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


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

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!!

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

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 (www.jeffsgourmet.com) – 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 (http://www.neshama.us/). 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

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!

Thanksgiving

worldphoto360.com


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

Kosherfest

This week was Kosherfest! The largest kosher food show in America where thousands of people come to see what is going on in the kosher food world and of course GKC was there, meeting with dozens of kosher vendors, some old friends and some new and exciting ones – more on that later. There were cookbook authors, new products for the kosher consumer, and eating, lots and lots of eating – This week KosherFest, next week the gym!

First stop was visiting some of our favorite cookbook authors. And that means no better place to start than the amazing Susie Fishbein. Susie’s cookbooks have become a staple in most kosher kitchens, and why not, they’re so beautiful and imaginative. It’s remarkable what Susie has contributed to the elegant kosher kitchen. GKC found Susie demonstrating easy delicious desserts that she created for Kolatin (A company GKC told its readers about in past blogs!). Susie thanked me and told me how great the GKC readers have responded to her new book (check out all your great comments and enthusiasm in the GKC comments section) and why not? It’s a great and really fun cookbook!

Next, GKC good friend Jamie Geller was there in her classic Jamie high energy tons of fun way… Jaime is going to be joining us soon, for a personal Q & A about her new book, Meals in Minutes (submit your questions to Jamie here). I have to say it is so great to watch Jamie light the kosher world, on fire and to bring the joys of kosher cooking to so many women who might not otherwise be cooking with a smile. I have known Jaime for years and remember her as a powerhouse professional and guest at my Shabbos table, and now watching and enjoying her energy in the kosher world is just wonderful. After spending time with Jamie, GKC got a few minutes in with Estee Kafra from the new Kosher Inspired, the new kosher food magazine published by Mishpacha magazine. I saw the first one and it’s full of great articles, recipes, photos, and entertaining ideas – check it out, lots of fun.

GKC shared lots of fun web ideas with Lois and Roberta from koshereye.com and let me tell you, those ladies give new meaning to southern hospitality and charm! I want to go to Atlanta for Shabbos just so I can spend more time with them. Afterwards while I could still stand, GKC met with our good friend Jodi Samuels from metroimma.com Jodi is spending her time doing what she does best, helping Jews stay in touch with each other!

Throughout the day, GKC received the best VIP treatment (meaning extra snacks and samples!) from all of our great partners from Royal Wines, Osem, Streits, Mehadrin, Zelda’s, and more. We loved meeting with the mashgiach from the White House, Rabbi Segal, who was so kind to give GKC great recipes from the White House kitchen!

Now, lets talk food. What was good you ask? Here are a few of our favs.

* Matzel Toff. We mentioned this one last Pesach and it made the show this year. Really scrumptious chocolate covered matzah with caramel and sea salt. It’s hard to image that matzah is really in this product. I’d eat it year round!
* Jack’s Gourmet Sausage. Don’t fall down. My friends know that I am no sausage eater but WOW! I was impressed. Incredibly flavorful without that overly salty, hyper-smoked taste. These are rich, smooth, and upscale. I would definitely have a fleish eggs, onions and sausage breakfast if these were included.
* Zelda’s caramel popcorn. I just love it. Covered in sweet caramel, crispy and crunchy. The extra snack bags didn’t make it home, I snacked on it all the way.
* Belgian Crepes. How fun is that idea? Prepared soft, thin crepes, in a vacuumed packed bag, ready to eat. I love the idea of instant crepes Suzette, or a crepe with strawberries in it for breakfast, or Nutella for dessert.
* Dr. Praeger’s buffalo nuggets. This is no kiddy chicken nugget and it certainly does not taste pareve. Healthy, quick and full of flavor. Try them.
* Tishbi Fig Cabernet Preserve. I loved it before I even tasted it. How cool is that name and the packaging is so wine snob… black, elegant, refined. And the taste, yum, sophisticated, slightly sweet with wine overtones. Perfect with Brie and crackers, or a scone.
* Lily Bloom’s Kitchen Gourmet Macaroons. These are no ordinary macaroon. New to the show and new on the market, I loved the white chocolate raspberry and the chocolate. Super rich but small so they leave you wanting more. Boxed like fine chocolates they make great gifts except your guests will finish them before you arrive for the meal.

Stay tuned for more from Kosherfest over the next few months. We can’t wait to bring you information about all.

Kosher by Design TEENS and 20-SOMETHINGS

My family got really lucky this week. In anticipation of reviewing Susie Fishbein’s new cookbook, I had to test out some of the recipes. I tried the New Tuna-Noodle Casserole. Although “gourmet chefs” usually turn down their noses at tuna casseroles, this one was particularly delicious. (Important disclaimer: I don’t consider myself a gourmet chef and can be peacefully content with chocolate chip cookies made from the most basic of recipes!) Everyone in the family enjoyed the tuna dish; the proof being that there was none left when I tried to have some for lunch the next day! I also made Ellie’s Onion-Crusted Chicken which was really, really good. I couldn’t find any horseradish sauce so I just mixed some white horseradish with mayonnaise and it worked out perfectly. I also tried the Big Dogs in Blankets. I was less successful with this. I couldn’t quite get the beans and sauerkraut inside the slit in the hot dogs so we ended up with just having big “pigs in blankets” with beans and sauerkraut as the sides. No one complained. I was looking forward to trying out some more but I was knocked out by a virulent form of bronchitis and retreated from contact with the kitchen and food prep! I’m sure we would have enjoyed the rest of the recipes- I plan to make the Layered Mushroom Ziti when I return from my quarantine. I definitely believe that you can never have too many kosher cookbooks and certainly not too many of those created by Susie Fishbein.

As a special thank you to gourmetkoshercooking.com, readers receive a 10% discount on Teens and 20-Somethings and free shipping (in Cont. U.S.) on their entire ArtScroll order when they enter the coupon code KBDBLOG at checkout. Please use the link http://www.artscroll.com/linker/kbdblog/link/kosherbydesign/ to help find the right page. For most recipes and updates, visit their blog (http://www.kosherbydesignblog.com/) or follow them on twitter (http://twitter.com/kosherbydesign).

Homemade Snack

School has finally started and most of us are back to a routine in our homes – work, lunches, snacks, dinner, homework, errands, activities and more. GKC is back too and focused on your feedback and the features that you have requested. Many readers have asked for homemade snack recipes. It is often challenging to include tasty, nutritious, and easy snacks that kids will be excited about. It’s hard to compete with those ketchup chips!! Even the Obamas are working on this issue. Try some of these suggestions or submit what you make at home. We would love to share them with our readers!

White House Fruit and Oat Bars from the White House chef Bill Yosses
Easy Healthier Brownies
Crunchy Cereal Trail Mix
Perfect Homemade Cheese Popcorn

Fruit Kebabs: Way more fun than just mixed fruit

Easy Recipes

GKC is excited to announce its new section: Easy Recipes. Isn’t that what you’ve been waiting for? Especially after all the cooking for the holidays?! Along with our regular weekly and Shabbos offerings we will now present the Easy Recipe of the Week. In addition, all easy recipes on the site will soon be marked with the easy recipe icon so that you can find them…easily!! Here are some quick recipes, new and old, to get you started. Enjoy


Easy Recipes


Tomato Salad
Chocolate Mousse
Chicken with Duck Sauce
Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispie Brownies
Spicy Black Bean Soup

You made it!

You made it! 20 delicous yom tov meals. It’s time for a break. GKC needs one too but stay tuned, we will be back soon with more great recipes, an improved index, your own recipe box, a restaurant guide, and tons of great Q & A.

We hope you all had a wonderful Yom Tov season and GKC thanks you for your support, amazing feedback and terrific emails.

Menus for Succot

It’s hard to believe that we are all planning menus again. Although, I am also a little overwhelmed by the amount of time required in the kitchen this Yom Tov, I am also very excited about Succos. I love Succos and Succos food, warm soups and comfort desserts, lots of company, and special time with the kids. Here are a few of the menus I am planning. We love hearing from you and especially love hearing your feedback and comments. Good Yom Tov and Bon Appétit!

Great Night Menu
Spiced Pumpkin Soup
Succulent Ribs
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Sesame Green Beans
Mississippi Mud Cake

Dairy Menu
French Onion Soup
Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Pizza
Caesar Salad
Honey Glazed Salmon

White Hot chocolate

Biscotti
Baked Apples

California (it’s still hot here)
Black Bean Cakes with Gazpacho
Glazed Corned Beef
Grilled Vidalia Onion Salad
Slimmed Down Corn Pudding
Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cake

Another Meat Menu
Tortilla Soup
Grandma Tilly’s Brisket
Indian Eggplant
Red and Yellow Beets with lemon tarragon vinaigrette
Banana Betty in Individual Ramekins

Yom Kippur: Before and After the Fast

Although we don’t have to cook for Shabbos this year, we still need hearty meals before and after the fast. When we were first married and living in the Old City in Jerusalem, I made an elaborate dairy meal before the fast. Then, one of my husband’s rebbeim told him that since it was a seudas mitzvah, we should be eating meat. I ran to the markolet, grabbed a frozen chicken (if you have lived or live in Israel you know the ones I mean!) and spent Erev Yom Tov desperately defrosting and cooking it. I won’t make that mistake again. Our family “tradition” is have Oven-Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and another mild vegetable. Watermelon is our dessert of choice – juice and refreshing without the thirst-inducing danger of sugary treats.

Oven-Fried Chicken
Mashed Potatoes

After most fasts I made a pareve minestrone soup to which my kids love to add grated cheese. But after Yom Kippur, you need something more. It hasn’t just been a physical effort but a tremendous spiritual one as well and our bodies need rejuvenation. Try this hearty soup to replenish your energy.

Rich Mushroom Barley Soup with Flanken

Menu Ideas for Rosh Hashannah

So many great recipes and so many meals, but what to make and when? Here are a few menu suggestions from recipes available on GKC. Remember to mix and match whatever you like and make extra to freeze for Succot. What are you making? Anything to share?

Easy Menu
Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder
Rosh Hashannah Salad
Simple Elegant Short Ribs
Sweet Tzimmes
Curried Rice
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Menu 1
Pumpkin Challah
Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
Brisket Braised in Pomegranate Juice with Onion Confit
Best Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Apples
Roasted Baby Beets with Truffle Chive Vinaigrette
Mango and Cranberry Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
White House Honey Cupcakes

Menu 2
Curried Apple Soup
Chicken & Fruit Fricassee
Corn Pudding
Roasted Asparagus
Apples, Cranberries and Almonds Salad
Chocolate Caramel Bread Pudding

Menu 3
Onion-Poppy Seed Challah
Pumpkin-Coconut Bisque
Rare’s Signature Sea Bass: Sea Bass with Balsamic Reduction and Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Apple Coleslaw
Roasted Baby Vegetables
Pomegranate Sweet Custard Tart

Menu 4
Apple Challah
Chilled Melon and Tomato Salad
Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine
Soda Meatballs
White Rice
Sweet Tzimmes

Simanim

On Rosh HaShanah, it is customary to eat symbolic foods that express our hopes and aspirations for the new year. As we take a bite, we pray for, among other things, a sweet new year (the famous apple in the honey), the destruction of our enemies (this requires more than just one food!) and an increase in both our individual merits and those of the Jewish people.

These foods can be served raw or cooked and presented creatively. My good friend Debby used an artist’s palette last year to display her treats.

Here are just a few possible recipes that make use of the simanim and get us fully involved in the blessings they invoke. We’d love to know what you use.

Leek Patties with Meat
Pumpkin Tarts
Coconut Date Balls

Extraordinary Chocolate Babka for Holiday Company

Two weeks ago I spent an amazing Shabbos in East Hampton NY. Yes, it is all its cracked up to be, magnificent mansions, beautiful architecture, gorgeous beaches, and super beachy glam. Additionally we had the good fortune of meeting some really interesting and diverse Shabbos guests including a Chihuahua with pink painted toe nails, the man behind GossipCop.com (a website that verifies the accuracy of celebrity news – or as we called him, the Hollywood lashon hara fact checker) but best of all was meeting my new friend and fellow foodie – Lee.

I first heard about Lee, Shabbos morning when my wonderful host and very dear friend Yael told me she had a special treat with our morning coffee. Now Yael has been a member of GKC since day 1 and she knows how much I love something sweet and delicious. So, when Yael says “I have a treat for you” she means it, and boy was she right! Yael gave me a piece of babka (already on the right track!) and said, “Enjoy”… I did! Wow! It turns out my new friend Lee had adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart and the results are delicious. The amazing thing was when I pictured the woman behind this babka I didn’t picture a beautiful young woman with a demanding career as a TV producer, but when I met her later at lunch that’s exactly who she turned out to be. Since then Lee and I have shared lots of great recipes and have bonded over our love of all things epicurean. Lee’s babka was twisted and rolled in a way that yields a beautiful layered and ribbon like appearance. The chocolate inside was so thick that the slices were clean and mouth watering. Turns out, Lee’s babka is easy to make and the chocolate layering is almost as pretty to look at as it was delicious to eat. The crumble on top gives it a perfect finish. Needless to say Shabbos was Yum!

Try it and let us know what you think. It’s become a GKC favorite.

Thanks Lee!

Chocolate Babka
by Lee Kushnir

When shaping the babka, twist dough evenly throughout the length of the roll a full 5 to 6 turns. The babka can be prepared up to step 8 and frozen for up to a month before baking. When ready to bake, remove from freezer; let stand at room temperature for about 5 hours, and bake.

This makes two full-sized and four miniature ones.

1 1/2 cups warm soy milk, 110 degrees
2 (1/4 ounce each) packages active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups plus a pinch of sugar
3 whole large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) margarine, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus more for bowl and loaf pans
2 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped*
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon soy milk
Streusel topping (below)

1. Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar over soy milk; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. In a bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and egg yolks. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture, and whisk to combine.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Change to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks margarine, and beat until flour mixture and margarine are completely incorporated, and a smooth, soft dough that’s slightly sticky when squeezed is formed, about 10 minutes.

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few turns until smooth. Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

5. Place chocolate, remaining cup sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in remaining 1 1/2 sticks margarine until well combined; set filling aside.

6. Generously grease three 9-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pans; line them with parchment paper. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon soy milk or pareve milk; set egg wash aside. Punch back the dough, and transfer to a clean surface. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut into 3 equal pieces. Keep 2 pieces covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining piece. On a generously floured surface, roll dough out into a 16-inch square; it should be 1/8 inch thick.

7. Brush edges with reserved egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of the reserved chocolate filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Refresh egg wash if needed. Roll dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch ends together to seal. Twist 5 or 6 turns. Brush top of roll with egg wash. Carefully crumble 2 tablespoons filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold right half of the roll over onto the coated left half. Fold ends under, and pinch to seal. Twist roll 2 turns, and fit into prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough and remaining filling.

8. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of streusel topping over each loaf. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place 20 to 30 minutes.

9. Bake loaves, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until babkas are deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, and transfer to wire racks until cool. Remove from pans; serve. Babkas freeze well for up to 1 month.

* After chopping the chocolate into moderately sized chunks, use the food processor to pulse the rest of the chocolate in two batches to small bits. It saves a lot of time!

Streusel Topping

Makes 3 3/4 cups.

1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted margarine, room temperature

In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and margarine. Using a fork, stir until fully combined with clumps ranging in size from crumbs to 1 inch.

Rosh Hashannah

Yes, its true…Rosh Hashannah is really early this year (is it ever on time?), and GKC is ready to help you get ready. First, check out the amazing all new recipes perfect for your Yom Tov tables. Then bring extra gourmet dishes to your table with the famous restaurant recipes sections. See what the professional chefs from some of our favorite restaurants make at home and see how easy it is to cook like a pro. Next, submit for the great giveaways (we will have one EACH week!). Don’t miss out on the amazing gifts from honey and honey dishes to challahs and artisan glass. Of course, we will include wine recommendations, health articles, crafts, and more new recipes and features each week. Send us your cooking questions and any recipes you would like us to share with our readers. GKC wishes all of our readers a very sweet New Year.

Poppy Seeds

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I think I was born in the wrong generation. One trivial reason is my love of poppy seeds. They seem to be associated with my great aunts and my buby. Who else buys poppy seed danishes or strudel or hamantashen? My kids go for the chocolate-filled ones or even better yet, the chocolate-peanut butter. But I’m a traditionalist and, as mentioned, a big fan of poppy seeds. I like them in hamantashen, in danishes and strudels, in cakes and cookies. There are worse ways of being old-fashioned…Here are a few of my favorite recipes incorporating poppy seeds: some cookies, a cake based on a cake mix (always good when the craving needs to be satisfied now!) and a scratch cake. Pick one or try all three. You can join my poppy seed fan club.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Cookies become classic for a reason.

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, softened
½ cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¾ teaspoon lemon extract
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
⅓ cup poppy seeds

Cream together the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon extract and vanilla. On a low speed, add the flour and poppy seeds and beat until well mixed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half and roll out one piece on a lightly floured surface. Cut out cookies in the shape desired (can just be plain round ones if you like) and place on greased baking sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes, until just barely brown around the edges.

Yellow Cake with Poppy Seed Filling

1 package Duncan Hines Classic Yellow cake mix
1 package vanilla instant pudding
1 cup orange juice
½ cup oil
4 eggs

Filling:
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all cake ingredients in a mixer and beat until blended and lumps have disappeared. Pour half the batter into a greased 10-inch tube pan. Stir together filling ingredients. Drop half the filling over the batter and swirl with a knife. Add remaining batter and repeat the process. Bake for about 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

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Poppy Seed Cake with Tofutti Cream Cheese Icing

Cake:
1 cup nondairy creamer
½ cup poppy seeds
2 cups flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup margarine, softened
1¼ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 egg whites

Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) package tofutti cream cheese
¼ cup margarine, softened
2½ cups powdered sugar

Microwave nondairy creamer until hot and stir in poppy seeds. Set it aside. Place flour and baking powder in a small bowl or measuring cup. With mixer on low, gradually beat in dry ingredients alternating with the milk-poppy seed mixture. Cream together the margarine, 1 cup sugar and vanilla. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients, alternating with the liquid, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. In a clean bowl beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form. Beat in remaining ¼ cup sugar. Fold into batter. Pour into greased 10-inch round bans and bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan. Cool completely before frosting.
For frosting, cream together all ingredients and speak across bottom layer and all over top and sides of cake.

Back to the Barbeque

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With the summer in full swing and lots of warm weather and friends to catch up with, I am back at the barbeque. In New York, we have a shorter season for this so I try and use it as often as possible. This means lots of variety and homemade condiments to take the ordinary to extraordinary. Try these but also check your grocery store for interesting sauces like spicy mayonnaise (from the sushi guy), or smoked cheese for the top of a veggie burger, or homemade guacamole with beans on a turkey burger.

These are some fun favorites that dress up an ordinary barbeque and make a buffet look a little more gourmet.

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbeque Sauce
Balsamic Roasted Onions
Bourbon Baked Beans
Homemade Butter Pickles
Curry Slider Sauce

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

1 cup ketchup
½ cup bourbon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons mild molasses
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons (fish-free) Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1½ teaspoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce is reduced to 2 cups, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Can be made up to two weeks in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Use on chicken, meat, brisket or ribs.

Balsamic Onions

3 red onions, sliced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Preheat into 375ºF
. Cut the onions in half and slice ¼-inch think, place on a baking sheet and toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, until the onions are tender.

Bourbon Baked Beans

2 (16-ounce) cans baked beans, drained
½ cup chili sauce
¼ cup bourbon
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Directions
Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium and continue boiling for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Homemade Zesty Bread and Butter Pickles

5 pickling cucumbers (about 4 inches long)
4 slices fresh horseradish, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
4 sprigs fresh dill weed
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons pickling spice
2 teaspoons turmeric
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Special equipment: 1 (1-quart) mason jar, sterilized by boiling in water
Wash cucumbers, slice into ¼-inch thick rounds, and place in a heated, sterilized mason jar with horseradish and fresh dill weed.
Set a large pot over medium heat and add vinegar, sugar, water, garlic and pickling spices. Bring the brine to a boil then pour over cucumbers and horseradish in still-hot mason jar and seal lid. Allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. You can serve once chilled, but for best flavor serve after the pickles have been left overnight.