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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Fun, Fabulous Eats in Tel Aviv

I am back from Israel after three wonderful, sometimes challenging weeks. And while I am not missing the sirens the country is currently experiencing daily, I am missing my friends and, of course, the food.

Each time I visit Israel I am more inspired by the Israeli way of daily eating as well as the culinary innovation I see happening all over: Swedish-Israeli fusion food; the most beautiful and delicious nondairy pastries I have ever experienced; and even some type of “exotic” Jewish food I have never before heard of or tasted.

My most recent trip was no different, and despite daily sirens in Tel Aviv, life continued and so did fabulous food consumption. I ate a Yemenite bread called “lachoch” for the first time, which I would describe as a cross between a fluffy pita and the spongy Ethiopian injira bread.

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I ate halva ice cream and frozen yogurt topped with chunks of halva; we definitely need to add that as a topping at American fro-yo joints.

But there were three stand-out eats that I just couldn’t stop thinking about.

Stuffed croissants at La Gaterie, 97 King George Street, Tel Aviv

Have you ever had a mascarpone and chocolate stuffed croissant at 2 am after a night of drinking? Well I hadn’t either until I stopped by La Gaterie in Tel Aviv. La Gaterie doesn’t just crank out authentic, buttery, French croissants round the clock. Oh, no no my friend. They are also stuffing these flaky croissants with a variety of sweet and savory fillings to satisfying any craving. There are two locations, and while it wasn’t cheap, it was one of the most outrageous things I have ever eaten.

Malabi and pomegranate lemonade at Malabiya, right next to Carmel Shuk, off of Allenby Street, Tel Aviv

Have you ever had Malabi, a Middle Eastern pudding made with rosewater? You can find this sweet treat everywhere in Israel, including often on the street. And just recently two friends who met in the IDF decided to open a Malabiya “bar” together, offering several flavored syrups and crunchy toppings for the customer’s choosing. Almost like a Middle Eastern version of a fro-yo bar. They are also offering a pomegranate lemonade. And hey, who doesn’t want to be served up a sweet treat by some authentic Israeli eye-candy like this? Enjoy some pudding and a lemonade outside at their small stand, or get it to-go.

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Kubbeh soup dumplings at Kubbeh Bar, 10 Malkhei Yisrael Street, Tel Aviv

Many people have heard of kubbeh, the Iraqi dumpling-esque treat filled with beef, lamb and other deliciousness. But never before had I heard of, never mind tasted, such a unique hybrid: the kubbeh soup dumplings at Kubueh Bar. You get your choice of around 6 different broths as well as several different kinds of kubbeh. You can also choose the number of kubbeh you want in your soup, and we immediately regretted only getting 2. But the meal didn’t end there: we were also treated to a heaping plate of rice, beans, Israeli chopped salad and tahini. It was unlike anything I had tasted before and absolutely delicious. Ha’aretz has a full write-up of all the places to enjoy kubbeh in Tel Aviv if you find yourself on a kubbeh-tasting adventure.

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Posted on July 16, 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

Bloody Mary Gazpacho

Yield:
8 servings

Gazpacho is a perfect summer appetizer: it uses up some of those super fresh summer vegetables and won’t keep you indoors slaving away at a hot stove. But I know that cold soups are a bit of an acquired taste for some people. Even my husband, who likes almost everything, is not such a fan of gazpacho.

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But this gazpacho is for even those people that swear they don’t like it. And yes, since it is called “bloody mary gazpacho” it really does have vodka. It is a perfect starter for any summer meal, served in martini glasses and garnished just like the beloved brunch cocktail.

Don’t want to include vodka? Just leave it out. Like yours super spicy? Add some more hot sauce and horseradish. This recipe can be altered in several ways depending on your taste.

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Bloody Mary Gazpacho

Ingredients

1.5 lbs plum tomatoes, seeded and quartered

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1.5 Tbsp sherry vinegar

1.5 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1.5 cups all-natural tomato juice

1-2 Tbsp horseradish

2-3 tsp hot sauce (or more if you prefer it very spicy)

salt and pepper

1 cup vodka (optional)

8 celery stalks, sliced for garnish (optional)

Cornichon or other pickles for garnish (optional)

Directions

Place tomatoes, cucumber, onion and bell pepper in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. You can add a few Tbsp of tomato juice to aid the processor. Pulse until desired smoothness, but do not overprocess.

Add mixture to a large bowl. Add garlic, sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato juice, horeseradish, hot sauce and salt and pepper.

Add vodka to taste if desired.

Garnish with celery and pickles.

Posted on July 14, 2014

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

Summer Pesto and Gruyere Stuffed Challah

Yield:
1 large challah

There are few things better than a freshly baked challah. But sometimes even perfection needs a little shake-up. Or perhaps more accurately, a little stuffing.

I have experimented stuffing challah with sweet combinations like my Balsamic Apple Date Challah and super savory varieties like my Pastrami Sandwich Challah. But I had been hankering to try something with a little summer flare to it.

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This latest stuffed challah is a bit lighter than both my previous stuffed challah experiments, with brightness from fresh herbs and just a touch of richness from the cheese.

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And the truth is you can stuff your challah with any pesto variation you like: kale pesto, fresh herb pesto or a traditional basil-pine nut pesto.

Don’t want to include cheese? Just leave it out. You will still have a deliciously unique stuffed challah experience.

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Pesto and Gruyere Stuffed Challah

Ingredients

For the pesto:

1 bunch fresh garlic scapes, trimmed

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup fresh spinach, steamed

2-3 Tbsp fresh parsley

2-3 Tbsp fresh basil

1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the challah:

1.5 Tbsp yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water

4 1.2-5 cups King Arthur flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 Tbsp salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup shredded gruyere or crumbled goat cheese

1 egg yolk + 1 tsp water for glaze

Thick sea salt, sesame seeds and dried herbs (optional)

Directions

To make the pesto:

Place garlic scapes, garlic clove, spinach, basil and parsley in a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Start pulsing. Drizzle olive oil and continue to pulse. Scrape down sides with rubber spatula, add salt and pepper to taste and pulse until desired smoothness.

Place in an air-tight container until ready to use.

*Note: after steaming spinach, make sure to remove excess water very thoroughly. 

To make the challah:

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, 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 eggs until smooth. 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.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

After the challah is done rising, roll out dough into a large rectangle about ½-1 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. The challah dough may need an extra dusting of flour to work with at this point.

Spread a thin, very even layer of pesto all over the dough. You may have extra pesto leftover.  Sprinkle gruyere or goat cheese in an even layer on top of pesto, leaving ½ inch border all around.

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

Allow challah to rise another 30-60 minutes, or until you can see the size has grown.

Beat 1 egg yolk with 1 tsp water. Brush liberally over challah. If desired, combine 2 tsp thick sea salt with 1 tsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp dried basil and 1 tsp dried parsley and sprinkle on top of egg wash.

Bake for 26-27 minutes, or until middle looks like it has just set, and the color is golden.

Posted on July 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

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