We made it through the first set of the holidays. Congrats to all of us. Of course we look forward to and enjoy the holidays with out families, but they are also exhausting.
And what’s next? Another holiday of course. It’s time for Sukkot.
By the time it’s Sukkot I am ready for lighter meals, which is why a delicious soup with a salad, cheese and crackers is my ideal menu. It’s satisfying, but a little lightened up after the past few weeks of meal-laden celebrating.
Sukkot also coincides with the fall, and my obsession for all things pumpkin. Cakes and pies, grilled and roasted: you name it I have done it or will be doing it. This soup is amazing because when you are roasting the pumpkin and red pepper with the sage you entire house will smell like the warming flavors of fall.
Note: I prefer to roast the red peppers the day before making the soup. The skin comes off more easily with plenty of time for cooling.
2 sugar pumpkins
3 red peppers
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
20 sage leaves
2 medium yukon potato, cubed
½ cup olive oil plus olive oil for brushing the pumpkin
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
4 cups water
1 tsp of maple syrup
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried sage
leftover challah, cut into cubes
Split the pumpkins in half, rub inside with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the maple syrup. Place 16 sage leaves inside and roast on a baking sheet at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hours until inside of pumpkin is tender.
When there is a half an hour left, place the whole red peppers in the oven. Peppers should roast until the skin is crisp and a little black.
Once the pumpkin is out of the oven, discard the sage. Place the roasted red peppers in a paper bag. After the peppers have cooled, peel the skin, remove seeds and cut into pieces.
Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin using a large spoon. Discard the skin.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the
Add potatoes and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the roasted red pepper, the pumpkin flesh, and the remaining sage leaves. Sauté all veggies for another 5 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
Add the liquid and bring to a boil. Once boiled turn down to low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can puree in batches in a food processor or regular blender.
Spread the challah cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Toss with dried sage and minced garlic.
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool.
Serve soup with challah croutons and sage as garnish if desired.
Gazpacho is a perfect summer appetizer: it uses up some of those super fresh summer vegetables and won’t keep you indoors slaving away at a hot stove. But I know that cold soups are a bit of an acquired taste for some people. Even my husband, who likes almost everything, is not such a fan of gazpacho.
But this gazpacho is for even those people that swear they don’t like it. And yes, since it is called “bloody mary gazpacho” it really does have vodka. It is a perfect starter for any summer meal, served in martini glasses and garnished just like the beloved brunch cocktail.
Don’t want to include vodka? Just leave it out. Like yours super spicy? Add some more hot sauce and horseradish. This recipe can be altered in several ways depending on your taste.
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1.5 lbs plum tomatoes, seeded and quartered
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1.5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1.5 cups all-natural tomato juice
1-2 Tbsp horseradish
2-3 tsp hot sauce (or more if you prefer it very spicy)
salt and pepper
1 cup vodka (optional)
8 celery stalks, sliced for garnish (optional)
Cornichon or other pickles for garnish (optional)
Place tomatoes, cucumber, onion and bell pepper in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. You can add a few Tbsp of tomato juice to aid the processor. Pulse until desired smoothness, but do not overprocess.
Add mixture to a large bowl. Add garlic, sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato juice, horeseradish, hot sauce and salt and pepper.
Add vodka to taste if desired.
Garnish with celery and pickles.
Most weeks it’s hard to find a crumb of challah leftover after Shabbat, especially since my husband and I love hosting our friends for Shabbat dinner whenever we can.
But every few weeks or so we like to enjoy a quiet Shabbat just the three of us, and when this happens, there is inevitably part of a challah loaf leftover.
Of course, I make French toast. I make croutons, bread crumbs and even bread pudding. But sometimes a gal just wants to try something new.
I found this recipe from the Inventive Vegetarian and knew I wanted to use up some of my challah to finish off a rich bowl of French Onion Soup. Topped with bubbling, melted munster cheese and you have a Jewish version of this iconic soup. The onions make the soup sweet, and the richness of both the eggy challah and gooey munster cheese make each bite practically sinful
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
½ tsp sugar
1 ½ Tbsp all-purpose flour
½ cup white wine
6 cups vegetable stock
1-2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
6 pieces leftover challah
6 pieces sliced munster cheese
Special equipment: individual ramekins
Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium-low heat.
Add onions and allow to cook for 12-15 minutes. Don’t worry about fussing with them too much right now, you will be stirring later.
After 15 minutes, add the sugar and stir. Allow the onions to caramelize for the next 30 to 40 minutes, stirring frequently. If the onions are getting crispy make sure to lower the heat.
After the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle the flour over them and cook for about three minutes, continuing to stir.
Next, add the wine, deglazing the bottom of the pan as you stir.
Add the stock and the water, continuing to stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a simmer and allow to cook another 30 minutes.
Add several ladles full of soup to each individual ramekin.
Toast your challah pieces and place on top of soup. Add a slice of Munster on top of challah round and place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and just beginning to brown.
For me, February is prime comfort food month, so this Shabbat I’m thinking about yummy comfort foods I can serve to my guests.
And then for dessert, these Dark Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Goat Cheese Swirl have stolen my heart, and I don’t think I’ll be able to recover until I make them and wallow in them for a nice long time. Amiright?
Here are a few recipe ideas to warm up your Shabbat dinner this week!
One of my very own, Tunisian Spice Butternut Squash Soup has just enough spice to make it a little more special than your average butternut squash bisque.
Shabbat Shalom, and happy cooking!
I’m at the tail end of a bad cold. I have a bottle of Dayquil sitting next to me on my desk, and earlier this week I had to restock my tissue supply both at work and at home. And through this sickness I have been slurping soups like there’s no tomorrow. Lentil soup, cabbage soup, pumpkin soup, and of course, matzah ball soup (made without chicken, because I’m a vegetarian).
I’m finally at a point where I can contemplate dairy without being grossed out, and where real substantial food looks good. Still, I don’t want to overdo it with something that will make me feel awful afterwards. In these situations, I always end up back with basic Jewish foods. Most of the time I try to be an innovative cook who tries lots of new things and isn’t afraid to patchke. But on the tail end of a cold, I want challah and hummus, yerushalmi kugel, and something made with cooked carrots (which usually gross me out but somehow seem delicious when I’m sick).
What about you? Are there any Jewish foods you need when you’re recovering from a cold or the flu? Is it all chicken soup all the time, or do you have other favorites?
As I’ve mentioned before, over the past week or so I’ve been kind of obsessed with soups. On Monday I had soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the past eight days I’ve been unplugging my crock pot for no more than 12 hours before starting again with a new soup.
But with soups, unlike with almost anything else, I will do a lot of finicking around until I get it exactly right. On Sunday I started with this recipe for Curried Vegetable and Chickpea soup, but I revised as I went, and at the end spent a while seasoning and changing things up before I finally loved it.
So how do you test recipes? Are you ever faithful to the original, or do you feel free to throw other things in willy-nilly, and figure you’ll season and fix as you go?
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1-2 leeks, thoroughly washed and sliced
2 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno chili (or other hot chili), seeded and minced
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons bullion
2 (16 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
5-8 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 oz baby spinach
1 can coconut milk
1 Tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup honey
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and leeks with one teaspoon of salt until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and another teaspoon of salt, and sauté until just translucent around the edges.
Stir in the curry, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and chili and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in 1/4 cup of water and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Pour this onion-potato mixture into the bowl of your crock pot.
To the slow-cooker, add the rest of the ingredients. The spinach will probably fill up the crock pot, but don't worry, it will cook down. Make sure the liquid comes at least halfway up the side of the bowl. If it doesn't add water 1 cup at a time. Cover and cook for 4 hours on HIGH. Taste and adjust salt and other seasonings as needed.