Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing and Challah Croutons

Yield:
4 servings

My husband’s family is very male-centric and even though they love to eat, they can be a bit difficult to satisfy. They don’t like fancy desserts, eggplant, anything with nuts or “girly” salads. Whereas my mother-in-law love salads with fruits, nuts and lots of chopped veggies (like me!), the guys in the family don’t want much to do with a nice spinach salad.

So after racking my brain I decided to try making this classic wedge salad, sans the bacon that is traditionally included, for a dairy Shavuot meal last year. And thankfully, my father-in-law loved it and it was a big hit all around.

wedge-salad-2It is hearty, beautiful to look at and its the kind of salad that can be changed around depending on your tastes. Need some more protein? Add some beans or a grilled piece of fish and it becomes a main dish. Blue cheese too strong for you? Substitute a creamy ranch dressing instead. Want to get in some extra veggies? Add chopped cucumber and avocado.

But it’s the homemade challah croutons that really take this dish to the next level. They are crispy and buttery, adding crunch and a whole lot of satisfying flavor, especially for this gluten-loving gal. When making the croutons, don’t skimp on the olive oil.

wedge-salad-3

Classic Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing and Challah Croutons

Ingredients

1 head iceberg lettuce

2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 hard-boiled eggs

2-3 cups leftover challah

2-3 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

½ cup buttermilk

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut challah into small cubes. Toss challah with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 10-25 minutes until crispy, golden brown. Allow to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, olive oil and lemon juice. Add crumbled blue cheese and stir, breaking up any large clumps as you go. Set aside dressing.

Remove core from iceberg lettuce. Cut into four large wedges. Place on a large platter and assemble salad with cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, croutons and salad dressing.

Posted on May 1, 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

Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Dip

No matter how much I plan or prep, I find myself in a pre-dinner panic almost every time we host.  I’m opening and closing the fridge, wondering if I’ll actually have enough food. No one has ever gone hungry at my table and there’s always plenty of variety so surprise allergies or unannounced vegetarians are never a concern.

eggplant-2

That said, I’ve built an arsenal of “quick extras” that I can add to almost any menu. Anything from roasted chickpeas, grilled polenta or this eggplant dip which reassure me there will be enough food.

eggplant-5

This roasted eggplant and garlic dip is quick, and when you serve it in the skin of the eggplant, it looks beautiful and impressive on the table. All of the ingredients are things that I typically have in the fridge, so when I get a last minute “can we bring two friends to dinner?” phone call, I never have to say no.

eggplant-4

Love Jewish food? Sign up for our weekly Nosher recipe newsletter!

Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Dip

Ingredients

Two whole eggplants

Six cloves of garlic

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 cup tahini

1/4 cup olive oil

1 lemon

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Scoop out eggplant flesh and cut into cubes, leaving eggplant skin whole and uncooked. Place eggplant chunks on a greased baking sheet with garlic and roast for 30 minutes.

Allow the eggplant to cool slightly.

While it's still warm, place in a food processor fitted with blade attachment and pulse with the tahini, parsley, olive oil and the juice and zest of one lemon until desired smoothness.

Serve with other various salads and fresh bread.

Posted on April 30, 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

Blogger Spotlight: This American Bite

The blogging world can be a little female-heavy, especially where Jewish food blogs are concerned. Not that that’s a bad thing, being a female Jewish food blogger myself. But it was a lovely change of pace to chat with Yosef Silver a few weeks ago of This American Bite, who definitely has some unique perspectives on cooking and blogging. I learned his home is largely gluten free and dairy free: I could never survive.

But as I chatted with Yosef, I also learned about his life in Kansas, his “whole” approach to feeding the kids and his adventures cooking with Iron Chef Judge Simon Majumdar.

Stay tuned for Yosef’s recipe for eggplant dip tomorrow, and in the meantime enjoy learning more about this daddy food blogger based out of Kansas City.

eggplant dip preview

I noticed your blog describes your style as “whole food cooking.” How do you define “whole food?”

We eat real food. We don’t believe in “kid food” or processed food. We are very particular about what our kids will eat and we don’t want to buy too many items that come from a factory. We are also gluten free and dairy free out in our home. My wife, who is a nutritionist, has really influenced the healthy eating side of me. It amazes me how much people don’t want to cook. Food isn’t just about the food for me: it’s also about family dinner, togetherness. Wholesomeness.

Why did you start blogging?Yosef Silver - This American Bite

When I was waiting to receive my green card and wasn’t working, I was cooking a lot. And at some point I wanted a way to record what I was making, and what was good. I began writing for myself, and people enjoyed it. I am not sure at what point it really grew. I don’t write for an audience, although I am conscience what my readers enjoy because I love sharing.If I am not enjoying what I am making, then the quality of my food suffers.

You are originally from England – how does that influence your cooking?

I was raised by mom and it was just the two of us. No matter how busy my mom was, there was always a home-cooked meal. We always had dinner together no matter what was going on. And we continue that tradition for our kids.

We also love having guests at the house. It’s our normal.  When we don’t have guests for Shabbat dinner, our kids are like, “um what is going on?” Shabbat for me is very much about community and enjoying a special meal together. If I am cooking for you, it’s a statement of our relationship. If I am angry with someone, I have a hard time cooking for them.

Is that how your wife knows you are mad at her?

Ha, she will eat anyway.

scotch eggs

I noticed you recently collaborated on a recipe with Melinda from KitchenTested and used Marmite. I always thought that was an Australian thing?

Marmite = British. Vegemite = Australian

Marmite gives dishes a real beefy, stocky flavor. For example, I put it in my chicken soup and my split pea soup.

When my mom comes from Israel she brings me like 10 of them. And so I gave one to Melinda and we decided to collaborate on a dish when I visited NY in February.

We were brainstorming what we were going to do with it. And when we came up with the aioli, I wasn’t sure it was going to work. But the result, Scotch Eggs with Honey Marmite Aioli, was delicious. For me it reminds me of my childhood. It’s the kind of thing that people love or hate, there is no middle ground.

Taking-photos-of-food-2

What advice would you give to someone else who wants to blog?

Just do it. Don’t worry about your domain, or what it looks like. Just start writing. Even if you write in a google doc and start sending out to your friends for the first couple of months, just start doing it. And if your content and recipes are awesome, then it won’t matter what it’s called.

What’s on the horizon for This American bite and Yosef?

I ask myself this all the time. I would love to write a book.

I love the connections I am making through writing about food, like Melinda of KitchenTested and Whitney of Jewhungry. I love the online marketing field, and I love food. I love anything that combines both. Not sure where it will take met yet.

Posted on April 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

Key Challah

Have you heard of the tradition of baking a shlissel challah, or key challah, the Shabbat after Passover? I hadn’t either until last year when I started noticing pictures of key-shaped challot and challot with keys baked somewhere in the loaf last year on Facebook and instagram.

Liz key challahI googled and finally found out the reason. A shlissel challah is a good omen, or a segula, for livelihood, parnassa.

Melinda from Kitchen Tested has a great explanation of this tradition:

The key challah is supposed to bring “segulah for parnassah” or a blessing to their home. Why right after Passover? On the high-holidays, we ask G-d to open the gates of heaven for our prayers and on Passover, we ask G-d to recall how He opened the gates for the entire nation of Israel in the days after the Jews left Egypt and were welcomed in to the “promised land.” When the challah is made to represent a key, we are asking for the key to unlock the gates for us as well.

Shlissel-Challah-Final-Photo-1

So what do you think – will you try your hand at making a key challah as a good omen? Koshereye has video instructions to help if you’re up for the challenge.

A special thank you to Liz Morley, aka mama Morley, for sharing her picture of shlissel challah with The Nosher.

Shabbat Shalom!

Posted on April 25, 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

Scrumptious Southern Sweet Potato Challah

Passover’s over; challah week is here! Yesterday we gave you dessert challah with our Double Chocolate Chip Challah and today we’re offering you this delicious Sweet Potato Challah devised by our friends down in Jackson, Mississippi.

Want to see how these…

sweet potatoes

…can be turned into this?

sweet potato challah

Click here to find the recipe on Southern & Jewish.

Bon apetit, y’all!

Love Jewish food? Sign up for our weekly Nosher recipe newsletter!

Posted on April 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

Double Chocolate Chip Challah

Yield:
One large loaf or two smaller loaves

I always say that I loathe Passover, but there is a part of me that also enjoys it. Or at the very least, appreciates its value. It’s a week where we are challenged to be even more thoughtful about the food we eat and where it comes from. And it’s almost like our own version of a Spring cleanse. Bye-bye carbs, hello vegetables and creative use of potatoes. I do feel lighter after a week without bread and pasta, despite my bitching and moaning all the way through. And believe me, my husband can vouch for my constant kvetching.

choc-challah-stamp2But the time has come to indulge in some carbs once again, and I can’t wait to get back to my Friday routine of baking challah with my daughter.

choc-challah-stamp4

And do you know what’s better than challah? Chocolate chip challah. And perhaps even better than chocolate chip challah? Double chocolate chip challah laced with cinnamon, vanilla and dark cocoa powder.

I swear by Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder and highly recommend you keep it stocked for cookies, cakes and sometimes even challah.

choc-challah-stamp3

Double Chocolate Chip Challah

Ingredients

1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water

1 tsp sugar

5 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 Tbsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1 egg yolk

thick sea salt (optional)

Directions

In a small bowl, place yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit around 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.

In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and vegetable oil. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture. Mix thoroughly.

Add another cup of flour and eggs until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.

Remove approximately half the dough and place in a large bowl. Add cocoa powder and 1/2 cup flour and mix. Add half the chocolate chips another 1/2 cup-1 cup of flour and knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more floured if needed. Set aside.

Add the remaining chocolate chips and 1/2 -1 cup flour to the plain dough and mix into dough. Add another 1/2 cup flour and continue knead on a lightly floured surface for around 10 minutes or until the plain dough is also elastic and smooth. Add more flour if needed.

Place both doughs in separate greased bowls and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 3-4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combining dough from both the plain and chocolate challah, braid into one large loaf or two smaller loaves. If attempting a six braid, I like this video tutorial.

Allow challahs to rise another 30-60 minutes, or until you can see the the size has grown and challah seems fluffy and light to the touch.

Beat 1 egg yolk and brush liberally over challah. Sprinkle thick sea salt on top if desired.

Bake for 27-30 minutes, or until middle looks like it has just set, and the color is golden.

Posted on April 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

Quinoa Sweet Potato Patties with Arugula Salad

I don’t mind admitting that Passover completely stresses me out. Inevitably I will start to cook something and realize I don’t have the correct kitchen tool or that I forgot to get one ingredient and running out to the store is just not an option.

But what really makes me stressed are lunches! I am happy with all the meat at the seders, but in general I need a lighter lunch and try to avoid eating matzah.

sweet-potato-quinoa-b1I typically love salads for lunch but need something to go with it – the veggies alone do not always cut it. So I came up with a more substantial salad that is delicious cold or warm and fulfills my desire for fresh vegetables and my need for something starchy.

sweet-potato-quinoa-b5

This recipe is great to make ahead of time to serve as lunch on chag or the perfect tupperware lunch during chol hamoed. Looking to add additional protein? Serve with some grilled salmon.

sweet-potato-quinoa-b3

Quinoa Sweet Potato Pattie with Arugula Salad

Ingredients

For the sweet potato patties:

2 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
1 cup cooked quinoa (only cook half a cup)
½ red onion finely dices
3 cloves of crushed garlic
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
½ Tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil for frying

For the blackberry mint salsa:
1 pint fresh blackberries, chopped
½  red onion, finely diced
½ jalapeno, finely diced (more or less to taste)
½  cup chopped mint
1 tp salt
juice of 1 lime

For the arugula salad:
Bag of fresh arugula
2 ripe avocados sliced
lime wedges

Directions

To make patties:

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add in sweet potato, onion, salt and pepper, stir, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until potato is soft (easily able to be mashed). Remove lid and add garlic and cayenne pepper, cooking for an additional minute.

Transfer cooked sweet potatoes to a large bowl and mash. Add in quinoa, thyme, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Using your hands to bring it together, form equally-sized patties. Heat the same skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add cakes and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

To make the salsa:
Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix.

To make the salad:
Combine ingredients and dress with juice from lime wedge

_____

Love Jewish food? Sign up for our weekly Nosher recipe newsletter!

Posted on April 17, 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

Nosher Seder Menus 2014

We know menu planning can be tough, especially at Passover, so each year we like to help make the Passover prep a bit easier by providing some of our favorite dishes.

Check out our three sample seder menus below. Make the whole menu, or pick and choose based on your taste and dietary needs! We know it will be delicious no matter what.

Chag kasher v’sameach and a very happy Passover to all our readers.

matzo balls2

Traditional Seder

Haroset

Marinated cucumber salad

Matzo balls and chicken soup

Passover rolls

Brisket

White wine-braised chicken thighs with tomatoes and potatoes

Mini potato kugels

Flourless chocolate cake

White-Wine-Braised-Chicken-Thighs-with-Leeks,-Potatoes-and-Tom-4

Vegetarian-ish Seder

Moroccan haroset

Homemade gravlax

Vegetarian chopped liver

Cream of carrot soup with roasted jalapenos

Eggplant casserole

Salat tapuz

Crispy asparagus with minced egg

Sweet potato pie with macaroon crust

 

candied-walnut-pom-haroset-

Unusual flavors seder

Candied walnut and pomegranate haroset

Cuban matzo ball soup

Tuscan chopped liver

Fennel celery salad

Short ribs with orange and honey

Coconut crusted chicken with plum sauce

Mashed sweet potatoes with shallots

Almond butter & jam mousse trifles

pbj-stamp2

Love Jewish food? Sign up for our weekly Nosher recipe newsletter!

Posted on April 10, 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

Almond Butter & Jam Mousse Trifles

Prep:
24 hours

Yield:
6 mini trifles

During Passover each year, I really like to keep things simple. My husband and I make mostly the same dishes for our seder, stock the fridge with all our favorite produce and dairy products and try to keep things basic, fresh and delicious. But of course, I also rack my brain trying to come up with fun new ideas that are scrumptious but not too difficult to execute.

Last year I made Rachel Khoo’s cheese and potato nests with brie (no bacon) and this year I am going to make some zucchini noodles with a hearty Bolognese sauce (made with my new spiralizer – have you ordered one yet!?)

pbj-stamp-with-title1

And I also dreamed up a light but delectable new dessert recipe. Of course it isn’t really peanut butter & jelly, since I know most American Ashkenazi Jews don’t eat kitnyot. But it has the same richness as peanut butter and tastes like a bread-less PB&J sandwich. Adults and kids will love it, and it’s a nice break from all the flourless chocolate cake and macaroons.

pbj-stamp2

If you don’t have mini cups, you can use individual plastic cups to make the trifles or also use a large trifle dish for family-style serving. After all, Passover is definitely a holiday all about family. So grab a spoon and dig in!

Love Jewish food? Sign up for our weekly Nosher recipe newsletter!

 

Almond Butter & Jam Mousse Trifles

Ingredients

For the pie crust:

1 cup sliced almonds

4 Tbsp melted butter or margarine

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp almond meal

¼ tsp sea salt

For the almond butter mousse:

2 14 ounce cans full-fat coconut milk, or 1 can coconut cream

¾ cup almond butter

¼ cup sugar

4 egg whites

2 cups raspberry or strawberry jam

Whipped cream (optional)

Fresh berries (optional)

Directions

Make sure to chill the coconut milk overnight.

To make the crust:

In a sauté pan over medium heat, toast almonds until fragrant, around 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to toast too long or almonds will burn and taste slightly bitter.

In a food processor fitted with blade attachment, pulse toasted almonds, butter or margarine, brown sugar, almond meal and salt. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Set aside.

To make the mousse:

Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the ¼ cup sugar, whisking until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Remove lid of coconut milk without shaking or tipping the can. Scoop out the solid cream and place into a chilled bowl. Leave the liquid in the bottom of the can and reserve it for soups, smoothies or other recipes. If cream has not come to top, put coconut milk through fine mesh sieve and discard liquid.

Using a hand mixer, beat until creamed together, around 1 minute.

Add almond butter one tablespoon at a time and mix until smooth.

Gently fold egg whites into almond butter mixture a few tablespoons at a time until incorporated. There shouldn’t be any streaks.

Layer individual cups or trifle dish with pie crust crumbles, then mousse, then jam and repeat.

Garnish with whipped cream and berries if desired.

Posted on April 10, 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

Cuban Chicken Soup: Jewban Penicillin

I think it’s safe to say that every Jewish grandmother who has proclaimed, “You should eat more!” has a mean recipe for chicken soup in her arsenal. For generations, colds and flus have gone to battle with bowls and bowls of Jewish penicillin made by these bubbes, and my abuela was no exception.

Cuban-Matzoh-Ball-Soup-stamp2

I come from a family of strong women, so it is fitting that our recipe for chicken soup isn’t the clear-broth version with a lonely floating carrot slice. Ours is a stick-to-your-bones and prepare-for-war kind of soup, chock-full of nutrient-rich vegetables and flavors that awaken the senses. My favorite part of this soup is how the kabocha squash disintegrates into the broth, giving it a wholesome creamy texture without the heaviness of added butter or milk. Plus, the crunch of the bok choy and zucchini packs a solid punch of vitamin c, and makes it easy for me to eat my greens. Couple all of this with my mother-in-law’s recipe for the fluffiest, most light-as-air matzoh balls, and you’ve got yourself the better part of a seder.  Cuban-Matzoh-Ball-Soup-stamp

This recipe may be a mish mosh of the traditions of my husband’s family and mine, but it is certainly one I would be proud to share at any Passover table or year-round.

Cuban Chicken Soup with Matzoh Balls

Ingredients

For the matzo balls:

1 cup matzo meal

½ cup club soda

4 eggs

⅓ cup vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

pinch black pepper

pinch nutmeg

For the soup:

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

15 whole allspice berry

3 bay leaves

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 medium malangas*, peeled and coarsely diced

2 quarts of low sodium chicken broth

1 tsp of bijol powder (optional)*

6 culantro leaves*

½ Kabocha squash, peeled and coarsely diced

Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper

4 baby bok choy, cut into quarters, lengthwise

2 zucchini, sliced into ½ inch slices

1 Lime, sliced

Directions

To make the matzo balls:

Combine all ingredients until just mixed, careful not to over mix.

Cover the mixture, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Boil water with salt (or chicken broth). Oil hands, then make small balls (1 inch in diameter), and add them to boiling water.

Cover, lower the heat to medium low and simmer for about 25 minutes.

Transfer the matzo balls to the soup.

To make the soup:

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium/high heat.

Using a piece of cheesecloth and kitchen twine, tightly secure the 15 allspice berries and the bay leaves together in a small pouch.

Place onions, carrots, chicken pieces and the spice pouch in the stock pot, and sauté for about 8 minutes, or until onions are translucent and chicken has slightly browned, mixing frequently.

Add the garlic, the malangas, and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the bijol powder, the culantro, kabocha squash, salt and pepper, and cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken pieces, set aside until cool to the touch, shred them, and then return to the soup.

Add the bok choy and zucchini, and cook 10 more minutes, or until bok choy softens, and zucchini are cooked through.

Remove the culantro leaves and the spice pouch.

Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate or freeze for later use. Garnish with slices of lime.

*Some of the ingredients may be hard to find. Here is a list of acceptable substitutions:
Malangas – yuca or potatoes
Bijol powder – saffron powder, achiote powder, or omit from recipe, as it is optional.
Cilantro leaves – 1 bundle of cilantro, secured in cheesecloth, so that it won’t dissolve into the soup and can easily be removed.

Love Jewish food? Sign up for our weekly Nosher recipe newsletter!

Posted on April 9, 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

Privacy Policy