Every year when I work on a new recipe in preparation for Superbowl Sunday, I write and reflect on the same fact: I have zero interest in football, but I just love Superbowl snacks. Potato skins. Nachos. Chicken wings. Brisket sliders. All the most delicious and unhealthy bites you can imagine.
I love breaking out my deep fryer for a batch of wings, but it can be time consuming and even a bit messy. Sometimes, you just don’t want a layer of oil all over your kitchen, ya know?
One of the reasons I love this recipe so much, aside from how delicious and fun it is, is that you can improvise to make it any way you like: make a super spicy coleslaw, or your family’s favorite recipe for coleslaw, add corned beef and pastrami, or swap out the regular fries for some sweet potato fries or even tater tots.
You can also make it easy on yourself and just buy a bag of frozen fries. Prepare them as directed and top with chopped corned beef, coleslaw and Russian dressing. No one will be the wiser, and maybe your kitchen will remain that much cleaner. You can also buy Russian dressing, or make your own. I like using this recipe, I just omit the onion.
5 large Idaho potatoes
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb chopped, sliced corned beef
1 bag prepared shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp horseradish (optional)
½ tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
1 batch prepared Russian dressing
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes into wedges and toss with olive oil, caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Spread out evenly on two baking sheets.
Bake until crisp, around 40 minutes, or to your liking.
While potatoes are cooking, prepare the coleslaw. Whisk together mayo, white vinegar, sugar, horseradish (if desired), salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add cabbage and toss until completely coated.
Heat up corned beef in oven or microwave briefly.
Pile fries on a platter and add warm corned beef, about half the coleslaw and prepared Russian dressing. Serve while warm.
Cuban cuisine is inspired by many different regions, but in my family, there is a clear Spanish influence. This should come as no surprise, as my mother is second generation Cuban-born, by way of Spain. Her grandparents made the trek from the motherland to Cuba, and brought with them their distinguished culinary traditions. Over time, our family recipes have morphed, depending on the ingredients available, as well as personal preferences. No matter how authentically Cuban our dishes may be, I can almost always find a nod to our Spanish origins in each bite.
Recently, while recreating one of my most coveted treats from the acclaimed Cuban bakery Portos (Guava and Cheese Pastry), I developed a new love for all things frozen puff pastry dough. After taking a bite of my sweet creation, and realizing how easy it was to work with store-bought puff pastry, I couldn’t help but imagine how the dough would taste with a savory filling. My mind quickly went to work envisioning different pairings, and finally, I settled on a Spanish-inspired combination. For the first time in the history of my kitchen, I turned the tables, and made a Spanish dish inspired by the flavors of Cuba.
My savory Manchego and Quince Turnovers seem like second cousins to the guava and cheese pastries I made before. The nutty flavor of Manchego cheese melts together with the slightly sweet quince filling, and the chopped Marcona almonds on top create a pleasant crunchy texture in each bite. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, try the Cuban originals, but if you favor savory flavors, these turnovers will not disappoint.
1 box frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 oz Manchego cheese
8+ Tbsp quince paste
1 Tbsp water
1/8 cup Marcona almonds, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out puff pastry on floured surface, and cut into 8 even squares.
Fill each square with ½ oz of Manchego cheese and a heaping Tbs. of quince paste.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg and water to create an egg wash.
Brush the egg wash over the perimeter of the puff pastry squares, and fold one corner over, creating a triangle. Press edges to seal (*note: you can also crimp with the prongs of a fork).
Score tops of triangles to create a small opening for steam to escape during baking.
Brush tops generously with egg wash, and sprinkle with chopped almonds, coarse salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.
Remove from oven, and after 10 minutes, place pastries on a cooling rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Sometimes the simplest recipes are just the best. So often we try to complicate our lives and our cooking by thinking more is better, and simple can’t be good. But I have recently discovered the secret to the best, nondairy garlic bread to accompany a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs, and it’s simplicity may shock you. Ok, maybe I am being overly dramatic. It is just garlic bread after all.
Roasted garlic is one of my favorite flavors. I add whole garlic cloves to lots of my dishes – roast chicken, root vegetables and even challah. I love the slight sweetness of roasted garlic, plus it’s a cinch to prepare and it’s super healthy! Garlic has more vitamin c than even orange juice.
Recently I roasted a whole head of garlic, added it to a healthy amount of olive oil and smashed it into a baguette for the simplest, most delicious garlic bread. I didn’t miss the butter, or Parmesan that some garlic bread recipes call for. Ok, maybe I missed the butter a little.
I would serve this crispy bread alongside some traditional Italian meatballs or a cozy bowl of soup. You will see – sometimes delicious doesn’t need to be complicated at all.
one large French-style baguette
2 whole heads of garlic
salt and pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
fresh parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place garlic on a baking sheet or in a oven-safe ramekin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 35-40 ,minutes, until garlic is completely soft and golden but not crisp.
Allow garlic to cool. You can prepare this step a few hours or a day ahead of time.
Cut baguette in half. Squeeze cloves from bulb and smash with a fork. Add olive oil and continue smashing.
Spread half the garlic mixture on one side of the bread, and the other half of mixture on the other side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until just crisp and golden. Remove from oven and top with fresh parsley if desired.
Nearly six years ago, my husband (who was then merely a newish boyfriend in my life) took me out for a lovely meal at a hip new restaurant in Washington, DC called Komi. The dinner was amazing, with course after course of Greek-inspired dishes. I couldn’t tell you exactly what we ate that night except for one absolute stand-out appetizer: mascarpone stuffed dates, which were warm out of the oven and served with a perfect sprinkling of thick, flaky sea salt. I was in love with the sweet, savory, creamy bite and went home to try and recreate it.
After several trials, I realized I must be doing something wrong because my mascarpone filling kept oozing out. Still delicious, but it wasn’t quite the recreation I was looking for. I filed the recipe away, and only years later when we went back for another meal at Komi did I try to master the dish once again.
The waiter serving us at our second amazing Komi dinner wasn’t too keen on giving up the secret of the non-oozing mascarpone, but after careful prodding from my husband, we learned that we needed to chill the stuffed dates before baking them to achieve the desired result of a warm date with creamy filling intact. I went home to test it out again, and eureka: it worked.
This dish is one of my favorite appetizers to serve for any kind of party, and great as a small bite with prosecco or other sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve. Or a random Wednesday.
- Make sure to buy the plumpest-looking medjool dates you can find.
- Don’t want to spend your time pitting the dates? Just buy them already pitted.
- You can use a regular Ziploc bag with an end snipped off to fill the dates BUT I recommend using a proper piping bag to get the filling all the way into the bottom of the date more easily.
36 pitted medjool dates (the plumper the better)
4 ounces mascarpone, left at room temperature
1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp honey
pinch of salt
Mix mascarpone, Greek yogurt, honey and pinch of salt in a small bowl. Scoop out mixture and place in a piping or ziploc bag.
Squeeze small amount into each date. Repeat with remaining filling and dates.
Place on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or tin foil. Place in fridge until ready to serve.
Preheat oven to 375. While oven is warming up, place dates in freezer for 5-10 minutes.
Bake dates for around 4-6 minutes, until just warm but before filling begins to ooze.
Sprinkle with flaky sea salt such as maldon salt. Serve warm or room temperature.
I would like to say that this is the first time I have combined brisket and latkes into one recipe, but I would be lying. I just love finding ways to use brisket, like the brisket latkes I created last year and one of my newer creations: brisket-stuffed cabbage.
Like so many great recipes, this one was created by accident. At a Hanukkah party several years ago I served potato latkes, pulled brisket and some homemade challah rolls. Pretty soon my friends ditched the rolls and started topping their latkes with the brisket. And a new star was born.
If you are asking yourself, “can I use my family’s beloved brisket recipe for this?” The answer is absolutely. As long as the recipe calls for a significant amount of liquid so that it has a bit of sauce to it, whatever recipe you fancy will work great.
You don’t have to stop with brisket as a topping for your latkes. You can make a “top your own latke” party this Hanukkah season, serving up grilled pastrami, pulled brisket, caramelized onions or any other fun topping you like. Watch as your guests get creative with their latkes. You can also shake it up by adding some sweet potato latkes or parsnip latkes into the mix.
For the brisket:
2-3 lb brisket
1 Tbsp salt
½ Tbsp freshly grated black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
1 can beer
1 can ginger ale
1 bottle red wine
4 oz tomato paste
4 medium carrots, cut into medium size pieces
2 onions, cut into quarters
For the latkes:
12 medium-large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 small onions, or 1 medium-large onion, cut into large chunks
4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
¾ -1 cup flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ Tbsp salt
½ Tbsp pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
To make the brisket:
In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and parsley. Spread dry rub on both sides of brisket evenly. Preheat the oven to 300F degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot on medium high heat. Sear the brisket on both sides "until the smoke detector goes off." Remove meat and set aside.
Using the remaining oil and "good bits" on the bottom of the pan, sauté carrots and onions, scraping the bottom until the veggies are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Put the brisket back in the pan, and cover with the bottle of red wine, beer and ginger ale. Place the entire pot with brisket into the oven, and cook for at least 3-4 hours, until meat is completely tender.
When the meat is fork tender, remove the meat and set aside on a large cutting board.
Let the sludge rise to the top of the pot liquid and skim it off. Strain out the carrots and onions and using a food processor, blend them with 1-2 cups of the cooking liquid, then return the blended mixture to the rest of the liquid and simmer to reduce slightly.
On the cutting board using two forks, carefully shred the brisket into small strands. Add 1-2 cups of the pureed cooking liquid to the pulled brisket for additional moisture and flavor.
Serve in a large bowl and allow guests to top latkes, or spoon small amounts of brisket on each latke for a more elegant presentation.
To make the latkes:
Using the shredding attachment of a food processor or a hand grater, coarsely great potatoes, onions and garlic. Place in a large bowl.
Add flour, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly until completely combined. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes. Drain excess liquid.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Using your hands, make a small latke patty and squeeze out excess liquid again. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on wire cooling rack placed on a baking sheet, which you can place in a warm oven until ready to serve.
Burekas are one of my favorite Israeli treats, and they are the perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes from your Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe is as easy and delicious as it gets – the best kind of recipe when you need a pick-me-up from all that Black Friday shopping. These are also fantastic during Shabbat dinner to serve with a salad course. You can even serve them with leftover gravy for a delicious dipping sauce.
I used a pareve (nondairy) phyllo dough in this recipe for ease, but you are welcome to make your favorite bureka dough if you prefer. You can also switch up the fillings with whatever leftovers you have on hand: turkey and cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and even stuffing all make fantastic fillings.
1 package phyllo dough, defrosted
leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg + 1 Tbsp water
freshly ground black pepper
leftover gravy for dipping
Preheat oven to 350°.
Beat the egg with 1 Tbsp of water. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick cooking pad.
Roll out phyllo dough carefully to prevent splitting. I like to divide the layers of the phyllo in half so I can get four sheets instead of two. If the layers seem too brittle and dry, brush with vegetable oil. Working quickly, cut each sheet horizontally into 4 strips.
Lightly brush a strip with the egg wash. Place a scant teaspoon of mashed potatoes at the right end of the strip and fold the right bottom corner up and to the left to create a triangle shape. Continue wrapping the triangle into the remaining strip, being careful to preserve the triangle shape. Seal the end with egg wash if necessary and place end down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining strips.
Lightly brush the tops of the burekas with egg wash and sprinkle with dried thyme and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with warmed leftover gravy.
Tis’ the season for all things indulgent and rugelach is my absolute favorite thing to bake during this time of year. It reminds me of my grandma’s rugelach when I was little. She would keep a few in the cookie jar and I remember sneaking in and very carefully, or what I thought was very carefully, stealing just one more bite. Then I would hear a voice from the skies (or really, the second floor) yelling down at me “no more cookies, Samantha!” I swear she had eyes in the back of her head.
Not only is rugelach my favorite thing to make but even the LA Times said I did a snazzy job. I love playing with flavors and twisting ideas and cuisines around. And even though I love baking sweets during the winter holiday season, I am always craving some savory flavors. For this reason I took inspiration from some of my favorite Italian flavor pairings: salty Parmesan with creamy ricotta and freshly chopped herbs makes for a beautiful and decadent savory cookie. I recommend sprinkling some fine sea salt for a glistening touch that will bring out the flavor even more.
So the next time you are thinking about making rugelach, ditch the sugar and add some cheese! I know you and your guests will mangia every last bite.
For the dough:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp lemon zest
2 cups flour, sifted
For the filling:
12 ounces ricotta cheese, drained
2 heads of garlic, roasted
1 sprig of each: rosemary, oregano and thyme (or your favorite fresh herbs), removed from stems and chopped finely
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
To caramelize garlic, cut each head of garlic in half and wrap halves in tin foil. Roast garlic in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 30-40 minutes or until the garlic is tender and caramelized. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the dough, use a stand mixer and beat together the cream cheese and butter until creamy on medium speed. Then add Parmesan cheese and lemon zest and continue to mix until incorporated.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the sifted flour and mix just until combined. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and roll into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters and wrap each quarter in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes.
For the filling, mix together the ricotta cheese, chopped herbs and caramelized garlic. Make sure to remove the soft cloves by squeezing the bulb and adding the soft garlic cloves to the cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Take one dough-ball out of fridge (leaving others chilled until ready to use) and on a well-floured surface, roll it out using a floured rolling pin. Roll it out to about 9 inches in diameter. Use a round object (a cheesecake pan works well) and outline a circle then use a knife to cut a perfect circle. Save scraps to roll out later.
Spread 2 Tb of cheese mixture onto the dough in a thin layer, leaving a border. Then cut the circle into eighths.
Roll the rugelach by starting at the outer end of the triangle and roll in making a little crescent shape. Place all rugelach end side down on a lined baking sheet and brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle each rugelach with sea salt.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15-18 minutes until lightly golden brown.
When done, remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
Albondigas, or meatballs, are a mainstay of Sephardic cuisine. They come in sizes ranging from golf balls to cherries and may be rolled into round or flattened shapes. Chopped onions, garlic, roasted eggplant, fresh spinach, chopped leek and grated carrots have been mixed into meatballs for centuries. These ingredients served to season meat (or poultry) which was then fried or simmered in sauce. Moistened bread bound it all together and served as another way to make these delicious treats an economical choice.
When I learned that the southern Italians sometimes included currants and pignoli nuts in their meatballs, I was intrigued. Perhaps it’s my Galiciana roots but I liked the prospect of adding a little sweetness (and unexpected texture) to the meat mix. It seemed like a good jumping point for considering how to use honey in my meatballs for Rosh Hashanah.
My intention was to get this mix subtly sweet, with a nod to the symbolism of serving sweet foods to ensure a sweet New Year. I paired citrus with the fruity nectar to balance the sweetness and sparked the flavors with cracked pepper, cumin and turmeric. Tiny, moist currants and rich pignoli provide an unfamiliar twist. For guests who think that meatballs belong in tomato sauce, they will be surprised and delighted by the yin/yang of this mildly sweet and lemony simmer broth.
Because these meatballs are quite small they are a bit of work. Set aside a couple of hours in order to get the task done. It will be time well spent. And you can check another dish off your ‘to do” list by making them in advance and freezing them.
For the meatballs:
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, grated
2 eggs, beaten
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup currants
½ cup pignoli (pine nuts)
½ cup canola oil for frying
For the sauce:
2 cups water
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients through turmeric. Mix gently with hands. Do not overmix.
Add currants and pignoli to meat mixture and combine.
Shape mixture into 1-1 ½” meatballs, wetting hands with water periodically to prevent the meat from sticking to fingers. Place meatballs on a couple of foil lined trays so they are all ready to fry at the same time.
Divide ½ cup of canola oil into 2 frying pans and heat on medium.
Add meatballs in a single layer until both pans are full but not crowded. Brown meatballs, turning them by using 2 spoons. They should be golden.
With a slotted spoon, remove meatballs when golden on all sides. Place meatballs on plates lined with paper towels so they may drain. Repeat until all meatballs are browned. You may want to save the browned pignoli and sprinkle them on meatballs when serving them.
Combine all ingredients for sauce and bring to low simmer. Taste to adjust for sweetness and salt.
Place all meatballs in sauce (It’s ok if they are not all submerged). Simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Remove meatballs from sauce, plate and serve with toothpicks. Sprinkle with browned pignoli and chopped fresh mint or parsley leaves. Drizzle sauce over the meatballs if you like.
Summer is here and it’s time for fresh, easy and quick recipes so you can be out at the beach or by the pool instead of working hard in the kitchen. And hey, it never hurts to make dishes that you can eat outside WHILE you’re enjoying the beautiful weather. With only a few simple ingredients and a sharp knife, this light and refreshing ceviche will definitely become a staple in your house.
Unlike a traditional ceviche, which can include tons of ingredients to chop like jalapenos, avocado, red onion, bell peppers and garlic, I’ve developed a simple recipe inspired by Israeli salad using tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and fresh lemon juice. Not too much chopping but an incredible amount of flavor.
Since I usually enjoy Israeli salad with fresh pita bread and I love to snack on ceviche with crunchy taco chips, I decided to bake my own healthy and oil free homemade tortilla chips for this combination Israeli Salad Ceviche. I flavored my baked corn tortillas with cumin and salt but you can use whatever spices you want on your own chips, including garlic, chili powder, turmeric or whatever else your heart desires. They’re your chips!
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Ingredients for Ceviche:
2-3 Persian cucumbers (½ cup chopped)
8 oz. heirloom cherry tomatoes (½ cup chopped)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 ounces sushi-grade tuna
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for Tortilla Chips:
5 corn tortillas
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp salt
To make the Homemade Tortilla Chips:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Slice the corn tortillas into triangles and place them on the baking sheet in one layer, making sure none of the tortilla pieces are touching. Sprinkle the tortillas with the salt and cumin and bake for 8-12 minutes, until the chips are crunchy. Set them aside to cool and harden even further. Store the chips in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
To make the Israeli Salad Ceviche:
Chop the Persian cucumbers, heirloom cherry tomatoes and sushi-grade tuna into small pieces, making sure that the pieces are all similar in size.
Add the chopped fresh parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Set the ceviche aside for 5 minutes for the tuna to cook slightly in the acidic lemon juice.
Ceviche is better fresh but can be refrigerated for 1-2 days. The fish will cook in the lemon juice so be prepared for cooked fish if you are eating leftovers the next day.
Chopped liver is one of the most iconic Jewish dishes. It’s been consumed spread on top of challah and matzah for generations. But the Ashkenazi version doesn’t really do much to impress me, with only onions to add flavor, I find the taste bland.
I wanted to create something that would enhance the naturally rich flavor of liver. So I looked for inspiration from more Middle Eastern flavors. Ironically, nothing is more Israeli than Turkish coffee. And perhaps also surprising is that the bitterness of the coffee really compliments the liver and apple flavors.
The result is a classic Jewish dish with an elegant twist and a really delicious taste.
1 heaping Tbsp Turkish coffee or instant espresso
2 Tbsp honey
1 lb chicken livers
½ cup warm water
½ tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 green apples, peeled and diced
Place the Turkish coffee (or instant espresso) and honey in the bottom of a heat proof bowl. Stir in the hot water until the honey dissolves.
Add the livers and let marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Heat a small pot over a medium heat along with the cloves, vinegars and brown sugar.
Once the contents of the pot begins to simmer add the apples.
Lower the heat to medium low and cover the pot. Allow the apples to cook for half an hour.
The apples should be soft and darkened slightly when they are ready. After the apples are done cooking, use a slotted spoon and remove them from the pot leaving whatever liquid remains in the pot.
Raise the heat under the pot to medium high and drain all the liquid from the bowl except approximately 2 Tbsp worth of the marinade.
Add the liver and marinade to the pot and cook the livers until there are no more visible pink parts.
Combine the liver and cooked apples in a medium bowl and mash until desired consistency. For a smoother consistency you can use a food processor fitted with blade attachment.