Tag Archives: side dish

Jeweled Veggie Orzo with Wheatberries

Yield:
6-8 servings

Oh, how I love pasta. Almost all of my favorite comfort foods involve pasta: egg noodles with cottage cheese (a childhood favorite); any kind of gnocchi smothered in just about any kind of sauce; and my pregnancy comfort food, spaghetti with butter and Parmesan.

But I have been trying to cut back on my pasta recently, adding in bulgur and even zucchini noodles as an alternate.

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For Thanksgiving though I really wanted to create (and eat) an orzo side dish. Orzo somehow seems like a compromise of carb: it looks like rice, but it’s actually pasta.  And to make it a little healthier than just some plain old pasta, I added some hearty wheatberries, an array of colorful vegetables and even some vitamin-rich pumpkin seeds into the mix.

The result is a scrumptious and satisfying side dish that can also serve as an entree for any vegetarian guests. Want to add some more protein into the mix? Add 1/2 cup cooked lentils or small white beans and you have a complete dish.

If you can’t find purple carrots at your local market, you can use a roasted beet instead to achieve the same color and texture. I also love this dish because you can prepare it a day ahead and either serve room temperature, or heat it back up to serve.

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Jeweled Veggie Orzo with Wheatberries

Posted on November 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

Thanksgiving Chutney Three Ways

This Thanksgiving, I’m adding an array of chutneys to my holiday spread as a way to jazz up the traditional meal with simmered combinations of fruits or veggies. Chutneys are the perfect accompaniment to long roasted, rich turkey or braised meats because their vinegary bases help to balance the fat of heavier proteins and side dishes.

This selection of chutneys cover a range of flavors to please any palate. With that in mind, I simmered one sweet, one savory and one spicy condiment. They make use of seasonal ingredients and readily available herbs and spices. Best of all, they come together in one pot and with little fuss. And each of these combinations will be tastier and more nuanced when prepared in advance.

sweet cranberry chutney

Sweet Cranberry and Cherry Chutney

This chutney hints at Thanksgiving tradition with ruby red cranberries, nuts and dried fruit. It is believed that cranberries were served at the first Thanksgiving in 1621.

Serve this Cranberry and Cherry Chutney alongside roasted meat, turkey or chicken. Add a few tablespoons to mayonnaise and use as a spread on lightly toasted challah for turkey sandwiches with leftovers from your feast. Or place this chutney in a small serving dish alongside creamy, mild cheeses as a sweet element on a cheese plate.

Note: This chutney has a very strong vinegar odor when it’s simmering. The first time I made this, I was alarmed by the strength of the vinegary presence. After it’s cooked, cooled and refrigerated, the vinegar- sugar- honey combination settles into a perfectly balanced, slightly sweet condiment for your holiday meal.

Ingredients:

2 cups dried tart cherries
½ cup sugar
3 Tbsp honey
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup fresh cranberries (rinsed)
1 Tbsp lemon zest
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 cup raisins or currants
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
6 Tbsp water (or a little more if the pan appears too dry)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a 2 quart. saucepan over medium heat. Cook 20-25 minutes, stirring well.

Cranberries should burst open. The texture should be slightly sticky and chunky, with little liquid remaining after the simmer. Chutney will continue to thicken as it cools.

Cover and refrigerate for up to one week. Serve at room temperature.

cauliflower chutney

Savory Cauliflower and Lentil Chutney

This vegetable and legume based chutney doesn’t include any added sweetness, making it a welcome savory addition to a holiday meal that tends to include lots of sweet flavors. It’s warm spices and toasted undertones provide unexpected flavors next to traditional dishes like sweet or mashed potatoes. This dish could easily be the star dish for vegetarians at your table.

Serve alongside turkey leftovers or as a condiment with pan-seared fish. If using this as a main dish for vegetarians at your Thanksgiving table, be sure to make stuffing without chicken or turkey broth so that they may enjoy stuffing with this savory chutney.

Ingredients:

¼ cup good olive oil
1 large red onion, finely diced
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tsp ras- el- hanout*
½ tsp mustard powder
1 cup dry red lentils
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups cauliflower florets, small pieces
1 ½ cups canned diced tomatoes
½ cup water
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp paprika
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves- minced
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
*Middle Eastern spice mix found at well stocked markets like Whole Foods or at online on Amazon

Directions:

Heat oil and add onion, shallot and ginger until softened, about 4-5 minutes.

Add ras-el-hanout and mustard powder and stir, cooking one minute.

Rinse and examine lentils for particles of debris. Remove if found. Add lentils and wine to onion and spice mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cover pot and cook 10 minutes.

Add cauliflower, tomatoes, water, salt and pepper and paprika.

Cover and cook over medium heat, covered, for 20-25 minutes until lentils and cauliflower are tender but not mushy. Stir occasionally. Add ¼- ½ cup more water if chutney appears dry.

Cool mixture and stir in lime juice and cilantro. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

May be refrigerated for up to one week in airtight container. Serve at room temperature.

tomato chutney

Spicy Tomato Chutney

Posted on November 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

Mushroom, Onion, and Challah-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Challah stuffing stuffed acorn squash

Thanksgiving is one of my family’s favorite holidays. Besides Passover, it is one of the only times we all come together during the year and so my mother and I get pretty excited about planning; we spend months working on the perfect place cards, décor, side dishes and desserts. We went all out for Thanksgivukkah last year creating this recipe for sweet potato latkes with toasted marshmallows.

This year we are very much in the midst of menu planning, and can’t wait to make this new dish for challah stuffing stuffed acorn squash, made with classic Thanksgiving flavors like squash, dried cranberries, thyme and even pecans.

Challah stuffing stuffed acorn squash

This dish has a great “wow factor” due to its eye-catching presentation but is quite simple to make. You can even make it ahead of time to save time the day of Thanksgiving. This dish also serves as a great vegetarian entree for your guests.

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Challah Stuffing Stuffed Acorn Squash

Posted on November 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

Apple Kugel Crumble Cake

Yield:
8-10 servings

 

apple noodle crumble kugel cake

I love noodle kugel, especially my husband’s salt and pepper noodle kugel, which is always a hit at any Shabbat or holiday meal we serve it. But I really wanted to create a sweetened version of noodle kugel for Rosh Hashanah this year using some fresh, local apples.

I tried this recipe several ways until I found the right balance of apples, sugar, eggs and crumb topping. The result is a kugel that is sweet, but not too sweet, moist but still has a rich, crunchy crumb topping.

It brings together the goodness of a fall apple crumble, with the tradition of a noodle kugel. Oh yeah, and I decided it should get baked in a springform pan so that it looks like a “cake” which is just so much fun. Don’t worry – you can still serve it as a side dish.

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If you decide to bake yours in a springform pan, make sure the bottom is locked in place tightly before pouring the unbaked kugel mixture into the pan. If it isn’t, you could end up with a liquidy mess all over your kitchen. I mean, I am not saying that happened to me (it did), but just making a recommendation.

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Apple Kugel Crumble Cake

Posted on September 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

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

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

Maple Squash Pudding

Yield:
6-8 servings

When I first tasted the delicious, and later ubiquitous, butternut squash kugel, I thought I was eating something healthy. However, there is a reason it tasted like cake: It was cake.

squash-kugel1

My Shabbat host readily admitted that that kugel was full of flour, sugar and oil. That was many years ago. Since then, some version of a squash kugel (whether made from sweet potatoes, butternut squash or pumpkin), has graced most Shabbat tables at which I have had the pleasure of eating, including my own. I never could bring myself to make the classic cake-like recipe. Instead, for years I used a Hungry Girl recipe that called for egg beaters and artificial sweetener. As I no longer eat animal products or artificial sweeteners, I had to come up with my own healthy alternative.

I don’t think you’ll find an easier recipe that can be made so quickly and for a crowd. Plus, you can practice your inner Martha Stewart and decorate individual ceramic crocks, as I’ve done here, or one large serving dish.

squash-kugel-2Cooking tip: if you want to play with the servings, figure that you will use 1 small sweet potato per person or 1 large sweet potato for every two people. In addition, you will want 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup per large sweet potato.

Maple Squash Pudding

Posted on March 4, 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 and Pepper Noodle Kugel

Yield:
8-10 servings

I didn’t grow up eating kugel regularly. My only exposure to kugel was on the one or two times a year we would all gather around my grandmother’s dining room table for Jewish holidays. My grandmother would serve two kinds of kugel which she would describe as “one sweet, one savory.” I would more aptly describe them as “dry and drier.”

When I was in college and dating “a nice Jewish boy” his mother made an incredible dairy noodle kugel with crushed pineapple, butter and sour cream. Now THAT was kugel. I was in love. And when I met my husband and his family, I fell in love with his Baba Billie’s salt and pepper noodle kugel.

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Like everything Baba Billie made, this kugel is not for the faint-hearted, or faint-stomached. This is not a light recipe, but it is good. You may look at the amount of oil and think, come on – really? Yes, really. I don’t make this every day, nor do I suggest making it every day. We make it a few times each year always to rave reviews. Everything in moderation, or so my father always says, and this kugel is no exception.

My husband likes to use regular wide noodles, but I opt for the super-duper extra wide. You can use either variety you like.

Like a little kick? Make sure to use hot paprika on top. If you prefer to play to it safe just use a sweet, smoky paprika instead.

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Salt and Pepper Noodle Kugel

Posted on February 11, 2014

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Cauliflower Tomato Bake with Basil and Parmesan

Hello Nosher readers! I’m so honored to have a recipe on this lovely site. I’ve been a long-time reader of MyJewishLearning.com so am extra honored to be featured.

Now, about this recipe. Lately, I’ve been on a mad “one-pot” meal frenzy.

tomatoes 2

I’ve got several full time jobs, including one with health insurance benefits and one with hugs-and-kisses benefits, both of which take up a lot of time. When it comes to cooking for Shabbat (or any meal), I try to keep it simple. This little side dish would be perfect with some grilled lemon salmon or any baked fish, really. And, if bread crumbs are omitted or almond flour is substituted, it’s grain-free and gluten-free friendly, which also means Passover-friendly. I hope you enjoy!

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Cauliflower Tomato Bake with Basil and Parmesan

Posted on January 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

Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad

Yield:
4 servings

cucumber salad

A lot of my friends have fond memories of their grandmother’s chicken soup or their mom’s amazing brisket. Sadly, I don’t have these sacred food memories. My Jewish grandmother (who I love dearly) is not such a great cook. Her kugel is always dried-out, her soup is too fatty and still needs salt, and she serves jarred gefilte fish at holidays, which more closely resembles lint from a dryer than something edible.

But one of the dishes she makes that I do enjoy is her marinated cucumber salad. It’s a dish that she learned to make from her grandmother (my great-great grandmother) who lived most of her life in Russia.

I updated her recipe just a bit, using seedless English cucumbers instead of regular cucumber, and adding a bit of spice with just a pinch of red pepper. I also love serving my salad in mason jars – definitely a modern twist.

This quick salad is a cinch to whip up, keeps for several days in the fridge and is a real crowd-pleaser. My young daughter devours it, and even my father-in-law approves – truly the ultimate compliment.

Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad

Posted on January 15, 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 with Chickpeas, Feta & Fresh Mint

Yield:
4 servings

In our home there is a clear division of labor when it comes to the kinds of meals we both cook. The husband is in charge of meat and fish. I am in charge of soups, sauces and salads. (And dessert too of course). .

Salads are really so much fun to throw together. I love experimenting with seasonal ingredients I find at my local farmer’s market and also using ingredients I have hanging around in my house. And above all about salads: I love that you can improvise.

The salad calls for arugula but all you have is spinach? Just substitute! Have some apples in the house that you want to use before they go bad? Chop them up and throw them in! This is actually how some of my best salad creations came about in the first place including one of my favorites, this Spinach, Blueberry & Goat Cheese Salad with edamame and cucumbers. It was literally what I had in my fridge and it happened to combine together for a delightful and delicious result.

Israeli salad with chickpeas and feta

 

I have found that traditional Israel salad is just the kind of salad that can be made into multiple variations, each one slightly different. For a little more spice you can add a pinch or two of sumac. You can leave out the peppers, leave out the cucumbers, or even add a few things, like chickpeas, feta and mint.

This salad came about like so many of my other favorite salad combinations. It was Saturday afternoon, my daughter was playing at the park with her dad and I was given a few moments to enjoy lunch by myself – glorious. Wine might have also been involved. I looked in the fridge, and threw together what I had: tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, chickpeas and feta!

And by adding chickpeas and feta, this classic side salad becomes a light but hearty main dish packed with protein, fiber and most importantly, flavor.

 

Israeli Salad with Chickpeas, Feta & Fresh Mint

Posted on October 24, 2013

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