Tag Archives: featured

Beer Battered Pumpkin Rings

Hanukkah would have to be my favorite time of year. I was born on the fifth night and I even got married on my birthday! No, I don’t usually get three presents, but I always felt lucky to be surrounded by so much mazal on my wedding day.

Pumpkin rings1

With so much to celebrate during the holiday I try to switch things up during all the frying. There’s only so many latkes and jelly donuts you can eat (ok, maybe not). Fried zucchini parmesan chips have become a family favorite, so this year, I decided to go sweet with a different type of fried veggie: delicata squash.

pumpkin rings prep

Delicata squash is such an easy squash to prepare because the peel is edible, so you can just slice and bake – or fry! To take the squash flavor a step further, I decided to make a pumpkin beer batter and I finish it off with a Greek yogurt dipping sauce, to honor the Hanukkah miracle, and the tradition of eating dairy during the holiday. I love how they look just like donuts, but you get to without quite as much guilt because, after all, you’re really getting in a serving of veggies.

pumpkin rings2

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Beer Battered Pumpkin Rings

Posted on December 11, 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

The Nosher 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Ok guys, it’s go time. Hanukkah starts next Tuesday December 16th, so besides the latke frying and sufaniyot scarfing, better stock up on some gifts for your loved ones. And like always, we want to help with some of our top holiday picks.

hanukkah glasses

For the snarky drinker in your life, we are in love with this L’chaim mustache beer mug and these fun Yiddish glasses

 

chevron apron and oven mitt1

Got a fashionable cook to shop for? This chevron coral bow apron and personalized oven mitt will have your favorite cook looking chic, even with hot oil splattered all over her.

cookbook collage

The cookbook hoarders in your life will covet a copy of Jewish Soul Food: From Minsk To Marrakesh, by Janna Gur or Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere, by Dorie Greenspan.

chalkboard menorah

 

For the kiddos on your list? We love this Chalkboard ceramic menorah or Little Cook Cookie Baking Set.

spiralizer

The health nut who doesn’t eat carbs will love a vegetable spiralizer. It’s such a fun tool to make all kinds of veggie noodles including our zucchini noodles with bolognese sauce.

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Posted on December 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

Peanut Butter & Jelly Donuts

single PB&J sufganiya4

Donuts were never really my thing. That is, until I was pregnant a few years ago and my husband brought me to New York City’s famous Doughnut Plant where I sampled several amazing flavors, including their peanut butter & jelly variety. I was in love, and it wasn’t just the pregnancy hormones.

Check out my elated face.

Shannon w doughnut

So this year when I was thinking about something fun and sweet to make for Hanukkah, I knew I wanted to try my hand at making an Israeli-style sufganiya, but with a classic American flavor pairing. After all, who doesn’t love peanut butter and jelly?! And most importantly, I love it, and I loved making these donuts. They were so delicious I might have eaten two. (I did).

If you have a peanut allergy in your family, you can swap out the peanut butter for almond butter, cashew butter or even sunflower butter. Instead of adding chopped peanuts to the top, add chopped salted almonds or cashews.

PB&J sufganiyot1

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Donuts

Posted on December 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

Grilled Cheese Latkes

Yield:
4-5 latke sandwiches

There’s just something about comfort food that always gets me excited to eat. Give me some mac n’ cheese, tuna casserole or a grilled cheese sandwich and I am good to go. Can you tell that I love dairy? Hanukkah, which is traditionally celebrated with oily and cheesy foods, really is the perfect holiday for me! 

Grilled Cheese Latkes Nosher2

On Hanukkah we eat foods fried in oil to symbolize the oil that lasted eight days when the Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after their victory over the Greeks. The dairy is to celebrate Judith’s victory when she saved her village from the Babylonians. Basically, she served the General of the Babylonian army a basket of wine and salty cheese (the salt made him thirsty and got him very drunk). When he passed out, she beheaded him and scared away his army. It’s a bit graphic but definitely worth celebrating!

Grilled Cheese Latkes Nosher3

So now let’s get back to my comfort food, which really does tie in to Hanukkah beautifully. I decided that what this holiday really needed was a crispy latke fried in oil then sandwiched together with cheese. Sounds good, right?!? Jewish-American comfort food taken to the max.

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Grilled Cheese Latkes

Posted on December 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

Pulled Brisket-Topped Latkes

Yield:
4 dozen latkes

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.

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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.

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Pulled Brisket-Topped Latkes

Posted on December 1, 2014

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

Homemade Almond Milk Smoothie

I recently started my second round with a diet/food-cleanse called Whole 30, in which you eat nothing but unprocessed, unrefined, sugar-free food, while also cutting out entire food groups such as dairy, soy, and grains (oh and booze too). I am sure to many it sounds a bit crazy, but I will share that throughout the 30 days I woke up easier and stayed awake throughout the day, my body felt physically and mentally alive in a way it had not in years past and I felt stronger when I worked out.

Almond milk smoothie1

Cutting out dairy, sugar, grains and booze? Ok, I could do it. But I could never do without my coffee, which thankfully you are allowed. In order to enjoy my one permitted cup of coffee, I needed to make my own almond milk since almost all sold in stores contain added sugar. I also wanted to find a natural way to sweeten the almond milk to make my coffee a little more enjoyable. So I added 1 medjool date when making the almond milk for the sweetness I craved with my coffee, but without any sugar.

I have come to love making my own almond milk so much that I do it even when I am not on the diet. There is something gratifying about knowing exactly what is in your food and drink.  If you are going to try your hand at this I highly recommend buying a nut milk bag, but if you have a cheesecloth available that will work fine.

Homemade almond milk is for more than just crazy diets: it is great for baking, especially when making nondairy desserts, for making smoothies, in your cereal or oatmeal or just drinking too.

Almond milk smoothie2

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Homemade Almond Milk and Vanilla Banana Smoothie

Posted on November 28, 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

Mashed Potato Burekas

Yield:
16 burekas

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.

Mashed Potato Burekas1

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.

Mashed Potato Burekas

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Mashed Potato Burekas

Posted on November 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

Jeweled Veggie Orzo with Wheatberries

Yield:
6-8 servings

Oh, how I love pasta. Almost all of my favorite comfort foods involve pasta: egg noodles with cottage cheese (a childhood favorite); any kind of gnocchi smothered in just about any kind of sauce; and my pregnancy comfort food, spaghetti with butter and Parmesan.

But I have been trying to cut back on my pasta recently, adding in bulgur and even zucchini noodles as an alternate.

SONY DSC

For Thanksgiving though I really wanted to create (and eat) an orzo side dish. Orzo somehow seems like a compromise of carb: it looks like rice, but it’s actually pasta.  And to make it a little healthier than just some plain old pasta, I added some hearty wheatberries, an array of colorful vegetables and even some vitamin-rich pumpkin seeds into the mix.

The result is a scrumptious and satisfying side dish that can also serve as an entree for any vegetarian guests. Want to add some more protein into the mix? Add 1/2 cup cooked lentils or small white beans and you have a complete dish.

If you can’t find purple carrots at your local market, you can use a roasted beet instead to achieve the same color and texture. I also love this dish because you can prepare it a day ahead and either serve room temperature, or heat it back up to serve.

SONY DSC

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Jeweled Veggie Orzo with Wheatberries

Posted on November 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

Wine Pairings for Thanksgiving

Hopefully you are just about ready for a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. I can picture the family around the table, reflecting on the year and soaking up the aroma of freshly carved turkey. Just remember, when you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving wine pairings, there’s more to consider than just the bird. I know it can seem confusing or even scary to pick the perfect wine for your celebration, or really any wine, but I hope to make that part a little bit easier with some great kosher wine suggestions.

thanksgiving wine bottles

As The Day Gets Going

When the kitchen starts to come alive with the buzz of Thanksgiving morning, nothing puts me in the holiday spirit more than an ice cold glass of Chardonnay.  This year, I’d recommend the Odem Mountain Volcanic Chardonnay 2012.  It’s a dry white wine that won’t give you a sugar rush too early in the day. The slow and cold 5 month fermentation process leaves this wine with a delightful golden color and an aromatic nose.  In plain terms, this chardonnay is refreshing, crisp and is a delight to sip.

While You Are Snacking On The Stuffing

Nothing says “get this party started” quite like a bottle of Brut.  Gilgal Brut  is a 50-50 mix of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and it presents floral apple and pear notes. While it is fresh and invigorating, it’s bright acidity pairs excellently with the sausage and chestnuts I put in my stuffing muffins.

thanksgiving wine and turkey

But What About My Turkey?

You’d think that pairing turkey with a white wine was a no-brainer. Nope. Wine Folly has written the perfect definitive guide to pairing wine with poultry and you have more to choose from than you would have thought. You won’t go wrong with Carmel’s Kayoumi White Riesling 2012, rated 90 points by Daniel Rogev. This is an impressive wine with a slight sweetness and a delightful color. I’d also recommend Pacifica Pinot Noir 2010 for it’s balanced acidity and generous fruity flavor. Not only with the Pinot Noir pair with the turkey, it’s the perfect match for many of the flavors of the day.

Something With The Side Dishes

Your Thanksgiving table will be complimented by attention to detail, so think about the perfect wine for your side dishes too.  Ramon Cardova Garnacha 2011 is a Spanish wine with a unique character that comes to life when paired with fall favorites like mushrooms and butternut. Similarly, Covenant Red C Sauvignon Blanc 2013 would compliments grains like rice and quinoa, wild mushrooms or green bean casserole. Now that I think of it, Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is an equally impressive choice to par with your Thanksgiving side dishes.

Thanksgiving wine 2014

And For Dessert…

Thanksgiving desserts lean nicely toward being paired with a full bodied glass of port. If Pecan Pie is on your menu, you deserve a bottle of Shiloh Fort. This is an intensely purple dessert wine with a massively full body. It’s sweetness is married to notes of raisin and caramel so it’s well balanced sweetness is great with rich dessert.

Psagot Prat is another port style wine that I admire greatly. After being aged in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun, this wine has a sweet fig-like aroma that can cut through the subtle flavors and creamy textures of homemade pumpkin pie. This is a dessert wine that screams of decadence. This would be my choice with pumpkin pie.

When The Day Is Still Young

As the day draws to a close and your guests move to the couch, some might move on to scotch or brandy but this is when I like open a bottle of one of my favorite wines. Ella Valley EverRed. This is a delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Syrah perfect for any occasion. The grapes for this wine are harvested by night and the wine is aged in French oak. On a personal note, this is one of the first bottles that taught me to explore and discover the wonderful world of wine. It really is a personal favorite so light a log fire and pour yourself a well-earned glass. The dishes can wait till tomorrow.

thanksgiving red wine pouring

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Posted on November 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

Thanksgiving Chutney Three Ways

This Thanksgiving, I’m adding an array of chutneys to my holiday spread as a way to jazz up the traditional meal with simmered combinations of fruits or veggies. Chutneys are the perfect accompaniment to long roasted, rich turkey or braised meats because their vinegary bases help to balance the fat of heavier proteins and side dishes.

This selection of chutneys cover a range of flavors to please any palate. With that in mind, I simmered one sweet, one savory and one spicy condiment. They make use of seasonal ingredients and readily available herbs and spices. Best of all, they come together in one pot and with little fuss. And each of these combinations will be tastier and more nuanced when prepared in advance.

sweet cranberry chutney

Sweet Cranberry and Cherry Chutney

This chutney hints at Thanksgiving tradition with ruby red cranberries, nuts and dried fruit. It is believed that cranberries were served at the first Thanksgiving in 1621.

Serve this Cranberry and Cherry Chutney alongside roasted meat, turkey or chicken. Add a few tablespoons to mayonnaise and use as a spread on lightly toasted challah for turkey sandwiches with leftovers from your feast. Or place this chutney in a small serving dish alongside creamy, mild cheeses as a sweet element on a cheese plate.

Note: This chutney has a very strong vinegar odor when it’s simmering. The first time I made this, I was alarmed by the strength of the vinegary presence. After it’s cooked, cooled and refrigerated, the vinegar- sugar- honey combination settles into a perfectly balanced, slightly sweet condiment for your holiday meal.

Ingredients:

2 cups dried tart cherries
½ cup sugar
3 Tbsp honey
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup fresh cranberries (rinsed)
1 Tbsp lemon zest
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 cup raisins or currants
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
6 Tbsp water (or a little more if the pan appears too dry)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a 2 quart. saucepan over medium heat. Cook 20-25 minutes, stirring well.

Cranberries should burst open. The texture should be slightly sticky and chunky, with little liquid remaining after the simmer. Chutney will continue to thicken as it cools.

Cover and refrigerate for up to one week. Serve at room temperature.

cauliflower chutney

Savory Cauliflower and Lentil Chutney

This vegetable and legume based chutney doesn’t include any added sweetness, making it a welcome savory addition to a holiday meal that tends to include lots of sweet flavors. It’s warm spices and toasted undertones provide unexpected flavors next to traditional dishes like sweet or mashed potatoes. This dish could easily be the star dish for vegetarians at your table.

Serve alongside turkey leftovers or as a condiment with pan-seared fish. If using this as a main dish for vegetarians at your Thanksgiving table, be sure to make stuffing without chicken or turkey broth so that they may enjoy stuffing with this savory chutney.

Ingredients:

¼ cup good olive oil
1 large red onion, finely diced
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tsp ras- el- hanout*
½ tsp mustard powder
1 cup dry red lentils
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups cauliflower florets, small pieces
1 ½ cups canned diced tomatoes
½ cup water
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp paprika
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves- minced
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
*Middle Eastern spice mix found at well stocked markets like Whole Foods or at online on Amazon

Directions:

Heat oil and add onion, shallot and ginger until softened, about 4-5 minutes.

Add ras-el-hanout and mustard powder and stir, cooking one minute.

Rinse and examine lentils for particles of debris. Remove if found. Add lentils and wine to onion and spice mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cover pot and cook 10 minutes.

Add cauliflower, tomatoes, water, salt and pepper and paprika.

Cover and cook over medium heat, covered, for 20-25 minutes until lentils and cauliflower are tender but not mushy. Stir occasionally. Add ¼- ½ cup more water if chutney appears dry.

Cool mixture and stir in lime juice and cilantro. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

May be refrigerated for up to one week in airtight container. Serve at room temperature.

tomato chutney

Spicy Tomato Chutney

Posted on November 19, 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