Grilled Salmon with Honey Scented Fruit Salsa

by Chef Jeff Nathan, Abigaels

This grilled salmon recipe from Abigael's Restaurant in NYC is a gourmet addition to any Shavuot recipe collection.

Yield: 6 servings
Fruit Salsa
Yield: 2 cups

1 cup mango, diced small
1 cup pineapple, diced small
¼ cup strawberries, diced small
1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced small
1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice

In a medium bowl, combine the mango, pineapple, strawberries, red bell pepper. Add in the jalapeno and cilantro. Pour in the honey, orange and lime juices. Gently mix until evenly combined. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes before serving. The Fruit Salsa can be made up to one day ahead.

Strawberry Vinaigrette
Yield: 1 ½ cups

½ cup strawberries, quartered
¼ cup pineapple, rough chopped
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
pinch of kosher salt
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped

In a blender, combine the strawberries, pineapple and honey. Puree until smooth. Add in the orange and lime juices and a pinch of salt. With the blender turned on, slowly add in the oil. Taste and adjust the honey, lime juice or salt as necessary. Remove the vinaigrette from the blender and stir in the cilantro.

6 (6 – 8 ounce) skinless salmon filets
vegetable oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Coat the salmon filets with oil on both sides. Season each filet with sea salt and pepper. Place the filets on a preheated grill, or oiled grill pan for 10 – 12 minutes, and cook over medium heat until desired doneness is achieved.

Place the salmon on individual plates, top with 2 – 3 tablespoons each of the Fruit Salsa and drizzle with the Strawberry Vinaigrette. Serve the salmon hot or at room temperature.

Still hungry? Try this delicious kosher fish recipe from Gemstone Catering.

Sticky Chocolate Cake with Pina Colada Sauce

By Pastry Chef Ehud Ezra, Basil Restaurant.

This chocolate cake recipe has three components; the cake the sauce and the garnishing. It is a delicious alternative to the typical Shavuot recipe. Your family and guests will appreciate the change. You will love how easy it is to make and how impressive the dessert looks and tastes.

10 servings

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake:
10 - 4 ounce individual foil cups or ramekins
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup hot brewed coffee (instant can be used dissolved in hot water)
1/2 cup of buttermilk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Garnish: Toasted slivered almonds and toasted coconut

Preheat the oven temperature to 350.

In a mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until it is fluffy. Next add the eggs, mix until blended. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt, mix until blended. Then add the buttermilk and vanilla extract; blend it in and scrape the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Gradually add the hot coffee to the batter, until it is blended in. Make sure to scrape the bowl as you add ingredients to make sure everything is getting blended.

Spray the foil cups with non-stick canola spray, scoop the batter and place in the cups, more than 3/4 to the top of the cups.
Place cups on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes.
The cake should not be over baked; it should be cracked on the top and moist in the center.

Ingredients for Pina Colada Sauce:
1/4 cup of Coco Lopez (Cream of coconut)
1/4 cup of Pineapple juice
1/8 cup of white rum

Mix well and pour into individual small cups to serve along side the chocolate cakes.

Ingredients for Garnishing Chocolate Sauce:
2 semi-sweet chocolate bars, such as Schmerling's
1/2 cup of heavy cream

Break the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl. In a small pot, boil the heavy cream. Add the hot cream to the chocolate, let it sit for a minute; this will melt the chocolate. Mix well with a whisk. Serve immediately or it will set. If you aren't serving it immediately and it has to be warmed, simmer on low, or put in a bowl of hot water.

Garnish with toasted almond slivers and toasted coconut flakes. Toasting can be done in a dry frying pan or on a baking sheet at 350.

Here's another great kosher cake recipe for Shavuot.

Rose Colanders

I am a sucker for color in the kitchen. My cabinets are colorful, my tiles are colorful and I have a great orange blender. My Kitchen-Aid mixer is chrome but my Pesach one is a beautiful cobalt blue! So that’s why I love colorful kitchen tools and these mini rose-shaped colanders caught my eye. I like the raspberry color but it’s probably good to have more than one and the kiwi and sun colors also look pretty good! In fact so do the red and the poppy…It’s not infrequent that one person in the house will want some grapes or berries and I won’t wash to wash the whole bunch. This completely solves the problem – and in such an attractive and inexpensive way. What the heck; I’m ordering all the colors!!

Peanut Butter Truffles

1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons vanilla
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Cream together margarine, peanut butter and vanilla. Mix in remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Shape into balls and place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheets. Chill for 1 hour before dipping in chocolate coating and rolling in other toppings (chopped peanuts works nicely here)

Plain Chocolate Truffles

There is actually nothing plain about this taste.

2 cups (1 12-ounce package) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup pareve whip
1/3 cup margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat chocolate chips and pareve whip in microwave. Stir until smooth. Stir in margarine and vanilla. Cool, cover and refrigerate for a few hours. Shape into balls and place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate for an additional hour before dipping in chocolate coating and rolling in toppings.

Mandelbroit or Biscotti

Whatever you call them, they taste great and I am addicted. I make my “famous” Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Mandelbroit for almost any occasion – mishloach manos, bake sales, thank yous, because it’s Tuesday…But I also like to experiment with new and different kinds. And I have to confess that I am pretty much insatiable. Some of my recent favorites and the ones now filling my freezer include:

Ginger Mandelbroit
Snickerdoodle Biscotti (I’m just varying the name!)
Chocolate Biscotti
Apricot-Almond Mandelbroit

And I really wish Pat’s restaurant in Los Angeles would share their recipe. They’re the perfect dessert – not too sweet (so obviously not too many calories) and lots of crunch and flavor. If anyone can wheedle it out of them…

Chalkboard Placemats

These are not for elegant dining but they are great for keeping the little ones occupied while you make that gourmet dinner. They are also wonderful presents for birthdays, older siblings when a baby is born and grandchildren!! I like them so much that I just keep looking for excuses to buy them. They are available at many different stores although Toys R Us seems to offer the best price. Shop around and let us know what you find.

Stone Soup

As a prelude to making this recipe with your kids, read Marcia Brown's STONE SOUP. It tells the story of three hungry soldiers who come into a village and cleverly trick the peasants into sharing their food--by making a lavish soup out of seemingly nothing but stones. Like the soldiers' soup, this recipe turns basically whatever vegetables you have on hand into a hearty meal. My kids loved plopping a real stone into the broth, as we've described below, but if your pantry's low on stones, you can let the potatoes fill that role.

1 stone, big enough that it won't get lost in the soup (quartz is a good choice because it won't break down in cooking)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped fine
1 large carrot, cut into coins
3 medium red-skinned potatoes (unpeeled, and cut into halves)
1/2 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 large garlic clove, pressed
6 cups chicken broth (or a combination of broth and water)
1 medium zucchini, diced large
1 medium yellow squash, diced large
1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 cups cooked elbow macaroni, or other soup pasta (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


The first step is for your child to scrub and wash the stone thoroughly. Then, for an extra cleaning, she can drop it in a pot of water to boil while you prepare the rest of the soup together.

In another large pot, heat the oil, then sauté the onion on medium-high for 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the celery, carrot, potatoes and red pepper, sautéing for 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, and then add in the broth. Using a spoon, fish the stone out of the other pot, add it to the soup and bring to a boil. Add the zucchini, squash, corn and pasta, cooking another 8 minutes or until the zucchini is the desired softness. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Before serving, sprinkle on the croutons, then ladle--minus the stone--into individual bowls.

Serves 6 to 8.

Tu B’Shvat

Tu B’Shvat is coming tomorrow. Here are some extra recipes to add to your repertoire and contribute to the festive and grateful spirit of the day. This year in particular, it is a mitzvah to plant a tree to replace forests that were destroyed. The first recipe is courtesy Dana Slatkin, professionally-trained chef, cookbook author and friend.

Warm Brie-Stuffed Dates
Fig and Walnut Biscotti

Tu B’shvat

This Thursday is Tu B’shvat, the Rosh Hashanah of the trees. It is customary to praise the land of Israel – “a land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey” (Deuteronomy 8) and to partake of its bounty. There is nothing like fresh figs or pomegranates or grapes. And then there are all those platters of dried fruit…Many home cooks struggle with trying to think of new and interesting fruity recipes for the holiday. Here are some Tu B’shvat recipes with fruit to help you enjoy the holiday and participate fully in praising the land.

Maple Date Bars
Dried Fruit and Nut Cookies
Lemon Garlic Olives
Moroccan Chickpeas
Cucumber Pomegranate Salad

Lemon Garlic Olives

1 (21 ounce) jar pimento-stuffed olives
8 sprigs fresh oregano
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 slices lemon
20 black peppercorns
6 tablespoons lemon juice

Drain olives, reserving liquid. Layer half each of olives, oregano, garlic, lemon slices and peppercorns in a 1-quart jar (you can use a plastic container if you are stuck). Repeat layers. Pour lemon juice into jar and add enough reserved liquid to fill. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 large bulbs fennel, thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
½ cup pomegranate seeds

Combine lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper and shake well. On a serving platter, layer fennel, cucumber and apple. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top.

Sweet Potatoes: A Mere Potato or a Fall Superfood?

By Simone Stromer, MD, CHC [AADP]

Sweet potatoes, sometimes referred to as “yams”, are from the root vegetable family, and with their amazing color and nutritional value they are in another galaxy compared to the typical white potato. The orange variety is so sweet that our tendency to dress sweet potato with sweeteners like maple syrup, brown sugar, and marshmallows is completely unnecessary, and turns them into a calorie-loaded food. Half a plain medium sweet potato only contains about 100 calories.

Although full of simple starches contributing to its sweetness, sweet potatoes are also rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, making them a highly satiating food. As such, they keep blood sugar levels reasonably stable and are an excellent food for people with diabetes and those wanting to loose or maintain weight. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A (beta-carotine) and C.

Sweet potatoes, either yellow or orange varieties, are available all year round but fall, when we start to crave hot, starchy comfort foods, is one of the best times to start incorporating them into your diet. My favorites are the orange variety, which I think are moister, sweeter, and easier to cook. Choose firm, smooth sweet potatoes without wrinkles, sprouts or blemishes. Cook them in their skin (boiling or baking) to retain their nutrients, and then peel once they have cooled slightly or just scoop out the flesh. They are also delicious thinly sliced and baked (spread evenly on a baking sheet) with extra-virgin olive oil and a dash of salt until crispy on the outside.

Simone Stromer, MD, CHC [AADP]
Free one hour initial health and nutrition consultation for

Kosher Stuffing – There are No Limits!

It doesn’t get any stranger than this - Marilyn Monroe’s stuffing for a “Jewish Thanksgiving”?? We removed the cheese and simplified it slightly. Now this kosher stuffing recipe, originally featured in the New York Times, can work for any home.

But almost any stuffing can be made into a kosher stuffing – particularly all those sausage stuffing recipes; there is such a great variety of kosher sausages available today that it seems a shame not to take full advantage of them. In Los Angeles, we are particularly spoiled by the presence of Jeff’s Gourmet ( - unfortunately he doesn’t ship across country – where we can purchase a large variety of freshly made sausages including Smoked Chicken Apple, Chicken Cilantro, Mergez, Turkey Italian, Veal Bratwurst and Polish, to name a few! But for those of you who are in colder climates and less privileged, there is now a large variety available in your local freezer section. Check out Neshama Sausages ( They also have many different flavors of sausage, including Breakfast Delight, Mild Italian, Smoked Andouille, Southwest Style, and Mergez – and they can be ordered online. Now your kosher stuffing possibilities are endless. Try this recipe but don’t limit yourself; play around online and try adapting a non-kosher one on your own. Send us the results; we’d love to try it.

Marilyn’s Stuffing

Sausage and Apple Stuffing

Green Leafy Vegetables: A Natural Source of Multivitamins

By Simone Stromer, MD, CHC [AADP]

Many of us take multivitamin supplements which may be important in maintaining general health and certainly in specific situations including poor dietary intake, low body weight, gastrointestinal diseases, vegetarian diets, and prenatal. However, when it comes to the opportunity of including natural sources of multivitamins in our diet we often give it up because we choose foods which may be deemed tastier, easier or more convenient. The foods that can really sustain us are the ones that we should strive to include in our daily diet - and leafy green vegetables are a great place to start.

Greens, especially dark green leafy vegetables, are an excellent source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and folic acid, which happen to be some of the key nutrients that women in particular need for their health. Green leafy vegetables are packed with micronutrients said to be protective against cancer and other diseases. Furthermore, a recent study has shown that increasing your consumption of green leafy vegetables by as little as an extra serving per day is one of the ways that you may be able to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Common green leafy vegetables that we often think of are spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, lettuce, and green cabbage; however, there are many exciting, though less usual choices including (in no particular order) arugula, parsley, kale, red cabbage, swiss chard, endive, radicchio, collard greens, beet greens, bok choy, and watercress. My recommendation is to try to include at least one of these foods into your daily diet which can be a simple as adding a side dish of green salad, steamed broccoli, or low fat cabbage slaw. Feel free to write to us about how you like to include greens in your meals!

Simone Stromer, MD, CHC [AADP]
Free one hour initial health and nutrition consultation for