Tag Archives: vegetarian

Israeli Couscous Stuffed Acorn Squash

Yield:
4 servings

It’s autumn, and sure, we all love pumpkin. But there are also an array of other squash and seasonal veggies that are pretty exciting too, including the adorable acorn squash.

Growing up my dad would prepare acorn squash in a very simple way: cut in half and roasted with butter and maple syrup. Nothing bad about that.

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But I have been searching for other ways to prepare the cute squash. Finally a few weeks ago I came across this recipe for Orzo and Cheese Baked in Acorn Squash and I thought: ok, I have to make this! Not only is it cheesy and easy, but making a stuffed dish during Sukkot was also Jewishly appropriate.

I didn’t have orzo, but I did have Israeli couscous, a favorite ingredient. I also wanted to get in a little extra vegetables in this dish, so I added some onion and pepper. Want to make this healthier? You could substitute whole wheat couscous, quinoa and even add some lentils.

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Israeli Couscous Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients

2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
¾ cup water
¾ cup uncooked Israeli couscous
¾ cup water
Salt and pepper
½ onion, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
¼ cup milk
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice off a piece from each half of acorn squash so they will lie flat in the pan when baking later.

Place squash open side down in a baking pan. Add 3/4 cup water to pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and discard water. Turn squash open side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook another 15 minutes until tender.

Bring the ¾ cup of water to a boil. Add couscous and salt and pepper, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

In a large sauté pan add a few tbsp olive oil. Cook onions and pepper for 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and continue cooking until soft and translucent, another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to a large bowl. Add cooked couscous, cheddar cheese, milk and 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly.

Remove squash from oven. Spoon couscous cheese filling into each squash. Top with additional Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake until top begins to brown, around 25 minutes.

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Posted on October 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

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

Perfect Kale Chips

When I was pregnant with my daughter I discovered the wonder of kale chips. I was craving leafy greens, and making kale chips was a fun way to satisfy my urge. I would roast up 2 or 3 bags of kale at a time, and then stand shoveling it into my happy, pregnant mouth.

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Fast forward, and I haven’t lost my taste for kale chips. And much to my delight, they are one of my daughter’s favorite snacks.

I want to be honest about the kale chip making endeavor: it can actually be a bit complicated. And whenever I mention kale chips among friends and family members, they always ask “how do you make yours? Mine always turn out soggy/burnt…”

kale-chips-2So here are my tips:

  • Make sure you spread kale out in a single layer. If the leaves overlap, they won’t crisp and cook properly.
  • Evenly coat the kale with olive oil. You can do this either by using a salad dressing mister, or simply massaging the kale before you bake it to make sure it is coated.
  • Start the kale at a lower temperature, and then raise it only at the end to get a good crisp – but don’t let them burn.
  • Watch the kale chips carefully at the end, and remove as they become done.

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Perfect Kale Chips

Ingredients

1 large head fresh kale
olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Break kale into even pieces and spread out in a single layer on lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Using your hands, massage kale to ensure olive oil coats leaves as evenly as possibly.

Bake for 20 minutes and turn leaves over on baking sheet. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, removing pieces of kale as they look done.

Serve as a snack.

Posted on August 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

Mexishuka

Yield:
2 servings

When I first moved to Israel around five years ago, there were no Mexican food restaurants, and really very little interest in the cuisine. Fast forward to today: Tel Aviv has blossomed with possibilities for burritos and genuinely spicy salsa as well as 5 Mexican-style restaurants currently.

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In truth, the ingredients used in Mexican food aren’t that different from those native to Israeli diets: a focus on fresh tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, lots of spices and citrus. So it was only a matter of time until Mexican food arrived in Israel. 

It is also lime season in Israel, and for this reason a celebration of excess lime usage is in order. To most this declaration sounds confusing: Israel is known for its fine citrus fruits, so why would lime season be such a big deal?  As it turns out, like other produce in Israel, much of the best crops are exported (primarily to Japan) so we don’t see it as much in our markets. Also, because the lime season is short, farmers do not see as much value compared to other citrus fruits.

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Combine my love of Mexican food, love of lime season and shakshuka and you have a unique Mexi-terranean fusion perfect for summer breakfast, or anytime you feel like enjoying some Israeli fusion comfort food.

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Mexishuka (Mexican Shakshuka)

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
8 small (or 5 large) tomatoes
1 red chili pepper, diced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne Pepper
1 tsp salt
2-3 eggs
1 can refried beans
1 lime, cut into wedges
Corn tortillas (or Corn Tortilla Tostada Shells)
Fresh cilantro
Avocado, sliced thinly
Shredded cheese

Directions

Warm the olive oil in a heavy pan at medium heat. Add the onion and stir frequently until onion turns golden.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook for one minute, then add the tomatoes and cover. Lower the heat to medium-low heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes are softened.

Add the spices and stir, tasting and adding spice to your desired flavor.

Crack the eggs directly into the tomato mixture, being careful not to break the yolk.

Continue cooking the sauce with the eggs for another 5-10 minutes until the yolks are cooked to your liking.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat the refried beans according to the instructions on the can.

If making the tostada: In a separate pan, grill the corn tortillas until crunchy then cut into chips to be used for dipping.

Arrange the tortillas either on a plate or in a bowl (or use a pre-cooked tostada shell), layering on top the refried beans and other desired toppings of cheese, cilantro, and avocado.

Once the eggs are cooked into the tomato dish, use a large spoon to transfer the tomato sauce and eggs on top of the tortilla (or tostada).

Add additional toppings to your taste, including a hefty squeeze of lime juice.

Posted on August 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

Summer Brunchin’

Yield:
4 servings

Summertime and brunch don’t always go together. Summer picnic. Summer cocktails. Summer barbecue. Yes, we hear those a lot. But a summer brunch can be truly delightful, especially when Shabbat ends so late on Saturday making it difficult to see friends over the weekend.

So skip expensive dinner Saturday night, and stay in for a light, and delicious summer brunch instead. With minimal cooking you can throw together a colorful and completely delightful meal for friends or family.

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Now that peaches are in season it’s time to make your own bellinis. Last summer I used Ina Garten’s recipe and it was delightful and easy. And check out that gorgeous color. Pop open some prosecco and get sippin’.

Fluffy Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Scones from Food52 are also a perfect summer treat. Swing by your local farmer’s market for fresh blueberries to make this brunch sweet extra special. I like serving them with a homemade compound butter like Vanilla Bean Whipped Honey Butter, though any high quality, salted butter will do just fine.

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One of my summer favorites is a sweet and salty watermelon feta salad like this one from The Kitchn. And I don’t know anyone who ever complained about being served up a rich and creamy blintz souffle like this one from Nosher contributor Tamar Fox.

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And last but not least, try my Tomato Caprese Salad with Roasted Corn as a fresh update on the Italian classic.

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Tomato Caprese Salad with Roasted Corn

Ingredients

2 ripe tomatoes on the vine

6 ounces fresh mozzarella

2 ears fresh corn

olive oil

salt and pepper

fresh basil

arugula or fresh spinach (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove corn kernals from cob by using a knife or a corn stripper.

Spread corn kernels in an even layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Slice tomatoes 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Slice mozzarella to same thickness.

Alternate layers of tomato and mozzarella. If desired place on top of a bed of arugula or fresh spinach leaves.

Spoon corn kernels on top of tomato and mozzarella. Drizzle with good quality olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil leaves.

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Posted on August 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

Peach and Arugula Pizza

Yield:
3-4 servings

When summer peaches arrive at my local farmer’s market I am just overjoyed. I love slicing them up for an afternoon snack, adding them on top of frozen yogurt and what else: coming up with delicious new recipes.

I made fresh bellinis, cobbler and array of salads last summer with my local New Jersey peaches. But the standout peach dish of the summer was my Peach and Arugula Pizza. It’s a nontraditional combination, but absolutely delicious. The salty, creamy mozzarella pairs really nicely with the sweet brightness of the peaches.

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Peach and Arugula Pizza

Ingredients

1 store-bought pizza dough

6 ounces mozzarella, shredded

1 ripe peach, sliced

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 1/2 cups fresh arugula

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Special equipment: pizza stone and pastry brush

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place pizza stone in oven to heat up.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface.

When oven has heated, remove pizza stone from oven and place dough on stone. Lightly brush olive oil over dough using a pastry brush or your fingers.

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella evenly over dough, leaving 1/2 inch border all around for crust. Spread out peaches and red onions on top of cheese.

Cook pizza for around 10-12 minutes, or until crust is just starting to turn golden.

Remove from oven. Top pizza with arugula, salt and pepper to taste and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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Posted on August 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

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.

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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.

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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.

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Zucchini Noodle Bolognese

Ingredients

4 medium-large zucchini

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 Tbsp dried basil

1 Tbsp tomato paste

2 lbs ground beef

2 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup dry red wine

fresh basil

Directions

Spiralize zucchini noodles. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and saute until they become soft, around 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and dried basil and cook another 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, breaking up as you go until all paste is dissolved into the onions and garlic.

Raise heat to medium-high and add the ground beef. Saute beef, stirring and breaking up meat into small, even chunks. There shouldn't be any large lumps. Cook until meat is longer pink, about 8-10 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes and red wine and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In another 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.

Serve bolognese sauce over noodles. Garnish with fresh basil.

Note: this bolognese recipe will make more sauce than needed for this dish. Place remainder in an air-tight container and store in refrigerator or freezer.

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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.

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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.

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Pomegranate Apple Salad with Creamy Parmesan Dressing

Ingredients

For the salad:

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped

1 apple, diced or sliced

½ cup pomegranate seeds

1 grapefruit, cut into sections

2 Tbsp finely diced red onion

For the dressing:

¼ cup light mayonnaise

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

pinch coarse black pepper

2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, apple, pomegranate seeds, grapefruit, and red onion.

Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Toss dressing with salad.

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.

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Dairy Made Easy: Hasselback Baguette

Ingredients

2 Tbsp oil

1 small red onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

½ tsp dried basil

¼ tsp kosher salt

pinch coarse black pepper

1 (24-in) baguette

shredded cheese

Special equipment: 3 long wooden skewers

Directions

Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add pepper and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Season with basil, salt, and pepper.

Cut off the ends of the baguette; discard ends or reserve for another purpose. Slice baguette into 1 ½ inch thick slices (you should have about 15 slices). Slit each slice through the top, leaving the lower end uncut.

Thread each skewer through uncut (lower) part of 5 slices. Add vegetable mixture and cheese into each slit. Place skewers onto prepared baking sheet, cheese side up.

Place baking sheet on upper oven rack (top quarter of oven) and bake for 4-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and top of bread is slightly browned.

Remove skewers and serve mini sandwiches alongside a salad and dipping sauces.

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

Tri-Color Melon Salad with Mint Syrup

Yield:
8-10 servings

Summer is the time for lightening up and taking advantage of all the fresh fruits and vegetables…but that doesn’t mean giving up on delicious treats.

This tri-color melon salad with mint simple syrup is possibly one of the healthiest “desserts” I have ever come up with, but on a hot summer evening nothing could be more refreshing or perfect.

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Like so many of my recipes, you can definitely improvise based on your own tastes. You don’t have to use honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon – you can use whatever fruits suit your own palette. And what if you don’t like mint?

Instead of mint you can make a basil lemon simple syrup, a hibiscus simple syrup or just serve plain. Serve it in individual cups, a large bowl or use the leftover melon shells as a festive bowl. I definitely recommend using a handy melon baller to make this salad extra pretty – for less than $10 it’s a little tool that makes a big difference. People will think your dessert is super fancy, but in truth, it’s super simple.

Not only is it sweet and fresh, but it’s nondairy too – perfect after an afternoon barbecue.

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Tri-Color Melon Salad with Mint Syrup

Ingredients

1 ripe canteloupe

1 ripe honeydew

1/2 watermelon

1/4 cup mint simple syrup (optional)

mint for garnish (optional)

special equipment: melon baller

Directions

If desired, prepare one batch of minted simple syrup. You will only need 1/4 cup, so place the remaining syrup in an air-tight container and refrigerate.

Cut the melons in half and remove seeds. Using a melon baller, twist and scoop out balls of each kind of melon.

Arrange balls in a large bowl, individual glasses or right in the scooped out melons. Drizzle simple syrup if desired and garnish with fresh mint.

Posted on July 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

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