in the milk and egg mixture over the caramelized sugar.
Insert the now full pan into a larger pan, and fill the larger pan about half-way up with water (a water bath).
Return the flan pan and water bath to the oven, and bake for about 70-80 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove the flan pan from the water bath, and set on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When you are ready to serve the flan, run a knife along the edge of the pan, place a rimmed serving platter over the pan, and invert it. The flan should fall easily, and the caramel sauce will coat the top and run along the sides.
Whereas the much acclaimed cookbook Jerusalem by Yotem Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi feature stunning recipes that sound delectable but require 27 steps and a chef’s degree to execute properly, Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration by Orly Ziv is a new cookbook featuring basic Israeli fare for the home cook. And that’s a good thing.
Everyone loves the variety of salads, or “salatim,” that traditional Israeli cuisine offers, and Cook in Israel dedicates its first three sections to eggplant and tomatoes, salads and vegetables. Included are simple classics like baba ghanoush, hummus and Moroccan carrot salad. But there are also some innovative twists on tradition like Israeli salad with pomegranate and avocado and shakshuka with eggplant.
I also like the Holiday section which includes recipes for several kinds of latkes, honey cake and apple jam among others. Top on my list of recipes to try? The chocolate and halva babka. Delish.
The ingredient list for the recipes is refreshingly short, and there is nothing that seems daunting.The book is truly filled with everyday, accessible recipes for the cook who loves to bring the flavors and warmth of Israel into their kitchen.
Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration, Orly Ziv
Before there was a baby or bills there were lots of vacations and other more frivolous ways that the husband and I spent our time and money.
One Summer before we were married we went to Vail for a beautiful, outdoors-centric long weekend. I expected great hiking and scenic mountain views, but I didn’t expect such an exciting food scene: outdoor farmers markets, gourmet mountainside dinners and jalapenos roasted before my eyes, among other highlights.
But the absolute culinary highlight from our time in Vail was a Sunday evening dinner at Kelly Liken, from acclaimed chef Kelly Liken. Little did we know, the restaurant throws its menu out the window on Sundays and cooks a completely new menu based on whatever is fresh at the farmers market that morning. I don’t remember everything we ate, but I do remember that it was outstanding.As our appetizer that evening we ordered a roasted beet soup that was unlike anything I had ever tasted before. I was so enamored with the soup that the husband, in true Jewish New Yorker form, asked the waiter if he could get the recipe for us to take home.
I was mildly embarrassed at his pushy request, but a few minutes later the waiter came back with the recipe jotted down in pen on a paper napkin. I don’t have that napkin anymore, but I have made the recipe enough times that it is forever engrained in my memory. Not to mention it was a pretty exciting moment to get the recipe for such a special soup straight from the chef. I may have made a few adjustments along the way, but no matter – it still turns out great.
This soup can be served hot or cold, although I prefer it served warm with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt. The soup definitely requires patience since it has many steps to make it. But the result is so delicious it is worth the effort.
6 large beets or 8-10 small-medium beets
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 quart vegetable stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream or greek yogurt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Scrub beets and wipe dry. Wrap each beet in tin foil and close tightly. Roast for at least one hour, or until beets are tender. Allow to cool enough to handle. Peel beets and chop into small pieces.
In a skillet heat olive oil and butter on medium heat. Saute onions and fresh thyme until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add beets and cook another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove thyme.
Pour beet, onion and garlic mixture into a food processor fitted with a blade. Add 1 cup of vegetable broth to food processor. Pulse until completely smooth.
Put beet and onion mixture through a fine mesh sieve or food mill in batches. This will take time. Place beet liquid to pot and add vegetables broth and whisk together. Bring liquid to a simmer on medium heat.
After soup has cooked for 3-5 minutes and is starting to bubble, reduce heat to low-medium. Add heavy creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with sour cream or greek yogurt.
I don’t know about you but I am just thrilled that September is over and we have moved past the chagim and into a new month. Beyond the happiness I feel for the chaos of the holidays being behind us, like many others I am so happy that it is officially fall and that everywhere I look there are pumpkins! While the temperatures where I live in Boston have remained in the 70’s it is still fall and therefore time for soup.
A few years ago, my husband and I went to New Orleans to visit friends. The wife, who is a fantastic cook, is always trying new recipes and she made us a delicious pumpkin soup. It was a fall version of minestrone soup with totally different flavors than I had tasted before. I happily received the recipe from her, and have been experimenting with her version ever since. Anything with pumpkin is a must try and anything that is easily brought as lunch the next day is also a winner, and I promise, this make a great lunch!
For this recipe, I toast the pumpkin seeds with salt and cayenne pepper to top the soup. It adds extra crunch and flavor.
1 19 oz can of chickpeas
4 carrots, cut into 2-3 large chunks
4 medium potatoes, quartered
2 large onion, quartered
salt and pepper
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp (less or more to taste) cayenne pepper
7 oz pumpkin, cut into 6-8 large chunks (peeled and seeds discarded)
4 zucchini, cut into 3-4 large chunks
half a green cabbage, quartered
4-5 stalks celery cut coarsely
7 cups of water
I cup prepared Israeli (pearl) couscous
1 bay leaf
Bring salted water to a boil.
Add the carrots, potatoes and onion, season with salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf. Cook 45 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Add the remaining vegetables and cook for 10 minutes.
Add chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary and remove the bay leaf.
Prepare the couscous according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Place a heap of couscous in a deep dish. Arrange the vegetables on top and ladle the soup around and over the couscous.
This month two big names in the kosher world came out with new cookbooks: The Prime Grill Cookbook by David Kolotkin and Joey Allaham and Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes by internet-famed Jamie Geller.
Both are beautiful and packed full of recipe choices but that’s where the similarities end. The Prime Grill Cookbook positions itself as “redefining the kosher experience,” in line with what the upscale midtown Manhattan restaurant has sought to do. While Joy of Kosher features family focused recipes that are easily “dressed up, or dressed down.” It’s sort of a Jewish mom meets Rachael Ray meets “Semi Homemade” guide to weekly family meals.
As a food writer, home cook and all around culinary-obsessed person, the family recipe route has never been what gets me really excited but I can see how the Joy of Kosher enterprise has amassed such a loyal following with their relatable recipes and striking photography.
Geller’s second cookbook is beautiful with fun ideas, but her narrative not only doesn’t speak to me, but kind of turns me off. She writes in the book that she wrote this cookbook at 3:00 am on her phone; all moms and busy working ladies can relate to multi-tasking and getting stuff done at weird times. But at 3:00 am, you better believe I am sleeping, or watching some awful re-run of Real Housewives of New Jersey. She also writes “Yes, I taste test every recipe. That’s why I look this way.” The woman has had 5 kids for goodness sake – she looks great! Jamie, why put yourself down like that girl!? Own your fabulousness!
Aside from Geller’s stories sprinkled throughout the book, there are simple, beautiful-looking recipes and other special features, like a guide to ingredients one will need to make the dishes. I really enjoyed the eye-catching “Fruit, Flower and Mint Ice Cubes” – such a pretty and fun idea for a special meal or cocktails. Other highlights: Hummus Trifle, Wilted Spinach with Crispy Chips, Balsamic London Broil and Caramel Fruit Bites.
If you are looking for family-friendly recipes that are accessible for the everyday cook, true to advertising, this is definitely the cookbook for you.
Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes, October 2013, William Morrow Cookbooks
I have been following Chef David Kolotkin’s career for some time and have eaten at several of the Prime Group’s restaurants in NYC, so I was eager to have a look at The Prime Grill Cookbook when it came out last month.
It is large, straightforward, not overly-fancy with staged photos of barns and props and sunsets that I just don’t care about. I am in this for the food, and I cannot decide which of the delectable-looking recipes from the cookbook I want to make first: Truffled Deviled Eggs, Potato Gnocchi with Duck Bolognaise and Sage, Falafel Crusted Salmon or the Sweet New Jersey Corn Flan with Sautéed Mushrooms.
I wasn’t impressed with the dessert recipes offered, but I did think that the basic stock recipes, salad dressings and infused olive oils were a great tool for the cook (like me) who likes to whip up everything from scratch when possible. It’s no surprise that the real recipe stand-outs of the cookbook are the meat recipes, which seem accessible enough that they aren’t scary to prepare, but unique enough to provide culinary inspiration.
Adventurous meat-loving home chefs rejoice – The Prime Grill Cookbook is here for you.
The Prime Grill Cookbook, September 2013, Pelican Publishing
The chagim are over, it’s back to school, back to work and officially Autumn. It’s also the perfect time to enjoy some classic cookies now that holiday cooking and baking can be put aside.
A good cookie recipe is hard to come by, but when I found this recipe for Oatmeal cookies I truly fell in love. You can keep them plain, add classic raisins, or like in my version below, add a twist with some chocolate chips and dried cherries! I have also used golden raisins and dried cranberries, but you can really do a little cookie improv based on your own tastes.
Another great part of this recipe – they can be made pareve or dairy! I almost always prefer to bake with butter, but I have made this recipe countless times with pareve margarine and the cookies come out great!
Pro tip: to bring out the sweetness of cookies don’t forget the salt! Combine 1/2 Tbsp thick sea salt with 1/2 Tbsp sanding sugar and sprinkle just a pinch on each cookie. The sanding sugar with make the cookies look beautiful and the salt will really add a depth of flavor and bring out the cookie’s sweetness.
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 Tbsp thick sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter or margarine with sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and cherries (or other add-ins). Don't overmix. In a small bowl combine sanding sugar and sea salt.
Using a cookie scoop, drop cookies on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Lightly flatten cookies with moistened fingers. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and sugar on top of each cookie.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Let cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet and then transfer to cooling racks.
After a few months of gluten-free, lean-protein, low-carb, whole-grain, raw-food living, the taste buds may begin to cry out indignantly: “Why does everything taste the same? Why do we have to be so healthy? Why can’t we have pizza? If we have to eat another leafy green salad dressed in olive oil and vinegar we’re going revolt!
Brown rice and beans is just so darn easy to prepare, and so is oatmeal And shaking up a weekly jar of olive oil vinaigrette is no big deal The wholesome dishes have been a habit for me, but has removed the guesswork, creatiity and flavor after so long. It is health-conscious eating, but mindful masticating?
Something had to give. At a recent Sunday Brunch party inspired by memories of thinly sliced smoked salmon and lox, baskets of bagel and tubs of cream cheeses, I was inspired to create this Bagels ‘N Lox Salad.
It began as many meals had with a layer of the leafy green-of-choice. But then it really started to get good with a few boiled new potatoes tossed in for a tender bite and some toothsome heft. Salty-oily slivers of smoked salmon or lox draped loosely on the leafy bed. Thin ribbons of sweet-tangy pickled red onions layered on more color and exciting flavor. A scattering of capers for even more salty taste. And then a few well-toasted pumpernickel squares added in for a pleasing crunch. It all ended tastily with a piquant drizzle of horseradish-dill crème fraiche dressing (the dedicated health-nuts can easily substitute Greek yogurt).
It might not be as high on the health-o-meter as steel-cut oatmeal or brown rice and beans, but it’s still in keeping with the balanced eating regime. Sometimes we just need some Jewish love in the form of a flavor.
For the pickled red onions:
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
For the Crème Fraiche Dressing:
3 Tbsp crème fraiche or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp prepared white horseradish
Salt & pepper, to taste
Pinch of sugar, optional
1 pound small new potatoes
2 slices pumpernickel or rye bread
12 ounces torn romaine or mixed greens
6 ounces sliced lox or smoked salmon, cut into bite-sized squares
2-3 Tbsp capers, drained
To make the pickled red onions: Pour red wine vinegar in a small bowl, mix in sugar until it dissolves add the sliced onion, ensuring it is mostly submerged in vinegar. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
Boil or steam potatoes until just tender; drain let cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile make the dressing: In a small bowl mix together crème fraiche (or yogurt), fresh dill, horseradish. Adjust seasonings to taste.
To make the croutons, pre-heat oven to 375F. Cut slices of bread into bite-sized squares and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool
On a large platter evenly spread out lettuce. Space out the boiled potatoes strategically on the lettuce. Drape squares of smoked salmon over potatoes.
Distribute the pickled red onions in equal amounts over the platter. Sprinkle drained capers artfully over salad.
Drizzle salad with horseradish-dill crème fraiche dressing- ensuring that every section gets an adequate amount.
Scatter the cooled croutons evenly over salad platter.
Other suggested add-ins: sliced avocado, radishes, beets, hard-boiled eggs. Store-bought bagel chips are a fine substitution for the pumpernickel croutons.
If you don’t love the fall, well, you may want to examine your sanity. I can think of few things that are better than a crisp fall day with sun shining, leaves turning and the faint scent of spiced cider in the air. I love fall jackets, apple picking and just about ANYTHING made with pumpkins.
Each year I add a new set of dishes to my fall flavors repertoire, which very often combines pumpkin, sweet potato or squash and some kind of cheese. In years past I have created Pumpkin Lasagna, Mac ‘n Sweet Potato Cheesy Sauce and even Pumpkin Pizza with Goat Cheese and Fried Shallots. The Nosher even has a recipe for Pumpkin Challah!
The first pumpkin dish of my Autumn might seem like a weird combination, but I assure you it is savory, satisfying and delicious – Pumpkin Corn Ricotta Enchiladas! This recipe was inspired by a recipe from one of my favorite blogs called “Naturally Ella” which features seasonal, vegetarian food that always looks beautiful and delicious. Erin’s Roasted Corn Ricotta Enchiladas with Chipotle Tomato Sauce easily morphed into my version using pumpkin puree and a short-cut using canned tomato sauce.
This is a great dish to make on a Sunday to eat for dinner during the week, or even for a dairy lunch during Sukkot. After all – enchiladas are “stuffed’ making this (almost) traditional for the festival holiday.
2 ears fresh corn
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
Pinch fresh pepper
1 cup ricotta
½ cup pumpkin puree (fresh preferably, but canned is fine)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp fresh lime zest
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro plus extra for garnish
2 ½ cups canned tomato puree
2-3 canned chipotle chilies in adobo, minced
4-6 whole wheat tortillas
½ cup grated cheddar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove corn from the cob and place in a small bowl. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread corn out onto a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until kernels are soft and starting to turn golden brown. Allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, combine ricotta, pumpkin puree, lime juice and zest, salt, pepper, and cilantro. Add cooled corn to ricotta mixture.
In a small sauce pan mix together tomato puree and chipotle chilies in adobo and heat until warmed through. Depending on how much spice you like, you can add more or less of the chilies.
Spread the bottom of an 8x5 pyrex dish or baking pan with ½ cup of the tomato sauce. Spoon around ½ cup pumpkin ricotta mixture in the middle of each tortilla. Roll up gently (but tightly) and place fold side down in pan. Cover with remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is completely melted and bubbling.
Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with slices of avocado, black beans and Greek yogurt (or sour cream).
Did you know that it is traditional to eat stuffed foods on Sukkot?
Originally, I thought it was just because they tasted good. Not quite content, I did a little bit of research and came up with a few answers.
Some say that we eat stuffed cabbage on Simchat Torah because if you put two of these bundles together they look the two tablets of the Ten Commandments.
This answer didn’t thrill me because two store-bought dinner rolls have the same effect, except they don’t require, blood, sweat, and tears to serve them.
A bit more digging and I uncovered another answer: we eat stuffed foods because they symbolize an overwhelming bounty. Fall is when farmers harvest wheat in Israel. A simple vegetable overflowing with delicious filling reminds us of our desire for a year of overflowing harvest.
In biblical times, farmers would put collecting their crops on hold to sit in a sukkah with their family and celebrate Sukkot. Sitting out on the field studying Torah with their children, these farmers were surrounded by two great desires; one, that this year’s harvest would be plentiful and two that like those vegetables, their year would be bursting with moments like that one, doing what they loved most, studying Torah with who they loved most.
In the year 2013, when most of us do not run out to cut wheat, and the closest thing we’ve done to harvesting is scope out sales at the mall, I think it’s time to give this ancient tradition a modern twist – and what better than with dessert!
This is a healthy autumn dessert that helps you stick to your new year resolutions. Or you can serve it with a side of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. My favorite part about this recipe is that if I somehow end up with leftovers, I can have dessert for breakfast without even the slightest bit of guilt!
5 large apples (whichever variety you prefer)
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup of crushed walnuts
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup of instant oatmeal
1/4 cup of craisins
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted margarine cut into five small cubes
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and boil 1 1/2 cups of water.
Place a small pan over a medium heat and toast your spices and nuts. Toast until they become fragrant, around 3-5 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
This shouldn’t take more than five minutes. Keep an eye on them while you continue with the recipe to prevent them from burning.
While you wait for you ingredients to toast, cut off the top of your apple.
You should cut off about 1/4 inch off the top, enough that it isn’t a wobbly thin slice of apple but a sturdy "hat" you can easily place back on top of your apple later.
Remove the center of your apples creating a hollow circle in the middle of your apple with an inch or so diameter. You can use an apple corer to help you remove the center of your apple. If you don't have an apple corer you can also using a paring knife or any small sharp knife.
Remember the hollowed core of you apple doesn’t have to be a perfect circle as long as you remove all the pits your apple is perfect.
Once your spices and nuts are fragrant, add the almond milk and honey and continue to heat.
Once your almond milk mixture is hot but not bubbling, stir in the oatmeal and craisins.
Cook the oatmeal stuffing for a few more minutes, until most of your almond milk has been absorbed, stirring every few minutes.
Fill your apples with approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp of filling so that they are entirely filled.
Place your apples into a small baking dish.
Put a single piece of margarine on top of each apple's filling and then the top of each apple in order to "seal" the apple closed.
Pour the 1 1/2 cups of boiling water into the baking dish along with the apples.
Cover your baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Bake your apples for 30-40 minutes while basting their stuffing with the cooking water every 10-15 minutes.
They are ready when the apples' stuffing is hot and the apples are soft but not mushy.