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

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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

Mexishuka

Yield:
2 servings

When I first moved to Israel around five years ago, there were no Mexican food restaurants, and really very little interest in the cuisine. Fast forward to today: Tel Aviv has blossomed with possibilities for burritos and genuinely spicy salsa as well as 5 Mexican-style restaurants currently.

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In truth, the ingredients used in Mexican food aren’t that different from those native to Israeli diets: a focus on fresh tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, lots of spices and citrus. So it was only a matter of time until Mexican food arrived in Israel. 

It is also lime season in Israel, and for this reason a celebration of excess lime usage is in order. To most this declaration sounds confusing: Israel is known for its fine citrus fruits, so why would lime season be such a big deal?  As it turns out, like other produce in Israel, much of the best crops are exported (primarily to Japan) so we don’t see it as much in our markets. Also, because the lime season is short, farmers do not see as much value compared to other citrus fruits.

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Combine my love of Mexican food, love of lime season and shakshuka and you have a unique Mexi-terranean fusion perfect for summer breakfast, or anytime you feel like enjoying some Israeli fusion comfort food.

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Mexishuka (Mexican Shakshuka)

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
8 small (or 5 large) tomatoes
1 red chili pepper, diced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne Pepper
1 tsp salt
2-3 eggs
1 can refried beans
1 lime, cut into wedges
Corn tortillas (or Corn Tortilla Tostada Shells)
Fresh cilantro
Avocado, sliced thinly
Shredded cheese

Directions

Warm the olive oil in a heavy pan at medium heat. Add the onion and stir frequently until onion turns golden.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook for one minute, then add the tomatoes and cover. Lower the heat to medium-low heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes are softened.

Add the spices and stir, tasting and adding spice to your desired flavor.

Crack the eggs directly into the tomato mixture, being careful not to break the yolk.

Continue cooking the sauce with the eggs for another 5-10 minutes until the yolks are cooked to your liking.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat the refried beans according to the instructions on the can.

If making the tostada: In a separate pan, grill the corn tortillas until crunchy then cut into chips to be used for dipping.

Arrange the tortillas either on a plate or in a bowl (or use a pre-cooked tostada shell), layering on top the refried beans and other desired toppings of cheese, cilantro, and avocado.

Once the eggs are cooked into the tomato dish, use a large spoon to transfer the tomato sauce and eggs on top of the tortilla (or tostada).

Add additional toppings to your taste, including a hefty squeeze of lime juice.

Posted on August 12, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Tri-Color Melon Salad with Mint Syrup

Ingredients

1 ripe canteloupe

1 ripe honeydew

1/2 watermelon

1/4 cup mint simple syrup (optional)

mint for garnish (optional)

special equipment: melon baller

Directions

If desired, prepare one batch of minted simple syrup. You will only need 1/4 cup, so place the remaining syrup in an air-tight container and refrigerate.

Cut the melons in half and remove seeds. Using a melon baller, twist and scoop out balls of each kind of melon.

Arrange balls in a large bowl, individual glasses or right in the scooped out melons. Drizzle simple syrup if desired and garnish with fresh mint.

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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