Berry-Stuffed Challah French Toast

Yield:
4 servings

Having leftover challah has never been a bad thing. Sunday morning brunches, Shabbat afternoon sandwiches; the options go on. Since I am hosting most Friday nights and am constantly left with challah I decided I needed to be a little more creative with the leftovers.

This past weekend I also happened to have a bowl of mixed berries left over and knew right away this was the week to leave my comfort zone and make stuffed challah french toast using both these delicious remains.

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French toast is one of my favorite foods and eat it any time of day. And now that I have created this challah masterpiece, I may never stop.  I even went as far as to make homemade blueberry syrup to go on top, but you can leave this step out if you prefer plain maple syrup.

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Berry-Stuffed Challah French Toast

Ingredients

For the French toast:

1/2 loaf leftover challah

½ cup mixed berries

4oz cream cheese, at room temperature

1 ½ tsp vanilla

3 eggs

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp maple syrup

½ cup milk

Butter or oil for pan

For the blueberry syrup

½ cup of sugar

1 Tbsp cornstarch

½ cup water

½ cup of fresh blueberries

½ tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp butter

Pinch of salt

Directions

To make the French toast:

Slice the challah into 2-inch thick pieces. Using a paring knife, cut a deep slit across the top in the middle of each slice, approximately 4 inches long - This will form your “pocket.” Once you’re done, set the bread aside.

Put the room temperature cream cheese, vanilla and mixed berries in a bowl and combine using a wooden spoon. The berries will crush a bit and that is good. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, add 2 eggs, cinnamon, maple syrup, and milk. Mix well.

Take the fruit-cream cheese mixture and stuff into the "pockets" of the challah.

When done stuffing each piece of bread, completely coat each piece in egg mixture. Make sure all sides are covered.

Put butter or oil into a hot skillet and melt completely. Add the stuffed challah to the skillet and cook roughly about 3-6 minutes on each side, until it reaches a nice golden brown. You want to make sure the cream cheese mixture heats through.

To make the blueberry syrup:

Combine sugar, cornstarch and water over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the blueberries and simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the butter, cinnamon and salt simmer for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Top the stuffed French toast with berry syrup.

Posted on February 8, 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

Heart-Shaped Linzer Cookies

Yield:
Around 2 dozen cookies

Linzer torte cookies were one of my mom’s go-to recipes that I have fond memories of making with her as a child. We didn’t make them for Valentine’s Day per se, but made them for any special occasion that came up – parties, piano recitals and even rainy Saturdays.

This recipe isn’t quite the same as hers, which unfortunately was lost when she passed away. But it is the closest thing I have found to the buttery cookies we made together during my childhood. I find this version to be particularly versatile because the cookies are excellent made in both dairy and pareve varieties, which cannot be said for every dessert recipe!

linzer-cookies1-stampI actually don’t make these for Valentine’s Day either, but really love to make these cookies for Sheva Berakhot celebrations for friends! But they are also great as a sweet treat for your loved ones on Valentine’s Day, Shabbat or any day you just want to show a little extra lovin’.

I love making these fun square-shaped cookies with just a smidge of sweet jam peeking out from the heart shaped cut-out. But you can have fun and make any shape that suits your fancy.

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Heart-Shaped Linzer Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

½ cup sugar

1 egg

½ tsp vanilla

1 tsp fresh orange zest

2 cups all-purpose flour

Extra flour for rolling

Raspberry jam

Powdered sugar

Special equipment: rolling pin and cookie cutters

Directions

Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, vanilla and orange zest and combine.

Add flour one cup at a time until full incorporated.

Place dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into desired shapes. You may need to add extra flour during this step as this dough tends to be sticky, but try not to add too much.

Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

When cookies have cooled completely, spread with jam and sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

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Posted on February 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

French Onion Soup with Challah and Munster Cheese

Yield:
6 servings

Most weeks it’s hard to find a crumb of challah leftover after Shabbat, especially since my husband and I love hosting our friends for Shabbat dinner whenever we can.

But every few weeks or so we like to enjoy a quiet Shabbat just the three of us, and when this happens, there is inevitably part of a challah loaf leftover.

veggie-french-onion-soup-stOf course, I make French toast. I make croutons, bread crumbs and even bread pudding. But sometimes a gal just wants to try something new.

I found this recipe from the Inventive Vegetarian and knew I wanted to use up some of my challah to finish off a rich bowl of French Onion Soup. Topped with bubbling, melted munster cheese and you have a Jewish version of this iconic soup. The onions make the soup sweet, and the richness of both the eggy challah and gooey munster cheese make each bite practically sinfulveggie-onion-soup-stamped

French Onion Soup with Challah and Munster Cheese

Ingredients

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

½ tsp sugar

1 ½ Tbsp all-purpose flour

½ cup white wine

6 cups vegetable stock

1-2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

6 pieces leftover challah

6 pieces sliced munster cheese

Special equipment: individual ramekins

Directions

Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium-low heat.

Add onions and allow to cook for 12-15 minutes. Don’t worry about fussing with them too much right now, you will be stirring later.
After 15 minutes, add the sugar and stir. Allow the onions to caramelize for the next 30 to 40 minutes, stirring frequently. If the onions are getting crispy make sure to lower the heat.

After the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle the flour over them and cook for about three minutes, continuing to stir.
Next, add the wine, deglazing the bottom of the pan as you stir.

Add the stock and the water, continuing to stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a simmer and allow to cook another 30 minutes.

Add several ladles full of soup to each individual ramekin.

Toast your challah pieces and place on top of soup. Add a slice of Munster on top of challah round and place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and just beginning to brown.

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Posted on February 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

Pastrami Sandwich Challah

Yield:
1 large challah

When I was in high school, I had the most wonderful English teacher (that’s you, Mr. Scanlon!) who quoted Emerson, roughly, saying that we all contradict ourselves.

I often feel like I am the epitome of contradiction where eating and cooking is concerned. I strive to keep a mostly vegetarian diet, but sometimes I can’t help it. I relish making something fatty and delicious using red meat. And my Pastrami Sandwich Challah fits this bill precisely.

Pastrami Sandwich ChallahStuffing my challah with meat all began with my famous challah dogs (stay tuned for that recipe!). But recently I had a hankering to stuff my challah with something else. Ground beef? Seemed messy. Chicken? So dry. But then I thought of the North American classic deli roll—a dish I did not grow up with, and which I find both disgusting and delicious. And the idea for this crazy new challah began to take shape.

Pastrami Sandwich ChallahIf you have a local butcher as an option, please please please go get freshly sliced pastrami. Thin is best—a thick-cut pastrami will not result in the same consistency.

Make sure not to spread the Russian dressing on too thick, or you could end up with a leaky challah. I know that sounds delicious, but it might not make for such a pretty-looking challah.

Pastrami Sandwich ChallahLet us know if you try this. I’d love to hear modifications!

Pastrami Sandwich Challah

Ingredients

5 cups of all purpose flour

1/4 cup vegetable oil

½ Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp onion powder

½ cup sugar

1 ½ cups lukewarm water

1 Tbsp yeast

1 tsp sugar

2 eggs plus one egg yolk

1/8-1/4 lb thinly sliced pastrami

3 Tbsp ketchup

1 Tbsp mayo

Poppy seeds

Dried minced onion

Thick sea salt (optional)

Directions

Proof yeast by placing yeast, sugar and lukewarm water in a small bowl. Stir gently just once or twice. 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, onion powder and sugar. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil. Mix thoroughly.

Add another cup of flour and 2 eggs until smooth (save extra egg yolk for later). Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.

Add another 1 1/2 cups flour and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 10 minutes (or however long your hands will last).

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 3-4 hours.

After dough has risen, roll out dough using a rolling pin until it is about ½ inch thick. Mix ketchup and mayo in a small bowl and spread a thin layer all over the dough.

Lay pastrami down in a single layer overlapping pieces only slightly.

Working quickly, start rolling up the dough towards you. Try and keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Pinch the end when you finish.

Create a pinwheel shaped-challah by snaking the dough around and around in a circle around itself. When finished, tuck the end under the challah neatly and pinch lightly. This doesn't have to be perfect - remember, as long as it tastes good, almost no one will care what it looks like.

Allow challah to rise another hour. This extra rise will ensure fluffy challah.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush challah with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seeds, dried onion and a touch of thick sea salt (optional). Bake challah for 27-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Serve warm.

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Posted on January 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

Game Day Snacks Roundup

The Super Bowl is a week away, so the men in my life tell me. I am not much for subscribing to traditional gender roles, but I admit freely: I hate football. But I do love cooking up snacks for football-viewing especially spicy chicken wings and beef-stuffed knishes.

Looking for some kosher snack ideas for the football fans in your life? We have some great dairy, meat, pareve and gluten free ideas from our recipe archives and our favorite bloggers.

What will you be cooking up? Share below!

game day snacks

Roasted Garlic Hummus (pareve) 

Beet Chips with Spicy Honey Mayo (pareve)

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Mediterranean Seven Layer Dip from The Shiksa (dairy)

Pesto Potato Pinwheels from The Overtime Cook (pareve)

Beef and Potato Puff Pastry Knishes (meat)

Spinach and Cheese Borekas (dairy) 

Pastrami on Rye Potstickers from What Jew Wanna Eat (meat)

Classic Hot Wings (meat)

Sweet and Spicy Asian Wings (meat)

Fried Pickles from The Food Yenta (dairy)

buckeye bites

Buckeye Bites from The Kosher Cave Girl (pareve)

Speculoos Chex Party Mix from Busy in Brooklyn (dairy)

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Posted on January 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

Challah with a Chinese Twist

Love challah? Love Chinese food? You can’t believe the luck you’re in: Challah with a Chinese Twist!

scallion-challah-dough

Hold onto your challah covers, Noshers!

braided-scallion

Molly Yeh, a rocking young Chinese-American Jew and world-class baker just came up with an incredible recipe that celebrates her mixed heritage. And we’re so glad she did!

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Find her gloriously easy and delicious recipe here. “Inspired by the scallion pancake,” she writes.

We’re in food-love!

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Posted on January 22, 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

Cauliflower Tomato Bake with Basil and Parmesan

Hello Nosher readers! I’m so honored to have a recipe on this lovely site. I’ve been a long-time reader of MyJewishLearning.com so am extra honored to be featured.

Now, about this recipe. Lately, I’ve been on a mad “one-pot” meal frenzy.

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I’ve got several full time jobs, including one with health insurance benefits and one with hugs-and-kisses benefits, both of which take up a lot of time. When it comes to cooking for Shabbat (or any meal), I try to keep it simple. This little side dish would be perfect with some grilled lemon salmon or any baked fish, really. And, if bread crumbs are omitted or almond flour is substituted, it’s grain-free and gluten-free friendly, which also means Passover-friendly. I hope you enjoy!

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Cauliflower Tomato Bake with Basil and Parmesan

Ingredients

1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved

1 head of cauliflower, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (or almond flour if gluten-free)

2 Tbsp melted butter

2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

kosher salt

pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the tomatoes, cauliflower, garlic and olive oil in an 9x13-inch baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower are browning, about 25 - 30 minutes.  After 25 - 30 minutes, you might notice that the casserole has become a bit watery.

Note: you might want to spoon out some of that moisture to help the cauliflower keep its crispness.

Combine the panko breadcumbs and the butter, then sprinkle over the tomatoes. Next, sprinkle the Parmesan over the casserole. Broil for 30 - 45 seconds, then sprinkle the basil over the top. Serve.

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Posted on January 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

Blogger Spotlight: Jewhungry

I have been following Whitney Fisch, aka Jewhungry, for the past 6 months on instagram, and eventually started reading her blog as well. I love her fresh, kosher recipes and the stories she shares about being a mom and a middle school counselor at a day school in Miami. So when she and I finally got to catch up on the phone last week I was absolutely thrilled. Read more below to hear how she got into cooking (hint: it all started in Jerusalem!) and about an exciting Passover cookbook she has in the works.

Make sure to check out Whitney’s scrumptious looking recipe on The Nosher tomorrow and read more on her blog Jewhungry.

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Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging about three years ago, initially with my friend Jeremy, mostly about cultural Jewish stuff and some food. I was working all the time and I really needed an outlet that allowed me some escape from my busy work life. It didn’t start as a food blog, and I actually took some time off from blogging all together while I was pregnant because the smell of all food made me nauseous.

After my pregnancy, Jeremy and I, though still very close friends, decided he would focus on other writing opportunities so I ended up taking over the blog, and it organically took on a new direction: parenting stories, stories about being a social worker and a counselor as well as stories about growing up in the South and living in Miami. And of course, I was writing about what I was cooking and eating.

Have you always loved cooking?

No not even a little bit!

I tried so hard to cook after college. And I had some tragic mishaps along the way. For example, when I was 22 I tried to make potato salad, but it didn’t dawn on me that I had to boil the potatoes first. I tried to serve it at a backyard picnic…well, it was not successful.

It wasn’t until I moved to Jerusalem and I was a stone throw’s away from the shuk that I started experimenting with cooking. It happened that I also met my future husband at that time and he let me use him as a guinea pig for my cooking. There was actually one time he made roasted potatoes with onion soup mix – how “Ashkenazi mom” of him – and I thought it was a culinary revelation. This shows you how much I was food illiterate.

It was through being in Jerusalem, having the time to cook in the evenings and being so close such amazing, fresh food that I really started cooking.

Has living in Miami influenced your cooking?

Absolutely! I am influenced both in terms of taste and visually. The colors that I choose, props I use on the blog – everything. I use lime and cilantro in at least half my dishes – those flavors are so prevalent here.

And the weather here really influences my cooking.  I am not making cholent, stews or heavy meats. It’s 85 degrees! So I want to eat fresh.

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You didn’t always keep kosher. Is there anything you miss?

I wouldn’t say there is anything I miss per say. It is more about foods I am curious about that I have never eaten. For example, I want to try full-on French food. I read all of Julia Child’s books. And then I read all of Ruth Reichl’s books. So it’s more about what I am curious about eating more so that any single food that I miss.

What have you learned from blogging?

Early on I was advised by someone who told me I should write less, and I am glad I ignored that advice. I get amazing letters from people that read and really enjoy the stories I share.

So while I have continued writing, at some point I stopped doing complicated recipes and starting cooking more simple things, because that’s what I had time for and also those are popular with people. Sometimes people just want a good veggie chili recipe, etc.

What has been the best thing that has happened as a result of blogging?

Definitely the connections between people – the friends I have made online, especially with other bloggers. For example, I had a google hangout this morning with Amy Kritzer, Liz Rueven and The Patchke Princess talking about the Passover cookbook we are working on! I feel like we are supportive of one another, not competitive.

I have made so many friends through the internet and blogging including unexpected friends like The Rural Roost, who is neither kosher nor Jewish. But how exciting is it to connect with someone from Montana who I may not have ever met otherwise!

What advice do you have for someone else who wants to start a food blog?

Make sure you figure out your voice and where you want to go with blogging. Once you figure out your voice, you need to make sure you are connecting with other bloggers who share a similar focus as you. It helps build a community through like-minded bloggers.

What’s on the horizon for Jewhungry?

A lot!I am moving to Los Angeles where, among other things, I will be doing recipes and parent blogging for JkidLA. I am also working on a redesign for the blog and of course the Passover cookbook I mentioned.

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Posted on January 20, 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

Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad

Yield:
4 servings

cucumber salad

A lot of my friends have fond memories of their grandmother’s chicken soup or their mom’s amazing brisket. Sadly, I don’t have these sacred food memories. My Jewish grandmother (who I love dearly) is not such a great cook. Her kugel is always dried-out, her soup is too fatty and still needs salt, and she serves jarred gefilte fish at holidays, which more closely resembles lint from a dryer than something edible.

But one of the dishes she makes that I do enjoy is her marinated cucumber salad. It’s a dish that she learned to make from her grandmother (my great-great grandmother) who lived most of her life in Russia.

I updated her recipe just a bit, using seedless English cucumbers instead of regular cucumber, and adding a bit of spice with just a pinch of red pepper. I also love serving my salad in mason jars – definitely a modern twist.

This quick salad is a cinch to whip up, keeps for several days in the fridge and is a real crowd-pleaser. My young daughter devours it, and even my father-in-law approves – truly the ultimate compliment.

Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

1 large seedless English cucumber

1 onion, thinly sliced

6 Tbsp white wine vinegar

3 Tbsp water

2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

pinch crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions

Slice cucumber 1/4-1/2 inch thick.

In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and dill.

Add thinly sliced cucumbers and onions to bowl and mix until liquid coats all the cucumbers and onions.

Place salad into container and allow to chill several hours or overnight.

Posted on January 15, 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

Mollie Katzen’s Grilled Bread and Kale Salad with Red Onions, Walnuts and Figs

Yield:
4 small salads or 2 large salads

Tu Bishvat is the perfect holiday for locavores, school kids and home cooks, alike. It’s a fruit-focsued holiday with plenty of room for creative cooking and connecting more deeply with the land as Spring approaches.

figs

School kids love the field trips to plant trees while home cooks and chefs dream up new ideas for integrating the seven edible species mentioned in the Torah:

wheat

barley

grapes

figs

pomegranates

olives

dates

When M. returned from a quick trip to visit his parents in Israel, he brought back a tightly wrapped disc of plump, moist figs in his backpack. I immediately turned to Mollie Katzen’s latest vegetarian book The Heart of the Plate for inspiration on how to integrate these beauties into a dish where figs would be the stars while I stay true to eating within the growing season here in the Northeast.

fig salad

This kale-based salad really hit the spot and was almost too beautiful to eat! Almost. Check out more from Mollie Katzen and her newest cookbook The Heart of the Plate!

Mollie Katzen's Grilled Bread and Kale Salad with Red Onions, Walnuts and Figs

Ingredients

5-6 ripe figs (dried are fine)

1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime

3 ounces parmesan cheese

1 loaf ciabatta or sourdough baguette (fresh or day-old)

1 large or 2 small bunches lacinato kale (1/2 pound total)

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 small red onion, cut in half and then into 1/4 inch thick slices

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

black pepper

lemon or lime wedges

Directions

Stem the figs and slice them lengthwise into about 5 wedges apiece. Place them in a medium dish and sprinkle with lemon or line juice. Toss gently to coat and set aside.

Shave strips of parmesan from the block of cheese, using a sturdy vegetable peeler. Lovely cheese ribbons will ensue. Set aside.

Slice the bread into approximately a dozen thin (as in almost see-through) slices. Larger slices from ciabatta can be halved for easier handling and consumption. Set aside.

Hold each kale leaf by the stem and use a very sharp knife to release the leaf from the stem (it's OK to leave the narrow part of the stem that blends into the leaf farther up).

Make a pile of leaves, roll them tightly, and cut crosswise into thin strips. Transfer to a large bowl of cold water and swish around to clean. Spin very dry and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Place a large deep skillet over medium heat for about a minute. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the onion and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt.

Cook, stirring and/or shaking the pan a little, for 2-3 minutes, until the onion becomes shiny and is still this side of tender.

Transfer the hot onion to the kale in the bowl and stir everything around for a bit, then return the entire bowlful of kale-plus-onion to the pan. Stir-fry quickly - for just a minute or so - over medium-high heat until the kale turns an even deeper shade of green and wilts slightly.

Return it all to the bowl, tossing in the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. You can add some of the parmesan ribbons at this point, if you like them to melt in slightly.

Remove the pan from the heat, wait a minute or two, then add the vinegar to the pan (stand back - it will sizzle), swirl it around, and pour what's left of it onto the kale. (It will most likely evaporate.)

Without bothering to clean the pan, return it to the stove over medium heat. Wait another minute, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.

Add the bread slices in a single layer and grill on each side until lightly golden and perfectly crisp.

Transfer the toasts to the kale, along with the figs and all their juice.

Toss quickly (no need to get things uniform), adding the remaining cheese and walnuts as you go.

Serve right away, passing a pepper mill over the salad and offering wedges of lemon or lime to be squeezed over the figs.

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Posted on January 13, 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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