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 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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
¼ cup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
⅛ tsp each, salt and pepper
½-1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and veins removed and finely chopped (do not touch eyes or mouth when handling this pepper)
½ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsplight brown sugar
4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
2 Tb. apple cider vinegar
2 Tb. dark raisins
1 Tb. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tb. basil leaves, chopped
1 lime- juiced
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
Add the garlic, ginger, shallots, onion and cook until softened.
Add turmeric, cumin, coriander, jalapeno, salt and pepper, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the honey, brown sugar and raisins and cook for 2-3 minutes until caramelized.
Stir in fresh and canned tomatoes and vinegar. Simmer for 40-45 minutes in uncovered pot. Add a bit of water if mixture appears too dry. Texture should be jammy.
Remove from heat and stir in cilantro, basil and lime juice. Taste to season with additional cayenne, salt or pepper.
Cool and place in sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve at room temperature.
I suggest serving this chutney alongside turkey or roasted chicken. It’s super as a spread on a brisket sandwich or serve alongside guacamole with toasted pita chips. Consider using this spicy tomato chutney swirled into a half cup of extra virgin olive oil as a sauce over your favorite pasta.
Thanksgiving is one of my family’s favorite holidays. Besides Passover, it is one of the only times we all come together during the year and so my mother and I get pretty excited about planning; we spend months working on the perfect place cards, décor, side dishes and desserts. We went all out for Thanksgivukkah last year creating this recipe for sweet potato latkes with toasted marshmallows.
This year we are very much in the midst of menu planning, and can’t wait to make this new dish for challah stuffing stuffed acorn squash, made with classic Thanksgiving flavors like squash, dried cranberries, thyme and even pecans.
This dish has a great “wow factor” due to its eye-catching presentation but is quite simple to make. You can even make it ahead of time to save time the day of Thanksgiving. This dish also serves as a great vegetarian entree for your guests.
4 acorn squashes
½ leftover challah loaf (about 2 cups cubed)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp soy sauce
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup to 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth, as needed
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside.
Cut challah into ½ inch cubes and place on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to toss the challah pieces and distribute the oil evenly. Toast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Set the toasted challah cubes aside.
Cut 3/4 inch off the top of each acorn squash and carefully scoop out the seeds and strings of each squash. Cut a sliver off the bottom of each squash and place them on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, generously season with salt and pepper, and replace the top of each squash, leaving room for steam to escape. Bake for 40 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-heat heat and sauté the diced onion until translucent. Add the mushrooms and thyme, stirring until the mushrooms brown. Add garlic.
Once no liquid is left in the pan, deglaze the pan with soy sauce. Add cranberries, pecans, challah and vegetable broth, stirring until the vegetable broth is absorbed and the mixture starts to come together. You can add additional broth if the mixture is too dry to come together. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Stuff the squash with the challah mixture until slightly mounded. Place the top of each squash next to its body. Bake the squash and stuffing for 25-30 minutes, until the stuffing is lightly browned and the flesh of the squash can be pierced easily with a fork. Place the top of each squash on top of the stuffing to serve.
When you think of pumpkin and spices, your mind likely jumps to pumpkin pie spices like ginger, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. But did you know that pumpkin and curry also pair perfectly?
A quick google search for pumpkin curry will reveal an array of recipes such as pumpkin curry empanadas (does someone want to make these for me?), pumpkin curry with chickpeas and slow cooker vegan pumpkin curry.
And welcome to the scene my curry pumpkin corn soup. I dreamed up this soup while trying to recreate one of my favorite lunchtime soups I enjoy at a midtown NYC eatery called Dishes. They always have a creamy, pumpkin corn bisque this time of year, and so I wanted to recreate it, but with a bit of my own spin. I added some curry to the mix, and swapped out heavy cream for coconut milk and voila: a nondairy pumpkin curry soup perfect for a Shabbat starter, light lunch or even a dish for Thanksgiving dinner.
If you have never cooked with curry before, this is a great introduction, since it really combines the familiar flavors of pumpkin and corn with the slightly exotic taste of curry. You will wonder why it’s taken you so long to combine these delicious flavors.
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
3 cups pumpkin puree (fresh preferably, but canned is fine too)
1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
salt and pepper
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion and corn and saute until onions are translucent, and corn looks plump and yellow. Add curry powder and garlic and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes, until curry is toasted and fragrant.
De-glaze the pot with 1/2 cup vegetable broth, scraping bottom of pan until all bits have been cleaned off. Add pumpkin puree and continue to stir until smooth and heated through. Add vegetable broth.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Add coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste.
Like many other traditional Ashkenazi Jewish foods I didn’t really grow up eating stuffed cabbage. Italian meatballs and sauce on Sundays? Absolutely. But the stuffed cabbage my grandmother would make to serve perhaps at Rosh Hashanah or another holiday meal was a dish that was terrifying for me as a child. And so I never really ate it.
Fast forward about 25 years: I was given the The 2nd Ave Deli Cookbook and decided to try out their recipe for stuffed cabbage. Barely having eaten the dish, never mind cooking it myself, I actually found it surprisingly easy. Since then, it has been the only recipe for this dish I have made, and the basis for the recipe below.
But as cooks will do, I wanted to give my own spin to the recipe. So recently I decided to experiment with the classic dish, and instead of stuffing it with ground meat and rice, I opted for some super tender, pulled brisket that I cooked in a similar sweet and sour sauce.I will freely admit: this was not the quickest recipe I have ever made. It requires a hefty time commitment, since you need to cook the brisket for 3-4 hours, and then cook the stuffed cabbage all together another few hours. Despite the time, the taste was worth the effort.
I know some of you are going to say there is too much sugar in this recipe: you are welcome and even encouraged to use whatever variation of a sweet and sour sauce you like. I also don’t advocate eating or making this kind of recipe every week; this is a “special occasion” sort of dish.
If stuffing cabbage leaves and rolling them up sounds daunting, check out Chanie Apflebaum’s step-by-step photos for Passover-friendly stuffed cabbage. Not a meat lover? Try out our recipe for a traditional but vegetarian stuffed cabbage or Amy Kritzer’s recipe for vegetarian stuffed cabbage with creamy beet sauce.
For the brisket:
2 lb brisket, trimmed of any excessive fat
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
1 medium-large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ½ cups plain tomato sauce
2 ½ cups water
1 cup red wine
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white vinegar
½ orange, chopped with peel, pits removed
½ lemon, chopped with peel, pits removed
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 large green cabbage
For the stuffing:
3 cups cooked, shredded brisket
1 ½ cups brisket sauce
¾ cups uncooked white rice
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
For the tomato sauce:
2 cups plain tomato sauce
1 medium onion, diced
½ orange, chopped with peel, pits removed
½ lemon, chopped with peel, pits removed
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white vinegar
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups chopped cabbage
To make the brisket (which I recommend doing a day ahead of time):
Heat a few Tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Rub brisket with salt, pepper and ground cinnamon. Brown brisket on each side until caramelized, around 5-7 minutes each side. Remove brisket and place on plate for later.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent. Add tomato sauce, water, wine, sugars, vinegar, orange, lemon, cinnamon stick and red pepper. Bring to a boil.
Place brisket back into pot, cover and reduce heat to low medium. Cook for 3 ½-4 hours, until brisket is fork tender.
When brisket is finished cooking and has cooled 20-30 minutes, remove from pot and place on a cutting board. Using two forks or a fork and a knife, gently shred all the brisket. Pour sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove cinnamon stick, orange and lemon. Add 1 ½ cups sauce to the brisket. Place in a container until ready for the next steps.
To make and assemble the stuffed cabbage:
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Prepare a baking tray drizzled with a little olive oil. While the water is boiling, cut the core out of the cabbage using a paring knife. Lift the core out, which will leave a hole in the middle. Take a large fork or knife and stick straight into the middle of the cabbage. Plunge the cabbage carefully into the boiling water for 30 seconds-1 minute, until the outer leaves soften and begin to fall off. Remove the leaves and place on the baking sheet until ready to use.
Repeat until you have removed around 75% of the leaves. Set the remaining cabbage aside. With a paring knife, trim off the tough part of the outer spines of the cabbage. Finely chop the remaining cabbage leaves and set aside.
Begin matching the cabbage leaves with similar sized leaves, so all the leaves are in pairs. Place them on top of one another on a plate and get ready to start stuffing.
In a medium bowl mix together pulled brisket, rice, onion, eggs, garlic, salt and pepper. Using about ¾ cup of the mix, make an oval meatball of the mixture and place at bottom of the cabbage leaf. Fold one side over the mix and then begin rolling very tightly along the spine. Fold up remaining end and tuck inside the cabbage roll. Repeat until you have used all the leaves and filling.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the sauce: In another large bowl, combine tomato sauce, onion, orange, lemon, sugars, vinegar, water, salt, pepper, cinnamon and chopped cabbage.
Place some of the sauce on the bottom of a deep baking dish. Gently lay each stuffed cabbage roll on top. Cover with remaining sauce.
Cover stuffed cabbage with tin foil and bake 2 ½-3 hours, until sauce has reduced and thickened.
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.
Za’atar is one of my favorite ingredients to use when cooking. I roast potatoes with it and chicken too. So it was only a matter of time until I found a way to make a za’atar flavored challah.
I don’t make my own za’atar, but rather buy it in bulk whenever I am in Israel. You can either buy za’atar at a Middle Eastern or specialty spice store, or also make your own. Za’atar is traditionally made with a mix of oregano, sesame seeds, sumac and salt. I actually chose to add extra sumac in this recipe because the za’atar mix I bought didn’t have a strong flavor, but you can leave that out if you prefer.
1 ½ Tbsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
4.5 cups of all-purpose, unbleached flour (preferably King Arthur flour)
½ Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp za’atar spice
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp jarred chopped garlic
¼ up vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp water
Additional za’atar, sesame seeds and thick sea salt for sprinkling
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 the whisk attachment, mix together 1 ½ cups flour, salt, za’atar, sumac, garlic and sugar. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil. Mix thoroughly.
Add another 1 cup of flour and eggs and mix until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.
Add another 1 ½- 2 cups of mixed flour, mixing thoroughly and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining ½ cup flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 5 minutes.
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise at least around 3 hours, punching down at least once if possible.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Braid challah into desired shape. Allow challah to rise another 45-60 minutes, or until you can see the size has grown and challah seems light. This step is very important to ensure a light and fluffy challah.
In a small bowl beat 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water.
Brush egg wash liberally over challah. Sprinkle with additional za’atar, sesame seeds and thick sea salt.
If making one large challah, bake around 27-28 minutes; if making two smaller challahs, bake 24-26 minutes.
Halloween is almost here, did you know? Hard not to notice with pumpkins, spiders and candy corn everywhere.
And Halloween actually falls on Shabbat later this week, which for some people, I know, will be problematic. Some Jews don’t think we should celebrate Halloween at all. And some Jews think American Jews can and should embrace the celebration.
I fall into the camp of celebrating and I just love making fun treats, especially now that I have a daughter to share in the fun. And last week I made cookies that are equal parts fun for kids and delicious for adults. I brought a batch of these cookies to my share with family this past weekend, and by Sunday, they were totally gone; even all the skinny, dieting women in my family devoured them.
I love baking with dark chocolate usually, but these milk chocolate and butterscotch cookies are seriously delicious. The dark cocoa powder sets off the sweetness of the milk chocolate. I also like to add a pinch of thick sea salt before baking, which really elevates the flavor.
This recipe is based on Martha Stewat’s Milk Chocolate Cookie Recipe, which can be found in her cookbook Martha Stewart’s Cookies: The Very Best Baking Treats to Bake and to Share.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 ounces good-quality milk chocolate chips (for melting)
3 ounces good-quality milk chocolate chips (for mixing)
3 ounces butterscotch chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
candy eyes (optional)
thick sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
Melt the 4 ounces milk chocolate with the butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 30 second increments. Stir vigorously after each time until the chocolate-butter mixture is shiny and completely smooth.
Beat the chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs and vanilla together using a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Add dry ingredients.
Fold in milk chocolate and butterscotch chips.
Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets. Add candy monster eyes and sea salt if desired.
Bake 13-14 minutes, until cookies are flat and the surface cracks. Allow to cool 2 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
I’m having a love/hate relationship with food lately. By “love,” I mean, you know, I want to eat yummy food all the time. By “hate,” I mean I don’t have the energy for it any more. And this isn’t just a post-high holiday thing. This is all about trying to find the time and energy to feed a two year-old every. single. day. And I only have one child – I don’t know how the moms with multiple kids balance everything!
For those just joining me in this weird journey, I’m currently living a life of temporary single parenthood. It’s important to note that this set up of mine is, in fact, temporary. I have the privilege of having a supportive and loving husband. We call each other, he offers me emotional support and he comes to visit every so often (more on why I’m in this situation here). The parts of this temporary single parent status that I expected to stink (time has become my most sought after currency. I got up at 5:30am PST just to finish writing this post) but the part of this situation that I didn’t expect is the effect this has had on our meal times.
We used to have family dinners. We’d eat together, the three of us, at least 3 nights a week plus Shabbat. The husband and I committed to that when we had a child. As a social worker and school counselor, I am well aware of the statistics that go along with shared family meals (35% less likely to engage in disordered eating, 24% more likely to eat healthier foods and 12% less likely to be overweight, Hammons & Fiese, 2011). Plus the fact that family mealtime offers uninterrupted time for us to spend time together. Or so I’m told. I have a toddler. Regardless, family mealtime combines my two favorite things: my family and food!
But now that it’s just me and the kiddo, the aspects of managing our day-to-day life of work/school/family has driven me to want to collapse when she’s in bed at 8:00 pm. And so, I’ve developed a habit of cooking just for her at around 5:30 and then settling in with a salad and TV for myself after she goes to bed. That salad, of course, consists of things like pre-washed kale, shredded carrots, shredded cheese (neither of which I shred myself, yikes.) Its not as sad as it sounds. OK, it’s a little bit as sad as it sounds. That being said, I realized things had drastically changed when I went from making Shabbat meals with multiple courses to one pot of veggie quinoa soup for the kid and myself and calling it a day. So after roughly the 12th night of the same salad, I decided I needed a change of pace. The kid and I needed to get back to family dinners and I needed to get creative with my meals again. A few tricks that are helping me reach my goal:
- Batch cooking – Each Sunday I make big batches of something, i.e. roasted vegetables, sauce, rice or quinoa, that I can use in various recipes for the remainder of the week
- Remix – Since I have to make my own lunch, I did myself a favor and bought into the kiddo’s kosher school lunch plan. They always send home leftovers (and there is always leftovers), which I remix into something else for her dinner (read: stir fry!)
- The kid stays in the picture – Now that she’s a little over 2, she actually can help me cook, which has been very fun and exciting. She’s officially in charge of all seasoning and can sprinkle cheese on a homemade pizza like nobody’s business. Getting her involved has made cooking fun again and has even forced me to get creative with meal planning.
- Soup – The kid loves soup. I love soup. Soup is always a great way for us to get our vegetables in us. Therefore, I’ve started making a soup that we might both love but dressing it up for me. The perfect example of that is this roasted potato and leek soup recipe. I dress it down for her, though she does get a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. I dress it up for myself by sprinkling cheese on it AND drizzling the jalapeno oil. It’s a win/win!
The kid and I are surviving and at times, we’re even thriving. She’s at that amazing age where she’s starting to have conversations so sitting down together isn’t just about me making sure she’s actually eating, like back in the days of her infancy. Rather, mealtime has become this magical time of actually getting to know the person she’s becoming and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to slow down and listen.
For the potato soup:
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned of all sand (4 leeks)
5 cloves garlic (4 whole cloves and 1 minced)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
3 - 4 cups of vegetable stock
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
For the jalapeno oil:
1/2 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, thickly sliced
1 large jalapeno, thickly sliced
coarse salt, optional
To make the soup:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine the garlic cloves, potatoes, and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times during cooking, until very tender.
Towards the last 10 minutes of roasting, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Saute the onion in the oil until translucent. Add 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tsp of thyme, 1 tsp of kosher salt and ½ tsp of black pepper and saute for another 2 minutes. Once vegetables are done roasting, add them to the stockpot of onions and garlic. Stir and let cook for a few minutes. You may need to add another tbsp of oil to accommodate the addition of the roasted vegetables.
Once everything has sauted together for a couple of minutes, add vegetable broth to the stock pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, turn down to low and let simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. After the simmering, check to ensure that the potatoes have begun to soften. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add the remaining 1 cup of stock to thicken the soup. If it still isn’t thick enough, add the final cup a little at a time until desired thickness. Add the cream, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper and check the seasonings.
To make the oil:
Heat the oil in a saucepan, over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and add in the jalapeno, garlic and salt.
Stir slowly and constantly, and after a minute or so, lower the heat to low so that you do not burn the garlic. Continue slowly stirring until the garlic begins to brown, remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes or so.
Remove the jalapeno and garlic, and once cooled, store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
It’s autumn, and sure, we all love pumpkin. But there are also an array of other squash and seasonal veggies that are pretty exciting too, including the adorable acorn squash.
Growing up my dad would prepare acorn squash in a very simple way: cut in half and roasted with butter and maple syrup. Nothing bad about that.
But I have been searching for other ways to prepare the cute squash. Finally a few weeks ago I came across this recipe for Orzo and Cheese Baked in Acorn Squash and I thought: ok, I have to make this! Not only is it cheesy and easy, but making a stuffed dish during Sukkot was also Jewishly appropriate.
I didn’t have orzo, but I did have Israeli couscous, a favorite ingredient. I also wanted to get in a little extra vegetables in this dish, so I added some onion and pepper. Want to make this healthier? You could substitute whole wheat couscous, quinoa and even add some lentils.
2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
¾ cup water
¾ cup uncooked Israeli couscous
¾ cup water
Salt and pepper
½ onion, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
¼ cup milk
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice off a piece from each half of acorn squash so they will lie flat in the pan when baking later.
Place squash open side down in a baking pan. Add 3/4 cup water to pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and discard water. Turn squash open side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook another 15 minutes until tender.
Bring the ¾ cup of water to a boil. Add couscous and salt and pepper, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
In a large sauté pan add a few tbsp olive oil. Cook onions and pepper for 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and continue cooking until soft and translucent, another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to a large bowl. Add cooked couscous, cheddar cheese, milk and 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly.
Remove squash from oven. Spoon couscous cheese filling into each squash. Top with additional Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake until top begins to brown, around 25 minutes.
It’s no great secret that I hate pareve desserts. Or perhaps I should more accurately say: I hate bad pareve desserts. Some might even say I have made it my mission in life to dream up pareve desserts that don’t suck. And this brownie recipe is one of those.
While I generally prefer boxed brownie mixes (gasp!), this brownie recipe is nearly a match. But if you would rather use a boxed mix in this recipe, you can and should. No one will know you didn’t whip it up from scratch. If you do make it from scratch, you will be surprised how easy this recipe is to throw together, even at the very last minute.
I love enjoying these brownies with a relaxing cup of tea after dinner, with a glass of milk as an indulgent afternoon treat and they are especially delicious if you store them in the fridge so they are cool and fudgy. Did I mention these brownies are great when made nondairy? Your guests won’t even know they are pareve.
This recipe is based on Martha Stewart’s recipe for Fudgy Chocolate Brownies.
1/2 cup margarine or butter
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
4 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup smashed graham cracker crumbs
thick sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line an 8x8 square with parchment paper or tin foil. Grease the pan with cooking spray.
Place butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 second increments, stirring well in between, until butter and chocolate is completely melted and consistency is smooth and shiny. Allow to cool slightly.
Stir sugar into cooled chocolate mixture. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla.
Whisk together flour, salt and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to wet mixture.
Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon large dots of marshmallow fluff on top of batter and sprinkle with half the graham crack crumbs.
Pour remaining batter on top. Sprinkle remaining graham cracker crumbs on top and a light sprinkle of thick sea salt if desired.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing into squares.