Sweet Potatoes with Meringue

Serves 8
This is pretty easy but it makes a grand entrance.
3 pounds sweet potatoes
¼ cup brown sugar
3 egg whites, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake potatoes for 1 hour. Cool, peel and dice. Toss with brown sugar and spread over bottom of 2-quart baking dish. Cover and bake for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, beat egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat, until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in cinnamon.

Heat broil to high. Carefully spoon meringue over potatoes and toast under broiler, watching carefully to prevent burning. This will take a few minutes tops!

Pomegranate-Flavored Lamb Shanks

Serves 6 to 8

8 lamb shanks
½ cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 cinnamon stick
5 cups pomegranate juice
3 cups water
1 cup roasted pistachios, chopped
4 pears, halved

Preheat broiler.

Spread shanks in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Broil until browned on all sides, turning as necessary – about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

In a large roasting pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and garlic. Sauté until lightly browned – about 10 minutes. Add cinnamon stick, pomegranate juice and water and stir to combine. Add ¾ cup pistachios, pears and the reserved lamb.

Cover pan tightly and cook for 3 hours. Sprinkle with remaining chopped pistachios before serving. Good over couscous.

Green Beans with Tomatoes and Nicoise Olives

Serves 6

You can use kalamata olives or other black olives in place of Nicoise olives if they are hard to find.

1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/2 cup pitted, chopped Niçoise olives
A pinch of dried thyme

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the green beans until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes; drain and cool under cold running water. In a large bowl, combine the beans with the cherry tomatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, and shallots. Stir in the olives, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the vegetables with the vinaigrette, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

Cola London Broil

Serves 10

This is an easy meat dish for Shabbos or Yom Tov day. It is marinated overnight and then grilled and sliced. The cola tenderizes the meat so it stays moist even when sliced and served at room temperature.

1 cup cola
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/2 small white onion, grated
1-1/2 tablespoons garlic, chopped (from 3 garlic cloves)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for grill
1 London broil (5 to 6 pounds; 2 1/2 inches thick)

Combine cola, vinegar, onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon pepper, and the oil in a bowl. Place steak in a large resealable plastic bag, and pour marinade over steak. Refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.

Remove steak from marinade, and discard marinade. Season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Preheat grill to medium-high, and brush grates with oil. Grill steak until internal temperature reaches 115 degrees for medium-rare 10 to 11 minutes per side. Transfer steak to a cutting board, and let rest, tented with foil, at least 15 minutes. Very thinly slice steak against the grain, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Chicken stuffed with Pareve Herbed Cheese and Olives

Serves 4 but doubles easily

This chicken is great warm or at room temperature. It works so well with the new Tofutti Pareve Ricotta Cheese. It is great accompanied by garlicky spinach or green beans.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 lb. total)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces pareve tofutti ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 large lemon), divided
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup flour
6 tablespoons margarine, cut into 6 pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chicken broth

With a boning knife, cut a wide pocket into the thickest part of each chicken breast half, taking care not to cut all the way through. Season the chicken evenly on both sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

In a small bowl, mix the tofutti ricotta cheese, olives, and 1 teaspoon each lemon zest and rosemary. Stuff the pockets with the ricotta mixture and pin each shut with two toothpicks. Spread the flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the margarine and the oil in a 12-inch heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat until the foam from the butter subsides. Add the chicken and cook, flipping once and adding another 1 tablespoon margarine halfway through cooking, until golden-brown and cooked through (reduce the heat to medium if necessary), 14 to 16 minutes total. Transfer to plates and remove the toothpicks.

While the chicken cooks, melt 1 tablespoon margarine in an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and boil until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and boil for 1 minute more. Off the heat, whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons margarine, remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon rosemary. Serve the chicken drizzled with the sauce.

Curried Salmon Mousse

photo by Annabelle Breakey

Serves 8 – 10

This is a great alternative for a Kiddush or a perfect first course. I also serve it for Shalosh Seudas. They literally scrape it from the dish. Serve with crackers or sliced vegetables.

1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 pound rinsed salmon fillet
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon curry
1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce or Sriracha sauce
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup tofutti cream cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup lime juice
Fresh chives, chopped

Boil 2 cups water, wine, and 1 tsp. salt in a medium frying pan. Simmer fish just until opaque. Drain, cool, skin, and flake. Set aside.

Pour oil into another pan and heat over medium heat. Cook shallots, garlic, ginger and curry until softened. Stir in chili garlic or Sriracha sauce; cook 1 minute.

Whirl shallot mixture in a food processor. Add coconut milk, tofutti cream cheese, sugar, and salt until smooth. Pulse in salmon, then lime juice. Serve chilled, topped with chives.

Beet and Apple Soup

The bright red color of this soup makes it particularly festive and appealing.

8 medium beets, peeled and chopped
6 cups chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
2 tablespoons sherry
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish: Tofutti sour cream, Roasted beets, diced

In a large Dutch oven, combine beets, broth, onion, potato and apple.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.  Cool slightly.


Using a hand immersion blender, purée mixture.  Stir in sherry and salt and pepper.  Gently reheat.


Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a few roasted beets, if desired.


Baked Apple Crisps

This is a delicious dessert that’s a little lighter than cake but still has a lot of sweetness.

Serves 8

1 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons margarine, melted
8 large baking apples
2 cups cranberry-apple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour and margarine. Mix well.

Cut a ½-inch slice from the top of each apple. Remove core and seeds (sometimes a melon baller helps if you don’t have the right tool). Place apples in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Spoon oat mixture into center and on top of each apple. Pour juice over apples. Bake until tender – about 1 hour, basting every 20 minutes. Best served warm. Better served with pareve vanilla ice cream.

Baked Fennel with Thyme

photo: noblepig.com

This dish is simple but delicious.

4 bulbs fennel, trimmed and split lengthwise
1 tablespoon margarine, softened
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

In a medium pot, cover fennel with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender –about 15 minutes. Place fennel, cut side down, on paper towels and drain.

Place fennel in prepared dish and brush with margarine. Season with salt and pepper and top with thyme. Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.

Cod with Citrus Chili Glaze

photo by Annabelle Bleakley

Serves 4

I like serving Cod as an entre or as a main course. I am often looking for an alternative to salmon or sole. This recipe works with any hearty white fish like Mahi Mahi or Halibut too.

1/2 cup sake or rice wine
1/4 cup mirin (sweet sake)
3 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Juice and zest of 1 orange
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup Asian chili sauce ( I use a sweet one)
4 scallions, cut in long strips
4 (quarter-size) slices fresh ginger
4 pieces (4 ounces each) Cod
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs

Set a steamer in a pot with 2 inches water underneath. Bring water to a boil.

In a small saucepan bring sake and mirin to a boil and heat until reduced to half. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, juices, and zests. Cook 3 minutes; add chili sauce and cook until thickened, 10 minutes.

Put scallion strips and ginger in steamer. Top with fish; cook, covered, until just opaque in center, 8 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of sauce and the cilantro.

Mushroom Wellington Cups

photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Serves 6

Leave it to Martha Stewart to come up with this cute appetizer or side dish (I served it as a side). They are very flavorful and attractive on the plate. They do not freeze or store well though. If it’s a Yom Tov day, you can prepare everything ahead of time and just bake them before serving.

4 tablespoons unsalted margarine, plus 4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted margarine, melted
1-1/4 pounds small cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pareve whipping cream
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
5 sheets (12 by 16 1/2 inches) frozen phyllo dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons margarine in a large skillet over high heat. Cook mushrooms for 6 minutes. Add garlic. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown, about 1 minute more. Add wine. Cook, stirring and scraping browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon, until wine evaporates, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Add pareve cream. Cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Lay 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface (keep remaining phyllo covered with a damp towel). Lightly brush sheet with melted margarine. Top with 1 sheet; brush with margarine. Repeat with remaining 3 sheets, leaving top without margarine..

Cut phyllo stack into six 5 1/2-by-6-inch pieces. Nestle each into a cup of a standard muffin tin. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons mushroom mixture into each. Bake until golden, 14 to 16 minutes.

Simple Roasted Pomegranate Chicken

Serves 8

This is super easy and really moist chicken. It has a nice color and pretty pomegranate seeds all around. Adults and kids request it over and over.

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 (3-1/2 to 4-pound) chickens, quartered
½ cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Juice of 2 lemons, about 4-5 tablespoons
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
2 – 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a cup, mix oil and garlic. Brush garlic oil over chicken.

Place chicken in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes, basting several times with pan juices, until skin is browned and juices run clear when a thigh is pierced at thickest part with a fork.

In a small saucepan, mix pomegranate juice, wine, lemon juice, and cinnamon sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Roast Game Hens with Pineapple Glaze

8 (1-¾) pound Cornish game hens
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange hens, breast side up, in 2 9 x 13 baking pans. Drizzle hens with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, whisk pineapple, maple syrup, lemon juice, mustard and soy sauce. Baste hens with pineapple mixture and cook for an additional 45 minutes, basting every 20 minutes with more glaze.

Transfer hens to serving platter. Pour pan juices and any remaining pineapple glaze into a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until pineapple sauce is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 8 minutes.

Serve sauce with hens.

Moroccan Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup uncooked couscous
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons grated orange zest

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken; cook for 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Add cumin, cinnamon, and pepper to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add butternut squash and tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Stir in Chicken Stock, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in couscous, salt, and zucchini; cook 5 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove pan from heat. Stir in chopped basil and orange zest.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Serves 6

This is special enough for company and simple enough for a mid-week family dessert. The caramel sauce is just so good and the dates make it a great Rosh Hashanah dessert.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine, room temperature, plus more for pan
1-1/2 cups sifted flour plus more for pan
1-1/2 cups chopped pitted dates (about 6 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

1-1/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup pareve whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted margarine
1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pareve Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 °. Grease a large Bundt pan. Bring dates and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan with tall sides. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will become foamy). Set aside; let cool.

Whisk 1-1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup margarine, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend (mixture will be grainy). Add 1 egg; beat to blend. Add half of flour mixture and half of date mixture; beat to blend. Repeat with remaining 1 egg, flour mixture, and date mixture. Pour batter into Bundt pan.

Bake until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 40 –45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert pudding onto rack. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Bring sugar, pareve cream, and margarine to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in brandy, if using, and vanilla. If preparing sauce ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator. Rewarm gently before using.

Cut cake into wedges. Serve with sauce and whipped cream.

Olive Oil Braised Leeks

photo by Tamar Adler

Serves 4

Another delicious way to serve leeks.

2 pounds leeks (about 5 medium), white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise
12 small sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dry white wine
Kosher salt

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Arrange the leek halves cut side down in a snug single layer in a shallow 8-inch square baking dish. Nestle the thyme sprigs among the leeks. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, wine, and 1 tablespoon water and drizzle over the leeks. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Braise the leeks in the oven until completely tender and easy to pierce with a fork, about 45 minutes. Uncover the dish and continue to braise until the leeks are caramelized, about 15 minutes more. Remove the thyme sprigs and serve the leeks warm or at room temperature.

Romaine Salad with Apples and Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves 8

6 cups romaine lettuce
2 apples, sliced
¼ cup craisins
2 scallions, sliced
In a large salad bowl, mix lettuce, apples, craisins, and scallions. Add dressing, toss and service.

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Whisk together the vinegar, honey, olive oil, and soy sauce until the honey has dissolved, and the dressing is smooth.

Honey and Ginger Marinated Skirt Steak

Serves 4

Honey adds terrific sweetness to this salty cut of steak. Its great warm or room temperature with horseradish sauce

¼ cup soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
½ cup canola oil
2 pounds skirt steak

Combine soy sauce, honey, vinegar, garlic, ginger and oil in a container with a tight lid. Shake well. Make diagonal cuts all along the steak on both sides. Place meat in a shallow baking dish and pour marinade over it. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Prepare the grill or grill pan on medium-high heat. Cook the steak about 6 minutes each side. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Conversely, broil for about 3- 5 minutes each side.

Slice steak thinly and serve with horseradish sauce.

Strawberry Orange Honey Sorbet

People often dismiss the recipes on the sides of the package because they presume they are as they were 50 years ago; Pour cream of mushroom soup over chicken and bake. Don’t dismiss them anymore because manufacturers have really worked hard to upgrade and refine these recipes. This one came from a jar of upscale gourmet honey and the flavor combinations really work.

½ cup apple juice
1 pint strawberries, sliced
¼ cup orange juice concentrate, frozen
2 tablespoons orange liqueur, optional
1/3 cup honey

In a blender combine apple juice, strawberries, orange juice, orange liqueur, and honey. Puree until smooth. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour puree into a shallow dish and freeze for 1 hour. Remove from freezer and blend again. Refreeze until ready to serve.

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

photo by Hans Gissinger

Serves 12

The combination of lemon and garlic and fingerling potatoes make this potato recipe both fragrant and full of flavor. The dressing is light and the dill is a nice surprise.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 pounds unpeeled fingerling potatoes in assorted colors (such as red, white, and purple), rinsed, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
24 garlic cloves, sliced

Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Spray 2 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Toss potatoes with 1/2 cup olive oil in large bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread potatoes in single layer on baking sheets, dividing equally. Roast 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dill, and lemon peel in small bowl to blend for dressing. Toss garlic and 2 tablespoons dressing in another small bowl. Divide garlic mixture between baking sheets with potatoes and toss; reverse baking sheets and continue to roast until potatoes are tender and brown around edges, about 15 minutes longer.

Toss roasted potatoes in large bowl with enough of remaining dressing to coat and serve.

Pomegranate Punch

Serves 12

This is a fun drink to serve on the Rosh Hashanah daytime meals. It’s refreshing and super flavorful.
1-½ cups sugar
1-½ cups water
8 slices fresh, peeled, ginger (about 1/8 inch thick)
2-¼ cups fresh mint
6 cups pomegranate juice
¾ cup apricot nectar
2-½ cups seltzer

Bring sugar, water and ginger to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add mint. And let stand for 30 minutes. Strain and cool.

Stir together mint syrup, pomegranate juice, and nectar in an ice-filled pitcher. Add seltzer. Garnish with more mint.

Wild Mushroom Salad

Serves 4

This salad is for mushroom lovers. I usually make it with chanterelle mushrooms but any combination of wild mushrooms will work as long as they are mostly the more delicate types like shitake. Baby bellas work but do not use portabellos, they are too meaty for this salad.

1 pound chanterelles, brushed clean and trimmed (halved or quartered if large)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsely
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 small garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh lemon juice

Place mushrooms in a steamer basket and set over a pot filled with 1" gently simmering water (do not allow water to touch mushrooms). Cover and steam mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a baking sheet and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk oil, parsley, vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallot, and garlic in a medium bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add mushrooms; toss to coat evenly. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Pot Roast with Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Thyme

Serves 6

This is a great meat recipe that can be made a few days ahead of time. You can use a pot roast or a brisket or even a beef chuck roast. The wine and the thyme give it depth and the orange zest gives it a very fresh flavor that is a little sweet.

1 pot roast, brisket, or beef chuck roast (3 1/2 to 4 lbs.)
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
About 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped celery
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled carrots
4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1 bottle (750 ml.) Merlot or other dry red wine
3 fresh thyme sprigs plus 1 tbsp. chopped leaves
2 tablespoons margarine
3/4 cup chopped shallots
2 pounds mixed mushrooms such as chanterelle, trumpet, enoki, cremini, and/or button, rinsed briefly and cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon shredded orange zest

Preheat oven to 325°. Sprinkle roast lightly with salt and pepper; coat generously with flour. Pour oil into a large (at least 6-qt.), heavy ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, turning as needed, until browned all over, about 15 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Add chopped vegetables to pot and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add broth, wine, thyme sprigs, and beef. Cover and bring to a boil, then transfer pot to oven. Bake until beef is tender when pierced, 3 to 3 1/4 hours, turning roast over once.

Meanwhile, melt margarine in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are beginning to brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in thyme leaves and salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer beef to a platter; cover with foil and keep warm in a 200° oven. Pour braising liquid through a strainer into a wide frying pan. Skim off fat. Boil over high heat until reduced by about half, about 20 minutes. Stir in orange zest and salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce into a bowl.

Cut beef into 1/2-in. slices and drizzle with a little sauce. Spoon mushrooms around meat and serve with remaining sauce on the side.

Apple Crostata

Serves 6

I cannot get enough recipes with apples this time of year. This one is best served with a little pareve ice cream or pareve whipped cream. This is a modified recipe from a restaurant called Sea Glass on Cape Cod.

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled margarine butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
¼ teaspoon butter extract (optional, this is pareve and made by McCormick)

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of fine sea salt
2-1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples (about 5 large), peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/4"-thick slices (about 7 cups) or use another firm, fresh local apple
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
2 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pareve vanilla ice cream or pareve whipped cream

Place flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to blend. Add margarine and butter extract; pulse just until coarse meal forms. Add 1/4 cup ice water; pulse until dough forms clumps, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap dough in plastic and chill 1 hour.

DO AHEAD: Crust can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to soften slightly before rolling out.

Preheat oven to 400°. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Roll out dough disk on parchment paper to 15" round (some of dough will extend over edges of paper).

Whisk sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Add apples and lemon juice to bowl with sugar mixture; toss to coat apples evenly.

Transfer apples to crust, mounding in center and leaving a 3" plain border. (Scrape out any juices from bowl and drizzle over apples. Fold crust edges up over outer edges of filling, crimping dough and folding and pleating as needed to fit. Slide crostata and parchment onto a large rimless baking sheet. Crack egg into a small bowl. Using a fork, beat egg just to blend. Brush crust edges with beaten egg, then sprinkle crust with raw sugar.

Place crostata in oven and bake until juices in center are thick and bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool for 5 minutes. Run a long, thin knife or offset spatula around edges of crostata to loosen from paper and to prevent it from sticking to the paper. Transfer baking sheet with crostata to a wire rack. Brush apples generously with maple syrup. Let crostata cool.

Cut crostata into wedges. Place wedges on plates and serve with pareve ice cream or pareve whipped cream.

Roasted Dates with Pastrami, Almonds, and Spices

Serves 6

This date recipe is great as a side dish for the simanim. It’s really interesting combination of flavors. The roasting of the dates creates a sweeter taste and wonderful texture.

2 cups pitted dates
3 ounces pastrami, finely diced (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted margarine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1/4 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the dates on a small rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven until heated through, about 15 minutes.

In a medium saute pan over medium heat, cook the pastrami for 3 minutes until warm. Add the almonds and continue cooking until they brown, a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the red pepper flakes and stock and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the margarine, stirring continuously until the margarine is melted. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley.

Add the dates to the pan and swirl and toss them in the sauce. Divide the cooked dates among 4 to 6 plates and spoon the sauce over them.