My sister was supposed to join us for Shabbat dinner this week, along with a fellow baker and tweeter, the (original) Jewish American Princess. But sadly, my sister has a commitment at college at the last minute and I had to reschedule until my sister is around to dine with the lovely tweeting princess!
So instead, my former roommate, a hysterical, opera-singing Aussie, and my favorite Persian pal will be joining us for dinner and I wanted to make a super fun menu for them! What says fun more than build your own brisket sandwiches!? Almost nothing I think. Except perhaps for some build your own ice cream sundaes, but I think that will have to wait until Shavuot.
To start, I am serving a simple and refreshing Marinated Cucumber and Dill Salad, one of my family’s favorites, including my 10 month old daughter!
For the main attraction I am serving my Pulled Brisket Sliders served on fresh onion challah rolls. And how can you serve pulled brisket without some classic coleslaw!? Well I will be serving that too.
We need to balance out the the meat and carb factor with some more vegetables, so I will be serving a super easy and delicious side dish, Flash Roasted Broccoli Spears with Spicy Bread Crumbs.
And the sweet finish? I am going to make my classic, go-to chocolate cake from Hersheys. I make this pareve my substituting the milk for almond milk or coconut milk.
I love making pizza at home, and especially enjoy trying new flavor toppings. Some of our favorites include white pesto pizza with spinach, butternut squash and kale pizza and white pizza with fennel and kalamata olives. Ok, so I veer off a little from the “traditional” when it comes to my at-home pizza experimentation. My sister loves penne vodka pizza, and I have even tried that! Probably not the healthiest meal I have ever prepared…
During Passover I was thinking about Shakshuka, and what a great, versatile dish it is when it hit me: I needed to try shakshuka pizza!
When I eat shakshuka, I like to add feta and have a plate of hummus with tahini on the side so that I can take a nice hunk of warm pita, dunk it into the tomato sauce, a bit of the egg, cheesy feta and tangy hummus. So that was the combination of flavors I was aiming for with this pizza.
This shakshuka pizza is the perfect dish to serve in honor of Israel’s 65th birthday this week. Serve it with some salatim, like Israeli salad and baba ganoush for a complete meal. Don’t feel like making your own tomato sauce? Swap the homemade tomato sauce for a chunky store-bought variety!
1 store-bought pizza dough
12 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
pinch red chili flakes
salt and pepper
olive oil for brushing
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
tahini sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If using a pizza stone, place in the oven to heat up.
In a large saute pan, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and saute until they start to get soft. Add garlic and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
Add bell pepper, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes and tomato paste and saute another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add can of tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface.
Remove pizza stone from oven and place dough on stone. Lightly brush olive oil over dough. Spread tomato sauce over surface of pizza dough, leaving 1 inch border for crust. Crack eggs on pizza and sprinkle with feta cheese.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Drizzle with prepared tahini sauce if desired.
Israel is turning 65 this year and will be celebrating Yom Ha’atzamaut, or Israeli Independence Day next week. I love Israel – the feisty people, vibrant music, beautiful land and above all else: the food!
Israeli breakfasts are perhaps my favorite part of the cultural cuisine – a huge spread of different kinds of salads, cheese, freshly baked bread and juices. Mmmm. I love the bakeries in Israel, and the fresh borekas that come in dozens of different varieties.
But my absolute favorite dishes are labne, a thick yogurt spread (which I like to eat as a snack with pita chips), Shakshuka, a zesty tomato sauce with baked eggs and Sabich, an Iraqi sandwich with eggplant, hard boiled egg, pickles and tahini.
In the mood to celebrate Israel with some food? We’ve got tons of recipes for you and your family to enjoy. Here are some classic Israeli dishes for next week, and all year:
Wanna get inspired? Check out one of these beautiful cookbooks, Jerusalem and The Book of New Israeli Food which are filled with mouth-watering photos and fantastic recipes inspired by the people of Israel.
Happy Birthday Israel!
I generally prefer savory challah, since you can use the leftovers for sandwiches. But every now and then a sweet challah with chocolate chips, cinnamon, raisins or chocolate really hits the spot.
Not everyone loves the flavor combination of peanut butter and chocolate, and I consider those people crazy. What is better than peanut butter and chocolate!? Well, maybe peanut butter and chocolate in a challah. With crumbs on top. Served with a cup of coffee, and this is what my breakfast dreams are made out of.
Tip: baking challah is not a 1 hour process, so definitely give yourself plenty of lead time. And don’t rush the rising – the longer you let the dough rise, the fluffier it will be.
Happy challah baking!
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
1/2 Tbsp yeast
1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 Tbsp salt
2 eggs plus 1 egg for brushing
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
For crumb topping:
1/2 cup flour
3 Tbsp margarine
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup peanut butter
Put yeast and 1 tsp sugar into a small bowl. Add lukewarm water, stir gently and allow to sit until foamy bubbles form on top, around 10 minutes.
In the meantime, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, peanut butter and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. When yeast-water mixture is ready, add to flour mixture until it is incorporated.
Add eggs one at a time and another cup of flour. Mix thoroughly.
Change to dough hook on mixer, or if working without a mixer, continue to mix in a large bowl. Add chocolate chips.
When the dough is too difficult to stir, flour a working surface and start kneading. Add remaining flour and knead for 10 more minutes.
Grease a large bowl and add dough to bowl. Cover with warm, wet towel. Let dough rise for 2-6 hours, punching down at least once.
To make the crumbs, add flour, brown sugar, salt, margarine and peanut butter to a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut ingredients together until small-medium size crumbs form. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
When challah has risen, braid challah into two medium sized loaves. Place loaves on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Allow challah to rise 30-60 minutes extra.
Brush challah with beaten egg and sprinkle crumbs on top.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until outside is golden, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
The truth is peas can take the center stage of Springtime meals and be delicious – not just a boring side dish. Peas can even be a sweet dessert – like in these beautiful Sweet Pea and Ricotta Cupcakes I came across from The Cupcake Project!
Here are a few of the most interesting ways I have seen to serve up some fresh (or even frozen) peas this Spring:
Spring Pea Frittata
A few weeks ago, as I was in the midst of testing out new Passover recipes, my dear friend Mat pleaded: “Please come up with ideas to bring for lunch!” I love a Passover challenge. It feels like my very own game of Iron Chef: Passover Edition.
Passover lunches. A real quandry. I mean, how much matzah + cream cheese should one person be expected to eat!? I say NONE! My eggplant tomato & mozzarella stacks are like a deconstructed eggplant parm that are healthy, delicious and best part? No matzah required!
Tuna Nicoise Salad is an ideal lunch choice either for at home, or bring to work. And what better way to use up those extra boiled potatoes and hard boiled eggs from the Seder!? Note: use whatever Kosher for Passover salad dressing you prefer.
Some other Passover-friendly lunch options:
Eggplant, Tomato & Mozzarella Stacks (recipe below)
At home or have access to a kosher-for-Passover microwave?
1 medium eggplant
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large tomato
4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil (optional)
Cut a brown paper bag and lay out on the counter or table. Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices and lay out on top of paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and allow eggplant to sit for 1 hour. Flip eggplant slices and let sit for another hour.
Blot eggplant with towel to remove excess water.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with oil.
Lay eggplant slices in one layer and roast for 12-15 minutes, or until just brown.
Stack eggplant, tomato, mozzarella and repeat. Drizzle small amount of balsamic vinegar and olive oil on each stack. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
We grew up eating traditional, Ashkenazi apples, walnuts and sweet wine haroset. Among all the terrifying dishes my grandmother prepared each year, this was the safest and so it was one of the few things I would eat, besides matzah ball soup.
As I got older, and especially after I visited Israel for the first time, I realized what a wide world of Jewish food traditions exist that don’t include dry noodle kugel or gefilte fish out of a jar. Which is also true for the much-beloved Passover haroset.
Fast forward to the uber-foodie Shannon, and I’ve actually created my own recipe for haroset, which features candied walnuts, apples, pomegranate juice and pomegranate seeds. It has hints of the classic from my childhood, with the added freshness of pomegranate and the slightly salty-sweet characteristic of the candied walnuts. A new twist.
But here at The Nosher we have literally about 7 different haroset recipes from around the world. So if you are looking to make a second haroset for your family, or just want to try a new tradition on for size, check out one of these recipes to spice up your menu.
Haroset from Egypt, with dates and yellow raisins
Haroset from Italy, with pine nuts, ground almonds, prunes and yellow raisins
Haroset from Morocco, with dates, cinnamon and ground cloves
Haroset from Piedmont, with chestnuts, almonds and orange juice
Sephardi-style Haroset from Israel, with dates, figs, cinnamon and cardamom
Haroset from Turkey, with apples, dates, walnuts and raisins
For the second year, we are happy to share not only some great new recipes from our contributors but also two full Seder menus to inspire your own celebrations this year.
What do we serve up in my house? Well, we always host second night Seder for my family, which is much smaller than my husband;s, and some of our wonderful friends. It’s loud, it’s delicious, and it’s anything but traditional. We do serve some of the classic favorites, like gefilte fish, matzah ball soup and chocolate dipped macaroons. But we also serve up my un-traditional Tuscan style liver spread and we have even been known to serve Osso Bucco over quinoa as a main dish.
Some people love traditional dishes, but we have also received a lot of requests for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free recipes. You asked, so we delivered and we hope you enjoy the vegetarian menu we have put together below!
Whether you go traditional, or unconventional, from our kitchen to yours we are wishing you a delicious and meaningful Passover celebration.
Traditional Seder Menu
Chicken soup is not one of those recipes I learned from my mom, dad or even grandmother. Rather, it’s a recipe I have tried multiple ways, researched and tweaked until I have been 100% happy with the results. Even my husband agrees it’s great, and he is usually my toughest audience.
We serve chicken soup all year round: when one of us is sick, for special Shabbat meals, or sometimes when we just want a simple dinner in a bowl. But, it is Passover time, so of course we are readying ourselves to make a large vat of soup and matzah balls for our Seder.
Everyone asks me – how do you get such fluffy matzah balls!?
Well, first, I have a set of tips for the fluffiest balls. But my other secret comes in a little white and blue box: I use the Manischewitz matzah ball mix! I follow the directions, don’t overmix too much and add 1-2 tsp of chicken fat, or schmaltz. Tried and true, and never fails me. And I am not even embarrassed to admit this fact.
If you’re looking for the perfect chicken soup recipe,look no farther. This always comes out flavorful, slightly sweet and deeply satisfying.
6 quarts of water
1 whole chicken + extra package of wings
2 large carrots, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 turnip, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
1 bunch of dill
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
1/2 Tbsp whole peppercorns
few sprigs of thyme
salt to taste
Place chicken and vegetables in a 16 or 20 quart pot and cover with 6 quarts of water.
Make a bouquet garni with the fresh dill, parsley, peppercorns and thyme. Add bouquet garni to pot.
Bring pot to boil and let simmer for 1 hour.
Remove chicken from pot, and remove breast and dark meat from bone. Put bones and other parts back into pot and let simmer another 1-2 hours on low-medium, covered.
Allow soup to cool, and place in fridge. Skim the fat off the top (I suggest saving the fat to put it in your matzah balls, or chopped liver)
Reheat to serve. Add chicken, matzah balls and desired vegetables.