Tag Archives: recipe

Black & White Cookie Cheesecake

Yield:
1 9-inch cheesecake

There are two foods that are just quintessential New York City to me. Cheesecake, and black and white cookies. Well, and bagels. And pizza. Is coffee a food? But if we’re talking desserts, it’s cheesecake and black and whites all the way.

Black-and-White-Cheescake-1

I have been known to whip up some brownies on a whim or throw together a dozen cupcakes like it’s nobody’s business. But cheesecake is an all day affair. The long baking time and cooling does not match my impatient manner. Waiting until the next day to dive in? Fuhgettaboutit! So I usually only bake one for special occasions. Like Shavuot, a holiday where you are basically commanded to eat cheesecake. But this creation is a game changer. I’m going to need cheesecake a lot more often. Just in time for boat season.

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I thought about simply decorating a cheesecake in black and white cookies, but I wanted more. I wanted the cheesecake to literally become a black and white cookie. So I started with a cakey crust in place of a traditional graham cracker one. Over that are layers of vanilla and chocolate cheesecake laced with lemon. On top? Oh icing, but of course. Instead of the classic one black and one white side, I made a crazy pattern. Because this is a crazy kind of cake. But you do what you like!

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Black and White Cookie Cheesecake

Ingredients

For the crust:

¼ cup granulated sugar

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg

½ cup whole milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ lemon, zested

½ cup cake flour

¼ tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

 

For the cheesecake:

4 (8-ounce) packages of full-fat cream cheese

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup sour cream

¾ cup milk

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

Zest from one lemon

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 4-ounce chocolate bar melted and cooled

 

For the icings:

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 ½ Tbsp corn syrup

2 tsp lemon juice

¼ tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp water

1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and position lower rack in the oven.

Prepare a 9-inch springform pan by greasing well with butter.  Wrap foil tightly around the outside of the pan to block water from the water bath from getting in. Make sure there are no holes.

To make the crust, mix sugar and butter together with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes. Then add in the egg, whole milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into wet ingredients until combined.

Spoon batter into the pan and bake for 15 minutes until just brown along the edges. Let cool in the pan while you make the cheesecake.

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to whip cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Then mix in sour cream and then milk. Then mix in eggs one at a time just until combined.

Stir in vanilla and lemon zest and then stir in flour until combined.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan over cooled crust, and then add cooled melted chocolate to the other half and incorporate. Pour remaining batter over the vanilla layer making sure batter should not reach the top of the pan.

Place the foil-wrapped pan in a large roasting pan with high sides. Pour boiling water until it reaches halfway up the cheesecake pan to make a water bath. Place on the lower rack and bake for 1 hour. You can also pour the boiling water in the pan after the cheesecake is set up in the oven in the roasting pan. Either way, don’t burn yourself!

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 hours to prevent cracking. Then chill in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 4 hours.

To make the icing, mix together confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and water.

Transfer half of the icing to another bowl and add cocoa powder. Add more water if needed to get desired consistency. Frost as desired and chill cheesecake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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Posted on May 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

Jewish, Japanese, and Delicious

I am all too familiar with a story like Francesca Biller’s, who shares this week what it’s like to be Japanese and Jewish, especially where the kitchen is concerned. As an Italian-Jewish hybrid myself, I love exploring how to create mash-up combinations of classic Jewish food with Mediterranean flavors. Balsamic Apple Date Challah anyone?

Francesca-(Udon)

Franseca grew up with charoset and mandelbrodt served alongside chicken gyoza and udon noodles. What a lucky lady!

And we are lucky too, because she shared two of her family’s Japanese-Jewish mash-ups on the Jewish& diversity blog this week, including Chicken Udon Noodle Soup. Just when you thought chicken soup couldn’t get any better.

Posted on May 14, 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

S’mores Rugelach

I am always ready to bake up treats for an outdoor picnic celebration. And Lag B’omer, the 33rd day of the Omer, is a time to celebrate friends, families and the change in seasons. It is traditional to have a bonfire on this joyous day, and so what better to have at around the campfire than s’mores rugelach.

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Of course these sweet, gooey rugelach are perfect for any outdoor celebration or summertime gathering, campfire or not. But I must warn you: they are so addictive you may have a hard time sharing.

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S'mores Rugelach

Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature

¼ cup sugar

¼ tsp salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cup marshmallow fluff

1 cup mini chocolate chips

1 ¼ cup crushed graham cracker crumbs

1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water for egg wash

Directions

Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a mixer until light. Add sugar and salt. With the mixer on its lowest speed, add the flour ½ cup at a time until a dough forms.

Place dough onto a well floured surface and shape into a ball. Cut the ball into quarters and wrap each with plastic. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour. If making ahead of time, you can also freeze the dough at this point.

Right before you’re ready to take the dough out, prepare the marshmallow filling. Place 2 cups of the marshmallow fluff in a medium size microwavable bowl. Microwave for 10-15 seconds so that the fluff becomes easier to spread.

On a well floured surface, roll each ball out into a 8 inch circle.  This dough can be sticky, so sprinkle more flour as necessary. Spread the marshmallow fluff across the dough in a thin layer. Sprinkle ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips and ¼ c crushed graham crackers. Use a pizza cutter to cut the circle into 12 wedges. Start by slicing the circle into quarters and then slice thirds into each quarter to ensure your rugelach will be evenly sized. Roll each wedge up, starting with the wider side.

Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush each cookie with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining graham cracker crumbs.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes until browned.  Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy.

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Posted on May 13, 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

Spring Zucchini Kugel

Yield:
12 servings

I didn’t grow up eating kugel. Ok, maybe let me rephrase that.

My grandmother made noodle kugel, but it was almost always dried out and as a kid I was usually too scared to actually eat it. Thankfully I married into a family with an arsenal of great kugel recipes including my husband’s grandmother’s Salt and Pepper Noodle Kugel and his mother’s Cakey Crunch Sweet Potato Kugel. And now I really love kugel, and have been trying my hand at making kugel more and more.

spring-kugel-2For the last few weeks, green has been everywhere, especially in the abundance of springtime vegetables at the farmer’s markets and grocery store. And as I have been watching the spring veggies arrive, I was trying to imagine how to incorporate the flavors of Spring into kugel.

Zucchini kugel is delicious by itself, but add some fresh, bright herbs like basil and mint, and you have an updated dish perfect for Spring. If basil and mint doesn’t quite appeal to your taste buds, you could also use fresh parsley for a more subtle flavor.

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Note: after sauteing the zucchini, make sure to drain as much liquid out as possible. If there is too much liquid in the zucchini, the kugel will turn out a mushy mess.

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Spring Zucchini Kugel

Ingredients

5 medium zucchini

olive oil

salt and pepper

4 eggs

2 tsp fresh lemon zest

1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup matzo meal

1/2 Tbsp salt

2 tsp black pepper

Directions

Using a spiralizer or vegetable peeler, make long noodles out of zucchini.

Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute zucchini in batches for 3-4 minutes each until soft and slightly translucent. Add a pinch of salt and pepper with each batch.

Place the cooked zucchini in a colander and drain excess liquid. Make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9x13 baking dish, add another 2 Tbsp olive oil to the dish and place in the oven to heat up while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs with mint, basil, salt, pepper and matzo meal. Add zucchini and stir gently until completely mixed.

After oil has heated in pan around 5-10 minutes, add zucchini mixture to pan. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon smooth out top.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until edges are crispy and the kugel is set in the middle. You may need to drain off excess oil and liquid and place back into the oven for additional 5-10 minutes.

Once kugel has cooked through, remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. Serve at room temperature or warm.

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Posted on May 12, 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

Nutella Babka

Yield:
three loaves

I didn’t grow up baking or even eating babka. Coffee cake, definitely. Banana bread was a staple. But babka just wasn’t something around. When I did finally taste babka as a teenager, I thought: “Where have you been all my life?” Chocolatey, chewy and slightly gooey—it was a perfect Shabbat morning breakfast treat with a cup of tea or coffee.

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Recently I’ve been itching to recreate babka at home. I mean, I bake challah every week. Why shouldn’t I tackle babka? But it was harder than I thought. I tried the recipe from Jerusalem. And it was great. But not quite what I was hoping to create.

And then I came across two other recipes: one from Orly Ziv’s Cook in Israel and one from a blog I came across on Instagram: Ba-Li cravings.

nutella-babka-1

My recipe is really a combination of Orly’s genius idea to stuff a babka with nutella, Ba-li’s tried-and-true dough which I have updated only slightly and a technique from Jerusalem that ensures that ooey gooey babka taste and texture we all crave.

This recipe is easily pareve-erized. (Yes, you can make this nondairy.) You can either buy a nondairy hazelnut spread or you can also make your own using a recipe like this one.

It’s perfect to enjoy with a cup of tea of coffee. Or, if you’re like my daughter, you’ll just dig right in.

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Nutella Babka

Ingredients

4 ½ cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbsp yeast

1 tsp sugar

½ cup lukewarm water

¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

½ cup milk or almond milk

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Chocolate hazelnut spread such as Nutella

2/3 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Place yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Add lukewarm water and set aside until foamy, around 5-10 minutes.

In a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix together flour, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl, mix together melted butter (or margarine) and milk (or almond milk).

Put mixer on low and begin adding the water yeast mixture, then the butter-milk mixture. Add the eggs one at a time.

When the dough begins to come together, after about 3-5 minutes, raise the speed to high and mix for another 5-10 minutes until the dough is shiny and elastic.

Place dough in a greased bowl with a damp towel on top. Allow to rise until it has doubled, about 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut dough into three equal parts. Roll out dough until it is a rectangular-like shape. Spread with chocolate-hazelnut spread. Working from the longest side, roll up dough using quick fingers, like you would in order to make cinnamon rolls.

Once the dough is a long log, cut it straight down the middle so the filling is exposed. Secure the ends on one side, and twist both the pieces . Pinch and secure at the other end.

Place in a greased loaf pan.

Bake for 35 minutes.

While the babka is baking, combine 2/3 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and swirl around to ensure all the sugar is dissolved.

About 20-25 minutes into baking, spoon about half the syrup onto the baking babkas.

When you take the babkas out of the oven after they have baked completely, immediately drizzle or brush the remaining syrup on top of all three babkas. It may seem like a lot of syrup, but this ensures a moist and gooey babka.

Posted on May 5, 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

Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing and Challah Croutons

Yield:
4 servings

My husband’s family is very male-centric and even though they love to eat, they can be a bit difficult to satisfy. They don’t like fancy desserts, eggplant, anything with nuts or “girly” salads. Whereas my mother-in-law love salads with fruits, nuts and lots of chopped veggies (like me!), the guys in the family don’t want much to do with a nice spinach salad.

So after racking my brain I decided to try making this classic wedge salad, sans the bacon that is traditionally included, for a dairy Shavuot meal last year. And thankfully, my father-in-law loved it and it was a big hit all around.

wedge-salad-2It is hearty, beautiful to look at and its the kind of salad that can be changed around depending on your tastes. Need some more protein? Add some beans or a grilled piece of fish and it becomes a main dish. Blue cheese too strong for you? Substitute a creamy ranch dressing instead. Want to get in some extra veggies? Add chopped cucumber and avocado.

But it’s the homemade challah croutons that really take this dish to the next level. They are crispy and buttery, adding crunch and a whole lot of satisfying flavor, especially for this gluten-loving gal. When making the croutons, don’t skimp on the olive oil.

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Classic Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing and Challah Croutons

Ingredients

1 head iceberg lettuce

2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 hard-boiled eggs

2-3 cups leftover challah

2-3 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

½ cup buttermilk

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut challah into small cubes. Toss challah with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 10-25 minutes until crispy, golden brown. Allow to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, olive oil and lemon juice. Add crumbled blue cheese and stir, breaking up any large clumps as you go. Set aside dressing.

Remove core from iceberg lettuce. Cut into four large wedges. Place on a large platter and assemble salad with cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, croutons and salad dressing.

Posted on May 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

Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Dip

No matter how much I plan or prep, I find myself in a pre-dinner panic almost every time we host.  I’m opening and closing the fridge, wondering if I’ll actually have enough food. No one has ever gone hungry at my table and there’s always plenty of variety so surprise allergies or unannounced vegetarians are never a concern.

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That said, I’ve built an arsenal of “quick extras” that I can add to almost any menu. Anything from roasted chickpeas, grilled polenta or this eggplant dip which reassure me there will be enough food.

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This roasted eggplant and garlic dip is quick, and when you serve it in the skin of the eggplant, it looks beautiful and impressive on the table. All of the ingredients are things that I typically have in the fridge, so when I get a last minute “can we bring two friends to dinner?” phone call, I never have to say no.

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Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Dip

Ingredients

Two whole eggplants

Six cloves of garlic

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 cup tahini

1/4 cup olive oil

1 lemon

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Scoop out eggplant flesh and cut into cubes, leaving eggplant skin whole and uncooked. Place eggplant chunks on a greased baking sheet with garlic and roast for 30 minutes.

Allow the eggplant to cool slightly.

While it's still warm, place in a food processor fitted with blade attachment and pulse with the tahini, parsley, olive oil and the juice and zest of one lemon until desired smoothness.

Serve with other various salads and fresh bread.

Posted on April 30, 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

Scrumptious Southern Sweet Potato Challah

Passover’s over; challah week is here! Yesterday we gave you dessert challah with our Double Chocolate Chip Challah and today we’re offering you this delicious Sweet Potato Challah devised by our friends down in Jackson, Mississippi.

Want to see how these…

sweet potatoes

…can be turned into this?

sweet potato challah

Click here to find the recipe on Southern & Jewish.

Bon apetit, y’all!

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Posted on April 24, 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

Double Chocolate Chip Challah

Yield:
One large loaf or two smaller loaves

I always say that I loathe Passover, but there is a part of me that also enjoys it. Or at the very least, appreciates its value. It’s a week where we are challenged to be even more thoughtful about the food we eat and where it comes from. And it’s almost like our own version of a Spring cleanse. Bye-bye carbs, hello vegetables and creative use of potatoes. I do feel lighter after a week without bread and pasta, despite my bitching and moaning all the way through. And believe me, my husband can vouch for my constant kvetching.

choc-challah-stamp2But the time has come to indulge in some carbs once again, and I can’t wait to get back to my Friday routine of baking challah with my daughter.

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And do you know what’s better than challah? Chocolate chip challah. And perhaps even better than chocolate chip challah? Double chocolate chip challah laced with cinnamon, vanilla and dark cocoa powder.

I swear by Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder and highly recommend you keep it stocked for cookies, cakes and sometimes even challah.

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Double Chocolate Chip Challah

Ingredients

1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water

1 tsp sugar

5 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 Tbsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1 egg yolk

thick sea salt (optional)

Directions

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 whisk attachment, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and vegetable oil. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture. Mix thoroughly.

Add another cup of flour and eggs until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.

Remove approximately half the dough and place in a large bowl. Add cocoa powder and 1/2 cup flour and mix. Add half the chocolate chips another 1/2 cup-1 cup of flour and knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more floured if needed. Set aside.

Add the remaining chocolate chips and 1/2 -1 cup flour to the plain dough and mix into dough. Add another 1/2 cup flour and continue knead on a lightly floured surface for around 10 minutes or until the plain dough is also elastic and smooth. Add more flour if needed.

Place both doughs in separate greased bowls and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 3-4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combining dough from both the plain and chocolate challah, braid into one large loaf or two smaller loaves. If attempting a six braid, I like this video tutorial.

Allow challahs to rise another 30-60 minutes, or until you can see the the size has grown and challah seems fluffy and light to the touch.

Beat 1 egg yolk and brush liberally over challah. Sprinkle thick sea salt on top if desired.

Bake for 27-30 minutes, or until middle looks like it has just set, and the color is golden.

Posted on April 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

Quinoa Sweet Potato Patties with Arugula Salad

I don’t mind admitting that Passover completely stresses me out. Inevitably I will start to cook something and realize I don’t have the correct kitchen tool or that I forgot to get one ingredient and running out to the store is just not an option.

But what really makes me stressed are lunches! I am happy with all the meat at the seders, but in general I need a lighter lunch and try to avoid eating matzah.

sweet-potato-quinoa-b1I typically love salads for lunch but need something to go with it – the veggies alone do not always cut it. So I came up with a more substantial salad that is delicious cold or warm and fulfills my desire for fresh vegetables and my need for something starchy.

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This recipe is great to make ahead of time to serve as lunch on chag or the perfect tupperware lunch during chol hamoed. Looking to add additional protein? Serve with some grilled salmon.

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Quinoa Sweet Potato Pattie with Arugula Salad

Ingredients

For the sweet potato patties:

2 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
1 cup cooked quinoa (only cook half a cup)
½ red onion finely dices
3 cloves of crushed garlic
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
½ Tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil for frying

For the blackberry mint salsa:
1 pint fresh blackberries, chopped
½  red onion, finely diced
½ jalapeno, finely diced (more or less to taste)
½  cup chopped mint
1 tp salt
juice of 1 lime

For the arugula salad:
Bag of fresh arugula
2 ripe avocados sliced
lime wedges

Directions

To make patties:

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add in sweet potato, onion, salt and pepper, stir, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until potato is soft (easily able to be mashed). Remove lid and add garlic and cayenne pepper, cooking for an additional minute.

Transfer cooked sweet potatoes to a large bowl and mash. Add in quinoa, thyme, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Using your hands to bring it together, form equally-sized patties. Heat the same skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add cakes and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

To make the salsa:
Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix.

To make the salad:
Combine ingredients and dress with juice from lime wedge

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Posted on April 17, 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

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