Hanukah Marshmallow Dreidels

From ToriAvey.com

What you need
Jumbo marshmallows
Stick pretzels
Nutella hazelnut spread or Pareve hazelnut chocolate spread
Chocolate candy kisses

Optional Toppings
Cake decorating gel
Chocolate or vanilla candy coating
Vegetable shortening
Candy sprinkles

Extra Equipment
Parchment paper, cookie sheet (for candy coated dreidels)

First, push a pretzel into the flat side of the marshmallow, sticking it in as far as you can without puncturing the opposite side. Next, spread a small amount of Nutella onto the base of a chocolate kiss. Use the Nutella as “glue” to attach the kiss to the flat end of the marshmallow. At this point, you can use cake decorating gel to write one of the four Hebrew dreidel letters onto the surface of the marshmallow… Nun, Hey, Gimel, Shin Here are the Hebrew letters if you need a guide: These letters stand for the Hebrew phrase, Nes Gadol Haya Sham– which means “A great miracle happened there.” Cake decorating gel takes a long time to dry, so give your letters a few hours to set… if your kids can wait that long! If you want to add a candy coating to your dreidel instead of the letters, make sure your marshmallow dreidels are prepped and ready to go before you start working with the chocolate. You will need to work quickly while the chocolate is soft. Place the dreidels on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, with at least an inch or two in between each dreidel. Melt your chocolate or vanilla candy coating according to the package directions at the lowest temperature setting possible. Ideally the consistency of the melted coating should be like chocolate syrup—not overly thick. If your candy coating seems too thick after melting it, you can thin it out using a tablespoon or two of vegetable shortening. Once it’s melted, transfer the melted candy coating to a cool bowl. Working quickly, dip your dreidels one-at-a-time into the coating and roll them until the surface is evenly covered. As you dip the dreidels, make sure you don’t leave them in the hot candy coating for longer than a few seconds at a time. If you leave it longer, the Hershey kiss will melt and you’ll have a flat-bottomed dreidel. Pull the dreidel out of the coating and hold it over the bowl, point side facing downward, for a few seconds to get rid of excess drips. Place it on the parchment-lined cookie sheet and coat immediately with sprinkles. Once all of your dreidels are coated, let them dry for 15-20 minutes until the candy coating has set. A slight “puddle” will form underneath each dreidel, so it won’t look perfect—but that’s not the point. It will still look dreidel-ish, and it will taste yummy! Have fun!

Easy Pumpkin Pie by Sweetie Pie

Serves 10

1/2 recipe Basic Pie Crust (recipe below) or 1 store-bought pie crust
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup pareve whipping cream or soymilk or coconut milk
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon baking powder

For the Basic Pie Crust (makes enough for 2 shells)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted margarine or shortening, cut into small cubes 1/4 cup ice water, or more as needed

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Flour a work surface well and press the dough into a disk. Roll evenly in all directions with a rolling pin until you have a round crust that is 10-inches in diameter.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with a piecrust and crimp the edges. Prick the bottom of the crust in a few places with a fork then bake the shell for 15 minutes, or until it is lightly golden. Remove from the oven to a wire rack and cool completely. Turn off oven.

Roasted Sweet and Savory Sweet Potatoes


Serves 6

6 medium-size sweet potatoes
8 tablespoons margarine or ¼ cup coconut oil
2 shallots, chopped
1-1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup orange juice
½ teaspoon dried rosemary crumbled
For the Creamy Topping:
4 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons orange jucie
1/2 pound Tofutti cream cheese
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F.
Wash sweet potatoes then cut slices into them about 2/3 down (not all the way through so it slices off). Place potatoes into baking pan and set aside.  

In a sauté pan, melt margarine and add shallots, hazelnuts, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until shallots are translucent then add orange juice and rosemary and sauté for about 2 minutes, allowing everything to blend.   Remove from heat and pour over potatoes.

Cover tightly with tin foil and bake until potatoes are soft (when a fork is inserted easily, about 40-65 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes). Take potatoes out of oven and set aside.

To the same pan that you sautéed the nuts, add margarine and melt over medium heat. Add orange juice and allow it to blend. Slowly add in cream cheese and stir it gently into the mixture. Add cinnamon to taste and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour mixture evenly over potatoes. Serve warm

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Roasted Potatoes Infused with Rosemary and Oregano

Serves 4

1-1/2 pounds baby potatoes, halved
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 large sprigs fresh oregano
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to the oven 450°F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with the garlic, oregano, rosemary, olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper, and spread them out on the baking sheet so they're evenly spaced. Roast, tossing halfway through, until the potatoes are deep golden brown and tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and season to taste with more salt and pepper before serving.

Romaine, Arugula, Fennel, and Avocado Salad

Serves 6

5 cups chopped romaine
2 cups arugula
½ fennel bulb, sliced thin
¼ cup fresh mint, diced
1 avocado, cut in 1-inch pieces
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad: On a large platter scatter the lettuce. Top with fennel, mint, avocado chunks, pomegranate seeds, and toasted nuts.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk Dijon, honey, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil until emulsified and incorporated.

Pour desired amount of dressing over salad. Toss and serve.

Hanukah Standing Rib Roast

Serves 10

Use vegetables or root vegetables or potatoes on the bottom of the roast in this recipe. I often use baby potatoes and cipollini onions.

1 (7 – 8 pound) standing rib roast
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup beef stock
1 cup red wine
¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons fresh, chopped thyme
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425F.
On a roasting pan, place onions, carrots, and celery. Cover with beef stock and wine. Place beef on top of vegetables, bone-side down.

In a small dish, mix olive oil, garlic and onion powder, paprika, pepper, salt, parsley, rosemary, thyme and thinly sliced garlic. With your hands, evenly coat the meat with the spices

Place roast in oven for 25 minutes. Do not open the oven, but turn down the heat to 300F. Cook for approximately 2 ½ hours for rare (130F). Remove from oven, cover and allow meat to rest for 15 minutes.

Remove vegetables from roasting pan and skim fat. Place liquid in a small saucepan over medium heat, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve meat with vegetables and sauce poured on top.

Green Beans with Cipollini Onions and Wild Mushrooms

Serves 8 – 10

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound cipollini onions, peeled (halved if large)
2 pounds green beans, stem ends trimmed
6 tablespoons unsalted margarine, divided
8 ounces wild mushrooms chopped
1/3 cup minced shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, without moving, until golden brown (reduce heat if they get too dark too fast). Care­fully turn onions over and let cook until dark golden on both sides and softened inside, about 30 minutes total. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook beans until bright green and tender, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Add 2 tbsp. margarine, stirring just until melted.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium frying pan over high heat. Add mushrooms; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release all their liquid and start to brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Add remaining 4 tbsp. margarine to pan. When margarine has melted and begins to sizzle, add shallots, thyme, salt, pepper, and reserved caramelized onions. Cook, stirring gently, until shallots have softened. Add broth and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, rewarm beans and transfer to a large platter. Pour mushroom mixture over center of beans.

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 12

6 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
1/4 cup melted margarine plus 3 tablespoons cut into pieces and more for greasing dish
1/2 cup pareve whipping cream
About 1 teaspoon kosher salt
About 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet until very tender when pierced, 1 1/4 hours.
Cut sweet potatoes in half and let cool a bit. Scoop out flesh and beat half of them at a time in a stand mixer, using paddle attachment on medium speed, until very smooth, about 3 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir together sweet potatoes, melted margarine, pareve cream, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you like. Grease a 3-qt. baking dish. Add sweet potatoes and smooth surface. Top with pecans, maple syrup, and butter pieces. Cover dish with parchment paper cut to fit, then foil.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until pecans are crunchy, 20 minutes more.

Pumpkin Parfaits

Serves 12

Two 15-ounce cans pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups tofutti cream cheese
2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 cups pareve (non-dairy) whipping cream
1-1/2 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies (6 ounces)

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the pumpkin puree with the pumpkin pie spice, salt, 2 cups of the tofutti cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar until thick.

In another large bowl, beat the non-dairy cream with the remaining 2 cups of Tofutti cream cheese and 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form.
Spoon half of the pumpkin mixture into 12 glasses and top with half of the cream mixture and half of the crushed wafers. Repeat the layering once more. Refrigerate the parfaits until well-chilled, at least 1 hour, before serving.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Thyme and Pistachios


Serves 6

1-1/4 pound Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons margarine
1/3 cup finely chopped shallot (from 1 large shallot)
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup pareve sour cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shelled salted pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

Trim the bases and separate the leaves of the Brussels sprouts by hand. Melt the margarine in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and shallots, stirring occasionally until just tender and browned in spots, 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the lemon zest and thyme. Add the sour cream and stir to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve garnished with the pistachios.

Great Gift! Flower Power


Thanksgiving, Hanukah, birthdays, simchas…many people are looking for florists to send flowers to loved ones. Often this is challenging if you are sending to an out-of-town community. I like to see what I am sending someone. BloomNation aims to introduce a little solution and originality to this process, think of it as the Etsy of flower arrangements. Their website shows you the real work (not stock images) of more than 3,000 artisan florists across the country. Their vendors will often send you an image of the arrangement you order before it is sent to the recipient. From $25, bloomnation.com

Kosherfest 2015

Kosherfest was certainly a foodfest, a cheesefest, a fleishfest, and an extravaganza filled with fantastic products to taste and enjoy. With record-breaking attendance, the aisles were filled with discriminating tasters hoping to find the best of Kosherfest. Kosher brands, old and new hoping to get the attention from markets, distributors and kosher media friends. Yes, tasting is fun, but connecting to other foodie friends makes the experience a super food day!

My Kosherfest 2015 favorites right here….
italian truffle
Squirrel Brand Italian Black Truffle Almonds: Crunchy, rich, delicious and my new salad topper. Italian Black Truffle Almonds® are a first of their kind. Aromatic black summer truffles are hand-harvested in Northern Italy and ground into flavorful sea salt so their distinct flavor permeates through the condiment. Once folded into our finest selection of sweet California almonds...the flavor transcends all senses. This product is VEGAN and GLUTEN FREE and Pareve.

The Cheese Guy, Double Ale Cheddar Cheese: Admittedly, I liked every cheese I tasted from the Cheese Guy, plus the Maple Apple Butter, which was even more amazing with a thin slice of cheese and a cracker, yes this is the snack of all time! Find these cheeses in your market, kosher cheese has never tasted this flavorful.

Malka Beer: Beer brewed in Israel with awesome chic logo and bottle. The pale ale is perfect. Currently in most states and coming to others but check your liquor stores and request it. It’s a taste of Israel, support of Israel and a great beer.

Mina brand Harissa and Shakshuka sauce: Great harissa, from mild (its harissa so mild has a good kick too) to apicy (WOW, serious heat and flavor). I’m adding it to so many sauces. Israeli inspired foods are super trendy. Shakshuka sauce, just add to pan, heat and poach eggs right in the pan. Creative product and definitely going to be a big hit.

Jack’s Gourmet Sausage: Of course his sausages are popular at Kosherfest, great taste and texture, smoky, and perfectly prepared. Their booth was crowded and happening, and their new Pulled Beef Brisket is a big winner. It makes an easy dinner and lots of sandwich leftovers.

Best Ingredients, Best Results, Best Chips by friend Estee Kaffra of Kosher Scoop has added an instant crumb topping (yes, just add to apples, pears, muffins, challah and bake for instant crumb topping), and all-natural .

Look out for these products too, pending distribution, but I’m sure they will be coming soon!

Ludwig Farmstead Creamery: More unbelievable cheese, made on an Illinois farm with no hormones, or antibiotics, and made with raw milk cheese to create award-winning Artisan cheese. Currently get it online but hopefully in stores soon.

Pure Genius: Brownies and blondies packed with beans, protein, fiber and invisible goodness. I liked the blondie made from chickpeas and lots of chocolate chips. Just certified kosher, and available soon in your markets. Boost your edible IQ with this treat.

I’m still full…okay not really, but I’m still bursting from happiness over so many foods, condiments, snack items, and opportunities in the kosher cooking world. We are so lucky and it certainly is not what it used to be. So eat up and support kosher brands!

Roasted Fall Vegetables with Lentils and Fall Spices

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Emma Star Jensen

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Emma Star Jensen

Serves 6

Warm Indian flavors make this an ideal nice recipe that is comforting, filling and full of flavor.

7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 jalapeno, optional, seeded and chopped
1 large celery stalk, diced
2 small carrots, diced
1 large onion, half finely chopped, half cut into 1-in. chunks
4 1/2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
About 3 cups vegetable broth
About 1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon honey
1 butternut squash (about 2 lbs.), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1- to 1 1/2-in. chunks
1/2 pound small brussels sprouts, sliced or shredded
1/4 cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 425°. In a 5- to 6-qt. pot, heat 3 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add chile, celery, carrots, and chopped onion and cook, stirring often, until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tsp. garam masala and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Add thyme and 1 tsp. mustard; cook 1 minute.

Stir in lentils, 3 cups broth, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are just tender, about 40 minutes, checking occasionally and adding more broth if needed so they're covered in liquid.

Meanwhile, in a 9- by 13-in. baking dish, whisk together honey; 1/2 tsp. salt; and remaining 4 tbsp. oil, 2 1/2 tsp. garam masala, and 1 tsp. mustard. Add squash and toss until well coated. Roast squash 15 minutes. Stir in onion chunks and brussel sprouts and cook until vegetables are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 more minutes.

Drain any excess liquid from lentils. Stir in orange juice and transfer lentils to a shallow bowl. Spoon roasted vegetables on top, and season to taste with more salt.

Creamy Fall Squash Soup with Crunchy Topping

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Emma Star Jensen

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Emma Star Jensen

Serves 6
Almond milk adds depth of flavor to a standard squash soup. The toppings give it great crunch. It can be pareve or dairy.

1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups butternut squash chunks (1-in. pieces; use a 2 3/4-lb. squash or 1 1/2 lbs. chunks)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped ripe Bartlett pear
About 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 qt. vegetable broth
½ cup soymilk
½ cup non-dairy creamer, pareve whipping cream or almond milk (or for dairy version, use whole milk)
1/3 cup almond butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
Crunchy Toppings:
3 radishes, sliced and cut into matchsticks
3 green onions, cut into 1 1/2-in. slivers
1/3 cup roasted, salted hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese, dairy version only
1/2 jalapeño chile, seeded (if you like) and diced

Make soup: Heat oil in a wide 5- to 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add squash, yellow onion, pear, salt, and pepper. Sauté until squash starts to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add broth, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add soymilk, creamer and almond butter to broth mixture. With an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Return soup to pot and cover.

Make topping: In a medium bowl, gently toss together radishes, green onions, pumpkin seeds, feta (dairy version only), and chile.

Reheat soup just to a simmer, if needed. Stir in lime juice and brown sugar, and add more salt to taste if you like. Ladle into bowls and serve with topping.

Fall Salad with Vinaigrette

Credit: Tyler Florence

Credit: Tyler Florence

Serves 10

Tyler Florence one of my favorite celebrity chefs is all the rage in Northern California. He lives in Marin county and runs two restaurants and his recipes are featured everywhere. Having just spent a few days in Sonoma Wine Country, I was inspired to recreate one of his great salads. His version calls for sherry vinegar and a few different artisan lettuce varieties but my GKC spin makes it a bit more accessible. Please forgive me Tyler, I love your recipes!

3/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 head of red leaf lettuce, leaves torn
2 heads of Treviso or radicchio, cored and leaves torn
2 cups arugula
2 Fuyu persimmons, cored and very thinly sliced crosswise on a mandoline
1 Pink Lady apple, cored and very thinly sliced on a mandoline
1 medium fennel bulb, cored and very thinly sliced on a mandoline
Edible flowers

In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard, honey and thyme. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and season the dressing with kosher salt and pepper.
In a very large serving bowl, toss the lettuce, radicchio and arugula. Scatter the persimmons, apple, fennel and pecans on top and garnish with edible flowers. Pour some dressing on salad, not all of it, and toss. Serve the salad, passing more dressing at the table.

Salad can be prepared on a platter for a nice presentation.

Hot Chocolate on a Stick


Yay! They are back just in time for winter. Hot chocolate on a stick by Pop-Bar

Create your own chocolatey goodness by simply stirring our Hot Chocolate on a Stick into a cup of steamed milk. Made with a premium blend of the finest, all natural chocolate, it's available in Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, and Vanilla Chocolate. All natural and gluten-free. So fun with kids and a great holiday gift.

Pumpkin Snacks and Treats

Pumpkin is in season and it’s one of my husband’s favorite flavors. Fall flavors are warm and inviting and the colors mirror the beauty outside. I love the fall leaves (really hate the winter weather!) and watching my yard come to life with color. In celebration of fall and pumpkin season, here are three great pumpkin treats, we love these as snacks or dessert. Next week, fall flavored meals. We just can’t get enough!

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars, vegan and gluten-free
Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting