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.


The Secret to Surviving the Winter: Healthy and Filling Soups

It’s winter time. It’s either cold or snowing or raining or all of the above!! We asked our healthy and nutrition writer, Simone Stromer, MD, CHC [AADP] to give us some tips for healthy winter eating. Read on.

During winter, chances are that you are craving more comfort foods, generally those packed with excess fat and calories. Soups are now the most important meal to add to your diet because they are the ultimate food to warm your body and fill you up with all the nutrients that you need while being relatively low in calories and processed ingredients. In Japan, where there are low rates of obesity, miso soup with nutritious seaweed and soy beans is commonly a daily part of the diet, and is even prepared for breakfast. Soups are also the ultimate meal-in-a-bowl; a large bowl paired with a piece of crusty whole grain or sour dough bread can keep you going for hours.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your winter soups:

Soup is an excellent way to pack in a few of those high-nutrient/high-fiber food groups-- whole grains (like rice and barley), vegetables (any kind), and beans (like chickpeas, red kidney beans and lentils). Adding these to your soups will turn a simple vegetable soup into a balanced meal.

Ultra-low calorie soups (like plain tomato soup, low-fat minestrone soup without pasta, or non-dairy carrot-ginger soup) can be used as snack foods—you can eat the soup slowly and the large amount of liquid will fill you up, preventing you from reaching for the piece of bread, bag of nuts, or potato chips that you may have wanted.

It is preferable that soups are made from vegetable, chicken, or beef broths and kept clear, with the exception of adding tomato paste or stewed tomatoes for extra flavor. If you buy store-bought soup stock or broth, try to avoid those with MSG and more than 100 mg of sodium per serving.

If you want to add a touch of creaminess to your soup, avoid high-fat creamers like heavy cream or half and half and artificial creamers and instead try low-fat sour cream, low-fat milk or soy milk in small quantities. Add the low-fat options to your soup at the end of cooking to avoid boiling them.

For a dairy meal, try adding a sprinkle of shredded low-fat cheese or parmesan to the top of your vegetable soup.

Soup is not only healthy, but it is delicious as well. My family loves the minestrone with homemade white bread or with pasta and some grated mozzarella. Try a bunch and let your family discover their favorite.

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Kosher Pie Crusts

I have always been intimidated by pie crusts. The dough sticks to the cutting board. The dough sticks to the rolling pin. It becomes a big mess and I usually end up patting it down into the pan, gamely trying to attach all the pieces to form one cohesive whole. Additionally every recipe seems to say that the best pie crusts use lard – a definite no-no – or butter, which is very limiting. How could I possibly make a good kosher pie crust? I gave up and just bought the frozen version. “Did you make this?” my guests would ask. “Define this”, I would respond…Until my friend, Debby, came to my rescue. One private lesson in crust making and my life was changed! And look at this beautiful pecan pie we made. I forced everyone in my family to ooh and aah. Just follow these easy instructions and your family will do the same.

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

Adapted from Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts
This is enough for two pie crusts – make one pie for now, and freeze one for later!
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt (I usually leave salt out when I am baking but since this was out of my league I put it in)
2 sticks unsalted margarine, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
About 1/3 cup cold water (just from the tap, no ice cubes involved)

Place flour, salt and margarine in the bowl of a food processor. Using the steel blade, pulse to combine. You should get pea-sized pieces. Add water and process VERY BRIEFLY to form one main lump, surrounded by lots of little pieces of dough. Gather it together to form a ball. Cut in half and let the dough rest a few minutes (you can start pulling together your filling ingredients) Roll out the dough between two large pieces of plastic wrap – this seems to be the secret (or at least one of them!) Keep the dough completely covered with plastic wrap so that none of it actually touches the rolling pin or the counter (or your kitchen table, as was my case). Remove the top layer of wrap and gently put the crust down in a pie pan – I used these ruffled ones that happen to be designed by the same friend!) Using extra dough hanging down, pinch the edges. Then, push your index finger in at whatever spacing you like, all the way around, to form the fluting. Voilà! Pour in filling. If you have any extra dough and you have any cookie cutters, you can top with some shapes – I like the leaves on sale now (!) at Williams-Sonoma. Get ready for the applause!

How to Cook Pasta like a Pro…

Winter is time for heartier foods, like soups, stews, and pasta. We have been watching the Italian pasta experts and have come up with the “how to cook pasta like a pro” tip sheet below. We are not suggesting or giving pointers on how to make homemade kosher pasta as I personally have only tried this once and while the pasta was fresh tasting and doughy, the kitchen was a disaster and the effort not all that appreciated by the family. (For a great recipe based on ready-made gluten-free pasta, check out this recipe for Gluten Free Thai Pasta from The Jewish Hostess.) Many would disagree but I say save the time and make fresh challah and cook dried pasta like a pro for a tasty and easy meal.

• Season the water generously with salt. For each pound of pasta, use 6 quarts water and 3 generous tablespoons of kosher salt. Don’t salt the water until it’s boiling.
• Never boil a sauce until you have added the cooked pasta to the sauce. Reheat it all together.
• Go light on sauce. Heavy sauces are very 2009. The dish will feel lighter, cleaner and more balanced. Use the starchy water that you cook the pasta in to lighten sauces.
• Add fresh herbs after tossing the pasta with the sauce, then add a drizzle of olive oil. Herbs get overcooked and flavorless with too much heat. They add terrific flavor and color to pasta but many people add them too early and kill the herb flavoring.
• Remove the pan of pasta and sauce from the heat before adding the cheese. This prevents the cheese from getting overly stuck together. Adding the cheese at the end gives freshness to the dish, subtle cheese flavor, and helps it melt to the perfect consistency.
• Experiment with different types of cheese like ricotta, Boursin, goat cheese, and even Brie on pasta. They liven up all the ordinary to extraordinary.

Here are a few pasta specialties that are easy to make, really flavorful, and always a big hit.
Easy Lemon Pasta with Grilled Chicken
Spaghetti with Red and Yellow Peppers (And Salmon too, optional)
Angel Hair Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Spaghetti with Red and Yellow Peppers (and Salmon too, optional)

3 large red bell peppers (or 1 cup cut in strips from a jar)
3 large yellow peppers (or 1 cup cut in strips from a jar)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups pareve chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 pound spaghetti
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 salmon fillets, cooked and cut into chunks (optional)

To cook salmon, lightly season salmon with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and cook in a 400-degree oven for 15-18 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Cover a heavy baking sheet wit foil. Arrange the bell peppers on the baking sheet and broil until the skins brown and blister, about 20 minutes. Enclose the peppers in a resealable plastic bag and set aside until cooled to room temperature. Peel and see the cooled peppers and cut them into strips.

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the shallots and cook about 3 minutes. Add the pepper strips, salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minute. Add the wine and broth and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until the peppers are very soft.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the pasta and cook until tender about 8-10 minutes. Drain.

Add the pasta, parsley, salmon, and cheese to the pepper sauce. Stir to combine and serve.

Easy Lemon Pasta with Chicken


Serves 4
1 pound dried penne
1 cup leftover roasted chicken, or 2 chicken breasts, grilled, cut in strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
2 lemons, juiced
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente. Drain well.

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large sauté pan. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to a sauté pan and sauté until fragrant. Add the cooked pasta and turn heat off. Mix all together.

Remove pasta to a large bowl. Add chicken to the warm pasta and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in chopped parsley. Add the juice of 2 lemons and the lemon zest. Mix well and serve.

Angel Hair Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Serves 5
1 (10 ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped (oil reserved)
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound angel hair pasta
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 ounces soft goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and chopped sun-dried tomatoes and simmer until the liquid reduces by half about 2 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add a generous amount of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring, about 4 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta and parsley to the tomato mixture and toss to coat, adding some of the reserved pasta water to moisten. Season the pasta with sat and pepper. Mound in pasta bowls, sprinkle with the goat cheese.

Kosher Indian Cooking

I had never eaten Indian food before so I was particularly excited to try out Shalom Bombay, a kosher Indian restaurant in Manhattan. The food was amazing (even the cold leftovers!) and I wanted more. There were only two solutions. I contacted the chef, Chef Vijay Jagtiani, and he graciously shared this recipe:
Chicken Tikka
And I decided to do a little of my own Indian cooking. Here are the successful experiments (I’m saving the others for our Fabulous Flops section – coming soon!)
Indian Lamb Chops
Indian Green Beans
After all this spicy food, dessert should be simple – a nice passion fruit or mango sorbet – even gourmet cooks buy this!!

Chicken Tikka

5 tablespoons oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon fresh ginger and garlic, ground into a combined paste
1 tablespoon of egg shade or orange food coloring
3 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
3 tablespoons nondairy creamer
1 cup water

Heat oil in large skillet and brown onions. Add tomato and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt, coriander powder, red chile powder, paprika and garlic/ginger paste. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and food coloring. Add chicken pieces and cook for 10 minutes. Add nondairy dreamer and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Serve with Basmati rice.
Serves 4.

Indian Green Beans

1 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons oil
¾ teaspoon hot paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is always better but I usually use the bottled version)

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the green beans and sauté over high heat for about 5 minutes, turning constantly. Reduce heat to medium-high and add the spices. Continue to sauté – about another 5 minutes, also constantly stirring. Remove from heat and gently stir in lemon juice.

Cooking Kosher Chicken With Wine

Chicken is a staple in any home, whether it’s a holiday, Shabbat, or even a regular weeknight. It’s the protein that everybody loves, is easy to cook, and tastes great with almost any flavoring. And for the kosher consumer, kosher chicken it’s one of the easiest things to find in any local supermarket. As for how to prepare it, you can find thousands of kosher chicken recipes in cookbooks and on the internet. Unfortunately, sometimes too much choice can make it difficult to differentiate between all the recipes, and make a decision as to what to actually make for supper. As a result, many people (myself included) end up making the same old chicken recipes over and over again. (Anyone else guilty of throwing apricot jam on the chicken and calling it a “glaze” every other Shabbat?)

This week, I wanted to try branching out a bit within the world of kosher chicken recipes, and explore one of the best culinary combinations known to mankind: chicken and wine. A bottle of red or a bottle of white – it all depends upon your appetite. Here are some tips for cooking kosher chicken with wine:

1. Don’t cook with wine you wouldn’t drink. That doesn’t mean you have to buy an expensive bottle, but try staying away from “cooking wines” – they are usually pretty salty, and have other additives in them.
2. Use the right amount. Wine generally works to intensify and enhance the flavor of your dish, but too much can mask it. Use a small quantity, (just follow the recipe!) and you’ll be fine.
3. Don’t add wine too late. If wine is added to the chicken recipe too late in the cooking process, it will end up tasting harsh rather than harmonious with the dish.
4. Keep it to one dish. When cooking with wine, don’t use it in more than one dish per meal. It can get monotonous.
5. Red vs. White: In general, use red wines for meat dishes, red sauces, and soups with root vegetables. Use white for fish, creamy and light sauces, and sweet desserts. Both are great for kosher chicken recipes!

Here are a couple of great chicken and wine recipes for you to try:
1. My Favorite Breaded Chicken with Marsala wine
2. Artichoke Chicken with Shitake Mushrooms
3. Chicken Francese
4. Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Kosher Chefs Light Up Your Celebration With Chanukah Recipes

In the interest of full disclosure I have to confess to not unlocking my inner gourmet cook at Chanukah time. I personally prefer the pure and basic potato latke, so that is what we eat. And yet, if I were the kosher chef at an elegant dining spot or if I had a kosher chef on call to come cater events in my home (any takers?), then I might be tempted to expand my Hanukkah food palate. GKC readers need not be dismayed by my personal limits. We have enlisted the help of some of your favorite kosher chefs to broaden your Chanukah recipes repertoire. From cheese to potato latkes, and from apple to apricot sufganiyot, these chefs will forever change the way you view food for Hanukkah. Have a Chag Sameach and may the light of Chanukah burn brightly in all of our homes.

Cheese Latkes

Wild Mushroom Potato Latkes

Apple Fritters

Potato Latkes with Smoked Salmon
Apricot and Sesame Glazed Beignets

Cheese Latkes

In keeping with the tradition of eating dairy food for Hanukkah, Chumie Vann shared this treat with us.
Makes about 15 medium-sized latkes.

1 pound farmer’s cheese
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
1 pinch salt
Mix all ingredients together and fry in 2/3 cup of hot oil until golden brown. Do not over-fry or they will be too dry.

Optional Additions:
A handful of fresh chopped dill - gives it pretty color and a touch of gourmet flavor
A handful of raisins
A handful of chopped walnuts

Optional Topping:
Smoked salmon with chive garnish

Wild Mushroom Potato Latkes

From our friends at Le Marais comes this delicious pareve potato latkes recipe, topped with wild mushrooms.

1-1/2 cups of wild mushrooms
1 clove garlic
Olive oil for sautéing
3 cups of grated potato, squeezed dry
4 tablespoons grated yellow onion
Ground nutmeg to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 eggs, scrambled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

In a hot pan, sauté the mushrooms in olive oil and garlic until the mushrooms are fully cooked and take on some color. Cool and then cut them into a dice.

In a large bowl, add the dry potato, grated onion, nutmeg, eggs, salt and pepper, and the tarragon. Mix well. Squeeze the mushrooms of the excess liquid and then add to the bowl.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a pan with about one quarter inch of oil. Form the latke mix into the size of a small hockey puck.

Fry the latkes until a golden brown on each side. Place the latkes on a parchment paper lined sheet pan and then finish them in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Top the finished latkes with the wild mushrooms or any traditional topping of your choice.

Apple Fritters

Jeff Nathan, Chef and Owner of Abigael's adds a twist to the Chanukah recipes tradition of sufganiyot with this recipe for Apple Fritters.

Makes 6 servings
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
4 crisp apples, such as Jonathan or Golden Delicious
2 cups confectioner's sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1. To make the batter, whisk the flour, sugar, coconut, baking powder, cinnamon, and allspice together in a large bowl. Add 2 3/4 cups water and whisk until the batter is barely smooth. Set the batter aside to rest while heating the oil.

2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with a few layers of crumpled paper towels.

3. Pour enough oil into a large, heavy saucepan to come 2 inches up the sides. Heat over high heat until the oil reaches 365°F on a deep-frying thermometer.

4. While the oil is heating, peel, core and cut each apple into 6 wedges. If cut too soon, the apples will darken.

5. Spread the confectioner's sugar in a medium bowl. In batches without crowding, coat the apple wedges in confectioner's sugar, and then the batter, letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl. Add to the oil and deep-fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a mesh deep-frying "spider" or a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to the paper towels and keep warm in the oven while frying the rest.

6. Sprinkle the apples with confectioner's sugar and serve hot.

Potato Latkes with Smoked Salmon

Prime Grill
shares yet another potato latke recipe with us as well as their version of sufganiyot, New Orleans-style: beignets. Looks like you can get great ideas for Hanukkah food from just about anywhere!

1 pound potatoes
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon to ¾ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped chives
1-1/2 tablespoons sliced black truffles
1 tablespoon of flour
Pareve sour cream
Smoked salmon

In a large bowl, combine egg and flower and mix until there are no lumps; add potatoes, chives and truffles and salt and pepper – mix thoroughly and put into a strainer to remove excess moisture.

Brown in a sauté pan on both sides for 2 minutes on each side.

Garnish with pareve sour cream and a couple slices of smoked salmon.

Apricot and Sesame-Glazed Beignets

2-¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1-½ cups warm water (110 degrees F)
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup Coffee Rich non-dairy creamer
7 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup margarine
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
Apricot preserves
Sesame seeds

In a large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, coffee rich, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the margarine and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.

Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 ½ inch squares. Fry in 360 degree F hot oil. If beignets do not pop up oil is not hot enough. Drain onto paper towels.

Dip in apricot preserves, then into sesame seeds.

Eight Days, Eight Healthy Foods, & Eight Perfect Wines: Eight Chanukah Recipes!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And certainly the oiliest. That’s right – Chanukah is here, and you know what that means: oily potato latkes, oily jelly doughnuts, and calories it will take more than a miracle to exercise away. Ever since I can remember, my family has hosted a Chanukah party, complete with all the expected Chanukah recipes. We never had a care in the world as to what those potato latkes were doing to our cholesterol, or what those sufganiyot meant for our physiques. Of course, today’s kosher consumer is much more health-conscious. I’m here to tell you that, yes, you can cook Chanukah foods that are delicious and healthy, delightful and wholesome, delectable and nourishing. If you’re planning on hosting a party, or even just cooking up some special dinners for your own family, these recipes will surely help keep your loved ones happy, healthy, and satisfied. Many of us enjoy a glass of wine with our festive meals so you’ll find that each of these recipes has been expertly paired with the perfect wine by Gary Landsman of the Royal Wine Corporation. Some of these wines are brand new releases for Chanukah, so keep an eye out for tasting notes on these newcomers to the kosher wine scene. From appetizer to main course to dessert, we have you covered for the whole festival of lights. And just how many healthy/delicious Chanukah recipes will you need for this enlightened holiday? I’ll give you eight guesses…

First up, we’ll start with an appetizer that will keep those cold December nights warm and bright: Moroccan Carrot Soup. You might not consider this a Chanukah food at first, but something about the sweetness of the carrots and the warm inviting orange color reminiscent of the candles burning nearby has always made this a Chanukah favorite. This soup will go perfectly with a Herzog Brut Rosé wine. If you make enough on the first night, it just might last you all eight!

Moroccan Carrot Soup

Next up, recipe number two: an update on the traditional Greek Salad. It’s pareve, so you can serve it with any main course. The wine to serve with it is the brand new Baron Herzog Pinot Grigio. According to the Royal Wine Corporation, this is a “straw colored wine with perfume on the nose, followed by ripe pear, apple and tropical fruit notes. Light in body with a clean and elegant finish.”

New Greek Salad (And it's Pareve) with Garlic Croutons

Enough appetizers; it’s time to get to the heart of the meal itself. Of course, the main course will depend on whether you are going for dairy Chanukah foods or meat. We’ll start with dairy, since that way you can still have your low-fat sour cream with your potato latkes later on. For recipe number three, here’s delicious Bechamel Lasagna, which pairs well with the Capcanes Peraj Petita wine. Bechamel sauce is otherwise known as white sauce, and it’s an ancient European recipe – about 300 years old! Most commonly used with pastas and vegetables, it’s a great base for many recipes and is always a family favorite – especially with the kids. Make this a staple Chanukah food in your home, and you won’t hear any complaints.

Artichoke and Mushroom Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce

Of course, what’s a Jewish holiday without a meat meal to sink your teeth into? Chanukah recipes numbers four and five are meat entrees that have a bit of a sweet holiday twist to them: Soy Braised Short Ribs (to be paired with Barkan Altitude 720 Cabernet Sauvignon,) and Cranberry Apple Brisket (to be paired with Jeunesse Reserve Napa Cabernet Sauvignon – another new wine, described as having “youthful aromas of fresh berries, cherries and a floral bouquet, finishing with a soft texture and a hint of sweetness”).

Soy-Braised Short Ribs
Apple Cranberry Brisket

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re already up to recipe number six, and still no mention of potato latkes! Have no fear: this recipe for Potato Latkes With Spicy Mayo and Smoked Salmon will have your family and friends begging for more. They’re not your traditional potato latkes for sure, and this recipe will taste great with a Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc by its side. Be careful to stay conservative on the oil: there are about 120 calories per tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (for more health information on the different types of olive oils, see Simone Stromer, MD’s article, “Are All Olive Oils Heart-Healthy?” ).

Potato Latkes with Spicy Mayonnaise and Smoked Salmon

Here we are at last: dessert! Now, like I said, Chanukah foods don’t have to be unhealthy. But if there’s ever a time to indulge a bit, it’s dessert. Just keep those portions under control, and you’ll be alright. For a bit of a variation on the traditional jelly doughnuts, recipe number seven is Cake Doughnut Bread Pudding, to be paired with a Herzog Reserve Russian River Chardonnay.

Cake Doughnut Bread Pudding

Recipe number eight is as traditional a dessert as you can get: good old Baklava. Baklava is the perfect Hanukkah food: it’s Greek, it’s sweet, it’s sticky, and it’s delicious! Pair this with a Herzog Reserve Late Harvest White Riesling, and you’ll be on such a sugar-high you won’t even notice the holiday is almost over.

Simple Baklava

Well, there you have it. Eight Chanukah recipes and eight paired wines for the (mostly) health-conscious kosher cook. When it comes to eating right, moderation is always key. Holidays are certainly times for celebration and indulgence, but there’s no reason why you have to go a full week without giving your body nutritious fare. This Chanukah, may your homes always be filled with light, joy, and the aromas of a delicious gourmet meal. Happy Chanukah!

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

Marilyn’s Stuffing

Adapted from “Fragments” by Marilyn Monroe (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $30)
Time: 2 hours

No garlic (I guess this is meant to be funny!)
A 10-ounce loaf sourdough bread
1/2 pound chicken livers
1/2 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon cooking oil
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups chopped curly parsley
2 eggs, hard boiled, chopped
1-1/2 cups raisins
1-1/4 cups chopped walnuts, pine nuts or roasted chestnuts, or a combination
2 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary
2 teaspoons dried crushed oregano
2 teaspoons dried crushed thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt-free, garlic-free poultry seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon pepper

1. Split the bread loaf in half and soak it in a large bowl of cold water for 15 minutes. Wring out excess water over a colander and shred into pieces.

2. Boil the livers for 8 minutes in salted water, then chop until no piece is larger than a coffee bean.

3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef in the oil, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, so no piece is larger than a pistachio.

4. In your largest mixing bowl, combine the sourdough, livers, ground beef, celery, onion, parsley, eggs, raisins and nuts, tossing gently with your hands to combine. Whisk the rosemary, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper together in a bowl, scatter over the stuffing and toss again with your hands. Taste and adjust for salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use as a stuffing or to bake separately as dressing. (We recommend baking separately for all stuffings – in a 350 degree oven, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour)

Yield: 20 cups, enough for one large turkey, 2 to 3 geese(!) or 8 chickens.

Sausage and Apple Kosher Stuffing

1 pound white bread, cut into ½-inch cubes
¾ pound Italian sausage (a combination of sweet and hot is nice)
¼ cup margarine
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
¾ cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the bread cubes in a large baking pan and bake for about 12 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a large bowl. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, brown the sausage and then add to bowl with bread. Add the margarine to the pan and sauté the onions and celery for a few minutes. Add apples and sauté briefly. Add onions, celery and apples to bowl. Add the broth to the pan and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add this to bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the eggs. Place in a greased 9 x 13-inch dish. Reduce oven to 325 degrees. Bake, covered, for ½ hour. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Kosher Turkey for Thanksgiving

More On Kosher Turkeys!…What’s the difference anyway? Free-Range? Organic? Kosher? What’s best for a Great Thanksgiving? Especially a great Jewish Thanksgiving?

It’s an amazing phenomenon to me… This time of year, markets around the country, even markets with no notable Jewish demography, get requests for kosher turkeys. So is it really true that kosher birds taste better? How about organic kosher turkeys and kosher Free-range turkeys, do they taste as good? We asked the experts, both kosher and non-kosher chefs and butchers and here is the summary.

According to rabbinic tradition, kashering a turkey demands not only a specific method of slaughter, but also the salting of the turkey before cooking. In other words, all kosher meat is brined before preparation.

So what’s brining? The process by which the meat is soaked in salted water, and yes, this creates a more flavorful and juicy product at the end of cooking. It's healthier than basting with oil or other fats, and actually far more effective at obtaining the desired juicy flavor.

Another big difference is "non-kosher" birds, are soaked in hot water prior to plucking (it makes them easier to pluck because the hot water loosens the skin), Kosher birds must be cold-soaked to avoid the prohibition of cooking before the aforementioned salting/soaking/brining process which has to happen after the birds are plucked. Also, the hot water process is drying and can be a health risk as it can generate additional bacteria that must be cooked out of the bird. So for a healthier, easier Jewish Thanksgiving, use a kosher turkey! Or, just consider this a bit of insider information on some of the lesser-known benefits of eating kosher.

Now that you have a sense of some of the differences between kosher turkey’s and non-kosher ones, let’s clarify the difference between the other types of birds.

Organic Turkey: Turkeys must be fed organic feed and given access to the outdoors. They are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.

Free-range Turkey: Turkey producers must demonstrate to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service that the turkey has been allowed access to the outside. 

FYI and good news: All turkeys are both hormone and steroid free. No hormones have been approved for use in turkeys. Genetic improvements, better feed formulation and modern management practices are responsible for the larger turkeys produced today.

Amongst the renowned experts we consulted for this blog, Tyler Florence, Emeril Lagasse from the Food Network, as well as chefs from Solo and La Marais in NY, and my mother-in-law, they all agree that a kosher turkey is the tastiest choice. They also agreed that using organic and free-range birds do not improve the taste but may appeal to your conscience. Either way, Roasted Turkey is delicious and healthy for Thanksgiving dinner or as a Shabbos meal any week, so enjoy!

Perfect Roast Turkey

1 (12 pound) fresh turkey
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
1 Spanish onion, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, lemon, onion, quartered, and the garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and a little paprika. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.

Roast the turkey for 2 1/2 hours, basting from time to time with pan juices, until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with foil; let it rest for 20 minutes. Slice the turkey and serve hot.


You can’t pick up a food magazine (and I love to pick up food magazines!) these days without seeing Thanksgiving recipes. Everywhere you look there are turkeys and stuffing and cranberry sauce. There are sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts and pumpkin pie. And that famous green bean casserole – which I hereby promise never to post on our site! Even though my family doesn’t actually celebrate Thanksgiving, I am not immune to the seduction of those dishes. So the Friday night following Thanksgiving, we have turkey with all the fixings. And we can’t wait. We pull out our cookbooks and search online for some updated offerings to incorporate into our repertoire. Some web surfers waste valuable time frantically searching for recipes for kosher turkey or kosher stuffing. We spare you the effort. We have already adapted your dream recipes for the kosher cook. (And we’ll adapt more – just send them to us!) Here are just some of our favorites. But stay tuned through the month. And don’t despair – you don’t have to choose from among so many fabulous recipes. Since we believe in thanking the Almighty for our blessings every single day, there is no reason to limit our turkey consumption to just once a year!

Turkey Basted with Coffee Liqueur

Cranberry, Apple and Pecan Salad
Pareve Pumpkin Cheesecake