Chocolate Raspberry Cakes

photo: mytidykitchen.com

Serves 6

These are super easy and really delicious. The raspberry addition is a surprise and makes these festive. They are great served warm in Succah or for company.

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted margarine, diced
2 tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves
4 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease six 3/4-cup soufflé dishes or custard cups. Arrange dishes on baking sheet. Mix chocolate, margarine, and preserves in saucepan. Stir over low heat until chocolate melts. Remove from heat; cool to lukewarm, stirring often, about 10 minutes.

Whisk eggs, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl to blend well, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture. Divide batter among prepared dishes.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out with some moist batter still attached, about 20 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes (centers may fall). Serve cakes warm or at room temperature.

Like individual chocolate cakes? Try these too, Chocolate Molten Cakes.

Salmon with Tomatoes, Spinach and Mushrooms

8 (4-ounce) salmon fillets
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 (8-ounce) packages sliced mushrooms
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette (purchased)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place fillets, skin side down, in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Evenly distribute vegetables and pour dressing over all. Bake for about 25 minutes. Serve with a simple white rice.

Still in the mood for salmon? Try our Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze.

Apple Date Cake

photo: thebakingpan.com


3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
2 eggs
1 (21-ounce) can apple pie filling
½ cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped dates

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl. Whisk together eggs, apple pie filling, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients. Stir in dates. Pour into greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Wine Braised Beets

Serves 6-8
I serve this year round not just for Rosh Hashanah. It’s a great side dish recipe especially for beet lovers like me.

2 bunches, medium beets
12 shallots, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ dry red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel the beets and cut each one into 8 chunks. Mix the beets and shallots together in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Toss the olive oil and red wine and season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until the beets are just tender, about 1 ¼ hours.

Stir in the brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Bake uncovered stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and glazed with the sauce, about 15 to 20 minutes more.

Need another recipe for beets? Try this one for Roasted Beets with Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette.

Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish

6 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cups pareve chicken broth
¼ cup margarine
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon salt

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for about ½ hour. Heat broth and margarine. Add to potatoes as you mash. Stir in horseradish and salt.

Pumpkin Corn Muffins

photo: marthawhite.com

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup soy milk or nondairy creamer
2 tablespoons oil
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and chili powder. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, soy milk, oil and chiles. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Do not over mix. Spoon batter into 18 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan. Best served warm.

Leeks in Honey


8 large leeks, cleaned well and sliced
½ cup chicken broth (regular or pareve)
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 tablespoons honey
Dash pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place leeks in small baking pan and cover with broth, then melted margarine and honey. Sprinkle with pepper and bake, uncovered, until golden – about 30 minutes.

Spinach and Apple Salad

photo: tablespoon.com


Dressing
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
12 ounces spinach
1 large red delicious apple, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup sliced scallions
2 tablespoons baco bits
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Toss with salad ingredients and serve immediately.

Arugula Salad with Oranges and Caramelized Fennel

photo by Mattie Batista


Serves 6

Spicy arugula with sweet oranges, what a nice combination of sweet and savory. I always like salad recipes with that contrast.
2 large fresh fennel bulbs, trimmed, each cut vertically into 12 wedges with some core attached
6 fresh thyme sprigs
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 oranges, all peel and white pith cut away, halved vertically, thinly sliced crosswise
2 (5-ounce) packages baby arugula

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine fennel wedges, thyme, and 4 tablespoons oil in large bowl; toss to coat. Arrange fennel, cut side down, on large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until fennel is tender and brown, turning once, about 40 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs. This can be prepared ahead of time and stored. Use at room temperature.

Whisk vinegar, mustard, and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Add fennel, orange slices, and arugula. Toss to coat. Transfer salad to large shallow bowl.

I love arugula in salads. If you do too, try another one, like this Boston Lettuce and Arugula Salad with Tangerines.

Braised Sausages with Apples

¼ cup margarine
3 pounds sausages – an Italian Beef and Italian Turkey combination works well here as does a combination of sweet and hot
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thickly sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Melt margarine in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausages and brown. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add apples and cook for about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes.

Chicken with Shallots and Morels

Serves 4

I love this chicken dish. In fact chicken with wine, mushrooms and onions is my favorite combination. Make it for Yom Tov or for any time of the year. It’s a great chicken recipe.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 (4 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup minced shallots
1 pound fresh morel mushrooms, sliced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-salt chicken stock
½ cup pareve whipping cream (soymilk can be used but it will not thicken as well)

Melt 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining oil to skillet. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until they begin to release liquid, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a plate. Add wine to skillet and boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Return chicken to a skillet, cover with lid slightly ajar, reduce heat to a medium-low, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter. Return mushrooms to a skillet; add pareve cream. Simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

Coconut-Jalapeno Chicken

If you like chicken with a kick, this is the dish for you. Serve over rice to soak up the delicious sauce (I could actually skip the chicken and just eat the rice and sauce!)

8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 jalapenos, chopped
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk

Place chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag or plastic container. Mix together olive oil, cumin, pepper, turmeric and cinnamon. Pour over chicken and mix well to coat. Seal bag or container and marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Pour into large skillet and cook over medium-high heat – about 5 minutes per side. Remove to 9 x 13-inch pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In same skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté onion, ginger, jalapeno and garlic over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and coconut milk and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Pour over chicken in pan. Cover and bake for at least half an hour and up to 1-1/2 hours.

Root Beer Bundt Cake

photograph by: Kam King

Serves 10

Bundt cakes are great to have around for guests as dessert, to serve with coffee in the morning or as an extra sweet snack. This one is quick and easy and has an unrecognizable ingredient that adds spice, sweet and richness to the taste.

1 stick unsalted margarine, plus more for the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2-1/2 cups root beer
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
3 large eggs, beaten
2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan; tap out the excess flour.

Heat 2 cups root beer, the cocoa powder, chocolate and 1 stick margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat until the margarine melts. Add the granulated and brown sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Combine 2 cups flour, the baking soda, allspice and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Whisk the eggs into the root beer mixture, then gently fold in the dry ingredients (the batter will be slightly lumpy).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour, rotating the pan halfway through. Transfer to a rack. Gently poke the cake all over with a skewer and pour 1/4 cup root beer over the cake; let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup root beer, a pinch of salt, the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the cake.

Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash

Photograph by: John Autry

Serves 4
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (1-pound) beef shoulder roast or brick roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots, quartered
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine paprika, cinnamon, salt, ginger, red pepper, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add beef and toss well to coat.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and shallots. Cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Add squash, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve over rice.

Did you like this roast recipe? Try this one too, it’s a GKC most popular recipe called Sweet and Savory Brick Roast.

Hanger Steak with Green-Garlic Sauce

Photograph by: Jennifer Marine

Serves 4

Hanger steak is very easy to prepare on the grill or in the grill pan and cooks very quickly. It is extra tasty with a sauce like the green-garlic sauce and is also great on a salad.

2 hanger steaks or 1 skirt steak (1 1/2 pounds total)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons margarine, divided
1 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Sprinkle steaks with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add steaks and cook, turning once, until medium-rare, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil.

Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon margarine to pan. Add greenonions and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Pour in broth, wine, and vinegar and cook, stirring to release browned bits, until reduced by two-thirds. Remove from heat and stir in remaining margarine. Season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and serve with sliced steak. Great warm or serve at room temperature.

Want to try another recipe with skirt steak? I like this one, Skirt Steak with Red Wine Glaze.

Apple Ginger Chutney

photo: mixedgreensblog.com

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
1-1/4 cups brown sugar
¾ cup golden raisins
¼ cup minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
¼ cup chopped cilantro (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine the apples, onion, vinegar, brown sugar, raisins and chili flakes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro if desired. Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Empire Kosher


Online and just about everywhere, it seems that people are focused on “going green”. From farm fresh produce stands and farm-to-table popular restaurants to alternative energy and water conservation plants, “going green” has certainly captured our attention. Products that carry a “green label” are innovative, progressive, and conscience-oriented. But whoever would believe that kosher, specifically kosher chicken would fall into that category?

Yes, its true, kosher chicken has gone green. Well not any kosher chicken, that’s for sure, but Empire Kosher , known for its tasty and kosher chicken, has developed an admired reputation for being socially and environmentally conscious as well as truly natural in every step of the production process.

GKC had to find our more. We got in touch with their CEO, Greg Rosenbaum, to find out what does green and kosher really mean. Greg told us that, “Green kosher is eating healthy, safely and strictly kosher, buying responsibly, promoting worker and animal welfare, protecting the environment and supporting small family farmers and their communities.” I wondered, does the kosher community care about this? I mean, do they really understand? They should! This is revolutionary for the kosher market! Empire Kosher is committing to limiting the number of chickens a farmer can raise at any given time, raising poultry in a humane way that is healthy for both consumers and animals, respecting and replenishing the environment in ways that will ensure its continued viability for many generations to come, providing safe working conditions and a fair wage to employees as well as generous compensations to their network of small family farmers.

GKC is impressed, this puts Empire Kosher ahead of its competition and draws an implicit contrast with other food companies in the news.

Customers and GKC readers repeatedly praise Empire’s exceptional taste, texture and quality of product. Clearly we have good taste, as they year after year, win taste tests by prestigious publications like the NY Times, Gourmet Magazine, Food and Wine, and many more.

Empire CEO emphasized that in addition to being “green kosher”; they offer a wide variety of all-natural, organic, free-range, anti-biotic free, vegetarian-fed poultry. All with no growth hormone added (to better understand these terms go to the Turkey blog from Thanksgiving).

The news about Empire Kosher comes at a great time. Rosh Hashanah is a busy cooking period for the kosher consumer and all of us are eager to purchase products that have the greatest flavor and are mindful of the gifts of this planet. Thank you Empire for being a leader in the industry and for respecting our world.

A little more from Empire…they shared a few holiday recipes that are great for the holidays. I tried them they are super easy and exceptionally tasty!

Empire Kosher Ultimate Rosh Hashanah Chicken
Honey Pecan Chicken
Glazed and Spiced Matzo Stuffed Chicken

Grilled Lamb with Rosemary, Garlic, and Mustard

Photograph by: Susanna Howe

Serves 8

This is a classic lamb dish. Rosemary, garlic and mustard pair very well with lamb and are natural flavor enhancers. I like to serve lamb for special occasion meals like Rosh Hashannah or Succot. I serve it with flowered roasted potatoes. This dish is grilled but an indoor grill pan works well too.

1 well-trimmed 4-pound piece of lamb, butterflied to even 2-inch thickness (ask the butcher to butterfly it for you).
8 garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Fresh rosemary sprigs and fresh Italian parsley sprigs

Open lamb like book on work surface. Using tip of small knife, make 1/2-inch-deep slits all over lamb. Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves. Insert garlic slices into slits in lamb. Combine remaining 4 garlic cloves, mustard, olive oil, white wine, rosemary, and lemon juice in processor. Blend until coarse puree forms. Spread underside of lamb with half of puree. Place lamb, seasoned side down, in 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Spread remaining puree over top of lamb. Cover lamb with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Let lamb stand at room temperature 2 hours. Coat grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or grill pan. Sprinkle lamb generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill lamb to desired doneness, about 17 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to cutting board; let rest 10 to 20 minutes.

Thinly slice lamb against grain. Overlap slices on platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh herb sprigs.

Rainbow Chopped Salad

Photograph by: Kiyoshi Togashi

This is a very easy salad recipe that is nice for Rosh Hashannah because it is beautiful to look at and includes pomegranates and other colorful fruits. You can add figs or dates to include other symbolic foods in the salad.

Dressing
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup hazelnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil

Salad
6 cups chopped romaine hearts
4 cups sliced red cabbage
1 large Fuji apple, halved, cored, diced
1 Asian pear, halved, cored, diced
1 mango, peeled, diced, or 2 Fuyu persimmons, peeled, seeded, diced
3/4 cup pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

For the dressing
Whisk vinegar, shallot, and honey in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the salad
Combine romaine and next 6 ingredients in very large bowl; toss to blend. Add dressing and toss to coat.

Pomegranate-Marinated Lamb with Spices and Couscous

Photograph by: Misha Gravenor

Serves 5

So nice for Yom Tov! Sweet pomegranates with flavorful lamb, its so special for that special meal.

1/2 cup pomegranate molasses (found in most markets, alternatively use pomegranate juice plus 1 tablespoon molasses)
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds lamb chops, cut into 3/4-inch square pieces, bones reserved, or lamb shoulder cubed
1-1/4 cups water, divided
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) box plain couscous
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted margarine
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons torn basil leaves

Whisk pomegranate molasses (or juice plus molasses), coarsely chopped garlic, olive oil, ground ginger, cinnamon, 1 3/4 teaspoons cumin, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Add lamb and toss to coat. Cover and marinate 2 hours at room temperature, or up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Drain, reserving marinade. Pat lamb dry.

Heat heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add meat and bones, if using, and cook until browned, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes total per batch. Return all lamb and bones to skillet. Add reserved marinade and 1/4 cup water. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer over medium-low heat until meat is tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring remaining 1 cup water and chicken broth to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add couscous and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cumin. Remove saucepan from heat and let stand covered 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with fork, then stir in margarine until melted. Divide couscous among plates and top with lamb, pomegranate seeds, and basil leaves, spooning remaining sauce over lamb.

Chicken, Apple and Curry Soup

8 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups chicken broth
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
½ cup rice
1 tablespoon curry
1 cup soy milk
¼ cup flour
2 cups chopped cooked chicken

In a large stock pot, sauté celery, carrots and onion in oil over medium-high heat. Add broth, apple, rice and curry. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy milk and flour. Whisk into soup and stir until smooth and slightly thickened. Stir in chicken and heat through.

Slow Cooker Apple Corned Beef


1 (5-pound) corned beef
1 quart apple juice
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard (can substitute regular if you are stuck)
8 to 10 small red potatoes, scrubbed
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, halved
½ green cabbage, cut into chunks (you can add more if you crock pot will hold it)

Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir to mix. Cook on low for at least 8 hours – longer if you like.

Pareve Pomegranate Cheesecake

photo: tigersandstrawberries.com

½ cup (1 stick) margarine, melted
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup brown sugar
4 (8-ounce) packages tofutti cream cheese
1 cup sugar
¼ cup flour
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups tofutti sour cream
1-1/2 cups pomegranate seeds
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For sauce:
1 (approximately 15-ounce) bottle pomegranate juice
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together melted margarine, graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar and press into bottom of 10-inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes and cool on wire rack. Reduce oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixer bowl, beat together tofutti cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the flour, eggs and vanilla. Stir in ½ cup tofutti sour cream and fold in ¾ cup pomegranate seeds. Pour over crust. Place pan on baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour. Mix together remaining 1-1/2 cups tofutti sour cream with the ¼ cup sugar and the teaspoon vanilla. Spread over cake and return to oven for 10 more minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before loosening sides. Cool completely and remove sides. Place in refrigerator to chill. To make sauce bring the pomegranate juice to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, gently for about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar and cornstarch. Whisk into pomegranate juice and cook for about 2 minutes. Cool and chill until ready to serve. To serve sprinkle pomegranate seeds and drizzle sauce over cheesecake.

Pearl Couscous with Fall Vegetables and Caramelized Onions

Photograph by: Rachel Weill

Serves 8

I saw this recipe in the Rachael Ray Magazine in a feature about winter comfort foods. I did a GKC adaptation and eliminated some of the ingredients that were not kosher and the results are terrific. The combination of cinnamon, vegetables, saffron, cumin, and stock give this dish a hearty feel and you do not miss the ingredients that were omitted. Pearl couscous is the same thing as Israeli couscous. It’s a small circle pasta and is great warm or at room temperature. I eat the leftovers all week.

2 medium onions, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon olive oil or margarine
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
Couscous and vegetables
3 to 4 medium carrots
3 medium zucchini
1 jalapeno pepper
4 small turnips
1-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil or margarine
1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon saffron threads
3/4 teaspoon cumin
2 cinnamon sticks
7 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups pearl (also sold as Israeli) couscous
About 1 teaspoon harissa* (available in many kosher markets, made by Pereg and other Persian brands. It is spicy and can be omitted.)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Prepare the caramelized onions: Put onions in a large frying pan with 1/2 cup water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until softened, about 30 minutes. Remove cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onions are golden. Increase heat to medium-high, add olive oil, and cook, stirring, until deep golden. Meanwhile, soak raisins in hot water 15 minutes and then drain them.

Add cinnamon, salt, pepper, and honey to the onions and then stir in raisins and cook, stirring, until nutty brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare the couscous and vegetables: Peel and cut the zucchini (I leave the peel on the zucchini) and carrots into 1 1/2-in. pieces. Halve jalapeno (remove the membranes and seeds). Peel and quarter turnips. Peel and seed squash and cut into 1-in. chunks.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, saffron, cumin, and cinnamon sticks and fry, stirring, 1 minute. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add carrots, turnips, and jalapeño and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Add squash and zucchini and cook, covered, until all vegetables are soft but not falling apart, about 20 minutes.

Transfer 2 cups hot stock from vegetable pot to a 4-qt. saucepan. Add 1 cup water and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, stir in couscous, and cook, covered, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

Transfer 2 cups stock from vegetable pot to a pitcher and stir in harissa to taste.

Spread couscous on a platter, making a well in the center. Using a slotted spoon, arrange vegetables, including cinnamon sticks, in the well; discard jalapeno. Scatter onions on top and sprinkle with cilantro. Moisten the couscous with some stock and strain the rest into a second pitcher. Serve couscous and vegetables with the two stocks (plain and spicy) on the side.

Note: You can make this with one sauce and pour it over the top. Soaked in the juices it is delicious fresh and leftover.