Tag Archives: recipe

Lemon Sponge Cake with Candied Citrus

Passover brings the same challenge each year – especially for the baker. That is, how to make an array of delicious and unique desserts – without the use of flour (or any other leavening ingredients, for that matter). This task is additionally complicated by the fact that dairy is often off-limits too.

citrus sponge cake 3So when I find a recipe that works – and that my family agrees is a “keeper” – I tend to bring it back year after year. And this sponge cake is no exception. Moist and deeply flavorful, I am a big fan of this classic Passover dessert. It comes out consistently delicious and keeps for days, too.

citrus sponge cake 1But – aside from the same-old dusting of powdered sugar (the kosher-for-Passover kind, of course!), it lacked that “wow” factor. So a few years ago I candied some orange and lemon slices and placed them on top – for a pretty presentation that looked lovely on our table.

Making candied citrus slices is super easy – and can provide a quick garnish for any dessert!

citrus sponge cake 4

Note: The recipe for the sponge cake is inspired by this recipe from Epicurious

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Lemon Sponge Cake with Candied Citrus

Posted on March 24, 2015

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

Zucchini Boats Stuffed with Ricotta and Pine Nuts

Yield:
4 servings as main dish, 8 servings as a side dish

The trick to staying, ahem, healthy during Passover is eating as many veggies and fruits as you normally do. If your festive meals are front loaded with more meat than you regularly eat, it’s easy to shift to dairy or vegetarian menus, especially those that allow veggies to shine.

ricotta stuffed zucchini boats for Passover

These zucchini boats are matzah- free so expect the filling mixture to be creamy and luxuriant rather than firm. They are best eaten soon after they come out of the oven though they may be eaten warm or at room temperature.

ricotta stuffed zucchini boats for Passover

And speaking of matzah- free, this dish is perfect for any non-Passover meal also. It would be super served on a brunch buffet or served alongside a vegetable soup (tomato soup would be great), a green salad, roasted asparagus or peppers.

If you are up for making your own ricotta cheese (maybe when you’re not in the midst of the Passover cooking frenzy?) here’s an easy recipe from The Kitchn  or an even easier one from Ina Garten.

ricotta stuffed zucchini boats for Passover

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Zucchini Boats Stuffed with Ricotta and Pine Nuts

Posted on March 23, 2015

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

Raspberry Swirl Chocolate Torte with Pecan Crust

Yield:
8-10 servings

Passover desserts can really be the worst. Canned macaroons. Dry cake. And while I know many people who love it, super rich flourless chocolate cake is just not my thing. I don’t enjoy how dense it is, even if i love chocolate. And I do love chocolate.

chocolate raspberry torte for Passover

Instead of the traditional, flourless chocolate cake, I wanted to create a chocolate dessert that was a bit lighter, while still remaining rich and chocolaty. The raspberry jam adds a slight tang to the torte, and pecan crust lends a nice crunch. I literally could not stop eating this, and so I gave it to my neighbors to eat instead. Suckers.

Note: After you bake the pecan crust it might look a little funny, like it didn’t work – almost a little too bubbly. I was also worried when I made it, but it is totally fine. I would also recommend topping your torte with fresh raspberries and even a few sprigs of mint for an extra beautiful presentation.

SONY DSC

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Raspberry Swirl Chocolate Torte with Pecan Crust

Posted on March 19, 2015

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

Shredded Brisket Cumberland Pie

Yield:
8-10 servings

Savory meat pies have been everyday fare in Britain since the early Middle Ages. The original, hard-shelled stew-filled pasty was easy to carry along to the mines. But the outside crust wasn’t even intended to be edible at first. By the Elizabethan era, after the introduction of the potato into the British Isles, a corollary of the British meat pie arose. Simple potato-covered pies—like shepherd’s pie made with mutton and lamb, and cottage pie, chock full of beef—became common and have remained so. Cumberland pie is a variant that doesn’t get as much notice. It is not only delicious, but it is a great way to use cooked meat.

shredded brisket cumberland pie4

There are as many recipes for all these potato-topped pies as there are cooks, so finding an “original” recipe is all but impossible. Some recipes harken back to the Tudor era, with its mincemeat pies, meat pies flavored with sweet dried fruits and warm spices and flavorings such as saffron and candied citrus peels. In general though, shepherd’s pies tend to contain peas and legumes, while cottage pie, which seems to be a bit older, is simpler, with just a few root vegetables, chopped meat and plenty of sauce.

Cumberland pie is likely a variant of the cottage pie. Early recipes for Cumberland pie often include butter-rich mashed potatoes and occasionally there is cheddar cheese in the potato mix. With the accessibility of so many pareve milk-style products—from almond and cashew to soy or oat—creamy potatoes are now easy for kosher cooks. But what sets Cumberland pie apart is the crunchy topping, often a broiled top with plenty of toasted breadcrumbs.

shredded brisket cumberland pie1
When I lived outside of London in the 1980s, I ate more than my fair share of butter and cucumber sandwiches on pullman loaves, and fried egg and potatoes. But British food has undergone a renaissance, in much the same way that American food has.

My Cumberland pie is slowly braised at a low temperature with sweet wine. The parsnips in the stew are what gives it a decidedly Anglo-Ashkenazi spin. The recipe is easy to make in parts—perfect for Seder fare.  The meat should be made at least a day in advance, but it can be made up to five days ahead. The potatoes can be made the day before. The day you are serving the pie, skim the brisket pot well and remove the meat and vegetables. Heat the sauce until it has reduced in volume enough to coat the back of a spoon. That nappe (as French chefs call it) will make the dish flavor-rich. Cover the pie with the potatoes, warm in the oven, top with the crusty topping and broil at the last minute. It’s a showy and fun dish, perfect for a crowd and anything but bland.

cumberland pie for post

This recipe is actually as easy as pie to make but fear not the long list of ingredients. You’ll have a memorably hearty and flavor-rich dish that is worth the time.

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Shredded Brisket Cumberland Pie

Posted on March 18, 2015

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

How to Make Perfect Chicken Soup and Matzah Balls

Yield:
8-10 servings

More than any other question that I get from friends and readers is how to make a great chicken soup with matzah balls. Chicken soup is universal, comforting and enjoyed year-round, as opposed to some traditional Jewish foods that are only enjoyed at a particular holiday.

It’s not complicated if you follow a few easy steps, and this year we decided to help out even further by making a short video to help take away the mystery of making perfect chicken soup every time.

How to Make the Perfect Chicken Soup

We love debating sinkers versus floaters when it comes to matzah balls, right? Well I am firmly in camp fluffy. How to make fluffy matzah balls for your soup? Roll them very gently in the palms of your hands, make sure to wet your hands with ice water in between rolls and don’t forget the schmaltz. Or you can watch this video to help make the perfect fluffy matzah balls to go with your chicken soup.

The Secret to Fluffy Matzah Balls

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Best Chicken Soup

Posted on March 17, 2015

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

Power Greens Matzah Ball Soup

Yield:
4-6 servings

Although I love tweaking traditional recipes, especially around Passover, (hello White Wine Braised Chicken or Manischewitz Ice Cream) there are some foods I never thought I’d touch. Such as my Bubbe’s matzo ball soup.

power greens matzah ball soup1

The rich homemade broth and with light and fluffy matzo balls and rounds of carrots, celery and my favorite parsnips. Its magically powers are unparalleled. Matzo ball soup has the ability to cure most ailments, bad days, and even my gentile friends request it all year long.

greens for matzah ball soup

But Passover food can be heavy. Potato kugel, chopped liver, flourless chocolate cake. I love it all, but sometimes it just doesn’t love me! The lack of greens and abundance of browns is apparent. This green soup cures that. What’s greatabout it is that you can pretty much throw in any greens you have in your fridge: broccoli, kale, Swiss chard. Throw it in there! It’s vegetarian friendly, and can be made ahead of time. In fact. The flavors just intensify as the days go on. Make sure to store the matzah balls separately, unless you want green balls. Which isn’t totally a bad thing.

power greens matzah ball soup2

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Power Greens Matzah Ball Soup

Posted on March 15, 2015

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

Masala Lamb Stew with Creamy Coconut Quinoa

Yield:
4-6 servings

Passover is the holiday I plan for all year long, partially because I hate it so much. I loathe giving up my beloved bread and pastry for an entire week, though usually my thighs thank me for the brief respite. Nevertheless I seek inspiration everywhere: in cookbooks, online and out and about when I am eating.

masala lamb stew w quinoa1

This recipe was inspired by a dish my husband and I ate in Los Angeles back in December at a downtown restaurant called The Industriel. I have never been much of a quinoa fan, but when I tasted their braised lamb served with rich walnut-quinoa porridge cooked in milk, I knew I had to try and make a version for myself. Cooking the quinoa in coconut milk adds a richness and heartiness to the quinoa that I really enjoyed, and it was almost like I was eating rice or pasta with my stew. Almost.

masala lamb stew w quinoa2

If you aren’t a fan of Indian spices, you could also try a more Middle Eastern flare my replacing the masala with Ras-el-hanout or harissa, which would also pair nicely with the creamy coconut quinoa. And despite my kvetching over the lack of carbs, this dish is absolutely delish, Passover or not.

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Masala Lamb Stew with Creamy Coconut Quinoa

Posted on March 12, 2015

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

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

I am over the snow and so is the rest of Boston where I live. Each morning I wake up hoping that just a little bit of the snow melted and maybe, just maybe there would be one strand of grass in sight. Each morning I wake up and I am disappointed that not only has the snow remained taller than I am, but it is so cold that besides work there is very little to get me out of the house.

oatmeal lace cookies1

At the start of this crazy Boston winter I vowed not to fall into a string of baking days. In fact, I started by focusing on cleaning out closets, organizing my computer, and catching up on laundry. I met up with friends to go on walks, took the dog to the park, and shoveled more snow than I knew could even fall from the sky – and I’m Canadian.

oatmeal lace cookies2

As the days got colder and the snow continued to grace us with its presence baking seemed like the only logical thing to do. Beyond the fact that standing near the oven would help me stay warm in my freezing apartment, I wanted to bake something for my co-workers. Smiles in Boston are hard to find right now and these cookies, these cookies certainly helped.

They are so crunchy yet delicate, sweet with a hint of saltiness. Did I mentioned they are non-dairy and gluten-free too!?

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Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Posted on March 9, 2015

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 Pita Bread

In the ancient world, bread was usually made by using a type of sourdough starter. A little bit of raw dough was set aside, unbaked, in a cool, shaded place. This dough was then used as the leavening agent for the next week’s bake. Preparing leavened bread required the use of old matter, a bacterial culture that was continuously fermenting in an unbroken chain of bread baking with no beginning and no end. Perhaps this is why God demands that our cleansing each spring be total: we need to break all the chains that fetter us to the past. We must clear out all of the old from the house to make way for the new.

fresh pita

The ancient Hebrew word for leaven, or yeast, is se’or. There are no coincidences in the Hebrew language, and often there are multiple meanings within one word. The root of the word lehash’ir, which means to leave behind, is se’or. We can see this as an allusion to the Passover theme of leaving the past behind to start a new beginning. The “chain” of sourdough starter that was used constantly can be seen as a metaphor for the chains of slavery. The plainness and simplicity of matzah can be reinterpreted as a clean slate, the new beginning of the freed slave.

spiritual kneading web1

Use your left-over flour in preparation for cleaning out last year’s chains to the past to make pita, a type of round flatbread. Although pita is leavened, as a flatbread, it is similar to the Yemenite and Iraqi matzah, which is soft, rather than crisp, like typical Ashkenazi and Sephardic matzah. The circular shape can serve as an illustration of renewal, as we move through the cycle of the year to re-enter the spring season once more, and with it, the beginning of the Jewish year.

This recipe appears in my new book, Spiritual Kneading Through the Jewish Months: Building the Sacred Through Challah as part of my vision to write about how each Jewish month carries a specific energy from which we can draw it down and learn from it.

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Homemade Pita Bread

Posted on March 5, 2015

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

Mozzarella and Tomato Caprese Blintzes

Yield:
7-8 blintzes

I’d like to think this caprese blintz is the epitome of my background. A blend of cultures, colliding different upbringings and introducing new memories.

CapreseBlintz 1 for web

I grew up, like many Brooklyn Jewish girls next door, on blintzes and bagels, on latkes and matzah balls and so did everyone around me. It was the norm. Jewish delis filled with freshly made bialys were the signature of my past and new worldly flavors are the introduction to my future.

CapreseBlintz in process for web

You can imagine how my worlds collided when I moved to Hawaii when I was fourteen. The only Jewish girl in my school, the only one that had some reminisce of a east coast accent, the only know what knew what a blintz was. But alas, everything happens for a reason. My eight years living in Hawaii taught me patience and love of the land and introduced me to my Italian husband of (soon to be) 10 years who fell in love with traveling just as much as I did.

Over the last 10 years, Joe and I have had a love affair with traveling and one of our favorite memories was experiencing a true caprese  salad in Italy. The tomatoes were so sweet and mozzarella like no other. I have been addicted ever since and want to caprese-fy anything I can get my hands on! Blintzes seemed to be a natural fit for these flavors.

CapreseBlintz vert for web

This one is certainly for the savory lovers and aint your mama’s blintz, that’s for sure! Filled with soft mozzarella and sundried tomatoes, you will certainly be transported to a café in Italy like I was! A blend of cultures for your next brunch? I like that idea.

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Mozzarella and Tomato Caprese Blintzes

Posted on March 3, 2015

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