Tag Archives: recipe

Cuban Chicken Soup: Jewban Penicillin

I think it’s safe to say that every Jewish grandmother who has proclaimed, “You should eat more!” has a mean recipe for chicken soup in her arsenal. For generations, colds and flus have gone to battle with bowls and bowls of Jewish penicillin made by these bubbes, and my abuela was no exception.

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I come from a family of strong women, so it is fitting that our recipe for chicken soup isn’t the clear-broth version with a lonely floating carrot slice. Ours is a stick-to-your-bones and prepare-for-war kind of soup, chock-full of nutrient-rich vegetables and flavors that awaken the senses. My favorite part of this soup is how the kabocha squash disintegrates into the broth, giving it a wholesome creamy texture without the heaviness of added butter or milk. Plus, the crunch of the bok choy and zucchini packs a solid punch of vitamin c, and makes it easy for me to eat my greens. Couple all of this with my mother-in-law’s recipe for the fluffiest, most light-as-air matzoh balls, and you’ve got yourself the better part of a seder.  Cuban-Matzoh-Ball-Soup-stamp

This recipe may be a mish mosh of the traditions of my husband’s family and mine, but it is certainly one I would be proud to share at any Passover table or year-round.

Cuban Chicken Soup with Matzoh Balls

Ingredients

For the matzo balls:

1 cup matzo meal

½ cup club soda

4 eggs

⅓ cup vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

pinch black pepper

pinch nutmeg

For the soup:

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

15 whole allspice berry

3 bay leaves

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 medium malangas*, peeled and coarsely diced

2 quarts of low sodium chicken broth

1 tsp of bijol powder (optional)*

6 culantro leaves*

½ Kabocha squash, peeled and coarsely diced

Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper

4 baby bok choy, cut into quarters, lengthwise

2 zucchini, sliced into ½ inch slices

1 Lime, sliced

Directions

To make the matzo balls:

Combine all ingredients until just mixed, careful not to over mix.

Cover the mixture, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Boil water with salt (or chicken broth). Oil hands, then make small balls (1 inch in diameter), and add them to boiling water.

Cover, lower the heat to medium low and simmer for about 25 minutes.

Transfer the matzo balls to the soup.

To make the soup:

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium/high heat.

Using a piece of cheesecloth and kitchen twine, tightly secure the 15 allspice berries and the bay leaves together in a small pouch.

Place onions, carrots, chicken pieces and the spice pouch in the stock pot, and sauté for about 8 minutes, or until onions are translucent and chicken has slightly browned, mixing frequently.

Add the garlic, the malangas, and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the bijol powder, the culantro, kabocha squash, salt and pepper, and cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken pieces, set aside until cool to the touch, shred them, and then return to the soup.

Add the bok choy and zucchini, and cook 10 more minutes, or until bok choy softens, and zucchini are cooked through.

Remove the culantro leaves and the spice pouch.

Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate or freeze for later use. Garnish with slices of lime.

*Some of the ingredients may be hard to find. Here is a list of acceptable substitutions:
Malangas – yuca or potatoes
Bijol powder – saffron powder, achiote powder, or omit from recipe, as it is optional.
Cilantro leaves – 1 bundle of cilantro, secured in cheesecloth, so that it won’t dissolve into the soup and can easily be removed.

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Posted on April 9, 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

Passover-Friendly Strawberry Almond Mini Muffins

Passover and I haven’t always been friends. There was a time when I thought about Passover approaching and my mind would be overrun by what I can’t eat. As a girl who has always loved carbs (I love you, pasta), the thought of saying “good-bye” to my beloved noodles and bread, even for eight days, caused me to have a little anxiety attack.

strawberry-2-stampBut as the food world has become increasingly creative to help accommodate the never-ending list of folks with food allergies, Passover has become less about what I can’t have and more about what I can have by flexing my creative foodie muscles.

strawberry-5-stampThe recipe below is a great example of this. I’ve made a version of these before for one of my clients who prefers gluten-free food options. I wanted to give my old recipe a new Spring season twist so I added the roasted strawberries, which are coming out in droves here in Miami. The result is a not-too-sweet but supremely delicious (and healthy) breakfast/snack treat. I hope you enjoy!

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Ingredients

3 cups roasted strawberries

2 Tbsp coconut oil

½ cup vanilla yogurt

¼  cup honey

2 eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 ½  cups blanched almond flour

¼  tsp sea salt

½  tsp baking soda

Directions

To make the roasted strawberries:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss 3 cups of quartered strawberries with a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoon melted coconut oil or other cooking oil that your prefer.

Spread strawberries in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until juicy and reduced in size. Set aside to cool.

To make the muffins:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine all the wet ingredients into a bowl and mix well with a spoon.

Add the dry muffin ingredients and mix well. Fold in the strawberries

Place cupcake liners in a baking pan, and fill the liners halfway with batter. Note: feel free to not use cupcakes liners but make certain that you are using a NON-STICK mini muffin pan.  Coat the muffin tins with a healthy dose of butter or cooking spray and sprinkle each with almond flour to ensure the muffins don't stick.

Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center of a muffin comes out clean and the tops are starting to brown.

Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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Posted on April 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

Passover Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Yield:
approximately 15 stuffed cabbage

There’s nothing like Passover to remind us where we come from. In many Jewish homes, Passover traditions are carried down from father to son, establishing the family’s customs and setting the standards for their Passover pantry.

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Growing up, my family’s standards were quite stringent. We did not eat any processed ingredients, and we only used produce that could be peeled. My mother prepared simple syrup in place of sugar, and we seasoned our dishes minimally with kosher salt, no spices allowed. Thankfully, I married into a family whose customs were slightly more lenient. My in-laws allow a variety of fruits and vegetables, including cabbage, as well as some minimally processed foods, like tomato sauce.

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When I spent Passover with my in-laws last year, I decided to pay homage to my roots by adapting my grandmother’s stuffed cabbage recipe for the holiday. While my grandmother would never have made this recipe for Passover, to me, it signifies the union of my husband’s familial customs with my Eastern European heritage. And that is precisely how we celebrate Passover.

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Passover Stuffed Cabbage

Ingredients

1 head of green cabbage

1 lb ground beef

1 heaping cup leftover mashed potatoes

1 small onion, grated

1 egg

salt and pepper, to taste

 

For the sauce:

2 15 oz cans tomato sauce

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated

1 large tomato, finely chopped

1/3 cup sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Place the cabbage in the freezer overnight (about 12 hours). Remove and place in a colander in the sink to defrost. This makes the cabbage pliable for rolling and stuffing.

Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and discard. Peel the remaining large leaves, taking care not to tear the cabbage as you go. Set the whole leaves aside and chop up the remaining cabbage for later.

In a bowl, combine the ground beef, potatoes, onion, egg, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Set up a stuffing station with your whole cabbage leaves and ground beef mixture. With a paring knife, trim the thick part of the stem off the base of the leaves, taking care not to cut through the rest of the leaf. Place the leaves upright so that they are curling upward like a bowl.

Place a small handful of filling towards the base of each leaf and fold over the leaf from the left side. Roll the cabbage leaf up and using your finger, stuff the loose end of the leaf inward, pushing it into the center. Rolling the cabbage this way ensures that they hold together nicely during cooking.

Continue with remaining leaves. If you have any leftover filling, simply roll them into meatballs to place in the pot alongside the cabbage rolls.

Place the stuffed cabbage rolls in a large pot and cover with sauce ingredients. If you had any leftover cabbage or meatballs, add them to the pot as well.

Bring the sauce to a gentle boil over medium heat and reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot, leaving it slightly open so that the steam does not force the cabbage rolls to open. Cook for approximately 2 - 2 1/2 hours, until cabbage is tender and sauce has thickened.

VARIATION: for unstuffed cabbage soup, shred the cabbage and roll the meat into balls. Place everything into a pot and continue as above.

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Posted on April 7, 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

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield:
2 dozen cookies

I love it when people taste my pareve desserts and say, “Wow—this is pareve!?”

It’s the same rule with Passover dishes and desserts. Which is why I am on a never-ending search for the perfect Passover desserts that are good enough to eat all year and just happen to also be Passover-friendly.almond-butter-chocolate-chip-stampIn one of my searches I came across this recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies which I realized could easily be made Passover-friendly just by swapping out the peanut butter for almond butter. I adjusted a few ingredients and the result is a super tasty, chewy cookie that is good enough to enjoy all year. Your guests are sure to ask incredulously, “Are you sure these are kosher for Passover?” Truly the ultimate compliment.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup almond butter

1 egg

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

thick sea salt (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together almond butter, egg, brown sugar and vanilla.

Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon out tablespoon-sized mounds onto ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with pinch of thick sea salt on top if desired.

Bake for 11 minutes, and then allow to cool for 5 minutes while cookies remain on the baking sheet. Transfer to baking rack to cool completely.

Posted on April 2, 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

White Wine Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes and Potatoes

Prep:
10 minutes

Cook:
50 minutes

Yield:
4 servings

Though Passover can be an intimidating time to cook, (two Seders, no chametz, trying unsuccessfully to eat real food instead of just chocolate covered matzah) I love it. I thrive at updating traditions and the challenge of creating recipes so tasty, you’d actually want to eat them post-Passover.White-Wine-Braised-Chicken-Thighs-with-Leeks,-Potatoes-and-Tom-3Not surprisingly, I try to go where no cook has gone before (though maybe that’s for good reason). Manischewitz Ice Cream and Deep Fried Matzo Balls are some of the twists I’ve experimented with. When it comes to mains, I like to play around too. Sephardic seasoned salmon, tangy short ribs or brisket in a hearty mushroom sauce. I’m salivating just writing this. But the most requested type of main dish that I get? Chicken. Plain, boring chicken. Sigh. White-Wine-Braised-Chicken-Thighs-with-Leeks,-Potatoes-and-Tom-1I like to give the people what they want, but after tasting this version I’ll admit I was wrong! Chicken can be a wonderful dish when cooked well. This one-pot Passover meal has chicken thighs braised so tender in a white wine sauce you don’t even need a knife. Served with tomatoes, leeks and potatoes so it’s filling and healthy at the same time. That way, you can have more room for macaroons and chocolate-covered matzah.

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White Wine Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes and Potatoes

Ingredients

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 ½ pounds), washed, dried and trimmed

2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

1 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste

½ tsp smoked paprika

1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

4 shallots, small diced

4 small carrots, cut into ¼ inch rounds

2 large leeks or 3 medium links, cut into ¼ inch rounds

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

1 cup chicken broth

5 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with cheesecloth keep together

2 cups red potatoes, cut into quarters

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, rough chopped

Directions

Season chicken liberally with salt, pepper and smoked paprika on both sides.

In a large Dutch oven or pot with a lid, head two tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add chicken in one layer and sauté until browned and not sticking to the pan. Flip and brown the other side, about 6-8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pot, heat, and add shallots,carrots and leeks. Cook until browned, stirring regularly, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.

Add wine, broth and thyme to the pot. Bring to a simmer while stirring and releasing the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Then add in chicken, potatoes and tomatoes. Bring back to a simmer, lower heat to medium low, and cover.

Braise until chicken is cooked and tender and potatoes are fork tender, about 40 minutes.

Remove chicken, potatoes and vegetables with a slotted spoon onto a platter. Cover with foil to keep hot. Remove thyme.

Bring sauce to a simmer and reduce for 7-10 minutes until the sauce coats the back of the spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Pour sauce over chicken or serve on the side and garnish with parsley.

Posted on April 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

Chopped Liver with Apple Reduction

Yield:
8 servings

Chopped liver is one of the most iconic Jewish dishes. It’s been consumed spread on top of challah and matzah for generations. But the Ashkenazi version doesn’t really do much to impress me, with only onions to add flavor, I find the taste bland.

liver-nosher

I wanted to create something that would enhance the naturally rich flavor of liver. So I looked for inspiration from more Middle Eastern flavors. Ironically, nothing is more Israeli than Turkish coffee. And perhaps also surprising is that the bitterness of the coffee really compliments the liver and apple flavors.

The result is a classic Jewish dish with an elegant twist and a really delicious taste.

 

Chopped Liver with Apple Reduction

Ingredients

1 heaping Tbsp Turkish coffee or instant espresso

2 Tbsp honey

1 lb chicken livers

½ cup warm water

½ tsp ground cloves

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 green apples, peeled and diced

Directions

Place the Turkish coffee (or instant espresso) and honey in the bottom of a heat proof bowl. Stir in the hot water until the honey dissolves.

Add the livers and let marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Heat a small pot over a medium heat along with the cloves, vinegars and brown sugar.

Once the contents of the pot begins to simmer add the apples.

Lower the heat to medium low and cover the pot. Allow the apples to cook for half an hour.

The apples should be soft and darkened slightly when they are ready. After the apples are done cooking, use a slotted spoon and remove them from the pot leaving whatever liquid remains in the pot.

Raise the heat under the pot to medium high and drain all the liquid from the bowl except approximately 2 Tbsp worth of the marinade.

Add the liver and marinade to the pot and cook the livers until there are no more visible pink parts.

Combine the liver and cooked apples in a medium bowl and mash until desired consistency. For a smoother consistency you can use a food processor fitted with blade attachment.

Posted on March 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

Latke-Crusted Chicken Breasts

Yield:
4 servings

A few years ago my dear friend and fellow food-enthusiast Rachel traveled to the Czech Republic to explore her father’s family roots. While there she experienced some amazing native and Jewish-inspired food including a chicken schnitzel wrapped in potato pancakes.

STOP THE PRESSES.CHICKEN WRAPPED IN POTATO PANCAKES. YUM.

When I heard about latke-crusted chicken, I was enamored. In love. I had to recreate this masterpiece.

latke-chicken-3So as I was thinking about Passover and something new to make this year, it dawned on me that this chicken dish could easily be Passover-friendly. And while I don’t normally use matzo meal or potato starch in my Passover cooking, this recipe does require small amounts of both. But it’s so delicious, it’s worth it.

latke-chicken-1Flipping the chicken with the potato latke crust is probably the trickiest part, so just do it carefully using a good spatula and you will be fine.

Latke-Crusted Chicken Breasts

Ingredients

4 medium Yukon gold potatoes

1 small yellow onion

¼ cup matzo meal (or flour)

1 egg

2 tsp sea salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

Pinch paprika

¼ cup potato starch (or flour)

2 eggs, beaten

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Oil for frying

Directions

Using a food processor fitted with the shredding disk or a hand-grater, shred potatoes and onion. Place in a large bowl. Add egg, matzo meal, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Stir until combined. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Squeeze excess liquid out of potato latke mixture.

In a large pan, heat oil on medium-high heat.

Coat each chicken breast in potato starch, then beaten egg. Place thin layer of potato latke mixture on one side of chicken and place potato-side down in frying pan. Add additional layer of potato mixture on top of chicken while the first side is cooking.

Cook for around 4 minutes, or until potato side is golden brown and starting to crisp. Carefully flip to other side and cook another 3-4 minutes.

When both sides are golden brown, place pan into oven or place chicken onto a baking sheet and cook in oven 15 minutes or until cooked-through. This may vary depending on thickness of chicken.

Serve hot.

Posted on March 26, 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

Salt & Pepper Spaghetti Squash Kugel

While looking at cooked spaghetti squash one day and noticing its remarkable likeness to its namesake, spaghetti, I was inspired to experiment with a noodle kugel. I researched classic recipes for a “yerushalmi kugel” calling for caramelized sugar using 2 cups of oil and two cups of sugar, in addition to eggs. At first I attempted it, but seeing all that oil and sugar in the pan, I couldn’t bare to expose my beautiful and healthful squash to such a fatty fate and decided to experiment starting with just a teaspoon of sugar and a few tablespoons of oil. To my surprise and delight, the kugel came out light, fluffy and delicious.

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To cook the spaghetti squash, follow these directions which I love. I hope you enjoy this healthy alternative!

Salt & Pepper Spaghetti Squash Kugel

Ingredients

3 cups shredded spaghetti squash

3 large eggs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp sugar

¼ cup matzah meal

¼ cup canola oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients except for the oil.

Pour oil into a 9x12 pan and place in preheated oven for 5 minutes.

Pour squash mixture into hot oil and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove kugel from oven and pour off excess oil.

If the kugel is still too watery, bake out some of the moisture before serving.

Posted on March 20, 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

Coconut Cheesecake Hamantaschen

Yield:
2 dozen cookies

Some things don’t require a lengthy intro, and these hamantaschen are precisely that. I made them last year and was determined to recreate them this year in time for Purim. With only a few days until Purim, I got to work late last night and I am happy to share that they are as delicious as I remember!

coconut-cheesecake-haman-3The filling is creamy, with a hint of coconut inside, and the perfect amount of toasted coconut on top. Tip: note in the directions to chill the assembled cookies before baking them. This will ensure your filling doesn’t leak out and the cookie remains intact.

coconut-cheesecake-haman-2Want to take these totally over the top? Melt some dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and drizzle on top. Allow chocolate to cool and harden completely before serving and eating.

Coconut Cheesecake Hamantaschen

Ingredients

For the dough:

½ cup butter

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 Tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

For the filling:

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup shredded coconut

3 Tbsp sugar

extra shredded coconut

Directions

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk, and vanilla until mixed thoroughly.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.

Note: if the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by ½ cupfuls until firm.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

To make the filling, combine cream cheese, vanilla, heavy cream or coconut milk, shredded coconut and sugar until smooth.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Dust surface with powdered sugar or flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick.

Using a round cookie cutter, cut out and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in powdered sugar before each cut!

Fill each round with the coconut cream cheese filling, and using your favorite method, pinch corners together tightly. Add extra shredded coconut on top.

Place in fridge for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake for 7-9 minutes.

Posted on March 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

Manischewitz Smash Gin Cocktail

Yield:
1 cocktail

Ah, Manischewitz, The classic, sweet Jewish wine at the butt of so many jokes about Jews.

I am not really a fan of drinking it by itself, except of course for that time I drank it straight from the bottle with a straw. But otherwise. I think it makes a good base for sangria in a pinch. And I like to use it in my Tuscan-style chopped liver. But straight up in a glass? Probably not.

But recently I was asked to teach a cocktails-making session at Limmud, a conference dedicated to Jewish learning “without limts.” I wanted to bring some uniquely Jewish flavors to cocktails, and so I immediately began to think of how I could include Manischewitz as part of the fun.

Manischewitz-collage-stampWhile it may sound from the ingredients that this is a very sweet cocktail, its actually quite subtle. You can add more or less syrup according to your tastes so try it a few ways until you find the right balance for your taste buds.

Manischewitz Smash

Ingredients

3 Tbsp Manischewitz syrup (see directions below)

2 tsp lemon juice

3 oz (1 ½ shots) good-quality gin such as Hendricks or Bombay Saphire

Cava or prosecco sparkling wine

ice

lemon slice for garnish

Special equipment: Cocktail shaker

Directions

To make the Manischewitz Syrup:

Place 2 cups of Manischewitz wine in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then continue to reduce 15-20 minutes until it is thick, syrupy and about half its original size. Allow to cool and place in fridge for one hour.

To assembly the drink:

Place about 1 cup ice in a cocktail shaker. Add Manischewitz syrup, gin and fresh lemon juice.

Shake vigorously up and down until white and frothy on top.

Strain into serving glass. Top with approximately 1/2 cup prosecco or cava. Garnish with fresh lemon slice.

Posted on March 6, 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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