Tag Archives: shabbat

An Easy Fall Shabbat

Every year when the Jewish holidays roll around, we expect the frenzy of excitement, cooking and never-ending meals. And yet by the end, I am still pretty tired of standing in my kitchen cooking and baking.

Now that it is Shabbat again, and time to prepare yet another meal, the last thing I want to do is spend hours in my kitchen cooking, but I still want to have something homemade that we will all enjoy.

What’s a tired cook to do? My solution is to roast. I make a roast chicken, roasted vegetables and not much else. No frying, sauteing, mixing or other excessive patchke-ing in the kitchen. The abundance of fresh fall vegetables makes this as delicious an option as it is easy.

roast chicken w herbs

If you haven’t tried my easy, delicious citrus herb roasted chicken, you will see why I call it my BEST roast chicken. You can also try this version of roast chicken which includes veggies and chicken all in one delicious dish.

These sweet potatoes and carrots with apple cider and thyme is simple and delicious. But if even that seems like too much work? Just throw a bunch of seasonal veggies into a baking dish with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for around 45-50 minutes until caramelized. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts and even potatoes.

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Speaking of potatoes…roasted potatoes are an easy Shabbat dinner stable. You can try these classic roast potatoes or my za’atar roasted potatoes.

Last but certainly not least: dessert! I find it hard to enjoy any meal without a sweet finish. My s’mores brownies are so easy, you can whip them up in 5 minutes. Yes, there will be some stirring involved, but you only need one bowl and a pan.

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Next week I will get back into some more complicated cooking. Or maybe not. But for now I need a nice glass of wine and my couch for a little while.

Shabbat Shalom! Wishing you an easy, enjoyable Shabbat and weekend.

Posted on October 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

S’mores Brownies

Yield:
6-8 servings

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.

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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

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S'mores Brownies

Ingredients

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)

Directions

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.

Posted on October 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

Sweet Potatoes and Carrots with Apple Cider and Thyme

Yield:
4 servings

Next to pumpkin, apple cider might be one of my favorite flavors of fall. I like it hot and spicy, spiked with bourbon or just plain out of the container on a cool and sunny autumn day.

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But I also love cooking with it. For the past few years I have been making a fall favorite apple cider beef stew which is perfect for Sunday supper or Shabbat dinner. But I am always looking for savory recipes to use this beloved ingredient.

This past week I came across this recipe for Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots made with orange juice and herbs among other flavors. I thought, if you could roast root vegetables with orange juice, why not apple cider?

I tested it out, and it was a hit. This is a perfect side dish for any kind of dinner this time of year.

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Sweet Potatoes and Carrots with Apple Cider and Thyme

Ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 medium-large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup apple cider
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place your cut sweet potatoes, carrots, red onion and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and spread them in a single layer.

In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle mixture all over vegetables and toss to coat evenly.

Roast for 35-45 minutes, until vegetables are caramelized to your liking. Serve immediately.

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Posted on October 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

Pumpkin Spice Babka

Yield:
3 babka loaves

pumpkin babka

Everyone loves pumpkin these days, eh? Every cafe carries their own version of a pumpkin latte and pumpkin-themed candies overflow on supermarket shelves this time of year. ‘Tis truly the season of pumpkin, and I am not really complaining.

I love finding news ways to cook and bake with pumpkin including white pumpkin cheddar ale soup, pumpkin pizza and pumpkin corn ricotta enchiladas, which is a perfect dish this time of year when pumpkin is first coming into season and fresh corn is still in abundance at local farmers markets. Some other fun pumpkin recipes to try? Pumpkin Flan, pumpkin challah and of course some classic pumpkin bread.

pumpkin babka

As with many recipes I dream up, I was merely staring in my fridge when a leftover can of pumpkin puree sparked the idea: pumpkin babka!

Well, I whipped up a batch of babka dough, impatiently let it rise, and filled it with pumpkin puree, brown sugar and cinnamon. After 35 minutes of baking, my apartment smelled like a perfect piece of autumn heaven, and a new pumpkin recipe was born.

This babka is perfect to serve at your Yom Kippur break-fast, brunch gatherings or just with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Because you can use canned pumpkin, you can make this recipe year-round, so you can enjoy a little slice of pumpkin spice even when pumpkins aren’t in season.

How to roll babka

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Pumpkin Spice Babka

Ingredients

For the dough:
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 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground clove
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

For the filling:
1 ½ cup canned pumpkin or pureed fresh pumpkin
¾ cup brown sugar
1 ½ Tbsp cinnamon

For the syrup:
2/3 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 whole cinnamon stick

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, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove and allspice. 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 ½ cup of pumpkin, ¼ cup brown sugar and ½ Tbsp cinnamon. 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.

Repeat with two additional babkas. Place in a greased loaf pan.

Bake for 35 minutes.

While the babka is baking, combine 2/3 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 whole cinnamon stick 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 brush extra syrup on top of all three babkas. You may have syrup leftover.

pumpkin spice babka

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Posted on September 29, 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

Crockpot Carne con Papas, An Alternative to Brisket

Yield:
6-8 servings

My Cuban family loves my American husband for many reasons, but high on that list is his appreciation for all things Cuban food. Of course, we do make it easy for my beloved Midwesterner, with dishes like Carne con Papas, which literally translates to meat and potatoes. This dish is an old family favorite, and is quickly becoming one of the most requested dishes in my household

Carne con Papas

The recipe I use is inspired by a dish made by my Tia Pipa (Aunt Felipa). She is used to cooking for an army, and she’s been known to prepare a mean Carne con Papas in a giant commercial caldero, or cauldron. Although I admire her back-to-basics approach of slaving away over the hot stove for hours on end to perfect this favored dish, I prefer a more modern approach with the use of my slow-cooker.

Imagine if you took all the best features of your favorite family brisket recipe – aromatic and tender chunks of slow-roasted meat, saucy overflow goodness – and paired them with creamy, bite-sized potatoes. What could be bad about that? Like the best brisket recipes, Carne con Papas has trouble staying intact at the mere hint of a fork. The slow-cooked nature of this dish also means that every delicate bite is infused with the typical Island flavors of garlic, onion, and bell pepper.

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Traditionally served alongside steamed white rice, I see no reason why this can’t be served with a good old-fashioned kugel to mop every last bit of flavor that the saucy overflow provides.  Carne con Papas is definitely one of those dishes where you won’t want to waste a single bit.

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Crockpot Carne con Papas

Ingredients

2 lbs beef top round or stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 sour oranges (or 2 oranges and 2 lemons), juiced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp smoked mustard (*If you can’t find smoked mustard, coarse Dijon works, too)
5 Tbsp olive oil, separated
Kosher Salt
fresh ground black pepper
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 large onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper coarsely diced
1 red bell pepper, coarsely diced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2 cups beef broth
2 lbs small white-skinned potatoes, halved
2 dried bay leaves
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp of a spice mix involving salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, coriander, cumin, oregano and annatto seeds. (Sound complicated? Sazón Goya is ready-mixed.)

Directions

In a plastic zip-top bag, combine beef, citrus juice, oregano, garlic, mustard, 3 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Close the bag, making sure to remove all the air, and massage the ingredients together until well-combined. Place the bag in the refrigerator, and let marinade for 1-4 hours.

In a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil. Separate the marinated beef into two sections, reserving the marinade liquid. Brown the first batch of beef for 3 minutes, and set aside. Lightly coat the second batch of beef in flour, and brown for 3 minutes. Set aside.

In the same skillet, add onion and bell peppers and cook for 3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and reserved marinade liquid, and deglaze the skillet using a wooden spoon. Stir in cumin and sazon goya.

Transfer the beef, vegetables, and sauce to a slow-cooker, and add in the dried bay leaves and potatoes. Stir to combine, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours, or until beef is fork-tender. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, as needed. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serve with steamed white rice.

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Posted on September 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

Summer Pesto and Gruyere Stuffed Challah

Yield:
1 large challah

There are few things better than a freshly baked challah. But sometimes even perfection needs a little shake-up. Or perhaps more accurately, a little stuffing.

I have experimented stuffing challah with sweet combinations like my Balsamic Apple Date Challah and super savory varieties like my Pastrami Sandwich Challah. But I had been hankering to try something with a little summer flare to it.

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This latest stuffed challah is a bit lighter than both my previous stuffed challah experiments, with brightness from fresh herbs and just a touch of richness from the cheese.

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And the truth is you can stuff your challah with any pesto variation you like: kale pesto, fresh herb pesto or a traditional basil-pine nut pesto.

Don’t want to include cheese? Just leave it out. You will still have a deliciously unique stuffed challah experience.

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Pesto and Gruyere Stuffed Challah

Ingredients

For the pesto:

1 bunch fresh garlic scapes, trimmed

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup fresh spinach, steamed

2-3 Tbsp fresh parsley

2-3 Tbsp fresh basil

1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the challah:

1.5 Tbsp yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water

4 1.2-5 cups King Arthur flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 Tbsp salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup shredded gruyere or crumbled goat cheese

1 egg yolk + 1 tsp water for glaze

Thick sea salt, sesame seeds and dried herbs (optional)

Directions

To make the pesto:

Place garlic scapes, garlic clove, spinach, basil and parsley in a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Start pulsing. Drizzle olive oil and continue to pulse. Scrape down sides with rubber spatula, add salt and pepper to taste and pulse until desired smoothness.

Place in an air-tight container until ready to use.

*Note: after steaming spinach, make sure to remove excess water very thoroughly. 

To make the challah:

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, and sugar. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil. Mix thoroughly.

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

Add another 1 1/2 cups flour and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 10 minutes (or however long your hands will last).

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 3-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

After the challah is done rising, roll out dough into a large rectangle about ½-1 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. The challah dough may need an extra dusting of flour to work with at this point.

Spread a thin, very even layer of pesto all over the dough. You may have extra pesto leftover.  Sprinkle gruyere or goat cheese in an even layer on top of pesto, leaving ½ inch border all around.

Working quickly, start rolling up the dough towards you. Try and keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Pinch the end and tuck under when you finish.

Create a pinwheel shaped-challah by snaking the dough around and around in a circle around itself. When finished, tuck the end under the challah neatly and pinch lightly. This doesn't have to be perfect.

Allow challah to rise another 30-60 minutes, or until you can see the size has grown.

Beat 1 egg yolk with 1 tsp water. Brush liberally over challah. If desired, combine 2 tsp thick sea salt with 1 tsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp dried basil and 1 tsp dried parsley and sprinkle on top of egg wash.

Bake for 26-27 minutes, or until middle looks like it has just set, and the color is golden.

Posted on July 10, 2014

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

Pineapple Coconut Coffee Cake

Yield:
8-10 servings

Like so many of my peers, Jewish summer camp played an integral role in my Jewish identity. It’s where I developed my appreciation for Israeli dancing, a deep respect for my surroundings in nature, and not to be outdone, my love of Shabbat breakfast. Every Saturday morning, before all the campers joined for services, we’d convene in the dining hall for a plentiful feast of crumbly and perfectly spiced coffee cake. It wasn’t elaborate, but it sure was special, and it was certainly on the list of things I looked forward to year after year as I awaited summer’s arrival. If I ever longed for a little taste of home while I was at camp, I just had to wait until the end of the week, since the combination of cinnamon and sugar in the crumb topping would remind anyone of home. Because of this experience and because it only gets better the day after it is baked, to me, coffee cake is synonymous with Shabbat morning, summer vacation or not.

Pineapple-Coconut-Coffee-Ca

Of course, as an adult, summer camp is no longer really in the cards for me anymore. These days, when we get through hiking the trails of all the nearby national forests, my husband and I long for a more tropical getaway. Since our next vacation seems light years away, I came up with a recipe inspired by my Cuban heritage that will be sure to satisfy until we can get ourselves to the nearest island.

Cooling-Coffee-Cake-1

With its taste of the tropics, my Pineapple Coconut Coffee Cake hits the spot for a Shabbat morning treat. It has the cinnamon and sugar that I always remember from my camp days, but its layer of crushed pineapple adds a mild zing and just the touch needed to keep this cake moist for days. The coconut added to the crumb layer, suggested by my friend Dolly, acts as a tropical kiss and adds a nice crunch.

Slice-of-Coffee-cake-3

Next time you’re in the mood for a reminder of Shabbat mornings at camp, or you’re longing for a quick getaway, try a bite of this coffee cake, and you won’t be disappointed.

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Pineapple Coconut Coffee Cake

Ingredients

For the cake batter:

2 cups all-purpose OR cake flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp table salt (not kosher salt)

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1½ tsp pure vanilla extract

1 20 oz can of crushed pineapple, well-drained, and juice reserved

For the crumb topping

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup grated coconut

½ cup all-purpose flour

¾ tsp ground cinnamon

⅛ tsp salt

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened

For the glaze:

3 oz cream cheese, softened

⅔ cup confectioners' sugar

3-4 Tbsp. of the reserved pineapple juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch tube pan, and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs, one by one, and mix well. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla extract.

Combine the dry mixture into the wet mixture in three batches, and mix only until incorporated, and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients of the crumb topping, and cut in the butter using a fork or a pastry cutter. Set aside.

In your greased tube pan, spoon in half of the batter, and use the back of the spoon to even the layer. Sprinkle on half of the crumb topping in an even layer. Spoon the drained pineapple over the crumb layer. Top with second half of cake batter, and spread to even the layer. Add the remaining crumb topping, and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Once the cake is golden brown, remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. After the initial 10-minute cooling time, remove the cake from the pan, and cool the rest of the way.

Once cooled, glaze the cake by whisking together all the glaze ingredients, and using the prongs of a fork to drizzle over the cake. Let the glaze set before slicing.

Posted on June 10, 2014

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

Roast Chicken with Spicy Honey BBQ Sauce

Yield:
1 whole chicken

Summer is almost here. I can feel it. Every time we get a warmer day the women of NYC are giddy with sandal wearing and summertime accessories. The flowers are blooming, the farmer’s markets have returned and the season of grilling is almost upon us.

Growing up, BBQ sauce-slathered chicken was a staple, probably only because covering chicken in a sticky, sweet sauce was a surefire way to get the kids to eat it. But at some point I fell out of love with “BBQ chicken.”

bbq-honey-chicken-2

That is until I started making my own sauce. I have had some great bottled BBQ sauce, and I know some people swear by their go-to brand. But for me, making it from scratch makes all the difference between good chicken, and chicken people can’t stop talking about.

This spicy honey BBQ sauce is really quick to whip up and is inspired by this recipe from Taste of Home, one of my go-to places for tried-and-true home cooked dishes. I kept the coffee in, which really adds just a subtle flavor and balances out the sweetness of the honey and ketchup well.

This chicken is perfect for Shabbat and also for a summer BBQ. I promise, your guests will not stop talking about it.

Note: if you don’t have an upright chicken roaster I recommend investing in one like this. They are really cheap (less than $10) and make such a difference making a super moist chicken with crispy skin.

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Roast Chicken with Spicy Honey BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

For the chicken:

1 whole chicken

¼ cup orange juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, smashed

Salt and pepper

For the BBQ sauce:

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ medium onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup ketchup

½ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup plus 2 Tbsp honey

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup strong brewed coffee or espresso

Generous pinch red pepper flakes or 1-2 small dried chilies

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a medium bowl mix together orange juice, olive oil, garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Place chicken in a large, ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Allow to marinate for at least one hour in the fridge or up to 3 hours.

In a medium saucepan, saute onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in ketchup, vinegar, honey, soy sauce and coffee. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low-medium. Simmer for 35-45 minutes stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roast chicken upright using an upright roaster for 50-60 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees when inserted. About halfway through roasting, brush some of the BBQ sauce all over the chicken and place back into the oven until cooking time is complete.

Allow the chicken to rest long enough to cut into quarters. Drizzle additional BBQ sauce on top and serve.

Posted on May 21, 2014

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

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.

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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.

nutella-babka-5

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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

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