Tag Archives: shavuot

Savory Manchego and Quince Turnovers

Yield:
8 pastries

Cuban cuisine is inspired by many different regions, but in my family, there is a clear Spanish influence. This should come as no surprise, as my mother is second generation Cuban-born, by way of Spain. Her grandparents made the trek from the motherland to Cuba, and brought with them their distinguished culinary traditions. Over time, our family recipes have morphed, depending on the ingredients available, as well as personal preferences. No matter how authentically Cuban our dishes may be, I can almost always find a nod to our Spanish origins in each bite.

Manchego and quince pastry

Recently, while recreating one of my most coveted treats from the acclaimed Cuban bakery Portos (Guava and Cheese Pastry), I developed a new love for all things frozen puff pastry dough. After taking a bite of my sweet creation, and realizing how easy it was to work with store-bought puff pastry, I couldn’t help but imagine how the dough would taste with a savory filling. My mind quickly went to work envisioning different pairings, and finally, I settled on a Spanish-inspired combination. For the first time in the history of my kitchen, I turned the tables, and made a Spanish dish inspired by the flavors of Cuba.

Manchego and quince pastry in process

My savory Manchego and Quince Turnovers seem like second cousins to the guava and cheese pastries I made before. The nutty flavor of Manchego cheese melts together with the slightly sweet quince filling, and the chopped Marcona almonds on top create a pleasant crunchy texture in each bite. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, try the Cuban originals, but if you favor savory flavors, these turnovers will not disappoint.

Manchego and quince pastry cooling

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Savory Manchego and Quince Turnovers

Posted on January 14, 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

Mascarpone Stuffed Dates with Sea Salt

Yield:
3 dozen

Nearly six years ago, my husband (who was then merely a newish boyfriend in my life) took me out for a lovely meal at a hip new restaurant in Washington, DC called Komi. The dinner was amazing, with course after course of Greek-inspired dishes. I couldn’t tell you exactly what we ate that night except for one absolute stand-out appetizer: mascarpone stuffed dates, which were warm out of the oven and served with a perfect sprinkling of thick, flaky sea salt. I was in love with the sweet, savory, creamy bite and went home to try and recreate it.

mascarpone stuffed dates with sea salt

After several trials, I realized I must be doing something wrong because my mascarpone filling kept oozing out. Still delicious, but it wasn’t quite the recreation I was looking for. I filed the recipe away, and only years later when we went back for another meal at Komi did I try to master the dish once again.

The waiter serving us at our second amazing Komi dinner wasn’t too keen on giving up the secret of the non-oozing mascarpone, but after careful prodding from my husband, we learned that we needed to chill the stuffed dates before baking them to achieve the desired result of a warm date with creamy filling intact. I went home to test it out again, and eureka: it worked.

This dish is one of my favorite appetizers to serve for any kind of party, and great as a small bite with prosecco or other sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve. Or a random Wednesday.

Tips:

  • Make sure to buy the plumpest-looking medjool dates you can find.
  • Don’t want to spend your time pitting the dates? Just buy them already pitted.
  • You can use a regular Ziploc bag with an end snipped off to fill the dates BUT I recommend using a proper piping bag to get the filling all the way into the bottom of the date more easily.

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Mascarpone Stuffed Dates with Sea Salt

Posted on December 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

Cheese and Herb Rugelach

Yield:
4 dozen rugelach

Tis’ the season for all things indulgent and rugelach is my absolute favorite thing to bake during this time of year. It reminds me of my grandma’s rugelach when I was little. She would keep a few in the cookie jar and I remember sneaking in and very carefully, or what I thought was very carefully, stealing just one more bite. Then I would hear a voice from the skies (or really, the second floor) yelling down at me “no more cookies, Samantha!” I swear she had eyes in the back of her head.

SavoryHerbRugelach-1

Not only is rugelach my favorite thing to make but even the LA Times said I did a snazzy job. I love playing with flavors and twisting ideas and cuisines around. And even though I love baking sweets during the winter holiday season, I am always craving some savory flavors. For this reason I took inspiration from some of my favorite Italian flavor pairings: salty Parmesan with creamy ricotta and freshly chopped herbs makes for a beautiful and decadent savory cookie. I recommend sprinkling some fine sea salt  for a glistening touch that will bring out the flavor even more.

SavoryHerbRugelach-3

So the next time you are thinking about making rugelach, ditch the sugar and add some cheese! I know you and your guests will mangia every last bite.

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Cheese and Herb Rugelach

Posted on November 3, 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

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Quiche

Yield:
8 servings

Though most Jews name Hanukkah, Purim or Passover as their favorite of the many (many) holidays, I have always been a little partial to Yom Kippur. For real.

breakfast-quiche-1Daily life can be so hectic, between keeping up with Netflix and waiting in line for your daily Pumpkin Spice Latte, so having a day dedicated to reflection and atonement (in between naps and binge watching The Food Network) is a meaningful change of pace. And of course, at the end of the day of fasting, there’s the food.

breakfast-quiche-3

Our break fast spread was as traditional as they come. Kugels, coffee cake, an assortment of rarely-touched pre-made Italian cookies from the local Jewish supermarket, and the pièce de résistance, the bagel spread. When pangs of hunger set in during the final hours, this is what I focused on. Dozens of bagels, lox, red onions, tomatoes, capers, and an assortment of cream cheeses from chive to strawberry. While others were vying for an end piece of coffee cake, I went straight for the good stuff. Half of an everything bagel, never scooped, schmeared with plain cream cheese, lots of lox, red onions and capers. Always a delicious meal, but especially after a day of fasting.

breakfast-quiche-5

This year, I decided to take all my favorite bagel toppers and put them in a quiche. I love quiche, but hadn’t made one since culinary school. The salty capers and smoked salmon paired with creamy tart goat cheese and sweet red onions is pretty magical. I highly recommend the homemade crust; the flakiness is worth the extra effort. The best part is (okay, besides the eating part) that you can easily make this ahead of time and serve at your break fast.

breakfast-quiche-2

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Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Quiche

Posted on September 28, 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

Spinach Goat Cheese Tart with Herb Butter Crust

Yield:
6-8 servings

At least several times a year I am privy to a conversation about the downfalls of social media. And how no one talks to one another anymore. As someone who uses social media professionally, I generally disagree citing countless examples of how social media has allowed me to stay in touch with friends across the world; keep up with news in real-time; and learn new things.

foodie potluck food

And two weeks ago, on a beautiful summer evening, the wonders of social came together to allow myself and a group of kosher food bloggers to take the fun of our online personalities and meet one another, share a meal and talk food in person.

Cookbook author and teacher Kim Kushner hosted the lovely outdoor evening, called #kosherfoodiepotluck, where each one of us brought a kosher, dairy dish and a sat around a large, expertly decorated table to what else: eat and talk.

foodie potluck outside

There were so many delicious dishes (especially some homemade cronuts by Chef Chaya), but my favorite part was getting the chance to meet so many other bloggers that I have known and followed for years. Here’s me meeting Melinda Strauss of Kitchen Tested for the first time. I am a hugger, thankfully she didn’t seem to mind. And on the right is me with Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me and Miriam Pascal of Overtime Cook.

foodie potluck people

You might be wondering, soooo….what did YOU make? I wanted to bring one of my husband’s favorite dishes, and I didn’t want to start creating a crazy new item for the first time. I also wanted to bring something that would transport easily, could use seasonal ingredients and could be served room temperature.

My goat cheese and spinach quiche with herb butter crust was just the thing. It’s also perfect for a Shabbat lunch, Sunday picnic or even Yom Kippur break-fast.Two notes about this recipe: first, it is inspired by my absolute favorite Julia Child, and resembles one of her recipes for an open-face tart. The second thing to note is that you can add any combination of fresh herbs that you like in the crust: sage, tarragon, mint or even cilantro. Get creative and enjoy.

spinach goat cheese tart

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Goat Cheese and Spinach Quiche with Herb Butter Crust

Posted on August 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

Zucchini Noodles Two Ways

Yield:
4 servings

I am a total carb-oholic. I love cake, freshly baked bread and I would rather eat a bowl of pasta with butter more than anything in the world. I proudly roll my eyes at any food trends advocated by the paleo, gluten-free and carb-free lovers.

And despite my skepticism for gluten-free trends, it is my obsession with pasta that led me to invest in a spiralizer and try out the zucchini noodle craze. I must admit: zucchini noodles are tasty and satisfying. And with both these zucchini noodle recipes below, I never once felt deprived that my carbs had been stolen away.

zucchini-noodles-2

Like regular pasta, zucchini noodles lend themselves to multiple flavors and interpretations. And they can be an easy go-to, even on a weeknight. Last Monday my dad, my daughter and I strolled to our local farmers market to see what was fresh from the farm. I picked up zucchini, corn, tomatoes and fresh ricotta. We went home, threw them all together. And a new dish was born.

zucchini-noodles-3

My zucchini noodle bolognese was actually a dish I made during Passover. We loved it so much my husband and I both ate two enormous servings. The only thing missing? A large hunk of garlic bread.

Zucchini Noodles with Corn, Tomatoes and Fresh Ricotta, Makes 3-4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

4 medium zucchini

olive oil

salt and pepper

2 ears of fresh corn

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove corn kernals from cob and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 10 minutes.

Spiralize zucchini into noodles.

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute zucchini noodles in 3-4 batches for around 4-6 minutes each, or until noodles are soft but still have a bite. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a colander to drain off any excess water that the zucchini released.

Add butter to another large pan over medium heat and melt. Add corn, cherry tomatoes, cream and salt and pepper. Cook until cream has reduced slightly. Add zucchini noodles and toss to coat.

Serve with fresh ricotta and fresh basil if desired.

zucchini-noodles-1

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Zucchini Noodle Bolognese

Posted on July 31, 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

Dairy Made Easy: Pomegranate Apple Salad with Parmesan Dressing

Yield:
4 servings

I really love salads, especially this time of year. It’s hot, produce is in abundance and it’s a lot easier to throw together a salad rather than stand over a hot oven.

Pomegrante&AppleSalad-1

Which is why I was delighted the folks from Dairy Made Easy were happy to send over one of their recipes, perfect for lighter fare and the nine days, when traditional Jews are abstaining from eating meat.

Personally I would swap out the grapefruit and apple in this salad for something more seasonal and local like peaches and raspberries, but that’s the great thing about salads: you can always change up ingredients and add your own spin. Another great addition to this salad? Some slivered almonds or sunflower seeds for crunch.

dairy-made-easy

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Pomegranate Apple Salad with Creamy Parmesan Dressing

Posted on July 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

Dairy Made Easy: Hasselback Baguette

Yield:
3-4 servings

We are currently in the midst of “The Three Weeks,” a time of grieving for Jews in remembrance of the destruction of the first and second Temples. Among the observances of these three weeks includes not consuming meat for the last 9 days. The three weeks ends on Tisha B’Av, which is observed traditionally as a fast day.

While going vegetarian for 9 days isn’t a big deal to me, I know for some it can seem like a challenge.

Hasselback BaguetteWe are so lucky this week and next to share two vegetarian recipes from Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek’s newest cookbook, Dairy Made Easy.

Hasselback potatoes have been all the rage this year, with beautiful (delicious) recipes from even the likes of Martha Stewart. I just drool over dishes like this. Dairy Made Easy‘s version swaps out the potatoes for an even more carb-rific option: a baguette. With melted cheese on top and fresh herbs – who wouldn’t love that.

Eller-053014-Dairy-Made-Easy-Cover

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Dairy Made Easy: Hasselback Baguette

Posted on July 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

Israeli Salad Ceviche

Yield:
4-6 servings

Summer is here and it’s time for fresh, easy and quick recipes so you can be out at the beach or by the pool instead of working hard in the kitchen. And hey, it never hurts to make dishes that you can eat outside WHILE you’re enjoying the beautiful weather. With only a few simple ingredients and a sharp knife, this light and refreshing ceviche will definitely become a staple in your house.

Israeli-Salad-Ceviche-1

Unlike a traditional ceviche, which can include tons of ingredients to chop like jalapenos, avocado, red onion, bell peppers and garlic, I’ve developed a simple recipe inspired by Israeli salad using tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and fresh lemon juice. Not too much chopping but an incredible amount of flavor.

Since I usually enjoy Israeli salad with fresh pita bread and I love to snack on ceviche with crunchy taco chips, I decided to bake my own healthy and oil free homemade tortilla chips for this combination Israeli Salad Ceviche. I flavored my baked corn tortillas with cumin and salt but you can use whatever spices you want on your own chips, including garlic, chili powder, turmeric or whatever else your heart desires. They’re your chips!

Israeli-Salad-Ceviche-chips

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Israeli Salad Ceviche

Posted on July 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

Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

I try to eat a pretty healthy and mostly unprocessed gluten-free diet, but I do love mac & cheese. This is my new favorite way to make it—a healthier cheese sauce that uses pureed butternut squash and milk as the base with just a bit of shredded cheese, topped off with cheese and buttered breadcrumbs, and baked in the oven until it’s bubbly inside and toasty on top. This is also a great way to get picky kids to eat vegetables—the sauce tastes cheesy, not squashy! For an extra bit of richness, use whole milk instead of 2%.

butternut-squash-mac-1

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Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Posted on June 18, 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